Monthly Archives: December 2006

AUR#802 Dec 29 Kremlin View Of Ukraine; Romance Of Revolution Long Gone; Power Sharing Not Working; Summing Up 2006; Energy Decisions

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ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR           
                 An International Newsletter, The Latest, Up-To-Date
                     In-Depth Ukrainian News, Analysis and Commentary
 
                  Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
         Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World       
 
   THE BATTLE FOR CONTROL OF UKRAINE!
                       “UKRAINE – THE VIEW FROM THE KREMLIN”

          Vladimir Putin’s Orange nightmare is over, he can now sleep soundly. 
                                                  [Article One]
                        
ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 802
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor, SigmaBleyzer
WASHINGTON, D.C., FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2006 

              –——-  INDEX OF ARTICLES  ——–
            Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
   Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
1.                  “UKRAINE – THE VIEW FROM THE KREMLIN
        Vladimir Putin’s Orange nightmare is over, he can now sleep soundly. 
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Walter Parchomenko
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, December 27 2006

2. TWO YEARS AFTER ORANGE REVOLUTION: UKRAINE IN A FUNK
           The romance of revolution is long gone as Ukrainians learn to cope
                   with democracy’s disillusions, says Alexander J Motyl.
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Alexander Motyl
Open Democracy, London, UK, Friday, December 22, 2006

3  GOVERNMENT CHAOS DASHING HOPES OF NEW BEGINNING 

                                POWER SHARING IN UKRAINE
ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: By Walter Mayr
Der Spiegel Magazine, Hamburg, Germany, Thursday, December 28, 2006

4.                               UKRAINE: SUMMING UP 2006
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY By Volodymyr Hrytsutenko
Professor. of English, Lviv Franko University, Lviv
Published by Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #802, Article 4
Washington, D.C., Friday, December 29, 2006

5. UKRAINE’S FORMER INTERIOR MINISTER YURIY LUTSENKO SETS
  UP OPPOSITION MOVEMENT, CIVIL MOVEMENT OF SELF-DEFENCE
TV 5 Kanal, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1115 gmt 20 Dec 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, Wednesday, December 20, 2006

6.                              MAKING IT CLEAR TO PUTIN
EDITORIAL: Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec 20 2006

7.                    UKRAINE RISKS BEING MARGINALIZED
OP-ED: By Vlad Galushko, Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, Dec 20 2006

8.        KIEV AND MOSCOW SHOWED THEY CAN COOPERATE

               SAYS UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER YANUKOVICH
Itar-Tass, Moscow, Russia, Thursday, December 21, 2006

9.    UKRAINE: ENTRY TO RUSSIA’S ENERGY MARKET DISCUSSED

By Roman Kupchinsky, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday December 27, 2006 

10YANUKOVYCH CONSIDERS OPERATIONS OF UKRHAZ-ENERGO,
       ROSUKRENERGO, GAZPROM AND CABINET OF MINISTERS AS
          TRANSPARENT INVOLVING GAS DELIVERIES TO UKRAINE
          Dmytro Firtash who owns 45% of RosUkrEnergo attended meeting
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, December 22, 2006


11.       GLOBAL ENERGY WOES SPARK RUSSIAN RESURGENCE
By Michael Scollon, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Friday, December 22, 2006

12.                            THE NEW THREAT TO EUROPE
OP-ED: By Jackson Diehl, The Washington Post
Washington, D.C., Monday, December 25, 2006; Page A29

13.                            GAZPROM’S CASH REGISTER
COMMENTARY: By Fikret Ertan
Zamon Online, Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, Dec 22, 2006

14.                                     ENERGY FUTURE
   On the eve of a new year, Ukraine is again facing tough energy decisions.
EDITORIAL:
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, December 27, 2006

15.                    TROUBLING SILENCE OVER GONGADZE
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Tammy Lynch
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Nov 29 2006

16.                              CARPATHIAN CONFERENCE
By Robin Marshall, The Budapest Sun, Volume XIV, Issue 51
Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, December 21, 2006

17. UKRAINIAN ROCK-BANDS INITIATE EVENT “MAKE NEW YEAR’S
   PRESENT TO UKRAINE. SHIFT TO UKRAINIAN LANGUAGE IN 2007!”
Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, December 27, 2006

18.           SEX SLAVERY PLAGUES ROMANIA AND BULGARIA
          Other countries in the region, the poorest in Europe, are also hotbeds

            for organised crime and illegal trade such as Moldova and Ukraine.
Justyna Pawlak, Reuters, Bucharest, Romania, Tuesday, 26 Dec 2006
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1
             UKRAINE – THE VIEW FROM THE KREMLIN

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY
:
By Walter Parchomenko
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, December 27 2006

Vladimir Putin’s Orange nightmare is over. The Russian leader can now sleep
soundly. Premier Viktor Yanukovych and the Party of Regions are clearly in
charge in Ukraine and, in their own words, are cleaning house and restoring
order.

Putin’s visit to Kyiv has received increasing attention from Ukrainian and
Western political observers. Prediction, in a highly dynamic political
environment such as Ukraine’s, is always hazardous.

Consequently, it is not surprising that much of the available commentary
offers sweeping generalizations and often idle speculation about the
possible results of this meeting.

Rather than add to this growing mountain of largely trivial speculation, it
may be more instructive simply to highlight several key but generally
inadequately grasped facts – essential background about recent
Ukrainian-Russian relations.

Doing so may shed light on Putin’s true intentions in visiting Kyiv and on
his preferred vision for Ukraine.

FACT 1: President Putin has been and continues to be Viktor Yanukovych’s
most loyal foreign benefactor. He has never hidden his support for the
fraud-marred premier.

His public expressions of support have been deftly adjusted since Ukraine’s
2004 presidential election to meet the country’s changing political
landscape, but his allegiance to Yanukovych and his Party of Regions remains
unswerving.

Amazingly, after blatantly fraudulent rounds of that election, Putin, like a
brash schoolboy, rushed not once but twice to prematurely congratulate
Yanukovych on victory.

Learning from experience, he subsequently adopted a more circumspect but

no less active role in supporting Yanukovych and his Party of Regions in the
2006 parliamentary election.

Significantly, in the short period since becoming premier, Yanukovych has
already met with Putin on several occasions, in Moscow and Sochi, to discuss
bilateral cooperation.

FACT  2: Yanukovych and the Regions-led majority in parliament have
unabashedly rushed to demonstrate their profound gratitude to Putin for his
faithful support in shaping the Ukrainian political scene.

Their conspicuous haste to deliver major political dividends to their
Kremlin sponsor, although tactically imprudent because it diminishes their
already low credibility at home and in the West, tellingly reflects their
steely determination to quickly and steadily repay their enormous political
debt to Putin.

In just over 100 days, they have begun to synchronize important Ukrainian
security policies with those of their northern neighbor. And in the words of
ordinary citizens here in Ukraine: “They are firing Orange-leaning Cabinet
ministers and delivering their heads on a platter to Vladimir Putin.”

FACT 3: In Brussels last September, Yanukovych did much more than close
the door on a NATO Membership Action Plan in 2006. Although only dimly
perceived in the West, he also effectively placed a cross on any future
Ukrainian membership in NATO.

To the great delight of the Kremlin and members of Ukraine’s so-called
Anti-Crisis coalition in parliament, he rested the issue squarely on a
future national referendum.

It is no secret that Yanukovych’s Regions party adamantly opposes Ukrainian
membership in NATO and relishes today’s harsh realities: Ukrainian public
support for NATO today is low and declining, anti-NATO activities have
increased over the past year, and the Ukrainian government’s support for a
NATO information campaign remains scant.

Moreover, Moscow, as in the past, stands ready to resort to active measures
in Ukraine to support anti-NATO forces, should the need arise. To believe
that this decidedly negative trend line on Ukrainian membership in NATO can
be easily reversed is, indeed, a pernicious myth.

FACT 4: Vladimir Putin waged economic wars – gas, meat, and dairy notably,
in 2005 and 2006 with the clear intention of destabilizing Ukraine’s economy
and Yushchenko’s Orange government.

These “man-made crises,” unquestionably, harmed Ukraine’s economy and
measurably influenced the political scene. With his man, Viktor Yanukovych,
now in power, Putin no longer needs to wage economic wars.

Putin, strictly speaking, only seeks good partner relations with Yanukovych
and other Moscow-loyal members of the Regions-led parliamentary coalition.

Putin’s aversion to color revolutions and their leaders remains categorical.
His ongoing economic war with Georgia, home of the Rose Revolution and
reportedly 70 percent support for NATO membership, is compelling evidence
of this fact and a stark daily reminder.

At first glance, Putin’s decision to end economic wars with Ukraine and help
stabilize its economy, if only to benefit Viktor Yanukovych, is welcome
news. The crucial question, however, is at what price to the nation?

Putin’s preferred vision for Ukraine is a mirror image of what he has
accomplished in Russia during his presidency.

Translated, this means total control of the “commanding heights” by a
Moscow-loyal Party of Regions with the virtual monopolization of parliament
by pro-Regions forces, the consignment of any democratic opposition in
parliament to the political wilderness, and judicial attacks upon any
uncooperative big business.

It also means that the future of Ukraine’s budding NGOs and any genuine
security sector reform will be in grave jeopardy.

It must be said that in Putin’s Russia a distinction is made between
acceptable (government affiliated) and unacceptable (state adversaries)
NGOs, while security services unarguably function as a political instrument.

To what extent do Yanukovych and Party of Regions leaders share such a
vision? Disturbingly, in just over 100 days in government, they have
provided much cogent evidence of their preference for Putin’s authoritarian
style of leadership and model of government.

Furthermore, their intent to gravitate toward a Moscow-Donetsk vector in
domestic and foreign policymaking is evident almost daily.

Vladimir Putin will continue to view Ukraine through the prism of velvet
revolutions and their clear and present danger to Russia’s influence in the
post-Soviet space.

He will struggle unceasingly to ensure the demise of the Orange Revolution
and a Ukraine outside of NATO. Moreover, Putin and Party of Regions
leaders will likely remain loyal partners in this struggle.         -30-
———————————————————————————————–
Walter Parchomenko, Ph.D., is a Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council
of the United States currently based in Ukraine. The views expressed here
are purely his own.
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LINK: http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/oped/25810/
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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2.                TWO YEARS AFTER ORANGE REVOLUTION:
                                      UKRAINE IN A FUNK
         The romance of revolution is long gone as Ukrainians learn to cope
                   with democracy’s disillusions, says Alexander J Motyl.

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Alexander Motyl
Open Democracy, London, UK, Friday, December 22, 2006

Two years ago, in November-December 2004, hundreds of thousands of
Ukrainians peacefully occupied downtown Kyiv in protest against the
falsification of presidential elections.

That popular uprising, known as the Orange revolution, ushered in a
pro-democratic government headed by President Viktor Yushchenko and
rime minister Yulia Tymoshenko; it appeared to herald Ukraine’s decisive
turn toward democracy and the west.

Two years later, the euphoria that accompanied the revolution and the hopes
that it spawned have dissipated. The popular mood ranges from despair,
anger, and cynicism among the revolution’s supporters to confusion,
disappointment, and disillusionment among the revolution’s opponents.

Increasingly, Ukrainians are giving up on all their leaders and treating
their promises as empty words.
                                  WHAT WENT WRONG?
The irony is that Ukraine is actually doing well to moderately well in
almost every respect. The economy is robust. GDP is set to grow about 5.5%
in 2006 – despite a twofold increase in gas prices – rebounding from half
that rate in 2005.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) should exceed $3.5 billion, a massive
increase over previous years. The currency is stable, the current account
deficit is manageable, disposable income has grown, and the budget deficit
is under control.

Democratic institutions are also consolidating. The parliamentary elections
on 26 March 2006 were fair and free and, as important, were widely expected
to be fair and free. The subsequent three-month wrangling between potential
coalition partners was oftentimes infantile and always annoying, but it
transpired according to the rules of the game.

The eventual coming to power of the “Anti-Crisis Coalition” headed by prime
minister Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions struck the Orange revolution’s
supporters as a repudiation of the revolution’s gains, but it took place
legally and was made possible by those very gains.

The subsequent power struggle between Yanukovych and Yushchenko – the two
dramatis personae of the Orange revolution – testified as much to the flawed
constitutional reform that increased the powers of the parliament and prime
minister without adequately delineating their, and the president’s, limits
as to the power-grabbing proclivities of the Party of Regions. In any case,
that tussle is also taking place according to the rules.

The media are lively and independent. Neither Yushchenko, nor Yanukovych,
nor Tymoshenko are spared constant scrutiny and criticism. A constitutional
court empowered to resolve just the sort of power struggles bedeviling the
government has finally emerged – after parliament had refused for one and a
half years to appoint its share of justices lest they declare the
constitutional reform deal reached by Orange and anti-Orange forces during
the revolution unconstitutional and re-empower the president.

Civil-society organisations remain vibrant – from credit unions to
non-governmental organisations to rock-bands to church groups to student
clubs. Perhaps most important, Ukraine’s young are smart, independent,
cosmopolitan, and cynical about authority – attitudes that bode ill for
possible elite attempts to reestablish a paternalistic regime.

All this, and yet Ukraine’s population remains gripped by a sense of
malaise. People have lost faith in the present, and they are losing
confidence in the future. Some Ukrainian intellectuals suggest that this
growing passivity will either fail to resist what they believe is
Yanukovych’s inevitable turn to authoritarianism or, perhaps worse, at some
point even welcome a strong man promising to get the country moving.

Optimists counter by pointing to the growth of institutions that, they
argue, will both constrain elites from acting too undemocratically and
ensure that Ukrainian civil society will remain strong – even if Ukrainians
believe that it is weak.
                         THE MALAISE’S FIVE SOURCES
The malaise has five causes.

[1] The first is that popular expectations of immediate, rapid, and
comprehensive change after the Orange revolution greatly outstripped

the reality of the changes instituted by the Orange governments in 2005-06.
Those governments made a difference, they did change Ukraine for the
better – but that difference and that change could only be less than what
the population had hoped for.

Not surprisingly, Yushchenko is now widely reviled, while Tymoshenko,
whom he fired in September 2005, has come to embody the hopes of
those desiring radical change.

[2] The second cause is the seemingly endless elite squabbling that has
characterised Ukrainian politics since at least mid-2005.

The 26 March parliamentary elections should have produced an Orange
coalition, but bad faith, excessive ambitions, and the unwillingness to cut
deals produced the programmatically bizarre Anti-Crisis Coalition of the
pro-oligarchic and generally pro-business Party of Regions and the
antediluvian and unreformed Communist Party and the business-sceptical
Socialist Party.

Yanukovych promised an end to the squabbling and forceful governance,
but his government has proven equally prone to tussles over personnel,
contradictory signals, and policy stagnation. Unfortunately, his opponents –
grouped in the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine –
have done no better.

Tymoshenko and her allies in the parliament represent the main opposition
but have still to act in a critically constructive way and offer genuine
alternatives to government policy. Tymoshenko’s calling the government’s
planned cuts in social spending “genocidal”, for instance, showed just how
far she has to go to become a mature opposition leader.

Our Ukraine, meanwhile, has gone into a free fall, unwilling and unable to
reinvent itself in the aftermath of its disastrous attempt to head a
coalition government by playing off the Party of Regions against the
Tymoshenko Bloc -and losing everything in the process.

[3] The third cause is distrust of Yanukovych and his party. Yanukovych and
the Party of Regions tried to change their image, with the assistance of the
veteran American political consultant, Paul Manafort. Yanukovych now sports
better clothes and, in an attempt to dispel his pro-Russian reputation,
makes an effort to speak in Ukrainian.

His speeches, statements, and interviews say all the right things and
studiously avoid President Vladimir Putin’s predilection for alarming
rhetoric.

Yanukovych has even openly endorsed the values of the Orange revolution and,
in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, supported Ukraine’s
membership of Nato – after having told the alliance in September that
Ukraine wasn’t ready for the Membership Action Plan.

Not surprisingly, Yanukovych’s detractors remain unpersuaded, point to the
mismatch between words and deeds, and decry what they consider his seeming
willingness to sacrifice Ukraine’s best interests to better relations with
Russia. Ardent supporters of the Orange revolution retain a visceral dislike
of him and tend to interpret every one of his actions as indicative of evil
motives.

The fact that the power behind the throne is Ukraine’s richest oligarch, the
Donetsk-based billionaire, Rinat Akhmetov, a man with a decidedly checkered
past who claims to want to move Ukraine’s economy toward Europe, only
increases suspicions.

But even a substantial chunk of Yanukovych’s electoral base in Ukraine’s
southeast has serious doubts about his ability to improve the economy, unite
the country, and govern effectively. Thus far, Yanukovych has done little to
assuage those doubts. And blaming his predecessors for his own government’s
failings is beginning to wear thin.

[4] The fourth cause of the malaise is the belief that the Orange
revolution’s primary promise – to implement justice by throwing the “bandits
into jail” and to empower the people – has proven hollow.

The bandits – whether Yanukovych the ex-felon and his thuggish Donbas pals,
the high-flying Akhmetov who was elected parliamentary deputy, the tycoons
bankrolling Our Ukraine and the Tymoshenko Bloc, or Vitaly Hayduk, the
Donbas oligarch and Akhmetov opponent whom Yushchenko appointed to
head his national security council – are not just around, still. They’re
running politics.

Optimists argue that having the rich play openly formal governmental roles
is preferable to their pulling strings in the background or to their
languishing in jails. That way, they can be kept accountable, at least to
some degree, they can channel their formidable resources into legitimate
political activities, and they can balance the equally dubious personal
ambitions of the politicians.

That may very well be the case, but it’s no surprise that the Ukrainian
people, who expected their country to join Europe, become fully democratic,
and escape Russia’s grip, feel irrelevant and betrayed.

[5] The fifth cause concerns Europe. During the Orange revolution Ukrainians
either expected or feared that Europe would welcome them with open arms.
But nothing of the sort has happened.

The European Union did declare that Ukraine had a market economy, and it
does hope to sign a new partnership agreement with Ukraine by 2008. But
the EU has signally failed to give Ukraine a clear signal of its willingness
to take it in – even if at some point in the distant future.

Yushchenko implored the EU to do just that on the eve of its summit in
Finland – arguing that it could play the role of a lighthouse or guiding
star for Ukraine – but the EU failed to budge. Poland supports Ukraine’s EU
aspirations, but the prickly Polish government has few friends in Europe.

Finland and the Baltic states have also been supportive, but they lack the
weight of Germany and France, which are manifestly indifferent, preferring
good terms with Russia, and especially the state-controlled gas giant,
Gazprom, to close relations with a budding democracy such as Ukraine.

To be sure, Europe has its own worries – a fact that Ukrainians often
overlook. The French are distracted by forthcoming presidential elections
and the possibility of a female president (which raises the intriguing
possibility that, by 2009, France, Germany, the United States, and Ukraine
could all have women leaders.)

The Germans worry about where Angela Merkel’s reforms might lead. The
Italians fret about their country’s inability to reform itself. The Dutch
are obsessed with veils. The Poles, Hungarians, Slovaks, and Czechs are
trying to cope with bad governments (or in the last case, effectively none).

The EU has to finesse Romania’s and Bulgaria’s imminent membership, while
trying to prevent the Turkish “train-wreck” that the EU’s own irresponsible
policies toward Cyprus and Turkey directly brought about. And the United
States, labelled Ukraine’s “strategic partner” even by Yanukovych, is
focused on unfolding defeat in Iraq and the possibility of failure in North
Korea and Iran.

It’s small wonder, then, that Ukrainians are in a funk. Their leaders look
incompetent at best and malevolent at worst, and no one – and especially
those countries that wax eloquent about the virtues of soft power – seems to
care.
              RUSSIA, AND UKRAINIANS, TO THE RESCUE
Russia, of course, does care about Ukraine – but only Ukraine’s deeply
conservative, ethnically Russian population in Luhansk or Crimea might be
inclined to see that as an indisputably good thing. The pro-Orange forces
tend to see Russia as the source of all bad things. Yanukovych’s supporters
have always taken a far more sanguine view of Russian intentions, but even
they must be having second thoughts today.

It’s hard to have any illusions about Gazprom’s boundless ambitions anymore.
And no one living in Ukraine can fail to appreciate that their country’s
energy dependence on Russia is a source of growing instability and
insecurity.

Yanukovych’s government, which criticized its Orange predecessors for
striking a bad gas deal with Russia at the height of the January 2006 “gas
war”, has done little better.

Like the Orange governments, it agreed to a price rise – from $95 per
thousand cubic meters to $130 in 2007 – in exchange for a greater market
presence in Ukraine for the shadowy Gazprom-controlled middleman
organisation, RosUkrEnergo. And, like the Orange governments, it is pursuing
energy-diversification negotiations with Poland, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan
and encouraging foreign investment in the development of Ukraine’s
supposedly ample own oil and gas deposits.

No less disturbing, even for Yanukovych’s eastern Ukrainian supporters, are
several developments in Russia. These include Moscow’s strongarm tactics
toward Georgia, Moldova, and the unabashedly pro-Russian Belarus (whose
dictatorial president, Alexsander Lukashenko, has responded with, of all
things, a resoundingly nationalist defense of Belarusian sovereignty); the
alarming outbreaks of chauvinism and xenophobia in a variety of Russia
cities; the officially encouraged mass expulsion of Georgians from Moscow
in the aftermath of Russia’s cold war with Georgia; and the recent spate of
killings of Kremlin critics.

The professional “hits” are especially worrisome. Whether or not the Kremlin
was actually responsible for the assassinations, the KGB’s long-time record
of “wet works” and Russia’s sharp turn to the right make it all too easy to
believe that it was. Russian and Ukrainian rumour mills have constructed
fantastic interpretations that, their veracity aside, all serve to discredit
Putin and his government – as either complicit or incapable of controlling
rogue elements.

The killings have special meaning for Ukrainians, who know that Anna
Politkovskaya was born Hanna Mazepa, the daughter of Ukrainian diplomats in
New York. They also know that the poisoning by radioactive polonium of the
former KGB officer, Alexander Litvinenko, in London is all too eerily
reminiscent of the poisoning by dioxin of their own president on the eve of
the Orange revolution.

At that time Yushchenko’s domestic opponents used to quip that he had
probably eaten some spoiled food or that the poisoning had been staged for
political reasons. Even his most fanatical and closed-minded detractors must
now be having doubts about the benign nature of Russian power.

The growing suspicion of Russia and growing disillusionment with Europe
leave Ukraine and Ukrainians with no choice but to rely on themselves – a
turn of phrase that even Yanukovych has adopted. The doubts may therefore
turn out to be a blessing in disguise. The expectation of salvation from
east or west was always illusory, and it arguably deterred Ukraine from
making some of the tough choices that it still has to make.

The main task before the government is further liberalisation of the economy
and decentralisation of the state. The government is still too heavily
involved in running key sectors of the economy, and government regulations
remain far too many and far too burdensome – the result being economic
inefficiency and bureaucratic corruption. Ukraine is also much too
centralised, and the administrative structure it inherited from Soviet times
is no longer appropriate for a democracy and market economy.

Besides, the government is far too ineffectual to run too many things well.
Joining the World Trade Organisation would break some of these habits.
Yanukovych says he expects Ukraine to enter the WTO in early 2007. His
critics doubt his sincerity, but he probably means it – if only because
Akhmetov knows that his own wealth depends on Ukraine’s ability to
integrate into the world economy.

The expectation of salvation from Ukraine’s government was also illusory,
and it has deterred Ukrainians from recognising that only they, and not
their incompetent elites, can build a real democracy and a genuinely
prosperous society. The main task before the population is thus to pursue
their economic, social, and cultural interests as if there were no
government to rely on, to plead with, and to expect to save the day.
                                    A MIXED LEGACY
Old Soviet paternalistic habits die hard, but growing self-reliance may
already be happening -thanks in no small part to the Orange revolution’s
empowerment of large segments of the population. A few examples may
suggest that, despite elite squabbling in Kyiv, life goes on in ways that
justify a cautious optimism about Ukraine’s future.

The city of Lviv now has four branches of the Rotary Club, each of which
consists of self-confident and affluent business people who know they have
the power to change things and recognize that they do not need the
government to do so.

The Kyiv-based newspaper, Day, recently organised a student conference,
consisting of young political scientists from four regional universities, in
Odessa. The students spent several days arguing, disagreeing, and learning
to bridge their differences – in an undertaking that could herald the
emergence of a national student dialogue.

One civic organisation, disturbed by the absence of Ukrainian-language films
in Ukraine, decided to start a petition demanding that foreign films be
dubbed into Ukrainian and not just Russian. Much to their surprise, the
organisers collected 600 signatures in just two days.

Perhaps the most impressive example of civic activism is, paradoxically, the
parliament’s adoption of a law designating the terror-famine of 1932-33, in
which several million Ukrainians died, a genocide. That wouldn’t have
happened if Ukraine’s intellectuals hadn’t been arguing the case for the
last fifteen years, thereby creating a discursive force that even sceptics
couldn’t resist.

Accordingly, the Party of Regions and the Communists, not wanting to be
seen opposing an apple-pie issue, abstained from the parliamentary vote.

The news from Ukraine is therefore mixed. The population is demoralised,
but, with continued economic growth, foreign direct investment, a critical
press, a fire-breathing Russia conveniently demonstrating that the
alternative to democracy really is lousy, and a little luck, that
demoralisation may not matter too much.

In any case, it may not impede ongoing positive trends within society.
Despite their funk, despite – or because of – their declared disillusionment
with politics and politicians, Ukrainians may have finally figured out what
the real meaning of the Orange revolution was: that an empowered population
can, and should, decide its own fate.                  -30-
————————————————————————————————-
Alexander Motyl is professor of political science and deputy director of
the Center for Global Change and Governance at Rutgers University, New
Jersey. Among his books are Dilemmas of Independence: Ukraine after
Totalitarianism (1993) and Imperial Ends: the decline, collapse, and revival
of empires (Colombia 2001).
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http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-ukraine/two_years_4218.jsp

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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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3.       GOVERNMENT CHAOS DASHING HOPES OF NEW
              BEGINNING — POWER SHARING IN UKRAINE

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: By Walter Mayr
Der Spiegel Magazine, Hamburg, Germany, December 2006

The hero and antihero of Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution are now sharing
power in Kiev. The political trench warfare between President Viktor
Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych is shattering the Ukrainian
people’s dreams of a new beginning and moral rebirth.

The bitter political rivals Viktor Jushchenko and Viktor Yanukovych now have
to work together.In Ukraine, questions about the future invariably entail an
excursion into the past.

It’s a journey that passes through electronic security gates in the Kiev
building that houses the Ukrainian cabinet, into a Soviet-made elevator and
up to the seventh floor — where courtiers whisper, petitioners wait
patiently and a padded door opens silently. The prime minister approaches
from the depths of the room.

“Hello,” says Viktor Yanukovych.

For a moment it seems as though time had stood still here. Yanukovich was
prime minister once before when the so-called Orange Revolution broke out
and hundreds of thousands marched through the streets of Kiev, shivering in
the cold, singing and waving orange flags — in an effort that eventually
brought down Yanukovich’s corrupt regime. It happened two years ago.

Yanukovych was the principal target of popular fury when crowds took to the
streets to demonstrate against election fraud and nepotism, against
corruption and the regime’s failure to investigate contract killings of its
opponents.

Ukrainians were demonstrating against everything for which they believed the
policies of President Leonid Kuchma and his would-be successor Yanukovych
stood for.

After the country’s supreme court annulled the election for being fraught
with irregularities, Yanukovych was defeated in a repeat of the second round
vote. He conceded defeat and resigned as prime minister in January 2005.

But on Aug. 4, 2006, only 19 months later, he returned to the position of
prime minister, after being personally nominated by Viktor Yushchenko, the
new president and Yanukovich’s old arch rival.

The two men have ruled jointly since then, in what has been more of an
adversarial than a cooperative relationship. The president has written the
prime minister indignant letters (“I demand that you address the facts I
have presented”), has publicly criticized Yanukovych’s maneuvering to block
NATO membership for Ukraine and, in late November, horrified Washington by
threatening to veto his prime minister’s upcoming visit to the United States
on the grounds that he felt left out of the loop.
                                          BITTER RIVALS
The prime minister, for his part, has insisted that the parliament,
controlled by his coalition, be placed in charge of foreign policy. When
Yanukovych traveled in late November to meet with his Russian counterpart,
Mikhail Fradkov, the Ukrainian foreign minister, an ally of Yushchenko, only
accidentally learned of the trip from journalists.

Although Yushchenko vetoed Yanukovych’s dismissal of the country’s
pro-Western chief diplomat a short time later, the foreign minister kept
being prevented from attending his cabinet meetings.

Yanukovych insists that what looks like the work of an amateurish puppet
theater on the national stage is merely the unavoidable consequence of
cohabitation a la Ukraine — a “transitional phase” in the process through
which the once-feuding camps of the president and prime minister must now
pass.

In Yanukovich’s view, the effects of friction between the two groups have
not been serious. “There are no hostile maneuvers nor is there a hostile
mood. There are just many emotions,” says Yanukovich.

And there is a sense of numbness among the general population. It’s almost
as if a thick layer of lava had coated everything that happened in Ukraine
in 2004, creating a crust that has all but buried dreams of greater freedom,
truth and prosperity.

More than ever, this divided country that stretches from the Carpathian
Mountains to the Sea of Azov, and from the Crimean Peninsula to the Pripyat
marshes — once the Soviet Union’s bread basket and now a critical conduit
for natural gas being transported to Western Europe — seems to be suffering
from its failure to find its place on the continent.

The president wants to guide his country into NATO membership, a plan the
premier currently opposes. The president promised a settling of accounts
with the old system, a system the prime minister practically embodies.

The president wants to see the Ukrainian economy blossom in the wake of a
post-revolutionary slump, but the prime minister is beholden to the coal and
steel magnates in his native, Russian-speaking Donbass region, who expect
him to leave them and the billions they raked in in the 1990s untouched.

What may look like chaos is actually democracy in action, cynics in Kiev
say. The disappointed complain that what began as an honest popular uprising
is ending in lethargic compromise at the highest levels of government.

Yanukovych insists that he has no problem with the president — nothing
against Yushchenko who, in December 2004, after suffering the effects of
severe dioxin poisoning following a dinner with the head of the Ukrainian
intelligence service, assigned part of the blame for the attempted
“political murder” to Yanukovich.

“On a human level, I have felt sympathy for him since the day I learned of
his poisoning,” says Yanukovych, as he stares off into the distance. “But
everything I know about the case I learned in the media.”

The November 2004 presidential election is another contentious issue between
the two men. At the time, an irate Yushchenko told his rival: “You must
acknowledge that you and your team stole three million votes.”

Today Yanukovych insists that it is clear that there was no “massive voting
fraud,” and that the affair involved, at best, “individual violations on
both sides — because the people were not yet accustomed to democratic
standards.”
                    TRANSFORMED BY US CONSULTANT
The new Viktor Yanukovych is unflappable, even more so than in the past. He
chooses his words carefully, keeps his facial expressions under control and
avoids using the kind of prison jargon for which he was once notorious.

A 6’6″ man from the country’s southeastern coal and steel-producing region,
Viktor Yanukovych has learned his lesson.

His advisors maintain a deliberately low-key presence in a ground-floor
office at Sophia Street 4 in Kiev. There is no sign on the door, no doorbell
and no security guard. 

                  PHIL GRIFFIN RUNNING THE OFFICE
The man running the office is Phil Griffin who, like most US-funded
crusaders for more democracy and transparency in Eastern Europe, remains
tight-lipped about his work.

Griffin’s reticence is understandable, given that he works for Paul
Manafort. Manafort is the kind of behind-the-scenes political operator who
makes but never appears in headlines.

A discreet grand master of political campaign management, Manafort worked in
the White House under former US President Gerald Ford and later helped run
the election campaigns of presidents from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush.

He has also had a successful career as a lobbyist, with clients ranging from
Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos to Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi.

In 2005, Manafort received a call from Ukraine. His latest assignment would
entail transforming Viktor Yanukovych from a failed presidential candidate,
a bogeyman who was ejected from the Ukrainian political scene in disgrace,
into a statesman who could bring order to Europe’s largest country.

It turned out to be less of a challenge for Manafort’s team than might have
been expected. Yanukovych, a former communist, has a reputation for being
tenacious and yet open to advice — a virtually ideal combination from an
American political standpoint.

US geostrategists, led by John Herbst, the US ambassador to Ukraine, had
expressed concerns about Yushchenko well into the 2004 presidential
election. Though considered respectable, Yushchenko also had a reputation
for being an eccentric loner.

But thanks to the efforts of Manafort and other advisors, Yanukovych was
completely repackaged just in time for the parliamentary elections in March
2006. He now sports a more dynamic-looking haircut, dark blue suits and
matching silk ties, and he has become adept at charming the press.

“I was shocked when I saw him for the first time after his absence,” says a
reporter in the prime minister’s press corps. “He talks a lot now, but he
doesn’t say anything anymore,” says another journalist. “In the past you
could tell what he was thinking by looking at his eyes. Those days are
gone.”

Yanukovych’s “Party of Regions” won a majority in parliament in March,
trumping the alliance between now-quarreling revolutionary heroes Yulia
Tymoshenko and Viktor Yushchenko.

Unlike Russian political advisors who were responsible for his political
demise in 2004, “people of the caliber of a Paul Manafort never give advice
that could lead to violations of the law,” says Yanukovych today. “They tell
you what the voters expect.”

The new Yanukovych has become cautious, deftly wrapping his rhetoric around
two central themes — “democracy” and “reforms” — and rarely forgetting to
mention that Ukraine’s future role should be that of a “bridge” between
Europe and Russia. His goal is to send a message of reconciliation to the
West without disappointing his friends and supporters in the East.

Listening to this former communist party functionary speaking today, and
watching him maneuvering his way around the political stage, conjures up the
image of an honest old farm horse that has been carefully trained to perform
in the ring, and in the process has mastered the high art of trotting in
place.
                       FROM PRISON TO PRIME MINISTER
Yanukovych has come a long way for someone who was once thought of as
little more than a thug from the brewery district of the mining town
Yenakiyevo near Donetsk.

After losing his mother at an early age, Yanukovych was raised by his
grandmother and soon developed a reputation for rowdiness in the polluted
coal-mining and steelmaking region of his youth.

Former friends in Yenakiyevo say that Yanukovich and his companions were
known for “drinking, swearing and stealing fur hats.”

He acquired a criminal record as a result of two serious incidents in 1967
and 1969. Both cases involved violent altercations, with the second case
resulting in moderately severe bodily injury, and in both cases the young
Yanukovych was convicted and imprisoned. In 1972, shortly after his release
from prison, he married and completed his education.

Yanukovych’s political rivals believe they understand the reasons behind his
fairy tale-like career, which would later culminate in the governorship of
Donetsk and the office of prime minister.

Grigory Omeltchenko, a member of parliament in the “Yulya Tymoshenko
Bloc” and a veteran of the intelligence service himself, says: “Yanukovych
was with the KGB.

He was recruited after he came out of prison.” Fellow party member Alexander
Turchinov, who headed the SBU, the Ukrainian successor to the KGB, until
September 2005, says that because of his obligation to preserve secrecy he
can only comment “unofficially.” According to Turchinov, “there are signs
that Yanukovych was with the KGB.”

Yanukovych himself finds the accusations so absurd that he even discussed
them on a television program with Yushchenko. Smear campaigns are a routine
political tool in the post-Soviet Ukraine, a form of security in the
struggle for power.

“Everyone has a skeleton in their closet or a corpse in their septic tank,”
says Ukraine’s leading columnist, Yulia Mostovaya of Kiev’s Weekly Mirror.

As a symptom she mentions the latest hit by “Okean Elsi,” the cult band that
got its start in the days of the Orange Revolution — because it is a
signal, a swan song to the achievements of the revolutionaries who stormed
the barricades in 2004. In the lyrics, which have caused a sensation
nationwide, the singer explains “Why I will no longer walk with them.”

The parliamentary groups, says Mostovaya, even those of Tymoshenko and
Yushchenko, have been taken over by a caste of politicians who came of age
as “bazaar dealers” in the 1990s, without even the slightest understanding
of “the needs of the state and of society as a whole. They have spent their
entire lives thinking only of themselves.”

The old figure of 300 dollar millionaires in parliament — two thirds of all
members of parliament — has apparently even been exceeded in the new term
running since the March election.
                          YUSHCHENKO SEEMS HELPLESS
Quarrelsome on details, but almost helpless overall, Viktor Yushchenko has
been looking on as the achievements of the 2004 popular uprising are
gradually being dismantled.

The constitutional reforms of December 2004, ratified in the waning days of
the Kuchma era, severely curtailed the president’s powers in favor of the
parliament and the government. How to interpret these reforms has become the
subject of bitter controversy.

Journalist Mostovaya believes that there are also psychological reasons for
the president’s weakness. Yushchenko, an enigmatic “pretty boy with the soul
of a bookkeeper,” who is passionate about beekeeping and folk art, a man
whose looks were once sufficiently dazzling to cause “western Ukrainian
peasant women to drop like flies,” has never quite overcome the devastating
effects of dioxin poisoning on his face.

In a flight of courage though, Yushchenko has now removed his “dear
friends” — former patrons, comrades-in-arms and sycophants with oversized
egos and little political experience — from his immediate surroundings,
replacing them with pragmatists.

The deputy head of the presidential administration is now a former economics
minister. His boss is a businessman from the Carpathian Mountains, a man who
is as shady as he is successful and whom Western intelligence services
linked to organized crime only a few years ago.

The more embittered their day-to-day rivalry, the more alike Yushchenko and
Yanukovych are becoming in their choice of methods and personnel.

Yushchenko’s new man at the head of the National Security Council, Vitaly
Gaiduk, a brawny Donetsk industrialist and former deputy prime minister, was
a member of the leadership in Yanukovych’s party until recently. Gaiduk was
also Yanukovych’s deputy when he was governor of the Donetsk region.

Despite having defected to the enemy camp, the media-shy Gaiduk still has no
difficulties getting meetings with Yanukovych whenever he asks to see him.
The shared experience of having grown up in Donetsk, the country’s
industrial heart, continues to unite, even across party lines.

Many of the moderately disreputable industrial barons from the Donbass
region, sometimes with an entourage of drivers, cleaning women and servants
in tow, now hold seats and influence in the parliament in Kiev.

Parliament guarantees them immunity from prosecution for past misdeeds, a
strategy invented by Rinat Akhmetov, the cardinal of the southeast, the
country’s richest man and president of the Shakhtar Donetsk football club,
who hopes to reorganize the steel, coal and coke market in his region.
Akhmetov was kind enough to suggest the candidates to his friend
Yanukovych.
                            PROTECTED MILLIONAIRES
Akhmetov, a red-haired Tatar with a boy-like build known for his cool
demeanour, apparently views Yanukovych as a man who can provide him with
political influence — someone who will not stand in the way of his business
interests, will keep hungry Russian oligarchs out of the market and who
won’t touch the legal status quo of shady privatization deals struck in the
1990s. But Yanukovych can only do these things if he is in power.

This is where Paul Manafort comes in. Akhmetov is said to have hired
Manafort in 2005, well before the election, to help ensure Yanukovych’s
return to political power, and the plan worked.

Now that Yanukovych, together with communists and socialists, holds a
slim majority in the parliament, there is little risk that old wounds from
the country’s more recent history will be torn open.

It’s telling enough that the former head of the state-owned natural gas
company, the scandal-ridden driving force behind billions in construction
projects to bring Russian gas to Ukraine, has since been named to the post
of energy minister.

The head of the central election commission, fired from his job in December
2004, was rewarded with a position in the justice committee. In parliament,
he rubs shoulders with the general public prosecutor from the Kuchma era,
whose former role in life was to act as a legal shield to the ruling class.

Armed with a coterie of former co-conspirators ensconced in parliament,
reassured by love letters from Moscow and friendly talks in Washington two
weeks ago, Yanukovych appears to be doing well both domestically and abroad.

But where is this divided country headed? “To the West,” says Yanukovych,
without batting an eyelash. “First we must join the World Trade
Organization. The decision will be reached in February.”

The next item on his agenda, says Yanukovych, is a “free trade zone with the
EU.” He also wants a new ten-year agreement that sets milestones towards
“Ukraine’s path into the EU.”

As a small concession to persistent doubters, the prime minister, while in
Washington, trotted out a sentence from his new box of tricks.

Further political maturing, says Yanukovych, cannot be ruled out. “Just as
there can never be too much democracy in Ukraine, there also can never be
too much freedom.” (Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan)
—————————————————————————————————
LINK: http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,456042,00.html
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

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4.                               UKRAINE: SUMMING UP 2006

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Volodymyr Hrytsutenko
Professor of English, Lviv Franko University, Lviv
Published by Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #802, Article 4
Washington, D.C., Friday, December 29, 2006

To me, the main result of 2006 is that Ukrainians have started to discard
the myths imposed upon them by their past present political leaders.

First, they were disheartened and baffled by repulsive horse-trading for
influential posts by Our Ukraine in the wake of March 2006 parliamentary
elections which led to the collapse of the Orange coalition.

It was followed by no less frustrating pressure on OU from Viktor Yushchenko
to join in the coalition with the rogue party, the Regions. Result: such
political games have opened the eyes of many Ukrainians.

We have thus learned a couple of important lessons in 2006: our leaders must
be judged not by their words, but by their deeds. And, second: if we do not
stand up for ourselves, our leaders will never do this for us.
                    CRASH COURSE IN UKRAINIAN POLITICS
Since the Maidan revolution in 2004 the era of self-study in politics for
Ukrainians has set in. Before, we had been successfully brainwashed by our
political leaders. The latter were in abundance, had goodie-goodie looks,
talked earnestly about the right things and met all the imaginable electoral
tastes.

Now the new unbiased media conceived by Maidan helped frank and scathing
debates on TV, radio, and in the printed press. They brought home to many
the realization that the grassroots are not merely a mob that goes to
polling stations once in 5 years to elect a president and parliament.

Grassroots can have effective leverage over those in high elected offices in
between voting days, too. They have their rights and can use them
successfully to keep politicians on a short reign – through trade unions,
political parties, professional associations, NGOs.

Even Ukrainian schoolchildren have become increasingly aware of their
rights. Skiing on a slope last winter, I asked a couple of 10-year olds that
came after me not to sledge on the same stretch because of risks of
collision and move 15 meters away. The answer was quite unexpected:

“You are infringing on our rights. Parks belong to all citizens.”
                                            MEDIA SCENE
 Beyond doubt, a very potent media infrastructure exists in the country to
help Ukrainians raise their political awareness.

Just take the example of Radio Era – their phone-in shows attract increasing
numbers of callers from Donetsk and Luhansk who until recently preferred to
sit tight-lipped for fear of persecutions from their local strongmen.

[1] TV — The defiant 5th Channel continues, but it was overtaken by 1+1,
ICTV, Inter. Ukrainians are glued to TV screens when attention-grabbing
Svoboda slova (Freedom of Expression) is on.

[2] RADIO — Radio Era remains an undisputed leader, followed by BBC’s
Ukrainian service and National Radio. Era broadcasts politics most of the
day, with key programs repeated at night for those who suffer from
sleeplessness.
[3] PRINTED MEDIA — Printed media. Newspapers are politically versatile,
and their circulation is booming. With some papers, however, there are
noticeable party affiliation trends.
[4] INTERNET — Websites show the same diversity of opinion and party
affiliation as can be found in the printed media.
[5] JOURNALISTS — To their credit it must be said that after their
memorable protest in late November 2004 and apologies to
Ukrainians for biased coverage, they have kept their word. Most
importantly, they remain united.

They demonstrated their unity and opposition to political harassment of the
media during the incident with Region’s MP Kalashnykov who physically
attacked a TV team and took the film out of the camera.

 That the attempts to gag the media are likely to be repeated was clearly
demonstrated by the Yanukovych authorities in the wake of an incident at a
recent concert in Kyiv when a group of young actors ridiculed Viktor
Yanukovych and Rinat Akhmetov in their sketch. Incidentally, Yushchenko,
Tymoshenko,  Putin, Lukashenka and other high fliers are traditionally a
permanent feature of such sketches.

The reaction of Yanukovych thugs was quick and resolute – the group director
was questioned and threatened with the dismissal. They didn’t take the
actors to court for libel, they preferred the tested thuggish way of
intimidation.
             MORE TRUTHS LEARNED BY UKRAINIANS
[1] Ukrainian politicians will cheat their voters, Yushchenko or Yanukovych
or Moroz or Symonenko likewise, with Tymoshenko standing alone as a

happy exception.

[2] Ukrainian politicians will always cheat unless kept in check by their
voters.

“The salvation for a sinking man is entirely in his own hands,” the saying
goes. The long-overdue change in our mindsets puts an end to a centuries-old
myth about a good king (head of state, prime minister, manager) who will
come some day to take care of his subjects (citizens, employees,
pensioners).

The change is reflected in how Ukrainians speak about or treat their leaders
publicly: with more dignity and criticism, less subservience and
self-humiliation. Because they are becoming increasingly aware that
politicians and officials are here to serve them, not the other way around.
                           UKRAINIANS CIRCLE WAGONS
But our civic society is still too weak. Most political parties are based on
industrial/financial clans and express their interests. There are very few
NGOs, and independent trade unions can be counted on the fingers of one
hand.

Still, a new and inspiring initiative is under way. I mean the SAMOOBORONA
(Self-Defense) NGO – to be launched by former Interior Minister and Orange
revolution firebrand Yury Lutsenko. He stressed that it is a non-partisan
project, aimed to reach out to both Orange and White & Blue voters.

Lutsenko intends to focus on economic and social issues, rather than on
political, something, he says, that will bring under his banners the voters
from the West and the East of Ukraine.

Yulia Tymoshenko has already dubbed Lutsenko’s initiative as a project
engineered by President Yushchenko and his Our Ukraine bloc.

Risks about SAMOOBORONA being a convulsive project of the quickly
disintegrating Our Ukraine are pretty high. Notably, Lutsenko lashed out at
both Yushchenko and Yanukovych in his Dec. 22 appearance on the ICTV’s
Freedom of Expression talk show and this can serve as an indication of his
political preferences (though a flimsy one, given the treacherous turf of
Ukrainian politics.)

To make the people a dominant force in politics, we need more NGOs,
independent trade unions, and, importantly, full-fledged political parties.

The present clan-based and region-linked parties without all-Ukrainian roots
cannot lead the struggle for higher wages and pensions.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian tycoons who have wisely bought seats on parties’
election rosters in the run-up to elections have now their parliamentary
immunity from prosecution and continue robbing the people as lawmakers.
                                    ROCKING THE BOAT
Politicians live only by dividing voters. The good old principle “Divide and
rule” works perfectly. The wider the rift, the better it is for politicos:
their grip on the divided nation gets stronger.

Was it proper for Yushchenko to bring up the issue of Holodomor or UPA
combatants at the time when he is left with no powers, except those few he
is desperately clinging to?

Didn’t he have enough time to recognize the Holodomor as a genocide against
the Ukrainian people by Moscow when he rode the high wave of Maidan in

2004 and 2005?

On the other hand, is it wise for the Regions and their Communist cat’s paws
to keep pushing ahead with the Russian language status, referendum on NATO
accession and Donbas and Crimean separatism, when they are in power and

have to concentrate on the economy and social projects?

The answer is simple. Only by rocking the boat politicians can agitate and
polarize the nation to maintain a strong grip on their voters.

There is an increasing awareness that these nation-splitting issues should
better be left alone for the time being, especially in the absence of an
undisputed leader. Better focus on things that unite the nation, not on
those that divide it.

SAMOOBORONA may be one of the answers. Show-casing his new project,

A. Lutsenko was speaking about the Ukrainian people going on self-defense.

This NGO, he said, will unite both Orange and Blue & White voters by
focusing on economic and social issues (miserable salaries and pensions,
inferior health service, high utility tariffs, etc). Open-air protest
marches, similar to those we can see in Europe, are planned for spring.

We’ll have to live to spring to see how Samooborona gets off the ground and
what its agenda will be.                                 -30-
 ————————————————————————————————

Contact Volodymyr Hrytsutenko, mail to: vhryts@lviv.farlep.net
————————————————————————————————
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========================================================
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5. UKRAINE’S FORMER INTERIOR MINISTER YURIY LUTSENKO SETS
  UP OPPOSITION MOVEMENT, CIVIL MOVEMENT OF SELF-DEFENCE

TV 5 Kanal, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1115 gmt 20 Dec 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, Wednesday, December 20, 2006

KYIV – [Presenter] The former interior minister, Yuriy Lutsenko, has
launched a movement called the Civil Movement of Self-Defence and invites
all conscientious people to join him. His initiative was prompted by, I
quote, the lawlessness of the incumbent authorities.

The presidential advisor believes that [Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor]
Yanukovych’s team has usurped power. On 20 January, Lutsenko is

planning to visit Ukraine’s regions to unite people around this idea.

[Lutsenko] I am launching the Civil Movement of People’s Self-Defence. The
incumbent government has practically declared war against all people of
Ukraine. So far, it has only been an economic one. Therefore, people should
get united to defend themselves from such authorities.

 I would like to stress that I am not joining any political project. This
union is open to party members and non-affiliated people, followers of any
confession, people who speak any native language, who see democracy,
freedom, law and fairness as the biggest values.               -30-
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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6.                             MAKING IT CLEAR TO PUTIN

EDITORIAL: Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec 20 2006

Vladimir Putin is in Kyiv this week to meet his counterpart, Viktor
Yushchenko, as part of the first session of the Russian-Ukrainian interstate
commission. There should be a lot to talk about.

Relations between the two countries have been delicate ever since the
breakup of the Soviet Union, but this year has created particular strains.

It started out with price dispute over natural gas that threatened to
leave Ukrainians as well as Europeans short on fuel.

Since then, there have been the usual arguments over the rental rights of
the Russian Black Sea Fleet, based in Crimea.

Several Russian citizens have also been banned from entering Ukraine, even
including controversial deputy speaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky – at least
temporarily.

A visit to Kyiv in October by Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov should
have improved relations, especially as he was met by Ukrainian counterpart
Viktor Yanukovych, recently re-elected and largely seen as pro-Russian.

Indeed, the Kremlin unapologetically supported Yanukovych’s fraud-marred
bid for the presidency in 2004, which led to the West-endorsed Orange
Revolution. But instead, Fradkov was lambasted for suggesting that Russia
would “shield” Ukraine from outside interference.

Considering the Kremlin’s heavy-handed policy under Putin, a healthy dose of
caution is in order. Hundreds of Georgian citizens were deported from Russia
after the authorities in Tbilisi detained a couple of Russian citizens on
spy charges.

Western-leaning Georgia has also had its wine and mineral water exports to
Russia banned. But Russia’s main weapon of intimidation seems to be gas,
which Ukraine and, increasingly, Europe are frightfully dependent on.

It would be naive for anyone to believe that Russia, feeling particularly
vulnerable itself, will not continue to try and cow Ukraine and its other
neighbors. The now distant chance of Ukraine joining NATO particularly
annoys the Kremlin, as does the more likely possibility that Kyiv may join
the WTO first.

Ukraine should try to have the best relations with Russia as possible, and
Putin’s visit can lay the groundwork for this. But conceding on issues of
strategic security (i.e. NATO) or international trade relations (i.e. WTO
entry) won’t help.

More importantly, the country has to come up with an intelligible foreign
policy. A good start would be to decide who’s in charge of the Foreign
Ministry. Ukraine’s Constitution says the president, so Yanukovych should
back off. It doesn’t matter whether pro-Western Borys Tarasyuk’s recent
dismissal by the Yanukovych-controlled parliament holds or not.

If Ukraine cannot define a clear foreign policy, how can it expect to be
understood internationally? The confusion just makes Russian hegemony
easier.                                                -30-
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LINK: http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/editorial/25773/
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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7.                UKRAINE RISKS BEING MARGINALIZED

OP-ED:
By Vlad Galushko, Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, Dec 20 2006

The recent visit of Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych to Washington
was supposed to become the final crescendo in the protracted (and often too
obvious) public relations campaign aimed at cleansing his image abroad.

The speech  at the Center for Strategic and International Studies was a
laborious exercise of hitting all the right points within a record-short
timeframe.

Mr. Yanukovych assured all that he had no double standards in dealing with
the U.S. and Russia, emphasized his passion for the pillars of democracy and
spoke of his commitment to the stability of energy supplies.

Those worried about re-privatization had their fears allayed; those
concerned about corruption and justice received assurances of forthcoming
reforms; and those anxious about internal divisions found some solace in the
vision shared between the prime minister and the president of what Ukraine
should look like in some twenty five years.

Therefore, whoever you were and whatever concerns you might or might not
have had, the speech was served as a soothing, if not curing, pill for all
of them.

Unsurprisingly, it is becoming increasingly hard to separate the kernel of
what was accomplished during the trip from the chaff of political spin
lavished by an ever-growing society of mutual adoration within and outside
of Yanukovych’s party. Few reliable assessments clarify that the real
accomplishments seem rather modest.

Upon reviewing them, one is left with the feeling that relations between
America and Ukraine are at risk of becoming like the ones under President
Leonid Kuchma, when the lofty rhetoric of cooperation was never translated
into real actions.

However, the pattern of rhetoric without substance could be even more
detrimental for the future of Ukraine than it was during the presidency of
Kuchma. The reasons for this grim prediction lie both in the domestic
situation in the United States and international conditions in general.

The recent release of the Iraq Study Group report has indicated a curious
revival of realism in American practices of foreign-policy making.

With the theoretical school back in vogue, and the 2008 presidential
campaign already in high gear, it can be expected that many from the
continually expanding pool of Republican and Democratic presidential
candidates will go to great lengths to outbid their opponents in offering
themselves as the most pragmatic and most open to practical policy
suggestions.

Their zeal is understandable, since on the international arena the United
States finds itself in a truly critical phase.

Not only does it have to resolve a multitude of pressing questions (such as
the sectarian war in Iraq, and nuclear proliferation in Iran and North
Korea), but it also has to engage in the profound task of coming to terms
with a more multi-polar world, inhabited by, among many others, the chaotic
Middle East, increasingly authoritarian Russia, an uncertain Europe and a
rising China.

How and why, you might ask, should all of these issues concern the Ukrainian
government? The answer is two-fold. The first part has to deal with the
country’s relevance.

A Ukraine where the two major political figures can agree on a common vision
for 2026, not 2006, is not a helpful member of the international community
right now. It is currently losing the coherence and strength of its external
voice due to internal squabbles over the position of Foreign Minister.

Ukraine may soon lack the needed credibility if Mr. Yanukovych’s activities
continue to run parallel to his pronouncements, and if President Viktor
Yushchenko’s strategies continue to deepen his political marginalization.

In the end, a country that doesn’t know what it wants to be (or whose
leadership has difficulty establishing a link between words and actions)
will be pushed to the temporary periphery of American interests.

The second part of the answer is about Ukraine’s development. Contrary to
the way it seemed in Washington last week, our relations with the U.S.,
Russia or any country, for that matter, are supposed to increase the
wellbeing of ordinary Ukrainians. But cooperation is a two-way street.

If Ukraine is viewed as uncertain, unreliable, or unstable (or a combination
of all three), the expectations of increased foreign direct investment from
the U.S. will be dreams that are simply not meant to come true. Taking into
account the size and power of the American economy, the loss will definitely
be that of Ukraine.

It is also clear that, given the magnitude of problems elsewhere, the United
States can wait until our political leadership begins to speak with one
voice and mean what it says.

However, the question remains whether Ukrainians can afford to waste another
two or three years that could further keep them from achieving greater
economic and political progress here and now.               -30-
————————————————————————————————–
NOTE: Vlad Galushko is a doctoral student in International Studies at

Old Dominion University (Norfolk, VA).
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LINK: http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/oped/25772/
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8.  KIEV AND MOSCOW SHOWED THEY CAN COOPERATE

         SAYS UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER YANUKOVICH

Itar-Tass, Moscow, Russia, Thursday, December 21, 2006

MOSCOW – Ukraine and Russia have economic priorities in their
bilateral relations. Kiev is interested, above all, in the development of
cooperation in the oil and gas spheres, said Ukrainian premier Viktor
Yanukovich on the eve of the Ukrainian visit by Russian President
Vladimir Putin in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper, published
on Thursday.

He emphasized that following nearly an 18-month pause, Kiev restored
the dialogue with Russian partners. “We have removed tension in relations
between Moscow and Kiev, caused by the gas question and trade
problems. It was not an easy thing to restore the lost trust. But Ukraine
has proved: it is a predictable and reliable partner,” the Ukrainian premier
continued.

Commenting on the reached understanding on Russian gas deliveries to
Ukraine at the price of 130 US dollars per 1,000 cubic meters, Yanukovich
noted: “We have scored a success. But these results should be efficiently
used yet.” According to the premier, the cost of gas, received by Ukraine
from Russia, is Europe’s lowest, which is admitted even by Western experts.

“Ukraine, claiming a worthy place in the world community, should be ready
to live according to its rules,” he went on to say. “We managed to come to
agreement with Russia on mutually advantageous conditions. We showed
each other and Europe that we can and will cooperate.

We have sent a clear signal: there will be no repetition of the last year’s
crisis,” Yanukovich added.
                   SITUATION WITH RUSSIAN LANGUAGE
Speaking of the situation with the Russian language in Ukraine, Yanukovich
underlined that “the rights of Russian-speaking population are protected by
the Constitution and the European Charter for Regional or Minority
Languages, ratified by the Ukrainian parliament”.

According to the premier, “some government officials tried to restrict these
rights over purely political considerations, provoking tension in society”.
This situation has been rectified at the regional level, the premier
assured.

“There is no more problems with the use of the Russian language in
clerical work, educational and medical establishments as well as in courts.
Parliament will soon approve a bill on languages to preclude a repetition
of such a situation.”

“The new status of the Russian language will be ensured either by parliament
or by a referendum. I guarantee: nobody will infringe upon the rights
of Russian-speaking population in Ukraine,” Yanukovich concluded.  -30-
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9. UKRAINE: ENTRY TO RUSSIA’S ENERGY MARKET DISCUSSED
 
By Roman Kupchinsky, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday December 27, 2006 

Following his talks in Kyiv with visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin
on December 22, Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych announced

that they had discussed the possibility of their countries jointly producing
Russian and Caspian gas and oil.

Yanukovych told the press that discussions about joint energy production
with Russia have been under way for some time now, saying that “a 50-50
arrangement is better than a concession.”

Many analysts, however, believe that Naftohaz Ukrayiny, Ukraine’s
state-owned oil and gas monopoly, does not have the funds needed to enter
the Russian or Caspian gas- or oil-production market. The general thinking
is that the most Ukraine could provide would be expertise and skilled
workers.

Furthermore, Ukraine, which has its own modest gas reserves, has not been
able to develop them sufficiently and continues to rely largely on imported
Turkmen gas and Russian gas and oil. This situation has opened the door to
Ukraine’s fuel-production market to a number of Western companies.
                           BRINGING IN THE MIDDLEMAN 

Yanukovych also pitched his joint-venture proposal during a December 22
meeting with Ukrainian energy officials and managers and owners of
RosUkrEnergo, the Swiss-based middleman company that has monopoly
rights to deliver Turkmen gas to Ukraine.

The Ukrayinski novyny news agency reported that “Yanukovych called on the
participants in the meeting to assist Ukraine in the extraction of natural
gas on the territory of Russia as well as in countries in the Caspian
region.”

Yanukovych (right) will hope better relations with Putin pay off (epa file
photo)In addition, according to the agency, Yanukovych praised
RosUkrEnergo’s activities in Ukraine and “thanked the leadership of Gazprom
and [RosUkrEnergo part owner Dmytro] Firtash for the work that ensured
steady delivery of natural gas to Ukraine during the first half of 2006….
We have learned to work in difficult conditions and adapt to very difficult
issues.”

RosUkrEnergo is 50 percent-owned by Gazprom and 50 percent by two

Ukrainian businessmen: Firtash, who owns 45 percent, and Ivan Fursyn,
who holds 5 percent.

On December 22, “The Wall Street Journal Europe” reported that a number of
Western law enforcement agencies are currently investigating Firtash for his
alleged connections to organized crime. Firtash has denied any such links.

By inviting cash-rich RosUkrEnergo into this project, Yanukovych is
apparently attempting to expand the obscure company’s role from that of a
middleman to a full-scale oil and gas company. Last year, Firtash applied
for a license to drill for gas in Russia but his application was rejected.
                                    PRIVATE ENTERPRISE
In the past, Ukraine has offered to work with various countries to help
develop their energy resources. A few weeks ago, Deputy Prime Minister
Andriy Klyuev announced that Ukraine is seeking to help Egypt develop its
gas resources.

Ukrainian delegations have visited Libya on numerous occasions over the past
five years and offered the country’s services in helping develop Libyan gas
fields. These offers have yet to yield any results, but the Ukrainian
government continues to persist.

One private Ukrainian company, the Industrial Union of the Donbas (ISD), has
been successful in working to develop Uzbekistan’s gas infrastructure in
return for gas. However, in 2006 RosUkrEnergo warned the ISD that it is the
only company allowed to deliver Central Asian gas to Ukraine, requiring that
the ISD work with RosUkrEnergo if it wants to continue its work in
Uzbekistan.

Yanukovych may be hoping that renewed good relations with Gazprom will

make his offer acceptable. He failed to mention what exactly he expects in
return, but it is widely believed that Ukraine will insist on a percentage
of the gas produced by such a joint effort.

But it is also worth noting the possibility that, in return for allowing
Ukrainian participation in Russia, Gazprom might insist on a quid pro quo
and demand to be allowed to drill for gas in Ukraine, thus gaining a larger
role for its already substantial presence in the Ukrainian gas market.   -30-

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http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/12/6264ede1-3612-45c2-bfea-5f1b7728de1b.html
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10.YANUKOVYCH CONSIDERS OPERATIONS OF UKRHAZ-ENERGO,
      ROSUKRENERGO, GAZPROM AND CABINET OF MINISTERS AS
          TRANSPARENT INVOLVING GAS DELIVERIES TO UKRAINE
          Dmytro Firtash who owns 45% of RosUkrEnergo attended meeting

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, December 22, 2006

KYIV – Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych believes that the policies of
Russia’s Gazprom gas monopoly, the RosUkrEnergo company, which is the
exclusive supplier of natural gas to Ukraine, and the Ukrhaz-Energo company
as well as the policies of the Cabinet of Ministers members in charge of the
energy sector are transparent.

Yanukovych announced this to journalists during a meeting with the Cabinet
of Ministers members responsible for the energy industry and representatives
of RosUkrEnergo and Gazprom.

The meeting was attended by Dmytro Firtash (who owns 45% of the shares in
RosUkrEnergo), Konstantin Chuichenko (RosUkrEnergo’s executive director,
head of legal department and deputy chairman of the Gazprom company), Oleh
Palchykov (executive director of RosUkrEnergo), Deputy Prime Minister Andrii
Kliuev, Ukrhaz-Energo’s acting board chairman Ihor Voronin, and Naftohaz
Ukrainy’s board chairman Volodymyr Sheludchenko.

Yanukovych thanked the leadership of Gazprom and Firtash for the work that
ensured steady delivery of natural gas to Ukraine during the first half of
2006. “We have learned to work in difficult conditions and adopt very …
difficult issues,” Yanukovych said.

He added that the policy being implemented in the area of gas deliveries was
very predictable and that this has generated confidence in the future of
cooperation in this area.

“It is very important that the policy that is being implemented by you
(RosUkrEnergo and Gazprom) and the Cabinet of Ministers members in charge
of the energy sector is predictable. This is very important for the economy
and to Ukrainian consumers,” he said.

Moreover, Yanukovych called on the participants in the meeting to assist
Ukraine in the extraction of natural gas on the territory of Russia as well
as in countries in the Caspian region.

Yanukovych also expressed the hope that the issue of construction of the
Bohorodchany-Uzhhorod gas pipeline would be resolved soon. “We would
also like to finally consider the issue of construction of the Bohorodchany-
Uzhhorod gas-pipeline segment together with you,” Yanukovych said.

He also stressed the importance of introduction of energy-saving
technologies with the aim of reducing gas consumption.

“This is route along which the entire world is moving … and those
investment programs that we are counting on will enable us to improve

energy saving, ” he said.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Yanukovych is asking RosUkrEnergo
company, which is the exclusive supplier of natural gas to Ukraine, to hold
its public presentation together with Naftohaz Ukrainy.          -30-
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11. GLOBAL ENERGY WOES SPARK RUSSIAN RESURGENCE

By Michael Scollon, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Friday, December 22, 2006

As oil prices climbed in 2006 and burgeoning global powers China and India
emerged as major energy consumers, one country above all others appeared
poised to profit — Russia.

And nowhere were Russia’s  energy politics more icy than in the former
Soviet republics and the European Union. With the mercury falling, Ukraine
was the first to see what changes 2006 would bring. On New Year’s Day,
Russia cut off Ukraine’s natural-gas supplies in a dispute over prices and
alleged siphoning.
                                              COLD WAR
Kyiv had rejected a demand by Russia’s Gazprom monopoly that it more than
quadruple the price it paid for Russian natural gas, from $50 to $230 per
1,000 cubic meters.

A Gazprom spokesman also claimed the cutoff was a result of Ukraine’s
“inclination” to extract gas from shipments destined for wealthier markets
further west.

“Ukraine’s refusal to accept the solution proposed by us means catastrophic
consequences for Ukraine’s economy and, unfortunately, for the Ukrainian
people,” Sergei Kupriyanov said.

“We think it will be very difficult, impossible even, for the Ukrainian
authorities to explain to their people the reasons for such short-sighted
actions.”

Gazprom’s tactic quickly backfired as the chilly effects of the shutoff
reached Western Europe. With EU states in an uproar, Moscow and Kyiv
hastily reached an agreement on January 4 that resumed gas shipments at a
moderate temporary rate of $95 per 1,000 cubic meters.

But it left Ukraine and the rest of the Commonwealth of Independent States
with a clear message: Moscow was no longer willing to subsidize its
post-Soviet neighbors — particularly those looking to break free of
Russia’s sphere of influence in favor of Western integration.
                                          WHO’S NEXT?
The next countries to learn that lesson were Moldova and Georgia. Chisinau
experienced a gas cutoff in the early days of 2006. And Tbilisi, overreliant
on Russian gas supplies, learned the dangers of dependence when a pipeline
explosion left it lacking heating fuel.

As temperatures dipped to record-low temperatures, the rhetoric of Georgian
President Mikheil Saakashvili grew heated. Russia, he claimed, had
orchestrated the blast to seize control of Georgia’s pipeline network and
punish Tbilisi for pursuing NATO and EU membership.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had his own stinging response. “So, a
misfortune has happened — yes, supplies [of gas to Georgia] have been
stopped,” he said.

“But our specialists are working night and day in the mountains in
temperatures of minus 30 degrees [Celsius] in order to restore energy
supplies to Georgia. And what do we hear and see from the Georgian
leadership? They just spit at us.”

Over the next 12 months, such energy-related confrontations were to become
a common refrain in many countries in the CIS and the former Soviet bloc.

Belarus, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, and Romania would all soon find themselves in
compromised positions in working out new gas contracts with Russia.

With the approach of 2007, many countries now find themselves caught
between two unappealing options — a cold winter, or European-level prices.

Everywhere, Russia’s official argument has been the same — the days of
Soviet-era subsidies are over. It is time for everyone, from Kyiv to Baku to
Tbilisi, to adjust to market realities.

Even loyal Belarus has been handed the threat of a steep gas price hike —
possibly to ease negotiations on Gazprom’s long-held goal of owning a 50
percent stake in Belarus’s gas-pipeline network Beltranshaz. Russia in
mid-December tightened the pressure by announcing its intention to impose a
tax on Russian crude oil sent to Belarusian refineries.
                                      ENERGY SECURITY
Part of Russia’s confidence came from the knowledge that it was sitting atop
a precious and dwindling resource. It has the world’s largest reserves of
natural gas and ranks sixth in terms of oil reserves. Further exploration
could boost its projected holdings even higher.

Those facts weren’t lost on its traditional top customer — Western Europe.

Energy security was a priority topic in the European Union throughout 2006.
Just days after the Ukraine debacle, European politicians, like Polish
parliamentarian Jacek Sariusz-Wolski, were warning that Russia would use
energy to gain strategic leverage — and would be ruthless in doing so.

“The problem of energy security does not concern solely the area of industry
or economics,” Sariusz-Wolski said. “Energy has been used as a weapon and a
foreign-policy instrument and hence should be discussed within the context
of foreign and security policy.”
                                 NETWORKING IS EVERYTHING 

Russia currently provides 25 percent of the EU’s natural-gas supplies — a
calculation that leaves Brussels and other EU capitals vulnerable to Moscow’s
political whim.

With some estimates projecting that the world in 2030 will be using 70
percent more energy than it does today, the EU realizes it cannot afford to
stand idle — especially with China and other states competing for Russian
supplies.

“I think that the attention of the European Union toward energy security was
upgraded,” explains Federico Bordonaro, Europe analyst for the “Power and
Interest News Report.”

“Firstly, because in January there was the Russian-Ukrainian dispute over
gas, which has actually affected many Central and Western European
countries. And then because oil prices and natural gas prices are now
considered to be structurally high.”

Moscow — which used this year’s chairmanship of the G-8 group of major
industrialized nations to strengthen its negotiating stance — also
squabbled with the European Union over Russia’s efforts to gain access to
domestic gas-distribution markets in EU states.

And even as Russia sought to expand Gazprom’s reach into Europe, it closed
off Western access to its own energy projects.
                                     ACCESS TO SECURITY
A heated debate was waged throughout the year over Russia’s refusal to sign
the EU Energy Charter, which would open Russia’s gas and oil pipeline
network to outsiders, and over foreign participation in the exploration of
the Shtokman gas field in the Barents Sea.

In the latest development, Gazprom scored a strategic victory in its battle
for control over Sakhalin-2, the world’s largest liquefied-natural-gas
project.

The majority stakeholder, Shell, on December 21 ceded its controlling stake
to the state-run gas giant for $7.45 billion. As the impending deal became
apparent, Britain’s “Daily Telegraph” described the move as “a sign that
Russia will no longer tolerate foreign investors controlling strategic
assets.”

Mark Hester, editor of Blackwell Energy Research’s “Oil and Energy Trends”
monthly, says Russia is growing more and more comfortable with the idea of
using its energy resources to gain political leverage in Europe.

“I think that Europe will become more and more dependent on Russia for its
gas supplies, and the Russian government and the Russian energy companies —
which are very interlinked — are only too aware of this,” Hester said. “And
they will continue to use energy, and gas in particular, as a political
tool, as we saw at the beginning of the year with the Ukraine.”

Part of the reason for Russia’s aggressive 2006 performance, analysts say,
is the failure on the part of the West — particularly the EU — to develop
a unified strategy on Russia in 2006.

Russia’s stated aim of striking only bilateral energy deals with European
states drove a wedge between EU members torn between the ideal of a united
Europe and the desperate need to secure future supplies.

“Part of Europe, especially Germany and Italy, will probably become more and
more dependent upon Russian natural gas, and it will be very difficult to
build up a common and effective European energy strategy,” Bordonaro said.
                                SEARCH FOR ALTERNATIVES
At the same time, many European countries are exploring ways to break their
dependence on Russian supplies. In the pursuit of diversity, many of them
are looking to the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Finding a way to get oil or gas to external markets from Azerbaijan,
Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan was one of the main challenges faced in 2006.

The development of numerous pipeline plans to achieve that goal was watched
closely by Russia, which depends heavily on Central Asian and Caspian
supplies to fuel its own ambitions.

The most notable of these is the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline,
which came on line in the summer amid much fanfare.

The BTC, which will pump Azerbaijani and Kazakh oil supplies to outside
markets, is designed to reduce the dependence of Caspian and Caucasus
countries on Russia’s pipeline networks for their exports.

The Shah Deniz, or South Caucasus, pipeline is also meant to provide outside
consumers an alternative to Russian supplies.

The Central Asian republics were important throughout the 1990s for Russia,
which used inexpensive gas it received from the region to supplement its own
domestic needs and export its surplus gas to Europe at much higher prices.

But the newly emboldened suppliers turned the tables on Russia in 2006.
                              CENTRAL ASIA’S ADVANCE
Gazprom announced its intention to increase the amount of gas it purchased
from Central Asia by 33 percent in 2006 and a staggering 260 percent in
2007.

In turn, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan took the opportunity to
charge from 36 percent to 61 percent more for gas sold to Russia in 2006,
with similar price increases in store for 2007. The transit fees Russia
would have to pay for gas pumped across those countries would also rise
significantly.

RFE/RL energy analyst Roman Kupchinsky says Russia’s free ride is over.

“As Russian domestic demand mushroomed, Russia was becoming more
and more reliant on Central Asian gas. The Central Asians, of course, saw
this and raised their prices appropriately,” he said. “Today, the Russians
cannot really count on cheap Russian gas to tide them over for the next 10
to 20 years.”

Such jockeying is sure to become more and more common in future years as
countries compete for valuable resources, but analyst Bordonaro says the
overall situation is not as dire as many have predicted.

“The wrong message of 2006 was that an energy catastrophe is approaching,”
Bordonaro said. “The right message is that we have big problems, but it is
not true that we are running out of energy in just five or 10 years.”

Moreover, the crisis over hydrocarbon fuels has forced alternative — and
more sustainable — long-term energy options to be considered.
                               THE ROAD UNTRAVELED
Hester said the future is unpredictable, but serious discussion of
alternative energy shows a potential bright side to declining supplies of
oil and gas.

“I think in terms of where we turn to fuel, it is much, much more difficult.
I think the situation is very much analogous to the situation as it was with
the first cars in the 1880s and 1890s,” Hester said.

“At that point, you had people building diesel engines and petrol engines
and even having steam-powered cars,” he noted. “Nobody in the 1880s or 1890s
could say which one was going to become dominant, and I think that is the
situation we find ourselves in with fuel now.

But there are plenty of ideas being talked about. There’s bio-diesel and
bio-ethanol, and hydrogen fuel cells, and compressed liquid hydrogen, and
compressed gas. But nobody can say at this point in time which of those
technologies will become dominant.”                          -30-
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http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/12/47D29916-5C69-4DB0-8F6C-96199A53D218.html

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12.                            THE NEW THREAT TO EUROPE

OP-ED: By Jackson Diehl, The Washington Post
Washington, D.C., Monday, December 25, 2006; Page A29

This year began with a European energy crisis caused by Russia’s cutoff of
gas supplies to Ukraine, where a democratic government not to the liking of
Vladimir Putin had taken power.

Because Russian gas passes through Ukraine on its way to Western Europe,
the pressure also dropped in Paris and Vienna and Rome — and Europeans
suddenly realized they were dependent for electricity and warmth on an
autocracy that was prepared to use energy as a tool of imperialism.

It looks like the year will end the same way. Georgia and Azerbaijan, two
other Russian neighbors that have chosen not to kowtow to Putin, are
scrambling to find gas supplies by Jan. 1 to make up for Russian cutbacks
or to avoid a huge and predatory price increase.

So, oddly, is Belarus, which until now has been a Kremlin client — but
which has resisted a Russian demand that it turn over ownership of a key gas
transit pipeline.

Western energy companies that have invested in Russia are meanwhile reeling
from a crude campaign of bullying designed to force them to give up majority
stakes in oil and gas fields to Kremlin-controlled companies. Shell has
already caved, allowing Gazprom to take a 50 percent stake in a huge
offshore gas field.

It would be nice to report that in the intervening months Western
governments have taken steps to ensure that Russia, which supplies anywhere
between 30 and 100 percent of the gas consumed by European Union countries
as well as much of their oil, is not able to use this leverage for political
or economic extortion.

Sadly, the opposite is true: Though “energy security” has become a favorite
topic for discussion at E.U. and transatlantic summits, next to nothing has
been done about it.

That’s partly because solutions aren’t easy. Weakening Russia’s hold over
European energy supplies requires measures that would be costly and
difficult, such as building new terminals for importing liquefied natural
gas or new pipelines to carry oil and gas from Central Asia and the Caucasus
to Europe.

There’s a less excusable problem, however: the failure of European Union
governments to agree on either a common energy strategy or a policy for
responding to Russia’s growing aggressiveness.

Some politicians, like German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier,
propose a new Ostpolitik that would entice Russian cooperation with offers
of economic and strategic partnership.

Others say the E.U. should refuse to renew an expiring economic pact withd
Russia unless it stops trying to monopolize European energy supplies.

Though it has a vital stake, the United States has been mostly missing from
the discussion. That’s one reason a recent speech by Sen. Richard Lugar
(R-Ind.), the outgoing chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,
was intriguing.

Lugar has been a pioneer of some of the most farsighted U.S. policies toward
the countries of the former Soviet Union, including the Nunn-Lugar program
for securing and dismantling nuclear weapons and materials.

Now he’s proposing that the NATO alliance formally adopt “energy security”
as one of its central missions. NATO, he told a German Marshall Fund
conference alongside the recent NATO summit in Riga, Latvia, is “used to
thinking in terms of conventional warfare between nations. But energy could
become the weapon of choice for those who possess it.

“A natural gas shutdown to a European country in the middle of winter,” he
added, “could cause death and economic loss on the scale of a military
attack.”

NATO, Lugar said, should resolve to treat “an attack using energy” the same
way it would a land attack by conventional military forces — that is, an
attack on one country would compel a response by all.

That doesn’t mean military action, he said; “rather, it means the alliance
must commit itself to preparing for and responding to attempts to use the
energy weapon against its fellow members.”

Lugar pointed out that NATO used to hold exercises to prepare for the
logistical and supply challenge of responding to a Soviet attack. A new
exercise, he said, “should focus on how the Alliance would supply a
beleaguered member with the energy resources needed to withstand
geo-strategic blackmail.”

This wouldn’t be easy, he acknowledged: In fact, “the energy threat is more
difficult to prepare for than a ground war in Central Europe.” Guarding
against an energy cutoff by Russia will mean massive investments in new
supply lines and reserve supplies, as well as the means to distribute them
in a crisis.

That sounds daunting at a time when NATO has its hands full trying to fight
a war in Afghanistan. But the energy threat goes to the alliance’s historic
purpose: defending democratic Europe from attack by the autocratic and
belligerent power on its Eastern frontier. And, as Lugar pointed out: “The
use of energy as an overt weapon is not a theoretical threat of the future.
It is happening now.”                               -30-
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/24/AR2006122400499.html

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13.                            GAZPROM’S CASH REGISTER

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Fikret Ertan
Zamon Online, Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, Dec 22, 2006

There will be no problem on the Russia-Ukraine-Europe natural gas line at
the beginning of the New Year and supplies will be on time, but there could
be problems with another Russian natural gas line.

This line begins in Russia, passes through Belarus and reaches European
countries, but its volume is not as great as the Ukrainian line. The amount
of natural gas transported by this line is approximately one-sixth of the
Ukrainian line.

Russian has long been talking with Belarus about this line and its natural
gas supply . Russia would like to raise the price of natural gas it sells to
Belarus from the current $46.88/cubic meter to $200.00/cubic meter as of
Jan. 1. In addition to this natural gas price hike, Russia is preparing to
put an additional tax of $24.65 on crude oil exported from Belarus.

Undoubtedly, these price increases on both natural gas and crude oil will
not be easily shouldered by Belarus. They will cost the Belarusian economy
at least an extra $5 billion a year – $3 billion from natural gas and $2
billion in oil taxation.

Due to the fact that it is almost totally dependent on Russia regarding its
energy needs, Belarus is in a helpless situation. Either it will accept
Russia’s price hike and turn over the long desired Beltransgaz natural gas
line extending to Europe and compensate the increase with the money it will
earn, or, refuse the new prices and pave the way for a new crisis in the
coming year for some European countries.

Poland would have suffered the most from this probable crisis if it weren’t
for its natural gas depots. Of course, this depends on whether or not the
depots have been filled. If we assume they are full, then Poland can manage
on its own at least two months without any additional gas. Belarus can
manage at most one month on the natural gas it has stored.

Russia’s mercilessness regarding the price increases to Belarus, a country
that Russia is very close in every respect and one will form a union with,
shows it is determined to abandon the privileged prices given to Belarus for
years. In short, Russia is not going to treat former Soviet republics
differently; it is going to raise the privileged prices it has charged for
years to the level of market prices.

Russia will also apply higher prices in the upcoming year to Moldova and
Baltic countries. Moldova, which is 100 percent dependent on Russian
natural gas, will buy it for $170/cubic meter in 2007.

The Baltic countries will have to pay a price around $200/cubic meter.
Carrying on talks with Gazprom, Latvia has been offered to to accept the
price of $217/cubic meter. A similar price has also been mentioned for the
others.

In short, Gazprom has decided to finally abandon the multiple-structured
natural gas prices it has applied until now. In spite of this however,
Gazprom continues to give some countries a number of concessions and
privileges. For example, Armenia is one of these.

Due to strategic ties with Russia, this country will continue to get natural
gas at $110. Reaching an agreement with Gazprom a few days ago, Bulgaria
will gradually progress from today’s price to the market price in 2012.
However, with a few exceptions, Gazprom will apply what it calls the market
price to all countries.

Of course, this means Gazprom’s cash register will be filled, while others
will be emptied. (e-mail: f.ertan@zaman.com.tr)        -30-
———————————————————————————————–
http://www.zaman.com/?bl=columnists&alt=&trh=20061222&hn=39432
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14.                                   ENERGY FUTURE
     On the eve of a new year, Ukraine is again facing tough energy decisions.

EDITORIAL: Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Exactly a year ago, Ukraine and the EU states it transits for were
threatened with gas shutoffs, as Russian Gazprom demanded more money
for its exports.

This year, Gazprom is threatening to cut off Belarus, which also gets its
imported gas for below market price. Ukraine transits around 80 percent of
Europe’s gas from Russia and Central Asia, while Belarus forwards the rest.

But on Dec. 26, talks broke down between Minsk and Moscow, widely
accused of using its energy resources to cow its former satellite states.

Belarus, which currently pays Gazprom $47 for its gas, declined to pay $75
in 2007. Nor was Minsk keen on giving up shares in its gas pipeline,
Beltransgaz.

Like during its standoff with Ukraine, Gazprom has promised its European
customers that there would be no disruptions in gas supplies.

An added dimension to the post-Soviet fuel brinkmanship is the recent death
of Turkmen dictator Saparmurat Niyazov, who’d ruled for 20 years.

Turkmenistan boasts the fifth largest gas supplies in the world and accounts
for more than 70 percent of Ukraine’s gas imports, which nevertheless arrive
through Russian pipelines. Now, with a succession struggle heating up, it’s
not clear what conditions and prices Ukraine will get from Ashgabat.

Moldova, which has also been demonstrating its independence from Moscow
in recent years, had its gas bill go from $160 to $170 per cubic meter on
Dec. 26.

Georgia, most defiant of all Moscow’s former satellites, is now paying
market prices. But Tbilisi is hoping to strike a deal with energy-rich
Azerbaijan.

Ukrainian Premier Viktor Yanukovych was recently in Azerbaijan, where he
offered Baku to help extend the Odessa-Brody pipeline to Europe, an energy
project intended to make Ukraine and Europe less dependent on Russia oil.

It was under Yanukovych that the pipeline was reversed – in Moscow’s favor.
Let’s hope that the premier was sincere in Azerbaijan, as Ukraine could use
an alternative to Moscow. Russia has every right to a market price for its
gas and oil, but shouldn’t be bullying its neighbors.

Ukraine’s gas bill from Russia has increased by around 150 percent in the
last year, and there’s no reason to believe that Moscow will decrease the
pressure.

Now is the time for Ukraine to try to break free from the stranglehold,
possibly forging new energy deals with its neighbors and the next leadership
in Turkmenistan.

This isn’t another partisan issue between Yanukovych and his political rival
President Viktor Yushchenko, but a strategic task with a limited window of
opportunity that will shape the country’s economic and geopolitical future
well beyond this holiday season.                          -30-
———————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/editorial/25811/
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15.                TROUBLING SILENCE OVER GONGADZE

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Tammy Lynch
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Nov 29 2006

Ukraine’s Orange Revolution was commemorated quietly last week. President
Viktor Yushchenko observed the occasion with a short, somber address to the
nation.

In his speech, the president acknowledged the disillusionment expressed by
many just two years into his term, but asked for support and patience. “I
appreciate every bit of current success and know every mistake,” he said.

Yushchenko went on to praise the country’s economic growth and increased
freedoms, while calling for new programs to reduce poverty. But he ignored
the main issue that had first galvanized Ukraine’s protest movement – the
murder of Georgiy Gongadze.

In November 2000, investigative journalist Georgiy Gongadze’s decapitated
body was discovered in a forest not far from Kyiv.

Just one month after that, Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz released
recordings on which then President Leonid Kuchma reportedly was heard
ordering the journalist’s abduction. The case provided Ukraine’s political
opposition with a cause. It sparked the country’s largest demonstrations
since 1991 and pointed Ukraine on a path toward revolution.

During the Orange Revolution, signs calling for “Justice for Georgiy” were
common on Independence Square. Demonstrators held posters with Gongadze’s
photo, and one of the first tents on the Square was a memorial to the slain
journalist. When protestors chanted “Murderers to Jail,” they were referring
largely to Gongadze’s killers.

Soon after taking office, President Yushchenko announced that the Gongadze
case would be one of his priorities. “I regard the investigation of the
death of Gongadze as a matter of honor for me and my team,” he said.

On March 1, he revealed that several suspects had been detained and would be
charged with carrying out the murder. But, he said, “The main task now is to
get to the most important thing: who organized and ordered the murder.” That
was 20 months ago, and no progress has been made on this “main task.”

It is commendable that Yushchenko’s administration moved quickly to arrest
those who carried out the killing. This is particularly true since the
arrests pointed directly to the involvement of the Interior Ministry. The
three suspects now on trial all worked as part of the Ministry’s
intelligence unit.

All of the suspects have confessed, and recently testified in court about
the circumstances of the murder. A fourth suspect, General Oleksiy Pukach,
who led the intelligence unit, is being sought. The trial continues in the
case of the two confessed murderers in order to determine sentencing, which
will be at the discretion of the judge.

Gongadze’s widow Myroslava suggests that completing the trial, even after
the confessions, is essential. “These people had no personal motives for
killing Georgiy,” she said. In other words, they did not organize the
murder. Therefore, she hopes to use the trial to shed light on who may have
planned the killing. She has a difficult road ahead.

While Prosecutor-General Oleksandr Medvedko recently told parliament that
his office continues to investigate the case, it appears little political
will exists to name those who ordered Gongadze’s murder. Even more, there
appears to be little will to bring to justice those who apparently worked
for years to undermine the investigation.

On Nov. 8  2005, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on a complaint
filed by Myroslava Gongadze in 2002.

After spending months examining significant evidence submitted by both
Gongadze and the Ukrainian government, the court ruled that during the
investigation, authorities “were more preoccupied with proving the lack of
involvement of high-level state officials in the case than by discovering
the truth about the circumstances of the disappearance and death of the
applicant’s husband.”

Moreover, the court noted “serious doubts as to the genuine wish of the
authorities under the previous government to investigate the case
thoroughly.”

The court ordered monetary compensation of 100,000 euros to Myroslava
Gongadze and her two children.  The family fled Ukraine in 2001. In separate
reports, the Council of Europe urged the Yushchenko administration to follow
up on the findings of this case by investigating the alleged “cover up” that
occurred prior to his term of office.

However, in a terse letter to Myroslava Gongadze sent one month ago,
Ukraine’s Justice Department officially stated that the case surrounding the

European Court ruling had been closed. Compensation was paid, but the
department did not respond to allegations of investigatory misconduct.

At the same time, Myroslava Gongadze’s attorney and at least one witness in
the Gongadze trial have been victims of curious criminal activity. In
September, attorney Valentina Telychenko saw her car vandalized three times.
First, her tires were slashed.

Then, the grill was removed from the front of her car. And finally, her car
alarm was disabled. Although no one has been charged for these incidents,
Telychenko believes that they are connected to her work in the trial. Her
car was known, she said, and parked directly in front of the court house.
She believes someone was trying to make her “unstable” and “afraid.”

One month later, a former coworker of Georgiy Gongadze returned home to find
her bedroom ransacked. Nothing was stolen, and the only room disturbed was
hers. Earlier, the coworker had testified that she possessed phone records
possibly showing who had made threats against Gongadze in the days before
his murder. She can no longer locate those records.

As these incidents occurred, the Prosecutor-General’s Office completely
replaced the members of the “investigative group” examining the case – which
now includes 40 huge files of witness statements and documents –
significantly disrupting continuity. The new investigators are just now
beginning to examine the case, according to Telychenko.

But perhaps most disturbingly, several politicians are privately questioning
the identification of Gongadze’s body, suggesting that remains recently
found in Slovakia may be the journalist.

Georgiy’s wife and coworkers have no doubt about the identity of the body,
pointing out that it was confirmed through several different DNA tests –
including one by the United States FBI. They also note that X-Rays showing
several pre-existing bone injuries to Gongadze matched those of the body
recovered in September 2000.

If doubt can be thrown on the identification, however, the authorities will
have the right to close the current trial and open a brand new
investigation. The prospect is chilling. And yet, there has been little
comment from politicians who previously led protests in Gongadze’s name.

In fact, despite years of protest, the confession of two murderers, and
numerous international inquiries, the investigation into those who ordered
Georgiy Gongadze’s execution appears stalled. The journalist whose death
ignited the first protests against Ukraine’s repressive government continues
to wait for justice.                                     -30-
————————————————————————————————–
Tammy Lynch is a Senior Earhart Fellow at Boston University’s Institute for
the Study of Conflict, Ideology and Policy.
————————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/oped/25604/

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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
16.                              CARPATHIAN CONFERENCE

By Robin Marshall, The Budapest Sun, Volume XIV, Issue 51
Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Carpathian Convention’s seven member governments have adopted a
wide-ranging program of work containing immediate measures for promoting
environment-friendly tourism and a regional network of protected areas.

The program was adopted by the first conference for the Framework Convention
on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians in Kyiv,
which, from Dec 11-13, brought together Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland,
Romania, Serbia, the Slovak Republic and Ukraine.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the UN
Environment Program (UNEP), said, “The Carpathians of central and eastern
Europe are among the world’s richest regions in terms of biodiversity and
pristine landscapes. As such they hold huge potential for nature- and
wildlife-based tourism.

“Sustainable tourism can draw investors and tourists to rural communities.
This will assist in conserving and developing livelihoods that, until now,
have been largely isolated from the European economy,” Steiner added.

The meeting welcomed an ongoing project on reversing land and water
degradation in the Tisza basin, which straddles Romania and Hungary.

It also urged completion of the Carpathian Environmental Outlook, a UNEP-
led assessment that will feature maps, data and analyses of key themes.

Early findings confirm that the loss of biological diversity in mountain and
wetland ecosystems poses a serious threat to the Carpathian region.
                                           KÁRPÁTISTATS
Spread over some 200,000 sqkm (an area 10% larger than the Alps), the
Carpathians region contains vast tracts of forest that shelter large
populations of brown bear, wolf, lynx and other animals that are rare
elsewhere in Europe. Some 45% of Europe’s wolves outside of Russia – more
than 4,000 animals – live in the region.

Around 200 unique plants, found nowhere else in the world, are also found
here. Altogether some 16 or 18 million people call these mountains home.

The Carpathians also play a vital role in ensuring Europe’s freshwater
supplies. Runoff from the mountains feeds the Danube, the Vistula and other
major rivers that flow into the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea. The
Carpathians hold some of the cleanest streams on the continent.

The Convention entered into force of 4 January of this year and has been
ratified by six of its members (Serbia’s membership has been approved by its
government, and is awaiting ratification by Parliament). The next conference
will be held in Romania in 2008. (www.carpathianconvention.org)
————————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.budapestsun.com/

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========================================================
17. UKRAINIAN ROCK-BANDS INITIATE EVENT “MAKE NEW YEAR’S
 PRESENT TO UKRAINE. SHIFT TO UKRAINIAN LANGUAGE IN 2007!”

Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, December 27, 2006

KYIV – Ukrainian rock-bands have launched the event “Make New Year’s

Present to Ukraine. Shift to the Ukrainian Language in 2007″. Frontmen
Serhiy Fomenko of the “Mandry”, Oleksandr Yarmola of the “Haydamaky”,
Andriy Tymchuk of the “FlaiZzZa” and Yurko Zhuravel of the “Ot Vinta”
were painstakingly urging Ukrainian citizens to speak Ukrainian in 2007.

This is the 16th event, aimed at popularization of the Ukrainian language.
As many as 5,000 booklets “Make New Year’s Present to Ukraine. Shift to the
Ukrainian Language in 2007″ will be distributed. A booklet contains useful
recommendations as how to start speaking Ukrainian.

Coordinator of the event Denys Samihin believes one should start to
communicate in Ukrainian to fulfill objectives of the event.     -30-
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========================================================
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18.   SEX SLAVERY PLAGUES ROMANIA AND BULGARIA
        Other countries in the region, the poorest in Europe, are also hotbeds

          for organised crime and illegal trade such as Moldova and Ukraine.

Justyna Pawlak, Reuters, Bucharest, Romania, Tuesday, 26 Dec 2006

BUCHAREST – Anca thought girls who spoke on television about being sold
into sex slavery were paid to invent such stories to boost tv show ratings.
That was until she answered a friend’s invitation to join her in Germany and

work as a dishwasher in a town near Hamburg.

When she arrived, her passport was taken away and her captors forced her to
work as a prostitute for their clients. Three months later she slid down two
floors on a drainpipe, ran several kilometres (miles) through a forest and
finally found a taxi that took her to a police station and safety.

“The girl who invited me won her freedom by bringing in two other girls,”
said Anca, a quiet 20-year-old from a Romanian village. She asked for her
real name to be withheld to protect her from her captors.

As they prepare to join the European Union, Romania and Bulgaria are
struggling to contain human trafficking and smuggling, particularly in
drugs, which is endemic in the Black Sea region that will soon become the
EU’s eastern border.

Every year, thousands of women such as Anca, some as young as 13, are
kidnapped or lured by promises of well paying jobs or marriage and sold to
gangs who lock them up in night clubs and brothels or force them to work on
the streets.

Observers say even more women could be at risk after the two countries join
the EU in January and traffickers seek to increase business by taking
advantage of easier access to western Europe, where most of the victims end
up.

“There is a lot of exploitation in Romania and I am sure the numbers will
get bigger,” said Gina-Maria Stoian, Anca’s case manager and the director of
The Adpare Foundation, a Romanian organisation that helps victims of human
trafficking. “Already there is sex tourism around the Black Sea.”
                                          CRIMINAL ROUTES
Romania and its southern neighbour Bulgaria are among 11 countries listed by
the United Nations as top sources of human trafficking, based on reported
numbers of victims.

Other countries in the region, the poorest in Europe, are also hotbeds for
organised crime and illegal trade such as Moldova and Ukraine.

Poverty, disillusionment with the region’s slow reforms after the collapse
of communism, and a fraying fabric of society following decades of forced
repatriation of many communities help gangs flourish and find easy victims.

“There is poverty, dysfunctional families, mentality. The girls have no
roots, no self-esteem,” said Iana Matei, who runs Reaching Out, a Romanian
charity that helps trafficking victims.

“The traffickers now look for 13 to 14 year olds. They are easier to
control. They are trained and brain-washed here. They see they can get
little help from police, the system. And they think they can make money and
become independent,” she said.

Geography is also a problem. Bulgaria and Romania are part of the “Balkan
route” for transporting heroin from Afghanistan — which produces the vast
majority of the world supply of poppies — to Western Europe. Eighty percent
of Afghani heroin reaches Western users through this route.

“Romania will be the final border, the final frontier of the EU,” said
Cristian Duta from Bucharest’s SECI Center, which supports trans-border
crime fighting in southeastern Europe. “It will be the first step for anyone
who wants to get into the EU.”
                                       FIGHTING ABUSE
Some observers worry that Romania and Bulgaria’s membership of the EU

could aid the spillover of illicit trade that plagues the Black Sea region into
the west.

Bucharest and Sofia governments say they are doing all they can to combat
trafficking and abuse. Romania has won praise from Brussels for reforming
border controls, combating endemic corruption and improving police
cooperation. But the EU has been more cautious on Bulgaria, rapping Sofia
for not doing enough to fight rampant organised crime.

“Our borders are a 100 percent secure,” said Dumitru Licsandru, who runs
Bucharest’s state agency against human trafficking.

 
The agency’s data shows about 1,400 Romanian victims of trafficking,
including sexual exploitation and forced labour, were identified in the
first nine months of this year, while some 200 perpetrators were arrested.

Sofia’s interior ministry’s organised crime unit said 4,000-5,000 Bulgarian
women are trafficked a year. “We cannot deny the fact the problem of
trafficking exists,” said interior ministry spokeswoman Katya Ilieva, adding
that the numbers had dropped compared to previous years. Observers say
official figures on the numbers of people trafficked show only the tip of
the iceberg.

Aid workers say police work is not enough. Governments need to train judges
and prosecutors, better protect victims and fight corruption which still
allows traffickers to take women through borders or keep underage girls on
the streets.

They also need to change the mentality in the traditional Balkan societies
which often blame victims for their plight.

“My girls all knew about trafficking. But they thought it only happened to
whores,” said Matei, whose charity assists girls caught up in prostitution
rings. (Additional reporting by Kremena Miteva in Sofia)         -30-
————————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L13181613.htm
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AUR#801 Dec 27 Political Media & Their Spheres Of Influence; Retail Trade Booming; Gas Battle; Belarus Fights; Putin & His Energy Arrogance

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

                      Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
         Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World       

 
    THE SERIOUS BATTLE FOR CONTROL OF 
               UKRAINE CONTINUES IN 2007
                        
ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 801
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor, SigmaBleyzer
WASHINGTON, D.C., WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2006 

              –——-  INDEX OF ARTICLES  ——–
            Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
   Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
1.       “POLITICAL MEDIA AND THEIR SPHERES OF INFLUENCE:
  PINCHUK’S, AKHMETOV’S, POROSHENKO’S AND YUSHCHENKO’S”
               Political affiliations, ownership of Ukrainian media examined
REPORT AND ANALYSIS: By Serhiy Leshchenkio
Ukrayinska Pravda web site, Kiev, in Ukrainian 6 Dec 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Sat, Dec 23, 2006
 
2.  RETAIL TRADE BOOMING: EXPANSION OUT OF KYIV STARTED
               Retail trade one of fastest growing sectors of local economy
ANALYSIS: Kateryna Illyashenko, Ukraine analyst
IntelliNews-Ukraine This Week, Kyiv, Ukraine, December 25, 2006

3. UKRAINE: QUICK, DIRTY FIX TO LONG-TERM ENERGY PROBLEM

By Roman Kupchinsky, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, December 21, 2006

4. UKRAINIAN AUDITORS REPORT ABUSES IN STATE OIL, GAS CO
Inter TV, Kiev, in Russian 1900 gmt 26 Dec 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tue, Dec 26, 2006

5.                                            GAS BATTLE
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Serhiy Danylov, NOMOS Centre
Zerkalo Nedeli On The Web, Mirror Weekly, No 49 (628)
International Social Political Weekly
Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, 23-29 December 2006

6.           REGAL BOUNCES BACK AFTER UKRAINE VICTORY
By Rebecca Bream, Financial Times, London, UK, Tue, Dec 12 2006

7.                                   A WILDCATTER IN KIEV
By Andrew Hill, Financial Times, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, Dec 13 2006

8.          UNITED STATES PROBES POSSIBLE CRIME LINKS TO

                              RUSSIAN NATURAL-GAS DEALS
By Glenn R. Simpson, The Wall Street Journal
New York, NY, Friday, December 22, 2006; Page A1

9.                   LAWMAKER’S FILES SOUGHT BY GRAND JURY
      The subpoena in the corruption probe went out before Rep. Curt Weldon
                                 lost his seat. It’s unclear if he reported it.
By Richard B. Schmitt, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, CA, Fri, December 22, 2006

10.               PUTIN VOWS TO MAINTAIN UKRAINE GAS FLOW
By Roman Olearchyk in Kiev, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, December 22 2006

11PUTIN URGES GOOD NEIGHBORLY RELATIONS WITH UKRAINE
Associated Press (AP), Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, December 22, 2006
 
12.                           PUTIN: WARM WELCOME IN KYIV
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Tatiana Silina
Zerkalo Nedeli On The Web, Mirror-Weekly, No. 49 (628)
International Social Political Weekly
Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, 23 – 29 December 2006 year

13.       BELARUS GETS ULTIMATUM: PRICE HIKE OR GAS HALT
By Andrew E. Kramer in Moscow, The New York Times
New York, New York, Tuesday, December 26, 2006

14.    PUTIN’S ASSERTIVE DIPLOMACY IS SELDOM CHALLENGED
By Steven Lee Myers in Moscow, The New York Times
New York, New York, Wednesday, December 27, 2006
========================================================
1
“POLITICAL MEDIA AND THEIR SPHERES OF INFLUENCE:
                PINCHUK’S, AKHMETOV’S, POROSHENKO’S

                                       AND YUSHCHENKO’S”
                Political affiliations, ownership of Ukrainian media examined

REPORT AND ANALYSIS: By Serhiy Leshchenkio
Ukrayinska Pravda web site, Kiev, in Ukrainian 6 Dec 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Sat, Dec 23, 2006

Most of Ukraine’s mass media, especially the television channels, are
controlled by top local businessmen with strong political affiliations, a
propresidential website has said. It offered a list of major media owners in
Ukraine.

The following is the text of a report by Serhiy Leshchenko posted on the
Ukrayinska Pravda web site on 6 December under the headline “Political media
and their spheres of influence: Pinchuk’s, Akhmetov’s, Poroshenko’s and
Yushchenko’s”; subheadings have been inserted editorially:

Just months or even weeks before the Orange Revolution [in Ukraine in 2004],
[then President] Leonid Kuchma confessed that he did not watch 5 Kanal [TV]
as… [newspaper ellipsis] it was not available at his home.

It looks like the then president mocked the journalist who asked him that
question – Kuchma did have a TV set at his office, and the channel not
controllable by Bankova [Street, i.e. the presidential administration],
could be watched there.

He did not watch 5 Kanal because he did not like what he saw and heard. Such
light-mindedness played a mean trick on him, and later became the first
lesson of the Orange Revolution – the media began to influence the political
life of Ukraine.

Honesty, however, should be mutual and society should know those who are
behind the information resource, who determines the newspaper’s strategy and
who really controls the third button of the TV set [as received].
                    ONLY POLITICAL RESOURCE INCLUDED
Ukrayinska Pravda has included only political resource in this survey –
those media that directly influence sociopolitical developments: all the
central and biggest regional TV channels, two broadcasting radio companies,
the most influential newspapers and politically affiliated websites.

In this survey one will not find information on sports websites, music FM
stations, news agencies or the newspapers that say “in Ukraine”, which are
made in Moscow from the beginning to the end. We have not included party
press either, which is only oriented for internal use.

[1] MEDIA LINKED TO VALERIY KHOROSHKOVSKYY: INTER,
ENTER AND ENTER-FILM TV CHANNELS, THE PODROBNOSTI
WEBSITE —–
After his dismissal from the first [current Prime Minister Viktor]
Yanukovych’s cabinet [in 2004], the former economics minister, Valeriy
Khoroshkovskyy, moved to work to the Russian Evrazholding.

He fell out of touch with his country for a year to emerge as the buyer of
the Inter TV channel in the summer of 2005. The story about the
circumstances behind the matter should require a separate publication.

Apart from Inter, Khoroshkovskyy also controls the channel’s offspring –
Enter music channel, Enter-Film TV Channel and Podrobnosti website.

According to the latest October survey, Inter is considered the most popular
Ukrainian channel. It is the first with the rating of 2.72 per cent and the
TV viewers share of 20.20 per cent. Enter-Film rates 17th and Enter 29th
(here and further the data of the GFK Ukraine survey).

Every day Podrobnosti has 30,000-34,000 visitors, which keeps it among
either the first or the second top five most popular websites (here and
further, the ratings are by Bigmir).

Now Khoroshkovskyy is ready to sell his TV media, but there is nobody

ready to pay 1bn dollars for them. Negotiations about selling Inter to Rinat
Akhmetov fell through because of the unrealistically high value declared.

[2] OLEKSANDR RODNYANSKYY’S TELEVISION: ONE PLUS ONE —–
After a victory at the Kiev court of appeal, Oleksandr Rodnyanskyy has
preserved his control over One Plus One TV. The troubles connected with the
selling of the TV company to Ihor Kolomoyskyy have resulted in preserving
the status quo for One Plus One.

As before, Rodnyanskyy formally controls 70 per cent of the company, with
the rest 30 per cent belonging to a company of Ronald Lauder, who is an heir
to the cosmetic empire Estee Lauder and who was the US Ambassador to
Austria during Reagan’s presidency.

The real state of things, however, is different. Rodnyanskyy’s share is
divided in such a way that the television producer [Rodnyanskyy] owns
directly only 20 per cent of One Plus One.

Boris Fuchsmann controls another 20 per cent. Lauder’s firm, Central
[European] Media Enterprises Ltd, owns 30 per cent and controls them
indirectly through Rodnyanskyy. Thus as a result Lauder has 60 per cent of
One Plus One shares.

According to Kolomoyskyy, Rodnyanskyy, while on a visit to Geneva in
June of 2005, visited the building 29, Rue de la Rotisserie. There they held
successful negotiations, after which Rodnyanskyy allegedly agreed to sell
his and Fuchsmann’s shares to Kolomoyskyy.

To get 40 per cent of One Plus One, Kolomoyskyy was ready to pay 70m
dollars. They did not sign any written commitments for the deal, only…
[ellipsis as published] shook hands.

Based on that hand shaking, the most expensive court in this country, the
Pecherskyy court in Kiev, ruled in that One Plus One shares should go to
Kolomoyskyy.

Rodnyanskyy, permanently residing in Russia, stepped up security at his
house in Shovkovychna Street in Kiev. Within several months, he won at

the Kiev court of appeal and returned the channel to the previous owners.

One Plus One ranks second among the most popular channels, having the
TV viewers share of 17.67 per cent. Its rating totals 2.38 per cent.

[3] PINCHUK’S MEDIA EMPIRE: TV CHANNELS NOVYY, ICTV,
STB, M1, 11TH CHANNEL (DNIPROPETROVSK), FAKTY
NEWSPAPER ——
Viktor Pinchuk’s media holding has been unchanged for many years
already, -consisting of Novyy, ICTV and STB TV channels and the M1

music channel. Pinchuk controls the second league of television – Novyy
ranks third in the rating, ICTV fourth and the STB fifth.

Leaving behind the Russian RTR-planet and NTV Mir channels, M1 ranks

12th in the rating. It is co-owned by Pinchuk and YTB [Yuliya Tymoshenko
Bloc] MP Mykola Bahrayev in equal shares.

Pinchuk is also the owner of the largest-circulation Ukrainian newspaper –
Fakty [i Kommentarii] – whose every issue is published in 761,000 copies.

The Dnipropetrovsk-based 11th Channel also belongs to Pinchuk’s sphere

of influence. Although it is a regional channel, it rates 24th in the national
rating.

The controlling stake in the channel formally belongs to the Lohoimpeks
firm, whose co-founders are Pinchuk’s managers Liliya Mlynarych and former
MP Yuliya Chebotaryova.

It was rumoured some time ago that Pinchuk sold one of his TV channels to
Rodnyanskyy, who was interested in getting additional TV space to fill it
with films and shows already shown on One Plus One. If such negotiations

did take place, they resulted in nothing.

[4] RINAT AKHMETOV’S MEDIA: UKRAYINA TV AND NEWSPAPERS
SEGODNYA AND SALON DONA I BASA (DONETSK), THE CVD
WEBSITE —–
Ukraine’s richest person owns the Donetsk-based Ukrayina TV channel that
broadcasts to the majority of the regions in the country. Despite its name,
Akhmetov’s channel is considered to be one of the most pro-Russian channels
in Ukraine.

Ukrayina ranks sixth in the rating, its popularity being in direct
proportion to support for the Party of Regions in a given population centre.
Akhmetov does not give up the idea to buy a big TV channel for
differentiating his multi-billion assets.

Akhmetov also owns the Segodnya newspaper, whose format has changed

this year. It switched to colour printing and started an aggressive campaign
to attract more readers.

Segodnya has even bought the direction signs in the Kiev underground,
placing its adverts there. The newspaper’s print run has grown, totalling
170,000 copies, with the Saturday issue amounting to 250,000 copies.

The owner of Segodnya has decided to turn the paper into a powerful tabloid.
Doing this, Akhmetov has confirmed his habit of inviting Western
consultants. Guillermo Schmitt from Argentina has been picked to chair the
Segodnya Publishing Group.

Akhmetov also controls Donetsk’s “fat” newspaper Salon Dona i Basa.

Akhmetov has got no Internet resources. The only Internet site which may be
considered an assets of his is CVD (Committee of Voters of Donbass). This
website is close to Borys Kolesnikov, who is Akhmetov’s best friend.

The office of CVD used to be located in the building of the Party of Regions
regional branch, which is chaired by Kolesnykov. CVD’s everyday audience
totals 8,000-16,000 visitors, ranking it between the second and third dozens
among Internet publications.

According to sources in the Party of Regions, before Kolesnykov’s arrest in
the spring of 2005, one of the Orange leaders proposed to him to trade his
freedom for shares in Ukrayina and NTN TV.

One can understand the first offer, as Ukrayina belongs to Akhmetov, but it
is rather difficult to comprehend the reason for the second proposition, as
NTN is actually owned by Eduard Prutnyk, who belongs to an entirely
different camp in Donetsk.

[5] EDUARD PRUTNYK’S MEDIA: TV CHANNELS NTN, KULTURA,
UTR, REGIONAL CHANNELS AND THE WEBSITE FORUM —–
Prutnyk continues controlling NTN, in spite of the recent announcements
about the formal change of ownership. Several weeks ago the chief editor
left the channel, which was accompanied by statements about attempts to
introduce censorship.

Prutnyk has not commented on the situation. Managers who have experience of
work at Inter have come to NTN. The blue [colours of the Party of Regions]
NTN ranks 10th among the TV companies, surpassing the Orange 5 Kanal in a
competition of principle.

Being the head of the State Television and Radio Broadcasting Committee,
Prutnyk influences the media sphere through financing the state order for
the National TV Company and the National Radio Company.

The budget for next year has only one line – state TV and radio – and it is
up to Prutnyk to determine who, when, and for what will receive money at the
main state TV channels.

Besides that, he supervises the 25 state regional TV and radio companies.
Apart from the air through which voters get information, it is also the
state (meaning no one’s) property: transmitters, premises, equipment and the
most important – the frequencies.

Prutnyk also supervises controls Kultura and the World Service of the
Ukrainian Television and Radio [UTR], whose mission is to inform the world
about Ukraine and be a news source for the diaspora. The very low quality of
these projects hampers their development.

Kultura broadcasts at night on the First National Channel and also through
the satellite. UTR is received through the satellite and some cable
operators. For now this is just another project on which budget funds are
spent ineffectively.

In the Internet Prutnyk’s influence is extended to the ForUm site, which has
34,000-38,000 visitors every day, a considerable part of whom watch
entertainment materials.

Several state publishing houses have also become subordinated to Prutnyk’s
committee. Many of them had been removed from the list of facilities that
are not subject to privatization.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk was known to be very interested

in getting control over publishing at the time. The state publishing sector is
a lever of influence on the local press, which is not only printed there,
but also has its offices on the premises.

[6] DMYTRO FIRTASH: K1, K2 and MEGASPORT CHANNELS —–
The mysterious shareholder of RosUkrEnergo has three TV channels in
Ukraine – K1, K2 and Megasport. Television is not Firtash’s main sphere of
activity, so reports on the channels’ sale appear on the market from time to
time.

The channels have not been included into the social packages of the cable
broadcasters and have not reached the planned efficiency level.

Sources at the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council maintain
that several months ago it was rumoured that Firtash and Prutnyk could
exchange the shares of NTN and K1/K2/Megasport.

Firtash also reportedly negotiated the sale of his channels to the Turkish
firm Turkcell, which is a co-owner of the Ukrainian life:) mobile
communication company.

As of now Firtash keeps the media assets that he bought from SigmaBleyzer
several years ago but failed to transform them into powerful resources.
According to last October’s rating, K1, for example, ranks 23rd, and K2 even
31st. Megasport has the best rating of the three, ranked 16th.

[7] ANDRIY DERKACH’S MEDIA: ERA TV COMPANY, ERA RADIO,
KIYEVSKIY TELEGRAF NEWSPAPER AND VERSII WEBSITE —–
Andriy Derkach’s media assets have also been unchanged for many years,
including Era TV Company that broadcasts on UT1, Era Radio (the only strong
news radio in Ukraine), Kiyevskiy Telegraf newspaper and Versii website.

Derkach supported the Orange Revolution and that helped preserve Era’s
broadcasting on the National Television Company’s frequencies, which means
the maximum coverage in Ukraine, paying an extremely low price for renting
the premises.

Era Radio continues broadcasting in the morning and evening prime time on
the National Radio. This radio is popular in the countryside, where the
electorate of Derkach’s party (the Socialist Party) is concentrated.

Nobody has disturbed Derkach, although no one has ever cancelled the
national council’s rule saying that one frequency may be occupied by only
one broadcaster.

Today Era TV ranks 19th, and Kiyevskiy Telegraf weekly claims that it is
printed in 37,000 copies. In several big cities, local Telegrafs come out.

[8] PETRO POROSHENKO: 5 KANAL, PRAVDA UKRAYINY
NEWSPAPER —–
Poroshenko bought his main media asset ahead of the 2002 [parliamentary]
election. 5 Kanal reached the peak of its popularity during the Orange
Revolution. It now ranks 11th, with 0.25-per-cent rating and the audience
share of 1.84 per cent.

It is less known that Poroshenko also owns Pravda Ukrayiny newspaper,
which looks like a curiosity from the Soviet times on the background of the
leading editions’ headlines at newspaper kiosks.

The controlling stake in Pravda Ukrayiny belongs to the limited liability
company Yantra, which is, in its turn, controlled by Dniprovski Lasoshchi
Ltd.

The legal address of Dniprovski Lasoshchi is the same as the 5th Element
sports club’s in Rybalskyy Island [in Kiev, where most of Poroshenko’
companies are located].

Another indirect shareholder of Pravda Ukrayiny is the Rybtorhservis firm of
the Poroshenko’s holding, which applied to buy a package of shares in
Leninska Kuznya [shipyard] from the state.

Poroshenko is also connected with Radio 5. It has a strong news service, but
in essence it remains an entertaining radio, so it is not part of this
survey. We also do not analyse the regional TV studios which are close to
Poroshenko – Polissya TV and Vinnytsya – as their influence is purely local.

[9] VOLODYMYR KOSTERIN: TONIS CHANNEL, RUPOR WEBSITE —
This individual, largely unnoticeably for the public, was elected leader of
the Green Party in the summer of 2006, although at the latest parliamentary
election he ran on [President Viktor Yushchenko’s] Our Ukraine’s list.

Kosterin is a shareholder of Transbank, which used to be owned by
[Yushchenko’s former aide] Oleksandr Tretyakov. Kosterin also owns Tonis
TV channel where the current president of the National TV Company, Vitaliy
Dokalenko, worked before 2005.

It is believed that Tonis channel number one for Viktor Yushchenko due its
nature programmes. In general, Tonis ranks 14th in Ukraine. Kosterin also
owns Rupor website, whose everyday audience of 11,000-12,000 visitors
guarantees this website a place at the end of the top 20.

Kosterin plans to create a whole media holding which would include Tonis

and have its own Internet portal and daily newspaper, the first issue of which
is due to come out next spring.

The well-known media man, Mykola Knyazhytskyy, and journalist Vitaliy
Portnikov are working to launch the newspaper. One problem is that
[progovernment MP] Volodymyr Sivkovych may get some influence on
the newspaper.

[10] YUSHCHENKO: NATIONAL TV, NATIONAL RADI, UKRAYINA
MOLODA, BEZ TSENZURY —–
Viktor Yushchenko also has a friendly media holding. First, this is the
National TV Company, and the National Radio Company comes second in
importance.

The heads of these mass media were appointed by the president’s decree, now
this right having been transferred to the Supreme Council [parliament]. The
Yanukovych government’s attempts to remove the president of the National TV
Company, who is loyal to Yushchenko, have been blocked by legal arguments.

According to a new law, the candidacies for the posts of heads of national
radio and television should be proposed to the Supreme Council by a public
council, which has still not been formed. The rating of UT1 [state TV] is
stably low – the most expensive and full-staffed TV ranks ninth.

The newspaper Ukrayina Moloda, permanently edited by Yushchenko’s old
brother-in-arms and fellow-villager Mykhaylo Doroshenko, can be also
considered a Yushchenko-influenced paper.

Reportedly, when Doroshenko was trying to get funds for Ukrayina Moloda

from the “dear friends” [a group of businessmen who were close to Yushchenko
in 2004-06] several years ago, he said something like this: “You understand
that the paper is not mine, but Mr Yushchenko’s. It is only officially
registered on my name…” [newspaper ellipsis]

The Syrian businessman and former aide to Yushchenko, Hares Yussef, has
been supporting Ukrayina Moloda recently. This daily’s print run totals
144,000 copies.

One more newspaper that sympathizes with Yushchenko is Bez Tsenzury weekly.
The paper’s official circulation is 40,000 copies. It was founded ahead of
the presidential election [in 2004] to break the information blockade
against the then opposition leader [Yushchenko].

The single shareholder of Bez Tsenzury is Ukrainian Media Resources Ltd,
whose 100 per cent of shares belong to the All-Ukrainian public organization
Our Ukraine.

According to the taxation database, Our Ukraine was founded by three
people – Viktor Yushchenko, Roman Bezsmertnyy, and Anatoliy Medvid (this

one worked at Our Ukraine headquarters before the presidential election and
now he is a deputy emergencies minister).

The current head of the All-Ukrainian public organization Our Ukraine,
Maksym Sydorenko, admitted in a conversation to Ukrayinska Pravda that

the organization he heads had set up Ukrainian Media Resources.

He, however, said that the founders of the organization are different
people, three individuals from each Ukrainian region, and that they do not
tamper with Bez Tsenzury’s activity in any way.

[11] VIKTOR YANUKOVYCH: URYADOVVY KURYER NEWSPAPER —
The main opponent of Viktor Yushchenko should be contented with only one
media resource for now, which he inherited together with the keys to the
prime minister’s office. This is the newspaper Uryadovyy Kuryer, the
official newspaper of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

Its circulation totals 87,000 copies, but its propaganda effect is close to
zero. The newspaper, however, has its own advantages. Legal acts, for
example, come into effect after being published in this newspaper.

Everybody felt the weight of Uryadovyy Kuryer during the Orange Revolution.
The decision of the Central Electoral Commission on Yanukovych’s victory in
the election was supposed to come into effect after its publication in this
newspaper.

To speed up Yanukovych’s inauguration, the ministers of his government,
[Anatoliy] Tolstoukhov and [Dmytro] Tabachnyk, published in Uryadovyy

Kuryer a resolution proclaiming Yanukovych election winner in spite of the
Supreme Court’s prohibition. Part of the issue’s print run was published,
but its distribution was immediately stopped.

Next year Yanukovych will get more TV exposure: the Cabinet of Ministers
will have its own television centre like the one at the presidential
secretariat. TV channels will be receiving Yanukovych’s prerecorded videos.

[12] KOLOMOYSKYY: TET, GAZETA PO-KIYEVSKI, KOMSOMOLSKAYA
PRAVDA UKRAINA —–
The co-owner of Pryvat Group, Ihor Kolomoyskyy, has become a TV owner
only recently. TET has become his channel, ranked 8th in the all-Ukrainian
rating. According to Ukrayinska Pravda sources, the Surkis brothers let
their partner Kolomoyskyy have TET for 110m dollars.

The Surkises got the channel at the height of their might. Their partner at
the time, Konstantin Grigorishin, bought the channel for them for 3m
dollars. It was promised that half of the shares would be registered on him.

However, instead of Grigorishin, 25 per cent of TET shares went to…
[newspaper ellipsis] a friend of the Kuchma family, Anatoliy Zasukha. It is
still not known if his name will be kept on the TET list of shareholders.

Besides TET, Kolomoyskyy controls the Gazeta Po-Kiyevski newspaper. The
controlling stake is owned by a Dnipropetrovsk-based firm Manitoba. Minority
packages belong to the chief editor, Serhiy Tykhyy, to the editor-in chief,
Vadym Balytskyy, and a Pryvat group adviser, Mykhaylo Batoh.

When asked about the daily run, Gazeta Po-Kiyevski said that the information
was a “commercial secret”. The indicated only their weekly run, which totals
356,000 copies. Thus, if mathematically calculated, it amounts to nearly
60,000 copies a day.

The Pryvat also partners with Borys Lozhkin in publishing Komsomolskaya
Pravda v Ukraine. According to the State Tax Administration’s database,
Pryvatbank has 51 per cent of shares in the aforementioned newspaper, with
Borys Lozhkin’s structures controlling 49 per cent of the paper’s shares.

In his interview with Ukrayinska Pravda, Lozhkin nevertheless said that he
and Pryvat control equal shares in Komsomolskaya Pravda – 50 per cent each.

“It is impossible that the Pryvat may have a controlling stake as from the
very beginning, the Moscow editors’ shares totalled 50 per cent, and we have
bought it out from them,” Lozhkin said.

The weekly claims a daily print run of 144,000 copies, with the Friday issue
amounting to more than 300,000.

[13] OLEKSANDR TRETYAKOV: CITY, KINO TV CHANNELS,
IZVESTIYA V UKRAINE NEWSPAPER, TELEKRYTYKA MAGAZINE,
UNIAN NEWS AGENCY AND WEBSITE, GLAVRED AND VIP-UA
WEBSITES —–
The former first aide to President Yushchenko decided to get engaged in the
media business, buying a number of second or even third-tier projects. His
opponents, at the same time, claim that Tretyakov develops this business
direction together with Kolomoyskyy.

Tretyakov is allegedly connected to the two new broadcasters that have
replaced Hravis – the capital’s news channel City and the Kino film channel.
It is now impossible to find out what Tretyakov’s role was in Hravis
changing hands.

According to sources close to Tretyakov, last December Tretyakov was given
the right to buy out the shares in the two new channels, with the City and
Kino channels being, in the meantime, developed by Ronald Lauder’s Central
Media Enterprises Ltd, which controls 60 per cent there.

The name of Tretyakov has not been mentioned anywhere, though structures
close to him publish the Izvestiya v Ukraine newspaper, whose run is
estimated at 8,000 copies.

Tretyakov has filled his holding’s Internet component with sites from the
second top 20. Sources claim that Tretyakov has purchased Glavred and its
daughter project, the VIP-UA site (15,000-19,000 visitors every day).

And, it would be interesting to know that the entertainment website VIP-UA
is visited more often (15,000-19,000) than the serious Glavred
(10,000-13,000).

Tretyakov has allegedly been given control of the UNIAN news agency, the
site of which has got 15,000-19,000 visitors, being among the top 20
Internet sites.

According to the latest news given by Ukrayinska Pravda sources, the
Glavred-media holding, close to Tretyakov, will become the publisher of the
printed Telekrytyka magazine.

The magazine is a continuation of the Telekrytyka website whose number of
visitors has not changed for the last year, amounting to 1,600-2,000 a day.

[14] BORYS LOZHIN: KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA V UKRAINE,
ARGUMENTY I FAKTY V UKRAINE NEWSPAPERS, FOKUS
MAGAZINE —–
The owner of the huge Ukrainian Media Holding, Borys Lozhkin, focuses on
specialized and entertainment media. He controls over 80 projects and,
besides Komsomolskaya Pravda v Ukraine, has two more social and political
newspapers.

The Argumenty i Fakty v Ukraine newspaper was founded by the private
joint-stock company Ukrainian Media Corporation in which 70 per cent of
shares belong to Larysa Lozhkina, obviously, Borys Lozhkin’s wife.

Another 30 per cent belongs to Ihor Chaban, one of Viktor Yanukovych’s
political strategists. Now Chaban is an aide to Eduard Prutnyk, the NTN
channel owner. The Argumenty i Fakty v Ukraine weekly’s print run amounts
to almost 185,000 copies.

Another sociopolitical project of Lozhkin is the Fokus magazine, each issue
of which is printed in 25,000 copies.

Lozhkin has told Ukrayinska Pravda that he controls half the shares in
Fokus. “We are the managing partner in the project,” he said, refusing to
say who owns the other 50 per cent.

According to purely subjective suspicions, another shareholder in Focus
could be a co-owner of the Pryvat group, Henadiy Boholyubov. However, it
may be a pure coincidence that this low-profile billionaire’s name is
regularly found in the magazine.

Lozhkin also has a joint business with Hryhoriy Surkis, both being partners
in publishing the football newspaper Komanda. “We have bought out Mykhaylo
Brodskyy’s take, the other 50 per cent of Komanda being controlled by
Surkis’s group,” he said.

“We have only two projects with the Surkis brothers – Komanda and Vzrosloye
Radio [FM station], which was created on the basis of Kiyevskiye Vedomosti
Radio. We really have a good relationship, but we see each other only a
couple of times a year, talking about the radio.

As regards the Komanda newspaper, it is the editor of the paper who
communicates with Ihor Surkis as with the president of one of the two most
powerful football clubs of the country,” Lozhkin said.

The press has recently reported that Lozhkin intends to attract investments
by positioning the Ukrainian Media Holding at the external loans market.

[15] HRYHORIY SURKIS: KIYEVSKIYE VEDOMOSTI AND DEN
NEWSPAPERS —–
Hryhoriy Surkis controls two political media projects. Kiyevskiye Vedomosti
used to have three co-owners before: Surkis, Brodskyy and Hryhoryshyn.

Today this project is under the total control of Surkis.

The newspaper’s print run ranges from 130,000 to 160,000 copies, the editors
said. The founder of the project is the Kiyevskiye Vedomosti Publishing
House private joint-stock company.

A network of the following off-shore companies located on the British Virgin
Islands is known to be behind this joint stock company: Dastime Group Ltd
(the biggest package), Hambay Trading Corporation (a shareholder of the
Dynamo Kiev football club in the past), Fistouki Investments Ltd, Banok
Invest&Trade Inc., Berwyn Enterprise Corp., Suniflon Holding Ltd and
Lardonet Inc.

It would be interesting to know that the Surkis brothers have recently
transferred ownership of Kiyevskiye Vedomosti from some off-shore
companies to others. There was also another firm from the British Virgin
Islands, Nowanda Commercial Corp., that used to be on the newspaper’s
shareholders list.

Five years ago Ukrayinska Pravda held a journalist inquiry during which it
became known that the aforementioned firm had ordered publicity support
for Surkis and Medvedchuk in America.

Another media asset of the Surkises is the Den newspaper, though the
family’s role is not evidently traced there.

Den is published by the Ukrainian Press-Group private joint-stock company.
The shares in the firm are divided in the following way: the editor-in-chief
and Yevhen Marchuk’s wife, Larysa Ivshyna, has 30 per cent. Anatoliy
Krasnopolskyy has 70 per cent.

Who is this person? Krasnopolskyy is Surkis’s architect who built what was
Surkis’s lifelong dream: the Dynamo football club base in Koncha-Zaspa and
the Dynamo children’s school in Nyvky [in Kiev].

Den’s declared print run totals 62,500 copies, which, to some experts, seems
overstated several times to some experts.

[16] OLEKSANDR MOROZ: RADA TV CHANNEL, HOLOS UKRAYINY
AND SILSKI VISTI NEWSPAPERS —–

The speaker controls the official mouthpieces of parliament: Holos Ukrayiny
and Rada TV.

Moroz utilized Rada TV’s advantages, such as the channel’s being included in
the social package of cable TV networks. He started giving regular
interviews to this TV company right after he became the speaker.

Moroz also plans to switch Holos Ukrayiny to colour printing, for which he
will not spare taxpayers’ money as the paper is financed from the budget. In
the civilized world, however, parliamentary newspapers look like bulletins.

Holos Ukrayiny ‘s print run amounts to 160,000 copies, the majority of
subscribers being all the country’s authorities.

One more mass media outlet controlled by Moroz is the Silski Visti
newspaper, which is the second largest newspaper of Ukraine in terms of its
print run (after the Fakty [i Kommentarii] newspaper). New times, new
landmarks.

Earlier Silski Visti was considered to be an outpost of the fight against
[the then president] Leonid Kuchma. Now it runs a full text of the speech
Yanukovych made at the grand meeting devoted to 100 days of the
government on its front page.

The founder and publisher of the aforementioned newspaper is the “work
collective of Silski Visti “. In reality, the newspaper belongs to Socialist
MP Ivan Spodarenko. The paper is published three times a week, with its
run being 433,000 copies every time the newspaper is out.

[17] YAROSLAV MENDUS: CENSOR.NET WEBSITE —–
Being a Socialist with a political strategist’s ambitions, Yaroslav Mendus
is only trying on a public politician’s role.

He is allegedly connected to the Censor.net site, possibly through the fact
the website’s editor, Yuriy Butusov and Yaroslav Mendus are the authors of
the Orange Sky film idea [a film about the Orange Revolution]. A film in
which Moroz himself played a small role. Censor is visited by 8,000-13,000
users a day, ranked among the 20-30 top websites.

[18] MYKOLA RUDKOVSKYY: INTERNET-REPORTER WEBSITE —–
The name of Transport and Communications Minister Mykola Rudkovskyy is
connected with the Internet-Reporter website and its founder, Oles Doniy.

The site’s rating position is somewhere in the middle of the popularity
chart. Like the aforementioned Censor.net site, the Internet-Reporter also
has from 9,000 to 12,000 visitors.

[19] YURIY BOYKO: ROBITNYCHA HAZETA NEWSPAPER —–
Before the last parliamentary elections, when political advertising was
already forbidden, Kiev saw lots of light-boxes showing the face of the
present fuel and energy minister, Yuriy Boyko.

To avoid complaints from the Central Electoral Commission, the advertising
showed a Robitnycha Hazeta issue on which Boyko’s face was seen. Such a
trick was widely used during the election time, as it is always possible to
call it advertising for mass media, not for a politician.

After the then prime minister, Yuliya Tymoshenko, had cancelled the
budgetary financing of Robitnycha Hazeta, the Upeco Publishing House, – the
firm of Boyko’ press secretary at that time, Kostyantyn Borodin, became one
of the paper’s shareholders.

Today, according to some information, a new person owns the newspaper,

and the Yupeko’s package has been reduced to a minority one.

Talking to Ukrayinska Pravda, the owner of Robitnycha Hazeta has refused to
name the paper’s shareholders, explaining that the law doesn’t require him
to do so. The editors assess the paper’s run at 30,000 copies a day, but the
figure seems overestimated.

[20] SERHIY KYCHYHYN: NEWSPAPER 2000 —–
The editor-in-chief of the paper doesn’t really like to be associated with
the United Social Democratic Party of Ukraine leaders, and even sued those
who claimed this.

Thus it can be said that the paper is nominally published by the
Internet-Media newspaper complex public company owned by the
editor-in-chief, Serhiy Kychyhyn.

Reading the paper, it becomes, however, evident that before the Orange
Revolution the views of the paper and of [United Social Democrat leader
Viktor] Medvedchuk coincided, and that now 2000 professes anti-Orange

ideas.

This very paper, by the way, published an article that became an official
reason for [former Interior Minister Yuriy] Lutsenko’s dismissal.

The secret of 2000’s print run figures is this: the paper survives thanks to
its Weekend entertainment supplement. Without the supplement, 2000 boasts
62,0000 copies, having 33,000 more when published with the Weekend.

There is also a so-called “general run” which totals 170,000 copies. Thus
the lion’s share of this index is made by selling the Weekend supplements
without the 2000 newspaper at all.

[21] MAKSIM KUROCHKIN: FROM-UA WEBSITE —–
According to documents, the Russian businessman and raider, Maks Kurochkin,
has no media in Ukraine. However, just like with the 2000 newspaper, one has
to read indirect signs.

Thus, an analysis of the From-UA website’s content shows that they are not
really indifferent to Kurochkin, having made him the main newsmaker of the
country.  Kurochkin’s influence is carried out practically by purchasing
whole information companies.

Directly asked about it by Ukrayinska Pravda in an interview, Kurochkin
skirted the question. He said that his interests in the media sphere of
Ukraine would soon be known.

According to some information sources, the notorious official of Kuchma’s
administration, Serhiy Vasylyev, is allegedly connected with the From-UA

web site.

Taking into consideration the fact that the temnyks (presidential
administration’s secret written recommendations to journalists, editors,
etc. on how exactly this or that event should be covered) were jointly
produced by Vasylyev and Ihor Shuvalov (Kurochkin’s man), one can assume
that, if this is true, then it can be another proof of his connection to the
site.

The From-UA’s visitor indices range from 32,000 to 40,000 a day. The

rating is made thanks to erotic and scandalous pieces.
[22] VOLODYMYR SATSYUK: UKRAINA KRIMINALNAYA WEBSITE –
The former first deputy head of the Security Service of Ukraine [SBU],
Volodymyr Satsyuk, is on the run. The official reason for his being in
hiding is the legal proceedings instituted against him back in Kuchma’s
times.

He is charged with being illegally given a military rank. They say that it
was [former parliamentary speaker] Volodymyr Lytvyn who made sure that

the matter went to court, being sure that Satsyuk had him shadowed in 2004.

The say, however, that the real reason for Satsyuk being on the run is his
involvement in the Yushchenko poisoning case.

Despite the fact that even sewer pipes were cut at his summer cottage in
search of dioxin, no other accusations have been brought against Satsyuk but
military rank manipulation. Before he fell out of favour, Satsyuk had time
to buy the Ukraina Kriminalnaya website, the statistics for are kept secret.

[23] HENADIY VASYLEV: KIEVAN RUS TV COMPANY (DONETSK) —
The former prosecutor-general and now businessman, Henadiy Vasylev, is

one of the Russian Orthodox Church sponsors.

His name is also connected with the Donetsk-base Kievan Rus TV channel,
which several years ago, simultaneously with its boss’s carrier rise, made
its way to the cable TV networks of the capital. Kievan Rus, nevertheless,
isn’t even in the top 30 TV channels.

[24] IHOR SHKIRYA: THE URA-INFORM WEBSITE, TV1 CHANNEL —-
Being a Party of Regions MP, Ihor Shkirya is a shareholder of the URA-inform
site. He has an 80-per cent share in the Ukrainian Rating Agency private
joint-stock company, the abbreviation for which makes the site’s name –
URA-inform.

The URA-inform daily audience amounts to 15,000-19,000 visitors, the site
being rated between the first and second top tens of the most popular
Internet sites.

Shkirya also owns the TV1 channel, which now tries to position itself under
the brand “The First Business Channel” (ranking 30th in the television
rating). Kiev residents should know this TV company – earlier, while
switching TV channels one could see the Zahrava logotype in the corner of
one of the channels.

In reality, the First Business Channel is a kind of mini-television that is
literally huddling on the UT1 TV company’s premises at 26 Khreshchatyk
Street. It may aim at taking the economic channel’s niche.

[25] OLEKSANDR DAVTYAN: SIMON TV COMPANY (KHARKIV) —–
Kharkiv businessman Oleksandr Davtyan is the founder of the Simon TV
Company that ranks twenty-sixth in the All-Ukrainian ratings of TV channels.

[26] SERHIY MELNYCHUK: BIZNES MAGAZINE —–
One of the owners of the oldest business newspaper in Ukraine was MP Serhiy
Melnychuk, who was a member of the United Social Democratic Party of
Ukraine faction in parliament. Melnychuk has a controlling stake in the
Blits-Inform holding company.

Biznes is called a “newspaper”, but it is published as a weekly magazine
with a run of 59,700 copies.

[27] ALISHER USMANOV: KOMMERSANT-UKRAINA NEWSPAPER —–
Being connected with the Gazprom company, the Russian tycoon is the sole
owner of not only Russia’s Kommersant, but also Kommersant-Ukraina. He
recently bought out a minority package in the Ukrainian newspaper from the
ex-political strategist, Kazbek Bektursunov.

Kommersant said that its daily print run ranges from 10,000 to 14,000
copies, with Fridays being the peak days through the coloured supplement
published by the paper this day of the week.

[28] HADELSBLATT: DELO AND INVEST GAZETA NEWSPAPERS —–
The German publishing group Handelsblatt is getting stronger at the
Ukrainian market. Besides Delo (13,400 copies), the weekly Invest Gazeta
(28,300 copies) in the renewed format has also joined the Ukrainian media
market.

[29] SWISS MEDIA HOLDING RINGIER AG: BLIK NEWSPAPER —–
The Swiss media holding Ringier AG has discovered the Ukrainian press
market by publishing the first classical tabloid called Blik. Its run
amounts to 65,500 copies for now.

[30] VIKTOR ODYNETS, SERHIY IVANOV-MALYAVIN: KONTRAKTY
NEWSPAPER —–
Two Lviv people, Serhiy Ivanov-Malyavin and Viktor Odynets, founded the
Halytski Kontrakty newspaper.

Several years, in order to increase the number of the paper’s audience, they
gave up the first word in the paper’s name, began publishing a Russian
version of the newspaper, and switched to the magazine format.

It has been recently rumoured that the Industrial Union of Donbass has
purchased Kontrakty. The noise was strengthened by the fact that Halytski
Kontrakty and Ekonomicheskiye Izvestiya have exchanged small packages of
shares, with Ekonomicheskiye Izvestiya getting a new owner in the person of
the Industrial Union of Donbass.

According to available information, the negotiations on the Kontrakty sale,
nevertheless, have had no result.

Odynets and Ivanov-Malyavin continue owning Halytski Kontrakty. Its print
run is a little bit lower than the that of the main competitor, Business
magazine, still amounting to almost 57,000 copies.

[31] YULIYA MOSTOVA: ZERKALO NEDELI NEWSPAPER —–
The most influential Ukrainian weekly Zerkalo Nedeli is a joint project of
the Mostovyys family and an American with Kiev roots, Yuriy Orlikov. The
Publishing House Ormos is the abbreviated combination of the surnames –
Orlikov and the Mostovyys.

Orlikov has 60 per cent of shares in the newspaper; Volodymyr Mostovyy
controls 20 per cent, with his daughter Yuliya having another 20 per cent.
It is the Mostovyys family that determines the paper’s political position.
They also own the trademark.

Pavlo Lazarenko used to have a package of shares in the newspaper, but he
purchased it to strengthen his own importance. The paper never got any
investments. In the end he lost his shares.

It was rumoured that Zerkalo Nedeli had been conducting the negotiations
with some German publishers on financial injections for the paper, which
would allow it to be out in colour and in a new format. The paper’s print
run totals 52,000 copies.

[32] JED SUNDEN: KYIV POST, 15 MINUTES NEWSPAPERS,
KORRESPONDENT MAGAZINE, KORRESPONDENT.NET WEBSITE —
Ukraine first heard this American’s name in the news on the national TV at
the beginning of 2000: he was detained at Boryspil airport and was even
declared persona non grata.

SBU head Leonid Derkach’s provocation ruined the image of Ukraine in the
eyes of US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who was soon to visit Kiev
at that time.

Already the following day, Sunden was nevertheless allowed to enter Ukraine.
At that time he published only one newspaper – the English-speaking Kyiv
Post weekly.

In the following years Sunden showed himself as the best specialist in
taking the vacant niches in Ukraine: he was the first to make a new
information product.

It may be not of the impeccable quality, but while others only start doing
something like that, Sunden’s team has already gained the necessary
experience to become the leader of this segment of the market.

Sunden owns the Bigmir portal and has bought the rights for the Ukrainian
ICQ, owing to which he always attracts additional visitors and has his
Korrespondent.net website ranking first in his own rating.

Someone calls such leadership artificial, but it has allowed Sunden to
successfully float shares: 20 per cent of the KP Media Company’s shares
were sold in the nonstock trade system for 11m dollars.

The four media resources of the American’s big holding are socially and
politically directed. These are the Korrespondent magazine, the
English-speaking Kyiv Post weekly, the 15 Minutes free newspaper and the
Korrespondent.net site.

Kyiv Post declares its print run as 25,000 copies, Korrespondent at 50,000
and 15 Minutes at 20,000. The latter is distributed in the underground.

The Korrespondent Internet site has 46,000-48,000 visitors. Other sites,
nevertheless, are sceptical about these figures as they are given the
Korrespondent by its own counter, Bigmir.

A year ago it became known that Sunden, together with the Swedish Publishing
House Bonnier, intended to publish an economic newspaper, but the project
was never implemented. Besides, the negotiations on Sunden starting
publishing the Newsweek-Ukraine magazine have been under way for a long
time already.

[33] VITALY HAYDUK, SERHIY TARUTA: EKONOMICHESKIYE
IZVESTIYA, KOMENTARI, KYIV WEEKLY NEWSPAPERS, EKSPERT-
UKRAINA MAGAZINE, THE PROUA SITE AND ACCORDING TO
SOME INFORMATION, OBKOM WEBSITE —–
The National Security and Defence Council secretary, Vitaliy Hayduk, has a
media holding called Evolution Media, which unites Komentari, the
English-speaking Kyiv Weekly and the proUA site.

Besides, the owners of the Industrial Union of Donbass have bought the
Ekonomicheskiye Izvestiya newspaper from [former Deputy Prime Minister]
Serhiy Tyhypko, purchasing also [former state secretary] Oleksandr
Zinchenko’s part in the Ekspert-Ukraina magazine, which had been owned by
the ex-state secretary’s firm Technological Renaissance.

According to Ukrayinska Pravda’s sources, Hayduk’s people are also connected
with the Obkom site. In its turn, the editor of the Internet site, Oleksiy
Myronov, claims that the owners are Myronov and his deputy, Serhiy Sukhobok.

One of the media experts interviewed by Ukrayinska Pravda has also said that
Hayduk had bought 80 per cent of the Profil-Ukraina magazine’s shares. Still
no other confirmation to this has been found.

Komentari declares a print run of 30,000; Kyiv Weekly’s run is three times
smaller. Ekspert-Ukraina declares that it prints 25,000 copies of each
magazine’s issue; Ekonomicheskiye Izvestiya is known to print 30,000 copies
of the newspaper’s issue daily.

[34] OLEKSIY FEDUN: DELOVAYA STOLITSA, PERVAYA
KRYMSKAYA (CRIMEA) NEWSPAPERS, VLAST DENEG MAGAZINE –
Our Ukraine MP Oleksiy Fedun is a cousin of Leonid Fedun, vice-president and
shareholder of the Russian oil giant LUKoil.

Oleksiy Fedun publishes the Delovaya Stolitsa and the Vlast Deneg magazine
weeklies in Ukraine, having also a regional project – the Pervaya Krymskaya
newspaper.

Fedun is positioned as a minority shareholder in the private joint-stock
company Eortel, while the controlling package of shares belongs to the
Intershelp Ltd, which is close to LUKoil.

At the Cartel company office they said that Delovaya Stolitsa publishes
30,960 copies in Kiev and 34,040 copies in the regions, with the Vlast Deneg
print run being 42,000 copies.

[35] VADYM RABYNOVYCH: STOLICHNYYE NOVOSTI AND
STOLICHKA NEWSPAPERS, MIGNEWS WEBSITE, THE O-TV
CHANNEL ——
The first person in Ukraine to be dubbed a “tycoon” and be also first to
lose this title, has the Stolichnyye Novosti and Stolichka newspapers, the
MIGnews website, and the music O-TV channel.

Rabynovych personally is not indicated as the owner of the newspapers. There
is a daughter enterprise called CN- Stolichnyye Novosti, which was founded
by the media holding Media International Group Ltd.

In its turn, it is equally owned and shared by the Akiko International
Limited and Appia Limited companies’ representations. Both firms deal with
advertising.

Stolichnyye Novosti declares a run of 70,000 copies, with the Stolichka’s
print run totalling 175,000. Experts, nevertheless, are not sure that the
figures declared by the paper are not overestimated.

The O-TV channel has two equitable owners – Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc member
in the Kiev council Oleksandr Bryhynets and Andriy Alyoshyn, who is also a
founder of the Ukrainian-Israeli Chamber of Commerce and the Step to Unity
Forum of Christian and Jews.

The O-TV Channel ranks 22nd in TV channels ratings, leaving behind the K1
Channel, for instance, with the latter spending unreasonably big money on
its activity.

Rabynovych also owns the Novoye Russkoye Slovo weekly that tries to speak
about all the post-Soviet countries at once, with no country being given
increased attention. Thus it happens that sometimes there may be no article
on Ukraine in this paper’s issue. In connection with the aforementioned, we
have decided not to include Novoye Russkoye Slovo in our survey.

[36] LEONID CHERNOVETSKYY: KHRESHCHATYK, VECHIRNIY
KYYIV, AND ZAKON I BIZNES NEWSPAPERS, KIEV MUNICIPAL
TV —–
[Kiev mayor] Leonid Chernovetskyy, having secured himself the majority of
Kiev councillors, has simultaneously received control of the media which
were founded by the capital’s representative body. These are Khreshchatyk,
Vechirniy Kyyiv and the Kiev municipal TV (ranking 20th)

Nevertheless, the recent attempts of Chernovetskyy’s team to introduce
censorship in Vechirniy Kyyiv ended in scandal.

Khreshchatyk evaluated the paper’s run at 10,000-15,000 copies per issue,
and Vechirniy Kyyiv mentioned 45,000 copies. The last figure seems to be
absolutely unreal, taking into consideration the miserable state of the once
legendary newspaper.

Besides, Chernovetskyy owns the Zakon i Biznes newspaper. It would be
interesting to know that earlier this paper was in the sphere of Viktor
Medvedchuk’s and Hryhoriy Surkis’ influence, with whom the Kiev mayor did
not get on well – two millionaires even fought in parliament once. The Zakon
i Biznes run amounts to 21,200 copies.

[37] IVAN VASYUNYK: HAZETA PO-UKRAYINSKY NEWSPAPER —–
The first deputy head of the presidential secretariat, Ivan Vasyunyk,
controls the Hazeta Po-Ukrayinsky newspaper, though his name is not
indicated among the shareholders.

To identify who is the person behind this project was a very difficult task.
Even the journalists working at the newspaper do not know this, and the
editor-in-chief, Volodymyr Ruban, refused to answer our questions.

The following is what Ukrayinska Pravda was able to find out: Hazeta
Po-Ukrayinsky newspaper is owned by the publishing group New Information,
with Ruslan Nyzhnyk and Lyudmyla Senikina controlling 50 per cent of shares
each in this firm.

Nyzhnyk is Vasyunyk’s right-hand man. During the last parliamentary
elections Nyzhnyk was at the head of Our Ukraine People’s Union programme
and ideological department (Vasyunyk was at the head of this department
during the presidential elections).

Apart from participating in founding the Hazeta Po-Ukrayinsky newspaper,
Semikina is also a shareholder in the Tokmak ferroalloys company that
belongs to the youngest Ukrainian billionaire, Kostyantyn Zhevaho.

Besides, the Hazeta Po-Ukrayinsky newspaper has its accounts in the Finansy
ta Kredyt bank, which is also controlled by Zhevaho.

To complete the picture, it is necessary to add that Vasyunyk and Zhevaho,
being friends, have been lobbying each other’s interests for a long time.

Talking to an Ukrayinska Pravda correspondent, Vasyunyk has neither
confirmed nor denied his connection to Hazeta Po-Ukrayinsky. According to
him, he will tell everything in the interview which he will soon give. In
the newspaper’s editor’s office they said that their daily print run totals
50,000 copies.

[38] ANDRIY SENCHENKO: THE BLACK SEA TV COMPANY (CRIMEA) –
Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc [YTB] MP Andriy Senchenko is connected with the
popular Crimean Black Sea TV (25th place in the all-Ukrainian TV channels
rating). Senchenko’s company Modern Information Technologies controls 99

per cent of the Black Sea TV.

[39] YULIYA TYMOSHENKO: VECHERNIYE VESTI AND SVOBODA
NEWSPAPERS —–
Despite her great talent in creating media scoops, Yuliya Tymoshenko has a
direct influence only on two newspapers.

Vecherniye Vesti has always been Tymoshenko’s mouthpiece, though, unlike
other politicians, her name is not on the founders list. Vecherniye Vesti is
published by the Informtorhservis, a controlling package in which belongs to
Oleksandr Tolchyn.

A further search in the State Tax Administration’s database showed that
Tolchyn is also a founder in the Megapress Ltd, which was jointly founded
together with [Tymoshenko’s deputy] Oleksandr Turchynov’s close
brothers-in-arms, Ruslan Lukyanchuk and Valeriy Babenko.

It has recently become known, however, that Vecherniye Vesti has been sold
to the TMT Publishing House whose controlling stake belongs to the
Donetsk-based Sperta-Armanti firm. The new owners, at the same time, have
promised to keep the old journalist team.

Vecherniye Vesti gave the following information on the paper’s print runs:
daily issues 90,000 copies, issues with a TV guide 120,000 copies.

Another media resource for Tymoshenko is Svoboda, which was founded

by journalist Oleh Lyashko, who got to parliament on the YTB party list.

During the elections Svoboda ceased to be as an independent project – it
openly published materials in favour of Tymoshenko and was distributed free
through the YTB agitation tents. Today Svoboda’s print run totals 9,700
copies. During elections, the YTB boosted the paper’s runs 10-fold.

[40] ANDRIY SADOVYY: CHANNEL 24 (LVIV), POSTUP NEWSPAPER
(LVIV) —–
Lviv mayor Andriy Sadovyy is connected with Channel 24 and the Postup
newspaper; after his victory he gave the latter to the publisher of the
Ekspres newspaper, Ihor Pochynok. Today Channel 24 ranks 28th in the TV
channels rating.

[41] YURIY LUTSENKO: HRANI PLYUS NEWSPAPER —–
While being an MP in the previous parliament, Yuriy Lutsenko still edited
Hrani Plyus for a long time. That was the reason for his opponents to say
that “a journalist cannot be the interior minister”, though Lutsenko has a
technical education.

Since Lutsenko’s name is not indicated on the Hrani founders’ list, it would
be more correct to say that he is supported by this paper.

The Hrani Plyus was founded by the Third Floor Publishing House whose
majority shareholders were represented by a literary man and script writer,
Volodymyr Zhovnoruk, and a woman named Valentyna Protasova.

One of the people connected with the paper is a former member of the
National Television and Broadcasting Council, Mykola Fartushnyy. The paper
indicates its run modestly, but honestly – 8,000 copies.

[42] MYKHAYLO BRODSKYY: THE OBOZREVATEL AND KIYANY
WEBSITES —–
The founder of Kiyevskiye Vedomosti at the beginning of the 1990s, Mykhaylo
Brodskyy, again developed a taste for media projects. He gambled on the
Obozrevatel website, which he bought from Oleksandr Zinchenko.

The daily audience of Obozrevatel totals 43,000-46,000 visitors. It competes
with Korrespondent for ranking first in the Bigmir’s rating.

Despite Obozrevatel positioning itself as an influential political site, it
improves its visit indices by placing erotic information of the type Britney
Spears showed sex on the Internet”. This was the reason for Obozrevatel to
be excluded from the Bigmir rating for some time.

Having launched a number of entertainment projects, Brodskyy also has a
political capital life website – the Kiyany site. The site is known for its
anti-mayor Chernovetskyy position. Incidentally, a long time ago, in the
1998 elections, Brodskyy set up an association of voters with the same
name – Kiyany.

As an independent project, Kiyany has not justified itself yet, having an
audience of 3,000-4,000 visits a day.

[43] OLENA PRYTULA: UKRAYINSKA PRAVDA AND TABLOID
WEBSITES —–
And finally, about the newspaper on whose electronic page you have been
reading this information for half an hour already. Olena Prytula owns two
social and political websites – Ukrayinska Pravda and Tabloid.

Ukrayinska Pravda is visited by 43,000-43,000 daily, Tabloid’s relevant
figure amounting to 11,000-13,000 visitors.

Ukrayinska Pravda boasts the Ukrainian Internet popularity record –
122,000 visitors a day (registered on 27 March 2006, the next day after
the last parliamentary elections).

P.S. The article gives the figures on print runs which are indicated by the
mass media. The number of visits given according to the Bigmir is

somewhat different from the data indicated by other ratings.              -30-
————————————————————————————————-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
2. RETAIL TRADE BOOMING: EXPANSION OUT OF KYIV STARTED
              Retail trade one of fastest growing sectors of local economy

ANALYSIS: Kateryna Illyashenko, Ukraine analyst
IntelliNews-Ukraine This Week, Kyiv, Ukraine, December 25, 2006

The rapid economic growth recorded by the country in recent years has
boosted personal income and encouraged retail trade. Nominal GDP stood

at USD 81.7mn in 2005. It grew by 21.2% since 2000.

Retail trade is one of Ukraine’s fastest growing sectors of the economy.
Local retail market is the most rapidly growing in Central and Eastern
Europe.

Retail trade turnover was at USD 31.1bn in 2005. In 2000-2005 its compound
annual growth rate was 25%. Such solid advance is related to steady growth
of real disposable income of the population.

Notably, Ukrainians expenditure on food decreased to 60.2% of income in

2005 compared to 68% in 2000. At the same time the non-food spending
increased from 18.5% to 24.3% over the same period.

According to A.T. Kearney’s Global Retail development index (that measures
the attractiveness of various markets for investors) in 2005 Ukraine was
ranked third after India and Russia.
        Share of supermarkets rises from 3% in 2000 to 12% in 2005 —–
Supermarkets such as Cash & Carry stores and hypermarkets, are steadily
gaining popularity in the country. Yet, their share in total retail trade
remains relatively small. According to GFK-USM, supermarkets only have
12% share in retail trade in 2005, up from 3% in 2000.

The share of convenience stores rose from 18% to 25% over the period, partly
thanks to the development of modern discounters such as ATB-Market.

Specialized stores preserved their share at 5%during 2000-2005.
Non-organized retail is gradually declining, with the highest drop
registered by open markets, from 52% in 2000 to 43% in 1H/05.

Recently trade shopping in trade centres is becoming more popular. Also,
many local people became accustomed to naming department stores trade
centres. Some of the trade centres are reconstructed and renovated
Soviet-style department stores, but beginning in 2000, newly constructed
trade centres started to appear.

In 2005, the number of such retail outlets was still growing. However, the
most rapid development of this trade format was seen in Kyiv.

The Kvadrat chain bought large plots of land close to popular open
non-grocery markets and built trade centres there. In order to improve the
accessibility of these trade centres Kvadrat also constructed new exits from
the underground stations.

Because the new trade centres were built near these open markets the company
hopes that most of the open market retailers will move to these trade
centres, especially when rents there decrease. This will lead to a reduction
of the number of non-grocery markets in Kyiv.
    High level of retail competition in Kiev leads to regional expansion —–
In Kyiv, the level of competition among retailers increased to the point
that the leading companies decided top expand to other regions of the
country. However, still Kyiv has the fastest growth rate of retail trade.

Cities that have over one million inhabitants were the first to see retail
development, as consumer disposable incomes were highest there. By the

end of 2006 the most attractive city for retailers was Dnepropetrovsk.

Although it already has several established trade centres and supermarket
chains and a number of convenience stores, there is still a lot of room for
further growth.
          Hotels, retails and catering are targets for chain operators —–
Hotels, retail and catering outlets (called ‘horeca’ by locals) that were
renovated after the end of the Soviet era became acquisition targets for
large chain operators.

Because there are still relatively few Ukrainians who own cars, the leading
chain operators try to place their stores near to consumers’ homes. The
other alternative is to get the well established grocery stores in the
central areas, which can be easily reached by public transport.
          Fozzy Group largest wholesale, retail operator owns supermarket

                                           chain Silpo —–
The Fozzy Group Corporation is the leading wholesale and retail operator in
Ukraine, owning the largest retail chain Silpo. The trade structure of group
(hypermarkets, supermarkets and discounters) is more efficient for getting
goods to the broader customer base, compared to most of competitors.

The Silpo chain is the largest supermarket chain in the country, with 100
stores in Kiev and regions. Silpo supermarkets are self-service stores, with
the assortment of 6000-12000 articles of food and non-foods, depending on
the sales area of the store. The prices in these shops are average and below
average.

The average monthly turnover of the chain is more than UAH 180mn (USD
36mn).The average sales area of a supermarket is 1200m2. The total sales
area in 2001 was 6000m2, in 2002 – 27,000m2.

The first store was opened in Mar 2001 in Kyiv and by the end of the year
there were 5 stores, in 2002 – 20 stores in Kyiv, Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk and
Zaporozh’e. In 2003 the company had 40 stores (18 – in Kiev, 7 – in
Dnepropetrovsk, 8 – in Odessa, 2 – in Zaporozh’e and one – in Khmelnitskiy,
Rovno, Nikolaev, Chernovtsy and Cherkassy each). The group plans further
expansion in 2007.

The discounter chain Fora has average sales area of 400m2. This chain is
also a part of Fozzy group. The assortment can be described as basic most
demanded goods, with no more than 4 brands in each category. Normally
around 6000 products are present in each store.

Discounter is a compact self-service store for everyday purchases (the sales
area is no more than 1000m2), offering the top demand goods (mostly food
products) at the lowest prices. The closest analogue to discounter in the
former USSR was gastronome. The trade turnover of Fora in 2002 was USD
150mn.
                Fozzy group purchased grocery chain Dnepryanka —–
The Fozzy group purchased in 2003 purchased the grocery chain Dnepryanka
to further develop its discounter chain For a. It refurnished the sales
outlets to and made them more up-to-date and economically effective. The

market capacity for discounters in Kiev is about 150-200 stores. In other cities
with population of about 1mn the capacity is around 50 stores.
           Furshet second largest retail chain operates 58 supermarkets —–
Furshet is the second largest nation-wide retail chain operating 58
supermarkets under the Furshet brand. The group comprises an operating
holding company and a real estate holding company, both registered in
Ukraine.

The group’s sales in 2005 totalled USD 348mn, which was 62 %y/y increase.

In 2007, Furshet plans to boost turnover by 42-50%, from USD 600mn to
USD 850-900mn.

By the end of the year, the company expects to get a USD 90mn loan from the
EBRD. In 2007 the company also plans to carry out IPO and expects to raise
up to USD 400mn from the share placements.

By mid-July this year, Anthousa Limited owned 63.2421% stake in Furshet
stocks. In addition 17.2632% stake in the company was held by an undisclosed
resident individual, according to the State Commission on Securities and
Stock Market.
                       Metro Cash & Carry enters Ukraine in 2002 —–
Metro Cash & Carry Ukraine is a part of a large international retail and
trading holding Metro Group. Metro Cash & Carry invested more than EUR
 220mn in the development of its chain in the country.

Velyka Kyshenya operates 23 supermarkets, ranks fifth among local top
supermarket chains

The Velyka Kyshenya Group was established in 1998, and currently operates 23
Velyka Kyshenya (VK) supermarkets, 15 of which are located in Kyiv and 8 in
other large cities.

The group enjoyed sales of more than USD 230mn in 2005, ranking among the
top five supermarket chains in the country. VK currently consists of two
companies, including: – OJSC Retail Group, which is 88% controlled by Roman
Lunin and 12% by eight institutional investors (mostly European private
equity funds and asset management companies), and – OJSC Aeroholding, which
is 100% controlled by Lunin.
              ATB-Market opens first store in Dnepropetrovsk in 1993 —–
ATB-Market company is a part of ATB corporation; the corporation was set up
in 1993 in Dnepropetrovsk and its first store was opened there at the same
time.

The corporation also owns Berezka meat processor, Kviten confectionary
plant, and other enterprises. ATB-Market supermarket chain now contains more
than 120 stores in the central and eastern regions of Ukraine.
        Trade centres open everywhere in Ukraine, but still mostly in Kyiv —–
Alta Centre, Globus, Mandarin Plaza, Karavan, Kvadrat and Ukraina  biggest
trade centres in Kyiv Over the past couple of years the number of trade
centres the capital demonstrated solid growth. Such centres as Alta centre,
Globus, Mandarin Plaza, Karavan, Kvadrat and Gorodok were opened.

Alta Centre contains a big supermarket, two department stores and several
family restaurants of various cuisines along with the numerous shops for
clothes, sports wear, footwear, cosmetics and perfumery and souvenirs.

The Globus shopping centre is one of the largest retail outlets in the
country. There are 192 shops the on 3 floors, two of which are underground.

The 7-story Mandarin-Plaza shopping centre features stores offering goods of
every sort and kind. It has several fashionable upper market boutiques with
the latest collections of the world-renowned designers.

Karavan Mega Store opened on October 31, 2003. The hypermarket occupies an
area of 8,000m2 and sells over 55,000 products, out of which about 35% are
foodstuffs.

Ukraina Shopping Mall was converted in 2003 to a new-generation trade
centre, offering the highest standard services and entertainment facilities
alongside traditional retail trade. In Dec 2006 Irish Quinn Group purchased
93% stake in Kyiv-based Ukraina Shopping Mall from American NCH Advisors
for USD 59mn.

The first trade centre under the Kvadrat brand name has been put into
operation in 1999, which marked the beginning of non-residential real estate
market development. Three more shopping centres were put into operation in
2000 under the same brand name Kvadrat.
              Asnova Holding, Cosmo Ltd are main competitors in cosmetics,

                                               toiletries market —–
Competition in the sector for household goods, cosmetics and toiletries is
frail, and the market is segmented. Top 3 retailers account for only 12% of
the market.

Asnova Holding and Cosmo Ltd, which operate DC and Cosmo chains,
account for 7% and 3% of the market respectively.

Both concentrate in perfume, personal care and household chemicals and offer
comparable assortment of goods and attractive loyalty schemes. Cosmo also
expands via franchising, and it already has three outlets working under such
agreements.

Brocard closely follows the top two, with a market share of just under 2%,
although it specializes in perfumes only. Its outlets also have larger
trading area compared with DC and Kosmo.
                         Ikea plans to enter Ukrainian market in 2007 —–
Following the boom in retail sector foreign companies tried hart to get in
the country. Swedish furniture producer and retailer IKEA tried to enter the
market for past couple of years, but it encountered problems with finding a
suitable piece of land very close to Kyiv. In addition it had to deal with
the bureaucratic obstacles.

The deal was finally signed in November and the company expects to finish
building IKEA trade centre by end of 2007.  The company plans to invest USD
1.7bn in total in outlet construction and setting up production in Ukraine.
     Marks and Spencer leases 1,000m2 to open its first department store —–
British clothing retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) will open its first
department store in capital city Kyiv no sooner than 2007. The British store
operator has leased 1,000m2 of retail space on the third floor of Kyiv’s
shopping and entertainment centre Comod from mall owner and real estate
developer Ukrainian Trade Guild (UTG).
    Despite boom in retail market, players still face number of problems —–
Even though the country’s retail market is booming, still a number of
problems are faced by the companies. They are related to low living
standards, high investment risk and expensive rents s for foreign investors.

In addition, Ukraine’s business practices and market rules vary from the
normally accepted in Europe, which hampers expansion ambitions. Another
factor is the lack trade space available in major cities.              -30-
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3. UKRAINE: QUICK, DIRTY FIX TO A LONG-TERM ENERGY PROBLEM

By Roman Kupchinsky, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, December 21, 2006

Officials have recently touted plans to diversify Ukraine’s energy balance
by turning to a familiar and readily available resource — coal. RFE/RL
regional analyst Roman Kupchinsky looks at whether the country’s ailing
coal-mining industry is up to the challenge.

WASHINGTON, December 21, 2006 (RFE/RL) — The specifics of
Ukraine’s coal initiative have been made more clear since Prime Minister
Viktor Yanukovych first floated the idea during his visit to the United
States.

During his speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in
Washington on December 4, Yanukovych reasoned that Ukraine’s coal
reserves would be an obvious solution to the country’s efforts to reduce its
dependence on natural gas.
                                                BIG DIG
Upon his return, Yanukovych and Coal Industry Minister Serhiy Tulub
announced that Ukraine plans to build seven new coal mines.

“We will begin developing the technical-economic projections next year,”
Tulub told Interfax, adding that construction would begin in 2008.

Coal Industry Ministry officials estimate that Ukraine would have to invest
20 billion hryvnas ($3.9 billion) into the project at a time when it is
being prodded by the West to close down inefficient mines and retrain
miners.

Ukraine’s coal production is already significant. In 2004, Ukraine imported
6.5 million tons despite mining 59.7 million tons of washed coal of its own.
The new mines would increase annual output by 17.7 million tons

Estimates of the country’s coal reserves vary. The World Energy Council
estimates Ukraine’s reserves at 52 billion tons — 8th largest in the world.
The Ukrainian government in 2006 put its estimate at 117.5 billion tons.

Ukraine’s appetite for coal is voracious. It currently accounts for 40
percent of the fuel used in power plants, 10 percent in district heating
plants, and 45 percent in industry.

But the country’s dependence on foreign gas is equally great — and the
immediacy of its need to address the issue became crystal clear early in the
year when Russian gas cut-offs and price negotiations made life miserable
for citizens and the politicians who represent them.
                                   NEWFOUND URGENCY
The suggestion of increasing coal production as a solution to Ukraine’s
overdependence on Central Asian and Russia gas is not a new one. It has been
mentioned numerous times by the various administrations in Kyiv, yet none
went so far as to construct new mines.

A lack of urgency — one that no longer exists — was one factor. When
Turkmen and Russian gas destined for Ukraine was priced artificially low,
former President Leonid Kuchma’s government did not see the need to rush
into expanding coal production.

Rampant corruption within the coal industry was another reason. Long
regarded as one of the most corruption-prone industries in Ukraine, coal
mining is the mainstay of regional coal barons and clans in the Donbas
region.

These powerful figures have been able to exercise their political influence
by calling strikes that can threaten to cripple the national economy. Few in
Kyiv have been willing to challenge the barons — or hand them more power
by building new mines.
                                        BAD ECONOMICS
 In addition, the overall inefficiency of coal mining in Ukraine has scared
away foreign investors, while geological factors have made coal mining in
Ukraine an expensive, inefficient, and dangerous business.

In the Donbas region, for instance, 35 percent of the coal beds are “steep
enough to make extraction of coal possible only by hand,” according to the
International Energy Agency (IEA). This leads to highly dangerous working
conditions and accounts for the high mortality rate among coal miners in
Ukraine.

These realities have led the World Bank and other lending institutions to
suggest for years that Ukraine would be better off giving up on trying to
rehabilitate its aging and injury-plagued mines. The construction of seven
new large mines would mark a complete reversal of this thinking.

More miners would be needed, requiring the construction of housing, medical
facilities, sports and recreational clubs, schools, and transportation
networks. A determination would also have to be made on whether the new
mines would be state-owned or private.

In 2001, the government launched a program whereby it would first
denationalize mines, then corporatize them, and finally auction them off to
strategic investors. By 2003 privatizations were delayed and the mines were
reorganized into state enterprises.

An underlying, and potentially more serious long-term issue, however, is
Yanukovych’s readiness to resort to a quick fix to Ukraine’s energy crisis
when the opportunity to implement conservation programs and find efficient
fuel alternatives has presented itself.

Ultimately, the increased use of its coal reserves will reduce Ukraine’s
dependency on Gazprom and Turkmen gas. But that success will come at the
expense of efforts to lower carbon emissions and to correct environmental
damage incurred from past abuses. In addition, the country will be missing
the chance to adopt a forward-thinking solution to the problem of ensuring
future energy supplies.                              -30-
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http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/12/38d5859e-d37e-43e3-b289-fe6b8c1dbedc.html
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4. UKRAINIAN AUDITORS REPORT ABUSES IN STATE OIL, GAS CO

Inter TV, Kiev, in Russian 1900 gmt 26 Dec 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tue, Dec 26, 2006

KYIV – [Presenter] The ineffective work of [state oil and gas company]
Naftohaz Ukrayiny in 2005 and the first half of 2006 cost the state more
than 2bn hryvnyas [about 400m dollars].

That is the result of a check by the Main Auditing Directorate. The
company’s former management categorically deny all the accusations. Yuliya
Berezovska has looked into the situation.

[Correspondent] The Main Auditing Directorate has reported on fulfilling the
Cabinet of Ministers’ instructions. They checked how Naftohaz was doing when
it was headed by Oleksiy Ivchenko, who is now an [pro-presidential] Our
Ukraine MP.

They took the task seriously. The Security Service of Ukraine, State Tax
Administration and Anti-Monopoly Committee also took part in the check. The
General-Prosecutor’s Office has received materials for nine criminal cases.

[Oleksandr Ivolin, captioned as department director at Main Auditing
Directorate, in Ukrainian] Operations that bore signs of being suspicious,
or were altogether inexpedient and did not bring benefits, came to more than
500m [hryvnyas]. What were direct violations also came to around 500m. The
total is over 2bn hryvnyas [as heard].

[Correspondent] The data on the results of the check are not available to
journalists. For this, there should be special permission from the
government. But in early 2005, [Fuel and Energy Minister] Yuriy Boyko’s
departure from the post of Naftohaz head was also accompanied by serious
checks and there were claims too.

The main conclusion of the audit commission is that virtually nothing has
changed in the activity of Naftohaz over the last three years – the same
violations and dubious operations. In addition, Naftohaz entered the first
half of 2006 with huge debts of almost 10bn hryvnyas.

Oleksiy Ivchenko says that he has not seen the results of the check. But he
is convinced that they were fabricated.

[Ivchenko, in Ukrainian] Nothing other than a political order and the wish
to create a show around Naftohaz and to distract attention from the real
problems that now exist in the fuel and energy sector. That’s why the
prosecution service and the Main Auditing Directorate hold such press
conferences.

[Correspondent] Ivchenko describes himself without excessive modesty as

the most effective head of Naftohaz. But the conclusions of international
auditors suggest otherwise. The company is on the verge of bankruptcy.
The current management have big plans for next year.

[Oleksandr Kovalko, captioned as deputy head of Naftohaz Ukrayiny, in
Ukrainian] All the company’s spending and its financial policy are being
reviewed.

[Correspondent] Government support gives the company confidence. So it
shouldn’t go into bankruptcy.                              -30-
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5.                                         GAS BATTLE

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Serhiy Danylov, NOMOS Centre
Zerkalo Nedeli On The Web, Mirror Weekly, No 49 (628)
International Social Political Weekly
Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, 23-29 December 2006

On the energy map of the world, Eurasia is one region where the global hunt
for energy sources carries on unabated. All the regional players can be
categorized either as “hunters”, “predators” or “prey”.

Traditionally, global “hunters” have been the USA, EU, China and India,
whose continued economic operation and development would be impossible
without imported energy resources. The role of “prey” has been played by the
Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Caspian states that possess energy
resources.

Among them, Turkmenistan stands out as the world’s third biggest gas field.
The country is currently producing 68 billion cubic meters of gas per year
(2006 projection); it is expected to raise production to 120 billion cubic
meters by 2010 and to double the latter volume by 2020.

At present, Turkmenistan also produces 9 million tons of oil annually, while
the late President had planned to boost this indicator to 48 million tons by
2010 and to 100 million tons by 2020.

Hovering over this Central Asian state is the “predator” who has managed to
take almost total control of Turkmen gas resources over the last three
years.

With the death of the Great Serdar (leader) of all Turkmen on Thursday, 21
December, a lack of clarity increases risks for the Russian Federation. On
Friday, 22 December, Vladimir Putin was in Kyiv, but his thoughts were in
Ashgabat.

In November, Russian governmental analysts prepared a report for their
President on the reduction in Russian gas reserves starting next year. They
estimate the 2007 shortage of gas to amount to 4.2 billion cubic meters. The
long-term forecast is gloomier still: by 2010 the shortage will approximate
27.7 billion cubic meters, and by 2015, 46.6 billion cubic meters.

At a meeting of the Russian government held on 23 November, Prime Minister
Mikhail Fradkov indicated that the challenge of decreasing power supplies is
“complex and long-term”.

Neither the current production level, nor the development of new deposits in
Russia guarantees that GASPROM will be able to fulfill all of its
obligations.

Back in April, A.Riazanov, ex-Vice CEO of GASPROM, claimed the company
had no new major gas deposits left. Some Russian experts predict that in the
next three to four years GASPROM will have problems maintaining its gas
balance.

Hence the Russian Federation’s hectic activity vis-a-vis Turkmenistan, its
gas and pipes over the last three to four years. Moscow has anticipated the
impending problems and has been looking to Central Asian gas, first and
foremost from Turkmenistan, as a salutary solution.

According to the Russian-Turkmen agreement on natural gas supplies (valid
for 25 years), Turkmenistan is to supply 70-80 billion cubic meters of gas
per year, at least until 2009.

Thus, Russia will be doing its best to preserve its status quo in
Turkmenistan at any cost; otherwise, in case of another long and bitter
winter with 40 degrees of frost, the country could fold and default on its
obligations to supply gas not only to the EU countries, but also to the
domestic market.

Yet Russia is not the only country that will be trying to shape the
situation in post-Niyazov Turkmenistan. Washington, Brussels, Beijing,
Teheran and Ankara are also writing their scenarios and designing models
of catching the “prey”.

In principles, the above states are interested in Turkmenistan’s stability
and civil peace, which is clearly testified by the official statements made
in the world’s leading capitals on Thursday.

However, it is the “concern” for Turkmenistan’s stability that could
eventually destabilize it, not only because the Turkmen society is living
through the so-called “1953 effect” (as for the majority of the country’s
population Niyazov’s death is as crushing a blow as Stalin’s death was to
most Soviet people), but also because different world powers understand
Turkmenistan’s stability differently.

Moscow wants to tighten its embrace of Ashgabat in the hope that it will be
easier to bring pressure to bear on the new rulers than it was on the
wayward Father of all Turkmen.

For example, they could be more responsive to the idea of founding Gas-
OPEC, particularly if their Russian counterparts resort to the popular
“Putin cocktail” of political pressure, corruption and blackmail shaken by

skillful secret services.

Beijing looks forward to the implementation of the general agreement on
developing gas deposits, building a Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline and
supplying 30 billion cubic meters of Turkmen gas to China per year starting
2009. The agreement was signed on 3 April 2006.

China will also strive to secure a contract for developing shelf oil-and-gas
deposits in the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea coastline. Teheran will
associate stability in Turkmenistan with Islamic rule and enhanced
cooperation in the gas industry.

Ankara will be concerned not only about retaining Ashgabat within the sphere
of Great Turan but also about strengthening pan-Turkic orientation while
weakening pro-Iranian ones, as well as about channeling gas to Turkey via
the Caspian Sea region and the Southern Caucasus.

Washington and Brussels will hurry to reanimate the Trans-Caspian project,
enabling Turkmenistan to sell gas on European markets without GASPROM’s
mediation.

The late Turkmen leader and his entourage were always in favour of this
project as they dreamt of gas prices that would be much more attractive than
the GASPROM ones. For those dreams to come true, a direct access to
European market was necessary.

Some would argue that Turkmenistan’s democratic development is also an
option: there is an opposition, albeit fairly heterogeneous, disunited and
operating beyond the land of gas, cotton and sand. Or course, it could risk
returning to the country and being repressed by the totalitarian regime,
which may well outlive its founder.

Democratic scenarios for Turkmenistan are unlikely to materialize since gas,
notwithstanding its volatile nature, will prevail over democracy, not only
from Russia’s perspective (which is not surprising at all) but also from
that of Europe and the USA.

That is understandable, given the high prices of energy resources, and the
fresh memory of last winter’s gas wars in Europe. Everyone seems happy

with the status-quo in Turkmenistan.

So everyone will work toward preventing other parties from taking over the
local gas resources, which could undermine the fragile internal peace that
used to be rooted in Niyazov’s domination over numerous clans.

In the context of the dialogue between Moscow and Brussels, which took on
a somewhat dramatic shade after the Russian-Ukrainian gas conflict last
January, the European Commission made a correct but belated step. Pierre
Morel, EU Special Envoy for Central Asia, and Astrid Wolf, German Charge
d’Affaires in Turkmenistan, met with Saparmurat Niyazov in Ashgabat on 18
December.

Brussels voiced its concern over the EU inability to purchase gas directly
from the former Soviet Republics, since all the gas had been sold to the
Russian Federation.

They also discussed the Trans-Caspian pipeline project, which, once
realized, would allow Turkmenistan more freedom in export policy and an
access to the EU market.

Moscow fears the latter prospect and is closely watching the regional
developments, in particular Germany’s intensified activity in Central Asia.

On 2 November, German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeyer paid
an official visit to Ashgabat and met with the Turkmen President.

Brussels planned to draft a special memorandum on strategic cooperation in
the energy sector with Turkmenistan, analogous to those with Azerbaijan,
Kazakhstan and Ukraine – countries with considerable energy resources or
transit-potential capable of affecting the security of the EU’s energy
resources. Now the signing of this memorandum is a toss-up.

What about Ukraine? The country used to hold a very strong trade and
economic position in Turkmenistan in the early 1990s but has since
surrendered it.

Since 2003 it has been following the GASPROM lead in the region. Today
its chances could improve but it is unlikely to regain is former standing:
Turkmenistan views Ukraine as an outsider acting in the shadow of
RosUkrEnergo.

Kyiv should cooperate with Brussels in building a platform for influence in
this small country, critical for the uneasy energy peace in the world, so as
to preclude the turbulence following the Turkmen leader’s demise from
growing into a Eurasian gas tornado with a “domino” effect.           -30-
————————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.mirror-weekly.com/ie/show/628/55461/
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6.    REGAL BOUNCES BACK AFTER UKRAINE VICTORY

By Rebecca Bream, Financial Times, London, UK, Tue, Dec 12 2006

Regal Petroleum, the Aim-listed oil and gas group, on Tuesday won a
long-running court battle for control of important Ukrainian gasfields,
sending its shares up 15 per cent.

But the victory will result in a large number of Regal shares being awarded
to a little-known Ukrainian businessman who helped it win the case.

The Supreme Court of Ukraine on Tuesday dismissed all claims brought by
Chernihivnaftogasgeologia (CNGG), a Ukrainian government agency and
Regal’s former joint venture partner on its gasfields.

CNGG had successfully challenged the legality of Regal’s gas production
licences in court. But the court ruled the licences were valid, and that its
ruling could not be challenged.

Regal’s shares have suffered from the uncertainty in regard to its main
asset, and in February fell as low as 35p. The stock rose 23p to 182p on
Tuesday.

In August, Regal signed a deal with Alberry Limited – a company registered
in the British Virgin Islands and controlled by Dmytro Galfendbeyn, a
Ukrainian – to help it win the case. Regal sold 15 per cent of its Ukraine
subsidiary to Alberry Limited for only £100,000.

Alberry agreed to liaise with Ukrainian authorities on behalf of Regal, and
to “use its best endeavours” to secure its gas licences.

Regal agreed if Mr Galfendbeyn was successful, the company would buy
back Alberry’s 15 per cent stake in the Ukrainian business for $50.9m.

Frank Timis, founder and largest shareholder of Regal Petroleum, said on
Tuesday Mr Galfendbeyn had “helped the company substantially by monitoring
the situation” with the Ukrainian courts, and he had “strong relationships”
in the country.

There would be no cash payment to Mr Galfendbeyn. He would receive
$50.9m Regal shares and not be allowed to sell for two years. At today’s
market value, Mr Galfendbeyn would control slightly more than 10 per cent.
—————————————————————————————————
LINK: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/215be26c-8a27-11db-ae27-0000779e2340.html
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7.                               A WILDCATTER IN KIEV

By Andrew Hill, Financial Times, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, Dec 13 2006

Oil’s pioneers have explored some inhospitable territory in their time, but
on a strict measure of reward earned for risk undergone, Dmytro Galfendbeyn
stands comparison with the bravest of them.

For just over four months’ work in the hostile environs of the Supreme Court
of Ukraine, Mr G is due to receive $50.9m from Regal Petroleum for an
investment of just $100,000.

Regal shareholders have benefited from Mr Galfendbeyn’s efforts to secure
disputed gas production licences. When the consultant’s vehicle, Alberry,
bought its stake in Regal’s Ukrainian subsidiary in August, the group’s
stock stood at 84p and it has more than doubled since.

Still, the deal with Mr Galfendbeyn was both opaque and extravagant and
details of how it will be honoured have yet to be made public.

To convince investors that they really got their money’s worth will require
some extraordinary sleight of hand by Frank Timis, the group’s founder and
lead shareholder, or an amazing contribution from Regal’s Ukrainian assets
in future, or both.                                          -30-
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http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0e460586-8a4f-11db-ae27-0000779e2340.html
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8.  UNITED STATES PROBES POSSIBLE CRIME LINKS TO
                          RUSSIAN NATURAL-GAS DEALS

By Glenn R. Simpson, The Wall Street Journal
New York, NY, Friday, December 22, 2006; Page A1

Amid growing concern about Europe’s energy dependence on Russia, U.S.
authorities are investigating possible links between one of that country’s
top organized crime figures and multibillion-dollar natural-gas deals
between Russia and Ukraine.

The wide-ranging inquiry focuses on 60-year-old Semion Mogilevich, one of
the FBI’s most-wanted men, who is viewed by law-enforcement agencies as
one of the world’s most-sophisticated international criminals.

U.S. officials have long expressed concern that his operations foster
high-level official corruption throughout the former Soviet Union,
underwriting criminal activities ranging from prostitution and drug dealing
to stock fraud.

Their concern has only grown as Russia has tightened its grip on the vast
oil and gas resources of Central Asia and shown a growing willingness to
brandish energy as a political weapon. The European Union gets a quarter of
its natural gas from Russia, most of which is shipped by pipeline across
Ukraine.

That puts Mr. Mogilevich close to one of Europe’s most vital economic
crossroads at a time when the West is focusing on the failure of Russian
President Vladimir Putin to check rampant organized crime and corporate
corruption in Russia.

The U.S. is worried that the Russian mafia will spread its influence in the
energy industry and use its natural-gas profits to increase its economic and
political clout.

Mr. Mogilevich couldn’t be reached for comment. A Moscow lawyer who has
worked with him declined to comment yesterday. In a 1999 interview with the
British Broadcasting Corp., Mr. Mogilevich described himself as a
businessman involved in commodities trading.

In 2002, Mr. Mogilevich and an associate, Igor Fisherman, were indicted in
Philadelphia on charges of money-laundering and securities fraud in
connection with the collapse of YBM Magnex Inc., a Pennsylvania-based
company registered in Canada.

Prosecutors allege that the two men used fraudulent accounting records and a
network of shell companies to manipulate YBM Magnex’s stock, then laundered
the profits of their stock sales through numerous banks.

Messrs. Mogilevich and Fisherman haven’t responded to the U.S. charges, and,
according to the FBI, they now live in Moscow. The U.S. and Russia have no
extradition treaty.

In their natural-gas investigation, senior U.S. prosecutors and agents of
the Federal Bureau of Investigation are focusing on connections between Mr.
Mogilevich and a Cyprus-registered company called Highrock Holding Ltd.

that has played a role in several multibillion-dollar gas deals, according to
current and former law-enforcement officials.

Highrock, which has operations in Moscow, Tel Aviv and the Ukrainian capital
of Kiev, supplies consumer goods and other products to Turkmenistan and
other Central Asian gas producers in exchange for billions of cubic meters
of natural gas.

The gas is then shipped to customers in Ukraine and other East European
countries over pipelines owned by Russian gas giant OAO Gazprom.

Until June of 2003, the wives of Messrs. Mogilevich and Fisherman were

among Highrock’s major shareholders, say people familiar with the
company’s operations.

While the wives are no longer listed as shareholders, authorities are
investigating whether their husbands retain an interest in the venture. The
officials say they have yet to reach any definitive conclusions.

A Ukrainian businessman named Dimytro Firtash, now Highrock’s principal
owner, says he removed the two men’s wives from Highrock in 2003, soon after
he learned they were involved with the company. Mr. Firtash says a former
partner had brought in Mr. Mogilevich as an investor without his knowledge.

The U.S. investigation, which is being led by the Justice Department’s
Organized Crime and Racketeering Section, began early this year, shortly
after Moscow’s brief cutoff of natural-gas shipments to Ukraine in a price
dispute sparked an international crisis. The January cutoff came during a
cold snap, throwing Europe’s energy dependence on Russia into sharp relief.

The crisis was resolved when a previously little-known firm called
RosUkrenErgo came forward to act as a middleman and broker a compromise.
The company, known as RUE, said it was half-owned by Gazprom, but for
months it refused to identify its other owners.

After The Wall Street Journal reported in April that RUE was under
investigation by the Justice Department’s organized-crime unit, Highrock’s
owner, Mr. Firtash, came forward saying he was RUE’s other owner. Today,
RUE supplies gas to several other European countries, including Poland and
Hungary.

The U.S. investigation’s focus on Messrs. Mogilevich and Fisherman is only
now emerging. In recent months, agents have questioned several witnesses in
Central and Eastern Europe about their knowledge of Mr. Mogilevich’s role in
Highrock, people with knowledge of the inquiry said.

The investigation is concentrating on Mr. Mogilevich’s former base of
operations in Budapest. For the past six years, the FBI has maintained a
special unit in the Hungarian capital largely devoted to the investigation
of the Mogilevich organization.

According to law-enforcement officials, the FBI team is being aided by
authorities in Israel, another of Mr. Mogilevich’s suspected bases of
operations, and Cyprus, an offshore banking center used by many Russians.
Spokesmen for the Justice Department and the FBI declined to comment on
that matter because it is under investigation.

Global Witness, a London-based watchdog group that monitors the exploitation
of natural resources, published a report earlier this year questioning the
ownership of RUE, Highrock, and several other firms at the center of the
Asian-European natural-gas trade.

“There are still too many unanswered questions about these men and the
interests they may or may not serve,” says Global Witness researcher Tom
Mayne. “Gazprom is a major supplier of energy to Europe, so there is a
pressing need for more transparency about what is going on in the gas
trade.”

According to his FBI “Wanted” notice, Mr. Mogilevich, a heavy smoker who
weighs nearly 300 pounds, was born in Kiev. He earned a degree in economics
from the University of Lvov, according to people familiar with his
background.

He lived in Israel in the early 1990s, then moved to Hungary in 1995, the
FBI says. He was also a prominent figure in a 1998-2006 probe of money
laundering at the Bank of New York but wasn’t charged in the case.

A substantial part of the natural-gas probe revolves around a network of
companies, known as the Itera Group, that dominate the Russia-Ukraine
natural-gas trade through their close relationship with Gazprom.

Itera, which is based in Moscow and Jacksonville, Fla., says it is the
third-largest gas company in Russia. It has been Gazprom’s partner in many
gas deals that critics say didn’t make business sense for Gazprom.

Itera Chairman Igor Makarov was a business partner of Mr. Firtash. According
to Mr. Firtash, Highrock worked closely with Itera for years, providing
goods to the Central Asian nations that supplied Itera with natural gas.

In 2000, Olga Shnayder, a private lawyer who worked with Itera, set up
Highrock and several offshore affiliates of the company, according to
corporate records and statements by Mr. Firtash.

The Highrock entity in Cyprus had three shareholders, one of which was
Agatheas Trading Ltd., also of Cyprus. One director of Agatheas was Galina
Telesh — Mr. Mogilevich’s wife. People involved in the U.S. inquiry say she
represented her husband and Mr. Fisherman’s combined one-third interest in
Highrock.

Ms. Shnayder is listed in Russian corporate records as part-owner of a
well-known Moscow funeral-home business previously owned by a company
called Arigon Ltd.

According to the Justice Department indictment of Mr. Mogilevich and his
associates, “defendant Mogilevich was a 40% shareholder of Arigon, and
controlled its operations.”

Ms. Shnayder, reached through the funeral-home offices, denied that she

was an owner of the funeral home. She said it would be “a violation of
client-attorney privilege” to comment on whether Mr. Mogilevich or Itera’s
Mr. Makarov are her clients.

She also declined to say whether she created Highrock. Itera didn’t respond
to requests for comment at its U.S. and Moscow offices; in the past, Mr.
Makarov has denied having a relationship with Mr. Mogilevich.

The FBI is also conducting a separate corruption inquiry into Itera’s ties
to Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, a senior Republican in Congress.

His daughter, Karen Weldon, a lobbyist, received at least $500,000 in
lobbying fees in 2002 from U.S.-based Itera Energy LLC. Rep. Weldon
subsequently praised Itera in public statements. He denies any wrongdoing.
————————————————————————————————–
Guy Chazan contributed to this article. Write to Glenn R. Simpson at
glenn.simpson@wsj.com
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http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116675522912457466.html?mod=hps_us_pageone
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9.       LAWMAKER’S FILES SOUGHT BY GRAND JURY
    The subpoena in the corruption probe went out before Rep. Curt Weldon
                              lost his seat. It’s unclear if he reported it.

By Richard B. Schmitt, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, CA, Fri, December 22, 2006

WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury has subpoenaed congressional records

from Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) as part of an escalating Justice Department
corruption probe aimed at determining whether Weldon used his influence to
win favors for family members, people familiar with the investigation said.

The previously unreported subpoena was issued by a grand jury in Washington
before the November election, although it is unclear when Weldon received
it.

The 10-term lawmaker was at the time in a tight race to retain his seat
representing the Philadelphia suburbs, which he subsequently lost to
Democrat Joe Sestak, a retired Navy vice admiral.

Weldon has said public disclosure of the Justice Department investigation,
which came three weeks before election day, was politically motivated. He
said at the time that he was not aware of any investigation and that he had
done nothing wrong. An attorney for Weldon, William J. Winning, did not
return messages Thursday seeking comment.

House rules require members of Congress to promptly report the receipt of
subpoenas to the leadership when Congress is in session. Notice of the
subpoena is then customarily published in the Congressional Record. A

search of the record Thursday did not turn up evidence that Weldon had
disclosed the subpoena.

It is possible that the lawmaker did not receive the subpoena until after
Congress adjourned following the election, when different reporting rules
would have applied. He still would have been required to notify the
leadership, but in that case the subpoena would not become public in the
Congressional Record until Congress reconvenes in January.

Weldon formerly held the powerful vice chairmanship of the House Armed
Services Committee and was a leading voice in Washington on the affairs of
former Eastern bloc nations. The FBI is investigating whether he traded his
influence to get lobbying business for his daughter Karen and others.

Karen Weldon and Charles Sexton, a close friend and political advisor to the
lawmaker, operated Solutions North America. Investigators are examining
about $1 million in contracts from foreign clients that Weldon may have
helped steer to the firm.

The corruption probe became known on Oct. 16, when the FBI searched six
sites in Philadelphia and Jacksonville, Fla. They included the lobbying firm
run by Weldon’s daughter and one of its clients, a Russian company, Itera
International Energy Corp.

The Times reported in 2004 that Solutions North America won contracts from
companies or individuals that Weldon tried to help. The beneficiaries
included two struggling Russian firms and a Serbian family linked to accused
war criminal Slobodan Milosevic.

The Times reported that Itera was paying Solutions $500,000 a year for
public relations help around the same time that Weldon was extolling the
energy company and helping round up 30 congressional colleagues for a

dinner honoring the firm’s chairman.

Weldon said at the time of the October searches that he had “no
communication or contact with anyone, nobody from the Justice Department”
about an investigation and had not been told that he was a target of any
probe.

Another lawyer for Weldon, William B. Canfield, said at the time that the
House Ethics Committee had reviewed the matter and that it had been
resolved, although the report has never been made public. Canfield could

not be reached Thursday.

The FBI subsequently opened an investigation into whether law enforcement
officials illegally leaked information about the Weldon probe to the press.
It is illegal for government officials to reveal grand jury material
publicly.

Legal experts said the fact that Weldon lost his seat did not relieve him of
the obligation to report the subpoena.

“If they were served with a subpoena before the House adjourned, then they
were supposed to give notice immediately,” said Charles Tiefer, a University
of Baltimore law professor and a former counsel to the House.

“For a member not reelected, the rules are no different,” Tiefer said. But
he observed that the House has virtually no power to sanction former members
for violations of its rules.  (rick.schmitt@latimes.com)
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http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-weldon22dec22,1,7513922.story
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10.       PUTIN VOWS TO MAINTAIN UKRAINE GAS FLOW

By Roman Olearchyk in Kiev, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, December 22 2006

Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, promised on Friday to keep natural gas
flowing to Ukraine even if supplies from gas-rich Turkmenistan faltered
following the death of Saparmurat Niyazov, the Turkmen leader.

Mr Putin played down fears of a repeat of gas cuts experienced last winter
in Ukraine and Europe should Turkmenistan supplies be affected by a
power struggle in the former Soviet republic.

“Russia always guaranteed and guarantees it will fulfil all of its
obligations on gas supplies, including the free transit of Turkmen gas,” the
president said, sitting alongside Viktor Yushchenko, his Ukrainian
counterpart. “We are ready to consider the possibility of providing
additional volumes of gas.”

Mr Putin was in Kiev to repair relations strained ever since the Orange
Revolution of 2004 propelled the pro-western Mr Yushchenko to the
presidency.

Mr Yushchenko has shifted the former Soviet state’s foreign policy away from
Moscow’s grip, instituting plans for integration with the European Union and
Nato military alliance.

Last year Russia cut gas exports to Ukraine, causing shortages across Europe
in a bitter dispute over price rises. The dispute ended after Kiev conceded
to a near doubling of the price.

This autumn, Ukraine, which consumes nearly 80bn cubic metres of gas
annually, agreed to an additional 40 per cent price increase for next year,
paying $130 per 1,000 cu metres of gas.

Ukraine is a big consumer of Turkmen gas and it pumps a majority of Russian
supplies to Europe through its vast pipeline system.

Moscow’s stiff gas price increases have been viewed as a retaliatory measure
by many. Mr Putin said the increase this year was a consequence of
Turkmenistan nearly doubling its export price to $100 per 1,000 cu metres.

Gas is supplied to Ukraine from central Asia and Russia by Swiss-registered
RosUkrEnergo, half owned by Russia’s Gazprom with a 50 per cent stake in

the hands of two Ukrainian businessmen.

Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine opposition leader, says the gas supply scheme is
corrupt and has called for intermediaries to be replaced with direct
contracts between state companies from both countries.          -30-
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LINK: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/af028368-91ee-11db-a945-0000779e2340.html
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11. PUTIN URGES GOOD NEIGHBORLY RELATIONS WITH UKRAINE

Associated Press (AP), Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, December 22, 2006

KIEV – Russia’s President Vladimir Putin Friday assured Ukraine’s President
Viktor Yushchenko that Moscow wants good relations, in a meeting that both
leaders presented as a break from the strained relationship of the past.

Putin’s visit to Kiev is his first since pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor
Yanukovych returned to power in March, and comes amid a power struggle
between him and Yushchenko.

“We inherited a range of not easy, sometimes very problematic issues in
bilateral relations, but I am sure that between our countries there are no
issues, and there can’t be any issues, that can’t be solved,” Yushchenko
said at the start of the inaugural meeting of an intergovernmental
commission.

“I am sure that with good will, we can find mutually acceptable solutions,”
he said. Putin told Yushchenko: “We value having Ukraine as a good
neighbor.”

Last month, Russian Premier Mikhail Fradkov said the Kremlin would like

Kiev to “synchronize” its entry to the World Trade Organization with Moscow,
and the Kremlin has been pushing Ukraine to join a new economic arrangement
with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

“It would help us,” Putin told Yushchenko, referring to the idea. “Jointly,
we could gain a lot in international markets.” Yushchenko, who is reluctant

about the plan, made no mention of the issue.

Russia is Ukraine’s biggest trading partner, and Ukraine is heavily
dependent on natural gas supplies from Russia. loggerheads over issues
including the presence of Russia’s Black Sea fleet on Ukrainian territory
and the use of lighthouses on its Crimean peninsula.

Putin and Yushchenko agreed to put a whole range of issues – from the Black
Sea Fleet to military cooperation – on the agenda for the next two years.
“To solve all of these tasks, we must act like reliable partners and
friends,” Yushchenko said.

Participating in Friday’s meeting was Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys
Tarasyuk, considered one of Ukraine’s most pro-Western politicians.
Yanukovych asked parliament to fire Tarasyuk, which it did, but a court
froze the ruling and Yushchenko reappointed him.

Yanukovych said before the meetings that he wouldn’t try to prevent
Tarasyuk’s participation. Yanukovych was expected to meet separately with
Putin later.                                           -30-
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12.                        PUTIN: WARM WELCOME IN KYIV

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Tatiana Silina
Zerkalo Nedeli On The Web, Mirror-Weekly, No. 49 (628)
International Social Political Weekly
Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, 23 – 29 December 2006 year

The Russian President’s Friday visit to Ukraine was anything but “the
beginning of a new stage” or a “breakthrough” in Russo-Ukrainian relations,
as official reports characterized it.

Yet, Vladimir Putin can hardly call 2006 “a year of missed opportunities in
relations with Ukraine”, which is what they said about 2005. The victory of
the Russian “gas weapon” alone is worth a dozen!

The establishment of the Yushchenko-Putin Interstate Commission was a rare
case in Russo-Ukrainian relations where one side’s achievement was not the
other side’s loss. It took more than eighteen months to build this
“mechanism of bilateral cooperation” that is supposed to benefit both
nations.

Hopefully, it will, although skeptics remind us that many such “mechanisms”
and “instruments” of cooperation with other countries, which Ukraine has
built over 15 years of independence, have worked effectively or at all.

One of the examples is the mixed Ukrainian-Russian commission for
cooperation: it was established in 1996 as pompously as the Yushchenko-
Putin commission, and was liquidated very quietly a few weeks ago.

Optimists are sure that the new interstate commission will facilitate and
systematize bilateral contacts and discipline the negotiators at all levels.
The commission has a secretariat, committees, and subcommittees.

During the three months prior to Putin’s visit, they held numerous meetings,
preparing the ground for the Yushchenko-Putin Commission’s maiden session.

Although the new mechanism might be short-lived (because the term of Putin’s
presidency is running out and so is Yushchenko’s power), there is a hope
that it can “clean up the heaps of problems”, as the Ukrainian President has
put it.

Yushchenko and his chancellery definitely wanted to leave out Prime Minister
Viktor Yanukovych, who had seen Putin more often in five months of his
premiership than Yushchenko had in twenty-three months of his presidency.

The Foreign Ministry exerted a maximum effort to keep Yanukovych as far
from the meeting as possible.

First Vice Premier Nikolai Azarov complained on Thursday that the Cabinet

of Ministers didn’t even know the program of Putin’s visit to Kyiv.

It may look strange that the Prime Minister, who co-chairs the subcommittee
on economic cooperation, was not invited to the session of the interstate
commission.

The reason is quite simple: the presidential camp seized this opportunity to
win back at least one plot in the field of foreign policy in its continual
rivalry with Yanukovych.

It was a kind of reciprocal step: departing for Moscow in late November, the
Premier didn’t bother to inform the President about the program of his
visit.

Besides, Yushchenko needed to “balance off” Yanukovych’s successful visits
to Moscow, Brussels, and the USA. His own visits to Estonia and South Korea
were rather bleak, and he obviously lost in the competition for the honor to
play the first fiddle at Davos.

Yushchenko wanted to demonstrate the fact of Putin’s visit as his exclusive
victory. Thirty-six hours before Putin’s arrival, there was no mention of
Yanukovych in the program of the visit, but his team broke their backs to
arrange for his meeting with the Russian President.

Yanukovych has given Moscow quite a few pretexts for discontent: it was
under his premiership that

[1] Ukraine’s accession to the WTO became feasible;
[2] he stated definitely and publicly that Ukraine’s participation in the
     [Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan] Common Economic Area would not
     go further than a     free trade area;
[3] he paid a visit to Uncle Sam; he didn’t say a point-blank “no” to

     NATO;
[4] he didn’t grant Russian the status of the second state language in
     Ukraine;
[5] he let the parliament recognize the 1932-1933 Famine as an act of
     genocide against the Ukrainian nation.

Yet, Moscow met Yanukovych halfway. His protocol meeting with the
Russian President was to last just thirty minutes, but it ended up lasting
as long as Putin wished.

It is unknown exactly what the two presidents agreed upon during their
tete-a-tete meeting and how much their agreements differed from those
reached during Putin’s meeting with Yanukovych.

According to informed sources, Yushchenko was going to persuade Putin to
exclude the intermediary company RosUkrEnergo from the gas supply scheme
and to found a joint venture of Naftogaz and Gazprom, registering it in some
neutral country like Switzerland. Putin’s decision on that score depends on
which of two lobbyist groupings in his entourage takes the upper hand.

One week before Putin arrived in Kyiv, Yushchenko announced that they would
sign “key documents” – a declaration on strategic partnership and a joint
action plan for 2007-2008. A couple of days later, informed sources reported
that the Russian side refused to sign them.

The formal pretext was the adoption of the National Security Strategy by the
National Security and Defense Council, which mentioned full membership in
NATO among Ukraine’s priorities. Moscow’s position looks rather strange, at
least because it was Moscow’s initiative to sign this declaration during
Putin’s visit.

The declaration, which was drafted back in the late 1990s, got preliminary
approval by Anatoliy Zlenko and Igor Ivanov – the then foreign ministers of
Ukraine and Russia.

All it needed was some updating. Yet, the Kremlin didn’t include it in the
Kyiv agenda, explaining that it had too little time for such an exercise.
Nevertheless, Ukraine and Russia may just as well do without this document.

Those who have read it say that it is “general enough to be signed with a
dozen other countries”. Besides, the term “strategic partnership” is already
present in the Big Treaty [of 1997], so the declaration wouldn’t bring
anything new in Russo-Ukrainian relations. The question of why the Russians
first wanted and then refused to sign it is just a another question of the
secret, enigmatic “Russian soul”.

The action plan for 2007-2008, which Yushchenko likes to call a “road map”,
is a practical document embracing all areas of bilateral cooperation.

The Ukrainian side tried to fill it with concrete contents and complement it
with implementation schedules. The Russian side wanted to make the
document more general.

Two days before Putin arrived, Ukrainian representatives said it was 95
percent ready and a couple of hours would be enough to polish it. Two hours
before Putin departed for Kyiv, his aide Sergey Prikhodko said that there
were still some controversies and that Moscow and Kyiv were still
“approximating their positions on some problems”.

Even though the two presidents didn’t sign this road map, Kyiv and Moscow
are sure to continue exchanging delegations, and talks at all levels are
sure to go on.

The agreement on re-admission looks far more important in terms of benefits
for Ukraine. It took Kyiv and Moscow years to prepare this document for
signing and a lot of effort to overcome strong resistance within the Russian
government.

Having signed a re-admission agreement with the EU recently, Ukraine was
confronted with the threat of becoming a kind of sewage pond for illegal
immigrants deported from the EU.

Now, having signed a re-admission agreement with Russia, Ukraine can send
illegal migrants from Russia or third countries back to Russia. It is no
secret that almost all illegal migrants enter Ukraine’s territory through
the Russian border.

Ukraine and Russia signed other important documents:

[1] a protocol on amendments to the intergovernmental agreement on
     border-crossing points,
[2] an intergovernmental agreement on reciprocal copyright protection
     in bilateral military-technical cooperation,
[3] amendments to the agreement on visa-free travels, and a
[4] cooperation agreement between Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture and
     Tourism and Russia’s Ministry of Culture and Mass Media.

The interstate commission heard extensive reports from the co-secretaries
Vitaliy Haiduk and Igor Ivanov and discussed a wide spectrum of issues –
from natural gas supplies to humanitarian problems.

On the eve of Putin’s visit, Yushchenko accentuated the issues that the
commission had to consider in the first place: natural gas supplies; the
question of “what Ukraine must do not to harm Russia’s interests” while
moving toward NATO and the EU; delimitation and demarcation of the
Ukraine-Russia state border; the stationing terms for the Russian naval base
in Crimea.

None of these problems is new. According to experts, most of them are

quite solvable technically, provided there is the political will to solve them.

For example, the two countries could have started demarcating the terrain
section of the border back in January, when the two presidents agreed in
Astana, Kazakhstan to set up a special mixed commission. However, the
Russian side has not appointed its co-chairperson to this day.

Yushchenko stated optimistically in Astana that Ukraine and Russia “could
make substantial progress in delimitating the borderline in the Sea of Azov
and the Kerch Strait within six moths”. Now his expectations are more
reserved: it would be good to have the borderline delimitated at least by
late 2007.

The Russian naval base in Crimea remains the main “irritator” in
Russo-Ukrainian relations. Kyiv keeps demanding that the Russian side
abide by the terms of leasing contracts.

Kyiv keeps pressing for an inclusive inventory of the land plots and
facilities used by the BSF. Kyiv keeps insisting that the BSF hand over the
beacons and other navigation facilities that belong to Ukraine.

Kyiv wants to sign a supplementary agreement that would regulate the two
sides’ behavior in critical situations. These issues were also on the agenda
of the Kyiv talks.

While discussing them, President Yushchenko reconfirmed Ukraine’s
obligations and made it clear that 2017 would be the last year of the
Russian Navy’s presence in Ukraine.

The results of Putin’s talks with Yushchenko and Yanukovych will show up
later, but it is already clear that he has had talks with two leaders of one
state.

It is clear that these two leaders should stand the same ground instead of
competing for “signs of attention”. And Putin must have scored a point or
two in Kyiv.                                            -30-
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LINK: http://www.mirror-weekly.com/ie/show/628/55457/
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13. BELARUS GETS ULTIMATUM: PRICE HIKE OR GAS HALT

By Andrew E. Kramer in Moscow, The New York Times
New York, New York, Tuesday, December 26, 2006

MOSCOW – Gazprom, the Russian energy monopoly, threatened today to

halt natural gas supplies to Belarus if that country did not agree to a large
price increase by New Year’s Day.

The strong Russian position suggests that Moscow is becoming aggressive

in energy pricing even with countries that have been close allies.

Belarus now has the cheapest gas in the former Soviet Union, other than
Russia itself. Gazprom, the world’s largest energy company by volume of
reserves, is insisting that Belarus pay more than double its current price,
though it would remain below what richer countries in Europe pay.

Gazprom warned that Belarus was behaving “irresponsibly” in the talks over
pricing and a Russian demand to surrender equity in a key export pipeline,
saying such resistance was putting Belarus’s energy supply at risk.

The threat came almost exactly a year after Gazprom cut off fuel supplies to
Ukraine, another key transit country for Russian energy exports, causing
intense supply jitters in Western Europe. After widespread criticism,
Gazprom turned the gas back on after three days.

In the energy markets now, the Kremlin is dictating terms with greater
assertiveness than it has at any time since the collapse of the Soviet
Union.

Gazprom already owns one of the two major export pipelines that run through
Belarus and is negotiating for a share in the second, a move that would
tighten the company’s bear hug on European supplies.

Gazprom said exports to Poland and Germany through the pipelines are not

at risk, even if Belarus were to be switched off. The company spokesman,
Sergei V. Kupriyanov, said Gazprom has been stockpiling gas in underground
reservoirs in Western Europe to ensure uninterrupted supplies.

“Responsibility for what has taken shape today lies with the Belarusian
side,” Gazprom’s chief executive, Aleksei B. Miller, today told a Belarusian
delegation led by a first deputy prime minister, Vladimir I. Semashko.
“Gazprom and the Russian Federation met you halfway on all issues.”

Gazprom’s tough negotiating suggested an unraveling of the special relations
between Russia and Belarus, which are joined in a loose coalition called a
union state. Russia is one of the last allies in Europe of the Belarusian
dictator, Aleksandr G. Lukashenko.

“The demand shows Putin is abandoning any myth of the union state,” Lilia
Shevtsova, a senior associate at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said.
“Lukashenko is desperate and backed into a corner.”

Gazprom’s final asking price for gas in Belarus, between $105 and $110 per
1,000 cubic meters, is still among the lowest offered to Russia’s neighbors.
Gazprom says it is intent on raising prices throughout the former Soviet
Union, putting an end to a decade of subsidies.

Gazprom said Belarus wanted to pay rates in line with those paid in the
neighboring Russian province of Smolensk, or about $40 for residential
consumers and $54 for industrial customers, citing a treaty related to the
union state. Mr. Semashko, the Belarusian delegation leader, left talks in
Moscow today without a deal. “We still have time until the 31st of
 December,” he said.

Gazprom has slowly increased prices in neighboring countries while trading
special deals for footholds in the local distribution business or access to
export pipelines essential to its hugely profitable business.
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http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/26/world/europe/27belaruscnd.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
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14. PUTIN’S ASSERTIVE DIPLOMACY IS SELDOM CHALLENGED

By Steven Lee Myers in Moscow, The New York Times
New York, New York, Wednesday, December 27, 2006

MOSCOW, Dec. 26 – Inside the Kremlin last week, the executives of three
major international companies – Royal Dutch Shell, Mitsubishi and Mitsui –
heaped praise on the man whose government had effectively forced them to
cede control of the world’s largest combined oil and natural gas project.

“Thank you very much for your support,” Shell’s chief executive, Jeroen van
der Veer, told President Vladimir V. Putin during a meeting that ended a
six-month regulatory assault on the project, Sakhalin II, but only after the
companies surrendered control of it to the state energy giant, Gazprom.
“This was a historic occasion.”

It was also a telling one, with lessons that extend beyond energy policy to
such disparate matters as the killings of Alexander V. Litvinenko, a former
K.G.B. agent in London, and Anna Politkovskaya, a prominent journalist.

Mr. Putin’s Russia, buoyed by its oil and gas riches, has become so
confident – so arrogant, its critics say – that it has become impervious to
the criticism that once might have modified its behavior. And those who
might have once criticized, from investors to foreign governments, have
largely acquiesced to the new reality.

The Kremlin is now dictating its terms with greater assertiveness than it
has at any time since the collapse of the Soviet Union – which was 15 years
ago Monday, to be precise. Many hoped that Russia’s presidency of the

Group of 8 industrial nations this year would temper Mr. Putin’s diplomacy,
but it has not.

Russia began 2006 by making good on a threat to cut off natural gas to
Ukraine to get a higher price for Gazprom. The shutoff, though brief,
provoked concern in Europe about dependency on Russian energy, and

now Russia is ending 2006 by warning Belarus of the same fate.

Vice President Dick Cheney famously leveled the harshest criticism of the
Kremlin to date when he accused it of using oil and gas as “tools of
intimidation or blackmail.”

That was in May, but since then American policy toward Russia has changed
imperceptibly, with one significant exception: the Bush administration gave
its approval for Russia’s long-coveted membership in the World Trade
Organization.

“Russia since last year has been enjoying some feeling of euphoria, that
feeling that we have so much money, so many resources that we can do what

we want,” said Fyodor A. Lukyanov, the editor of Russia in Global Affairs.

The United States and Europe have little leverage beyond persuasion. And
persuasion no longer works, as the Kremlin’s campaign against Sakhalin II,
the largest foreign investment project in Russia, showed.

The campaign was so transparent that it seemed comical, beginning with
surprise inspections by a little-known environmental inspector who
threatened to fine the project’s developers for every tree they cut down.

As the campaign unfolded, analysts issued warnings. Western diplomats and
their governments protested. But in the end the Kremlin got what was clearly
its goal: state control of a lucrative project that opens the gas market to
Asia.

The three companies with the most to lose said nothing critical as they sold
50 percent plus one share of Sakhalin II for what some analysts called a
discounted price, $7.45 billion. Mr. Putin immediately declared that the
project’s environmental problems could “be considered resolved.”

“Experience has disappointed many foreign investors in Russia,” said Valery
Nesterov, an energy analyst at Troika Dialog, an investment firm in Moscow.
And yet when it comes to energy or other investments, it does little to
deter them. “The attraction is so large,” Mr. Nesterov said, adding that
companies like Shell still held out hope of winning access to Russia’s other
oil and gas fields in the future.

The Sakhalin affair has revived memories of the government’s assault on
Yukos Oil and its founder, Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, in 2003 and 2004.

When it all started, even Russia’s supporters worried about the potential
damage to the country’s reputation, especially among investors.

If damage was done, it is hard to quantify now. The company is a rump of

its former self, under bankruptcy receivership with its major assets now
belonging to the state oil company, Rosneft. Mr. Khodorkovsky, once the
richest man in Russia, remains in a Siberian prison on charges of fraud and
tax evasion, and he is reportedly facing a new round of criminal charges.

Although Russia’s stock market plunged 21 percent in the month after Mr.
Khodorkovsky’s arrest, with the Russian Trading System Index dipping
below 500, it is now above 1,800.

The international response to the killings of two prominent Kremlin
critics – Mr. Litvinenko in exile in London and Ms. Politkovskaya here in
Moscow – also underscores the new reality.

There is as yet no evidence directly linking anyone in Russia to the
killings, even if critics have been quick to say so, reviving some of the
worst fears about the country Russia has become.

In the wake of Mr. Litvinenko’s death, The Daily Telegraph of London
declared flatly, “Russia is rotten to its heart.” A recent cover of The
Economist showed Mr. Putin dressed like a gangster, holding a gasoline
nozzle as a machine gun.

The British government, by contrast, has said nothing so critical, even
after British detectives who came to Moscow were confronted with strict
limits on their ability to question witnesses.

Wealth has emboldened Mr. Putin and those around him. At a roundtable
interview this month, the first deputy prime minister and chairman of
Gazprom’s board, Dmitry A. Medvedev, brushed aside questions about the
company’s management, its corporate philosophy and its investments in
newspapers and other ventures seen as political. He suggested that the
Kremlin, perhaps, had been right, and all of its critics wrong.

“The value of Gazprom in 2000 was $9 billion,” Mr. Medvedev, often cited as
a potential successor to Mr. Putin, said. “Today it is between $250 and $300
billion.”

Others warn that Russia is ignoring the consequences of its behavior, that
the monopolistic policies of Gazprom, the erosion of political competition
and the easy dismissal of critics blinds the Kremlin to the dangers of the
overly centralized system Mr. Putin has created.

Mikhail A. Kasyanov, Mr. Putin’s prime minister from 2000 until 2004 and now
one of his biggest critics, said the foreigners who rushed to join Russia’s
boon were equally complicit. “Investors are very shortsighted,” he said in
an interview.                                         -30-
————————————————————————————————–
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/27/world/europe/27russia.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

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AUR#800 Dec 25 New Year Tree; Children’s Literature; Hutsuls; Boston & Dnepropetrovsk; Carol Of The Bells; Adoptions; Chanukah; Rebuilding Girl’s Face

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

                      Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
         Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World       

 
   TRUE TASTE OF HOLIDAY GOOD CHEER!
                  Now is the time…..to reach out…..to share…..to give.
                        
ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 800
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor, SigmaBleyzer
WASHINGTON, D.C., MONDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2006 

              –——-  INDEX OF ARTICLES  ——–
            Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
   Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
1.      KYIV’S MAYOR LIGHTS UKRAINE’S MAIN NEW YEAR TREE
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sat, December 23, 2006

2.        PRES YUSHCHENKO WISHES HEALTH AND WELFARE TO
                           CHILDREN ON SAINT NICHOLAS DAY
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

3.    U.S. PRESIDENT BUSH CONGRATULATES PM YANUKOVYCH
                   ON CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR HOLIDAYS
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, December 22, 2006

4. UKRAINIAN FORESTRY ENTERPRISES PLAN TO SELL 1 MILLION
              FIR, PINE AND SILVER FIR TREES FOR NEW YEAR

                                AND CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, December 18, 2006

5.      UKRAINIAN ARTISTS, MUSICIANS, PUBLISHERS UNITE TO
                      ENCOURAGE CHILDREN TO READ MORE
                     “Organized Christmas children’s literature bazaar”
5th TV Channel, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, December 18, 2006

6.    UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT YUSHCHENKO MARKS HANUKKAH
Press office of President Victor Yushchenko
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, December 20, 2006

7      CELEBRATING A CARPATHIAN MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS
                                        WITH THE HUTSULS
By Matthew Matuszak, Photos by Petro Didula
Ukrainian Observer magazine #226, The Willard Group
Kyiv, Ukraine, December, 2006

8.                      TRUE TASTE OF HOLIDAY GOOD CHEER
By Sarah Botham, The Capital Times
Madison, Wisconsin, Wednesday, December 20, 2006

9.                          THE CANDLES OF CHRISTMAS 1981
         In December 1981, much of the world lived in totalitarian darkness.

COMMENTARY: By Paul Kengor, The American Spectator
Arlington, Virginia, Thursday, December 21, 2006
 
10.               IT TAKES A PARTNERSHIP: BOSTON, USA AND
                                 DNEPROPETROVSK, UKRAINE
By Baila Olidort, Chabad Lubavitch Global Network
FJC, Moscow/New York, Thursday, December 7 2006

11. CAROL OF THE BELLS: MEDIEVAL, ENGLISH, & ABOUT CHRISTMAS,
             RIGHT?  NOT SO! IT’S ACTUALLY…READ ON TO FIND OUT!
By Craig Dimitri, Blogger News Network (BNN)
Wednesday, December 20, 2006

12.     INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION NO MATCH FOR CAN-DO MOM
                           Emma was Ukrainian and Nina was Russian
By Jill Coley, The Post and Currier
Charleston, South Carolina, Saturday, December 23, 2006

13HOLIDAY GIFT TO HELP THE ELDERLY IN UKRAINE THIS YEAR!
                American Friends of “For Survival,”
www.ForSurvival.org
Katie Fox, President, American Friends of “For Survival”
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #800, Article 13

Washington, D.C. Monday, December 25, 2006

14                           HOW I FEEL ABOUT CHRISTMAS
By Brittany Arsenault, Special to The StarPhoenix
The StarPhoenix Christmas Story Writing Contest
Second Place Entry, Ages 9 and 10, The StarPhoenix

Saskatoon, Saskatoon, Canada, Saturday, December 23, 2006
 
15. UKRAINIAN FINDS CHRISTMAS DIFFERENT IN UNITED STATES                              
By Miriam Moeller, Journal Staff Writer, The Mining Journal
Marquette, Michigan, Sunday, December 24, 2006

16.    FAMILY LOOKING FORWARD TO FIRST CHRISTMAS SINCE
                         ADOPTING TWO CHILDREN IN UKRAINE
By Emily Taravella, The Daily Sentinel
Nacogdoches, Texas, Saturday, December 23, 2006

17.                            CHRISTMAS RICH IN RITUALS
By Grant Granger, NewsLeader
Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, Friday, Dec 22 2006

18.              THEY CRIED ‘UNCLE,” UNTIL THEY MISSED HIM
           Mother produces a seven-course Ukrainian feast on Christmas Eve
                   and a turkey dinner with all the fixings on Christmas Day.
By Larry Pruner, Burnaby News Leader
Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, Friday, Dec 15 2006

19.                              MAKING THE HARD DECISIONS
EDITORIAL: Pioneer Press, TwinCities.com
St. Paul, Minnesota, Friday, December 22, 2006

20UKRAINIAN PYSANKA, PAINTED EGGS, APPEAR AT CHRISTMAS
By Alli Vail, News Reporter, Parksville Qualicum News
Parksville, British Columbia, Canada, Friday, Dec 22 2006

 
21FOUNDATION STONE LAID FOR NEW MIKVAH IN SUMY, UKRAINE
FJC, Moscow/New York, Monday, December 18 2006
 
22.   CHANUKAH PRESENTS FOR CHILDREN IN WESTERN UKRAINE
FJC, Moscow/New York, Thursday, December 14 2006
 
23.    “WORLD OF JEWISH WOMAN” PUBLISHES CHANUKAH ISSUE
              Chanukah is the story of the victory of light over darkness
FJC, Moscow/New York, Wednesday, November 29 2006
 
24KATERYNA YUSHCHENKO SAYS FUNDRAISER FOR CHILDREN’S
       HOSPITAL OF THE FUTURE DEMONSTRATED WE CAN WORK
                TOGETHER TO TACKLE AND RESOLVE PROBLEMS
Press office of President Victor Yushchenko
Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, December 17, 2006
 
25.    SCOTLAND: HIBS FANS TO TAKE UKRAINE CHILDREN GIFTS
Scotsman.com, Edinburgh, Scotland, Thursday, 21 Dec 2006
 
26.    MEMPHIS DOCTORS REBUILDING UKRAINIAN GIRL’S FACE
WHBQ-TV, FOX13, Memphis, Tennessee, Monday, December 18, 2006
========================================================
1
KYIV’S MAYOR LIGHTS UKRAINE’S MAIN NEW YEAR TREE

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sat, December 23, 2006

KYIV – The Kyiv’s mayor Leonid Chernovetskyi has lighted the New

Year tree on Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence square) in Kyiv.

“I wish you happiness, success, joy! Let you God live through the year of
2007 with warmness in the heart,” he said.  Chernovetskyi also promised

many presents from the Kyiv’s city administration to the children of Kyiv.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the New Year tree is to be 35 meters
high. 18 new kinds of the decorations were bought for the New Year tree,
among them – pink pigs. The lightning of the tree, established this year, is
to create the effect of its rotation.                        -30-
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2. PRES YUSHCHENKO WISHES HEALTH AND WELFARE
                 TO CHILDREN ON SAINT NICHOLAS DAY

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

KYIV – President Viktor Yuschenko wishes health and welfare to children

on occasion of Saint Nicholas Day. This is disclosed in the presidential
congratulation letter, text of which Ukrainian News has.

“This day is the first of New Year’s and Christmas holidays to come on our
land,” the report reads. Yuschenko said he believes that children will grow
educated and laborious people. “Let Saint Nicholas protect you and give
happiness, joy and hope,” the letter reads.

According to the report of the presidential press service, Yuschenko had
urged his advisors and Presidential Secretariat departments’ heads to visit
boarding schools in Kyiv and Kyiv region. They give presents and private
charity funds worth over UAH 50,000.

After returning from South Korea Yuschenko intends to personally give keys
from five minibuses to mothers having many children. As Ukrainian News
earlier reported, on December 17, Yuschenko left an official visit for South
Korea.                                           -30-
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
3. U.S. PRESIDENT BUSH CONGRATULATES PM YANUKOVYCH
                  ON CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR HOLIDAYS

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, December 22, 2006

KYIV – U.S. President George W. Bush and his spouse Lora Bush have
congratulated Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych on Christmas and New

Year holidays. The Cabinet of Ministers press service reports this referring
to the telegram of congratulation.

“Let the lucid holidays fill your heart with light now and in the new year,”
the press service cites the congratulation.

As Ukrainian News reported before, the Cabinet made days of December 30
through January 8 holidays due to celebration of the New Year on December

1 and Christmas on January 7. Yanukovych traveled to the United States on
December 3-7 for a working visit.

During the visit he met the U.S. Vice President Richard Cheney, the U.S.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. Energy Minister Samuel

Bodman, the U.S. Trade Representative Susan Shwab and senators.   -30-
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4. UKRAINIAN FORESTRY ENTERPRISES PLAN TO SELL 1 MILLION
              FIR, PINE AND SILVER FIR TREES FOR NEW YEAR
                                AND CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS
 
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, December 18, 2006
 
KYIV – Enterprises of the State Forestry Committee plan to sell 1 million fir,
pine, and silver fir trees for the New Year and Orthodox Christmas holidays.
State Forestry Committee deputy head Vasyl Mateichik announced the plans
of the committee to Ukrainian News.

“We can sell 4.5 million trees. However, according to realistic estimates we
plan to sell about 1 million New Year trees,” he said.

He said the state forestry enterprises started to sell New Year trees last
week. The sales are sluggish due to the warm weather, he said.

He said the highest demand was for silver fir, while fir, usual and Crimean
pine remain popular also. Although blue firs are the most popular, the state
enterprises do not sell them because blue fir is rare. “If you see blue firs
being sold, they were grown in some private nursery forest,” he said.

Mateichik said that the price of New Year firs (between one and two meters
in height) is between UAH 9 and UAH 15 at forestry enterprises in the
Carpathians, silver fir’s price there is UAH 16-25, while the price of pines
in forestry enterprises of Polissia is UAH 19-24 and the price of fir is UAH
16-27. He said the retail price would be about twice the amount.

According to him, all forest zones are presently patrolled by units made up
of employees of regional forestry departments, who prevent major theft of
trees as much as they can. He said there was introduced a system of fines
for theft of trees.

The fines vary from UAH 25.5 per one tree in usual exploitation forests to
UAH 41 in protected forests, and UAH 51 per one tree with the diameter of
under 10 centimeters in reserves.

He said the forestry enterprises had planted 20 million conifers on 4,000
hectares. “But a small part of them is used as New Year trees. Around

70% of them we use for planting of greenery,” he said.

He said forestry enterprises planted about 2 million New Year trees this
year, while the total volume of restoration of forests amount to at least
45,000-50,000 hectares and about 250 million young plants. “That is why

that million we will sell as New Year trees will not have any negative
consequence,” he said.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, in 2005, enterprises of the State
Forestry Committee sold 1 million fir, pine, and silver fir trees for the
New Year and Orthodox Christmas holidays.

The main trade and sales department of Kyiv City Administration expects

that between 100,000 and 120,000 New Year trees will be sold in the capital
city this year.                                                -30-
————————————————————————————————
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5.  UKRAINIAN ARTISTS, MUSICIANS, PUBLISHERS UNITE TO
                     ENCOURAGE CHILDREN TO READ MORE
                      “Organized Christmas children’s literature bazaar”

5th TV Channel, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, December 18, 2006

KYIV – With St. Nicholas day approaching, Ukrainian artists and musicians
took the opportunity to encourage children to enjoy reading.

Organizers of the “Christmas children’s literature bazaar” in the Ukrainian
House or “Ukrainskyi Dim” have planned a series of events including plays,
draws and gift giving to get children into the spirit of reading.

According to Ukrainian authors, the event is much needed, as they say young
Ukrainians don’t read enough. They want to convince parents that the best
holiday gifts — are books.

Okean Elzy lead singer Sviatoslav Vakarchuk came out to support the event.
He bought fifty thousand hryvnia worth of books for children in orphanages.

He called upon other wealthy Ukrainians to put their money towards good
causes such as student scholarships and building museums. Other well-

known Ukrainian artists supported the event by illustrating at no cost a
collection of new Ukrainian books.                            -30-
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================      
6. UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT YUSHCHENKO MARKS HANUKKAH

Press office of President Victor Yushchenko
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, December 20, 2006

KYIV – Victor Yushchenko has visited Kyiv’s Central Synagogue to celebrate
Hanukkah with the Ukrainian Jews.

He wished them good health, peace and happiness. In his speech, the
President said Hanukkah is observed to honor those who defended their faith.
He said two miracles had been inspiring the Jews for two thousand years,
filling their hearts with joy and pride.

The first miracle is the victory poorly armed and trained peasants and
craftsmen gained over the professional army of invaders. The second miracle
is the divine power of light, which shone brightly for eight days.

“These symbols are passed on from one generation to another,” he said.  The
President said our peoples had many things in common.

“Lesya Ukrainka once wrote we were struggling for our independence like the
Jews for theirs,” he said, adding that, “no matter where we were born and
how old we are, we all rejoice at good and hate evil.”

Mr. Yushchenko also took part in a ceremony to light Hanukkah candles.
—————————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.president.gov.ua/en/news/data/1_12736.html
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========================================================
7. CELEBRATING A CARPATHIAN MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS
                                     WITH THE HUTSULS

By Matthew Matuszak, Photos by Petro Didula
Ukrainian Observer magazine #226, The Willard Group
Kyiv, Ukraine, December, 2006

“I’ve haven’t lived in Kosmach for so many years,” says resident Yurii
Prodoniuk, “but I’ve traveled the world a bit, and I have to say no one
celebrates holidays like the Hutsuls.”

Kosmach is a village of 6,200 in the Ivano-Frankivsk Region. At 33 square
miles, some say Kosmach is the largest village in Europe, and it is in the
heart of the territory occupied by the Ukrainian ethnic sub-group known as
the Hutsuls.

Ukrainians have been fleeing to the Carpathian Mountains to escape
oppression for centuries. The Mongol Tatar invasion of the Kyivan state

in the 13th century is an essential chapter in Hutsul history: numerous
Ukrainians “headed for the hills” to escape foreign domination.

The earliest written references to the Hutsuls come a little later, in
Polish sources of the 14th and early 15th centuries. By the mid-17th
century, the intensification of serfdom in surrounding areas caused still
more freedom-seeking Ukrainians to flee to the mountains.

Today, approximately half a million Hutsuls live in a territory that covers
2,500 square miles of southwestern Ukraine and the northern tip of

bordering Romania.

“In general, the Hutsuls are conservative,” says Prof. Roman Kyrchiv,
professor emeritus of philology at the Institute of Ukrainian Studies of the
National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. “It was difficult for them to
accept Christianity. They were very attached to traditions.”

In some areas, they still sing carols at Christmas time which pre-date
Christianity in Ukraine. Many of these pre-Christian winter songs have no
trace of baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, or the Magi. They simply recount village
life, usually wishing health and wealth for their neighbors.

“There are remnants of the pre-Christian pantheon in some songs,” says Prof.
Kyrchiv. To “Christianize” these carols, they sometimes add a little refrain
after every verse, like “O, God, grant.”

The Hutsuls historically have belonged to the Orthodox or Eastern-rite
Ukrainian Greek Catholic churches, and now there is also a Protestant
presence. Today there is some competitiveness between Greek Catholics

and Orthodox in Kosmach. Jordan, the feast of Christ’s baptism, which is
celebrated 12 days after Christmas, a traditional day for a great blessing
of water, is one occasion for “competition.”

“On Jordan, they go to the river: the Orthodox stand at one place for the
blessing, but the Greek Catholics stand higher up the river, so that the
Orthodox drink ‘Catholic’ water,” recounts long-time resident Mykhailo
Didushytskyi.

“I laugh and cry: adults act like children. Even children don’t act like
that. There’s a contest: the Orthodox want the Catholics to try the water
first, and vice-versa.”

Tradition, however, is more important than denomination for the Hutsuls.
“They don’t listen to the priest,” says Fr. Vasylii Hunchak, pastor of
Kosmach’s Church of Sts. Peter and Paul the Apostles. For example, Fr.
Hunchak tells his faithful they can work on minor holy days.

“They say: the priest says that, but my mother said that we can’t work-
Their beliefs are more important than what Christ handed down,” Fr.
Hunchak laments.

“They are convinced this is how they avoid disaster,” is how Prodoniuk
explains it. “The Hutsuls celebrate every little holy day, when they don’t
work the land- Misfortune doesn’t touch the Hutsuls.

Other regions have floods, storms, earthquakes, various natural disasters.
These pass by the Hutsuls. They celebrate not only St. Anne and St. Andrew,
St. Nicholas, but St. Barbara, and all the feasts of St. John.”

“On holy days, the women don’t even take a knife in hand,” notes Prodoniuk.
“The day before, they slice a lot of bread. They also make bread out of
potatoes and corn, which can be broken by hand. They don’t take instruments
in hand” on holy days, “like axes for cutting wood.”

Another important issue for Hutsul sensibilities is placement in church.
“Our church has preserved the very old experience of the Church, because it
is so handed down that men stand on the right side of the church and women
on the left,” explains Fr. Hunchak.

“Why? For ease in prayer. So that no one looks at anyone else, but only on
the Lord God. Also,” he adds with a smile, “it looks very nice, on one side
and the other.”

At Sts. Peter and Paul Church, the married stand in the front half and the
unmarried in the back half of the church. Females enter through the front
door, males through the door on the right side.

People even arrive at church according to an understood order: early in the
service, the pillars of the community come in and take up the banners that
they hold during the Liturgy. The Liturgy continues and, eventually, each
group arrives, older then younger.

Even Ukraine’s beautiful carols have their own specific structure, and
legends. “Did you ever hear of the legend,” asks Fr. Hunchak, “that God gave
gifts to all the nations? Ukraine came late, and God had nothing else to
give it, except for songs- Our Christmas carols are simply a gift from God.”

On Christmas Eve, grandchildren go carol for their grandparents. On
Christmas day, older children go out. After that, only adult men who have
official permission from their pastors carol. They then give the proceeds
for the benefit of the parish. Carolers are usually given good “tips” at the
private homes that they visit.

“In some villages, first they sing to the man and woman of the house, then
the cattle, the fields and garden, so that all will be healthy: a good
harvest, good wheat, healthy animals. They can carol for a whole day at one
house, if the man of the house provides enough food and drink,” notes
Didushytskyi.

“In the 1980s,” he recalls, “some carolers came to Kosmach from another
village, to make some profit. At first people didn’t know the difference,
but now they don’t give them any money.”

One of Didushytskyi’s yearlong passions is keeping alive the memory of
Oleksa Dovbush, an early 18th century Ukrainian Robin Hood. Didushytskyi says
that he lives in the very house where Dovbush was murdered in 1745. Dovbush
led a band of highwaymen who avenged the injustices that wealthy magnates
inflicted on the commoners.

It is possible that the very name “Hutsul” comes from a Romanian word that
means “highwayman” or “brigand.” Other linguists think that “Hutsul” comes
from a Slavic word that means “nomad,” as the Hutsuls historically left
their native areas to find freedom in the mountains.

Didushytskyi, though he speaks of Christmas tradition, also has a foot in
paganism. For example, he carves wooden sculptures of the ancient “gods”
and goddesses” of the pre-Christian Ukrainians.

“In general, Christianity is spread in Kosmach,” maintains Fr. Hunchak. “But
there is such a faith, not exactly Christian. Some are half-Christian,
half-pagan- mystical. In the Carpathian Mountains, there are people who know
about trees, plants, nature.”

But modern problems have not left the Hutsuls untouched. “There’s no work
in the village,” explains life-long resident Anna Havryliuk. “Young people
leave the country looking for work in the Czech Republic, Portugal,
Italy-Many men, many women have gone abroad.” This is a common problem
throughout Ukraine.

Still, Havryliuk’s grandchildren, Marichka and Bohdana Havryliuk and
Marichka Semeniuk, have not forgotten important traditions like coming to
carol to their grandparents on Christmas Eve.

Christmas is a feast that brings together not just living relatives, but the
deceased as well. “Before Christmas Eve supper,” recounts Didushytskyi,
“people visit the dead in cemeteries- They put candles on the graves.

They invite Grandma, Grandpa, or Mom and Dad, to come for supper. A
place is then left at the supper table, with plate and utensils for a
deceased relative, to show respect for the dead.”

And timing is very important for conducting the Christmas Eve supper.
“When the cattle are all fed and the first star comes out,” continues
Didushytskyi, “then we sit down at table, light the candle, pray to God.

The eldest takes the kuttia,” porridge made of wheat, honey, nuts, and poppy
seeds, “and throws it on the ceiling with a spoon.” The porridge should
stick there, and this means God’s blessing for a healthy family and cattle,
and fertile fields.

With time-honored songs and symbols, the Hutsuls celebrate all the feasts of
the year, enjoying the freedom that the Carpathian Mountains have given
them.                                               -30-
————————————————————————————————-
Matthew Matuszak is English-language editor of the Religious Information
Service of Ukraine. Petro Didula is press attache’ of Ukrainian Catholic
University.
————————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.ukraine-observer.com/articles/226/965
========================================================

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========================================================
    NOTE: Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
========================================================
8.                 TRUE TASTE OF HOLIDAY GOOD CHEER

By Sarah Botham, The Capital Times
Madison, Wisconsin, Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I dropped our son at the Middleton High School pool early one cold December
Saturday morning a few weeks ago for warm ups before his swim meet, then set
off to find a much-needed mug of hot, steaming coffee.

Inside the local java house I bumped into a familiar face; longtime friend,
entrepreneur and companion motor sports junkie, Eric. He was busy chatting
with another gentleman, so I said a quick hello and took my spot in the
coffee line.

I heard the gentleman in line ahead of me order. “A decaf Christmas blend, “
he said.

And almost without realizing it, my private thought became a public one.
“The whole world needs a decaf Christmas,” I said.

We shared a laugh that seemed more about the nervous truth of the

statement than its intended humor.

A little bewildered and still bleary from having to function without a
proper caffeine infusion, I ordered a jumbo size java and scanned the room
to see if Eric was still there. I caught his eye and he waved me to his
table.

Eric is one of those people whose enthusiasm for life is infectious, even
early on a cold December morning.

The father of four and husband to Sara, I can think of probably a dozen
adjectives to describe him, but those that ring most true are smart,
genuine, generous, caring and, like most of our friends, a fanatic for
wheels and speed.

Having not seen each other in several months, it was with fond interest that
we caught up on our families and lives. He’d just turned 50, he said, and
then dangling the bait that he knew I’d take, asked if I could guess what
he’d done to commemorate the half-century mark.

It had to be a car, I reasoned, so I began naming the likely candidates:
Porsche 911 GT3, Lotus Elise, BMW Z8, Aston Martin DB9. Eric just
shook his head, grinning.

A racecar then, I thought; vintage maybe, fast and rare. Could it be that
Eric had decided to get back into racing and would be joining us on the
vintage circuit?

Again, he shook his head.

Smiling, he said finally, “Let me tell you a story.”

And then he did.

It seems Eric (who is Jewish), had gone to church with his wife, Sara (who
is not), one Sunday a few months back. As part of that morning’s service,
several families from within the congregation shared their experiences
surrounding the adoption of foreign children; from China, Guatemala and
elsewhere.

They spoke of the emotional and financial hurdles, the conditions in which
they found the children in their native countries, and of course, of the
incredible blessing that these children had become in their lives.
     ONE FAMILY ADOPTED A CHILD FROM UKRAINE
One family, who had adopted a child from Ukraine, told their story. It
touched Eric enough to share it with me.

The woman, Eric said, came from a large family but was unable to have
children, so they opted for a foreign adoption.

After much planning, anticipation and arduous travel, she and her husband
arrived at the orphanage to discover literally hundreds of children sitting
or lying in rows of cribs and makeshift beds; dirty, sad, sick, hungry and
waiting, hoping for fate to smile on them.

To be chosen.

Imagine the heart-wrenching chore of choosing just one child when so many
are in need. Imagine the faces, the eyes, the thin arms and tiny bodies
hungry, for sustenance, for love.

A seemingly impossible task.

In the end the couple chose a boy. He had spent most of his three years in
a dirty crib. He had rickets and could not sit up. As the child was prepared
for release, the workers at the orphanage stripped him of his rag-bag
clothing and handed him, naked, to his new parents.

So desperate were the conditions that the clothing could not be sacrificed.
It would be saved and given to another child.

“Not a dry eye in the church,” Eric said.

But that wasn’t the end of the story.
APPROVAL TO ADOPT TWO MORE UKRAINIAN CHILDREN
In spite of the financial, emotional and logistical hurdles of adopting a
foreign child (let alone the costs associated with simply raising a child),
it seemed this family was determined to do more. Approval to adopt two
more Ukrainian children had recently come through.

They hoped to find a pair of siblings, they said, older children (who are
typically less likely to be adopted), but younger than their first son, now
a happy, healthy 8-year-old. Then he could be a big brother.

But they only had money enough – some $20,000 per child – to adopt one.

That started Eric and Sara thinking.

The long version of the rest of the story includes the forming of an
adoption ministry initiative through the church; a revolving fund to help
offset the cost of adoption for interested families.

The short version is that Eric agreed to cover the cost to adopt the

other child. “That’s what I did for my 50th birthday,” he said.

Of course.

A story like this changes the way you look at things, he told me.

I couldn’t argue. I don’t know who could.

 
It changed the way I look at things too.

Maybe we don’t all have Eric’s financial reach, but we have the means to
extend ourselves, to be entirely selfless, to care for another, even a
stranger from a foreign land. We have the means to do more.

By Eric’s example we all can.

Perhaps it isn’t a decaf Christmas that the world really needs, after all.

Just a cup of kindness then, that occasionally overflows.         -30-
————————————————————————————————
Sarah Botham is the owner of Botham, ink., a regional marketing and public
relations consulting firm. She is also a faculty associate in the College of
Agricultural and Life Sciences, Department of Life Sciences Communication,
at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She can be reached at
sfbotham@mhtc.net.
————————————————————————————————-
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/index.php?ntid=111977&ntpid=1
————————————————————————————————-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

========================================================
9.                   THE CANDLES OF CHRISTMAS 1981
         In December 1981, much of the world lived in totalitarian darkness.

COMMENTARY: By Paul Kengor, The American Spectator
Arlington, Virginia, Thursday, December 21, 2006

It’s difficult to explain how much the world has changed in 25 years — and
for the better. Those who lived through December 1981 would be well served
to pause and give thanks for the differences.

In December 1981, much of the world lived in totalitarian darkness. This was
captured at the time by Freedom House, the group begun by Eleanor Roosevelt
and today headed by freedom fighter Nina Shea. Freedom House published its
map of global freedom, which showed the world’s free nations in white and
unfree nations in black.

Nearly all the great Eurasian land mass was colored black, from the western
border of East Germany, through eastern Europe and the massive spaces of the
Soviet Union, and on to the huge terrain of China, and still further down to
Vietnam and the South China Sea.

The contrast was pointed out by a presidential candidate who hoped to
transform the darkness: “If a visitor from another planet were to approach
earth,” said Ronald Reagan, “and if this planet showed free nations in light
and unfree nations in darkness, the pitifully small beacons of light would
make him wonder what was hidden in that terrifying, enormous blackness.

We know what is hidden: Gulag. Torture.” Reagan noted that “the very heart
of the darkness” was the Soviet Union.

What was that totalitarian darkness like? It sought the persecution and even
annihilation of entire classes and groups of hated people.

According to the 1999 work by Harvard University Press, The Black Book

of Communism, at least 100 million people were killed by Communist
governments in the 20th century, a conservative figure that we already know
underestimated the total.

(We now know, for example, that Mao Tse-Tung alone killed 70 million in
China, and Soviets authorities like Alexander Yakovlev maintain that Stalin
himself killed 60-70 million in the USSR.)

If one combined the total deaths in World War I and World War II and
multiplied them by two, they still did not match the deaths by Communism
in the 20th century.

These governments robbed individuals of the most basic rights: property,
speech, press, assembly, the right to life. Communists had a particular
antipathy for religion. Of special attention this time of year — in
December — Communist governments went so far as to inspect houses in
search of Christmas trees, as they tried to also strip the right to
celebrate the birth of Christ.

THIS HATRED OF RELIGION WAS imbedded in Marxism-Leninism.
Marx had called religion “the opiate of the masses” and said that
“Communism begins where atheism begins.”

His chief disciple agreed: “There can be nothing more abominable than
religion,” wrote Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet state, in a
letter to Maxim Gorky in January 1913.

Religion, howled Lenin, was “a necrophilia,” akin to a virulent form of
venereal disease. Once he was in power, Lenin resolved to do something about
it, ordering “mass terror” against the religious: “The more representatives
of the reactionary clergy we manage to shoot, the better,” he decreed.

Lenin especially detested Christmas. On December 25, 1919, he issued an
edict directed at all levels of Soviet society: “To put up with ‘Nikola’
[the religious holiday] would be stupid — the entire Cheka must be on the
alert to see to it that those who do not show up for work because of
‘Nikola’ are shot.”

Fast forward to Christmas 1981, when the Communist world still despised
religion. That year in Moscow, “church watchers” retained their regular
duties: sitting in the back of chapels taking notes on those “stupid people”
(as government propaganda described them) who entered to worship.

By 1981, only 46 of the 657 churches operating in Moscow on the eve of the
Bolshevik revolution were permitted open, though they held closely monitored
and controlled services.

In one of the Soviet republics, Ukraine, the government celebrated the
nativity according to Marx and Lenin. Political commissars hijacked
traditional Christmas carols and purged them of Christian references.

Lyrics such as “believers” were changed to “workers”; the time of the season
became October, the month of the glorious revolution; rather than the image
of Christ, one song extolled “Lenin’s glory hovering”; the Star of Bethlehem
became the Red Star.

In fact, the red star replaced the traditional star atop the occasional
Christmas tree erected in the Communist world, where the Christmas tree
was renamed the New Year Tree. This was part of the secular Great Winter
Festival that replaced the traditional Christmas season, celebrating the
mere advent of the New Year.

Said Ukrainian Olena Doviskaya, a church watcher and a teacher, who was
required to report students who attended Christmas services: “Lenin was
Jesus. They wanted you to worship Lenin.”

The prospects for shining light upon that darkness seemed grim in 1981. The
Soviets were on the rise, having added 11 satellite or proxy states since
1974.

The new man in Washington, President Ronald Reagan, was sure he could
reverse this. He had survived an assassination attempt in March 1981, sure
that Providence had intervened to spare him for a larger purpose: to defeat
Soviet Communism. Reagan was especially hopeful that the tide could begin
in Poland, the most recalcitrant of all the Soviet bloc states, where the
Communist war on religion utterly failed.

And just then, on December 13, 1981, the lights were dimmed again. At
midnight, as a soft snow fell lightly on Warsaw, a police raid commenced
upon the headquarters of Lech Walesa’s Solidarity labor union.

The Polish Communist government, consenting to orders from Moscow,
declared martial law. Solidarity’s freedom fighters were shot or imprisoned.

The cries of liberty were being snuffed out in this most pivotal of Communist
bloc nations. That was what the world faced 25 years ago this month.

BUT THEN CAME A MOMENT of hope forgotten by history.

Ten Days later, on December 23, with Christmas only two days away, Ronald
Reagan connected the spirit of the season with events in Poland: “For a
thousand years,” he told his fellow Americans, “Christmas has been
celebrated in Poland, a land of deep religious faith, but this Christmas
brings little joy to the courageous Polish people.

They have been betrayed by their own government.” He made an extraordinary
gesture: The president asked Americans that Christmas season to light a
candle in support of freedom in Poland.

This idea was kindled by a private meeting Reagan had with the Polish
ambassador, Romuald Spasowski, and his wife, both of whom had defected to
the United States the previous day.

The ambassador and his wife sat in the Oval Office. His wife was very upset.
Vice President George H. W. Bush put an arm around her shoulders to comfort
her.

The ambassador said, “May I ask you a favor, Mr. President? Would you

light a candle and put in the window tonight for the people of Poland?”
Immediately, Ronald Reagan rose and walked to the second floor, lighted a
candle, and put it in the window of the dining room.

That candle might have brought to mind those special candles lit after Mass
by a young Karol Wojtyla, a Pole from Krakow who was now Pope John
Paul II. Then and now, they burned bright for Russia’s conversion.

Of course, the atheistic Communist press was not quite so sentimental. It
was enraged by Spasowski’s request, calling him a “slanderous, dirty
traitor.” The slightest American invocation of God’s side set the Soviets
seething.

“What honey-tongued speeches are now being made by figures in the

American administration concerning God and His servants on earth!”
fulminated a correspondent from Moscow’s Novoye Vremya. “What
verbal inventiveness they display in flattering the Catholic Church in
Poland. Does true piety lie behind this?”

The Soviet press, maybe because it was never driven by religious piety
itself, doubted that such could be a sincere Reagan motivation. The next
day, on Christmas Eve, propagandist Valentin Zorin dashed before the Soviet
TV cameras to question the “rather doubtful Christmas gift” Reagan had just
given to Americans.

UNDETERRED BY SOVIET RAGE, Ronald Reagan and a core group of
cadres — some of whom passed away this past year, such as Caspar
Weinberger and Jeane Kirkpatrick — remained committed to liberating the
people of Poland and all of the Soviet empire.

Without going into the debate over where and how they succeeded — that’s
another article — suffice to say that the world changed dramatically by the
end of the decade, and in precisely the way they had hoped.

In 1980, according to Freedom House, there were 56 democracies in the world;
by 1990, there were 76. The numbers continued an upward trajectory, hitting
91 in 1991, 99 in 1992, 108 in 1993, and 114 in 1994, a doubling since
Reagan had entered the Oval Office.

By 1994, 60% of the world’s nations were democracies. By contrast, when
Reagan lamented the lack of freedom in the mid 1970s, the number was below
30%. Few presidents got so much of what they wanted.

There has been an explosion in freedom worldwide since the 1980s. This
democratic transformation is one of the great stories of modern humanity,
and one of the least remarked upon, as high-school texts — among numerous
other sources — are completely silent on the subject.

This is a truly global blessing that transpired in the lifetimes of most of
us. Unfortunately, many of us Americans are not good at counting our
blessings or remembering our history.

A look back at 25 years ago this month can help us to be grateful for what
we have, especially at Christmas time, when we pause to remember the
ultimate source of light that conquers the darkness.             -30-
————————————————————————————————-
Paul Kengor is author of The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of
Communism (2006) and associate professor of political science at Grove
City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania.
————————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=10790
————————————————————————————————-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
10.         IT TAKES A PARTNERSHIP: BOSTON, USA AND
                              DNEPROPETROVSK, UKRAINE

By Baila Olidort, Chabad Lubavitch Global Network
FJC, Moscow/New York, Thursday, December 7 2006

DNEPROPETROVSK, Ukraina – There’s an elderly Jewish woman named
Anna Shevelev living in the lap of luxury, in the Ukrainian city of
Dnepropetrovsk. Anna is not heir to a fortune; she never owned more than
the clothes on her back.

In fact, her own financial assets amount to zero. By all accounts, Anna
might well be another statistic of Ukraine’s elderly, below-poverty level
demographic.

When Anna was discovered in the backwater town of Ingulets, she was
living in a damp, dark cellar, with an axe under her pillow.

The 85 year-old survivor of the holocaust and then of communism lived in
hunger, but also in fear for her life. “She was waiting to die,” says Zelig
Brez, the director of Dnepropetrovsk’s Jewish Community Board who

places the city’s Jewish population at about 40,000.

Today, Anna enjoys five-star accommodations at Beit Baruch, a luxurious,
high-end assisted living facility-an out-of-reach fantasy even for the
average middle-class American.

Built originally with funds provided by Rabbi Eliezer Avtzon of GJARN, the
facility’s services are the product of an unusual partnership between the
CJP of Boston and the Jewish community of Dnepropetrovsk under the
leadership of Chabad’s Rabbi Shmuel Kaminezki.

Named for the father of Dnepropetrovsk’s Jewish Community President

Gennady Bogolubov, Beit Baruch, probably the only facility of its kind
worldwide, is but one in a plethora of programs that have transformed
Dnepropetrovsk from a city of substandard medical, social and educational
services, to one that is making its denizens feel grateful, even privileged.

With funds allocated from the Overseas Committee of CJP through the Jewish
Community Relations Council’s Committee for Post-Soviet Jewry, several of
Boston’s highly regarded medical experts come to Dnepropetrovsk to train
local medical teams in their respective fields and to raise the quality of
care for the city’s elderly, its women and children.

“They come for months at a time, teaching our staff, examining patients and
improving our level of services,” says Mr. Brez, of individuals like Prof.
Lewis Lipsitz, Vice President for Academic Medicine at Hebrew Senior Life,
and Chief of the Division of Gerontology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical
Center. Lipsitz recently introduced hip-fracture care that was non-existent
in the city.

Alternatively, the CJP and the JCRC invite Dnepropetrovsk’s medical staff to
train at some of Boston’s top medical centers. Under the mentorship of Prof.
Benjamin Sachs, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Beth Israel Deaconess
Medical Center, the Corky Ribakoff Women’s Clinic in Dnepropetrovsk
addresses specific health concerns including the high rates of infertility,
cervical cancer, infections, and repeated abortions.

Prof. David Link, Chief of Pediatrics at Cambridge Health Alliance and Mt.
Auburn Hospital, trained local staff at the children’s clinic which has
provided vaccines from four pharmaceutical companies and has launched a
program to immunize 10,000 children over the next years.

While these efforts were intended to correct a horrible situation for the
city’s elderly, its women and children, 85 percent of whom are living in
poverty, Mr. Brez points to another, more profound transformation that
followed.

When economic opportunity finally became a possibility in the post communist
era, many sought to accumulate wealth for the purpose of improving their own
lifestyles.

“There was no tradition to give back,” he observes, “and without an example,
people did not know how to build a community and how to create a healthy
infrastructure for the benefit of the collective.”

Those who left Dnepropetrovsk 15 years ago may not recognize their former
city, now abuzz with signs of growth everywhere.

Locals were thus intrigued by the investment of time and resources on the
part of individuals affiliated with Boston’s partnership program.

When some among the city’s budding businessmen saw a successful

entrepreneur like Bob Gordon, owner of New England’s chain of Store-24,
“spending his time coming to our city, sending containers of food for us-
and not as a one time gesture, but time and again, he became an inspiration
to them. In him and the others,” explains Brez.

The consistent dedication and investment toward bettering the lives of
Dnepropetrovsk’s citizens established vital role models that are responsible
for the kind of philanthropy Dnepropetrovsk is generating today from its own
home-grown base of supporters.

“Today we have a local board of directors that oversees budgetary
allocations for our programs and services,” says Brez, “and our own donors
who are investing in our Jewish community.”

With training by the CJPs professionals in strategic planning, public
relations, marketing and fundraising, they learned how to establish a
community infrastructure, and now, says Brez, “they are training us in the
establishment of endowment funds and other ideas that are new to our
community.”

Perhaps the beauty of this partnership is that all the parties seem to feel
they are the true beneficiaries. Barry Shrage, President of the CJP, who
describes this partnership as “transformational,” says that it has been a
source of tremendous benefit to Boston’s Jewish community which has grown
as a result as well. “It has helped provide an opportunity for members of
our own community to become involved.”

Nancy Kaufman, executive director of the JCRC, says of the relationship,
“We get more out of it than they do. We feel privileged to be part of this
brilliant model.”

She points out that all of JCRC’s investment in Dnepropetrovsk is leveraged
money, with an amazing return on a modest annual investment, and tosses out
a guesstimate of a minimum ten-fold return, if not twice or three times as
much. But for everyone involved, the relationship has spawned something far
more meaningful.

Recalling the genesis of this partnership back in 1991, when, after the
dismantling of communism, the National Conference of Soviet Jewry decided
that they wanted to continue their activism in this region, Kaufman
describes their search for a “sister” city.

The volunteers returned from a visit to Ukraine, and while many never even
heard of Dnepropetrovsk, and no one even knew how to pronounce the name
of this city that, unlike Moscow, Leningrad or Kiev, was completely closed
to the west, “they reported back about having found a passionate team in Rabbi
Shmuel and Chani Kaminezki who had come as Chabad Shluchim to this city
with special ties to Rabbi Schneerson,” she says.

Yekaterinoslav, as the city was known before the communist revolution, was
home to the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, whose father Rabbi Levi Yitzchok
Schneerson, was its chief Rabbi in the early part of the 20th century.

This historic footnote is the reason, believes Rabbi Kaminezki, for the
miracles of Dnepropetrovsk’s successes, and for this inspired partnership
that is now held up as a model for other communities to learn from.

As a Chabad representative determined to restore traditional Judaism to
Dnepropetrovsk, Kaminezki may have seemed an unlikely partner for
Boston’s JCRC whose orientation is decidedly liberal.

“At first there were questions,” recalls Bob Gordon, “as to how much our
Jewish organization in Boston wanted to be involved with Chabad.” But
after the individuals involved got to know the values of the Kaminezkis, he
admits, “they soon overcame the few objections they had.”

But Barry Shrage says that he sees this partnership as a rather natural one
to the Jewish community. “The surprise is,” he told Lubavitch International,
“that so few other communities are doing this in any intensive way.”

The chance to partner with a former soviet city, he says, for the purpose of
rebuilding Jewish life after the fall of communism, “was a historic moment,
and we wanted to be a part of it, we wanted our children to see it, and to
tell our grandchildren that we were there.”

Sixteen years later, the intensity has not waned. The CJP, says Shrage, has
made this partnership “the core of our work overseas,” and is still excited
about its role in the rebirth of this city.

Kaufman recalls sitting together with the Kaminezkis to learn what their
dreams are for the city, when the JCRC realized that they shared many of the
same objectives, and that “there was plenty of room for us to fit their
model.”

Like Barry Shrage, Bob Gordon and Zelig Brez, she attributes the stunning
changes in Dnepropetrovsk to Rabbi and Mrs. Kaminezki’s leadership appeal.
Their knack for embracing the city’s entire population is striking, she
says. “Rabbi Kaminezki runs a food pantry that is open to everyone.”

He encouraged the JCRC to work with him for the benefit of the broader
Dnepropetrovsk community, and indeed, she says, “we made a point of
working through the municipal hospital rather than building our own.”

Most recently, she notes, the JCRC arranged, through sponsorship by
the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, for Dnepropetrovsk to get its first ever
mammography machine to benefit all of the women in the city.

Those who left Dnepropetrovsk 15 years ago may not recognize their former
city, which is now abuzz with signs of growth everywhere. Boston’s
introduction of a micro-enterprise program is offering individuals loans and
training in business; where once there were no eateries, the city now has
its own kosher sushi restaurant.

“This city appeared moribund when we first visited here in 1992,” recalls
Bob Gordon. In terms of Jewish activity, most Jews preferred not to identify
as Jews , and, he says “there was nothing going on her when the Rabbi
arrived. Just remnants, and an old synagogue. There hadn’t been any new
construction here in 30 years.”

Nine years ago, Rabbi Kaminezki took several visitors to see a run-down
coat factory in the city. “We’ll make this into a shul,” he told them.

Kaufman remembers wondering what the Rabbi was thinking. “Two years
later he built a spectacularly beautiful shul that is filled with 350
people, children, women and men of all ages, every Shabbat.”

Zelig Brez, a native of Dnepropetrovsk who has made many changes in his
personal life as a result of Rabbi Kaminezki’s spiritual inspiration, and is
now responsible for the Jewish community’s annual multi-million dollar
budget, says that Kaminezki inspires by his ahavat yisrael.

“There are no divisions here. No one is rejected. Oligarch or pauper,
educated or ignorant, religious or secular”-everyone, he says, feels
relevant.

That’s why, notwithstanding the rapid strides Dnepropetrovsk has made, it
remains a city, says Brez, absent “the intrigues, conflicts and
confrontations” that often come with the territory.

No one is more enamored of the changes in Dnepropetrovsk, than Rabbi
Kaminezki himself, who saw the metamorphosis as it occurred. “Our Boston
friends are God sent partners in this amazing transformation,” he says. Then
adds thoughtfully, “I hope that our Shlichus here is doing the Rebbe proud.”
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LINK: http://www.fjc.ru/news/newsArticle.asp?AID=453719
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11. CAROL OF THE BELLS: MEDIEVAL, ENGLISH, & ABOUT CHRISTMAS,
            RIGHT?  NOT SO! IT’S ACTUALLY…READ ON TO FIND OUT!

By Craig Dimitri, Blogger News Network (BNN)
Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas-tide: “Carol of the Bells” – Medieval, English, and About
Christmas, Right? Not So! It’s Actually.. (Read on to Find Out!)

This post was written by cdimitri on 20 December, 2006 (20:43) | All News,
European News, North American News, Society and Culture, Blogosphere
News, US News, UK News, Religious News, History News, by Craig Dimitri.

The “Carol of the Bells” is that extraordinarily resonant, catchy carol that
we’ll all stop at, once we hear the chords while scanning the radio, whether
terrestrial or satellite.

After a few notes of the chiming bells and the chant of: “ring, Christmas
bells, merrily ring,” one can immediately picture the medieval English
singing it, at a stained-glass-windowed cathedral, at some point in the 13th
century, in a town called “Westburyfordshire” (or thereabouts) at midnight
on Christmas Eve.

And everything about that picture (which, until I did the research for this
article, I had long envisioned in my mind) would be completely wrong.  The
reality is shockingly different from the image. 

 
The “Carol of the Bells” is: 
     a) not English, or British, or even Western European!
     b) not originally written for Christmas!
     c) not formally composed, until the 20th century! (It was composed
         at the time of the First World War, in 1916).

So if it’s not English, or Christmas-related, or centuries-old – then what
is the source of the “Carol of the Bells”?

The song is from Ukraine, not England, but in fairness, all of the elements
of the English-church, Christmas-card picture do have elements rooted in
fact.

Although “Carol of the Bells” was not formally composed until 1916, it is
based on an ancient Ukrainian folk melody, and so it very well might have
existed in the Middle Ages (and for that matter, might even pre-exist
Christianity itself).

In addition, that Ukrainian song was about New Year’s Day, not Christmas.
To contemporary Westerners, that’s more of difference of degree than kind,
given that we lump the two of them together.

But according to the Rice University anthropology student who unearthed this
information, he’s been told by contemporary Ukrainians that Christmas is
“too soon” to sing the song.

And after English lyrics were added, later in the 20th century, it’s become
very popular in the English-speaking world at Christmas-tide. Let’s explore
its origins:

The original Ukrainian folk song focused on the arrival of a swallow on
January 13 (New Year’s Day, under the Julian calendar used in Ukraine, as
opposed to the Gregorian calendar used in the West).

The swallow would arrive at the Ukrainian home, and inform the master
of the good fortune and prosperity he’d be receiving for the year.

Awkwardly transliterated into the Western, Roman alphabet, it is called
“Shchedryk” (derived from the Ukrainian term for “bountiful”).

Girls and young women would go from house to house in Ukraine and sing
the wallow’s song, and be rewarded with sweets and treats, in a sort of
Halloween-meets-New-Year’s-Day melange.

Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovich formally composed music based on
“Shchedryk”, and it was first sung by students at Kiev University, in what
is now the capital of Ukraine, during Christmas-tide 1916, in the depths of
the First World War.

After the war ended, the Ukrainian government sent the Ukrainian National
Chorus out on the road to talk up Ukraine and its culture.  It performed all
over the world, including a sold-out Carnegie Hall in New York City, on
October 5, 1921.

The American composer Peter Wilhousky believed that the resounding
melody evoked bells (although there are no bells at all in the Ukrainian
lyrics), and so he wrote English lyrics based on a bell theme, copyrighting
the lyrics in 1936.

There are actually multiple English-language lyrics by different authors.
In the late 1930s, Wilhousky-run choirs began performing it in English at
Christmas-tide; in the 1940s, recordings of the English-language version
began to peal in the U.S.

And it’s been popular ever since; according to the Rice student Anthony
Potoczniak, no fewer than 35 English-language versions have now been
recorded.

Questions?  Comments?  Information?  You can contact Craig Dimitri at
cdimitri1@yahoo.com.

Article on Rice University anthropology student studying the Ukrainian
roots of “Carol of the Bells”  –
http://www.scienceblog.com/community/older/2004/7/20046906.shtml

Synopsis of the history of “Carol of the Bells” – http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/Notes_On_Carols/carol_of_the_bells_notes.htm 

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LINK: http://www.bloggernews.net/13232
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12. INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION NO MATCH FOR CAN-DO MOM
                          Emma was Ukrainian and Nina was Russian

By Jill Coley, The Post and Currier
Charleston, South Carolina, Saturday, December 23, 2006

Home for the holidays has a whole new meaning for Connie Gillette. The
41-year-old single mother from Mount Pleasant adopted her second
daughter, Nina, a few weeks ago from Russia.

The exhausted pair landed after a 12-hour flight, following a whirl of
appointments with social workers, a judge, doctors and immigration
officials.

The frenzy eased on the carpeted floor of Charleston International Airport,
where Gillette’s eldest daughter, Emma, 3, reached out to touch her new
sister’s head. Emma was adopted a year and a half ago from Ukraine.

“Everyone in my family is so excited about Christmas this year,” Gillette
said. Her parents, who are battling health problems, and her brother and his
two daughters will fill her Mount Pleasant home for the holiday. Her
brother’s wife died four years ago.

“It helps you put it all in perspective on the circle of life,” she said of
the family’s youngest additions.

Americans adopted nearly 22,000 children from the top 20 countries of origin
in 2005, according to the U.S. Department of State. Russia ranked second on
the list with 4,639 adoptions, and Ukraine ranked fifth with 821.

Adoption was a way for Gillette to start the family she yearned for. “I
always knew I wanted to be a mom,” she said. Gillette and her husband of
four years divorced eight years ago. “I thought I’d get remarried. I just
didn’t,” she said.

International adoption appealed to her because of her extensive background
travelling. Gillette, a civilian public affairs officer, works for the Army
and lived in Germany and Japan before moving to Washington to become
chief of strategic communications for the Army Corps of Engineers.

Work for a U.N. mission in Macedonia led Gillette to an orphanage there, and
it occurred to her that she could love those children who through no fault
of their own ended up in such unhappy circumstances.

A polished professional, Gillette was no stranger to the extensive forms,
documentation and interviews required of the adoption process. One of the
most trying moments of her career proved her mettle.

On Sept. 11, 2001, she walked out of her office in the Pentagon and went to
another area to watch the news about the World Trade Center. Minutes later,
American Airlines flight 77 struck the building. The building shuddered,
smoke filled the halls, and papers swirled in the air, she said. Her office
was demolished.

Gillette groomed Pentagon staff for the intense media attention. She coached
military men, who were taught to cope silently, that the public needed a
face on the story because the country was likely going to retaliate.

She recently decided to step forward as the face of international adoption
because she wants people to realize how wonderful it can be.
                  EMMA WAS ADOPTED FROM UKRAINE
When she first saw her first daughter, Emma, she said, “I felt like I knew
her.” But the little girl was ill. She was 2 years old and weighed 15
pounds, the average weight of a 5-month-old, according to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. She couldn’t sit up and had a bleeding rash
on her neck and diaper area.

Gillette carried the little girl to three hospitals to see five doctors. The
prognosis was not good. She called a doctor in the U.S., and he
recommended she turn the child down.

She decided to walk away and went to her hotel room. As she wrote in her
journal, “I feel so sad but I know I’m doing the right …” she put her pen
down. She didn’t know she was doing the right thing, she realized. “There’s
more to this child,” she told herself.
DOCTOR TO KHARKIV, UKRAINE TO EXAMINE THE GIRL
Gillette tracked down a Western-trained doctor six hours away to come to
Kharkiv, Ukraine, to examine the girl. He gave her a 70 percent chance to be
a normal, healthy child and said she was delayed largely because of a lack
of stimulation, nutrition and love. That was enough hope for Gillette.

As for her small size, orphanage workers had diagnosed her with a food
allergy, pumped her full of antibiotics and taken her food away. “She was
starving,” Gillette said.

When she brought her daughter to the U.S., Gillette noticed Emma had a high
tolerance for pain and discomfort. A psychologist explained that she went so
long crying with no one coming to her, she learned her pleas were futile.

Gillette practiced active empathy, asking Emma when she fell or bumped
into something, “Does that hurt?” or “How does that make you feel?”

Now Emma weighs 31 pounds and with the help of therapists has already
caught up with her American peers physically and cognitively. She is still
slightly delayed in expressive speech, Gillette said, but added that Emma is
a happy, bright, little girl.

The marathon of hours Gillette worked in the wake of Hurricane Katrina
pushed her to re-evaluate her work-life balance. She left the capital for
the Lowcountry, where she works as a public affairs officer for the Army
Corps of Engineers.

She did not expect to adopt again so soon, but a visit to an online adoption
newsletter led her down a path to Nina. She felt the same tug.

“I probably adopted the first time because I wanted to be a mom. But I
adopted the second time a lot because I just couldn’t not do it,” she said.

“There are so many children that are just existing. They may get the food,
they may even get the medicine they need, but they don’t get the love they
need. They thought that Emma wouldn’t be a happy, healthy kid. I just think
they didn’t give her a chance.”

Nina has health problems, too, but not as severe. Gillette is pleased with
the 17-month-old’s evaluation at the Medical University of South Carolina’s
International Adoption Clinic. Medical, cognitive and physical therapy
evaluations determined Nina needed no immediate therapeutic intervention.

While Emma coped with her time in the orphanage by turning inward, Nina
seems to strike out, Gillette said. “The very first time I kissed her in the
orphanage, she flinched and tried to slap at me,” she said. But Nina accepts
affection and already prefers Gillette.

“It took Emma longer to have that kind of trust,” she said.

Gillette tackled the daunting adoption process like the professional she is.
Forms and documentation are no problem for her, she said. For those
considering international adoption, she said, there is a lot of help out
there.

The process may grow even more complicated next year, when the U.S. is
expected to implement changes to the international adoption process in
accordance with the 1993 Hague Convention.

Approximately 70 countries have joined the convention, including many from
which Americans adopt. The convention’s aim is to protect children and
parents through accreditation, according to the State Department.
COST OF INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION CAN BE A DETERRENT
The expense of international adoption can be a deterrent to some. The
average Russian adoption costs between $20,000 and $30,000, according
to the State Department. Gillette estimates her costs totalled $28,000 for
the second and $19,000 for the first.

The most important lesson she learned the first time around? “It just takes
time for them to attach and bond,” she said. “You know that you’re going to
be with them for the rest of their life. But they don’t know that.”

Emma was with Gillette last Christmas, but she was too young to understand
the holiday. This year, Gillette watched Emma run to Santa Claus with open
arms and say, “I need books, Santa.”

She also asked Santa for a doll that cried. Gillette teasingly asked Emma,
“You don’t get enough of that with Nina?”

Apparently, Emma can’t get enough and has named one of the dolls she
carries around “Baby Nina.”                                -30-
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                                On the Web Adoption resources
–The U.S. State Department’s page on international adoption:
www.tinyurl.com/dsox4
–International adoption e-magazine: www.rainbowkids.com
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Reach Jill Coley at 937-5719 or jcoley@postandcourier.com.
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http://www.charleston.net/assets/webPages/departmental/news/Stories.aspx?section=localnews&tableId=123707&pubDate=12/23/2006
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13. HOLIDAY GIFT TO HELP THE ELDERLY IN UKRAINE THIS YEAR!
                American Friends of “For Survival,”
www.ForSurvival.org

Katie Fox, President, American Friends of “For Survival”
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #800, Article 13

Washington, D.C. Monday, December 25, 2006

Dear Friends,
Please consider a holiday gift to help the elderly in Ukraine this year! As

many of you know, a group of Americans who have lived in Kyiv run a
small charity for impoverished Ukrainian seniors.

We started the charity, “American Friends of For Survival” 10 years ago to
immediately and directly help the elderly, many of whom were begging on
Kyiv’s streets as a result of the economic collapse accompanying the break
up of the Soviet Union.

This charity is an all volunteer effort, run by Americans here and in Kyiv.
Every cent of the funds we collect from donors goes directly to a poor
elderly person. It is often the only way they can afford lifesaving medicine
and decent food, as well as housing and clothing.

Ukraine’s elderly need our help again this year. Though pensions have risen
in Ukraine, the cost of living has risen even faster.

A respected business survey recently ranked Kyiv more expensive than Los
Angeles or Chicago – making survival a struggle when the minimum pension is
equivalent to $65/ month.

Significant increases in home heating prices are forecast for this winter, a
blow to all Ukrainian consumers that will hit those on fixed incomes
hardest.
                            Your help is desperately needed!
American Friends of  For Survival currently provides some elderly with
special needs $20 per month and others $10 per month. With prices rising

so rapidly we would like to increase most, if not all supplements to $20.

     A contribution of $240 provides an elderly Ukrainian $20 per month for
     the entire year.
     A contribution of $120 will provide necessary assistance for 6 months.
     A donation of any amount is needed and much appreciated.

A contribution of $240 only amounts to a bit more than $4.50 per week!
That’s slightly more than many of us spend on coffee every morning. Each
contribution will help an elderly Ukrainian buy food and medicine and, of
course, your generous donations are tax deductible.

We want to make it easy for you! You can now donate directly with any
major credit card on our new website, www.ForSurvival.org, or if you prefer

you may contribute by check made payable to: “For Survival”, c/o Katie
Fox, 3100 Connecticut Ave NW #235, Washington, DC 20008

Dyakuyu! (thank you) very much, from the bottom of our hearts.
Have a wonderful year!

Katie Fox, President, American Friends of ‘For Survival”

PS Please be sure to visit our new website, www.ForSurvival.org
and tell a friend! Please contact us: Info@ForSurvival.org,
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FOOTNOTE:  The AUR urges you to donate to the “For Survival”
program.  We have known about this very cost effective program for
several years.  AUR Editor Morgan Williams
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14.                      HOW I FEEL ABOUT CHRISTMAS

By Brittany Arsenault, Special to The StarPhoenix
The StarPhoenix Christmas Story Writing Contest
Second Place Entry, Ages 9 and 10, The StarPhoeni

Saskatoon, Saskatoon, Canada, Saturday, December 23, 2006

At Christmas time I feel that I am the luckiest girl in the world. It is not
just about presents.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the food, the presents, the chocolate, the
glitter and the Christmas tree. For me it is about sharing and being
together with my family.

How lucky we are to be together, to be healthy, safe and warm, in our home
filled with love. What makes Christmas special for me is that I get to
celebrate Ukrainian Christmas as well.

Ukrainian Christmas follows the Julian calendar on Jan. 6. It is full of
tradition and religion. On Christmas Eve the menu for the “Holy supper” or
“Sviata Vechera” does not contain any meat or dairy products. There are 12
dishes served, representing the 12 apostles.

The special first course, called kutia, which is boiled wheat kernels
sweetened with honey and flavoured with poppy seeds is my favourite. Next
comes soup, which is borscht, the famous beet soup, fish and vegetable
dishes. For me it would not be a Ukrainian meal without varenyky and
holubtsi (cabbage rolls).

There are also other vegetable side dishes and dessert to complete the meal.
At the centre of the table is the Christmas bread or kolach. A candle is
placed in the centre of the bread to symbolize Jesus, the light of the
world. I have been learning to make this special bread for the past few
years.

The Christmas Eve meal begins once the children of the family see the first
star in the evening sky. This represent the journey the wise men made to
Bethlehem.

Ukrainian carols are sung in our Ukrainian community. The tradition if
caroling is carried on by the young children including myself and other
people who visit people’s homes and sing.

So, when I put milk and cookies out for Santa, carrots for the reindeer, and
track Santa’s arrival on the Internet. And when I can hardly wait for
Christmas morning to come to open presents.

Or when I wait for the evening star to appear to enjoy kutia and varenyky, I
feel that I am so lucky. I am lucky to experience the magic and wonder of
Christmas, and to also learn and be part of the rich cultural traditions
that have been in my family for generations.

As I play Christmas songs on the piano or sing Christmas carols in English
or Ukrainian, the spirit of peace, joy, and happiness is shared through the
music for all those who listen.

In conclusion, I would like to say; “MERRY CHRISTMAS” and “KHRISTOS
RODYVSYA” (Christ is born) and I hope you feel lucky to experience the
spirit of Christmas like I do.                       -30-
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http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/weekend_extra/story.html?id=c26eb128-1533-4810-a5f1-698d9a20587c

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15. UKRAINIAN FINDS CHRISTMAS DIFFERENT IN UNITED STATES
                               Valentyna is from southern Ukraine

By Miriam Moeller, Journal Staff Writer, The Mining Journal
Marquette, Michigan, Sunday, December 24, 2006

MARQUETTE – In Ukraine, Santa does not have a Mrs. Claus, but he has
“Snegurohka,” his granddaughter. Santa also goes by a different name:
Grandfather Frost or “Ded Moroz.”

Valentyna Anderson, a native of Ukraine, knows the story of Grandfather
Frost and his granddaughter well. She grew up with the legend and used to
celebrate Christmas the Ukrainian way until she came to Marquette in the
summer of 2005.

She said Grandfather Frost wears the same red suit the “American” Santa
wears, but the granddaughter is dressed in a beautiful light blue with white
costume. She helps Grandfather deliver presents.

“They live in the woods and help animals,” she said. “They feed them and
keep them warm. Every kid loves their stories.”

Anderson is from southern Ukraine where she said most people are Orthodox
Christian. For her, Christmas is on Jan. 6 and the New Year is celebrated
twice. According to the old Gregorian calendar, the New Year is celebrated
on Jan. 14. When the culture adopted the new calendar, it changed the date
to Jan. 1, Anderson said.

On the Ukrainian Christmas Day, people go to church and celebrate with a big
meal. “Usually we cook goose with apples,” Anderson said. “It’s tasty. We
spend a lot of time for cooking.”

Common dishes are appetizers called “prroske,” which are similar to Polish
pierogies, and the famous Ukrainian winter dish “cholodec,” which is similar
to aspic. Families in Ukraine also traditionally make their own sausages,
Anderson said.

The Christmas tree, or “yolka,” is set up days before Christmas. “We usually
get the Christmas tree before the new year,” she said. That is around Dec.
27 or 28, and most people leave the tree up until the celebration of the
“old New Year” on Jan. 14.

After a long sit-down dinner, Ukrainians go to mass. “After mass people wear
special costumes and take a big bag and go to every house – like Halloween –
and stay at every house and sing songs, give holiday greetings, and then
people give them candy and food,” she said.

As far as presents go, Anderson said Grandfather Frost brings them, but
people buy special presents for each other and give only two or three at a
time.

“For kids more … but not like here,” she said. “Even my daughter bought
lots of presents for her friends. I disagree with buying lots of presents.
We need to think more: ‘how can we make friends more happy not what
you can buy.'”

Anderson plans on celebrating an American Christmas with her children
and husband Robert Anderson in Marquette.                   -30-
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LINK: http://www.miningjournal.net/stories/articles.asp?articleID=9587

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16. FAMILY LOOKING FORWARD TO FIRST CHRISTMAS SINCE
                      ADOPTING TWO CHILDREN IN UKRAINE

By Emily Taravella, The Daily Sentinel
Nacogdoches, Texas, Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas will be twice as much fun this year for Shawn and Rachelle
Coughlin of Jacksonville – since the number of children in their household
has doubled with the adoption of two children from Ukraine. The Coughlins
have two biological children, and although they were able to have more, they
chose to adopt.

Shawn said he has always wanted to adopt children. Growing up, his home was
the kind of place where friends were always welcome. Shawn is the son of Pat
and Linda Coughlin of Nacogdoches.

“My parents even took in several children who had been turned out by their
families,” he said. “Rachelle did take some convincing, especially about
adopting two children at one time.” Shawn said he and Rachelle are often
asked why they adopted. Their answer? “Because we could.”

“It sounds like a flippant answer, but to us it was a simple decision,” he
said. “We had the desire for more children. We are not rich, but we could
find the money to adopt, and we knew that there were children in Ukraine who
needed a mother and father. But most of all, when it came down to it, we
believed that adoption was something God wanted us to do.”

The Coughlins chose to adopt from Ukraine for several reasons. Having two
biological children, they wanted their adopted children to look somewhat the
same.

“Russia and Ukraine were really the only two possibilities we considered,”
Shawn said. “Because Russia was twice the price for adopting two children,
we chose Ukraine. But all through the process, we really felt Ukraine was
where we should be adopting from.” The couple started the process in
September of 2004, and got home with the children on Jan. 8.

“There is a very lengthy process of paperwork to be completed, including
background checks, medical exams for the parents and INS paperwork, just to
mention a few,” he said. “All of this is paperwork is called a dossier, and
must go to Ukraine to be translated and then formally submitted to the
adoption authorities in Ukraine.

At that time, the National Adoption Center, which is located in the capital
city of Kyiv, was in charge of adoptions in Ukraine. Our dossier was
submitted to the NAC in August of 2005. After the paperwork was received, we
were given a registration number, and then began the process of waiting for
an appointment with the NAC to search for children.”

Most international adoptions are done with what are called “referrals,”
Shawn said.

“That means that once you are registered, you are matched with a child who
fits your criteria stated in your paperwork,” he said. “With a referral, you
would receive information and photos of the child before you travel to the
country.”

Ukraine works on a different system. “In Ukraine, you give them the ages and
sex of the children you would like to adopt, and when you get to the NAC,
they show you the available children who best meet that criteria,” Shawn
said.

“What that means, is you are guaranteed absolutely nothing when you make
your trip. We specified we wanted a sibling group of two girls between the
ages of 2-6; and we ended up adopting a 3-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl.”

At the time of the Coughlins’ trip, the adoption community was saying that
there were no healthy children under the age of 10 who were available for
adoption, Shawn said.

“Some of the parents we talked to had gone through all of the paperwork and
made a trip to Ukraine just to find out that they had no children that met
their criteria,” he said.

 “If they were unwilling to adjust their criteria, that meant they went home
without a child. We were very blessed, in that our children were the only
set of siblings we were shown and both the children were healthy.”

The Coughlins children were located in the city of Zaporizhya which is about
a two-hour plane ride (or a 12-hour train ride) from Kyiv.

“We took a plane and arrived in Zaporizhya on a Friday night,” Shawn said.
“We met the kids on Saturday and immediately knew these were the children
we had traveled all this way to find. Then, we began a paperwork process to
formally apply for adoption of Casey and Valerie.”

This took about two weeks and ended with a court hearing where the Coughlins
were proclaimed Casey’s and Valerie’s new parents. After that, there was a
mandatory 10-day waiting period before they could get the kids passports and
new birth certificates.

“Then it was back to Kyiv, a few days of more paperwork, and back home to
Texas!” Shawn said. “All told we spent about 33 days in Ukraine.”

The children had to adjust to a new language, but Shawn said he and Rachelle
had taken Russian lessons so they could communicate some. “It actually took
about three to four months for Valerie and Casey to completely switch to
English,” Shawn said.

“They never spoke Russian after that time. There was also an adjustment for
having more rules and being disciplined. That was the hardest for Casey,
because he is so stubborn. Casey and Valerie had never had anything of their
own, so they tended to hide toys so the other boys would not find them. “

Both children are very affectionate and want to constantly be hugged and
kissed, Shawn said. They really need to know they are loved.

“The children have the same mother but different fathers,” he said. “They
were abandoned at the ages of 2 and 3, respectively. They were found on a
park bench by the police. They had been in the orphanage about 15 months
when we met them. During this time, they did not see each other, because
they were in different orphanages.”

At age 7, Conner is the oldest Coughlin child and “the leader of the kids,”
Shawn said. He is in the second grade and plays soccer.

Valerie is 5, and she is “much like a little dictator,” Shawn said. “She
thinks she has to tell everyone what to do, and she may well become a
teacher,” he said. “She is in kindergarten and also plays soccer.”

Casey is 4 and is “very smart and very stubborn,” Shawn said. “He is
independent and would rather be playing with puzzles or Legos than watching
TV.” Casey has only been speaking English for about seven months, but he is
already starting to read.

“Casey is 12 days older than Cooper, so they will enjoy each other’s company
for a long time,” Shawn said. “Cooper is our wild child, and he is
100-percent boy. He is the most likely to climb, destroy, or break, but he
usually knows when to stop.”

Casey and Cooper both attend pre-school, and both play soccer. In fact,
Valerie, Casey and Cooper all play on the same soccer team coached by …
you guessed it, Shawn.

“The children really play well together and are typical kids,” Shawn said.
“There is the usual ‘He hit me’ or ‘He called me stupid,’ but all in all,
the kids get along well.”

Shawn said he and Rachelle met many wonderful children in Ukraine who need
homes. “I think most people are scared of international adoption, because of
the stories they have heard or may have seen on TV,” he said.

“The orphanages we saw were very clean and the children were well taken care
of. There is a good child-to-caretaker ratio, and the workers seem to really
love the children. The day we took Casey and Valerie from their orphanages,
their teachers cried and made us promise to write and send pictures.”

Shawn said everything is new to Casey and Valerie. “From birthdays, to
simple things like dogs and cats; the joy on their faces just makes you
smile,” he said. “Halloween was a big thrill, and Christmas has been great.
When we decorated the tree and turned on the lights, Casey and Valerie were
beside themselves with joy.”

One recent Sunday all of the children participated in their church Christmas
program, Shawn said.

“Last year Rachelle and I were in Ukraine, and we missed seeing Cooper and
Conner in this program,” he said. “To see all of the kids singing on stage,
and to think that this time last year Casey and Valerie could not even speak
English … The program was on Dec. 10, which was the same day that we met
Casey and Valerie last year.”

Casey and Valerie said they love having a family, and they enjoy their new
beds and toys. They also say they miss Ukraine, and they sometimes talk
about when they are going to visit Ukraine again.

“They like to look at the pictures from our trip to Ukraine,” Shawn said.
“Conner and Cooper say they are happy to have Casey and Valerie as siblings,
and they enjoy always having other children around to play with.” Conner
said he is glad he is still the oldest child.

“The people of Ukraine are wonderful,” Shawn said. “The food was great and
the cost of things were very affordable; must less than in the U.S. We were
given a facilitator who translated for us, stayed with us, and basically
acted as a lawyer on our behalf. He became a good friend, and we still
exchange e-mails on a regular basis.”

Casey’s given name was “Kyril Maximovich Kendeev,” and Valerie’s given
name was “Valentina Maximinova Kendeeva.”

Shawn said he wrote this entry in he and Rachelle’s adoption blog for Dec.
10, 2005:

We got the call Nov. 31 that we were traveling to Ukraine on Dec. 5. We
wondered why we had to travel so soon and why we were being rushed after
waiting so long for our paperwork. Not to mention that we were going to miss
having Christmas with Conner and Cooper.

Well, today we met the two reasons why were in Ukraine and why we went
through all the hard work to get to this point.

God has been so good to us and we didn’t even realize that this was his plan
all along. The most amazing part of meeting the children is that on Dec. 2,
a couple from the U.S. visited these children and decided not to adopt them.

The doctor at Kyril’s orphanage said that the man indicated he could not
bond with Kyril and that they were going back to the U.S. without a child.

This was the first couple to visit these children, because they had just
become available for adoption. Conner and I have prayed every night for a
year that God would protect our children in Ukraine, that He would keep them
safe, and that He would choose the children that he wanted for our family.

Well, prayer answered!!!                                       -30-
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17.                        CHRISTMAS RICH IN RITUALS

By Grant Granger, NewsLeader
Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, Friday, Dec 22 2006

Vira Dmyterko and other children in her family would act like animals at
Christmas time.

It was, after all, a tradition back home in Truskavets, a town of 50,000 in
the Western Ukraine. Her father, who was a priest, would get some straw and
throw it underneath the dining room table. The children would then go under
the table and make animal noises.

“We’d meow, or moo, make a sound like an animal,” says Dmyterko with a laugh
as she makes the sounds all over again. “That would mean for the next year
we would get more cows, more chickens.”

It was all part of the Ukrainian Christmas, and that little tradition is
kept alive in the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Most Holy Eucharist in
New Westminster where Dmyterko’s husband, Volodymyr is the pastor of the
cathedral.

The animal act is all part of the Christmas Eve activities. That’s when the
Ukrainians, dressed in colourful festive outfits of their country, eat a
holy supper called Bahata Kutya. Bahata means rich while kutya is what
boiled wheat mixed with honey is called. The wheat is a symbol of eternity
because it revives each year. The honey is for eternal happiness of the
saints in heaven.

Bahata Kutya consists of 12 meatless dishes such as perogies, cabbage rolls
and fish. The Dmyterkos believe it’s meatless to honour the animals that
protected Joseph and Mary in the barn when there was no room at the inn.
“Mary and Joseph suffered because nobody wanted to let them in the house,”
says Vita.

The reason there’s supposed to be 12 dishes, although that’s a tall task
most Ukrainian families aren’t up to these days, admits Vita, is to
represent each moon of the year.

According to Ukrainian Folk Year from the Historical Perspective, the Bahata
Kutya consists of every kind of vegetable and fruit on the farm so the
family will receive the god of the harvest and holy souls of the ancestors.

A sheaf of straw – “Didukh” – is put in the corner by the dining table. It
symbolizes ancestor spirits and for the god of the harvest to bring
prosperity in the new year. Alongside the hay the Ukrainians place
agricultural tools for God’s blessing of work on the farm. When the evening
star appears in the sky the head of the house lights a candle.

After the supper they exchange gifts, sing songs, moo, meow and make other
animal noises before going to mass.

While the Dmyterkos celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25 many Orthodox Ukrainians
opt to do it on Jan. 7 to match up with the Julian Calendar. The later date
appeals to many because it makes it a quieter, more religious occasion
instead of the commercialism surrounding Dec. 25.

Good ol’ St. Nick is also part of the fun. St. Nicholas is the most popular
saint in the Ukrainian church after St. Vladimir. More Ukrainian churches
are named after Nicholas than any other. Some scholars believe his great
popularity in the Ukraine during medieval times spread to Western Europe,
particularly Holland and Belgium.

When Father Dmyterko was a boy he wrote letters to St. Nicholas about how
good he was and what he wanted and he’d put them in the window so St. Nick
could see the letters.

The children would wake up in the morning and the presents, such as candies,
toys or clothes, would be left under their pillow or beside the bed.

“I remember when I was a little girl, I woke up in the morning and the first
thing I did was put my hand under the pillow and [said] ‘Oh there’s
something here. St. Nicholas was here.’ ” Vira recalls excitedly.

Adult gift giving is only done in fun. Vira’s mother loved a certain kind of
sausage so one Christmas her father placed a long string of sausage under
his wife’s pillow and had a big laugh when she woke up in the morning.

Although they had a happy childhoods mooing, meowing and making other
animals noises, and they were enjoying life in Truskavets, the Dmyterkos
came to Canada 10 years ago for a couple of reasons. For one, he was invited
over to be a priest. But a more compelling one, was their son, Roman, was
being called to the military with a chance he’d have to fight in
Afghanistan.

“Some guys not come back alive,” said Father Dmyterko. Vira says, “Our son
grow up with religious rules and then they want to send him to shoot people.
We did not want that.”

Now Roman is a computer program tester while their daughter, Natalia,
married an American and is a heart surgeon in Brooklyn, N.Y.

After Christmas, the church has special services honouring different things
every day. On Epiphany, Jan. 5, the priest blesses the holy water. One year,
recalls Father Dmyterko, a beekeeper in the congregation ran up to get some.
Dmyterko wanted to know why. “He said, ‘Oh Father, I know from my parents

if I take first that water and I go bless my bees they will produce more
honey,’  ” says Dmyterko with a smile.

The next day the priest begins going around to the homes with the holy water
to bless the parishioners’ houses. It’s an exorcism of sorts that many of
them firmly believe in.

“A lot of people said something very bad happened in the house, it had a
very bad mood,” says Vira. “It was bothering everyone [including] the
children. [But] after the blessing the house with a special prayer by the
Father, the people say the mood of the house was so great, it was peaceful
and something happened very good after the blessing. And it will keep going
good.

“They have to believe. The holy water is like a medicine for the soul.”

So is children acting like animals at Christmas.                -30-
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Grant Granger: ggranger@burnabynewsleader.com
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18.      THEY CRIED ‘UNCLE,” UNTIL THEY MISSED HIM
          Mother produces a seven-course Ukrainian feast on Christmas Eve
                 and a turkey dinner with all the fixings on Christmas Day.

By Larry Pruner, Burnaby News Leader
Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, Friday, Dec 15 2006

Many families are saddled with that one person who is – how shall I put
this? – a little off.

Whacko, cuckoo and nut-job are other not-so-pleasant, albeit somewhat
accurate, adjectives to describe the relative who, particularly, at
Christmas, tends to drive everybody bonkers with his or her odd personality
traits, which always bare their teeth in the most untimely fashion.

In my family’s case, it’s my Uncle J. He lives in Victoria, which is good
because I really prefer he not read this.

Until last year, he would sail over on the ferry to spend a few days over
the holidays with us. Being he’s my mom’s younger brother and that she lives
alone, he bunks at her place.

My two older brothers and I, and my two daughters – who are too polite to
say anything against him but not enough to wince whenever his very name is
mentioned – are most grateful none of us has to endure his quirks 24/3 over
Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day as Mom must. By Dec. 27,
Uncle J. usually retreats and heads home to the Island, much to Mom’s
relief.

Left in his wake like the aftermath of a thunderous tsunami are often broken
crystal pieces, empty booze bottles and fractured emotions from him getting
carried away with his hands and choice – or lack thereof – of words. He
really doesn’t mean to do harm yet still manages to do it.

About this time last year, Mom had surgery on her foot to try to fend off
the pain and discomfort of chronic arthritis, which has ravaged her feet and
hands in recent years and rendered her about 50 per cent efficient in her
favourite room in the house, the kitchen.

But she amazingly still manages to produce a seven-course Ukrainian feast
on Christmas Eve and a turkey dinner with all the fixings on Christmas Day.

She does all this while dancing around Uncle. J., who’s forever stretching
his arm into the fridge to open a bottle of Chardonnay or going into a
tirade about the state of the world and, ironically, the people in it he
finds unbearable.

Again, please don’t get me wrong. He would never do intentional harm to
anybody. Uncle J. is just, well, Uncle J.

So this time last year, Mom got a phone call from him telling her of his
plans to join us at Christmas, just as he’d done for the previous 10 or so
festive celebrations.

Uncle J. lives alone, has no wife or children and, from what we can tell,
has few friends. His best friend was a work colleague who passed away
about 10 years ago. Ever since, Uncle J. has made it his mission to spend
Christmas with us on the mainland.

Only last year, Mom decided otherwise. She said she wasn’t up to all the
hard work that goes into preparing two feasts and that, in all honesty, it
would perhaps be better if he didn’t make the Christmas trek. She suggested
he could, perhaps, spend a few days in the new year with us.

He agreed. Last Christmas, for the first time in a decade, he stayed home.

Mom, meanwhile, caught her second wind and created a Christmas Eve meal
that was to die for. (And when you consider the cholesterol count in most
Ukrainian food, that’s not far from the truth.)

Everything was done right. The food, the gifts, the decorations. My oldest
brother made it over, my second oldest didn’t but my children and I spent
the afternoon and evening with their grandmother, listening to her tales of
past Christmases, including those she spent growing up in the Depression

era on a farm in Alberta. It was nice.

Only something was missing. Rather, somebody was missing.

When we left, my youngest daughter, Hazel, turned to me and said: “That
was fun… only I wonder what Uncle J. is doing now?”

It struck me like a Mack truck. What would he be doing? Likely sitting alone
in his humble apartment nursing a Kokanee, watching some U.S. college
football game on the tube, eating a microwaved frozen dinner.

Earlier this week, I got a call from Uncle J. He said he just talked to Mom
and I braced to hear that perhaps she told him she prefers keeping things
“quiet” again at Christmas – and that it would be best if he didn’t come
visit.

Instead, he said he’ll be over Christmas Eve and Mom said he can stay as
long as he’d like. I breathed a sigh of relief, told him I’m looking forward
to seeing him and said so long.

So come this Dec. 27 (or so) when Uncle J. returns home to Victoria, we can
expect the usual aftermath of another of his stormy visits – broken crystal,
empty bottles, fractured emotions.

But later, we’ll all grin and agree it was nice to see him again. After all,
he is family.

And last year just wasn’t the same without him.                     -30-
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19.                         MAKING THE HARD DECISIONS

EDITORIAL: Pioneer Press, TwinCities.com
St. Paul, Minnesota, Friday, December 22, 2006

“We don’t have lemon laws on kids. There isn’t a return policy.” This was
the eloquent statement of Tamara Kincaid, a social services supervisor for
Washington County.

The county’s heroic work in trying to straighten out a disastrous foreign
adoption was detailed by reporter Mary Divine in Sunday’s newspaper.

The county workers, it seemed, were the only people who cared enough
about what happened to a troubled Ukrainian boy who was adopted at the
age of 7 by a Lakeland couple, transferred to another family, and then
returned, like a faulty appliance, to Ukraine.

The original adoptive parents said the boy was emotionally disturbed and
sometimes violent.

After an international bureaucratic struggle, Hansen flew to Ukraine and
brought the boy back this month. He is now 12 and staying in a juvenile
treatment residence in Duluth, where he clutches rosary beads and
demonstrates Ukrainian dances to his roommates.

It is fun and fashionable to blast government these days, and we do our
share of it. But it is Washington County government, acting on behalf of all
of us, that came to the rescue of the Ukrainian boy everyone else was
failing.

While much information in the case is private, it appears that the boy’s
original adoptive parents retain custody over his sister, who was adopted
at the same time.

That suggests the county’s job in this very complicated case isn’t finished.
We thank them for all they’ve done. And we hope they stay on it.     -30-
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http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/editorial/16293684.htm
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20. UKRAINIAN PYSANKA, PAINTED EGGS, APPEAR AT CHRISTMAS

By Alli Vail, News Reporter, Parksville Qualicum News
Parksville, British Columbia, Canada, Friday, Dec 22 2006

Twenty-month-old Larissa Siedlecki is supposed to be sleeping. Instead,
she’s busy touching a ceramic manger scene and crawling behind the

Christmas tree. When it’s time to have her picture taken, she’d rather put
he painted Ukrainian egg in her mouth.

Christmas starts early at the Siedlecki house in French Creek. It’s a great
time for traditions, including a small one, bigger at Easter, involving the
Ukrainian painted eggs.

“It’s a very big thing at Easter time,” Siedlecki says, noting the colours
and symbols usually mean something in a religious sense.
The eggs do make an appearance at Christmas.

“I’ve got a couple that are Christmas decoration,” Siedlecki says, adding
that at Christmas, the eggs are more of a novelty item. Ukrainian eggs
aren’t the colour with crayon and dip in food colouring style of eggs.

“There’s a process you go through to make the eggs,” Siedlecki says. There’s
wax dripping, wax melting, dipping and glazing involved – not to mention an
intricate pattern.

He says the eggs at Christmas have holiday themes. “You would see
traditionally the same colours,” Siedlecki says. “Red, white and black is a
big Ukrainian kind of colour.”

He would know. Ukrainian Christmas traditions played a big part in his
childhood. “The biggest Ukrainian tradition is Christmas Eve,” Siedlecki
says.

It’s the holy day, made up of fasting, followed by a meatless meal. Twelve
dishes (for each of the apostles) are served when fasting breaks. Tradition
also comes in the way the food is eaten. Siedlecki says that means spotting
the first star in the sky before eating.

Then there is putting hay underneath the table, or putting it underneath the
table cloth, representing the hay in the manger. Before the meal a prayer is
said and a Ukrainian carol sung. “Lots of food, lots of eating, lots of
drinking. [I] love it, absolutely love it.”

One of Siedlecki’s favourite aspects is decorating. He says his wife Nicole
probably gets a little annoyed. Yet, tradition is important. He says as his
children get older, he’d like to do more and even put the hay under the
table. “I really like the old traditions,” he says. “I’d have to say I’m a
traditionalist.”

Appearing in the paper is also a tradition in the Siedlecki family.
Siedlecki says when he was growing up, their house would always get
mentioned in the local paper, thanks to the decorations.      -30-
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21. FOUNDATION STONE LAID FOR NEW MIKVAH IN SUMY, UKRAINE

FJC, Moscow/New York, Monday, December 18 2006

SUMY, Ukraine – For the Jewish community of Sumy, this year’s Chanukah
was a double celebration. As well as marking the Festival of Lights, Sumy’s
Jews laid the foundation stone for a new mikvah.

It is eighty years since this Ukrainian town had a working mikvah. The last
one was closed down by the Soviet authorities in 1927, as Communism
cracked down on Jewish life across the USSR.

Attending the groundbreaking ceremony, Ukraine’s Chief Rabbi Azriel Chaikin
noted that Sumy’s future mikvah was proof that “the miracle of Hanukkah
didn’t just happen thousands of years ago – it’s repeated all the time.

Three years ago when the local rabbi Yekhiel Levitansky came here with his
family, it seemed that Jewish life was dead, that there weren’t even any
Jews here. But from one candle a miracle is born. Not only is there a minyan
in the synagogue, but there will soon be a mikvah, a kindergarten and a
school.”                                             -30-
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LINK: http://www.fjc.ru/news/newsArticle.asp?AID=457054
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22. CHANUKAH PRESENTS FOR CHILDREN IN WESTERN UKRAINE

FJC, Moscow/New York, Thursday, December 14 2006

ZHITOMIR, Ukraine – Hundreds of Jewish children living in more than 40

towns and villages across Western Ukraine will receive Chanukah presents
by post this week.

In addition to the traditional Chanukah brochure, menorah and candles the
children and their families will find kosher sweets produced by “UkrKosher”
company – chocolates, waffles, gingerbread men and boiled sweets.

The campaign is sponsored by two Ukrainian businessmen Igor Dvoretzky

and Alexander Abdinov.

“We are grateful to our sponsors for such wonderful gift – families in rural
areas will not only be able to celebrate Chanukah according to Jewish
traditions but will also receive the festive spirit of Chanukah with the
sweets.

We all know how important this is for the Jews in small towns surviving on
meagre salaries”, said executive director of FJC Ukraine in Western Ukraine
Nochum Tamarin.                                        -30-

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LINK: http://www.fjc.ru/news/newsArticle.asp?AID=456169
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23.  “WORLD OF JEWISH WOMAN” PUBLISHES CHANUKAH ISSUE
                 Chanukah is the story of the victory of light over darkness

FJC, Moscow/New York, Wednesday, November 29 2006

LUGANSK, Ukraine – The December issue of “World of Jewish Woman”

magazine, which is just out, is dedicated to the upcoming holiday of
Chanukah.

Chanukah is the story of the victory of light over darkness and the
magazine’s headline is “We will prevail!”
The articles discuss the
philosophical meaning of the holiday, family values and work on self-

improvement.

The issue also covers the life of Jewish women in the Ukrainian city of
Kremenchug and features Chanukah recipes from Omsk.          -30-
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24.  KATERYNA YUSHCHENKO SAYS FUNDRAISER FOR CHILDREN’S
   HOSPITAL OF THE FUTURE DEMONSTRATED WE CAN WORK
              TOGETHER TO TACKLE AND RESOLVE PROBLEMS

Press office of President Victor Yushchenko
Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, December 17, 2006

KYIV – On December 17, Kateryna Yushchenko told journalists at a press
conference held after a TV live fundraiser to build a Children’s Hospital of
the Future in Kyiv this charitable event was exemplary. The First Lady said
she had not thought it would attract so much attention.

“This project demonstrated we could work together,” she said. “There are
many problems in Ukraine we can tackle and resolve.”

“The event does not finish today. It will not end even when the hospital is
built. It will continue as long as the hospital exists,” she said, adding
that hospitals abroad relied on donations and insurance funds.
          THANKED RADA FOR ALLOCATING $10 MILLION
The President’s wife thanked the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, for
adopting a resolution to allocate UAH 50 mln in the budget to carry out the
project.

When asked whose donations were the largest, she replied Ukrainian business
people knew how important it was to help our children. “I think they are
also glad we managed to find some common solutions,” she said.
                        TIME FOR NEW PHILANTHROPISTS
Mrs. Yushchenko added that philanthropists “realized it was time for Ukraine
to have its new Tereshchenkos and Khanenkos, who will build new hospitals,
schools, theatres, museums.”

She said her foundation had offered business leaders to help equip rooms in
the hospital during the promotional tour.  “It can be an emergency care
ward, classrooms or something else but there will be a plaque with your
name,” she said.
              RENEW OUR FAITH IN CHARITABLE GIVING
“One of our major goals is to renew faith in charitable giving,” she said
when asked about the politicization and commercialization of charitable
foundations led by first ladies. She said 80% of Ukrainians did not trust
charitable foundations, according to recent public opinion surveys, which
makes her sad.

“Our project will be public and transparent. All the expenses and incomes
will be published on our website. We guarantee that it will be an exemplary
charitable event,” she said.

Mrs. Yushchenko said the construction of the hospital would start next
spring, its architectural design being almost ready.

“We will establish a board of trustees and a supervisory board involving
philanthropists and experts, who will help us,” she said.

Speaking about how the hospital will be furnished and equipped, she said it
was necessary to order equipment a couple of years beforehand.

“What we have today in our storehouses is outdated. We must now buy
equipment that will still be advanced in a couple of years,” she explained.

The First Lady said the project was on her agenda during a visit to South
Korea on December 18-19. She said she would meet with heads of companies
manufacturing medical equipment and would bring back an ambulance for one
of the Hospital to Hospital facilities in Ukraine.

Mrs. Yushchenko said she was proud of Ukrainians. Our celebrities – singers,
athletes, bankers and business leaders – joined this project,” she said,
adding that the live TV marathon on almost all television channels was
unprecedented. “This event shows we are real Europeans,” she said.   -30-
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LINK: http://www.president.gov.ua/en/news/data/5_12710.html

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25. SCOTLAND: HIBS FANS TO TAKE UKRAINE CHILDREN GIFTS

Scotsman.com, Edinburgh, Scotland, Thursday, 21 Dec 2006

HIBS fans are set to travel to Ukraine to bring Christmas presents to
children in orphanages they support.

Steven Carr and Alix Stewart of the Dnipro Appeal are leaving for the city
on January 3 with suitcases full of Barbie dolls.

They plan to buy other presents, including baby clothes and soft toys, once
they have arrived in Ukraine.

Mr Carr said: “We’ll do most of the shopping there but we have to get the
Barbie dolls here because they struggle to get them there.” He added that he
was hoping a store in Edinburgh might make them a good deal on the dolls.

The registered charity came about after Hibs drew against Ukrainian side
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in last year’s Uefa Cup.

Forty-year-old alarm engineer Mr Carr decided to take over some football
tops for under-privileged children, which started a bigger project that has
now raised more than £20,000.

The Dnipro Appeal helps Predniprovsk Tuberculosis Children Centre, as well
as a local pregnancy crisis centre and the smaller Odinkovka orphanage.

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26. MEMPHIS DOCTORS REBUILDING UKRAINIAN GIRL’S FACE

WHBQ-TV, FOX13, Memphis, Tennessee, Monday, December 18, 2006

MEMPHIS – A gesture of humanitarian and medical goodwill from John

Wood Ministries [Rev. John Wood, Waco, Texas]means that over the next
18 months Iryna Shevchenko [who lives in Ukraine] will get the facial
reconstructive surgery she needs to help restore function and balance to
her young face.

Dr. Robert Wallace of the UT Medical Group told Fox13:  “Her problems

now center around a loss of volume of her face, obviously excessive
scarring on the right side of her face, a loss of a portion of her nose, a
loss of a portion of the corner of her mouth, and a loss of her eye lid.”

Wallace says the myriad of problems that started at birth as a vascular
abnormality from Irina’s eye down to mouth. She had surgery as a baby.
That was eventually followed by radiation, and skin grafts. The end result?
Disfiguring scars and a loss of some facial functions.

Dr. Alexander Etnis, of Kiev, Ukraine, says the scars caused the 12 year old
to become extremely shy and uncomfortable in public.

Dr. Etnis says:  “When she first got to the U.S. this girl wasn’t very
comfortable, because she was nervous.  But now she can smile, so it’s
getting better,

Not all of Iryna’s visit has been confined to seeing specialists in Dr.
Wallace’s office.  Her host family made plenty of time for pampering which
included sight seeing, clothes shopping and facials.

And while she couldn’t find the exact words for every question I asked, she,
through Dr. Etnis, says she’s never seen such nice people as she’s met in
the United States, Memphis especially.

Dr. Etnis told FOX13’s Maria Black: “She’s impressed to see how all people
ask, ‘what can to do for this girl?’  People don’t know anything about this
girl but they ask ‘how I can help you.'”

And over the next year and a half that help will take shape literally right
before her eyes.                                         -30-
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NOTE:  To see video of TV news report click on link below:
http://www.myfoxmemphis.com/myfox/pages/News/Detail?contentId=1812417&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=3.5.1

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AUR#800 Dec 25 New Year Tree; Children’s Literature; Hutsuls; Boston & Dnepropetrovsk; Carol Of The Bells; Adoptions; Chanukah; Rebuilding Girl’s Face

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

                      Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
         Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World       

 
   TRUE TASTE OF HOLIDAY GOOD CHEER!
                  Now is the time…..to reach out…..to share…..to give.
                        
ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 800
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor, SigmaBleyzer
WASHINGTON, D.C., MONDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2006 

              –——-  INDEX OF ARTICLES  ——–
            Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
   Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
1.      KYIV’S MAYOR LIGHTS UKRAINE’S MAIN NEW YEAR TREE
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sat, December 23, 2006

2.        PRES YUSHCHENKO WISHES HEALTH AND WELFARE TO
                           CHILDREN ON SAINT NICHOLAS DAY
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

3.    U.S. PRESIDENT BUSH CONGRATULATES PM YANUKOVYCH
                   ON CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR HOLIDAYS
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, December 22, 2006

4. UKRAINIAN FORESTRY ENTERPRISES PLAN TO SELL 1 MILLION
              FIR, PINE AND SILVER FIR TREES FOR NEW YEAR

                                AND CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, December 18, 2006

5.      UKRAINIAN ARTISTS, MUSICIANS, PUBLISHERS UNITE TO
                      ENCOURAGE CHILDREN TO READ MORE
                     “Organized Christmas children’s literature bazaar”
5th TV Channel, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, December 18, 2006

6.    UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT YUSHCHENKO MARKS HANUKKAH
Press office of President Victor Yushchenko
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, December 20, 2006

7      CELEBRATING A CARPATHIAN MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS
                                        WITH THE HUTSULS
By Matthew Matuszak, Photos by Petro Didula
Ukrainian Observer magazine #226, The Willard Group
Kyiv, Ukraine, December, 2006

8.                      TRUE TASTE OF HOLIDAY GOOD CHEER
By Sarah Botham, The Capital Times
Madison, Wisconsin, Wednesday, December 20, 2006

9.                          THE CANDLES OF CHRISTMAS 1981
         In December 1981, much of the world lived in totalitarian darkness.

COMMENTARY: By Paul Kengor, The American Spectator
Arlington, Virginia, Thursday, December 21, 2006
 
10.               IT TAKES A PARTNERSHIP: BOSTON, USA AND
                                 DNEPROPETROVSK, UKRAINE
By Baila Olidort, Chabad Lubavitch Global Network
FJC, Moscow/New York, Thursday, December 7 2006

11. CAROL OF THE BELLS: MEDIEVAL, ENGLISH, & ABOUT CHRISTMAS,
             RIGHT?  NOT SO! IT’S ACTUALLY…READ ON TO FIND OUT!
By Craig Dimitri, Blogger News Network (BNN)
Wednesday, December 20, 2006

12.     INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION NO MATCH FOR CAN-DO MOM
                           Emma was Ukrainian and Nina was Russian
By Jill Coley, The Post and Currier
Charleston, South Carolina, Saturday, December 23, 2006

13HOLIDAY GIFT TO HELP THE ELDERLY IN UKRAINE THIS YEAR!
                American Friends of “For Survival,”
www.ForSurvival.org
Katie Fox, President, American Friends of “For Survival”
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #800, Article 13

Washington, D.C. Monday, December 25, 2006

14                           HOW I FEEL ABOUT CHRISTMAS
By Brittany Arsenault, Special to The StarPhoenix
The StarPhoenix Christmas Story Writing Contest
Second Place Entry, Ages 9 and 10, The StarPhoenix

Saskatoon, Saskatoon, Canada, Saturday, December 23, 2006
 
15. UKRAINIAN FINDS CHRISTMAS DIFFERENT IN UNITED STATES                              
By Miriam Moeller, Journal Staff Writer, The Mining Journal
Marquette, Michigan, Sunday, December 24, 2006

16.    FAMILY LOOKING FORWARD TO FIRST CHRISTMAS SINCE
                         ADOPTING TWO CHILDREN IN UKRAINE
By Emily Taravella, The Daily Sentinel
Nacogdoches, Texas, Saturday, December 23, 2006

17.                            CHRISTMAS RICH IN RITUALS
By Grant Granger, NewsLeader
Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, Friday, Dec 22 2006

18.              THEY CRIED ‘UNCLE,” UNTIL THEY MISSED HIM
           Mother produces a seven-course Ukrainian feast on Christmas Eve
                   and a turkey dinner with all the fixings on Christmas Day.
By Larry Pruner, Burnaby News Leader
Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, Friday, Dec 15 2006

19.                              MAKING THE HARD DECISIONS
EDITORIAL: Pioneer Press, TwinCities.com
St. Paul, Minnesota, Friday, December 22, 2006

20UKRAINIAN PYSANKA, PAINTED EGGS, APPEAR AT CHRISTMAS
By Alli Vail, News Reporter, Parksville Qualicum News
Parksville, British Columbia, Canada, Friday, Dec 22 2006

 
21FOUNDATION STONE LAID FOR NEW MIKVAH IN SUMY, UKRAINE
FJC, Moscow/New York, Monday, December 18 2006
 
22.   CHANUKAH PRESENTS FOR CHILDREN IN WESTERN UKRAINE
FJC, Moscow/New York, Thursday, December 14 2006
 
23.    “WORLD OF JEWISH WOMAN” PUBLISHES CHANUKAH ISSUE
              Chanukah is the story of the victory of light over darkness
FJC, Moscow/New York, Wednesday, November 29 2006
 
24KATERYNA YUSHCHENKO SAYS FUNDRAISER FOR CHILDREN’S
       HOSPITAL OF THE FUTURE DEMONSTRATED WE CAN WORK
                TOGETHER TO TACKLE AND RESOLVE PROBLEMS
Press office of President Victor Yushchenko
Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, December 17, 2006
 
25.    SCOTLAND: HIBS FANS TO TAKE UKRAINE CHILDREN GIFTS
Scotsman.com, Edinburgh, Scotland, Thursday, 21 Dec 2006
 
26.    MEMPHIS DOCTORS REBUILDING UKRAINIAN GIRL’S FACE
WHBQ-TV, FOX13, Memphis, Tennessee, Monday, December 18, 2006
========================================================
1
KYIV’S MAYOR LIGHTS UKRAINE’S MAIN NEW YEAR TREE

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sat, December 23, 2006

KYIV – The Kyiv’s mayor Leonid Chernovetskyi has lighted the New

Year tree on Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence square) in Kyiv.

“I wish you happiness, success, joy! Let you God live through the year of
2007 with warmness in the heart,” he said.  Chernovetskyi also promised

many presents from the Kyiv’s city administration to the children of Kyiv.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the New Year tree is to be 35 meters
high. 18 new kinds of the decorations were bought for the New Year tree,
among them – pink pigs. The lightning of the tree, established this year, is
to create the effect of its rotation.                        -30-
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========================================================
2. PRES YUSHCHENKO WISHES HEALTH AND WELFARE
                 TO CHILDREN ON SAINT NICHOLAS DAY

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

KYIV – President Viktor Yuschenko wishes health and welfare to children

on occasion of Saint Nicholas Day. This is disclosed in the presidential
congratulation letter, text of which Ukrainian News has.

“This day is the first of New Year’s and Christmas holidays to come on our
land,” the report reads. Yuschenko said he believes that children will grow
educated and laborious people. “Let Saint Nicholas protect you and give
happiness, joy and hope,” the letter reads.

According to the report of the presidential press service, Yuschenko had
urged his advisors and Presidential Secretariat departments’ heads to visit
boarding schools in Kyiv and Kyiv region. They give presents and private
charity funds worth over UAH 50,000.

After returning from South Korea Yuschenko intends to personally give keys
from five minibuses to mothers having many children. As Ukrainian News
earlier reported, on December 17, Yuschenko left an official visit for South
Korea.                                           -30-
————————————————————————————————

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
3. U.S. PRESIDENT BUSH CONGRATULATES PM YANUKOVYCH
                  ON CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR HOLIDAYS

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, December 22, 2006

KYIV – U.S. President George W. Bush and his spouse Lora Bush have
congratulated Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych on Christmas and New

Year holidays. The Cabinet of Ministers press service reports this referring
to the telegram of congratulation.

“Let the lucid holidays fill your heart with light now and in the new year,”
the press service cites the congratulation.

As Ukrainian News reported before, the Cabinet made days of December 30
through January 8 holidays due to celebration of the New Year on December

1 and Christmas on January 7. Yanukovych traveled to the United States on
December 3-7 for a working visit.

During the visit he met the U.S. Vice President Richard Cheney, the U.S.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. Energy Minister Samuel

Bodman, the U.S. Trade Representative Susan Shwab and senators.   -30-
————————————————————————————————
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
4. UKRAINIAN FORESTRY ENTERPRISES PLAN TO SELL 1 MILLION
              FIR, PINE AND SILVER FIR TREES FOR NEW YEAR
                                AND CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS
 
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, December 18, 2006
 
KYIV – Enterprises of the State Forestry Committee plan to sell 1 million fir,
pine, and silver fir trees for the New Year and Orthodox Christmas holidays.
State Forestry Committee deputy head Vasyl Mateichik announced the plans
of the committee to Ukrainian News.

“We can sell 4.5 million trees. However, according to realistic estimates we
plan to sell about 1 million New Year trees,” he said.

He said the state forestry enterprises started to sell New Year trees last
week. The sales are sluggish due to the warm weather, he said.

He said the highest demand was for silver fir, while fir, usual and Crimean
pine remain popular also. Although blue firs are the most popular, the state
enterprises do not sell them because blue fir is rare. “If you see blue firs
being sold, they were grown in some private nursery forest,” he said.

Mateichik said that the price of New Year firs (between one and two meters
in height) is between UAH 9 and UAH 15 at forestry enterprises in the
Carpathians, silver fir’s price there is UAH 16-25, while the price of pines
in forestry enterprises of Polissia is UAH 19-24 and the price of fir is UAH
16-27. He said the retail price would be about twice the amount.

According to him, all forest zones are presently patrolled by units made up
of employees of regional forestry departments, who prevent major theft of
trees as much as they can. He said there was introduced a system of fines
for theft of trees.

The fines vary from UAH 25.5 per one tree in usual exploitation forests to
UAH 41 in protected forests, and UAH 51 per one tree with the diameter of
under 10 centimeters in reserves.

He said the forestry enterprises had planted 20 million conifers on 4,000
hectares. “But a small part of them is used as New Year trees. Around

70% of them we use for planting of greenery,” he said.

He said forestry enterprises planted about 2 million New Year trees this
year, while the total volume of restoration of forests amount to at least
45,000-50,000 hectares and about 250 million young plants. “That is why

that million we will sell as New Year trees will not have any negative
consequence,” he said.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, in 2005, enterprises of the State
Forestry Committee sold 1 million fir, pine, and silver fir trees for the
New Year and Orthodox Christmas holidays.

The main trade and sales department of Kyiv City Administration expects

that between 100,000 and 120,000 New Year trees will be sold in the capital
city this year.                                                -30-
————————————————————————————————
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========================================================
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========================================================
5.  UKRAINIAN ARTISTS, MUSICIANS, PUBLISHERS UNITE TO
                     ENCOURAGE CHILDREN TO READ MORE
                      “Organized Christmas children’s literature bazaar”

5th TV Channel, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, December 18, 2006

KYIV – With St. Nicholas day approaching, Ukrainian artists and musicians
took the opportunity to encourage children to enjoy reading.

Organizers of the “Christmas children’s literature bazaar” in the Ukrainian
House or “Ukrainskyi Dim” have planned a series of events including plays,
draws and gift giving to get children into the spirit of reading.

According to Ukrainian authors, the event is much needed, as they say young
Ukrainians don’t read enough. They want to convince parents that the best
holiday gifts — are books.

Okean Elzy lead singer Sviatoslav Vakarchuk came out to support the event.
He bought fifty thousand hryvnia worth of books for children in orphanages.

He called upon other wealthy Ukrainians to put their money towards good
causes such as student scholarships and building museums. Other well-

known Ukrainian artists supported the event by illustrating at no cost a
collection of new Ukrainian books.                            -30-
————————————————————————————————
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================      
6. UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT YUSHCHENKO MARKS HANUKKAH

Press office of President Victor Yushchenko
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, December 20, 2006

KYIV – Victor Yushchenko has visited Kyiv’s Central Synagogue to celebrate
Hanukkah with the Ukrainian Jews.

He wished them good health, peace and happiness. In his speech, the
President said Hanukkah is observed to honor those who defended their faith.
He said two miracles had been inspiring the Jews for two thousand years,
filling their hearts with joy and pride.

The first miracle is the victory poorly armed and trained peasants and
craftsmen gained over the professional army of invaders. The second miracle
is the divine power of light, which shone brightly for eight days.

“These symbols are passed on from one generation to another,” he said.  The
President said our peoples had many things in common.

“Lesya Ukrainka once wrote we were struggling for our independence like the
Jews for theirs,” he said, adding that, “no matter where we were born and
how old we are, we all rejoice at good and hate evil.”

Mr. Yushchenko also took part in a ceremony to light Hanukkah candles.
—————————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.president.gov.ua/en/news/data/1_12736.html
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
7. CELEBRATING A CARPATHIAN MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS
                                     WITH THE HUTSULS

By Matthew Matuszak, Photos by Petro Didula
Ukrainian Observer magazine #226, The Willard Group
Kyiv, Ukraine, December, 2006

“I’ve haven’t lived in Kosmach for so many years,” says resident Yurii
Prodoniuk, “but I’ve traveled the world a bit, and I have to say no one
celebrates holidays like the Hutsuls.”

Kosmach is a village of 6,200 in the Ivano-Frankivsk Region. At 33 square
miles, some say Kosmach is the largest village in Europe, and it is in the
heart of the territory occupied by the Ukrainian ethnic sub-group known as
the Hutsuls.

Ukrainians have been fleeing to the Carpathian Mountains to escape
oppression for centuries. The Mongol Tatar invasion of the Kyivan state

in the 13th century is an essential chapter in Hutsul history: numerous
Ukrainians “headed for the hills” to escape foreign domination.

The earliest written references to the Hutsuls come a little later, in
Polish sources of the 14th and early 15th centuries. By the mid-17th
century, the intensification of serfdom in surrounding areas caused still
more freedom-seeking Ukrainians to flee to the mountains.

Today, approximately half a million Hutsuls live in a territory that covers
2,500 square miles of southwestern Ukraine and the northern tip of

bordering Romania.

“In general, the Hutsuls are conservative,” says Prof. Roman Kyrchiv,
professor emeritus of philology at the Institute of Ukrainian Studies of the
National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. “It was difficult for them to
accept Christianity. They were very attached to traditions.”

In some areas, they still sing carols at Christmas time which pre-date
Christianity in Ukraine. Many of these pre-Christian winter songs have no
trace of baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, or the Magi. They simply recount village
life, usually wishing health and wealth for their neighbors.

“There are remnants of the pre-Christian pantheon in some songs,” says Prof.
Kyrchiv. To “Christianize” these carols, they sometimes add a little refrain
after every verse, like “O, God, grant.”

The Hutsuls historically have belonged to the Orthodox or Eastern-rite
Ukrainian Greek Catholic churches, and now there is also a Protestant
presence. Today there is some competitiveness between Greek Catholics

and Orthodox in Kosmach. Jordan, the feast of Christ’s baptism, which is
celebrated 12 days after Christmas, a traditional day for a great blessing
of water, is one occasion for “competition.”

“On Jordan, they go to the river: the Orthodox stand at one place for the
blessing, but the Greek Catholics stand higher up the river, so that the
Orthodox drink ‘Catholic’ water,” recounts long-time resident Mykhailo
Didushytskyi.

“I laugh and cry: adults act like children. Even children don’t act like
that. There’s a contest: the Orthodox want the Catholics to try the water
first, and vice-versa.”

Tradition, however, is more important than denomination for the Hutsuls.
“They don’t listen to the priest,” says Fr. Vasylii Hunchak, pastor of
Kosmach’s Church of Sts. Peter and Paul the Apostles. For example, Fr.
Hunchak tells his faithful they can work on minor holy days.

“They say: the priest says that, but my mother said that we can’t work-
Their beliefs are more important than what Christ handed down,” Fr.
Hunchak laments.

“They are convinced this is how they avoid disaster,” is how Prodoniuk
explains it. “The Hutsuls celebrate every little holy day, when they don’t
work the land- Misfortune doesn’t touch the Hutsuls.

Other regions have floods, storms, earthquakes, various natural disasters.
These pass by the Hutsuls. They celebrate not only St. Anne and St. Andrew,
St. Nicholas, but St. Barbara, and all the feasts of St. John.”

“On holy days, the women don’t even take a knife in hand,” notes Prodoniuk.
“The day before, they slice a lot of bread. They also make bread out of
potatoes and corn, which can be broken by hand. They don’t take instruments
in hand” on holy days, “like axes for cutting wood.”

Another important issue for Hutsul sensibilities is placement in church.
“Our church has preserved the very old experience of the Church, because it
is so handed down that men stand on the right side of the church and women
on the left,” explains Fr. Hunchak.

“Why? For ease in prayer. So that no one looks at anyone else, but only on
the Lord God. Also,” he adds with a smile, “it looks very nice, on one side
and the other.”

At Sts. Peter and Paul Church, the married stand in the front half and the
unmarried in the back half of the church. Females enter through the front
door, males through the door on the right side.

People even arrive at church according to an understood order: early in the
service, the pillars of the community come in and take up the banners that
they hold during the Liturgy. The Liturgy continues and, eventually, each
group arrives, older then younger.

Even Ukraine’s beautiful carols have their own specific structure, and
legends. “Did you ever hear of the legend,” asks Fr. Hunchak, “that God gave
gifts to all the nations? Ukraine came late, and God had nothing else to
give it, except for songs- Our Christmas carols are simply a gift from God.”

On Christmas Eve, grandchildren go carol for their grandparents. On
Christmas day, older children go out. After that, only adult men who have
official permission from their pastors carol. They then give the proceeds
for the benefit of the parish. Carolers are usually given good “tips” at the
private homes that they visit.

“In some villages, first they sing to the man and woman of the house, then
the cattle, the fields and garden, so that all will be healthy: a good
harvest, good wheat, healthy animals. They can carol for a whole day at one
house, if the man of the house provides enough food and drink,” notes
Didushytskyi.

“In the 1980s,” he recalls, “some carolers came to Kosmach from another
village, to make some profit. At first people didn’t know the difference,
but now they don’t give them any money.”

One of Didushytskyi’s yearlong passions is keeping alive the memory of
Oleksa Dovbush, an early 18th century Ukrainian Robin Hood. Didushytskyi says
that he lives in the very house where Dovbush was murdered in 1745. Dovbush
led a band of highwaymen who avenged the injustices that wealthy magnates
inflicted on the commoners.

It is possible that the very name “Hutsul” comes from a Romanian word that
means “highwayman” or “brigand.” Other linguists think that “Hutsul” comes
from a Slavic word that means “nomad,” as the Hutsuls historically left
their native areas to find freedom in the mountains.

Didushytskyi, though he speaks of Christmas tradition, also has a foot in
paganism. For example, he carves wooden sculptures of the ancient “gods”
and goddesses” of the pre-Christian Ukrainians.

“In general, Christianity is spread in Kosmach,” maintains Fr. Hunchak. “But
there is such a faith, not exactly Christian. Some are half-Christian,
half-pagan- mystical. In the Carpathian Mountains, there are people who know
about trees, plants, nature.”

But modern problems have not left the Hutsuls untouched. “There’s no work
in the village,” explains life-long resident Anna Havryliuk. “Young people
leave the country looking for work in the Czech Republic, Portugal,
Italy-Many men, many women have gone abroad.” This is a common problem
throughout Ukraine.

Still, Havryliuk’s grandchildren, Marichka and Bohdana Havryliuk and
Marichka Semeniuk, have not forgotten important traditions like coming to
carol to their grandparents on Christmas Eve.

Christmas is a feast that brings together not just living relatives, but the
deceased as well. “Before Christmas Eve supper,” recounts Didushytskyi,
“people visit the dead in cemeteries- They put candles on the graves.

They invite Grandma, Grandpa, or Mom and Dad, to come for supper. A
place is then left at the supper table, with plate and utensils for a
deceased relative, to show respect for the dead.”

And timing is very important for conducting the Christmas Eve supper.
“When the cattle are all fed and the first star comes out,” continues
Didushytskyi, “then we sit down at table, light the candle, pray to God.

The eldest takes the kuttia,” porridge made of wheat, honey, nuts, and poppy
seeds, “and throws it on the ceiling with a spoon.” The porridge should
stick there, and this means God’s blessing for a healthy family and cattle,
and fertile fields.

With time-honored songs and symbols, the Hutsuls celebrate all the feasts of
the year, enjoying the freedom that the Carpathian Mountains have given
them.                                               -30-
————————————————————————————————-
Matthew Matuszak is English-language editor of the Religious Information
Service of Ukraine. Petro Didula is press attache’ of Ukrainian Catholic
University.
————————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.ukraine-observer.com/articles/226/965
========================================================

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
    NOTE: Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
========================================================
8.                 TRUE TASTE OF HOLIDAY GOOD CHEER

By Sarah Botham, The Capital Times
Madison, Wisconsin, Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I dropped our son at the Middleton High School pool early one cold December
Saturday morning a few weeks ago for warm ups before his swim meet, then set
off to find a much-needed mug of hot, steaming coffee.

Inside the local java house I bumped into a familiar face; longtime friend,
entrepreneur and companion motor sports junkie, Eric. He was busy chatting
with another gentleman, so I said a quick hello and took my spot in the
coffee line.

I heard the gentleman in line ahead of me order. “A decaf Christmas blend, “
he said.

And almost without realizing it, my private thought became a public one.
“The whole world needs a decaf Christmas,” I said.

We shared a laugh that seemed more about the nervous truth of the

statement than its intended humor.

A little bewildered and still bleary from having to function without a
proper caffeine infusion, I ordered a jumbo size java and scanned the room
to see if Eric was still there. I caught his eye and he waved me to his
table.

Eric is one of those people whose enthusiasm for life is infectious, even
early on a cold December morning.

The father of four and husband to Sara, I can think of probably a dozen
adjectives to describe him, but those that ring most true are smart,
genuine, generous, caring and, like most of our friends, a fanatic for
wheels and speed.

Having not seen each other in several months, it was with fond interest that
we caught up on our families and lives. He’d just turned 50, he said, and
then dangling the bait that he knew I’d take, asked if I could guess what
he’d done to commemorate the half-century mark.

It had to be a car, I reasoned, so I began naming the likely candidates:
Porsche 911 GT3, Lotus Elise, BMW Z8, Aston Martin DB9. Eric just
shook his head, grinning.

A racecar then, I thought; vintage maybe, fast and rare. Could it be that
Eric had decided to get back into racing and would be joining us on the
vintage circuit?

Again, he shook his head.

Smiling, he said finally, “Let me tell you a story.”

And then he did.

It seems Eric (who is Jewish), had gone to church with his wife, Sara (who
is not), one Sunday a few months back. As part of that morning’s service,
several families from within the congregation shared their experiences
surrounding the adoption of foreign children; from China, Guatemala and
elsewhere.

They spoke of the emotional and financial hurdles, the conditions in which
they found the children in their native countries, and of course, of the
incredible blessing that these children had become in their lives.
     ONE FAMILY ADOPTED A CHILD FROM UKRAINE
One family, who had adopted a child from Ukraine, told their story. It
touched Eric enough to share it with me.

The woman, Eric said, came from a large family but was unable to have
children, so they opted for a foreign adoption.

After much planning, anticipation and arduous travel, she and her husband
arrived at the orphanage to discover literally hundreds of children sitting
or lying in rows of cribs and makeshift beds; dirty, sad, sick, hungry and
waiting, hoping for fate to smile on them.

To be chosen.

Imagine the heart-wrenching chore of choosing just one child when so many
are in need. Imagine the faces, the eyes, the thin arms and tiny bodies
hungry, for sustenance, for love.

A seemingly impossible task.

In the end the couple chose a boy. He had spent most of his three years in
a dirty crib. He had rickets and could not sit up. As the child was prepared
for release, the workers at the orphanage stripped him of his rag-bag
clothing and handed him, naked, to his new parents.

So desperate were the conditions that the clothing could not be sacrificed.
It would be saved and given to another child.

“Not a dry eye in the church,” Eric said.

But that wasn’t the end of the story.
APPROVAL TO ADOPT TWO MORE UKRAINIAN CHILDREN
In spite of the financial, emotional and logistical hurdles of adopting a
foreign child (let alone the costs associated with simply raising a child),
it seemed this family was determined to do more. Approval to adopt two
more Ukrainian children had recently come through.

They hoped to find a pair of siblings, they said, older children (who are
typically less likely to be adopted), but younger than their first son, now
a happy, healthy 8-year-old. Then he could be a big brother.

But they only had money enough – some $20,000 per child – to adopt one.

That started Eric and Sara thinking.

The long version of the rest of the story includes the forming of an
adoption ministry initiative through the church; a revolving fund to help
offset the cost of adoption for interested families.

The short version is that Eric agreed to cover the cost to adopt the

other child. “That’s what I did for my 50th birthday,” he said.

Of course.

A story like this changes the way you look at things, he told me.

I couldn’t argue. I don’t know who could.

 
It changed the way I look at things too.

Maybe we don’t all have Eric’s financial reach, but we have the means to
extend ourselves, to be entirely selfless, to care for another, even a
stranger from a foreign land. We have the means to do more.

By Eric’s example we all can.

Perhaps it isn’t a decaf Christmas that the world really needs, after all.

Just a cup of kindness then, that occasionally overflows.         -30-
————————————————————————————————
Sarah Botham is the owner of Botham, ink., a regional marketing and public
relations consulting firm. She is also a faculty associate in the College of
Agricultural and Life Sciences, Department of Life Sciences Communication,
at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She can be reached at
sfbotham@mhtc.net.
————————————————————————————————-
http://www.madison.com/tct/business/index.php?ntid=111977&ntpid=1
————————————————————————————————-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

========================================================
9.                   THE CANDLES OF CHRISTMAS 1981
         In December 1981, much of the world lived in totalitarian darkness.

COMMENTARY: By Paul Kengor, The American Spectator
Arlington, Virginia, Thursday, December 21, 2006

It’s difficult to explain how much the world has changed in 25 years — and
for the better. Those who lived through December 1981 would be well served
to pause and give thanks for the differences.

In December 1981, much of the world lived in totalitarian darkness. This was
captured at the time by Freedom House, the group begun by Eleanor Roosevelt
and today headed by freedom fighter Nina Shea. Freedom House published its
map of global freedom, which showed the world’s free nations in white and
unfree nations in black.

Nearly all the great Eurasian land mass was colored black, from the western
border of East Germany, through eastern Europe and the massive spaces of the
Soviet Union, and on to the huge terrain of China, and still further down to
Vietnam and the South China Sea.

The contrast was pointed out by a presidential candidate who hoped to
transform the darkness: “If a visitor from another planet were to approach
earth,” said Ronald Reagan, “and if this planet showed free nations in light
and unfree nations in darkness, the pitifully small beacons of light would
make him wonder what was hidden in that terrifying, enormous blackness.

We know what is hidden: Gulag. Torture.” Reagan noted that “the very heart
of the darkness” was the Soviet Union.

What was that totalitarian darkness like? It sought the persecution and even
annihilation of entire classes and groups of hated people.

According to the 1999 work by Harvard University Press, The Black Book

of Communism, at least 100 million people were killed by Communist
governments in the 20th century, a conservative figure that we already know
underestimated the total.

(We now know, for example, that Mao Tse-Tung alone killed 70 million in
China, and Soviets authorities like Alexander Yakovlev maintain that Stalin
himself killed 60-70 million in the USSR.)

If one combined the total deaths in World War I and World War II and
multiplied them by two, they still did not match the deaths by Communism
in the 20th century.

These governments robbed individuals of the most basic rights: property,
speech, press, assembly, the right to life. Communists had a particular
antipathy for religion. Of special attention this time of year — in
December — Communist governments went so far as to inspect houses in
search of Christmas trees, as they tried to also strip the right to
celebrate the birth of Christ.

THIS HATRED OF RELIGION WAS imbedded in Marxism-Leninism.
Marx had called religion “the opiate of the masses” and said that
“Communism begins where atheism begins.”

His chief disciple agreed: “There can be nothing more abominable than
religion,” wrote Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet state, in a
letter to Maxim Gorky in January 1913.

Religion, howled Lenin, was “a necrophilia,” akin to a virulent form of
venereal disease. Once he was in power, Lenin resolved to do something about
it, ordering “mass terror” against the religious: “The more representatives
of the reactionary clergy we manage to shoot, the better,” he decreed.

Lenin especially detested Christmas. On December 25, 1919, he issued an
edict directed at all levels of Soviet society: “To put up with ‘Nikola’
[the religious holiday] would be stupid — the entire Cheka must be on the
alert to see to it that those who do not show up for work because of
‘Nikola’ are shot.”

Fast forward to Christmas 1981, when the Communist world still despised
religion. That year in Moscow, “church watchers” retained their regular
duties: sitting in the back of chapels taking notes on those “stupid people”
(as government propaganda described them) who entered to worship.

By 1981, only 46 of the 657 churches operating in Moscow on the eve of the
Bolshevik revolution were permitted open, though they held closely monitored
and controlled services.

In one of the Soviet republics, Ukraine, the government celebrated the
nativity according to Marx and Lenin. Political commissars hijacked
traditional Christmas carols and purged them of Christian references.

Lyrics such as “believers” were changed to “workers”; the time of the season
became October, the month of the glorious revolution; rather than the image
of Christ, one song extolled “Lenin’s glory hovering”; the Star of Bethlehem
became the Red Star.

In fact, the red star replaced the traditional star atop the occasional
Christmas tree erected in the Communist world, where the Christmas tree
was renamed the New Year Tree. This was part of the secular Great Winter
Festival that replaced the traditional Christmas season, celebrating the
mere advent of the New Year.

Said Ukrainian Olena Doviskaya, a church watcher and a teacher, who was
required to report students who attended Christmas services: “Lenin was
Jesus. They wanted you to worship Lenin.”

The prospects for shining light upon that darkness seemed grim in 1981. The
Soviets were on the rise, having added 11 satellite or proxy states since
1974.

The new man in Washington, President Ronald Reagan, was sure he could
reverse this. He had survived an assassination attempt in March 1981, sure
that Providence had intervened to spare him for a larger purpose: to defeat
Soviet Communism. Reagan was especially hopeful that the tide could begin
in Poland, the most recalcitrant of all the Soviet bloc states, where the
Communist war on religion utterly failed.

And just then, on December 13, 1981, the lights were dimmed again. At
midnight, as a soft snow fell lightly on Warsaw, a police raid commenced
upon the headquarters of Lech Walesa’s Solidarity labor union.

The Polish Communist government, consenting to orders from Moscow,
declared martial law. Solidarity’s freedom fighters were shot or imprisoned.

The cries of liberty were being snuffed out in this most pivotal of Communist
bloc nations. That was what the world faced 25 years ago this month.

BUT THEN CAME A MOMENT of hope forgotten by history.

Ten Days later, on December 23, with Christmas only two days away, Ronald
Reagan connected the spirit of the season with events in Poland: “For a
thousand years,” he told his fellow Americans, “Christmas has been
celebrated in Poland, a land of deep religious faith, but this Christmas
brings little joy to the courageous Polish people.

They have been betrayed by their own government.” He made an extraordinary
gesture: The president asked Americans that Christmas season to light a
candle in support of freedom in Poland.

This idea was kindled by a private meeting Reagan had with the Polish
ambassador, Romuald Spasowski, and his wife, both of whom had defected to
the United States the previous day.

The ambassador and his wife sat in the Oval Office. His wife was very upset.
Vice President George H. W. Bush put an arm around her shoulders to comfort
her.

The ambassador said, “May I ask you a favor, Mr. President? Would you

light a candle and put in the window tonight for the people of Poland?”
Immediately, Ronald Reagan rose and walked to the second floor, lighted a
candle, and put it in the window of the dining room.

That candle might have brought to mind those special candles lit after Mass
by a young Karol Wojtyla, a Pole from Krakow who was now Pope John
Paul II. Then and now, they burned bright for Russia’s conversion.

Of course, the atheistic Communist press was not quite so sentimental. It
was enraged by Spasowski’s request, calling him a “slanderous, dirty
traitor.” The slightest American invocation of God’s side set the Soviets
seething.

“What honey-tongued speeches are now being made by figures in the

American administration concerning God and His servants on earth!”
fulminated a correspondent from Moscow’s Novoye Vremya. “What
verbal inventiveness they display in flattering the Catholic Church in
Poland. Does true piety lie behind this?”

The Soviet press, maybe because it was never driven by religious piety
itself, doubted that such could be a sincere Reagan motivation. The next
day, on Christmas Eve, propagandist Valentin Zorin dashed before the Soviet
TV cameras to question the “rather doubtful Christmas gift” Reagan had just
given to Americans.

UNDETERRED BY SOVIET RAGE, Ronald Reagan and a core group of
cadres — some of whom passed away this past year, such as Caspar
Weinberger and Jeane Kirkpatrick — remained committed to liberating the
people of Poland and all of the Soviet empire.

Without going into the debate over where and how they succeeded — that’s
another article — suffice to say that the world changed dramatically by the
end of the decade, and in precisely the way they had hoped.

In 1980, according to Freedom House, there were 56 democracies in the world;
by 1990, there were 76. The numbers continued an upward trajectory, hitting
91 in 1991, 99 in 1992, 108 in 1993, and 114 in 1994, a doubling since
Reagan had entered the Oval Office.

By 1994, 60% of the world’s nations were democracies. By contrast, when
Reagan lamented the lack of freedom in the mid 1970s, the number was below
30%. Few presidents got so much of what they wanted.

There has been an explosion in freedom worldwide since the 1980s. This
democratic transformation is one of the great stories of modern humanity,
and one of the least remarked upon, as high-school texts — among numerous
other sources — are completely silent on the subject.

This is a truly global blessing that transpired in the lifetimes of most of
us. Unfortunately, many of us Americans are not good at counting our
blessings or remembering our history.

A look back at 25 years ago this month can help us to be grateful for what
we have, especially at Christmas time, when we pause to remember the
ultimate source of light that conquers the darkness.             -30-
————————————————————————————————-
Paul Kengor is author of The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of
Communism (2006) and associate professor of political science at Grove
City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania.
————————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=10790
————————————————————————————————-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
10.         IT TAKES A PARTNERSHIP: BOSTON, USA AND
                              DNEPROPETROVSK, UKRAINE

By Baila Olidort, Chabad Lubavitch Global Network
FJC, Moscow/New York, Thursday, December 7 2006

DNEPROPETROVSK, Ukraina – There’s an elderly Jewish woman named
Anna Shevelev living in the lap of luxury, in the Ukrainian city of
Dnepropetrovsk. Anna is not heir to a fortune; she never owned more than
the clothes on her back.

In fact, her own financial assets amount to zero. By all accounts, Anna
might well be another statistic of Ukraine’s elderly, below-poverty level
demographic.

When Anna was discovered in the backwater town of Ingulets, she was
living in a damp, dark cellar, with an axe under her pillow.

The 85 year-old survivor of the holocaust and then of communism lived in
hunger, but also in fear for her life. “She was waiting to die,” says Zelig
Brez, the director of Dnepropetrovsk’s Jewish Community Board who

places the city’s Jewish population at about 40,000.

Today, Anna enjoys five-star accommodations at Beit Baruch, a luxurious,
high-end assisted living facility-an out-of-reach fantasy even for the
average middle-class American.

Built originally with funds provided by Rabbi Eliezer Avtzon of GJARN, the
facility’s services are the product of an unusual partnership between the
CJP of Boston and the Jewish community of Dnepropetrovsk under the
leadership of Chabad’s Rabbi Shmuel Kaminezki.

Named for the father of Dnepropetrovsk’s Jewish Community President

Gennady Bogolubov, Beit Baruch, probably the only facility of its kind
worldwide, is but one in a plethora of programs that have transformed
Dnepropetrovsk from a city of substandard medical, social and educational
services, to one that is making its denizens feel grateful, even privileged.

With funds allocated from the Overseas Committee of CJP through the Jewish
Community Relations Council’s Committee for Post-Soviet Jewry, several of
Boston’s highly regarded medical experts come to Dnepropetrovsk to train
local medical teams in their respective fields and to raise the quality of
care for the city’s elderly, its women and children.

“They come for months at a time, teaching our staff, examining patients and
improving our level of services,” says Mr. Brez, of individuals like Prof.
Lewis Lipsitz, Vice President for Academic Medicine at Hebrew Senior Life,
and Chief of the Division of Gerontology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical
Center. Lipsitz recently introduced hip-fracture care that was non-existent
in the city.

Alternatively, the CJP and the JCRC invite Dnepropetrovsk’s medical staff to
train at some of Boston’s top medical centers. Under the mentorship of Prof.
Benjamin Sachs, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Beth Israel Deaconess
Medical Center, the Corky Ribakoff Women’s Clinic in Dnepropetrovsk
addresses specific health concerns including the high rates of infertility,
cervical cancer, infections, and repeated abortions.

Prof. David Link, Chief of Pediatrics at Cambridge Health Alliance and Mt.
Auburn Hospital, trained local staff at the children’s clinic which has
provided vaccines from four pharmaceutical companies and has launched a
program to immunize 10,000 children over the next years.

While these efforts were intended to correct a horrible situation for the
city’s elderly, its women and children, 85 percent of whom are living in
poverty, Mr. Brez points to another, more profound transformation that
followed.

When economic opportunity finally became a possibility in the post communist
era, many sought to accumulate wealth for the purpose of improving their own
lifestyles.

“There was no tradition to give back,” he observes, “and without an example,
people did not know how to build a community and how to create a healthy
infrastructure for the benefit of the collective.”

Those who left Dnepropetrovsk 15 years ago may not recognize their former
city, now abuzz with signs of growth everywhere.

Locals were thus intrigued by the investment of time and resources on the
part of individuals affiliated with Boston’s partnership program.

When some among the city’s budding businessmen saw a successful

entrepreneur like Bob Gordon, owner of New England’s chain of Store-24,
“spending his time coming to our city, sending containers of food for us-
and not as a one time gesture, but time and again, he became an inspiration
to them. In him and the others,” explains Brez.

The consistent dedication and investment toward bettering the lives of
Dnepropetrovsk’s citizens established vital role models that are responsible
for the kind of philanthropy Dnepropetrovsk is generating today from its own
home-grown base of supporters.

“Today we have a local board of directors that oversees budgetary
allocations for our programs and services,” says Brez, “and our own donors
who are investing in our Jewish community.”

With training by the CJPs professionals in strategic planning, public
relations, marketing and fundraising, they learned how to establish a
community infrastructure, and now, says Brez, “they are training us in the
establishment of endowment funds and other ideas that are new to our
community.”

Perhaps the beauty of this partnership is that all the parties seem to feel
they are the true beneficiaries. Barry Shrage, President of the CJP, who
describes this partnership as “transformational,” says that it has been a
source of tremendous benefit to Boston’s Jewish community which has grown
as a result as well. “It has helped provide an opportunity for members of
our own community to become involved.”

Nancy Kaufman, executive director of the JCRC, says of the relationship,
“We get more out of it than they do. We feel privileged to be part of this
brilliant model.”

She points out that all of JCRC’s investment in Dnepropetrovsk is leveraged
money, with an amazing return on a modest annual investment, and tosses out
a guesstimate of a minimum ten-fold return, if not twice or three times as
much. But for everyone involved, the relationship has spawned something far
more meaningful.

Recalling the genesis of this partnership back in 1991, when, after the
dismantling of communism, the National Conference of Soviet Jewry decided
that they wanted to continue their activism in this region, Kaufman
describes their search for a “sister” city.

The volunteers returned from a visit to Ukraine, and while many never even
heard of Dnepropetrovsk, and no one even knew how to pronounce the name
of this city that, unlike Moscow, Leningrad or Kiev, was completely closed
to the west, “they reported back about having found a passionate team in Rabbi
Shmuel and Chani Kaminezki who had come as Chabad Shluchim to this city
with special ties to Rabbi Schneerson,” she says.

Yekaterinoslav, as the city was known before the communist revolution, was
home to the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, whose father Rabbi Levi Yitzchok
Schneerson, was its chief Rabbi in the early part of the 20th century.

This historic footnote is the reason, believes Rabbi Kaminezki, for the
miracles of Dnepropetrovsk’s successes, and for this inspired partnership
that is now held up as a model for other communities to learn from.

As a Chabad representative determined to restore traditional Judaism to
Dnepropetrovsk, Kaminezki may have seemed an unlikely partner for
Boston’s JCRC whose orientation is decidedly liberal.

“At first there were questions,” recalls Bob Gordon, “as to how much our
Jewish organization in Boston wanted to be involved with Chabad.” But
after the individuals involved got to know the values of the Kaminezkis, he
admits, “they soon overcame the few objections they had.”

But Barry Shrage says that he sees this partnership as a rather natural one
to the Jewish community. “The surprise is,” he told Lubavitch International,
“that so few other communities are doing this in any intensive way.”

The chance to partner with a former soviet city, he says, for the purpose of
rebuilding Jewish life after the fall of communism, “was a historic moment,
and we wanted to be a part of it, we wanted our children to see it, and to
tell our grandchildren that we were there.”

Sixteen years later, the intensity has not waned. The CJP, says Shrage, has
made this partnership “the core of our work overseas,” and is still excited
about its role in the rebirth of this city.

Kaufman recalls sitting together with the Kaminezkis to learn what their
dreams are for the city, when the JCRC realized that they shared many of the
same objectives, and that “there was plenty of room for us to fit their
model.”

Like Barry Shrage, Bob Gordon and Zelig Brez, she attributes the stunning
changes in Dnepropetrovsk to Rabbi and Mrs. Kaminezki’s leadership appeal.
Their knack for embracing the city’s entire population is striking, she
says. “Rabbi Kaminezki runs a food pantry that is open to everyone.”

He encouraged the JCRC to work with him for the benefit of the broader
Dnepropetrovsk community, and indeed, she says, “we made a point of
working through the municipal hospital rather than building our own.”

Most recently, she notes, the JCRC arranged, through sponsorship by
the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, for Dnepropetrovsk to get its first ever
mammography machine to benefit all of the women in the city.

Those who left Dnepropetrovsk 15 years ago may not recognize their former
city, which is now abuzz with signs of growth everywhere. Boston’s
introduction of a micro-enterprise program is offering individuals loans and
training in business; where once there were no eateries, the city now has
its own kosher sushi restaurant.

“This city appeared moribund when we first visited here in 1992,” recalls
Bob Gordon. In terms of Jewish activity, most Jews preferred not to identify
as Jews , and, he says “there was nothing going on her when the Rabbi
arrived. Just remnants, and an old synagogue. There hadn’t been any new
construction here in 30 years.”

Nine years ago, Rabbi Kaminezki took several visitors to see a run-down
coat factory in the city. “We’ll make this into a shul,” he told them.

Kaufman remembers wondering what the Rabbi was thinking. “Two years
later he built a spectacularly beautiful shul that is filled with 350
people, children, women and men of all ages, every Shabbat.”

Zelig Brez, a native of Dnepropetrovsk who has made many changes in his
personal life as a result of Rabbi Kaminezki’s spiritual inspiration, and is
now responsible for the Jewish community’s annual multi-million dollar
budget, says that Kaminezki inspires by his ahavat yisrael.

“There are no divisions here. No one is rejected. Oligarch or pauper,
educated or ignorant, religious or secular”-everyone, he says, feels
relevant.

That’s why, notwithstanding the rapid strides Dnepropetrovsk has made, it
remains a city, says Brez, absent “the intrigues, conflicts and
confrontations” that often come with the territory.

No one is more enamored of the changes in Dnepropetrovsk, than Rabbi
Kaminezki himself, who saw the metamorphosis as it occurred. “Our Boston
friends are God sent partners in this amazing transformation,” he says. Then
adds thoughtfully, “I hope that our Shlichus here is doing the Rebbe proud.”
————————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.fjc.ru/news/newsArticle.asp?AID=453719
————————————————————————————————–
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
=========================================================

11. CAROL OF THE BELLS: MEDIEVAL, ENGLISH, & ABOUT CHRISTMAS,
            RIGHT?  NOT SO! IT’S ACTUALLY…READ ON TO FIND OUT!

By Craig Dimitri, Blogger News Network (BNN)
Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas-tide: “Carol of the Bells” – Medieval, English, and About
Christmas, Right? Not So! It’s Actually.. (Read on to Find Out!)

This post was written by cdimitri on 20 December, 2006 (20:43) | All News,
European News, North American News, Society and Culture, Blogosphere
News, US News, UK News, Religious News, History News, by Craig Dimitri.

The “Carol of the Bells” is that extraordinarily resonant, catchy carol that
we’ll all stop at, once we hear the chords while scanning the radio, whether
terrestrial or satellite.

After a few notes of the chiming bells and the chant of: “ring, Christmas
bells, merrily ring,” one can immediately picture the medieval English
singing it, at a stained-glass-windowed cathedral, at some point in the 13th
century, in a town called “Westburyfordshire” (or thereabouts) at midnight
on Christmas Eve.

And everything about that picture (which, until I did the research for this
article, I had long envisioned in my mind) would be completely wrong.  The
reality is shockingly different from the image. 

 
The “Carol of the Bells” is: 
     a) not English, or British, or even Western European!
     b) not originally written for Christmas!
     c) not formally composed, until the 20th century! (It was composed
         at the time of the First World War, in 1916).

So if it’s not English, or Christmas-related, or centuries-old – then what
is the source of the “Carol of the Bells”?

The song is from Ukraine, not England, but in fairness, all of the elements
of the English-church, Christmas-card picture do have elements rooted in
fact.

Although “Carol of the Bells” was not formally composed until 1916, it is
based on an ancient Ukrainian folk melody, and so it very well might have
existed in the Middle Ages (and for that matter, might even pre-exist
Christianity itself).

In addition, that Ukrainian song was about New Year’s Day, not Christmas.
To contemporary Westerners, that’s more of difference of degree than kind,
given that we lump the two of them together.

But according to the Rice University anthropology student who unearthed this
information, he’s been told by contemporary Ukrainians that Christmas is
“too soon” to sing the song.

And after English lyrics were added, later in the 20th century, it’s become
very popular in the English-speaking world at Christmas-tide. Let’s explore
its origins:

The original Ukrainian folk song focused on the arrival of a swallow on
January 13 (New Year’s Day, under the Julian calendar used in Ukraine, as
opposed to the Gregorian calendar used in the West).

The swallow would arrive at the Ukrainian home, and inform the master
of the good fortune and prosperity he’d be receiving for the year.

Awkwardly transliterated into the Western, Roman alphabet, it is called
“Shchedryk” (derived from the Ukrainian term for “bountiful”).

Girls and young women would go from house to house in Ukraine and sing
the wallow’s song, and be rewarded with sweets and treats, in a sort of
Halloween-meets-New-Year’s-Day melange.

Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovich formally composed music based on
“Shchedryk”, and it was first sung by students at Kiev University, in what
is now the capital of Ukraine, during Christmas-tide 1916, in the depths of
the First World War.

After the war ended, the Ukrainian government sent the Ukrainian National
Chorus out on the road to talk up Ukraine and its culture.  It performed all
over the world, including a sold-out Carnegie Hall in New York City, on
October 5, 1921.

The American composer Peter Wilhousky believed that the resounding
melody evoked bells (although there are no bells at all in the Ukrainian
lyrics), and so he wrote English lyrics based on a bell theme, copyrighting
the lyrics in 1936.

There are actually multiple English-language lyrics by different authors.
In the late 1930s, Wilhousky-run choirs began performing it in English at
Christmas-tide; in the 1940s, recordings of the English-language version
began to peal in the U.S.

And it’s been popular ever since; according to the Rice student Anthony
Potoczniak, no fewer than 35 English-language versions have now been
recorded.

Questions?  Comments?  Information?  You can contact Craig Dimitri at
cdimitri1@yahoo.com.

Article on Rice University anthropology student studying the Ukrainian
roots of “Carol of the Bells”  –
http://www.scienceblog.com/community/older/2004/7/20046906.shtml

Synopsis of the history of “Carol of the Bells” – http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/Notes_On_Carols/carol_of_the_bells_notes.htm 

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LINK: http://www.bloggernews.net/13232
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12. INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION NO MATCH FOR CAN-DO MOM
                          Emma was Ukrainian and Nina was Russian

By Jill Coley, The Post and Currier
Charleston, South Carolina, Saturday, December 23, 2006

Home for the holidays has a whole new meaning for Connie Gillette. The
41-year-old single mother from Mount Pleasant adopted her second
daughter, Nina, a few weeks ago from Russia.

The exhausted pair landed after a 12-hour flight, following a whirl of
appointments with social workers, a judge, doctors and immigration
officials.

The frenzy eased on the carpeted floor of Charleston International Airport,
where Gillette’s eldest daughter, Emma, 3, reached out to touch her new
sister’s head. Emma was adopted a year and a half ago from Ukraine.

“Everyone in my family is so excited about Christmas this year,” Gillette
said. Her parents, who are battling health problems, and her brother and his
two daughters will fill her Mount Pleasant home for the holiday. Her
brother’s wife died four years ago.

“It helps you put it all in perspective on the circle of life,” she said of
the family’s youngest additions.

Americans adopted nearly 22,000 children from the top 20 countries of origin
in 2005, according to the U.S. Department of State. Russia ranked second on
the list with 4,639 adoptions, and Ukraine ranked fifth with 821.

Adoption was a way for Gillette to start the family she yearned for. “I
always knew I wanted to be a mom,” she said. Gillette and her husband of
four years divorced eight years ago. “I thought I’d get remarried. I just
didn’t,” she said.

International adoption appealed to her because of her extensive background
travelling. Gillette, a civilian public affairs officer, works for the Army
and lived in Germany and Japan before moving to Washington to become
chief of strategic communications for the Army Corps of Engineers.

Work for a U.N. mission in Macedonia led Gillette to an orphanage there, and
it occurred to her that she could love those children who through no fault
of their own ended up in such unhappy circumstances.

A polished professional, Gillette was no stranger to the extensive forms,
documentation and interviews required of the adoption process. One of the
most trying moments of her career proved her mettle.

On Sept. 11, 2001, she walked out of her office in the Pentagon and went to
another area to watch the news about the World Trade Center. Minutes later,
American Airlines flight 77 struck the building. The building shuddered,
smoke filled the halls, and papers swirled in the air, she said. Her office
was demolished.

Gillette groomed Pentagon staff for the intense media attention. She coached
military men, who were taught to cope silently, that the public needed a
face on the story because the country was likely going to retaliate.

She recently decided to step forward as the face of international adoption
because she wants people to realize how wonderful it can be.
                  EMMA WAS ADOPTED FROM UKRAINE
When she first saw her first daughter, Emma, she said, “I felt like I knew
her.” But the little girl was ill. She was 2 years old and weighed 15
pounds, the average weight of a 5-month-old, according to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. She couldn’t sit up and had a bleeding rash
on her neck and diaper area.

Gillette carried the little girl to three hospitals to see five doctors. The
prognosis was not good. She called a doctor in the U.S., and he
recommended she turn the child down.

She decided to walk away and went to her hotel room. As she wrote in her
journal, “I feel so sad but I know I’m doing the right …” she put her pen
down. She didn’t know she was doing the right thing, she realized. “There’s
more to this child,” she told herself.
DOCTOR TO KHARKIV, UKRAINE TO EXAMINE THE GIRL
Gillette tracked down a Western-trained doctor six hours away to come to
Kharkiv, Ukraine, to examine the girl. He gave her a 70 percent chance to be
a normal, healthy child and said she was delayed largely because of a lack
of stimulation, nutrition and love. That was enough hope for Gillette.

As for her small size, orphanage workers had diagnosed her with a food
allergy, pumped her full of antibiotics and taken her food away. “She was
starving,” Gillette said.

When she brought her daughter to the U.S., Gillette noticed Emma had a high
tolerance for pain and discomfort. A psychologist explained that she went so
long crying with no one coming to her, she learned her pleas were futile.

Gillette practiced active empathy, asking Emma when she fell or bumped
into something, “Does that hurt?” or “How does that make you feel?”

Now Emma weighs 31 pounds and with the help of therapists has already
caught up with her American peers physically and cognitively. She is still
slightly delayed in expressive speech, Gillette said, but added that Emma is
a happy, bright, little girl.

The marathon of hours Gillette worked in the wake of Hurricane Katrina
pushed her to re-evaluate her work-life balance. She left the capital for
the Lowcountry, where she works as a public affairs officer for the Army
Corps of Engineers.

She did not expect to adopt again so soon, but a visit to an online adoption
newsletter led her down a path to Nina. She felt the same tug.

“I probably adopted the first time because I wanted to be a mom. But I
adopted the second time a lot because I just couldn’t not do it,” she said.

“There are so many children that are just existing. They may get the food,
they may even get the medicine they need, but they don’t get the love they
need. They thought that Emma wouldn’t be a happy, healthy kid. I just think
they didn’t give her a chance.”

Nina has health problems, too, but not as severe. Gillette is pleased with
the 17-month-old’s evaluation at the Medical University of South Carolina’s
International Adoption Clinic. Medical, cognitive and physical therapy
evaluations determined Nina needed no immediate therapeutic intervention.

While Emma coped with her time in the orphanage by turning inward, Nina
seems to strike out, Gillette said. “The very first time I kissed her in the
orphanage, she flinched and tried to slap at me,” she said. But Nina accepts
affection and already prefers Gillette.

“It took Emma longer to have that kind of trust,” she said.

Gillette tackled the daunting adoption process like the professional she is.
Forms and documentation are no problem for her, she said. For those
considering international adoption, she said, there is a lot of help out
there.

The process may grow even more complicated next year, when the U.S. is
expected to implement changes to the international adoption process in
accordance with the 1993 Hague Convention.

Approximately 70 countries have joined the convention, including many from
which Americans adopt. The convention’s aim is to protect children and
parents through accreditation, according to the State Department.
COST OF INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION CAN BE A DETERRENT
The expense of international adoption can be a deterrent to some. The
average Russian adoption costs between $20,000 and $30,000, according
to the State Department. Gillette estimates her costs totalled $28,000 for
the second and $19,000 for the first.

The most important lesson she learned the first time around? “It just takes
time for them to attach and bond,” she said. “You know that you’re going to
be with them for the rest of their life. But they don’t know that.”

Emma was with Gillette last Christmas, but she was too young to understand
the holiday. This year, Gillette watched Emma run to Santa Claus with open
arms and say, “I need books, Santa.”

She also asked Santa for a doll that cried. Gillette teasingly asked Emma,
“You don’t get enough of that with Nina?”

Apparently, Emma can’t get enough and has named one of the dolls she
carries around “Baby Nina.”                                -30-
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                                On the Web Adoption resources
–The U.S. State Department’s page on international adoption:
www.tinyurl.com/dsox4
–International adoption e-magazine: www.rainbowkids.com
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Reach Jill Coley at 937-5719 or jcoley@postandcourier.com.
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http://www.charleston.net/assets/webPages/departmental/news/Stories.aspx?section=localnews&tableId=123707&pubDate=12/23/2006
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13. HOLIDAY GIFT TO HELP THE ELDERLY IN UKRAINE THIS YEAR!
                American Friends of “For Survival,”
www.ForSurvival.org

Katie Fox, President, American Friends of “For Survival”
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #800, Article 13

Washington, D.C. Monday, December 25, 2006

Dear Friends,
Please consider a holiday gift to help the elderly in Ukraine this year! As

many of you know, a group of Americans who have lived in Kyiv run a
small charity for impoverished Ukrainian seniors.

We started the charity, “American Friends of For Survival” 10 years ago to
immediately and directly help the elderly, many of whom were begging on
Kyiv’s streets as a result of the economic collapse accompanying the break
up of the Soviet Union.

This charity is an all volunteer effort, run by Americans here and in Kyiv.
Every cent of the funds we collect from donors goes directly to a poor
elderly person. It is often the only way they can afford lifesaving medicine
and decent food, as well as housing and clothing.

Ukraine’s elderly need our help again this year. Though pensions have risen
in Ukraine, the cost of living has risen even faster.

A respected business survey recently ranked Kyiv more expensive than Los
Angeles or Chicago – making survival a struggle when the minimum pension is
equivalent to $65/ month.

Significant increases in home heating prices are forecast for this winter, a
blow to all Ukrainian consumers that will hit those on fixed incomes
hardest.
                            Your help is desperately needed!
American Friends of  For Survival currently provides some elderly with
special needs $20 per month and others $10 per month. With prices rising

so rapidly we would like to increase most, if not all supplements to $20.

     A contribution of $240 provides an elderly Ukrainian $20 per month for
     the entire year.
     A contribution of $120 will provide necessary assistance for 6 months.
     A donation of any amount is needed and much appreciated.

A contribution of $240 only amounts to a bit more than $4.50 per week!
That’s slightly more than many of us spend on coffee every morning. Each
contribution will help an elderly Ukrainian buy food and medicine and, of
course, your generous donations are tax deductible.

We want to make it easy for you! You can now donate directly with any
major credit card on our new website, www.ForSurvival.org, or if you prefer

you may contribute by check made payable to: “For Survival”, c/o Katie
Fox, 3100 Connecticut Ave NW #235, Washington, DC 20008

Dyakuyu! (thank you) very much, from the bottom of our hearts.
Have a wonderful year!

Katie Fox, President, American Friends of ‘For Survival”

PS Please be sure to visit our new website, www.ForSurvival.org
and tell a friend! Please contact us: Info@ForSurvival.org,
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FOOTNOTE:  The AUR urges you to donate to the “For Survival”
program.  We have known about this very cost effective program for
several years.  AUR Editor Morgan Williams
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14.                      HOW I FEEL ABOUT CHRISTMAS

By Brittany Arsenault, Special to The StarPhoenix
The StarPhoenix Christmas Story Writing Contest
Second Place Entry, Ages 9 and 10, The StarPhoeni

Saskatoon, Saskatoon, Canada, Saturday, December 23, 2006

At Christmas time I feel that I am the luckiest girl in the world. It is not
just about presents.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the food, the presents, the chocolate, the
glitter and the Christmas tree. For me it is about sharing and being
together with my family.

How lucky we are to be together, to be healthy, safe and warm, in our home
filled with love. What makes Christmas special for me is that I get to
celebrate Ukrainian Christmas as well.

Ukrainian Christmas follows the Julian calendar on Jan. 6. It is full of
tradition and religion. On Christmas Eve the menu for the “Holy supper” or
“Sviata Vechera” does not contain any meat or dairy products. There are 12
dishes served, representing the 12 apostles.

The special first course, called kutia, which is boiled wheat kernels
sweetened with honey and flavoured with poppy seeds is my favourite. Next
comes soup, which is borscht, the famous beet soup, fish and vegetable
dishes. For me it would not be a Ukrainian meal without varenyky and
holubtsi (cabbage rolls).

There are also other vegetable side dishes and dessert to complete the meal.
At the centre of the table is the Christmas bread or kolach. A candle is
placed in the centre of the bread to symbolize Jesus, the light of the
world. I have been learning to make this special bread for the past few
years.

The Christmas Eve meal begins once the children of the family see the first
star in the evening sky. This represent the journey the wise men made to
Bethlehem.

Ukrainian carols are sung in our Ukrainian community. The tradition if
caroling is carried on by the young children including myself and other
people who visit people’s homes and sing.

So, when I put milk and cookies out for Santa, carrots for the reindeer, and
track Santa’s arrival on the Internet. And when I can hardly wait for
Christmas morning to come to open presents.

Or when I wait for the evening star to appear to enjoy kutia and varenyky, I
feel that I am so lucky. I am lucky to experience the magic and wonder of
Christmas, and to also learn and be part of the rich cultural traditions
that have been in my family for generations.

As I play Christmas songs on the piano or sing Christmas carols in English
or Ukrainian, the spirit of peace, joy, and happiness is shared through the
music for all those who listen.

In conclusion, I would like to say; “MERRY CHRISTMAS” and “KHRISTOS
RODYVSYA” (Christ is born) and I hope you feel lucky to experience the
spirit of Christmas like I do.                       -30-
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http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/weekend_extra/story.html?id=c26eb128-1533-4810-a5f1-698d9a20587c

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15. UKRAINIAN FINDS CHRISTMAS DIFFERENT IN UNITED STATES
                               Valentyna is from southern Ukraine

By Miriam Moeller, Journal Staff Writer, The Mining Journal
Marquette, Michigan, Sunday, December 24, 2006

MARQUETTE – In Ukraine, Santa does not have a Mrs. Claus, but he has
“Snegurohka,” his granddaughter. Santa also goes by a different name:
Grandfather Frost or “Ded Moroz.”

Valentyna Anderson, a native of Ukraine, knows the story of Grandfather
Frost and his granddaughter well. She grew up with the legend and used to
celebrate Christmas the Ukrainian way until she came to Marquette in the
summer of 2005.

She said Grandfather Frost wears the same red suit the “American” Santa
wears, but the granddaughter is dressed in a beautiful light blue with white
costume. She helps Grandfather deliver presents.

“They live in the woods and help animals,” she said. “They feed them and
keep them warm. Every kid loves their stories.”

Anderson is from southern Ukraine where she said most people are Orthodox
Christian. For her, Christmas is on Jan. 6 and the New Year is celebrated
twice. According to the old Gregorian calendar, the New Year is celebrated
on Jan. 14. When the culture adopted the new calendar, it changed the date
to Jan. 1, Anderson said.

On the Ukrainian Christmas Day, people go to church and celebrate with a big
meal. “Usually we cook goose with apples,” Anderson said. “It’s tasty. We
spend a lot of time for cooking.”

Common dishes are appetizers called “prroske,” which are similar to Polish
pierogies, and the famous Ukrainian winter dish “cholodec,” which is similar
to aspic. Families in Ukraine also traditionally make their own sausages,
Anderson said.

The Christmas tree, or “yolka,” is set up days before Christmas. “We usually
get the Christmas tree before the new year,” she said. That is around Dec.
27 or 28, and most people leave the tree up until the celebration of the
“old New Year” on Jan. 14.

After a long sit-down dinner, Ukrainians go to mass. “After mass people wear
special costumes and take a big bag and go to every house – like Halloween –
and stay at every house and sing songs, give holiday greetings, and then
people give them candy and food,” she said.

As far as presents go, Anderson said Grandfather Frost brings them, but
people buy special presents for each other and give only two or three at a
time.

“For kids more … but not like here,” she said. “Even my daughter bought
lots of presents for her friends. I disagree with buying lots of presents.
We need to think more: ‘how can we make friends more happy not what
you can buy.'”

Anderson plans on celebrating an American Christmas with her children
and husband Robert Anderson in Marquette.                   -30-
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LINK: http://www.miningjournal.net/stories/articles.asp?articleID=9587

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16. FAMILY LOOKING FORWARD TO FIRST CHRISTMAS SINCE
                      ADOPTING TWO CHILDREN IN UKRAINE

By Emily Taravella, The Daily Sentinel
Nacogdoches, Texas, Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas will be twice as much fun this year for Shawn and Rachelle
Coughlin of Jacksonville – since the number of children in their household
has doubled with the adoption of two children from Ukraine. The Coughlins
have two biological children, and although they were able to have more, they
chose to adopt.

Shawn said he has always wanted to adopt children. Growing up, his home was
the kind of place where friends were always welcome. Shawn is the son of Pat
and Linda Coughlin of Nacogdoches.

“My parents even took in several children who had been turned out by their
families,” he said. “Rachelle did take some convincing, especially about
adopting two children at one time.” Shawn said he and Rachelle are often
asked why they adopted. Their answer? “Because we could.”

“It sounds like a flippant answer, but to us it was a simple decision,” he
said. “We had the desire for more children. We are not rich, but we could
find the money to adopt, and we knew that there were children in Ukraine who
needed a mother and father. But most of all, when it came down to it, we
believed that adoption was something God wanted us to do.”

The Coughlins chose to adopt from Ukraine for several reasons. Having two
biological children, they wanted their adopted children to look somewhat the
same.

“Russia and Ukraine were really the only two possibilities we considered,”
Shawn said. “Because Russia was twice the price for adopting two children,
we chose Ukraine. But all through the process, we really felt Ukraine was
where we should be adopting from.” The couple started the process in
September of 2004, and got home with the children on Jan. 8.

“There is a very lengthy process of paperwork to be completed, including
background checks, medical exams for the parents and INS paperwork, just to
mention a few,” he said. “All of this is paperwork is called a dossier, and
must go to Ukraine to be translated and then formally submitted to the
adoption authorities in Ukraine.

At that time, the National Adoption Center, which is located in the capital
city of Kyiv, was in charge of adoptions in Ukraine. Our dossier was
submitted to the NAC in August of 2005. After the paperwork was received, we
were given a registration number, and then began the process of waiting for
an appointment with the NAC to search for children.”

Most international adoptions are done with what are called “referrals,”
Shawn said.

“That means that once you are registered, you are matched with a child who
fits your criteria stated in your paperwork,” he said. “With a referral, you
would receive information and photos of the child before you travel to the
country.”

Ukraine works on a different system. “In Ukraine, you give them the ages and
sex of the children you would like to adopt, and when you get to the NAC,
they show you the available children who best meet that criteria,” Shawn
said.

“What that means, is you are guaranteed absolutely nothing when you make
your trip. We specified we wanted a sibling group of two girls between the
ages of 2-6; and we ended up adopting a 3-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl.”

At the time of the Coughlins’ trip, the adoption community was saying that
there were no healthy children under the age of 10 who were available for
adoption, Shawn said.

“Some of the parents we talked to had gone through all of the paperwork and
made a trip to Ukraine just to find out that they had no children that met
their criteria,” he said.

 “If they were unwilling to adjust their criteria, that meant they went home
without a child. We were very blessed, in that our children were the only
set of siblings we were shown and both the children were healthy.”

The Coughlins children were located in the city of Zaporizhya which is about
a two-hour plane ride (or a 12-hour train ride) from Kyiv.

“We took a plane and arrived in Zaporizhya on a Friday night,” Shawn said.
“We met the kids on Saturday and immediately knew these were the children
we had traveled all this way to find. Then, we began a paperwork process to
formally apply for adoption of Casey and Valerie.”

This took about two weeks and ended with a court hearing where the Coughlins
were proclaimed Casey’s and Valerie’s new parents. After that, there was a
mandatory 10-day waiting period before they could get the kids passports and
new birth certificates.

“Then it was back to Kyiv, a few days of more paperwork, and back home to
Texas!” Shawn said. “All told we spent about 33 days in Ukraine.”

The children had to adjust to a new language, but Shawn said he and Rachelle
had taken Russian lessons so they could communicate some. “It actually took
about three to four months for Valerie and Casey to completely switch to
English,” Shawn said.

“They never spoke Russian after that time. There was also an adjustment for
having more rules and being disciplined. That was the hardest for Casey,
because he is so stubborn. Casey and Valerie had never had anything of their
own, so they tended to hide toys so the other boys would not find them. “

Both children are very affectionate and want to constantly be hugged and
kissed, Shawn said. They really need to know they are loved.

“The children have the same mother but different fathers,” he said. “They
were abandoned at the ages of 2 and 3, respectively. They were found on a
park bench by the police. They had been in the orphanage about 15 months
when we met them. During this time, they did not see each other, because
they were in different orphanages.”

At age 7, Conner is the oldest Coughlin child and “the leader of the kids,”
Shawn said. He is in the second grade and plays soccer.

Valerie is 5, and she is “much like a little dictator,” Shawn said. “She
thinks she has to tell everyone what to do, and she may well become a
teacher,” he said. “She is in kindergarten and also plays soccer.”

Casey is 4 and is “very smart and very stubborn,” Shawn said. “He is
independent and would rather be playing with puzzles or Legos than watching
TV.” Casey has only been speaking English for about seven months, but he is
already starting to read.

“Casey is 12 days older than Cooper, so they will enjoy each other’s company
for a long time,” Shawn said. “Cooper is our wild child, and he is
100-percent boy. He is the most likely to climb, destroy, or break, but he
usually knows when to stop.”

Casey and Cooper both attend pre-school, and both play soccer. In fact,
Valerie, Casey and Cooper all play on the same soccer team coached by …
you guessed it, Shawn.

“The children really play well together and are typical kids,” Shawn said.
“There is the usual ‘He hit me’ or ‘He called me stupid,’ but all in all,
the kids get along well.”

Shawn said he and Rachelle met many wonderful children in Ukraine who need
homes. “I think most people are scared of international adoption, because of
the stories they have heard or may have seen on TV,” he said.

“The orphanages we saw were very clean and the children were well taken care
of. There is a good child-to-caretaker ratio, and the workers seem to really
love the children. The day we took Casey and Valerie from their orphanages,
their teachers cried and made us promise to write and send pictures.”

Shawn said everything is new to Casey and Valerie. “From birthdays, to
simple things like dogs and cats; the joy on their faces just makes you
smile,” he said. “Halloween was a big thrill, and Christmas has been great.
When we decorated the tree and turned on the lights, Casey and Valerie were
beside themselves with joy.”

One recent Sunday all of the children participated in their church Christmas
program, Shawn said.

“Last year Rachelle and I were in Ukraine, and we missed seeing Cooper and
Conner in this program,” he said. “To see all of the kids singing on stage,
and to think that this time last year Casey and Valerie could not even speak
English … The program was on Dec. 10, which was the same day that we met
Casey and Valerie last year.”

Casey and Valerie said they love having a family, and they enjoy their new
beds and toys. They also say they miss Ukraine, and they sometimes talk
about when they are going to visit Ukraine again.

“They like to look at the pictures from our trip to Ukraine,” Shawn said.
“Conner and Cooper say they are happy to have Casey and Valerie as siblings,
and they enjoy always having other children around to play with.” Conner
said he is glad he is still the oldest child.

“The people of Ukraine are wonderful,” Shawn said. “The food was great and
the cost of things were very affordable; must less than in the U.S. We were
given a facilitator who translated for us, stayed with us, and basically
acted as a lawyer on our behalf. He became a good friend, and we still
exchange e-mails on a regular basis.”

Casey’s given name was “Kyril Maximovich Kendeev,” and Valerie’s given
name was “Valentina Maximinova Kendeeva.”

Shawn said he wrote this entry in he and Rachelle’s adoption blog for Dec.
10, 2005:

We got the call Nov. 31 that we were traveling to Ukraine on Dec. 5. We
wondered why we had to travel so soon and why we were being rushed after
waiting so long for our paperwork. Not to mention that we were going to miss
having Christmas with Conner and Cooper.

Well, today we met the two reasons why were in Ukraine and why we went
through all the hard work to get to this point.

God has been so good to us and we didn’t even realize that this was his plan
all along. The most amazing part of meeting the children is that on Dec. 2,
a couple from the U.S. visited these children and decided not to adopt them.

The doctor at Kyril’s orphanage said that the man indicated he could not
bond with Kyril and that they were going back to the U.S. without a child.

This was the first couple to visit these children, because they had just
become available for adoption. Conner and I have prayed every night for a
year that God would protect our children in Ukraine, that He would keep them
safe, and that He would choose the children that he wanted for our family.

Well, prayer answered!!!                                       -30-
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17.                        CHRISTMAS RICH IN RITUALS

By Grant Granger, NewsLeader
Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, Friday, Dec 22 2006

Vira Dmyterko and other children in her family would act like animals at
Christmas time.

It was, after all, a tradition back home in Truskavets, a town of 50,000 in
the Western Ukraine. Her father, who was a priest, would get some straw and
throw it underneath the dining room table. The children would then go under
the table and make animal noises.

“We’d meow, or moo, make a sound like an animal,” says Dmyterko with a laugh
as she makes the sounds all over again. “That would mean for the next year
we would get more cows, more chickens.”

It was all part of the Ukrainian Christmas, and that little tradition is
kept alive in the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Most Holy Eucharist in
New Westminster where Dmyterko’s husband, Volodymyr is the pastor of the
cathedral.

The animal act is all part of the Christmas Eve activities. That’s when the
Ukrainians, dressed in colourful festive outfits of their country, eat a
holy supper called Bahata Kutya. Bahata means rich while kutya is what
boiled wheat mixed with honey is called. The wheat is a symbol of eternity
because it revives each year. The honey is for eternal happiness of the
saints in heaven.

Bahata Kutya consists of 12 meatless dishes such as perogies, cabbage rolls
and fish. The Dmyterkos believe it’s meatless to honour the animals that
protected Joseph and Mary in the barn when there was no room at the inn.
“Mary and Joseph suffered because nobody wanted to let them in the house,”
says Vita.

The reason there’s supposed to be 12 dishes, although that’s a tall task
most Ukrainian families aren’t up to these days, admits Vita, is to
represent each moon of the year.

According to Ukrainian Folk Year from the Historical Perspective, the Bahata
Kutya consists of every kind of vegetable and fruit on the farm so the
family will receive the god of the harvest and holy souls of the ancestors.

A sheaf of straw – “Didukh” – is put in the corner by the dining table. It
symbolizes ancestor spirits and for the god of the harvest to bring
prosperity in the new year. Alongside the hay the Ukrainians place
agricultural tools for God’s blessing of work on the farm. When the evening
star appears in the sky the head of the house lights a candle.

After the supper they exchange gifts, sing songs, moo, meow and make other
animal noises before going to mass.

While the Dmyterkos celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25 many Orthodox Ukrainians
opt to do it on Jan. 7 to match up with the Julian Calendar. The later date
appeals to many because it makes it a quieter, more religious occasion
instead of the commercialism surrounding Dec. 25.

Good ol’ St. Nick is also part of the fun. St. Nicholas is the most popular
saint in the Ukrainian church after St. Vladimir. More Ukrainian churches
are named after Nicholas than any other. Some scholars believe his great
popularity in the Ukraine during medieval times spread to Western Europe,
particularly Holland and Belgium.

When Father Dmyterko was a boy he wrote letters to St. Nicholas about how
good he was and what he wanted and he’d put them in the window so St. Nick
could see the letters.

The children would wake up in the morning and the presents, such as candies,
toys or clothes, would be left under their pillow or beside the bed.

“I remember when I was a little girl, I woke up in the morning and the first
thing I did was put my hand under the pillow and [said] ‘Oh there’s
something here. St. Nicholas was here.’ ” Vira recalls excitedly.

Adult gift giving is only done in fun. Vira’s mother loved a certain kind of
sausage so one Christmas her father placed a long string of sausage under
his wife’s pillow and had a big laugh when she woke up in the morning.

Although they had a happy childhoods mooing, meowing and making other
animals noises, and they were enjoying life in Truskavets, the Dmyterkos
came to Canada 10 years ago for a couple of reasons. For one, he was invited
over to be a priest. But a more compelling one, was their son, Roman, was
being called to the military with a chance he’d have to fight in
Afghanistan.

“Some guys not come back alive,” said Father Dmyterko. Vira says, “Our son
grow up with religious rules and then they want to send him to shoot people.
We did not want that.”

Now Roman is a computer program tester while their daughter, Natalia,
married an American and is a heart surgeon in Brooklyn, N.Y.

After Christmas, the church has special services honouring different things
every day. On Epiphany, Jan. 5, the priest blesses the holy water. One year,
recalls Father Dmyterko, a beekeeper in the congregation ran up to get some.
Dmyterko wanted to know why. “He said, ‘Oh Father, I know from my parents

if I take first that water and I go bless my bees they will produce more
honey,’  ” says Dmyterko with a smile.

The next day the priest begins going around to the homes with the holy water
to bless the parishioners’ houses. It’s an exorcism of sorts that many of
them firmly believe in.

“A lot of people said something very bad happened in the house, it had a
very bad mood,” says Vira. “It was bothering everyone [including] the
children. [But] after the blessing the house with a special prayer by the
Father, the people say the mood of the house was so great, it was peaceful
and something happened very good after the blessing. And it will keep going
good.

“They have to believe. The holy water is like a medicine for the soul.”

So is children acting like animals at Christmas.                -30-
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Grant Granger: ggranger@burnabynewsleader.com
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http://www.burnabynewsleader.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=41&cat=23&id=799679&more=
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18.      THEY CRIED ‘UNCLE,” UNTIL THEY MISSED HIM
          Mother produces a seven-course Ukrainian feast on Christmas Eve
                 and a turkey dinner with all the fixings on Christmas Day.

By Larry Pruner, Burnaby News Leader
Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, Friday, Dec 15 2006

Many families are saddled with that one person who is – how shall I put
this? – a little off.

Whacko, cuckoo and nut-job are other not-so-pleasant, albeit somewhat
accurate, adjectives to describe the relative who, particularly, at
Christmas, tends to drive everybody bonkers with his or her odd personality
traits, which always bare their teeth in the most untimely fashion.

In my family’s case, it’s my Uncle J. He lives in Victoria, which is good
because I really prefer he not read this.

Until last year, he would sail over on the ferry to spend a few days over
the holidays with us. Being he’s my mom’s younger brother and that she lives
alone, he bunks at her place.

My two older brothers and I, and my two daughters – who are too polite to
say anything against him but not enough to wince whenever his very name is
mentioned – are most grateful none of us has to endure his quirks 24/3 over
Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day as Mom must. By Dec. 27,
Uncle J. usually retreats and heads home to the Island, much to Mom’s
relief.

Left in his wake like the aftermath of a thunderous tsunami are often broken
crystal pieces, empty booze bottles and fractured emotions from him getting
carried away with his hands and choice – or lack thereof – of words. He
really doesn’t mean to do harm yet still manages to do it.

About this time last year, Mom had surgery on her foot to try to fend off
the pain and discomfort of chronic arthritis, which has ravaged her feet and
hands in recent years and rendered her about 50 per cent efficient in her
favourite room in the house, the kitchen.

But she amazingly still manages to produce a seven-course Ukrainian feast
on Christmas Eve and a turkey dinner with all the fixings on Christmas Day.

She does all this while dancing around Uncle. J., who’s forever stretching
his arm into the fridge to open a bottle of Chardonnay or going into a
tirade about the state of the world and, ironically, the people in it he
finds unbearable.

Again, please don’t get me wrong. He would never do intentional harm to
anybody. Uncle J. is just, well, Uncle J.

So this time last year, Mom got a phone call from him telling her of his
plans to join us at Christmas, just as he’d done for the previous 10 or so
festive celebrations.

Uncle J. lives alone, has no wife or children and, from what we can tell,
has few friends. His best friend was a work colleague who passed away
about 10 years ago. Ever since, Uncle J. has made it his mission to spend
Christmas with us on the mainland.

Only last year, Mom decided otherwise. She said she wasn’t up to all the
hard work that goes into preparing two feasts and that, in all honesty, it
would perhaps be better if he didn’t make the Christmas trek. She suggested
he could, perhaps, spend a few days in the new year with us.

He agreed. Last Christmas, for the first time in a decade, he stayed home.

Mom, meanwhile, caught her second wind and created a Christmas Eve meal
that was to die for. (And when you consider the cholesterol count in most
Ukrainian food, that’s not far from the truth.)

Everything was done right. The food, the gifts, the decorations. My oldest
brother made it over, my second oldest didn’t but my children and I spent
the afternoon and evening with their grandmother, listening to her tales of
past Christmases, including those she spent growing up in the Depression

era on a farm in Alberta. It was nice.

Only something was missing. Rather, somebody was missing.

When we left, my youngest daughter, Hazel, turned to me and said: “That
was fun… only I wonder what Uncle J. is doing now?”

It struck me like a Mack truck. What would he be doing? Likely sitting alone
in his humble apartment nursing a Kokanee, watching some U.S. college
football game on the tube, eating a microwaved frozen dinner.

Earlier this week, I got a call from Uncle J. He said he just talked to Mom
and I braced to hear that perhaps she told him she prefers keeping things
“quiet” again at Christmas – and that it would be best if he didn’t come
visit.

Instead, he said he’ll be over Christmas Eve and Mom said he can stay as
long as he’d like. I breathed a sigh of relief, told him I’m looking forward
to seeing him and said so long.

So come this Dec. 27 (or so) when Uncle J. returns home to Victoria, we can
expect the usual aftermath of another of his stormy visits – broken crystal,
empty bottles, fractured emotions.

But later, we’ll all grin and agree it was nice to see him again. After all,
he is family.

And last year just wasn’t the same without him.                     -30-
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19.                         MAKING THE HARD DECISIONS

EDITORIAL: Pioneer Press, TwinCities.com
St. Paul, Minnesota, Friday, December 22, 2006

“We don’t have lemon laws on kids. There isn’t a return policy.” This was
the eloquent statement of Tamara Kincaid, a social services supervisor for
Washington County.

The county’s heroic work in trying to straighten out a disastrous foreign
adoption was detailed by reporter Mary Divine in Sunday’s newspaper.

The county workers, it seemed, were the only people who cared enough
about what happened to a troubled Ukrainian boy who was adopted at the
age of 7 by a Lakeland couple, transferred to another family, and then
returned, like a faulty appliance, to Ukraine.

The original adoptive parents said the boy was emotionally disturbed and
sometimes violent.

After an international bureaucratic struggle, Hansen flew to Ukraine and
brought the boy back this month. He is now 12 and staying in a juvenile
treatment residence in Duluth, where he clutches rosary beads and
demonstrates Ukrainian dances to his roommates.

It is fun and fashionable to blast government these days, and we do our
share of it. But it is Washington County government, acting on behalf of all
of us, that came to the rescue of the Ukrainian boy everyone else was
failing.

While much information in the case is private, it appears that the boy’s
original adoptive parents retain custody over his sister, who was adopted
at the same time.

That suggests the county’s job in this very complicated case isn’t finished.
We thank them for all they’ve done. And we hope they stay on it.     -30-
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http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/editorial/16293684.htm
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20. UKRAINIAN PYSANKA, PAINTED EGGS, APPEAR AT CHRISTMAS

By Alli Vail, News Reporter, Parksville Qualicum News
Parksville, British Columbia, Canada, Friday, Dec 22 2006

Twenty-month-old Larissa Siedlecki is supposed to be sleeping. Instead,
she’s busy touching a ceramic manger scene and crawling behind the

Christmas tree. When it’s time to have her picture taken, she’d rather put
he painted Ukrainian egg in her mouth.

Christmas starts early at the Siedlecki house in French Creek. It’s a great
time for traditions, including a small one, bigger at Easter, involving the
Ukrainian painted eggs.

“It’s a very big thing at Easter time,” Siedlecki says, noting the colours
and symbols usually mean something in a religious sense.
The eggs do make an appearance at Christmas.

“I’ve got a couple that are Christmas decoration,” Siedlecki says, adding
that at Christmas, the eggs are more of a novelty item. Ukrainian eggs
aren’t the colour with crayon and dip in food colouring style of eggs.

“There’s a process you go through to make the eggs,” Siedlecki says. There’s
wax dripping, wax melting, dipping and glazing involved – not to mention an
intricate pattern.

He says the eggs at Christmas have holiday themes. “You would see
traditionally the same colours,” Siedlecki says. “Red, white and black is a
big Ukrainian kind of colour.”

He would know. Ukrainian Christmas traditions played a big part in his
childhood. “The biggest Ukrainian tradition is Christmas Eve,” Siedlecki
says.

It’s the holy day, made up of fasting, followed by a meatless meal. Twelve
dishes (for each of the apostles) are served when fasting breaks. Tradition
also comes in the way the food is eaten. Siedlecki says that means spotting
the first star in the sky before eating.

Then there is putting hay underneath the table, or putting it underneath the
table cloth, representing the hay in the manger. Before the meal a prayer is
said and a Ukrainian carol sung. “Lots of food, lots of eating, lots of
drinking. [I] love it, absolutely love it.”

One of Siedlecki’s favourite aspects is decorating. He says his wife Nicole
probably gets a little annoyed. Yet, tradition is important. He says as his
children get older, he’d like to do more and even put the hay under the
table. “I really like the old traditions,” he says. “I’d have to say I’m a
traditionalist.”

Appearing in the paper is also a tradition in the Siedlecki family.
Siedlecki says when he was growing up, their house would always get
mentioned in the local paper, thanks to the decorations.      -30-
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21. FOUNDATION STONE LAID FOR NEW MIKVAH IN SUMY, UKRAINE

FJC, Moscow/New York, Monday, December 18 2006

SUMY, Ukraine – For the Jewish community of Sumy, this year’s Chanukah
was a double celebration. As well as marking the Festival of Lights, Sumy’s
Jews laid the foundation stone for a new mikvah.

It is eighty years since this Ukrainian town had a working mikvah. The last
one was closed down by the Soviet authorities in 1927, as Communism
cracked down on Jewish life across the USSR.

Attending the groundbreaking ceremony, Ukraine’s Chief Rabbi Azriel Chaikin
noted that Sumy’s future mikvah was proof that “the miracle of Hanukkah
didn’t just happen thousands of years ago – it’s repeated all the time.

Three years ago when the local rabbi Yekhiel Levitansky came here with his
family, it seemed that Jewish life was dead, that there weren’t even any
Jews here. But from one candle a miracle is born. Not only is there a minyan
in the synagogue, but there will soon be a mikvah, a kindergarten and a
school.”                                             -30-
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LINK: http://www.fjc.ru/news/newsArticle.asp?AID=457054
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22. CHANUKAH PRESENTS FOR CHILDREN IN WESTERN UKRAINE

FJC, Moscow/New York, Thursday, December 14 2006

ZHITOMIR, Ukraine – Hundreds of Jewish children living in more than 40

towns and villages across Western Ukraine will receive Chanukah presents
by post this week.

In addition to the traditional Chanukah brochure, menorah and candles the
children and their families will find kosher sweets produced by “UkrKosher”
company – chocolates, waffles, gingerbread men and boiled sweets.

The campaign is sponsored by two Ukrainian businessmen Igor Dvoretzky

and Alexander Abdinov.

“We are grateful to our sponsors for such wonderful gift – families in rural
areas will not only be able to celebrate Chanukah according to Jewish
traditions but will also receive the festive spirit of Chanukah with the
sweets.

We all know how important this is for the Jews in small towns surviving on
meagre salaries”, said executive director of FJC Ukraine in Western Ukraine
Nochum Tamarin.                                        -30-

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LINK: http://www.fjc.ru/news/newsArticle.asp?AID=456169
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23.  “WORLD OF JEWISH WOMAN” PUBLISHES CHANUKAH ISSUE
                 Chanukah is the story of the victory of light over darkness

FJC, Moscow/New York, Wednesday, November 29 2006

LUGANSK, Ukraine – The December issue of “World of Jewish Woman”

magazine, which is just out, is dedicated to the upcoming holiday of
Chanukah.

Chanukah is the story of the victory of light over darkness and the
magazine’s headline is “We will prevail!”
The articles discuss the
philosophical meaning of the holiday, family values and work on self-

improvement.

The issue also covers the life of Jewish women in the Ukrainian city of
Kremenchug and features Chanukah recipes from Omsk.          -30-
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24.  KATERYNA YUSHCHENKO SAYS FUNDRAISER FOR CHILDREN’S
   HOSPITAL OF THE FUTURE DEMONSTRATED WE CAN WORK
              TOGETHER TO TACKLE AND RESOLVE PROBLEMS

Press office of President Victor Yushchenko
Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, December 17, 2006

KYIV – On December 17, Kateryna Yushchenko told journalists at a press
conference held after a TV live fundraiser to build a Children’s Hospital of
the Future in Kyiv this charitable event was exemplary. The First Lady said
she had not thought it would attract so much attention.

“This project demonstrated we could work together,” she said. “There are
many problems in Ukraine we can tackle and resolve.”

“The event does not finish today. It will not end even when the hospital is
built. It will continue as long as the hospital exists,” she said, adding
that hospitals abroad relied on donations and insurance funds.
          THANKED RADA FOR ALLOCATING $10 MILLION
The President’s wife thanked the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, for
adopting a resolution to allocate UAH 50 mln in the budget to carry out the
project.

When asked whose donations were the largest, she replied Ukrainian business
people knew how important it was to help our children. “I think they are
also glad we managed to find some common solutions,” she said.
                        TIME FOR NEW PHILANTHROPISTS
Mrs. Yushchenko added that philanthropists “realized it was time for Ukraine
to have its new Tereshchenkos and Khanenkos, who will build new hospitals,
schools, theatres, museums.”

She said her foundation had offered business leaders to help equip rooms in
the hospital during the promotional tour.  “It can be an emergency care
ward, classrooms or something else but there will be a plaque with your
name,” she said.
              RENEW OUR FAITH IN CHARITABLE GIVING
“One of our major goals is to renew faith in charitable giving,” she said
when asked about the politicization and commercialization of charitable
foundations led by first ladies. She said 80% of Ukrainians did not trust
charitable foundations, according to recent public opinion surveys, which
makes her sad.

“Our project will be public and transparent. All the expenses and incomes
will be published on our website. We guarantee that it will be an exemplary
charitable event,” she said.

Mrs. Yushchenko said the construction of the hospital would start next
spring, its architectural design being almost ready.

“We will establish a board of trustees and a supervisory board involving
philanthropists and experts, who will help us,” she said.

Speaking about how the hospital will be furnished and equipped, she said it
was necessary to order equipment a couple of years beforehand.

“What we have today in our storehouses is outdated. We must now buy
equipment that will still be advanced in a couple of years,” she explained.

The First Lady said the project was on her agenda during a visit to South
Korea on December 18-19. She said she would meet with heads of companies
manufacturing medical equipment and would bring back an ambulance for one
of the Hospital to Hospital facilities in Ukraine.

Mrs. Yushchenko said she was proud of Ukrainians. Our celebrities – singers,
athletes, bankers and business leaders – joined this project,” she said,
adding that the live TV marathon on almost all television channels was
unprecedented. “This event shows we are real Europeans,” she said.   -30-
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LINK: http://www.president.gov.ua/en/news/data/5_12710.html

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25. SCOTLAND: HIBS FANS TO TAKE UKRAINE CHILDREN GIFTS

Scotsman.com, Edinburgh, Scotland, Thursday, 21 Dec 2006

HIBS fans are set to travel to Ukraine to bring Christmas presents to
children in orphanages they support.

Steven Carr and Alix Stewart of the Dnipro Appeal are leaving for the city
on January 3 with suitcases full of Barbie dolls.

They plan to buy other presents, including baby clothes and soft toys, once
they have arrived in Ukraine.

Mr Carr said: “We’ll do most of the shopping there but we have to get the
Barbie dolls here because they struggle to get them there.” He added that he
was hoping a store in Edinburgh might make them a good deal on the dolls.

The registered charity came about after Hibs drew against Ukrainian side
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in last year’s Uefa Cup.

Forty-year-old alarm engineer Mr Carr decided to take over some football
tops for under-privileged children, which started a bigger project that has
now raised more than £20,000.

The Dnipro Appeal helps Predniprovsk Tuberculosis Children Centre, as well
as a local pregnancy crisis centre and the smaller Odinkovka orphanage.

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26. MEMPHIS DOCTORS REBUILDING UKRAINIAN GIRL’S FACE

WHBQ-TV, FOX13, Memphis, Tennessee, Monday, December 18, 2006

MEMPHIS – A gesture of humanitarian and medical goodwill from John

Wood Ministries [Rev. John Wood, Waco, Texas]means that over the next
18 months Iryna Shevchenko [who lives in Ukraine] will get the facial
reconstructive surgery she needs to help restore function and balance to
her young face.

Dr. Robert Wallace of the UT Medical Group told Fox13:  “Her problems

now center around a loss of volume of her face, obviously excessive
scarring on the right side of her face, a loss of a portion of her nose, a
loss of a portion of the corner of her mouth, and a loss of her eye lid.”

Wallace says the myriad of problems that started at birth as a vascular
abnormality from Irina’s eye down to mouth. She had surgery as a baby.
That was eventually followed by radiation, and skin grafts. The end result?
Disfiguring scars and a loss of some facial functions.

Dr. Alexander Etnis, of Kiev, Ukraine, says the scars caused the 12 year old
to become extremely shy and uncomfortable in public.

Dr. Etnis says:  “When she first got to the U.S. this girl wasn’t very
comfortable, because she was nervous.  But now she can smile, so it’s
getting better,

Not all of Iryna’s visit has been confined to seeing specialists in Dr.
Wallace’s office.  Her host family made plenty of time for pampering which
included sight seeing, clothes shopping and facials.

And while she couldn’t find the exact words for every question I asked, she,
through Dr. Etnis, says she’s never seen such nice people as she’s met in
the United States, Memphis especially.

Dr. Etnis told FOX13’s Maria Black: “She’s impressed to see how all people
ask, ‘what can to do for this girl?’  People don’t know anything about this
girl but they ask ‘how I can help you.'”

And over the next year and a half that help will take shape literally right
before her eyes.                                         -30-
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NOTE:  To see video of TV news report click on link below:
http://www.myfoxmemphis.com/myfox/pages/News/Detail?contentId=1812417&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=3.5.1

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http://www.volia-software.com/ or Bill Hunter, CEO Volia Software,
Houston, TX  77024; bill.hunter@volia-software.com.
8. ODUM– Association of American Youth of Ukrainian Descent,
Minnesota Chapter, Natalia Yarr, Chairperson
9. UKRAINE-U.S. BUSINESS COUNCIL, Washington, D.C.,
Dr. Susanne Lotarski, President/CEO; E. Morgan Williams,
SigmaBleyzer, Chairman, Executive Committee, Board of Directors;
John Stephens, Cape Point Capital, Secretary/Treasurer
10. UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA, Archbishop
Antony, South Bound Brook, New Jersey, http://www.uocofusa.org
11. UKRAINIAN AMERICAN COORDINATING COUNCIL (UACC),
Ihor Gawdiak, President, Washington, D.C., New York, New York
12. U.S.-UKRAINE FOUNDATION (USUF), Nadia Komarnyckyj
McConnell, President; John Kun, Vice President/COO; Vera
Andruskiw, CPP Wash Project Director, Washington, D.C.; Markian
Bilynskyj, VP/Director of Field Operations; Marta Kolomayets, CPP
Kyiv Project Director, Kyiv, Ukraine. Web: http://www.USUkraine.org
13. WJ GROUP of Ag Companies, Kyiv, Ukraine, David Holpert, Chief
Financial Officer, Chicago, IL; http://www.wjgrain.com/en/links/index.html
14. EUGENIA SAKEVYCH DALLAS, Author, “One Woman, Five
Lives, Five Countries,” ‘Her life’s journey begins with the 1932-1933
genocidal famine in Ukraine.’ Hollywood, CA, www.eugeniadallas.com.
15. ALEX AND HELEN WOSKOB, College Station, Pennsylvania
16. SWIFT FOUNDATION, San Luis Obispo, California
17. TRAVEL TO UKRAINE website, http://www.TravelToUkraine.org,
A program of the U.S-Ukraine Foundation, Washington, D.C.
18. BUYUKRAINE.ORG website, http://www.BuyUkraine.org.
A program of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, Washington, D.C.
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                          PUBLISHER AND EDITOR – AUR
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Director, Government Affairs
Washington Office, SigmaBleyzer, The Bleyzer Foundation

Emerging Markets Private Equity Investment Group
President (Acting) and Chairman, Executive Committee of the
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AUR#799 Dec 20 Impact Of Gas Price Increase On The Economy Of Ukraine In 2007; WTO Accession; Farmland Sales Stopped; Children’s Hospital Telethon

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

                      Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
         Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World       

 
                 IMPACT OF GAS PRICE INCREASE ON THE
                            ECONOMY OF UKRAINE IN 2007

                                                   [Article One]
                        
ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 799
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor, SigmaBleyzer
WASHINGTON, D.C., WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2006 

              –——-  INDEX OF ARTICLES  ——–
            Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
   Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article

1.                  IMPACT OF GAS PRICE INCREASE ON THE
                               ECONOMY OF UKRAINE IN 2007
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: Edilberto L. Segura, Olga Pogaska
SigmaBleyzer, The Bleyzer Foundation, Kyiv, Ukraine
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #799, Article 1
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, December 20, 2006

2.                              UKRAINE’S ENERGY FUTURE
REMARKS: By Yuriy Boiko, Minister of Fuel and Energy of Ukraine,
At the Ukrainian Business Forum at the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC
During the official visit of Prime Minister V. F. Yanukovich
New York, New York, Wednesday, December 6, 2006
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #799, Article 2
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, December 20, 2006

3. EXPORTS OF ELECTRICITY RISE, LARGE UNUSED CAPACITIES

         Energy sector important part for country’s economic development
Kateryna Illyashenko, Ukraine analyst, IntelliNews-Ukraine This Week
Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, November 27, 2006

4.     UKRAINIAN GAS CO’S FEAR ROSUKRENERGO TAKEOVER 
Associated Press (AP), Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, December 8, 2006

5.                                WTO MEMBERSHIP IN SIGHT

INFORM, Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc (BYUT) Newsletter, Issue 24,
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 19 December 2006

6.    KYRGYZSTAN DEMANDS UKRAINE LIFT TAX ON ELECTRIC
                   LAMP IMPORTS AS WTO ACCESSION TERM
Kabar news agency, Bishkek, in Russian 0406 gmt 19 Dec 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

7GRAIN EXPORT QUOTAS CAN PUT OBSTACLES IN PATH OF WTO
UkrAgroConsult, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

8.                                 PROMISES FORGOTTEN?
         Grain export quotas may have adverse consequences for Ukraine
By Vitalii Kniazhansky, The Day Weekly Digest #41
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

9.     FINNISH AMBASSADOR FORECASTS UKRAINE’S ENTERING
        WORLD  TRADE ORGANIZATION (WTO) IN FEBRUARY 2007
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

10UKRAINE: PARLIAMENT EXTENDS MORATORIUM ON FARMLAND
                       SALES, ONCE AGAIN, TO JANUARY 1, 2008
Interfax Ukraine Business Express, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, December 19, 2006

11.               CARPATHIAN MOUNTAINS GET PROTECTION
               Six countries pledge to protect and develop the Carpathians
The Day Weekly Digest, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

12OVER 48 MILLION USD RAISED BY THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
                    OF THE FUTURE ALL-UKRAINIAN TELETHON
               Program of the Ukraine 3000 International Charitable Fund
Ukraine 3000 International Charitable Fund
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #799, Article 12
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, December 20, 2006

13.                               HURRY TO DO GOOD DEEDS
             Fund-raising for children’s hospital became nation-wide action
Olha POKOTYLO, The Day Weekly Digest #41
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

14GLAXOSMITHKLINE (GSK) SUPPLIES UKRAINE WITH 800,000

  DOSES OF MMR VACCINE FOR MEASLES, MUMPS AND RUBELLA
         Vaccines were packaged locally into Ukrainian language outer boxes
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Kyiv/Lviv, Monday, 18 December 2006

15.                               ESCAPING FROM EMPIRE
                 Postscript to 15th anniversary of referendum affirming
                           Act proclaiming Ukraine’s independence
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Yurii SCHERBAK
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine and
Director, Center for Global and Regional Studies, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy
The Day Weekly Digest #41, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Dec 19, 2006

16RUSSIAN STATE RUN TV ACCUSES UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES
          OF NEGLECT AND INCOMPETENCE REGARDING CRIMEA
BBC Monitoring research in English 19 Dec 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

17.    DOCUMENTARY FILM PROJECT “LIFE IN THE DEAD ZONE”
   About the elderly survivors currently living in the Chornobyl exclusion zone
Irene Zabytko, Producer, Writer
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #799, Article 17
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, December 20, 2006
========================================================
1
              IMPACT OF GAS PRICE INCREASE ON THE
                            ECONOMY OF UKRAINE IN 2007

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: Edilberto L. Segura, Olga Pogaska
SigmaBleyzer, The Bleyzer Foundation, Kyiv, Ukraine
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #799, Article 1
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, December 20, 2006

                                             SUMMARY
The expected increase at the beginning of 2007 of the imported gas price to
$130 per 1000 m3 will have a significant impact on the Ukrainian economy.
Nevertheless, the economy should be able to perform reasonably well during
the year.

However, in order to sustain economic growth over the longer-run, the
government should enhance structural economic reforms to encourage
investments, including in energy-saving technologies.

     [1] The negative impact of the gas price increases in real GDP growth
in 2007 is estimated at 1.5-2 percentage points. Despite this, GDP growth is
expected to grow by 5-6% yoy in 2007.

     [2] Year-end inflation in 2007 will depend on the government policy
response and budget performance; however, we believe inflation will be at
about 10%, almost 3 percentage points higher than projected by the
government for the 2007 fiscal budget.

     [3] The foreign trade balance will continue to deteriorate, driving the
current account deficit to about 2.5% of GDP in 2007. We expect the deficit
to be covered by robust FDI inflow and extensive borrowing from abroad.

     [4] Despite expected sufficient inflow of foreign currency to Ukraine,
currency depreciation pressures may emerge. The exchange rate may be
allowed to slightly depreciate to 5.1-5.2 UAH/$.

     [5] Although the draft 2007 budget law envisaged the increase of
natural gas prices, additional pressures to the successful execution of the
fiscal budget may emerge. Nevertheless, we believe that the government has
enough tools to keep the fiscal budget deficit at the projected 2.5% of GDP
in 2007.

     [6] In view of anticipated further increases in the cost of imported
energy resources, in order to reach sustainable economic growth in the
long-run, the economy has to boost investments, including into energy-
saving technologies.

        AGREED TERMS OF GAS IMPORTS IN 2006-2007
At the beginning of 2006, Ukraine and Russia agreed on a new 5-year
agreement, according to which:

     [1] Ukraine obtained 34 billion of natural gas of mixed origin
(primarily Turkmenistan) at $95 per 1000 m3 at the Russia-    Ukrainian
border. Though the price was set for the first half of the year, it was
later prolonged for the whole year, despite the increase in the price of
Turkmen gas at the Russian border from $65 per 1000 m3 to $100 per
1000 m3 as of October 1st 2006.

     [2] The transit fee for Russian natural gas through the territory of
Ukraine was increased from $1.09 per 1000 m3 per 100 km in 2005 to
$1.6 per 1000 m3 per 100 km and fixed until 2011.

     [3] The company RosUkrEnergo (RUE) was defined as the unique importer
of natural gas coming from the Russian Federation, though it did not mean
that the imported gas was solely of Russian origin. Indeed, the majority of
gas obtained by RUE was from Central Asia (mostly Turkmenistan).

     [4] To sell imported natural gas to Ukrainian users, a joint venture
UkrGazEnergo (with a parity ownership between RUE and Naftogaz Ukrainy)
was established a few weeks after the agreement was signed.

Since Ukraine’s total demand for natural gas was estimated at 76 billion m3
in 2006 and its own production amounted to about 20 billion m3, Ukraine
needed to import 56 billion m3 in 2006.

In addition to the 34 billion m3 from RUE, Ukraine planned to receive an
additional 22 billion m3 of Turkmen gas in 2006 under a separate contract. (1)

However, these plans were not realized as Turkmenistan stopped gas delivery
to Ukraine, substantiating this decision by Ukraine’s indebtedness for
imported gas in previous periods.

To compensate for the deficit, Ukraine negotiated larger amounts of gas
imports from Russia. We assume that these amounts were delivered to
Ukraine by RUE at $95 per 1000 m3.

Since Ukraine was paying only 38% of the international price for natural
gas, in mid- 2006 it became clear that the price of $95 per 1000 m3 Ukraine
would be raised in the future.

On October 24th, Ukraine and Russia agreed that in 2007 RUE will deliver
no less than 55 billion m3 of natural gas (of Central Asian origin) and up
to 62 billion m3, at a price of $130 per 1000 m3.

The price is set for the entire year.  Although this price represented an
increase of 37% over the 2006 price, it is still only about 47% of
international prices.

At the same time, the transit fee was left unchanged. Since the gas
agreement contains a provision that Ukraine has no right to re-export gas
received from RUE, it is very likely that only the minimum amount of gas
will be delivered to Ukraine in 2007 (i.e., 55-57 billion m3).

Considering that the Ukrainian economy is highly energy-intensive and thus
vulnerable to gas price changes, and that the recent increase will be the
second gas price shock in two years, the analysis below estimates the
impact of these two arrangements on the Ukrainian economy.

                                IMPACT ON GDP GROWTH
In order to estimate the impact of the increase in the price of imported gas
on GDP, we used the model presented in the SigmaBleyzer/The Bleyzer
Foundation paper issued in January 2006 entitled “Ukraine – Impact of Gas
Price Increase.” [Published by the Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #656,
Article 1, February 9, 2006] [Link to January 2006 impact of gas price
increase paper: http://www.sigmableyzer.com/files/Gas_Crisis-Eng.pdf]

On this basis, we estimate that the direct impact of higher gas prices on
GDP growth in 2007 will be a reduction of 1.5-2.0 percentage points relative
to the baseline forecast of GDP growth. (2)

In addition to 2007’s gas price shock, the Ukrainian economy will continue
to feel the effect of the gas price increase of 2006. Furthermore, there
will be indirect impacts on GDP through other channels.

In particular, the rise in imported gas prices in 2006 and 2007 would have
depressive effects on private consumption, as they leave consumers with
fewer resources to spend on other goods and services.

In addition, some energy-intensive industries, like chemicals and
metallurgy, may be severely hit with the new gas price shock. In 2006, many
of these industries adjusted to the new gas prices through gas substitution
with other types of fossil fuels and reductions in their profit margins.

Furthermore, strong real sector performance during May-October 2006 was
related to a favorable external environment for Ukraine’s major
export-oriented industries (like metallurgy (3), chemicals, machinery and
equipment) and to record high consumption growth related to banking credit
expansion.

Though the metallurgy industry may be capable of absorbing the 2007 price
shock reasonably well, the effect of higher gas prices on the chemical
industry may be more damaging.

This is because in the chemical industries, energy represents a larger share
of production costs. The average share of energy cost in non-fertilizer
chemical production is up to 50% and approaches 70% in fertilizer
production.

In 2006, the chemical industry absorbed the gas price increase through a
moderate reduction of profitability, which was possible due to strong
domestic and external demand. For January-October 2006, the industry
reported a 3.5% yoy increase in its output.

However, the second significant increase in natural gas prices in two years
may place many enterprises in the chemical industry below their
profitability levels.

On the other hand, the impact of the gas price increase for this industry
may be lessened by the government as it has already announced plans to
introduce price caps on natural gas supplied to chemical plants.

This notwithstanding, the gas price increase may contribute to a further
reduction of exports in Ukraine. The chemical industry accounts for about
10% of Ukraine’s total merchandise exports in 2006.

Although private consumption in 2007 will remain high due to a series of
recurrent income increases (minimum wages, pensions, etc.), its rate of
growth will be more modest in 2007.

Lower consumption growth and more moderate export growth in 2007 will
have a “multiplicative” impact on national income (GDP), since the decline
in aggregate demand represents exemptions into the circular flow of income,
which affect further rounds of consumption spending.

On a positive note, a compensating factor is that the gas price increases in
2006-2007 and the awareness that the cost of energy will continue to grow in
the future will stimulate investments, including into energy conservation
technologies.

In addition, the Ukrainian economy may benefit from government policies and
reforms that would improve Ukraine’s business environment, thus enhancing
investment activity and increasing total factor productivity.

Furthermore, the likely accession to the WTO in the first half of 2007 may
also have a positive effect on economic development in Ukraine.

Taking into account direct and indirect effects of a gas price increase on
the economy, the negative impact on the growth rate of real GDP is
estimated to be within 1.5-2 percentage points.

The actual growth rate will crucially depend on the external environment
(particularly, the development of steel prices on international markets) and
the ability of Ukraine to implement economic reforms. Currently, we project
GDP growth to reach 5-6% yoy in 2007.

        FOREIGN TRADE AND THE CURRENT ACCOUNT
As in 2006, the most significant effect of gas price increases will be felt
by export-oriented industries such as chemicals and metallurgy, which
together account for more than 50% of Ukraine’s total export.

The crucial element for export performance in these industries is
development of world metal and chemical prices. Despite growing world
steel production, the global demand for steel has also been rising.

At the same time, the supply of raw materials for metallurgical industries,
particularly iron ore, has also been growing though at much slower pace.
The shortage of raw materials may be the primary reason for upward
pressures on world steel prices in 2006.

Although likely increases in iron ore supply may reduce the price of raw
materials, they may still remain at a relatively high level in 2007, thus
not allowing for a sharp decline in steel prices.

Most likely, Chinese and European steel prices, the main destinations of
Ukraine’s steel exports, will show only a moderate decline in 2007. The
extent of government support for the chemical industry will depend on the
international price of Ukraine’s chemicals and commitments under the WTO.

It is likely that some chemical and metal enterprises may turn unprofitable
in 2007, thus reducing the volume of Ukraine’s goods export.

On the import side, the increase in the cost of imported energy resources
will cause further deterioration of the merchandise trade deficit. Unlike in
2006, it will not be compensated for by a larger surplus in foreign trade of
services as the transit fee will remain unchanged.

Also considering the limited opportunities for Ukrainian natural gas
exports, the direct negative impact on the current account balance is
estimated at about 1.8% of GDP. Coupled with the impact on export-oriented
industries, the full year current account deficit may reach 2.5% of GDP.

                         CONSOLIDATED FISCAL BUDGET
The 2007 budget, currently approved in the first reading by the Verkhovna
Rada, forecasts a deficit of about 2.5% of GDP.  In the preparation of the
budget, the increase in gas prices for 2007 was already envisaged. However,
the successful execution of the budget plan may be a challenging task for a
number of reasons.

[1] First, budget revenues may turn out to be overestimated taking into
account the rather optimistic forecast by the government of real GDP growth
in 2007.

[2] Second, budget revenues may fall short of the targeted amount due to
resumption of free economic zones and territories of priority development.

[3] Third, higher gas prices, though expected to be passed on to consumers,
will increase expenditures on low-income assistance programs. Combined with
the government plans to support the most effected industries, the budget
deficit may reach 3% of GDP.

At the same time, we believe the government has enough tools to control
other expenditures and keep the budget deficit at a projected 2.5% if GDP.

                                           INFLATION
The imported gas price increase in 2006 became a catalyst for adjustment
of all utility tariffs to cost-recovery levels (some of the utility tariffs
had not been revised for more than 6 years).

As a result, consumer price index growth will exceed the government
projection of 10% yoy in 2006, and may reach 11%-12%. We expect that

the gas price increase will be passed on to consumers in 2007, though
some relief will be granted to low-income households. (4)

Though natural gas per se holds a rather small share in the consumer

basket (5), the increase in imported gas will pressure utility tariffs,
transportation costs and producer prices. The latter, in turn, will spill
over into consumer prices with some lag.

In addition, due to the absence of a clear privatization plan for 2007 (the
government plans to receive about $2 billion of privatization receipts,
representing two thirds of deficit financing in 2007) on the back of
considerable social expenditures in the budget (6), the likely fiscal budget
deficits may cause inflation pressures.

Taking this into account and assuming that the process of service tariffs
adjustment to cost-covering levels will continue in 2007, we believe the
government forecast of 7.5% yoy inflation in 2007 is very optimistic. We
expect inflation to be around 10% yoy in 2007.

                                     EXCHANGE RATE
During 2006, the hryvnia exchange rate against the US dollar was maintained
stable at 5.05 UAH/$, despite current account pressures at the beginning of
the year.

The deterioration of foreign trade performance was compensated for by
surpluses in transfers and financial accounts (due to the robust inflow of
FDI estimated at about $3.6 billion for the first nine months of 2006 and
active private sector borrowing from abroad). This allowed the NBU to
further replenish its reserves, which are expected to reach $20 billion at
the end of the year.

 In 2007, exchange rate dynamics will be affected by a further worsening of
the foreign trade balance, which will lead to a current account deficit of
about 3% of GDP.

However, we believe the inflow of foreign capital (either in the form of FDI
or borrowings) will be enough to cover the current account deficit. At the
same time, we anticipate that some depreciation pressures may occur
throughout the year, during which the exchange rate may be allowed to
depreciate slightly to 5.1-5.15 UAH/$.                       -30-
———————————————————————————————–
                                          FOOTNOTES:
(1) According to the agreement, the price of imported Turkmen gas at the
Russian border would have been $50 per 1000 m3 in the first half of the year
and $60 per 1000 m3 in the second. Even including transit fee payments, the
price of Turkmen gas at the Ukrainian border would have been lower than
under the contract with RUE.
(2) The main assumptions and calculations necessary to estimate the impact
of a gas price increase on GDP were the following:
a)  56 billion m3 of natural gas will be delivered to Ukraine in 2007.
b)  In 2006, Ukraine imported 56 billion m3 at a price of $95 per 1000 m3.
c)  Natural gas transit through the territory of Ukraine will constitute
about 122 billion m3 in both 2006 and 2007 (according to official
statistics, natural gas transit to Europe through the territory of Ukraine
has declined by about 7%. The decline is explained by lower gas consumption
by European countries due to very warm weather and shortage of gas delivery
at the beginning of the year due to unresolved gas supply issue between
Ukraine and Russia. However, we believe gas consumption will increase in the
coming months following the traditional seasonal pattern).
d) Though the 2006 increase in gas prices was passed on to industrial
consumers at the beginning of the year, utility tariffs for households were
raised mostly in the second half of the year. In addition, strongly revived
investment activity (about 10% yoy in 1H 2006 in real terms) may suggest
that the gas price increase stimulated investments in energy-saving
technologies.  In the residential sector, this process is much slower with a
negligible impact on elasticity in the first year (2006). We assume that the
2007 gas price increase will be passed on to utility tariffs to a
considerable degree in 2007. Hence, we believe that gas price elasticity of
demand will increase in 2007, though not as strongly as we previously
anticipated, with a more conspicuous effect in subsequent years.
e) According to the forecasted gas balance for Ukraine in 2006, Ukraine
plans to export about 8 million m3 of natural gas (of its own production).
The State Statistics Committee of Ukraine reported that Ukraine exported
natural gas in an amount equivalent to $0.59 million over January-September.
Extrapolating this figure for the whole year, we obtain the export price of
about $100 per 1000 m3. We assume that in 2007, Ukraine will be able to
export a similar amount of natural gas. It also looks reasonable to assume
the price for it will exceed $130 per 1000 m3 but will be lower than the
European average. We assume that the price will be in the range of $150-200
per 1000 m3.
f)  GDP was estimated at $100 billion for 2006.
g)  The ratio of gas imports to DP was estimated at 5.32% in 2006. But this
ratio would be about 2.6% of GDP if corrected for gas transit and gas export
revenues.
(3) Unlike expectations of a moderate decline in 2006, world steel prices
resumed growth in April 2006 and on average were comparable to 2004 prices.
(4) The government may choose to keep energy prices unchanged on the
domestic market. However, such a policy response will lead to distortions in
market-correction mechanisms, thus sending wrong signals to business,
accumulation of inflationary pressure and their transfer on future periods.
Since such a policy may also cause the budget deficit to expand beyond the
3% of GDP level, we believe the government will allow for a price adjustment
to a substantial extent.
(5) Housing services, gas, water supply and electricity together comprised
less than 7% of the consumer basket as of mid-2006.
(6) Though the 2007 draft budget law envisages a rather moderate increase in
minimum wages, pensions and other social expenditures, due to the recurrent
increases in the previous two years, social spending will represent a
significant share in the budgets in future years.                -30-
—————————————————————————————————
LINK: http://www.sigmableyzer.com/File/economic/Gas_price_note_2007.pdf
—————————————————————————————————
NOTE:  SigmaBleyzer/The Bleyzer Foundation also publishes monthly
Macroeconomic Situation Reports for Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania.
They are published at http://www.sigmableyzer.com/en/page/532.
—————————————————————————————————
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Morgan Williams,
Director, Government Affairs, Washington Office,
SigmaBleyzer Emerging Markets Private Equity Investment Group,
Washington, D.C., MWilliams@SigmaBleyzer.com.
http://www.SigmaBleyzer.com, http://www.BleyzerFoundation.com.
—————————————————————————————————

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
2.                           UKRAINE’S ENERGY FUTURE

REMARKS: By Yuriy Boiko, Minister of Fuel and Energy of Ukraine,
At the Ukrainian Business Forum at the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC
During the official visit of Prime Minister V. F. Yanukovich
New York, New York, Wednesday, December 6, 2006
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #799, Article 2
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dear Friends,

Thank you very much for finding the time to join us today.  I am happy to be
back in the United States and to be here as part of the new government led
by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich.

The Government, together with President Yushchenko and our partners in
Parliament, are united by our commitment to fulfill all the potential that
our country and people represent.

We are also united by a commitment to be a strong partner in our common
quest for peace, prosperity and democracy around the world.  Because of the
trends in global energy, our role as a reliable energy partner is important
to everyone.

Consider these facts:
     [1] Global energy demand is growing, and it is expected to increase by
60% by 2030, partly due to the emerging economies, especially China and
India.
     [2] Hydrocarbon reserves are declining in Europe, which is the largest
importer and second largest consumer of energy in the world. Today the EU
imports about 50% of its energy. Without policy reform, this will rise to
70%. The percentage for natural gas will be even higher.
     [3] The price of hydrocarbons are rising. As we all know, oil prices
have increased more than six times over the past seven years.

This is why building a strong, reliable energy economy that brings supplies
from the East to consumers in the West is a cornerstone of the broader
strategic agenda for our country and for our relations with our partners.

In order to achieve this goal, Ukraine is reforming its economy to be more
compatible with the European Union.  We are modernizing our industry to
consume less fuel even as we grow our GDP.  And we are strengthening
long-term, strategic partnerships with Russia, and Black Sea and Caspian
states whose energy supplies are crucial to the global energy balance.

    TRANSPARENT, VIBRANT, EFFECTIVE ENVIRONMENT
Building a transparent, vibrant and effective environment for investment and
business expansion is key to our strategy.  And for that reason, I’m
especially pleased to have the chance to be with you today and exchange
ideas.

One of my jobs as Minister is to help ensure that our energy reforms are
moving in a direction that promotes business expansion and adds to the
welfare of our people while at the same time maximizing our common energy
security.

You can play a part in that process.  Working together, we can ensure:

     [1] That Ukraine really is “open for business”;
     [2] That all of our investments are protected by the rule of law and an
independent, fair judicial system;
     [3] That our government policies support investment and encourage
economic growth; and
     [4] That we maximize Ukraine’s potential as a strategic and reliable
energy partner.

  FOUR KEY PILLARS OF UKRAINE’S ENERGY STRATEGY
Let me outline briefly the 4 key pillars that create the framework of our
Energy Strategy and share a few ideas about how we can work together to
fulfill its potential-to all our benefit.

[1 – EUROPEAN UNION] The first pillar of our strategy is a commitment to
deepen our overall collaboration with the European Union, including in the
energy sphere.

We all face the same overarching energy challenges in the 21st Century,
namely increasing the diversification of energy suppliers, ensuring energy
transit security, and finding and developing alternative energy sources.

In this context, we are working at senior levels with our EU colleagues to
develop the enormous potential of our country to improve the reliability of
supplies to energy consumers in Europe by uniting more effectively the
energy resources and transport infrastructures of Central Asia, Russia,
Ukraine and the European Union.

As you know, Ukraine’s relations with the European Union are expanding.  Our
energy relationship is governed by the Memorandum of Understanding in the
Field of Energy which provides a comprehensive framework for collaboration
and which we updated on September 14 to add financial support for energy
sector priority projects transport projects from the EBRD and the European
Investment Bank.

Ukraine also aspires to join Energy Community Treaty and has already been
granted observer status during the ministerial meeting in Skopje November
17.

Diversifying supplies of hydrocarbons and their supply routes into Ukraine
is a priority issue, as is the creation of transit routes to the EU through
Ukrainian territory.

In this context, the development of the Odessa-Brody-Plock oil pipeline is
most important.  We must also synchronize our electricity system with Europe’s
and develop alternative energy resources.

I am glad to report that our relationship with the EU foresees further
political and financial support to Ukraine’ for the multibillion
infrastructure energy projects, a number of which are presented to you here
today.

[2 – UKRAINE] The second pillar of our strategy focuses on creating a modern
energy sector at home, in the context of a market economy that encourages
investment and ensures financial stability as well as energy conservation
and efficiency.

These principles are laid out in Ukraine’s Energy Strategy through 2030
which was approved by the government in March of this year.

The Strategy forecasts cutting energy consumption by 50% by 2030 while
tripling the GDP. This target will be met thanks to technological and
structural cutbacks, as well as legislative stimuli.

Within the next few years we want to cut gas consumption by 30% in
metallurgy and 20% – in the chemical industry.

Also, Ukraine also aims at reducing of consumption of the imported energy,
in particular gas. In this area, we plan to accelerate development of coal
mining and nuclear power sector.

By doing so, we expect to ease Ukraine’s dependency from imported energy to
about 12% in 2030.  National gas consumption is supposed to drop from today’s
56.4bn m3 to 9.4bn m3.

Ukraine is setting the stage for development of the nuclear power
generation. Today, 15 nuclear power blocks are capable of generating 13.8mn
KW.

The Government plans to extend exploitation terms of the existing blocks, as
well as to build new ones. Supposedly, Ukraine will have domestically
produced uranium and zircon.

By 2010, Ukraine also intends to construct a centralized Spent Nuclear Waste
Storage.

Coal consumption will rise dramatically in power generation. Its share in
energy balance of the power plants will reach 80%.

Domestic oil and gas production will increase. Our 2016 target for oil is
2.4 million tones of domestically drilled oil per year, and by 2030 we
expect to produce 28.5 billion m3 of gas. Plus, the strategy provides for
modernization of oil refineries, with the aim to improve the depth of
refinement to 90%.

Obviously, large-scale modernization will require multibillion investments
in the sector.  Our plans envision that we will attract capital from private
investors, both domestic and foreign, profits of the energy companies
themselves, state investments and from partners such as the World Bank,
European Investment Bank and others.

[3 – RUSSIA] The third pillar of our strategy for success is based on
maintaining strong relations with Russia.  Russia needs predictability from
Ukraine, just as Ukraine and Europe need predictability from Russia.

We acknowledge this interdependency and intend to use it to our mutual
benefit. I’m happy to report to you that today Ukrainian-Russian energy
relations have been put on a sound footing.

In October of this year, our governments reached important and mutually
acceptable agreements on cooperation in the areas of oil and gas, nuclear
energy and electric power. We have recently signed contracts which provide
terms of gas supplies in 2007, as well as the increase of Russian oil
transit through Ukraine.

We will continue to work with our colleagues in Moscow to ensure that both
sides are meeting their commitments and are doing so in a transparent way
that contributes to increased regional energy security for exporters,
transporters and consumers of that energy.  Doing so is in everyone’s
advantage.

[4 – UNITED STATES] Let me conclude by saying a few words about the

fourth pillar of our Energy Strategy, building a real strategic energy partnership
with the United States that brings tangible benefits to both sides.

In this respect, we are interested in involving the American partners into
the Eurasian Oil Transportation Project. This strategic corridor rests on
the idea of transporting Kazakh oil to Europe through the Odessa-Brody-Plock
pipeline. We look forward to collaboration with our US partners in a way
that brings the maximum results.

Several weeks ago, the Ukraine-Poland Working Group has been created which
will soon deliver a draft Agreement to be signed by two governments. This
document aims at sending a clear message to private investors about the
high-level support of the project.

We anticipate and hope that the American oil companies operating in the
Caspian region will become interested in the Odessa-Brody project.  In
addition, we invite the American companies to develop oil deposits on the
Black Sea shelf.

I am happy to announce that Ukraine is making solid progress on concluding
its first Production Sharing Agreement in the energy field with our partners
at Vanco.

This agreement will speak to the interests of both Ukrainian and American
partners, will be commercially successful and address Ukrainian and regional
energy security requirements.  It is my hope that this agreement becomes a
model that we can replicate and build on with other partners in the future.

I want to end my comments with thanking you and thanking the American

people for all the support you have given us during our early years of
independence.

You have shared your expertise, promoted our security and given generously
through programs run by USAID, the Department of Agriculture and other
agencies.

Your generosity and friendship are wise investments.  They are also most
appreciated, and on behalf of all of us I thank you very much.    -30-

————————————————————————————————
FOOTNOTE:  Our thanks to Walter Zaryckyj, Executive Director,
Center for US-Ukrainian Relations, Adj Associate Professor of Social
Sciences/New York University and UA Quest Roundtable Series Program
Coordinator for sending the AUR a copy of the presentation by Yuriy
Boiko, Minister of Fuel and Energy of Ukraine.   AUR EDITOR
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3. EXPORTS OF ELECTRICITY RISE, LARGE UNUSED CAPACITIES
    Power sector is the twelfth-largest in the world in terms of installed capacity.
 
Kateryna Illyashenko, Ukraine analyst, IntelliNews-Ukraine This Week
Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, November 27, 2006

The energy sector is of key importance for national economy, as electricity
is needed by both industrial and individual consumers.

A peculiar thing in the energy sector is that the technological equipment
and primary generators of electric energy are separated by significant
distance from the consumers. As a result, power generation, transmission

and distribution became separate industries.
Three types of generation facilities are present in the country, including
thermal power plants (steam turbine and diesel types), hydropower plants
(hydroelectric generating and hydroelectric accumulating plants) and nuclear
power plants. The role of wind and helium power plants is growing, but it is
still insignificant.

Ukraine’s power sector is the twelfth-largest in the world in terms of
installed capacity. As of end-2006 the energy sector had the following

parameters: the total capacity of all power plants exceeds 53mn kW,
including 34.8mn kW (65.3%) of thermal plants, 13.8mn kW (25.9%) of
nuclear plants and 4.7mn kW (8.8%) of hydroelectric plants.

   Domestic generation capacities almost fully satisfy local demand
The main areas of power plants location are Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhya,
Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk regions in the east, the Lviv and
Ivano-Frankivsk regions in the west, and the Kyiv and Vinnytsya regions in
the central part of the country. The major producers and consumers of power
are in Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhya, Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The electricity needs are mainly satisfied by domestic generation capacities
(nearly 98%), while the share of imports is insignificant (2%). Locally
produced electricity is largely consumed inside the country (97%), with a
small part exported (3%).

                  Generating capacity exceeds its electricity needs
Country has sufficient generating capacity to supply more than twice of its
electricity needs. However, the country’s transmission and distribution
systems are in need of investment and maintenance. As a result significant
amounts of electricity are lost in transmission. Also, several of the
country’s nuclear facilities are intermittently shut down throughout the
year due to technical problems.
  Country exports electricity to Moldova, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary
State-owned UkrInterEnergo exports Ukrainian electricity to other markets.
Ukraine signed a contract to supply 2.5bn kWh to Belarus during 2006 and
will receive USD 50mn revenues under this contract. The country also exports
electricity from the Burshtyn thermal power plant to Moldova, Slovakia,
Poland, and Hungary.

It started exporting electricity to Romania in Mar 2005. The Burshtyn power
plant and a part of Ukraine’s western energy system is connected to European
UCTE energy system since Jul 2002. EU officials met with Ukrainian energy
officials in Kiev in early 2006 to discuss plans to fully integrate the
country’s electricity grid into the UCTE by 2008.

In Jan-Oct 2006 the country boosted its exports of electricity by 13.6% y/y
to reach 8.272bn kWh. In October, the exports of electricity almost doubled
over last year and amounted to 929mn kWh. Notably, electricity exports to
Russia were resumed in November.
      State owned Energoatom operates four nuclear power plants

Currently there are four operating nuclear power plants, Zaporizhzhya, Rivne,
Khmelnytsky, South Ukrainian. In total they have 15 nuclear power units
operated by Energoatom.

On Dec 15, 2000, Ukraine permanently shut down the 925-MW, unit 3 of the
Chernobyl power plant, disabling the last remaining working reactor at the
ill-fated facility. Ukraine resumed construction of two 1-GW reactors at the
Khmelnitsky and Rivne power plants to replace the power generated by
Chernobyl, which officials say accounted for approximately 5% of the
country’s total.

In 2007 the country plans to attract UAH 3.5bn to invest into improvement

of energy sector. A part of these funds will be attracted from foreign
financial institutions.
         27 power distribution companies operate in the country
Donbasenergo, Dniproenergo, Kharkivenergo, Vinnytsyaenergo, Lvivenergo,
Odesaenergo and Crimeaenergo together with other regional companies they
make up the power grid of Ukraine, which is connected with power systems
of Western and Central European countries, as well as the CIS countries,
including Russia, Moldova and Belarus.

At the moment, 27  power distribution companies operate in the country.
There are 25 regional oblenergos (one in each region of Ukraine) as well as
two oblenergos serving Kyiv and Sevastopil cities. The main functions of
oblenergos distribution of electricity, supply of electricity at regulated
tariffs, and provision of related services to the customers.

Tariffs at which oblenergos distribute and supply electricity, are subject
to a regulation by the NERC (national energy committee). Oblenergos’ assets
comprise power transmission lines, transformer substations, electricity
consumption meters and systems and other equipment.

Oblenergos and so-called independent electricity suppliers supply
electricity in the country. They are obliged to supply electricity to all
the consumers located in the service territory specified in their license.
Independent suppliers hold the licenses for electricity supply at
non-regulated tariffs and can use oblenergos’ networks for distribution.

Most powerplants controlled by  state-owned Enerhetychna Companiya

Ukrayni State-owned Enegetychna Companiya Ukrayni controls most of
the country’s thermal and hydropower plants.

Enerhetychna Companiya Ukrayni owns 100% in the following companies:
Dunuzlavska Vitrova Elektrostation, Kryvorizka Teplocentral, Lysychanska
Teploelktrosentral, Sieverodentska Teploelektrosentral, Dniprodzherzhynska
Teploelektrosentral and Khersonska Teploelektrosentral. In other powerplants
the company has the controlling stakes.

Ukraine intends to cooperate with EU in development of its energy sector

Ukraine is a key link of hydrocarbon transit from Russia to Europe.
40% of European natural gas imports come through its gas transportation
system.

Today Ukraine-EU co-operation in energy sector is shaped by the Joint Action
Plan and the Memorandum of Understanding in Energy Sector. Joint Report
signed  November 18th confirms  progress made in bilateral relations.The
country plans to develop energy supply infrastructure including building up
new pipelines and terminals for liquefied gas.

It is also interested in support of our Odesa-Brody-Plock oil pipeline
extension project, as well as Ukraine’s integration into UCTE.     -30-
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4. UKRAINIAN GAS CO’S FEAR ROSUKRENERGO TAKEOVER 

Associated Press, Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, December 8, 2006

KIEV – RosUkrEnergo, the intermediary company that supplies Ukraine with

gas imports, is trying to seize control over Ukrainian regional gas companies,
officials from the regional companies warned Thursday.

The heads of six regional gas companies said that after their shareholders
refused to sell shares to RosUkrEnergo in October, law enforcement bodies
began harassing the businesses with constant checks, the Interfax news
agency reported, citing the regional heads of Zakarpatgaz, Volyngaz,
Lvivgaz, Ivano-Frankivskgaz, Chernovtsygas and Chernihivgas.

Lyubomyr Shershun, head of the advisory council of Zakarpatgaz, said that
the pressure appeared aimed at forcing a hostile takeover, Interfax
reported.  Spokesmen for the regional gas companies refused to comment.

Ukraine’s state gas monopoly, Naftogaz, later said the companies were facing
criminal investigations into the alleged misappropriation of 70 million
hryvna ($13.7 million), and called their allegations against RosUkrEnergo an
attempt to divert attention.

RosUkrEnergo, which has offices in Switzerland, also refused to comment,
saying its spokesman wasn’t immediately available due to a national holiday.

RosUkrEnergo, which supplies Ukraine with all of its gas imports, was
created in 2004 with the aim of acting as an intermediary between Russia’s
gas monopoly, OAO Gazprom (GSPBEX.RS), and Naftogaz; the company is
half-owned by Gazprom and two little-known Ukrainians.

Opposition politicians criticized Ukraine’s dependence on RosUkrEnergo,
calling it a murky company, and have called for Ukraine to negotiate a
direct deal with Russia.                              -30-

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========================================================
5.                           WTO MEMBERSHIP IN SIGHT
 
INFORM, Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc (BYUT) Newsletter, Issue 24,
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Last Wednesday, Ukraine overcame the final major hurdle in it efforts to
join the World Trade Organisation (WTO), when its parliament approved

the last bit of legislation required for membership.

The final piece in the legal jig-saw saw 363 out of 442 registered deputies
vote to pass a law that sets duties for scrap and semi-finished metal
exports. The legislation will see a reducing scale of duties during the next
6 years, from 30% in the first year of membership down to 15% by year-six.
The law will come into effect from January 1 in the year following Ukraine’s
accession to the WTO.

A bi-lateral agreement with WTO-member Kyrgyzstan is still needed but

even if talks fail it is expected that WTO officials will approve Ukraine’s
entry.  So following this year’s eleventh-hour scramble to pass legislation,
it now looks like Ukraine will join the exclusive club of 149-trading
nations as early as February, 2007.

Petro Poroshenko, head of the budget committee and staunch ally of President
Viktor Yushchenko said that he hoped “effective negotiations” by officials
would lead quickly to a WTO decision on membership.

Oleksandr Shlapak, the head of the presidential secretariat’s service for
social and economic development was pleased with the progress.  “I hope that
we will receive in February a specific invitation from the WTO,” he said.
Mr Shlapak revealed that a Ukrainian delegation was about to travel to
Geneva to ensure that everything was in order.

“This is excellent news,” said Hryhoriy Nemyria, BYUT deputy and Yulia
Tymoshenko’s top foreign affairs adviser, “As prime minister, Mrs Tymoshenko
passed the bulk of the complex legislation needed for accession.  Since then
we’ve maintained pressure on the government to push forward all necessary
legislation so that Ukraine can benefit from being a member of this vital
organisation whose rules govern over 90% of international trade.”

“We trust the issue of synchronising Ukraine’s membership with Russia is off
the table,” added Mr Nemyria.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov has repeatedly appealed to Ukraine to
coordinate the two membership bids. The parliamentary opposition has
campaigned that Ukraine’s membership should not be tied to that of any
country.

Notwithstanding calls rejecting synchronisation, an opinion piece in last
week’s Kyiv Post claimed that “evidence is piling up” to suggest that Prime
Minister Viktor Yanukovych may bow to Russian pressure to delay accession
and synchronise it with Russia.  It is speculated that in return Mr
Yanukovych might receive concessions such as reduced natural gas prices for
big businesses.

According to the Kyiv Post, “Yanukovych has, of course, denied this, but
government officials under him seem to find increasingly more technicalities
to blame for putting the WTO off. This is disturbing to say the least.”
  -30-
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6.   KYRGYZSTAN DEMANDS UKRAINE LIFT TAX ON ELECTRIC
                   LAMP IMPORTS AS WTO ACCESSION TERM

Kabar news agency, Bishkek, in Russian 0406 gmt 19 Dec 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

BISHKEK – Kyrgyzstan agrees to sign a bilateral protocol with Ukraine on
this country’s accession to the WTO. In exchange for this, Bishkek has
demanded the abolition of an anti-dumping tax on [Kyrgyz] electric lamp
imports.

Earlier, Kyrgyzstan demanded that Ukraine repay its former Soviet debt of
more than 27m dollars, and then put forward new demands calling on it to
fully abolish import taxes on a very long list of agricultural produce,
including sugar and meat products, the Ukrainian media have quoted Deputy
Economy Minister Valeriy Pyatnytskyy as saying.

The minister said that the Kyrgyz-Ukrainian protocol would be signed at a
meeting of the two country’s economy ministers in early January 2007.
[Passage omitted: The agency says Ukraine launched an anti-dumping

campaign against Kyrgyz lamp imports in 2002]

The Kyrgyz Mayli-Say electric bulb plant is the main supplier of electric
lamps to the Ukrainian market. The plant’s owner is Russia’s BABC
limited-liability company. [Passage omitted: Prime Minister Feliks Kulov
said in December 2006 that he would provide support to the plant if its
owner, the BABC, did not resell it to a different company]     -30-
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7. GRAIN EXPORT QUOTAS CAN PUT OBSTACLES IN PATH OF WTO

UkrAgroConsult, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

KYIV – The Ukrainian Minister of Economics has said it is quite possible
that the grain export quotas which were recommended could become obstacles
for Ukraine on the path of its proposed entry into the WTO.

This is going to be a problem if there is not enough evidence that such
measures were of an extreme necessity, and the Government had to take them
due to the harsh situation in the domestic provisional market the Minister
stated.                                               -30-  

————————————————————————————————-
FOOTNOTE: More and more questions are being raised in Washington
and European circles about whether the extremely low grain export quotas
imposed by the Yanukovych government meet WTO rules and regulations.
Many observers do not believe Ukraine will be allowed to enter the WTO 
unless the present grain export quota system is drastically modified.  
Business organizations are in contact with various governments urging them
to make sure Ukraine is not allowed to join the WTO until any grain export
quota system in place fully meets WTO rules and regulations. AUR EDITOR
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========================================================
8.                             PROMISES FORGOTTEN?
          Grain export quotas may have adverse consequences for Ukraine

By Vitalii Kniazhansky, The Day Weekly Digest #41
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ukraine’s prime minister said recently that grain export quotas may be
lifted after the Ministry of Agricultural Policy reports to the cabinet
about fulfilling the grain procurement plan for the country. Evidently the
ministry has still not completed this assignment.

In any case, Ukraine has finally set new grain export quotas. Until the end
of 2006 grain traders will be allowed to sell 1,106,000 tons of grain,
including 3,000 tons of wheat, 3,000 tons of rye, 600,000 tons of barley,
and 500,000 tons of corn.

In the same breath the government scrapped the previous quotas introduced by
a decree of Oct. 17, 2006, for a total of 1,603,000 tons of grain, including
400,000 tons of wheat, 600,000 tons of barley, 600,000 tons of corn, and
3,000 tons of rye.

According to an earlier statement by the Ministry of Agricultural Policy,
the new quotas disregard the previous ones unless the latter were utilized.
The government has also set up an eight-member commission headed by Serhii
Romaniuk, Deputy Minister of Economics, to review applications for grain
export licenses and to distribute quotas.

His deputy on the commission is Ivan Demchak, Deputy Minister of
Agricultural Policy. Other members are representatives of the Ministry of
Justice, Chief Control and Auditing Administration, State Customs Service,
Ministry of Finance, MP Serhii Ryzhuk, and Volodymyr Klymenko, president
of the Ukrainian Grain Association.

The same decree prescribes the order of licensing and quota distribution:
companies that exported grain during the past three years will receive 80
percent of the quotas, their size being proportional to the companies’
actual exports over this period as confirmed by a statement from the State
Customs Service.

The remaining 20 percent are proportionally distributed among the other
applicants based on the amount of grain declared for export. For companies
that have already obtained licenses, the new quotas will be reduced by the
volume of the previously received ones.

Within 15 days after the launch of the application procedure at the Ministry
of Economics’ Web site, the commission has to make a decision on quotas
and publish it on the same site.

It is noteworthy that the commission’s resolution has a recommendatory
character for the Ministry of Economics, which makes the final decision.
However, if the ministry chooses to ignore the commission’s opinion, it has
to present to the applicant a justification its refusal.

The exporters think quota volumes are deliberately understated. The
government’s decision has also drawn criticism from the president of Ukraine
and international financial organizations. A day before the decision was
adopted, the World Bank published its report on export grain quotas in
Ukraine.

Prepared in collaboration with the German Advisory Group to the Ukrainian
government, the report studies how quotas affect domestic prices for grain,
consumer rights protection, revenue from exports, and investments in the
grain sector.

The World Bank contends that quotas are ineffective in protecting the
Ukrainian consumer from surges in world grain prices. They lead to
significant drops in grain export revenue and are especially vulnerable to
corruption, which will have an adverse impact on Ukraine’s investment
attractiveness.

According to the World Bank, the introduction of quotas is unjustified
because the domestic supply fully meets all domestic needs and is sufficient
for much higher export volumes than those estimated by the government.

This year’s grain production has greatly exceeded the average in the last 10
years. Furthermore, large initial reserves are stimulating efficient grain
supply in 2006-07.

Experts at the World Bank believe quotas will not bring great benefits to
Ukrainian food consumers. Even though wheat prices remain stable, prices
for flour and bread have actually increased since the introduction of
quotas.

In practice the wheat price is only one part of the final price for bread.
At the same time, forage prices, according to experts’ forecast, will not
affect prices for meat and dairy products.

The report also emphasizes that the quota system entails great losses for
grain producers and significantly affects export revenue.

By the end of 2006 total losses in grain export revenue will reach $300
million, whereas the expected $25 reduction in producer prices may lead to
hundreds of millions of dollars in cumulative losses. The proportion of
low-income workers employed in the agricultural sector exceeds the average
figure for Ukraine.

This leads the World Bank to conclude that a reduction in grain producers’
revenue may actually raise the poverty line, rather than lower it.

The bank’s experts believe that management of the quota system lacks
transparency, which leaves room for corruption. Companies that are now able
to meet the export quota can make $25 on each ton, which is the amount the
producer loses.

Possible additional losses are connected with existing incentives for
smuggling grain out of the country. The adverse effect of the quota system
on grain producers and traders, as well as the risk of corruption, diminish
Ukraine’s investment image.

“Our recommendation is to cancel the quota system as soon as possible,” said
Paul Bermingham, World Country Director for Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova.
“Even though these market interventions were implemented with the good
intention of guaranteeing food safety and protecting domestic consumers from
increases in world grain prices, they will misfire.

In contrast to this, we would recommend using alternative measures,
including money transfers to underprivileged citizens, which would protect
the low-income population from food price increases.”           -30-
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LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/174437/
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9.    FINNISH AMBASSADOR FORECASTS UKRAINE’S ENTERING
       WORLD  TRADE ORGANIZATION (WTO) IN FEBRUARY 2007

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

KYIV – The Finnish Ambassador in Ukraine, Laura Reinila, is forecasting
Ukraine’s entering the World Trade Organization in February 2007. She
announced this at a press conference.

In her words, the European Union, now chaired by Finland, noted Ukraine last
week completed adopting laws necessary for entering the WTO.  “Your
government kept its promises and it is a good news for further development
of the Ukraine-EU relations,” said Reinila.

She stressed Ukraine’s entering the WTO depends on forthcoming meetings
between representatives of Ukraine and the WTO and Ukraine may formally
access this organization next February.

“Evidently, this happens very soon and it means for the European Union that
we will be able to start negotiations with Ukraine (on creating free trade
zone) and the EU is pleasantly surprised that it happened this quick,” said
Reinila.

As Ukrainian News has reported, up to now the Verkhovna Rada adopted

all the laws required for entering the WTO.                  -30-
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10. UKRAINE: PARLIAMENT EXTENDS MORATORIUM ON FARMLAND
                       SALES, ONCE AGAIN, TO JANUARY 1, 2008

Interfax Ukraine Business Express, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, December 19, 2006

KYIV – The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, has passed a bill

extending the ban on the sale of farmland until January 1, 2008.

A total of 354 MPs out of 436 registered for the vote supported the bill
amending the Land Code of Ukraine, including 180 MPs of the Regions Party,
109 from the BYT faction, eight from the Our Ukraine faction, and 30 and 21
MPs from the Socialist and Communist parties respectively.

Until January 1, 2008, the bill bans land property rights from being
included in the statutory funds of economic entities. The bill also bans the
purchase and sale of state-owned farmland and farmland under communal
ownership, except when it must be purchased for public needs.

The bill also bans until January 1, 2008, the purchase and sale or any
possible alienation of farmland owned by Ukrainian citizens or legal
entities other than through the transfer of farmland as inheritance or the
legal exchange of one farmland plot for another.          -30-
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11.        CARPATHIAN MOUNTAINS GET PROTECTION
              Six countries pledge to protect and develop the Carpathians

The Day Weekly Digest, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Last week Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Hungary, and the
Czech Republic signed the Carpathian Declaration.

“The Carpathian Convention establishes the fundamental principles for
international cooperation on the protection and sustainable development of
mountainous areas in general and the Carpathian mountains in particular,”
said Minister of the Environment Vasyl Dzharty at a press conference after
the two-day meeting of the parties to the Carpathian Convention ended in
Kyiv on Dec. 13.

“We will formulate mechanisms for utilizing all possible resources in the
framework of the Carpathian Convention,” the Ukrainian minister said and
added that the document also makes provisions for working groups in Ukraine,
Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic at the
environmental ministry level, which will develop concrete projects aimed at
resolving the problems of the Carpathian region.

According to Interfax-Ukraine, the document also specifies sources for
financing future projects. “As of today we have agreed that each
participating country will contribute financially towards existing
mechanisms that involve specialists from the countries in the Carpathian

region,” said the Ukrainian minister.

Answering a journalist’s question about possible ways to resolve the
problems of Zakarpattia oblast, one of Ukraine’s poorest regions, Dzharty
said that the Framework Convention proposes new environmentally-sound
production facilities for this region.

The minister also said that Ukraine will be drawing on the experience of its
neighbors to create a modern infrastructure and additional jobs in
mountainous areas. Dzharty voiced his support for alternative types of
businesses “that can be created specifically in the Carpathian region.”

“If it is a forest, there must only be a sanitary zone there…If we are
talking about natural resources, there should not be any mining there at
all,” the minister added.

Participating in the work of the conference on the Carpathian Convention
were the delegations of the seven Carpathian countries as well as
delegations from Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Bulgaria,
Macedonia, Greece, the UK, Germany, Georgia, and Switzerland.

There were also representatives of the Alps Convention, UN Environment
Program, environmental NGOs, and Ukrainian and international movements
concerned with environmental problems and nature conservation.

A total of 150 participants attended the conference, during which procedural
rules and financial procedures for the Carpathian Convention were adopted,
and two final documents were signed: the Memorandum of Understanding
between the Carpathian and Alps Conventions, and the Carpathian Declaration.
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LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/174433/
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12.   OVER 48 MILLION USD RAISED BY THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
                     OF THE FUTURE ALL-UKRAINIAN TELETHON
                 Program of the Ukraine 3000 International Charitable Fund

Ukraine 3000 International Charitable Fund
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #799, Article 12
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, December 20, 2006

KYIV – Over 48 million dollars (242,954,000 hryvnias, UAH) was raised for
the new Children’s Hospital of the Future to be built in Kyiv during a
unique four-hour All-Ukrainian Telethon hosted by the National Television
Company of Ukraine on Sunday, December 17, 2006.

The telethon was broadcast by most of the national Ukrainian TV channels,
such as ICTV, Tonis, 24, K1, Fifth Channel, and NTN television channels.
Ukrayina Television and Radio Company, New Channel, TET, and 1+1
carried portions of the Telethon.

The telethon presented information to the public about the project to build
a new modern, world-class Children’s Hospital of the Future. Many well-
known medical experts, politicians, government leaders, civil activists,
athletes, and artists participated in the telethon.

The Ukrainian artists who voiced their support and performed on the
broadcast included the National Radio Company of Ukraine’s State
Symphony Orchestra, INSO Orchestra, Mariya Burmaka, Taras Chubay,
Nina Matviyenko, Hanna Koropnychenko, Taras Petrynenko, Tetiana
Horobets, Olha Bohomolets, Okean Elzy, Mandry, Druha rika, Haydamaky,
Krykhitka Tsakhes, Tartak, Esthetic Education, VV, Ray horodok groups.

The telethon included live broadcasts from six of Ukraine’s oblast centers
and featured discussions on the Children’s Hospital of the Future charitable
project with representatives from the cities of Uzhhorod, Donetsk,
Dnipropetrovsk, Lviv, Odesa, and Mykolayiv.

A summary of a major promotional tour held in Ukraine’s 24 oblast centers,
from September 29 through December 15, 2006 was also presented.

SUPPORTED BY UKRAINE’S MOBILE TELEPHONE COMPANIES
The Children’s Hospital of the Future project has been supported by all
Ukraine’s mobile telephone companies. Starting in October subscribers of
UMC, KyivStar, Golden Telecom, Life:), and Beeline mobile telephone
companies could make  donations by sending an SMS or by dialing 353.
Subscribers could transfer UAH 5 ($1) to the Children’s Hospital of the
Future account through this program.

From October 1 to December 16, 2006, 300,000 USD (1.5 million hryvnias)
was donated by Ukrainians towards the creation and construction of the
Children’s Hospital of the Future using the 353 telephone number.

During the four-hour telethon, another 180,000 USA (UAH 900,000) was
transferred to the Children’s Hospital of the Future account through this
number. By the end of the telethon, the total of $480,000 (UAH 2,400,000)
had been collected through SMS and calls to the 353 mobile number.

                      LARGE DONORS PARTICIPATED
During the telethon, philanthropists and businesses had an opportunity to
make public their participation in the creation and construction of the
Children’s Hospital of the Future. The following organizations and
individuals pledged their financial support for the project’s
implementation:

     Industrial Alliance of the Donbas Corporation – UAH 75,750,000
     (15 million USD);
     Development of Ukraine Charitable Fund – UAH 64,640,000
     (12,8 million USD);
     Interpipe Corporation – UAH 50,500,000 (10 million USD);
     Finance and Credit Bank, AvtoKrAZ Company, and Arterium
     Pharmaceuticals – UAH 10,100,000 (2 million USD);
     Anonymous Donor – UAH 15,150,000 (3 million USD);
     Borys Kolesnikov – UAH 7,575,000 (1,5 million USD);
     Anonymous Donor – UAH 5,050,000 (1 million USD);
     Transbank Joint Stock Commercial Bank – UAH 5,050,000
     (1 million USD);
     James Temerty – 5,050,000 (1 million USD);
     Donetskstal-Metalurh Corporation – UAH 750,000 (148 000 USD).

       MRS. KATERYNA YUSHCHENKO, THE FIRST LADY
Mrs. Kateryna Yushchenko, Head of the Supervisory Board of the Ukraine
3000 International Charitable Fund and First Lady of Ukraine, participated
in the Children’s Hospital of the Future Telethon.

Mrs. Yushchenko thanked all the television channels who supported this
action and who took part in the Children’s Hospital of the Future project.
“This is an unprecedented action uniting the whole country,” she said.

“I know there are many outstanding  medical specialists in our country who
have to work under difficult conditions, using outdated equipment. We have
to create decent conditions for their work,” Mrs. Yushchenko said.

Mrs. Yushchenko emphasized that the creation of the Children’s Hospital
of the Future was planned as a nationwide action. “The amount of each
donation doesn’t matter. Some will send five hryvnias through an SMS,
others will donate thousands and millions. But we have to do this together,”
she said.

Kateryna Yushchenko highlighted that treatment at the Children’s Hospital
of the Future will be free of charge.

“As an old adage goes, it is easier to light a small candle than keep
cursing the dark for the rest of your life. Today we are to light this
candle,” Mrs. Yushchenko said.

The Children’s Hospital of the Future All-Ukrainian Telethon’s was
directed by Taras Hrymaliuk.

Information about donations for Children’s Hospital of the Future will be
soon published on the Children’s Hospital of the Future web site,
www.likarnya.org.ua (information is available in Ukrainian and Russian).

Information about the implementation of the project can also be found on
the Ukraine 3000 Fund web site, www.ukraine3000.org.ua (information is
available in Ukrainian, Russian and English
(http://www.ukraine3000.org.ua/eng/news.html.)             -30-
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13.                        HURRY TO DO GOOD DEEDS
           Fund-raising for children’s hospital became nation-wide action

Olha POKOTYLO, The Day Weekly Digest #41
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

This year St. Nicholas will not forget about children denied parental care:
cuddly toys, copybooks, sweets, and Christmas cards have been prepared by
senior graders and college students in Lviv.

Nor has St. Nicholas forgot to visit Ukrainian children who have to spend
the holiday in hospital beds. Sweets and toys are not the only way to
gladden Ukrainian children’s hearts.

All Ukrainians are collecting money to help ailing children on Ukraine 3000
International Benevolent Foundation’s initiative.

The foundation of the All-Ukraine Mother and Child’s Health Center
“Children’s Hospital of the Future” was laid in Kyiv this spring, on the
premises of the Feofania Hospital.

In the fall Ukraine 3000, under Kateryna Yushchenko’s patronage, organized
an all-Ukraine promotional tour of the regional centers of Ukraine. For 75
days the construction project of the country’s largest hospital was
presented in the regions and money collected for its construction.

During that period over 240 million hryvnias were contributed to the
benevolent foundation (the project’s budget requires 600 million). The bulk
of the sum was transferred to the hospital’s bank account within four hours
of a fund-raising marathon broadcast live by 11 Ukrainian channels.

Some two million hryvnias was received through SMS messages (every citizen
can do so by dialing 353). Several Ukrainian charitable organizations have
donated the largest amount to date, including over 12 million dollars from
the Development of Ukraine charitable foundation, some 10 million from the
Viktor Pinchuk Foundations and Industrial Union of the Donbas.

The Hospital of the Future will have several wards for children afflicted
with pathologies that are still incurable in Ukraine.

It will have 250 beds, equipment, and personnel for marrow transplants from
unrelated donors, several types of plastic surgeries, reconstructive
orthopedics, operations on great and peripheral vessels, perinatal
diagnosing, and so on.

Ukraine 3000 feels confident that ailing children will receive quality and
modern medical help and that their parents will not have to pay anything for
the treatment.

This will be guaranteed by the hospital’s charitable fund and an insurance
medicine program that will have been introduced all over the country by the
time.

What has made Ukrainians join efforts in supporting this charitable project?

The First Lady, Chairperson of Ukraine 3000’s Supervisory Board Kateryna
Yushchenko said during the televised marathon that this project has united
the entire country: “I know that there are many top-notch physicians in our
country who have to work in difficult conditions and with obsolete
equipment. Therefore, we must provide adequate conditions for their work.”

Mrs. Yushchenko also stressed that the construction of the children’s
hospital must become a nationwide project: “No matter how much people will
donate (some will be able to afford only five hryvnias through SMS, others
will part with thousands and millions), the important thing is that we will
do this together.”

The main issue for those taking part in the project is to use the money thus
raised for the stated purpose. Ukraine 3000 is sure that this money will be
used the right way.

“All members of the hospital’s board of trustees will be able to monitor the
distribution of funds,” says Natalia Butenko, deputy head of the
foundation’s press service. “All who contribute considerable sums to the

charitable fund are invited to become members of the board of trustees.

This fund will also partially provide for the payroll of physicians who will
treat children with grave diseases. By the way, even now Ukrainian
physicians from various regions are undergoing on-the-job training abroad,
so they will be able to start working as soon as the hospitable opens.”

Financing of the hospital will be done in two ways: from the central budget
and through charitable contributions to the special hospital’s fund.

In addition, the organizers envisage accommodation and treatment of children
from abroad; their treatment will cost less than anywhere in Eastern Europe
and this money will be added to the hospital’s fund.

The organizers of the Hospital of the Future project expect to complete its
construction in 2009. Meanwhile Ukrainians have to remain active to help
carry out this project, for it still needs more than 300 million hryvnias. -30-
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LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/173194/
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14.  GLAXOSMITHKLINE (GSK) SUPPLIES UKRAINE WITH 800,000

    DOSES OF MMR VACCINE FOR MEASLES, MUMPS AND RUBELLA
          Vaccines were packaged locally into Ukrainian language outer boxes

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Kyiv/Lviv, Monday, 18 December 2006

KYIV/LVIV – GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), one of the world’s leading research-

based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, today announced that it has
supplied 800,000 doses of the MMR vaccine to the Ukrainian Ministry of
Health for 2007.

All children in Ukraine will be immunised with the combination vaccine
against measles, mumps and rubella in two doses at the age of 12 months and
6 years.

Measles, mumps and rubella are severe childhood diseases, highly infectious
diseases and their complications are responsible for considerable morbidity
and mortality throughout the world. GSK has supplied MMR vaccines in

Ukraine since 2003 through the distribution company “TRY”.

A two-dose strategy using an MMR vaccine is now widely accepted in most
developed countries and, where successfully implemented, has led to dramatic
reductions in the incidence of measles, mumps and rubella.

The announcement of the supply was made at the Ukrainian Pharmaceutical
plant TRY where the vaccines were packaged into Ukrainian language outer
boxes. This was the first partially localised production that GSK has
carried out in Ukraine, with the last stage of packaging.

“We are delighted that all children in Ukraine will be protected against
measles, mumps and rubella, all serious and highly infectious diseases.

GSK is the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world and we are pleased to
continue the supply our modern combination vaccines to Ukraine. It is a
pleasure for us to carry out our first packaging project here in Ukraine”,
commented David Pritchard, GSK Area Manager.

“It is a great pleasure for us to provide our manufacturing services to GSK.
This is the first project of repackaging and we hope to continue this in the
future”, said Yevhen Shiyanenko, General Director of the TRY plant.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) aims to eliminate indigenous measles
transmission by the year 2007 in the European region and to half the number
of measles deaths by 2005 worldwide (compared to the situation in 1999).

Global eradication is planned by 2010. In Europe the targets have been set
to bring mumps under control by reducing the incidence to 1 per 100,000
population by the year 2010.
                                              MEASLES
The measles virus causes an illness that ranks as one of the leading causes
of childhood deaths worldwide. In 1995 the World Health Organisation (WHO)
estimated that measles accounted for 1 million deaths. Measles can cause
significant, often fatal complications including pneumonia, diarrhoea and
encephalitis.

In developing countries the disease occurs against a backdrop of
malnutrition, other infections and poor healthcare. In such circumstances if
the disease does not kill, it leaves sufferers deaf and/or blind.
                                               MUMPS
In developed countries mumps now occurs most often in adolescents and

adults rather than children – in this older group its effects and sequelae can be
devastating and even fatal. The complications of mumps include orchitis,
mastitis, meningitis, encephalitis and arthropathy.

In the pre-vaccine era, mumps was the leading cause of viral meningitis. The
frequency of encephalitis increases with age and is the main cause of death
in adults affected by mumps.
                                             RUBELLS
While sometimes causing an illness so mild in children that it is not even
recognised, rubella infection in adolescents and adults can cause
significant complications, such as arthropathy, central nervous system
disorders and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).

CRS is caused by rubella infection in early pregnancy and results in
miscarriages, stillbirths or multiple birth defects. As with mumps, in the
developed countries rubella now occurs most often in adolescents and

adults, thus increasing the risk of CRS.

These childhood diseases are still widespread in many parts of both the
developed and developing world. Even in countries where virus transmission
has been interrupted, there is a constant threat from imported disease.
These diseases can, however, be prevented.
                                           ABOUT GSK
GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical
and healthcare companies, is committed to improving the quality of human
life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. The company
employs more than 100,000 people worldwide.

GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, the world’s leading vaccine manufacturer is
located in Rixensart (Belgium).  It is the centre of all GlaxoSmithKline’s
activities in the field of vaccine research, development and production.

GSK Biologicals employs over 4000 employees in Belgium (approximately 6200
worldwide), of whom 1600 scientists who are devoted to discovering new
vaccines and developing more cost-effective and convenient combination
products to prevent infections that cause serious medical problems
worldwide.

In 2005, GSK Bio distributed more than 1,25 billion doses of vaccines to 165
countries in both the developed and the developing world – an average of 3
million doses a day.

Of those vaccine doses, approximately 159 million were doses of combination
pediatric vaccines, which protect the world’s children against a minimum of
three – and as many as six – diseases in one vaccine.

GSK has been operating in Ukraine for over a decade and currently has over
140 employees nationwide.                            -30-
————————————————————————————————-
For more details please contact: Andriy Hunder, Area External Affairs
and Communications Manager, Developing Markets EurAsia (Ukraine,
Central Asia & Caucasus), GlaxoSmithKline, andriy.i.hunder@gsk.com
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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15.                           ESCAPING FROM EMPIRE
                  Postscript to 15th anniversary of referendum affirming
                            Act proclaiming Ukraine’s independence

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Yurii SCHERBAK
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine and
Director, Center for Global and Regional Studies, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy
The Day Weekly Digest #41, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Dec 19, 2006

On Dec. 1, 2006, Ukraine marked an important date in its modern history: the
15 th anniversary of the national referendum that convincingly affirmed the
Ukrainians’ will to live in an independent state and the election of
Ukraine’s first president Leonid Kravchuk.

It would be a great exaggeration to say that Ukraine marked this event. Our
country practically did not celebrate this date, except for a few
perfunctory notes in the newspapers and some brief reports on television.

People were more interested in the new rental and utility fees and the power
struggle that has erupted between the blue-white-red coalition and the
Orange people than in an event of worldwide historical importance that
finally brought down the Soviet empire.

Of course, it is much pleasanter to mark Aug. 24: that’s a public holiday,
the weather is nice, there’s lots of entertainment, like parades and
pageants. You can knock back a beer on Independence Square, listen to

pop music, and see some fireworks – a real celebration, is it not?

Meanwhile, Dec. 1 is a far more significant date, and the national
leadership as well as “small Ukrainians” should have a much more reverent
attitude to it.

Unfortunately, Ukrainians, who are in the state of a cold civil war,
dreaming of an alchemical formula called the “national idea” and stuck in
the mire of everyday problems, apathy, mistrust, and disillusion, are
beginning to forget about the exalted lesson of national unity that the Dec.
1, 1991, referendum taught us.
1. WHAT DID UKRAINIANS VOTE FOR?
That day all divisions and all the political, geographic, religious, ethnic
and linguistic barriers that had existed in Soviet Ukraine, for decades
insistently imposed by the communist regime, were pushed aside.

It was a true peaceful mass revolution, the free expression of a people’s
will without any financial or administrative leverage applied. The Maidan of
2004 was a logical, if somewhat less unanimous, continuation of the 1991
referendum.

Eight months later the people, who as recently as March 1991 had supported
Anatolii Lukianov’s Jesuitical formula of living in an “updated Union,”
turned against a regime that was in the throes of agony and a system that
was disintegrating with unpredictable consequences for Soviet citizens and
the rest of the world.

It was an escape from empire, an attempt at national salvation on everyone’
part without exception: Soviet Ukrainian citizens, irrespective of their
ethnic origins or party affiliation.

I think what mattered here was not just sober reasoning but also
subconscious impulses, such as genetic memory of the red empire’s bloody
crimes, the fear of nuclear and non- nuclear conflicts, and the desire to
wait out the historical storm in one’s own home, not in the outlandish
structure constructed by utopian fanatics, which extended from Afghanistan
to Finland.

When I was working in the US, I asked many people, including a Harvard
professor – a Sovietologist – a former defense secretary, a well- known
Washington journalist, a former ambassador to the USSR, and influential
members of the US Congress and administration whether they had ever

thought the Soviet Union might collapse and Ukraine gain independence.

No, they had not. They did not take this into account in their plans and
forecasts.

In his famous and thought-provoking book “The Rise and Fall of the Great
Powers,” published four years before the collapse of the USSR, Paul Kennedy
analyzed world history from 1500 to 2000 and came to the completely
erroneous conclusion that a bipolar world divided between the two
superpowers, the US and the USSR, would survive for an indefinite period of
time.

Moreover, no one could foresee Ukraine’s role in this geopolitical drama.
Both Western theoretical analysts and local communist practitioners looked
upon Ukraine as a totally tamed, weak-willed, and “reeducated” province of
the empire, only capable of setting records in the production of grain,
sugar beets, meat, and coal.

What is more, a number of progressive intellectuals in Moscow considered
Ukraine “more Soviet” and “reactionary and orthodox” than the imperial
center or its Baltic environs.

So much for the West or Moscow! I know dozens of outstanding figures of the
Ukrainian Renaissance, who had passionate dreams of national independence
but at the same time did not believe that history’s verdict of the Soviet
Union’s viability would be carried out so unexpectedly quickly, in our
lifetime, on Aug. 24, 1991, and confirmed on Dec. 1 as one that is not
subject to appeal.

Each person who voted “yes” in the referendum had his own, deeply personal,
reasons for doing so – ranging from ideological hatred of communism to a
utopian desire to see Kyiv at the head of a new Slavic empire that would
resemble Kyivan Rus’. But these historical and philosophical motives were
alien to the vast majority of those who came to the polling stations.

About 70 percent of those who voted for independence believed that when
Ukraine, with its rich resources and superior economic and human potential,
formed an independent state ruled by their “own” freedom-loving Kyiv, not by
imperial Moscow, it would quickly, if not instantaneously and almost
automatically, turn into a prosperous state and fill the ranks of Europe’s
advanced democracies.

This dream, phantasmagoria, utopia, and all-pervading illusion became, in
spite of its naivete, a purely Ukrainian national idea. Those who are now
seeking new intricate formulas tend to forget what 92 percent of the
Ukrainian electorate voted for: independence, well-being, democracy,
justice, and European choice.

And whatever the remaining Bolsheviks and heirs of Stalin may say, taunting
these naive Ukrainians (“Look at what your independence has brought us!”)
who believed in their dream, we, Ukrainian democrats, are convinced that the
people were not mistaken or deceived by the basic instinct for freedom.

Neither the sufferings of the millions of poverty- stricken Ukrainians in
the first years after the proclamation of independence, nor the collapse of
an ineffective and absurd centralized economy and semi-feudal collective
farming, nor energy problems, could kill the Ukrainian dream: on the
contrary, they made it even more pressing and indispensable.
2. DREAMS AND REALITY
The trouble is how the ruling elite has used the people’s mandate to
implement the Ukrainian dream.

For 15 years Ukraine has been running away from the empire, feeling the
hoarse breathing of its prisoner-convoy German shepherds and watching with
trepidation the hell that the empire’s Praetorian Guard is raising ever more
aggressively and openly in the political circuses and on the streets and
squares of Ukrainian cities.

The empire is now acting in a new guise of Eurasian oil and gas, where the
red star has an autocratic eagle, an Orthodox cross, and a Gazprom shut
valve inscribed in it.

But the organizational principles of the imperial space remain the same: a
single white tsar, omnipotent secret services, a single state-run radio and
television that can air pornographic programs but eschews free debate, and a
single imperial language that drives local “dialects” underground.

For 15 years a shameful act has been taking place before our eyes: the
government’s imitation of care for the people – a government that
deliberately robs people of fair wages, i.e., a considerable part of the
gross national product that belongs to them, a government that deliberately
hinders fair competition, stifles small and medium businesses, and carefully
raises and cherishes a clan of oligarchs, who transship the nation’s
hard-earned wealth offshore, thus strengthening foreign economies.

Look attentively at the past 15 years, and you will feel yourselves
witnesses of Ukraine’s centuries-old history, that sad national story in
which exalted spirit and sacrificial heroism fight against and most often
lose to a loutish bunch of venal bosses, atamans, and large and small
hetmans bent on grabbing a luscious morsel from the people’s table.

If you recall the political actors of the past 15 years, you will understand
why Kyivan Rus’ disintegrated, why Bohdan Khmelnytsky’s Cossack state did
not materialize, and why the Ukrainian National Republic ceased to exist.

Just remember the personal relationships among Mykhailo Hrushevsky,
Volodymyr Vynnychenko, and Symon Petliura, or the vaudeville-style entourage
of Pavlo Skoropadsky. What an immortal algorithm of self-depreciation and
vanity is instilled in our history and its characters!

The only reason why the gloomy predictions of the CIA and Moscow analysts
concerning the inevitable demise of the independent Ukrainian state (one,
two, or five years after the proclamation) did not come true was that the
Ukrainian people proved to have a very strong and flexible inner structure,
and they showed great reluctance to be part of the empire again.

A nation that has never liked or trusted any bosses, either the old
communist or the new pseudo- democratic ones, has preserved a powerful
potential for self-preservation: no matter how bad the Ukrainian government
may be, it is not as dangerous as the far-away, repressive, cold, and
merciless imperialist government that despises those khokhly with their
fatback and fertile soil.

Even the most kindhearted nation does not forgive scorn and contempt.
Casting their ballot papers, voters remembered very clearly who had
organized the Holodomor, the Siberian prison camps, nuclear saber-rattling,
and the occupation of other “friendly” countries.

As long as this genetic memory survives, Ukraine will never voluntarily
return to the empire.
3. REMINISCENCES AND COMPARISONS
The referendum anniversary was nevertheless marked: Ukraine House extolled
the first president of Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk, on Dec. 1, 2006. In the
audience were people who are truly aware of what Kravchuk did for Ukrainian
history.

Among the speakers were his comrades-in-arms, former prime ministers Vitold
Fokin and Yevhen Marchuk, and former members of parliament and ministers,
diplomats, and public figures.

But for some reason Kravchuk did not receive any greetings from the second
and third presidents of Ukraine. They must have forgotten. I wish they had
not because, in comparison with those who came to power after him, Leonid
Kravchuk will always remain a true democrat, a wise, tolerant, cautious, and
far-seeing politician – a genuine Ukrainian patriot.

He was the first to hear the subterranean roaring of the earthquake that was
brewing in the bowels of the USSR and which could destroy his people. The
Belovezhskaia pushcha agreement was the pinnacle of his life because Russia
alone, in the person of Boris Yeltsin, could not have – and what is more –
would not have wanted to destroy the rotten imperial building.

Fifteen years ago Kravchuk executed a true feat: he risked his own life,
raising his fist against the seemingly indestructible foundation of an
empire.

Accordingly, he incurred the deep hatred of his recent communist friends,
those who had lived by the laws of a criminal gang that never forgives the
one who has embarked on the path of truth.

Kravchuk’s next feat was his decision to call early elections without
resorting to the administrative resource during the election campaign,
renounce any dubious strong-arm tactics, and democratically transfer power
to Leonid Kuchma.

I remember how Kuchma’s entourage was baffled in 1995 when visiting US
President Bill Clinton asked them to arrange a brief meeting with Kravchuk:
he wanted to shake hands with the person who for the first (and perhaps the
last) time in the history of the CIS voluntarily transferred power to his
democratically elected successor.

After coming to power, Kuchma’s team immediately started showing signs of
the typically Soviet syndrome: to destroy the predecessor (morally, if not
physically).

At first accusing Kravchuk of every sin, Kuchma later saw that he was beset
by the same problems; that he, like the first president, was in the grip of
the same objective circumstances – so he changed wrath into grace.

Neither could Viktor Yushchenko and his “dear friends” escape this syndrome
of looking for enemies in the ranks of his predecessors. These weeds are
running riot today, as Viktor Yanukovych’s team bulldozes representatives of
the “alien” team out of its way.

The Democrat Clinton was not afraid to appoint Republican Senator William
Cohen as US defense secretary. Meanwhile, today’s Ukrainian politicians
uphold the opposite principle: discord, revenge, and a search for “public
enemies,” who must be made short work of and humiliated in every conceivable
way.

Can you imagine a minister of foreign affairs (the No. 2 or 3 man in the
governmental hierarchy of Western countries), still officially in office,
being stopped – in a rude, boorish, and tough-guy manner – from attending a
cabinet session? Can you believe that these people want to go to Europe? Who
will let them in?

The principle of the total political elimination of predecessors, now
sinking its roots in Ukraine, is setting a very dangerous precedent and is
extremely harmful to a state that suffers from an acute shortage of skilled
personnel.

The referendum’s 15th anniversary was also the subject of the international
roundtable debate “Moving Forward, Looking Back,” which was organized by the
embassies of Canada and Poland as well as the Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine:
it was the referendum that opened the doors of the international community
to Ukraine.

The participants of the roundtable recalled that Poland and Canada were the
first to give diplomatic recognition to independent Ukraine – on the second
day after the referendum and a few hours later, respectively. As a witness
and participant of those events, I can say that these first acts of
international recognition were of paramount importance to Ukraine.

It is difficult to overestimate the significance of these gestures: Poland
and Canada – in 1991 and today – are doing their utmost to lead us out of
the imperial space and help us join global processes.

Yevhen Marchuk, the former prime minister and defense minister of Ukraine,
delivered a brilliant and bitter speech at the conference, focusing on the
lessons of the past.

Asked why the Soviet Union, a mighty empire that had a powerful ruling party
and a strong repressive apparatus, collapsed, Marchuk said that the national
idea had come to the fore and suppressed proletarian internationalism.

In Marchuk’s view, Kravchuk, an experienced statesman, did a very wise thing
by refusing to follow in the wake of radicals, both leftists and rightists.

Kravchuk’s principle of “walking in between raindrops” worked far more
effectively in extreme conditions than any abrupt, provocative gestures.
Neither the communist fundamentalists nor the national radicals stood any
chance of state-building success in the conditions that emerged in 1991-92.

The 15 th anniversary of the referendum provokes deep reflections on the
role and destiny of Ukraine in the world as well as on the system within the
state.

The people who breathed the air of freedom in the 2004 Orange Revolution and
who have again fallen, like in 1991, under a spell of their own illusions
and hopes, will never forgive the “Orange ones” and their chief Maidan
showmen for their betrayal.

They will long remember that these politicians defiled their most exalted
dreams and hopes for justice.

The public is aware that political impotence, absence of strong governmental
willpower, and the petty struggle for power and money rather than for
Ukraine led the Orange team to open up a Pandora’s Box with their own hands
when they ignominiously lost to the “blue- white-reds” because of the
helplessness and inefficiency of the Maidan leaders.

Ukraine has again been swept by a murky wave of counterrevolution
brandishing the slogan of all-out revenge and witch hunting. They are trying
again to impose old imperial myths and an inferiority complex on society.

Back in fashion is provincial kowtowing to the Kremlin, where the winners
regularly go for reports and instructions, like their predecessors used to
visit the Communist Party’s Central Committee and the Council of Ministers
to obtain funds and coordinate ministerial appointments.

In the air hangs the pre-storm atmosphere of a creeping coup d’etat,
slippage toward authoritarianism, a radical change of domestic and foreign
policy, and departure from democratic gains.

Like all temporary and uncertain political upstarts, the “winners” are
trying to persuade society that they have come to power for a long time, if
not forever.

Following the example of Brezhnev-style Kremlin leaders, they are restoring
to power the most odious and compromised figures in order to create the
illusion of stability and their irreversible domination.

Why on earth do they need this? In democratic countries, ruling parties
mercilessly discard any compromised politicians and immediately replace them
with new, “clean” ones. For what matters most is the image of a party, not
the destiny of an individual son of a bitch.

In the 16th year after the referendum we must proclaim loudly: Ukraine is in
danger!

And the sooner the mechanism of parliamentary coalition changes implemented
by the authors of the constitutional amendments starts to work, the better
it will be for the country: this will reduce administrative pressure on the
real economy, which, as experience shows, has learned to work quite well
without governmental injunctions.

This will make the successors – those who will replace the Orange and the
White-Blue – more cautious in their words and actions.

Ukraine must have not a primitive, provincial copy of the imperial model but
a system of dynamic equilibrium that will take into account the interests of
this country’s different parts rather than of one clan enraged out a common
predatory reflex.

In his book Five Years of the Ukrainian Tragedy (1999) Marchuk wrote that a
certain category of high-ranking officials is provided with total impunity.
This kind of person becomes “one of us” and is easy to manipulate and
control. The author noted that this “controllability” is typical of the
underworld.

When the government is stupidly confident of its impunity, this may be fatal
for the state and society. The sooner it departs the scene, the better it
will be for Ukraine.
4. PRELIMINARY CONCLUSIONS
So are those 15 years since 1991 lost years? Are the hopes of all those who
voted for independence dashed?

No, we are different now. Ukraine and the world have changed beyond
recognition. What was once played as part of a worldwide bloody tragedy (the
history of Ukraine as part of an empire) today resembles a tragicomic farce
performed by provincial actors.

Indeed, Ukraine became an independent state, and it has managed to run quite
far away from the empire:

[1] For the first time in its centuries-long history, Ukraine has a powerful
mechanism for protecting its national interests as a state, a subject of
international law, recognized by the world community. The only problem lies
in the reasonable application of state levers;

[2] For the first time Ukraine has begun to identify its own national and
geopolitical goals instead of having to passively accept imposed
participation in the imperial games of “southwestern area” rulers;

[3] For the first time there is not only a theoretical but also a practical
opportunity to form the Ukrainian political nation in a consistent and
state-oriented way.

As Viacheslav Lypynsky once said, “Only in a separate Ukrainian state can
the Little Russian tribe be turned into the Ukrainian nation…We want a
Ukrainian State that embraces all the classes, languages, and tribes of the
Ukrainian Land;”

[4] For the first time conditions were created to form a Ukrainian political
elite that espouses the idea of statehood and Europeanness. Even today there
is a powerful state-minded intellectual potential in the person of
highly-educated young people, true Ukrainians who should be actively invited
into the government.

For the first time in hundreds of years people in Ukraine are not being
imprisoned or punished for loving their fatherland, for having an
independent opinion, or for devotion to European values – and very soon the
numbers of such individuals are going to grow into a new quality.

People may tell me that far from everything mentioned above has been
realized in Ukraine.

This is true, but we still have managed to do quite a lot in these 15 years.
Just look at old photographs and TV recordings and try to recall how we were
back in 1991 when we were isolated – in terms of borders, transportation,
information, etc. – from Europe.

Try to imagine the streets and cafes of our cities, the interiors of our
apartments, and, above all, our idea of ourselves and the world that existed
15 years ago, and you will see how far we have come since then.

Our main discovery is that we have understood that over these years the
authorities have been, with certain exceptions, worse, intellectually
poorer, and less moral than the people.

It is the authorities that slowed down our development and our movement
towards prosperity. The authorities have broken all kinds of records in a
wide-scale pilfering of the nation’s property, not in fair rule or economic
progress.

On Dec. 1, 1991, the people also voted for Purification. The Maidan gave a
new impulse to this mighty, irreversible process.

No matter who may slow down this process for some time, Purification is
looming and with it, Ukraine’s final liberation from the somber ghosts of
the empire.                                           -30-
———————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/174432/
———————————————————————————————–
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
16. RUSSIAN STATE RUN TV ACCUSES UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES
        OF NEGLECT AND INCOMPETENCE REGARDING CRIMEA

BBC Monitoring research in English 19 Dec 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Russia’s state-run Rossiya TV channel has chastised the Ukrainian government
in a series of four special reports which portrayed the Crimean peninsula as
“a land in decay”.

Broadcast over the period 27-30 November, the reports accused the Ukrainian
authorities of neglect and incompetence as correspondent Dmitriy surveyed a
number of controversial issues which he believed to be crucial to Crimea’s
welfare and stability.

The peninsula’s ethnic Tatars and “new Ukrainians” were among the other
targets for criticism in the reports, each of which lasted more than five
minutes and featured in that day’s main primetime news bulletin.
[1] LAND GRABS
In the first of his reports, Kaystro examined efforts by members of various
ethnic groups to seize plots of land across Crimea and settle there.

“Land grabs became a Crimean reality 10 years ago,” he reported. “To start
with, there were isolated instances, but once it had turned into a mass
phenomenon, it was already too late.”

Kaystro’s report painted a picture of a peninsula riven by disputes over
land rights. Foremost among the ethnic groups involved are the Crimean
Tatars.

They were deported en masse to Central Asia and Siberia in 1944, and the few
hundred Kaystro said had returned since then “are now demanding land not
only for themselves but also each member of their family”.

His report also featured clips of remarks made by various parties to the
dispute, including an imam and the leader of a local pressure group opposed
to further Tatar settlement of the peninsula.

Brief mention was made of attempts by ethnic Russians to compete for land in
Crimea. However, Kaystro paid greater attention to suggestions that the
radical Islamist group Hezb-e Tahrir has seized land as part of a wider
expansion of its activities on the peninsula.

“Its plans include seizing the peninsula’s main roads and bays,” Kaystro
said. “It’s no surprise whatsoever that they’re trying to seize them… it
would be an excellent platform for an amphibious assault.”

The report left little doubt over who Kaystro felt was to blame for the
rising tide of land grabs, or his assessment of the extent of the problem.
“Two Crimeas, two realities – the one you find in glossy travel guides, and
this one,” he observed.

“While local authorities are weak and often corrupt, while the authorities
in Kiev remain completely unwilling to change anything, the peninsula is
simply being pilfered piece by piece. And while Crimea was once known as a
powder keg, now it’s seen as a land in decay.”
[2] HOLIDAY HOMES
Kaystro’s second report looked at holiday homes and other properties built
by rich Ukrainians in areas of historical significance and natural beauty in
Crimea. Presenter Mariya Sittel’s introduction set the tone.

“Of course, Crimea is de jure an autonomous region within Ukraine. But de
facto the peninsula is inextricably linked to Russian history and culture,”
she remarked. “Protected areas are disappearing from the face of the Crimean
land, and the earth itself is vanishing beneath piles of construction waste
and bulldozers.”

“New Ukrainians” were the main target of Kaystro’s report as he accused them
of following “an infectious Crimean fashion” by hiring developers to build
their properties in the middle of nature reserves.

In the most glaring example of this trend, Kaystro said the site of a former
concentration camp used to house Jews during the Second World War had been
fenced off and a penthouse had been built “right on their bones”.

The Ukrainian authorities also came in for criticism. Kaystro gently mocked
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko’s permanent representative in Crimea,
Hennadiy Moskal, who was shown voicing indignation at the construction
projects.

The correspondent undermined Moskal’s remarks by suggesting the envoy had
spoken “as if he has nothing to do with any of this”. Moskal’s claim to know
who was responsible for all the holiday homes was also met with something
approaching ridicule.

“Both he and other senior officials say they know who did this,” Kaystro
said. “They are almost mythical officials on the take, although without
surnames or titles, over whom no authority can be exerted.”

Kaystro concluded his report by appealing to his viewers’ sense of
nostalgia. “What is happening on the peninsula is being described as the
start of a funeral for old Crimea, which all of us, regardless of national
borders, would appear to have lost,” he mused. “Judging by the pace being
set by these adventurous people from the authorities and from business, soon
there will be nothing left of Crimea to carve up.”
[3] SEVASTOPOL
Ethnic Russians living in Sevastopol, home of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, were
portrayed as a people “under siege” in the third of Kaystro’s reports.

The correspondent used the threatened closure of Trans-M, Crimea’s most
popular Russian-language radio station, as an opportunity to explore other
possible examples of alleged discrimination against ethnic Russians living
in the city and elsewhere in the peninsula.

“They’re trying to force the peninsula to talk and listen only to
Ukrainian,” said the presenter introducing the report. “Far worse, Russian
residents of Sevastopol are being threatened with physical violence.”

Clips of interviews used by Kaystro in his report reinforced the perception
that ethnic Russians were being mistreated and disenfranchised.

They included Trans-M listeners protesting against the “excesses”
perpetrated in the name of the Ukrainian language, complaints from the
chairman of Trans-M’s board of founders, claims by a leader of the ethnic
Russian community in Sevastopol that the Ukrainian authorities have launched
a concerted campaign to make the city more Ukrainian, and a local councillor
railing against suggestions that some monuments dating back to the Tsarist
period should be removed.

None of the clips featured any opposing view or any defence of Ukrainian
policy, whether at federal or local level.

Kaystro concluded his report on Sevastopol by reviving an image used in his
previous report on the construction of holiday homes in Crimea. He conjured
up the emotive picture of houses being built “by the so-called local elite”
on the bones of dead men, in this case Soviet soldiers killed during the
Second World War.

“Not just thousands but tens of thousands died here,” he said. “Their
remains were simply churned up by bulldozers, in order to build these
cheerful houses and lattice-work fences.”
[4] MUSEUMS IN DISREPAIR
The final report in the four-part series accused the Ukrainian authorities
of neglecting Crimea’s cultural heritage.

It focused on the plight of a number of tourist attractions that have fallen
into disrepair, including a museum dedicated to Russian playwright Anton
Chekhov and the historic Livadiya Palace in Yalta.

Kaystro revisited two themes he had touched upon in his earlier dispatches.
Rich Ukrainians, he suggested, were damaging the island’s heritage by buying
up properties of historical significance.

“First they temporarily occupy estates once owned by the old Russian
nobility, then they skilfully establish ownership over them – and this time
forever.”

He also implied that the Ukrainian authorities, including President Viktor
Yushchenko himself, were lending their backing to the Crimean Tatars as a
bulwark against other ethnic and cultural influences in the peninsula,
including ethnic Russians, Bulgarians, Greeks and Armenians.

The report’s concluding remarks confirmed the overall tenor of Kaystro’s
reporting on Crimea. He looked back over all four of his dispatches and
warned of external forces intent on disrupting the peninsula’s delicate
cultural and political balance.

“It seems that the political grandmasters in Kiev and other important global
centres really do need an unstable Crimea, affected by corruption, ethnic
issues, land sales and a dying culture,” he reflected. “It’s an ideal place
for political anglers waiting for a major catch by the Black Sea.”
———————————————————————————————–

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
17.   DOCUMENTARY FILM PROJECT “LIFE IN THE DEAD ZONE”
 About the elderly survivors currently living in the Chornobyl exclusion zone

Irene Zabytko, Producer, Writer
Life In The Dead Zone: A Writer Visits Chernobyl
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #799, Article 17
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dear Friends,

This is a brief hello and to let you know that we are currently in the midst
of producing LIFE IN THE DEAD ZONE, a documentary about the elderly
survivors currently living in the Chornobyl exclusion zone.

The documentary is based on my novel, The Sky Unwashed, and will feature

the real life people who returned to live in their irradiated villages within
the “dead zone” area surrounding the nuclear power plant that exploded on
April 26, 1986.

Peter Mychalcewycz, the director, and myself will travel to the “dead zone”
near Chornobyl and to one of those evacuated Ukrainian villages to film the
people who are still inhabiting their homes despite the radiation. We will
witness how they are living their lives in the most contaminated place on
the planet.

In addition, our film will also be including dramatic reenactments taken
from my book. When you scroll down, you’ll see the Synopsis for our film
which explains our project in more detail.

Once we get on the road to Chornobyl, I will share the adventures and
progress via my new blog which will be posted on our website (currently
under construction).

The hard part is getting on that road. We are soliciting funds for this film
project which will be in four categories:

[1] Our first goal for LIFE IN THE DEAD ZONE will be traveling to Kyiv and
Chornobyl for a research trip (for location shots, meeting the people who
will interviewed, going through the archival footage to use in our film
etc.). We have received some donations including a State of Florida Artists

Grant, but we are still a long way from reaching our financial target of $9,000+.
[2] Our second goal is to begin formal shooting in Chornobyl hopefully in
spring, 2007.
[3] The third goal is to travel to Canada and shoot the dramatic
reenactments taken directly from my novel and segue these scenes with the
non-fiction ones of the actual Chornobyl inhabitants.
[4] Our last goals will be post-production (film-editing) and distribution.

                 HELP US GET ON THE ROAD TO CHORNOBYL!!
Movies, even low-budget documentaries are expensive. Besides travel and
accommodations (and these are not at all luxurious!), film production costs
tend to run high.

Camera, lighting and sound equipment, personnel, post-production costs,
insurance (imperative–otherwise we can’t shoot anywhere) and many other
related costs are all a necessary part of the budget before, during and
after shooting.

We are continuously fundraising and generous contributors including the
State of Florida “Artist’s Enhancement Grant” (for a pre-production research
travel trip to Kyiv) are flowing in. But we are only at the beginning…

Will you help us get us on the road to Chornobyl? Will you help us bring the
stories of the real life survivors of one of the worst environmental
disasters in the world?

The Chornobyl disaster still devastates and impacts not only the villagers
who returned, but our entire planet. By watching their lives unfold on film,
we will see not only their survival and strength and spirit, but also how
such horrific catastrophes must be avoided.

Film is the best way to remind the world that we cannot allow another
Chornobyl to ever occur again, and we believe that Life in the Dead Zone
will educate, enlighten and impact millions of viewers in movie theaters and
in classrooms throughout the world.

All donations are welcome and with your help, we will get this important
project underway and completed.

We are a non-profit 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization and your donations will
be tax-deductible with the added benefit that our thanks to you will be
eternal and you will receive good karma, blessings, and the knowledge that
you are participating in a landmark and important film project. Plus, we’ll
put your name on the film credits!

Please make out your checks to: THE UKRAINIAN ARTISTIC CENTER
2657 W. Iowa Street, First Floor, Chicago, IL 60622-4755
Please earmark it as: “CHORNOBYL FILM”

THANK YOU!! DIAKUYU!!!

If you need more information, have questions, concerns, ideas and of course
cheering on, drop me an e-mail.

Meanwhile, all very best wishes for the holidays and beyond.
Peace out and within,

Irene Zabytko, Producer, Writer
LIFE IN THE DEAD ZONE

P.S. If you have made a contribution, THANK YOU again! If you pledged but
haven’t done the deed yet, could you take a moment and send on your donation
while it’s on your mind? Much appreciated!
————————————————————————————————–
                 SYNOPSIS OF THE FILM DOCUMENTARY
       “LIFE IN THE DEAD ZONE: A Writer Visits Chornobyl”
By Irene Zabytko

In 2000, I published a novel called The Sky Unwashed (Algonquin Books of
Chapel Hill) which is about a group of elderly women who returned to their
deserted and highly contaminated village in the “dead zone,” the areas
surrounding the Chornobyl (Ukrainian transliteration of “Chernobyl”) nuclear
power plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident.

Those surrounding, mostly rural areas were highly irradiated after the core
of reactor number four exploded on April 26, 1986 at 1:23 a.m. causing
fires, a nuclear meltdown, and sending out a radioactive cloud that
blanketed Ukraine, Belarus, Scandinavia and Western Europe.

The official Soviet death toll was 31 people; however it is assumed that the
more truthful toll is around 25,000. The Ukrainian Health Ministry now
estimates that 2.4 million Ukrainians suffer various health problems from
exposure that is most probably linked to this disaster.

My novel is based on a newspaper article that I came across in the August 5,
1990 issue of “The Ukrainian Weekly” a few years after the explosion.

The article documented and featured how several elderly people chose to
return to Opachichi, a village near Chornobyl, to reclaim and live in their
ancestral abandoned homes despite a government ban of anyone living in the
“dead zone” the 30 kilometer radius surrounding Chornobyl which is made up
of several abandoned villages.

Since the article’s publication in 1990, more elderly have since returned
and are still living there on their pensions despite the fact that Chornobyl
is among the most radioactive area on the planet-the fallout damage being
roughly the equivalent of 400 Hiroshima nuclear bombs (The Guardian, April
26, 2006).

In 1992, a year after Ukraine declared its independence from the Soviet
Union, I was teaching English in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capitol, and situated about
60 miles from Chornobyl. All of my students were affected since someone they
knew exhibited unusual illnesses such as lymphoma, thyroid disorders, and
birth defects.

Many of the people I came to know in my daily life there were also touched
by this catastrophe–from my host family (who were nuclear physicists,
ironically enough, and who tried to warn people in Kyiv about the
catastrophe), to the old babusi i.e., the old women in the open air bazaars
I witnessed who sold their prized mushrooms and flowers without openly
admitting that they were once residents from Chornobyl and insisted that
their merchandise was “clean.”

I was eager to visit Opachichi in particular and to see for myself if there
were any inhabitants and survivors since I was writing my novel at the time.
Some of my students offered to help, and we rented a cab.

The driver was reluctant to take us to the dead zone unless we paid him a
substantial bribe. I gave him my Swatch-watch, and we almost made it to the
zone’s interior before a policeman stopped us and told us to leave “before
we got cancer.”

Soon after, I returned home to the States where I completed my novel, The
Sky Unwashed which features the elderly Chornobyl survivors returning to a
fictional village modeled after Opachichi.

Like the real life survivors, my characters were determined to return to
their homes because they had no where else to go, and they desired to die on
their land despite the contamination.

On February 17, 2005, on the National Public Radio program, “Morning
Edition,” the reporter Lawrence Sheets visited Opachichi and discovered that
many people continued living there 14 years after the accident (as was
foreshadowed in my novel). Over the years, I have also read several press
accounts about these people nicknamed samosels, who had returned to their
homes.

According to Volodymyr Kholosha, Ukraine’s Vice Minister of Emergencies in
his address on April 28, 2006 at the United Nations commemorative assembly
marking the 20th anniversary of Chornobyl, three million people were
affected, ten per cent of Ukraine’s land was irradiated, and 164,000 people
were relocated following the accident (The Ukrainian Weekly, May 7, 3006).

In this documentary, I will–at last–visit the elderly in their homes
preferably in the village of Opachichi which is a small community of these
survivors.

My purpose is to meet with two, or at the most three households, and film
their daily lives, to hear their stories of what happened to them during and
after the nuclear reactor exploded at Chornobyl hear why they chose to
return, and to see how they are surviving.

I am especially interested to learn about their health concerns, how they
get their supplies, what do they do to stave off boredom, what food do they
consume and where does it come from, how are they connected to the outside
world (is there electricity at least for a television or radio), what
rituals do they celebrate, what chores or jobs do they do all day, what
community-related activities do they have?

Interspersed with the documentary footage, dramatic reenactments from my
novel The Sky Unwashed will be featured that parallels the lives of the real
inhabitants. Throughout, I will provide personal narratives comparing my
book to the real life people of Opachichi.

In my novel my fictional characters do not fare well. I want to see whether
the real life people do.                                    -30-
———————————————————————————————–
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AUR#799 Dec 20 Impact Of Gas Price Increase On The Economy Of Ukraine In 2007; WTO Accession; Farmland Sales Stopped; Children’s Hospital Telethon

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

                      Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
         Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World       

 
                 IMPACT OF GAS PRICE INCREASE ON THE
                            ECONOMY OF UKRAINE IN 2007

                                                   [Article One]
                        
ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 799
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor, SigmaBleyzer
WASHINGTON, D.C., WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2006 

              –——-  INDEX OF ARTICLES  ——–
            Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
   Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article

1.                  IMPACT OF GAS PRICE INCREASE ON THE
                               ECONOMY OF UKRAINE IN 2007
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: Edilberto L. Segura, Olga Pogaska
SigmaBleyzer, The Bleyzer Foundation, Kyiv, Ukraine
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #799, Article 1
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, December 20, 2006

2.                              UKRAINE’S ENERGY FUTURE
REMARKS: By Yuriy Boiko, Minister of Fuel and Energy of Ukraine,
At the Ukrainian Business Forum at the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC
During the official visit of Prime Minister V. F. Yanukovich
New York, New York, Wednesday, December 6, 2006
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #799, Article 2
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, December 20, 2006

3. EXPORTS OF ELECTRICITY RISE, LARGE UNUSED CAPACITIES

         Energy sector important part for country’s economic development
Kateryna Illyashenko, Ukraine analyst, IntelliNews-Ukraine This Week
Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, November 27, 2006

4.     UKRAINIAN GAS CO’S FEAR ROSUKRENERGO TAKEOVER 
Associated Press (AP), Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, December 8, 2006

5.                                WTO MEMBERSHIP IN SIGHT

INFORM, Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc (BYUT) Newsletter, Issue 24,
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 19 December 2006

6.    KYRGYZSTAN DEMANDS UKRAINE LIFT TAX ON ELECTRIC
                   LAMP IMPORTS AS WTO ACCESSION TERM
Kabar news agency, Bishkek, in Russian 0406 gmt 19 Dec 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

7GRAIN EXPORT QUOTAS CAN PUT OBSTACLES IN PATH OF WTO
UkrAgroConsult, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

8.                                 PROMISES FORGOTTEN?
         Grain export quotas may have adverse consequences for Ukraine
By Vitalii Kniazhansky, The Day Weekly Digest #41
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

9.     FINNISH AMBASSADOR FORECASTS UKRAINE’S ENTERING
        WORLD  TRADE ORGANIZATION (WTO) IN FEBRUARY 2007
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

10UKRAINE: PARLIAMENT EXTENDS MORATORIUM ON FARMLAND
                       SALES, ONCE AGAIN, TO JANUARY 1, 2008
Interfax Ukraine Business Express, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, December 19, 2006

11.               CARPATHIAN MOUNTAINS GET PROTECTION
               Six countries pledge to protect and develop the Carpathians
The Day Weekly Digest, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

12OVER 48 MILLION USD RAISED BY THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
                    OF THE FUTURE ALL-UKRAINIAN TELETHON
               Program of the Ukraine 3000 International Charitable Fund
Ukraine 3000 International Charitable Fund
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #799, Article 12
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, December 20, 2006

13.                               HURRY TO DO GOOD DEEDS
             Fund-raising for children’s hospital became nation-wide action
Olha POKOTYLO, The Day Weekly Digest #41
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

14GLAXOSMITHKLINE (GSK) SUPPLIES UKRAINE WITH 800,000

  DOSES OF MMR VACCINE FOR MEASLES, MUMPS AND RUBELLA
         Vaccines were packaged locally into Ukrainian language outer boxes
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Kyiv/Lviv, Monday, 18 December 2006

15.                               ESCAPING FROM EMPIRE
                 Postscript to 15th anniversary of referendum affirming
                           Act proclaiming Ukraine’s independence
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Yurii SCHERBAK
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine and
Director, Center for Global and Regional Studies, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy
The Day Weekly Digest #41, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Dec 19, 2006

16RUSSIAN STATE RUN TV ACCUSES UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES
          OF NEGLECT AND INCOMPETENCE REGARDING CRIMEA
BBC Monitoring research in English 19 Dec 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

17.    DOCUMENTARY FILM PROJECT “LIFE IN THE DEAD ZONE”
   About the elderly survivors currently living in the Chornobyl exclusion zone
Irene Zabytko, Producer, Writer
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #799, Article 17
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, December 20, 2006
========================================================
1
              IMPACT OF GAS PRICE INCREASE ON THE
                            ECONOMY OF UKRAINE IN 2007

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: Edilberto L. Segura, Olga Pogaska
SigmaBleyzer, The Bleyzer Foundation, Kyiv, Ukraine
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #799, Article 1
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, December 20, 2006

                                             SUMMARY
The expected increase at the beginning of 2007 of the imported gas price to
$130 per 1000 m3 will have a significant impact on the Ukrainian economy.
Nevertheless, the economy should be able to perform reasonably well during
the year.

However, in order to sustain economic growth over the longer-run, the
government should enhance structural economic reforms to encourage
investments, including in energy-saving technologies.

     [1] The negative impact of the gas price increases in real GDP growth
in 2007 is estimated at 1.5-2 percentage points. Despite this, GDP growth is
expected to grow by 5-6% yoy in 2007.

     [2] Year-end inflation in 2007 will depend on the government policy
response and budget performance; however, we believe inflation will be at
about 10%, almost 3 percentage points higher than projected by the
government for the 2007 fiscal budget.

     [3] The foreign trade balance will continue to deteriorate, driving the
current account deficit to about 2.5% of GDP in 2007. We expect the deficit
to be covered by robust FDI inflow and extensive borrowing from abroad.

     [4] Despite expected sufficient inflow of foreign currency to Ukraine,
currency depreciation pressures may emerge. The exchange rate may be
allowed to slightly depreciate to 5.1-5.2 UAH/$.

     [5] Although the draft 2007 budget law envisaged the increase of
natural gas prices, additional pressures to the successful execution of the
fiscal budget may emerge. Nevertheless, we believe that the government has
enough tools to keep the fiscal budget deficit at the projected 2.5% of GDP
in 2007.

     [6] In view of anticipated further increases in the cost of imported
energy resources, in order to reach sustainable economic growth in the
long-run, the economy has to boost investments, including into energy-
saving technologies.

        AGREED TERMS OF GAS IMPORTS IN 2006-2007
At the beginning of 2006, Ukraine and Russia agreed on a new 5-year
agreement, according to which:

     [1] Ukraine obtained 34 billion of natural gas of mixed origin
(primarily Turkmenistan) at $95 per 1000 m3 at the Russia-    Ukrainian
border. Though the price was set for the first half of the year, it was
later prolonged for the whole year, despite the increase in the price of
Turkmen gas at the Russian border from $65 per 1000 m3 to $100 per
1000 m3 as of October 1st 2006.

     [2] The transit fee for Russian natural gas through the territory of
Ukraine was increased from $1.09 per 1000 m3 per 100 km in 2005 to
$1.6 per 1000 m3 per 100 km and fixed until 2011.

     [3] The company RosUkrEnergo (RUE) was defined as the unique importer
of natural gas coming from the Russian Federation, though it did not mean
that the imported gas was solely of Russian origin. Indeed, the majority of
gas obtained by RUE was from Central Asia (mostly Turkmenistan).

     [4] To sell imported natural gas to Ukrainian users, a joint venture
UkrGazEnergo (with a parity ownership between RUE and Naftogaz Ukrainy)
was established a few weeks after the agreement was signed.

Since Ukraine’s total demand for natural gas was estimated at 76 billion m3
in 2006 and its own production amounted to about 20 billion m3, Ukraine
needed to import 56 billion m3 in 2006.

In addition to the 34 billion m3 from RUE, Ukraine planned to receive an
additional 22 billion m3 of Turkmen gas in 2006 under a separate contract. (1)

However, these plans were not realized as Turkmenistan stopped gas delivery
to Ukraine, substantiating this decision by Ukraine’s indebtedness for
imported gas in previous periods.

To compensate for the deficit, Ukraine negotiated larger amounts of gas
imports from Russia. We assume that these amounts were delivered to
Ukraine by RUE at $95 per 1000 m3.

Since Ukraine was paying only 38% of the international price for natural
gas, in mid- 2006 it became clear that the price of $95 per 1000 m3 Ukraine
would be raised in the future.

On October 24th, Ukraine and Russia agreed that in 2007 RUE will deliver
no less than 55 billion m3 of natural gas (of Central Asian origin) and up
to 62 billion m3, at a price of $130 per 1000 m3.

The price is set for the entire year.  Although this price represented an
increase of 37% over the 2006 price, it is still only about 47% of
international prices.

At the same time, the transit fee was left unchanged. Since the gas
agreement contains a provision that Ukraine has no right to re-export gas
received from RUE, it is very likely that only the minimum amount of gas
will be delivered to Ukraine in 2007 (i.e., 55-57 billion m3).

Considering that the Ukrainian economy is highly energy-intensive and thus
vulnerable to gas price changes, and that the recent increase will be the
second gas price shock in two years, the analysis below estimates the
impact of these two arrangements on the Ukrainian economy.

                                IMPACT ON GDP GROWTH
In order to estimate the impact of the increase in the price of imported gas
on GDP, we used the model presented in the SigmaBleyzer/The Bleyzer
Foundation paper issued in January 2006 entitled “Ukraine – Impact of Gas
Price Increase.” [Published by the Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #656,
Article 1, February 9, 2006] [Link to January 2006 impact of gas price
increase paper: http://www.sigmableyzer.com/files/Gas_Crisis-Eng.pdf]

On this basis, we estimate that the direct impact of higher gas prices on
GDP growth in 2007 will be a reduction of 1.5-2.0 percentage points relative
to the baseline forecast of GDP growth. (2)

In addition to 2007’s gas price shock, the Ukrainian economy will continue
to feel the effect of the gas price increase of 2006. Furthermore, there
will be indirect impacts on GDP through other channels.

In particular, the rise in imported gas prices in 2006 and 2007 would have
depressive effects on private consumption, as they leave consumers with
fewer resources to spend on other goods and services.

In addition, some energy-intensive industries, like chemicals and
metallurgy, may be severely hit with the new gas price shock. In 2006, many
of these industries adjusted to the new gas prices through gas substitution
with other types of fossil fuels and reductions in their profit margins.

Furthermore, strong real sector performance during May-October 2006 was
related to a favorable external environment for Ukraine’s major
export-oriented industries (like metallurgy (3), chemicals, machinery and
equipment) and to record high consumption growth related to banking credit
expansion.

Though the metallurgy industry may be capable of absorbing the 2007 price
shock reasonably well, the effect of higher gas prices on the chemical
industry may be more damaging.

This is because in the chemical industries, energy represents a larger share
of production costs. The average share of energy cost in non-fertilizer
chemical production is up to 50% and approaches 70% in fertilizer
production.

In 2006, the chemical industry absorbed the gas price increase through a
moderate reduction of profitability, which was possible due to strong
domestic and external demand. For January-October 2006, the industry
reported a 3.5% yoy increase in its output.

However, the second significant increase in natural gas prices in two years
may place many enterprises in the chemical industry below their
profitability levels.

On the other hand, the impact of the gas price increase for this industry
may be lessened by the government as it has already announced plans to
introduce price caps on natural gas supplied to chemical plants.

This notwithstanding, the gas price increase may contribute to a further
reduction of exports in Ukraine. The chemical industry accounts for about
10% of Ukraine’s total merchandise exports in 2006.

Although private consumption in 2007 will remain high due to a series of
recurrent income increases (minimum wages, pensions, etc.), its rate of
growth will be more modest in 2007.

Lower consumption growth and more moderate export growth in 2007 will
have a “multiplicative” impact on national income (GDP), since the decline
in aggregate demand represents exemptions into the circular flow of income,
which affect further rounds of consumption spending.

On a positive note, a compensating factor is that the gas price increases in
2006-2007 and the awareness that the cost of energy will continue to grow in
the future will stimulate investments, including into energy conservation
technologies.

In addition, the Ukrainian economy may benefit from government policies and
reforms that would improve Ukraine’s business environment, thus enhancing
investment activity and increasing total factor productivity.

Furthermore, the likely accession to the WTO in the first half of 2007 may
also have a positive effect on economic development in Ukraine.

Taking into account direct and indirect effects of a gas price increase on
the economy, the negative impact on the growth rate of real GDP is
estimated to be within 1.5-2 percentage points.

The actual growth rate will crucially depend on the external environment
(particularly, the development of steel prices on international markets) and
the ability of Ukraine to implement economic reforms. Currently, we project
GDP growth to reach 5-6% yoy in 2007.

        FOREIGN TRADE AND THE CURRENT ACCOUNT
As in 2006, the most significant effect of gas price increases will be felt
by export-oriented industries such as chemicals and metallurgy, which
together account for more than 50% of Ukraine’s total export.

The crucial element for export performance in these industries is
development of world metal and chemical prices. Despite growing world
steel production, the global demand for steel has also been rising.

At the same time, the supply of raw materials for metallurgical industries,
particularly iron ore, has also been growing though at much slower pace.
The shortage of raw materials may be the primary reason for upward
pressures on world steel prices in 2006.

Although likely increases in iron ore supply may reduce the price of raw
materials, they may still remain at a relatively high level in 2007, thus
not allowing for a sharp decline in steel prices.

Most likely, Chinese and European steel prices, the main destinations of
Ukraine’s steel exports, will show only a moderate decline in 2007. The
extent of government support for the chemical industry will depend on the
international price of Ukraine’s chemicals and commitments under the WTO.

It is likely that some chemical and metal enterprises may turn unprofitable
in 2007, thus reducing the volume of Ukraine’s goods export.

On the import side, the increase in the cost of imported energy resources
will cause further deterioration of the merchandise trade deficit. Unlike in
2006, it will not be compensated for by a larger surplus in foreign trade of
services as the transit fee will remain unchanged.

Also considering the limited opportunities for Ukrainian natural gas
exports, the direct negative impact on the current account balance is
estimated at about 1.8% of GDP. Coupled with the impact on export-oriented
industries, the full year current account deficit may reach 2.5% of GDP.

                         CONSOLIDATED FISCAL BUDGET
The 2007 budget, currently approved in the first reading by the Verkhovna
Rada, forecasts a deficit of about 2.5% of GDP.  In the preparation of the
budget, the increase in gas prices for 2007 was already envisaged. However,
the successful execution of the budget plan may be a challenging task for a
number of reasons.

[1] First, budget revenues may turn out to be overestimated taking into
account the rather optimistic forecast by the government of real GDP growth
in 2007.

[2] Second, budget revenues may fall short of the targeted amount due to
resumption of free economic zones and territories of priority development.

[3] Third, higher gas prices, though expected to be passed on to consumers,
will increase expenditures on low-income assistance programs. Combined with
the government plans to support the most effected industries, the budget
deficit may reach 3% of GDP.

At the same time, we believe the government has enough tools to control
other expenditures and keep the budget deficit at a projected 2.5% if GDP.

                                           INFLATION
The imported gas price increase in 2006 became a catalyst for adjustment
of all utility tariffs to cost-recovery levels (some of the utility tariffs
had not been revised for more than 6 years).

As a result, consumer price index growth will exceed the government
projection of 10% yoy in 2006, and may reach 11%-12%. We expect that

the gas price increase will be passed on to consumers in 2007, though
some relief will be granted to low-income households. (4)

Though natural gas per se holds a rather small share in the consumer

basket (5), the increase in imported gas will pressure utility tariffs,
transportation costs and producer prices. The latter, in turn, will spill
over into consumer prices with some lag.

In addition, due to the absence of a clear privatization plan for 2007 (the
government plans to receive about $2 billion of privatization receipts,
representing two thirds of deficit financing in 2007) on the back of
considerable social expenditures in the budget (6), the likely fiscal budget
deficits may cause inflation pressures.

Taking this into account and assuming that the process of service tariffs
adjustment to cost-covering levels will continue in 2007, we believe the
government forecast of 7.5% yoy inflation in 2007 is very optimistic. We
expect inflation to be around 10% yoy in 2007.

                                     EXCHANGE RATE
During 2006, the hryvnia exchange rate against the US dollar was maintained
stable at 5.05 UAH/$, despite current account pressures at the beginning of
the year.

The deterioration of foreign trade performance was compensated for by
surpluses in transfers and financial accounts (due to the robust inflow of
FDI estimated at about $3.6 billion for the first nine months of 2006 and
active private sector borrowing from abroad). This allowed the NBU to
further replenish its reserves, which are expected to reach $20 billion at
the end of the year.

 In 2007, exchange rate dynamics will be affected by a further worsening of
the foreign trade balance, which will lead to a current account deficit of
about 3% of GDP.

However, we believe the inflow of foreign capital (either in the form of FDI
or borrowings) will be enough to cover the current account deficit. At the
same time, we anticipate that some depreciation pressures may occur
throughout the year, during which the exchange rate may be allowed to
depreciate slightly to 5.1-5.15 UAH/$.                       -30-
———————————————————————————————–
                                          FOOTNOTES:
(1) According to the agreement, the price of imported Turkmen gas at the
Russian border would have been $50 per 1000 m3 in the first half of the year
and $60 per 1000 m3 in the second. Even including transit fee payments, the
price of Turkmen gas at the Ukrainian border would have been lower than
under the contract with RUE.
(2) The main assumptions and calculations necessary to estimate the impact
of a gas price increase on GDP were the following:
a)  56 billion m3 of natural gas will be delivered to Ukraine in 2007.
b)  In 2006, Ukraine imported 56 billion m3 at a price of $95 per 1000 m3.
c)  Natural gas transit through the territory of Ukraine will constitute
about 122 billion m3 in both 2006 and 2007 (according to official
statistics, natural gas transit to Europe through the territory of Ukraine
has declined by about 7%. The decline is explained by lower gas consumption
by European countries due to very warm weather and shortage of gas delivery
at the beginning of the year due to unresolved gas supply issue between
Ukraine and Russia. However, we believe gas consumption will increase in the
coming months following the traditional seasonal pattern).
d) Though the 2006 increase in gas prices was passed on to industrial
consumers at the beginning of the year, utility tariffs for households were
raised mostly in the second half of the year. In addition, strongly revived
investment activity (about 10% yoy in 1H 2006 in real terms) may suggest
that the gas price increase stimulated investments in energy-saving
technologies.  In the residential sector, this process is much slower with a
negligible impact on elasticity in the first year (2006). We assume that the
2007 gas price increase will be passed on to utility tariffs to a
considerable degree in 2007. Hence, we believe that gas price elasticity of
demand will increase in 2007, though not as strongly as we previously
anticipated, with a more conspicuous effect in subsequent years.
e) According to the forecasted gas balance for Ukraine in 2006, Ukraine
plans to export about 8 million m3 of natural gas (of its own production).
The State Statistics Committee of Ukraine reported that Ukraine exported
natural gas in an amount equivalent to $0.59 million over January-September.
Extrapolating this figure for the whole year, we obtain the export price of
about $100 per 1000 m3. We assume that in 2007, Ukraine will be able to
export a similar amount of natural gas. It also looks reasonable to assume
the price for it will exceed $130 per 1000 m3 but will be lower than the
European average. We assume that the price will be in the range of $150-200
per 1000 m3.
f)  GDP was estimated at $100 billion for 2006.
g)  The ratio of gas imports to DP was estimated at 5.32% in 2006. But this
ratio would be about 2.6% of GDP if corrected for gas transit and gas export
revenues.
(3) Unlike expectations of a moderate decline in 2006, world steel prices
resumed growth in April 2006 and on average were comparable to 2004 prices.
(4) The government may choose to keep energy prices unchanged on the
domestic market. However, such a policy response will lead to distortions in
market-correction mechanisms, thus sending wrong signals to business,
accumulation of inflationary pressure and their transfer on future periods.
Since such a policy may also cause the budget deficit to expand beyond the
3% of GDP level, we believe the government will allow for a price adjustment
to a substantial extent.
(5) Housing services, gas, water supply and electricity together comprised
less than 7% of the consumer basket as of mid-2006.
(6) Though the 2007 draft budget law envisages a rather moderate increase in
minimum wages, pensions and other social expenditures, due to the recurrent
increases in the previous two years, social spending will represent a
significant share in the budgets in future years.                -30-
—————————————————————————————————
LINK: http://www.sigmableyzer.com/File/economic/Gas_price_note_2007.pdf
—————————————————————————————————
NOTE:  SigmaBleyzer/The Bleyzer Foundation also publishes monthly
Macroeconomic Situation Reports for Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania.
They are published at http://www.sigmableyzer.com/en/page/532.
—————————————————————————————————
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Morgan Williams,
Director, Government Affairs, Washington Office,
SigmaBleyzer Emerging Markets Private Equity Investment Group,
Washington, D.C., MWilliams@SigmaBleyzer.com.
http://www.SigmaBleyzer.com, http://www.BleyzerFoundation.com.
—————————————————————————————————

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
2.                           UKRAINE’S ENERGY FUTURE

REMARKS: By Yuriy Boiko, Minister of Fuel and Energy of Ukraine,
At the Ukrainian Business Forum at the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC
During the official visit of Prime Minister V. F. Yanukovich
New York, New York, Wednesday, December 6, 2006
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #799, Article 2
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dear Friends,

Thank you very much for finding the time to join us today.  I am happy to be
back in the United States and to be here as part of the new government led
by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich.

The Government, together with President Yushchenko and our partners in
Parliament, are united by our commitment to fulfill all the potential that
our country and people represent.

We are also united by a commitment to be a strong partner in our common
quest for peace, prosperity and democracy around the world.  Because of the
trends in global energy, our role as a reliable energy partner is important
to everyone.

Consider these facts:
     [1] Global energy demand is growing, and it is expected to increase by
60% by 2030, partly due to the emerging economies, especially China and
India.
     [2] Hydrocarbon reserves are declining in Europe, which is the largest
importer and second largest consumer of energy in the world. Today the EU
imports about 50% of its energy. Without policy reform, this will rise to
70%. The percentage for natural gas will be even higher.
     [3] The price of hydrocarbons are rising. As we all know, oil prices
have increased more than six times over the past seven years.

This is why building a strong, reliable energy economy that brings supplies
from the East to consumers in the West is a cornerstone of the broader
strategic agenda for our country and for our relations with our partners.

In order to achieve this goal, Ukraine is reforming its economy to be more
compatible with the European Union.  We are modernizing our industry to
consume less fuel even as we grow our GDP.  And we are strengthening
long-term, strategic partnerships with Russia, and Black Sea and Caspian
states whose energy supplies are crucial to the global energy balance.

    TRANSPARENT, VIBRANT, EFFECTIVE ENVIRONMENT
Building a transparent, vibrant and effective environment for investment and
business expansion is key to our strategy.  And for that reason, I’m
especially pleased to have the chance to be with you today and exchange
ideas.

One of my jobs as Minister is to help ensure that our energy reforms are
moving in a direction that promotes business expansion and adds to the
welfare of our people while at the same time maximizing our common energy
security.

You can play a part in that process.  Working together, we can ensure:

     [1] That Ukraine really is “open for business”;
     [2] That all of our investments are protected by the rule of law and an
independent, fair judicial system;
     [3] That our government policies support investment and encourage
economic growth; and
     [4] That we maximize Ukraine’s potential as a strategic and reliable
energy partner.

  FOUR KEY PILLARS OF UKRAINE’S ENERGY STRATEGY
Let me outline briefly the 4 key pillars that create the framework of our
Energy Strategy and share a few ideas about how we can work together to
fulfill its potential-to all our benefit.

[1 – EUROPEAN UNION] The first pillar of our strategy is a commitment to
deepen our overall collaboration with the European Union, including in the
energy sphere.

We all face the same overarching energy challenges in the 21st Century,
namely increasing the diversification of energy suppliers, ensuring energy
transit security, and finding and developing alternative energy sources.

In this context, we are working at senior levels with our EU colleagues to
develop the enormous potential of our country to improve the reliability of
supplies to energy consumers in Europe by uniting more effectively the
energy resources and transport infrastructures of Central Asia, Russia,
Ukraine and the European Union.

As you know, Ukraine’s relations with the European Union are expanding.  Our
energy relationship is governed by the Memorandum of Understanding in the
Field of Energy which provides a comprehensive framework for collaboration
and which we updated on September 14 to add financial support for energy
sector priority projects transport projects from the EBRD and the European
Investment Bank.

Ukraine also aspires to join Energy Community Treaty and has already been
granted observer status during the ministerial meeting in Skopje November
17.

Diversifying supplies of hydrocarbons and their supply routes into Ukraine
is a priority issue, as is the creation of transit routes to the EU through
Ukrainian territory.

In this context, the development of the Odessa-Brody-Plock oil pipeline is
most important.  We must also synchronize our electricity system with Europe’s
and develop alternative energy resources.

I am glad to report that our relationship with the EU foresees further
political and financial support to Ukraine’ for the multibillion
infrastructure energy projects, a number of which are presented to you here
today.

[2 – UKRAINE] The second pillar of our strategy focuses on creating a modern
energy sector at home, in the context of a market economy that encourages
investment and ensures financial stability as well as energy conservation
and efficiency.

These principles are laid out in Ukraine’s Energy Strategy through 2030
which was approved by the government in March of this year.

The Strategy forecasts cutting energy consumption by 50% by 2030 while
tripling the GDP. This target will be met thanks to technological and
structural cutbacks, as well as legislative stimuli.

Within the next few years we want to cut gas consumption by 30% in
metallurgy and 20% – in the chemical industry.

Also, Ukraine also aims at reducing of consumption of the imported energy,
in particular gas. In this area, we plan to accelerate development of coal
mining and nuclear power sector.

By doing so, we expect to ease Ukraine’s dependency from imported energy to
about 12% in 2030.  National gas consumption is supposed to drop from today’s
56.4bn m3 to 9.4bn m3.

Ukraine is setting the stage for development of the nuclear power
generation. Today, 15 nuclear power blocks are capable of generating 13.8mn
KW.

The Government plans to extend exploitation terms of the existing blocks, as
well as to build new ones. Supposedly, Ukraine will have domestically
produced uranium and zircon.

By 2010, Ukraine also intends to construct a centralized Spent Nuclear Waste
Storage.

Coal consumption will rise dramatically in power generation. Its share in
energy balance of the power plants will reach 80%.

Domestic oil and gas production will increase. Our 2016 target for oil is
2.4 million tones of domestically drilled oil per year, and by 2030 we
expect to produce 28.5 billion m3 of gas. Plus, the strategy provides for
modernization of oil refineries, with the aim to improve the depth of
refinement to 90%.

Obviously, large-scale modernization will require multibillion investments
in the sector.  Our plans envision that we will attract capital from private
investors, both domestic and foreign, profits of the energy companies
themselves, state investments and from partners such as the World Bank,
European Investment Bank and others.

[3 – RUSSIA] The third pillar of our strategy for success is based on
maintaining strong relations with Russia.  Russia needs predictability from
Ukraine, just as Ukraine and Europe need predictability from Russia.

We acknowledge this interdependency and intend to use it to our mutual
benefit. I’m happy to report to you that today Ukrainian-Russian energy
relations have been put on a sound footing.

In October of this year, our governments reached important and mutually
acceptable agreements on cooperation in the areas of oil and gas, nuclear
energy and electric power. We have recently signed contracts which provide
terms of gas supplies in 2007, as well as the increase of Russian oil
transit through Ukraine.

We will continue to work with our colleagues in Moscow to ensure that both
sides are meeting their commitments and are doing so in a transparent way
that contributes to increased regional energy security for exporters,
transporters and consumers of that energy.  Doing so is in everyone’s
advantage.

[4 – UNITED STATES] Let me conclude by saying a few words about the

fourth pillar of our Energy Strategy, building a real strategic energy partnership
with the United States that brings tangible benefits to both sides.

In this respect, we are interested in involving the American partners into
the Eurasian Oil Transportation Project. This strategic corridor rests on
the idea of transporting Kazakh oil to Europe through the Odessa-Brody-Plock
pipeline. We look forward to collaboration with our US partners in a way
that brings the maximum results.

Several weeks ago, the Ukraine-Poland Working Group has been created which
will soon deliver a draft Agreement to be signed by two governments. This
document aims at sending a clear message to private investors about the
high-level support of the project.

We anticipate and hope that the American oil companies operating in the
Caspian region will become interested in the Odessa-Brody project.  In
addition, we invite the American companies to develop oil deposits on the
Black Sea shelf.

I am happy to announce that Ukraine is making solid progress on concluding
its first Production Sharing Agreement in the energy field with our partners
at Vanco.

This agreement will speak to the interests of both Ukrainian and American
partners, will be commercially successful and address Ukrainian and regional
energy security requirements.  It is my hope that this agreement becomes a
model that we can replicate and build on with other partners in the future.

I want to end my comments with thanking you and thanking the American

people for all the support you have given us during our early years of
independence.

You have shared your expertise, promoted our security and given generously
through programs run by USAID, the Department of Agriculture and other
agencies.

Your generosity and friendship are wise investments.  They are also most
appreciated, and on behalf of all of us I thank you very much.    -30-

————————————————————————————————
FOOTNOTE:  Our thanks to Walter Zaryckyj, Executive Director,
Center for US-Ukrainian Relations, Adj Associate Professor of Social
Sciences/New York University and UA Quest Roundtable Series Program
Coordinator for sending the AUR a copy of the presentation by Yuriy
Boiko, Minister of Fuel and Energy of Ukraine.   AUR EDITOR
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3. EXPORTS OF ELECTRICITY RISE, LARGE UNUSED CAPACITIES
    Power sector is the twelfth-largest in the world in terms of installed capacity.
 
Kateryna Illyashenko, Ukraine analyst, IntelliNews-Ukraine This Week
Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, November 27, 2006

The energy sector is of key importance for national economy, as electricity
is needed by both industrial and individual consumers.

A peculiar thing in the energy sector is that the technological equipment
and primary generators of electric energy are separated by significant
distance from the consumers. As a result, power generation, transmission

and distribution became separate industries.
Three types of generation facilities are present in the country, including
thermal power plants (steam turbine and diesel types), hydropower plants
(hydroelectric generating and hydroelectric accumulating plants) and nuclear
power plants. The role of wind and helium power plants is growing, but it is
still insignificant.

Ukraine’s power sector is the twelfth-largest in the world in terms of
installed capacity. As of end-2006 the energy sector had the following

parameters: the total capacity of all power plants exceeds 53mn kW,
including 34.8mn kW (65.3%) of thermal plants, 13.8mn kW (25.9%) of
nuclear plants and 4.7mn kW (8.8%) of hydroelectric plants.

   Domestic generation capacities almost fully satisfy local demand
The main areas of power plants location are Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhya,
Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk regions in the east, the Lviv and
Ivano-Frankivsk regions in the west, and the Kyiv and Vinnytsya regions in
the central part of the country. The major producers and consumers of power
are in Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhya, Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The electricity needs are mainly satisfied by domestic generation capacities
(nearly 98%), while the share of imports is insignificant (2%). Locally
produced electricity is largely consumed inside the country (97%), with a
small part exported (3%).

                  Generating capacity exceeds its electricity needs
Country has sufficient generating capacity to supply more than twice of its
electricity needs. However, the country’s transmission and distribution
systems are in need of investment and maintenance. As a result significant
amounts of electricity are lost in transmission. Also, several of the
country’s nuclear facilities are intermittently shut down throughout the
year due to technical problems.
  Country exports electricity to Moldova, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary
State-owned UkrInterEnergo exports Ukrainian electricity to other markets.
Ukraine signed a contract to supply 2.5bn kWh to Belarus during 2006 and
will receive USD 50mn revenues under this contract. The country also exports
electricity from the Burshtyn thermal power plant to Moldova, Slovakia,
Poland, and Hungary.

It started exporting electricity to Romania in Mar 2005. The Burshtyn power
plant and a part of Ukraine’s western energy system is connected to European
UCTE energy system since Jul 2002. EU officials met with Ukrainian energy
officials in Kiev in early 2006 to discuss plans to fully integrate the
country’s electricity grid into the UCTE by 2008.

In Jan-Oct 2006 the country boosted its exports of electricity by 13.6% y/y
to reach 8.272bn kWh. In October, the exports of electricity almost doubled
over last year and amounted to 929mn kWh. Notably, electricity exports to
Russia were resumed in November.
      State owned Energoatom operates four nuclear power plants

Currently there are four operating nuclear power plants, Zaporizhzhya, Rivne,
Khmelnytsky, South Ukrainian. In total they have 15 nuclear power units
operated by Energoatom.

On Dec 15, 2000, Ukraine permanently shut down the 925-MW, unit 3 of the
Chernobyl power plant, disabling the last remaining working reactor at the
ill-fated facility. Ukraine resumed construction of two 1-GW reactors at the
Khmelnitsky and Rivne power plants to replace the power generated by
Chernobyl, which officials say accounted for approximately 5% of the
country’s total.

In 2007 the country plans to attract UAH 3.5bn to invest into improvement

of energy sector. A part of these funds will be attracted from foreign
financial institutions.
         27 power distribution companies operate in the country
Donbasenergo, Dniproenergo, Kharkivenergo, Vinnytsyaenergo, Lvivenergo,
Odesaenergo and Crimeaenergo together with other regional companies they
make up the power grid of Ukraine, which is connected with power systems
of Western and Central European countries, as well as the CIS countries,
including Russia, Moldova and Belarus.

At the moment, 27  power distribution companies operate in the country.
There are 25 regional oblenergos (one in each region of Ukraine) as well as
two oblenergos serving Kyiv and Sevastopil cities. The main functions of
oblenergos distribution of electricity, supply of electricity at regulated
tariffs, and provision of related services to the customers.

Tariffs at which oblenergos distribute and supply electricity, are subject
to a regulation by the NERC (national energy committee). Oblenergos’ assets
comprise power transmission lines, transformer substations, electricity
consumption meters and systems and other equipment.

Oblenergos and so-called independent electricity suppliers supply
electricity in the country. They are obliged to supply electricity to all
the consumers located in the service territory specified in their license.
Independent suppliers hold the licenses for electricity supply at
non-regulated tariffs and can use oblenergos’ networks for distribution.

Most powerplants controlled by  state-owned Enerhetychna Companiya

Ukrayni State-owned Enegetychna Companiya Ukrayni controls most of
the country’s thermal and hydropower plants.

Enerhetychna Companiya Ukrayni owns 100% in the following companies:
Dunuzlavska Vitrova Elektrostation, Kryvorizka Teplocentral, Lysychanska
Teploelktrosentral, Sieverodentska Teploelektrosentral, Dniprodzherzhynska
Teploelektrosentral and Khersonska Teploelektrosentral. In other powerplants
the company has the controlling stakes.

Ukraine intends to cooperate with EU in development of its energy sector

Ukraine is a key link of hydrocarbon transit from Russia to Europe.
40% of European natural gas imports come through its gas transportation
system.

Today Ukraine-EU co-operation in energy sector is shaped by the Joint Action
Plan and the Memorandum of Understanding in Energy Sector. Joint Report
signed  November 18th confirms  progress made in bilateral relations.The
country plans to develop energy supply infrastructure including building up
new pipelines and terminals for liquefied gas.

It is also interested in support of our Odesa-Brody-Plock oil pipeline
extension project, as well as Ukraine’s integration into UCTE.     -30-
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4. UKRAINIAN GAS CO’S FEAR ROSUKRENERGO TAKEOVER 

Associated Press, Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, December 8, 2006

KIEV – RosUkrEnergo, the intermediary company that supplies Ukraine with

gas imports, is trying to seize control over Ukrainian regional gas companies,
officials from the regional companies warned Thursday.

The heads of six regional gas companies said that after their shareholders
refused to sell shares to RosUkrEnergo in October, law enforcement bodies
began harassing the businesses with constant checks, the Interfax news
agency reported, citing the regional heads of Zakarpatgaz, Volyngaz,
Lvivgaz, Ivano-Frankivskgaz, Chernovtsygas and Chernihivgas.

Lyubomyr Shershun, head of the advisory council of Zakarpatgaz, said that
the pressure appeared aimed at forcing a hostile takeover, Interfax
reported.  Spokesmen for the regional gas companies refused to comment.

Ukraine’s state gas monopoly, Naftogaz, later said the companies were facing
criminal investigations into the alleged misappropriation of 70 million
hryvna ($13.7 million), and called their allegations against RosUkrEnergo an
attempt to divert attention.

RosUkrEnergo, which has offices in Switzerland, also refused to comment,
saying its spokesman wasn’t immediately available due to a national holiday.

RosUkrEnergo, which supplies Ukraine with all of its gas imports, was
created in 2004 with the aim of acting as an intermediary between Russia’s
gas monopoly, OAO Gazprom (GSPBEX.RS), and Naftogaz; the company is
half-owned by Gazprom and two little-known Ukrainians.

Opposition politicians criticized Ukraine’s dependence on RosUkrEnergo,
calling it a murky company, and have called for Ukraine to negotiate a
direct deal with Russia.                              -30-

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5.                           WTO MEMBERSHIP IN SIGHT
 
INFORM, Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc (BYUT) Newsletter, Issue 24,
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Last Wednesday, Ukraine overcame the final major hurdle in it efforts to
join the World Trade Organisation (WTO), when its parliament approved

the last bit of legislation required for membership.

The final piece in the legal jig-saw saw 363 out of 442 registered deputies
vote to pass a law that sets duties for scrap and semi-finished metal
exports. The legislation will see a reducing scale of duties during the next
6 years, from 30% in the first year of membership down to 15% by year-six.
The law will come into effect from January 1 in the year following Ukraine’s
accession to the WTO.

A bi-lateral agreement with WTO-member Kyrgyzstan is still needed but

even if talks fail it is expected that WTO officials will approve Ukraine’s
entry.  So following this year’s eleventh-hour scramble to pass legislation,
it now looks like Ukraine will join the exclusive club of 149-trading
nations as early as February, 2007.

Petro Poroshenko, head of the budget committee and staunch ally of President
Viktor Yushchenko said that he hoped “effective negotiations” by officials
would lead quickly to a WTO decision on membership.

Oleksandr Shlapak, the head of the presidential secretariat’s service for
social and economic development was pleased with the progress.  “I hope that
we will receive in February a specific invitation from the WTO,” he said.
Mr Shlapak revealed that a Ukrainian delegation was about to travel to
Geneva to ensure that everything was in order.

“This is excellent news,” said Hryhoriy Nemyria, BYUT deputy and Yulia
Tymoshenko’s top foreign affairs adviser, “As prime minister, Mrs Tymoshenko
passed the bulk of the complex legislation needed for accession.  Since then
we’ve maintained pressure on the government to push forward all necessary
legislation so that Ukraine can benefit from being a member of this vital
organisation whose rules govern over 90% of international trade.”

“We trust the issue of synchronising Ukraine’s membership with Russia is off
the table,” added Mr Nemyria.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov has repeatedly appealed to Ukraine to
coordinate the two membership bids. The parliamentary opposition has
campaigned that Ukraine’s membership should not be tied to that of any
country.

Notwithstanding calls rejecting synchronisation, an opinion piece in last
week’s Kyiv Post claimed that “evidence is piling up” to suggest that Prime
Minister Viktor Yanukovych may bow to Russian pressure to delay accession
and synchronise it with Russia.  It is speculated that in return Mr
Yanukovych might receive concessions such as reduced natural gas prices for
big businesses.

According to the Kyiv Post, “Yanukovych has, of course, denied this, but
government officials under him seem to find increasingly more technicalities
to blame for putting the WTO off. This is disturbing to say the least.”
  -30-
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6.   KYRGYZSTAN DEMANDS UKRAINE LIFT TAX ON ELECTRIC
                   LAMP IMPORTS AS WTO ACCESSION TERM

Kabar news agency, Bishkek, in Russian 0406 gmt 19 Dec 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

BISHKEK – Kyrgyzstan agrees to sign a bilateral protocol with Ukraine on
this country’s accession to the WTO. In exchange for this, Bishkek has
demanded the abolition of an anti-dumping tax on [Kyrgyz] electric lamp
imports.

Earlier, Kyrgyzstan demanded that Ukraine repay its former Soviet debt of
more than 27m dollars, and then put forward new demands calling on it to
fully abolish import taxes on a very long list of agricultural produce,
including sugar and meat products, the Ukrainian media have quoted Deputy
Economy Minister Valeriy Pyatnytskyy as saying.

The minister said that the Kyrgyz-Ukrainian protocol would be signed at a
meeting of the two country’s economy ministers in early January 2007.
[Passage omitted: The agency says Ukraine launched an anti-dumping

campaign against Kyrgyz lamp imports in 2002]

The Kyrgyz Mayli-Say electric bulb plant is the main supplier of electric
lamps to the Ukrainian market. The plant’s owner is Russia’s BABC
limited-liability company. [Passage omitted: Prime Minister Feliks Kulov
said in December 2006 that he would provide support to the plant if its
owner, the BABC, did not resell it to a different company]     -30-
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7. GRAIN EXPORT QUOTAS CAN PUT OBSTACLES IN PATH OF WTO

UkrAgroConsult, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

KYIV – The Ukrainian Minister of Economics has said it is quite possible
that the grain export quotas which were recommended could become obstacles
for Ukraine on the path of its proposed entry into the WTO.

This is going to be a problem if there is not enough evidence that such
measures were of an extreme necessity, and the Government had to take them
due to the harsh situation in the domestic provisional market the Minister
stated.                                               -30-  

————————————————————————————————-
FOOTNOTE: More and more questions are being raised in Washington
and European circles about whether the extremely low grain export quotas
imposed by the Yanukovych government meet WTO rules and regulations.
Many observers do not believe Ukraine will be allowed to enter the WTO 
unless the present grain export quota system is drastically modified.  
Business organizations are in contact with various governments urging them
to make sure Ukraine is not allowed to join the WTO until any grain export
quota system in place fully meets WTO rules and regulations. AUR EDITOR
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========================================================
8.                             PROMISES FORGOTTEN?
          Grain export quotas may have adverse consequences for Ukraine

By Vitalii Kniazhansky, The Day Weekly Digest #41
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ukraine’s prime minister said recently that grain export quotas may be
lifted after the Ministry of Agricultural Policy reports to the cabinet
about fulfilling the grain procurement plan for the country. Evidently the
ministry has still not completed this assignment.

In any case, Ukraine has finally set new grain export quotas. Until the end
of 2006 grain traders will be allowed to sell 1,106,000 tons of grain,
including 3,000 tons of wheat, 3,000 tons of rye, 600,000 tons of barley,
and 500,000 tons of corn.

In the same breath the government scrapped the previous quotas introduced by
a decree of Oct. 17, 2006, for a total of 1,603,000 tons of grain, including
400,000 tons of wheat, 600,000 tons of barley, 600,000 tons of corn, and
3,000 tons of rye.

According to an earlier statement by the Ministry of Agricultural Policy,
the new quotas disregard the previous ones unless the latter were utilized.
The government has also set up an eight-member commission headed by Serhii
Romaniuk, Deputy Minister of Economics, to review applications for grain
export licenses and to distribute quotas.

His deputy on the commission is Ivan Demchak, Deputy Minister of
Agricultural Policy. Other members are representatives of the Ministry of
Justice, Chief Control and Auditing Administration, State Customs Service,
Ministry of Finance, MP Serhii Ryzhuk, and Volodymyr Klymenko, president
of the Ukrainian Grain Association.

The same decree prescribes the order of licensing and quota distribution:
companies that exported grain during the past three years will receive 80
percent of the quotas, their size being proportional to the companies’
actual exports over this period as confirmed by a statement from the State
Customs Service.

The remaining 20 percent are proportionally distributed among the other
applicants based on the amount of grain declared for export. For companies
that have already obtained licenses, the new quotas will be reduced by the
volume of the previously received ones.

Within 15 days after the launch of the application procedure at the Ministry
of Economics’ Web site, the commission has to make a decision on quotas
and publish it on the same site.

It is noteworthy that the commission’s resolution has a recommendatory
character for the Ministry of Economics, which makes the final decision.
However, if the ministry chooses to ignore the commission’s opinion, it has
to present to the applicant a justification its refusal.

The exporters think quota volumes are deliberately understated. The
government’s decision has also drawn criticism from the president of Ukraine
and international financial organizations. A day before the decision was
adopted, the World Bank published its report on export grain quotas in
Ukraine.

Prepared in collaboration with the German Advisory Group to the Ukrainian
government, the report studies how quotas affect domestic prices for grain,
consumer rights protection, revenue from exports, and investments in the
grain sector.

The World Bank contends that quotas are ineffective in protecting the
Ukrainian consumer from surges in world grain prices. They lead to
significant drops in grain export revenue and are especially vulnerable to
corruption, which will have an adverse impact on Ukraine’s investment
attractiveness.

According to the World Bank, the introduction of quotas is unjustified
because the domestic supply fully meets all domestic needs and is sufficient
for much higher export volumes than those estimated by the government.

This year’s grain production has greatly exceeded the average in the last 10
years. Furthermore, large initial reserves are stimulating efficient grain
supply in 2006-07.

Experts at the World Bank believe quotas will not bring great benefits to
Ukrainian food consumers. Even though wheat prices remain stable, prices
for flour and bread have actually increased since the introduction of
quotas.

In practice the wheat price is only one part of the final price for bread.
At the same time, forage prices, according to experts’ forecast, will not
affect prices for meat and dairy products.

The report also emphasizes that the quota system entails great losses for
grain producers and significantly affects export revenue.

By the end of 2006 total losses in grain export revenue will reach $300
million, whereas the expected $25 reduction in producer prices may lead to
hundreds of millions of dollars in cumulative losses. The proportion of
low-income workers employed in the agricultural sector exceeds the average
figure for Ukraine.

This leads the World Bank to conclude that a reduction in grain producers’
revenue may actually raise the poverty line, rather than lower it.

The bank’s experts believe that management of the quota system lacks
transparency, which leaves room for corruption. Companies that are now able
to meet the export quota can make $25 on each ton, which is the amount the
producer loses.

Possible additional losses are connected with existing incentives for
smuggling grain out of the country. The adverse effect of the quota system
on grain producers and traders, as well as the risk of corruption, diminish
Ukraine’s investment image.

“Our recommendation is to cancel the quota system as soon as possible,” said
Paul Bermingham, World Country Director for Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova.
“Even though these market interventions were implemented with the good
intention of guaranteeing food safety and protecting domestic consumers from
increases in world grain prices, they will misfire.

In contrast to this, we would recommend using alternative measures,
including money transfers to underprivileged citizens, which would protect
the low-income population from food price increases.”           -30-
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LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/174437/
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9.    FINNISH AMBASSADOR FORECASTS UKRAINE’S ENTERING
       WORLD  TRADE ORGANIZATION (WTO) IN FEBRUARY 2007

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

KYIV – The Finnish Ambassador in Ukraine, Laura Reinila, is forecasting
Ukraine’s entering the World Trade Organization in February 2007. She
announced this at a press conference.

In her words, the European Union, now chaired by Finland, noted Ukraine last
week completed adopting laws necessary for entering the WTO.  “Your
government kept its promises and it is a good news for further development
of the Ukraine-EU relations,” said Reinila.

She stressed Ukraine’s entering the WTO depends on forthcoming meetings
between representatives of Ukraine and the WTO and Ukraine may formally
access this organization next February.

“Evidently, this happens very soon and it means for the European Union that
we will be able to start negotiations with Ukraine (on creating free trade
zone) and the EU is pleasantly surprised that it happened this quick,” said
Reinila.

As Ukrainian News has reported, up to now the Verkhovna Rada adopted

all the laws required for entering the WTO.                  -30-
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10. UKRAINE: PARLIAMENT EXTENDS MORATORIUM ON FARMLAND
                       SALES, ONCE AGAIN, TO JANUARY 1, 2008

Interfax Ukraine Business Express, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, December 19, 2006

KYIV – The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, has passed a bill

extending the ban on the sale of farmland until January 1, 2008.

A total of 354 MPs out of 436 registered for the vote supported the bill
amending the Land Code of Ukraine, including 180 MPs of the Regions Party,
109 from the BYT faction, eight from the Our Ukraine faction, and 30 and 21
MPs from the Socialist and Communist parties respectively.

Until January 1, 2008, the bill bans land property rights from being
included in the statutory funds of economic entities. The bill also bans the
purchase and sale of state-owned farmland and farmland under communal
ownership, except when it must be purchased for public needs.

The bill also bans until January 1, 2008, the purchase and sale or any
possible alienation of farmland owned by Ukrainian citizens or legal
entities other than through the transfer of farmland as inheritance or the
legal exchange of one farmland plot for another.          -30-
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11.        CARPATHIAN MOUNTAINS GET PROTECTION
              Six countries pledge to protect and develop the Carpathians

The Day Weekly Digest, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Last week Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Hungary, and the
Czech Republic signed the Carpathian Declaration.

“The Carpathian Convention establishes the fundamental principles for
international cooperation on the protection and sustainable development of
mountainous areas in general and the Carpathian mountains in particular,”
said Minister of the Environment Vasyl Dzharty at a press conference after
the two-day meeting of the parties to the Carpathian Convention ended in
Kyiv on Dec. 13.

“We will formulate mechanisms for utilizing all possible resources in the
framework of the Carpathian Convention,” the Ukrainian minister said and
added that the document also makes provisions for working groups in Ukraine,
Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic at the
environmental ministry level, which will develop concrete projects aimed at
resolving the problems of the Carpathian region.

According to Interfax-Ukraine, the document also specifies sources for
financing future projects. “As of today we have agreed that each
participating country will contribute financially towards existing
mechanisms that involve specialists from the countries in the Carpathian

region,” said the Ukrainian minister.

Answering a journalist’s question about possible ways to resolve the
problems of Zakarpattia oblast, one of Ukraine’s poorest regions, Dzharty
said that the Framework Convention proposes new environmentally-sound
production facilities for this region.

The minister also said that Ukraine will be drawing on the experience of its
neighbors to create a modern infrastructure and additional jobs in
mountainous areas. Dzharty voiced his support for alternative types of
businesses “that can be created specifically in the Carpathian region.”

“If it is a forest, there must only be a sanitary zone there…If we are
talking about natural resources, there should not be any mining there at
all,” the minister added.

Participating in the work of the conference on the Carpathian Convention
were the delegations of the seven Carpathian countries as well as
delegations from Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Bulgaria,
Macedonia, Greece, the UK, Germany, Georgia, and Switzerland.

There were also representatives of the Alps Convention, UN Environment
Program, environmental NGOs, and Ukrainian and international movements
concerned with environmental problems and nature conservation.

A total of 150 participants attended the conference, during which procedural
rules and financial procedures for the Carpathian Convention were adopted,
and two final documents were signed: the Memorandum of Understanding
between the Carpathian and Alps Conventions, and the Carpathian Declaration.
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LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/174433/
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12.   OVER 48 MILLION USD RAISED BY THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
                     OF THE FUTURE ALL-UKRAINIAN TELETHON
                 Program of the Ukraine 3000 International Charitable Fund

Ukraine 3000 International Charitable Fund
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #799, Article 12
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, December 20, 2006

KYIV – Over 48 million dollars (242,954,000 hryvnias, UAH) was raised for
the new Children’s Hospital of the Future to be built in Kyiv during a
unique four-hour All-Ukrainian Telethon hosted by the National Television
Company of Ukraine on Sunday, December 17, 2006.

The telethon was broadcast by most of the national Ukrainian TV channels,
such as ICTV, Tonis, 24, K1, Fifth Channel, and NTN television channels.
Ukrayina Television and Radio Company, New Channel, TET, and 1+1
carried portions of the Telethon.

The telethon presented information to the public about the project to build
a new modern, world-class Children’s Hospital of the Future. Many well-
known medical experts, politicians, government leaders, civil activists,
athletes, and artists participated in the telethon.

The Ukrainian artists who voiced their support and performed on the
broadcast included the National Radio Company of Ukraine’s State
Symphony Orchestra, INSO Orchestra, Mariya Burmaka, Taras Chubay,
Nina Matviyenko, Hanna Koropnychenko, Taras Petrynenko, Tetiana
Horobets, Olha Bohomolets, Okean Elzy, Mandry, Druha rika, Haydamaky,
Krykhitka Tsakhes, Tartak, Esthetic Education, VV, Ray horodok groups.

The telethon included live broadcasts from six of Ukraine’s oblast centers
and featured discussions on the Children’s Hospital of the Future charitable
project with representatives from the cities of Uzhhorod, Donetsk,
Dnipropetrovsk, Lviv, Odesa, and Mykolayiv.

A summary of a major promotional tour held in Ukraine’s 24 oblast centers,
from September 29 through December 15, 2006 was also presented.

SUPPORTED BY UKRAINE’S MOBILE TELEPHONE COMPANIES
The Children’s Hospital of the Future project has been supported by all
Ukraine’s mobile telephone companies. Starting in October subscribers of
UMC, KyivStar, Golden Telecom, Life:), and Beeline mobile telephone
companies could make  donations by sending an SMS or by dialing 353.
Subscribers could transfer UAH 5 ($1) to the Children’s Hospital of the
Future account through this program.

From October 1 to December 16, 2006, 300,000 USD (1.5 million hryvnias)
was donated by Ukrainians towards the creation and construction of the
Children’s Hospital of the Future using the 353 telephone number.

During the four-hour telethon, another 180,000 USA (UAH 900,000) was
transferred to the Children’s Hospital of the Future account through this
number. By the end of the telethon, the total of $480,000 (UAH 2,400,000)
had been collected through SMS and calls to the 353 mobile number.

                      LARGE DONORS PARTICIPATED
During the telethon, philanthropists and businesses had an opportunity to
make public their participation in the creation and construction of the
Children’s Hospital of the Future. The following organizations and
individuals pledged their financial support for the project’s
implementation:

     Industrial Alliance of the Donbas Corporation – UAH 75,750,000
     (15 million USD);
     Development of Ukraine Charitable Fund – UAH 64,640,000
     (12,8 million USD);
     Interpipe Corporation – UAH 50,500,000 (10 million USD);
     Finance and Credit Bank, AvtoKrAZ Company, and Arterium
     Pharmaceuticals – UAH 10,100,000 (2 million USD);
     Anonymous Donor – UAH 15,150,000 (3 million USD);
     Borys Kolesnikov – UAH 7,575,000 (1,5 million USD);
     Anonymous Donor – UAH 5,050,000 (1 million USD);
     Transbank Joint Stock Commercial Bank – UAH 5,050,000
     (1 million USD);
     James Temerty – 5,050,000 (1 million USD);
     Donetskstal-Metalurh Corporation – UAH 750,000 (148 000 USD).

       MRS. KATERYNA YUSHCHENKO, THE FIRST LADY
Mrs. Kateryna Yushchenko, Head of the Supervisory Board of the Ukraine
3000 International Charitable Fund and First Lady of Ukraine, participated
in the Children’s Hospital of the Future Telethon.

Mrs. Yushchenko thanked all the television channels who supported this
action and who took part in the Children’s Hospital of the Future project.
“This is an unprecedented action uniting the whole country,” she said.

“I know there are many outstanding  medical specialists in our country who
have to work under difficult conditions, using outdated equipment. We have
to create decent conditions for their work,” Mrs. Yushchenko said.

Mrs. Yushchenko emphasized that the creation of the Children’s Hospital
of the Future was planned as a nationwide action. “The amount of each
donation doesn’t matter. Some will send five hryvnias through an SMS,
others will donate thousands and millions. But we have to do this together,”
she said.

Kateryna Yushchenko highlighted that treatment at the Children’s Hospital
of the Future will be free of charge.

“As an old adage goes, it is easier to light a small candle than keep
cursing the dark for the rest of your life. Today we are to light this
candle,” Mrs. Yushchenko said.

The Children’s Hospital of the Future All-Ukrainian Telethon’s was
directed by Taras Hrymaliuk.

Information about donations for Children’s Hospital of the Future will be
soon published on the Children’s Hospital of the Future web site,
www.likarnya.org.ua (information is available in Ukrainian and Russian).

Information about the implementation of the project can also be found on
the Ukraine 3000 Fund web site, www.ukraine3000.org.ua (information is
available in Ukrainian, Russian and English
(http://www.ukraine3000.org.ua/eng/news.html.)             -30-
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         Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
========================================================
13.                        HURRY TO DO GOOD DEEDS
           Fund-raising for children’s hospital became nation-wide action

Olha POKOTYLO, The Day Weekly Digest #41
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

This year St. Nicholas will not forget about children denied parental care:
cuddly toys, copybooks, sweets, and Christmas cards have been prepared by
senior graders and college students in Lviv.

Nor has St. Nicholas forgot to visit Ukrainian children who have to spend
the holiday in hospital beds. Sweets and toys are not the only way to
gladden Ukrainian children’s hearts.

All Ukrainians are collecting money to help ailing children on Ukraine 3000
International Benevolent Foundation’s initiative.

The foundation of the All-Ukraine Mother and Child’s Health Center
“Children’s Hospital of the Future” was laid in Kyiv this spring, on the
premises of the Feofania Hospital.

In the fall Ukraine 3000, under Kateryna Yushchenko’s patronage, organized
an all-Ukraine promotional tour of the regional centers of Ukraine. For 75
days the construction project of the country’s largest hospital was
presented in the regions and money collected for its construction.

During that period over 240 million hryvnias were contributed to the
benevolent foundation (the project’s budget requires 600 million). The bulk
of the sum was transferred to the hospital’s bank account within four hours
of a fund-raising marathon broadcast live by 11 Ukrainian channels.

Some two million hryvnias was received through SMS messages (every citizen
can do so by dialing 353). Several Ukrainian charitable organizations have
donated the largest amount to date, including over 12 million dollars from
the Development of Ukraine charitable foundation, some 10 million from the
Viktor Pinchuk Foundations and Industrial Union of the Donbas.

The Hospital of the Future will have several wards for children afflicted
with pathologies that are still incurable in Ukraine.

It will have 250 beds, equipment, and personnel for marrow transplants from
unrelated donors, several types of plastic surgeries, reconstructive
orthopedics, operations on great and peripheral vessels, perinatal
diagnosing, and so on.

Ukraine 3000 feels confident that ailing children will receive quality and
modern medical help and that their parents will not have to pay anything for
the treatment.

This will be guaranteed by the hospital’s charitable fund and an insurance
medicine program that will have been introduced all over the country by the
time.

What has made Ukrainians join efforts in supporting this charitable project?

The First Lady, Chairperson of Ukraine 3000’s Supervisory Board Kateryna
Yushchenko said during the televised marathon that this project has united
the entire country: “I know that there are many top-notch physicians in our
country who have to work in difficult conditions and with obsolete
equipment. Therefore, we must provide adequate conditions for their work.”

Mrs. Yushchenko also stressed that the construction of the children’s
hospital must become a nationwide project: “No matter how much people will
donate (some will be able to afford only five hryvnias through SMS, others
will part with thousands and millions), the important thing is that we will
do this together.”

The main issue for those taking part in the project is to use the money thus
raised for the stated purpose. Ukraine 3000 is sure that this money will be
used the right way.

“All members of the hospital’s board of trustees will be able to monitor the
distribution of funds,” says Natalia Butenko, deputy head of the
foundation’s press service. “All who contribute considerable sums to the

charitable fund are invited to become members of the board of trustees.

This fund will also partially provide for the payroll of physicians who will
treat children with grave diseases. By the way, even now Ukrainian
physicians from various regions are undergoing on-the-job training abroad,
so they will be able to start working as soon as the hospitable opens.”

Financing of the hospital will be done in two ways: from the central budget
and through charitable contributions to the special hospital’s fund.

In addition, the organizers envisage accommodation and treatment of children
from abroad; their treatment will cost less than anywhere in Eastern Europe
and this money will be added to the hospital’s fund.

The organizers of the Hospital of the Future project expect to complete its
construction in 2009. Meanwhile Ukrainians have to remain active to help
carry out this project, for it still needs more than 300 million hryvnias. -30-
—————————————————————————————————
LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/173194/
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14.  GLAXOSMITHKLINE (GSK) SUPPLIES UKRAINE WITH 800,000

    DOSES OF MMR VACCINE FOR MEASLES, MUMPS AND RUBELLA
          Vaccines were packaged locally into Ukrainian language outer boxes

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Kyiv/Lviv, Monday, 18 December 2006

KYIV/LVIV – GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), one of the world’s leading research-

based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, today announced that it has
supplied 800,000 doses of the MMR vaccine to the Ukrainian Ministry of
Health for 2007.

All children in Ukraine will be immunised with the combination vaccine
against measles, mumps and rubella in two doses at the age of 12 months and
6 years.

Measles, mumps and rubella are severe childhood diseases, highly infectious
diseases and their complications are responsible for considerable morbidity
and mortality throughout the world. GSK has supplied MMR vaccines in

Ukraine since 2003 through the distribution company “TRY”.

A two-dose strategy using an MMR vaccine is now widely accepted in most
developed countries and, where successfully implemented, has led to dramatic
reductions in the incidence of measles, mumps and rubella.

The announcement of the supply was made at the Ukrainian Pharmaceutical
plant TRY where the vaccines were packaged into Ukrainian language outer
boxes. This was the first partially localised production that GSK has
carried out in Ukraine, with the last stage of packaging.

“We are delighted that all children in Ukraine will be protected against
measles, mumps and rubella, all serious and highly infectious diseases.

GSK is the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world and we are pleased to
continue the supply our modern combination vaccines to Ukraine. It is a
pleasure for us to carry out our first packaging project here in Ukraine”,
commented David Pritchard, GSK Area Manager.

“It is a great pleasure for us to provide our manufacturing services to GSK.
This is the first project of repackaging and we hope to continue this in the
future”, said Yevhen Shiyanenko, General Director of the TRY plant.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) aims to eliminate indigenous measles
transmission by the year 2007 in the European region and to half the number
of measles deaths by 2005 worldwide (compared to the situation in 1999).

Global eradication is planned by 2010. In Europe the targets have been set
to bring mumps under control by reducing the incidence to 1 per 100,000
population by the year 2010.
                                              MEASLES
The measles virus causes an illness that ranks as one of the leading causes
of childhood deaths worldwide. In 1995 the World Health Organisation (WHO)
estimated that measles accounted for 1 million deaths. Measles can cause
significant, often fatal complications including pneumonia, diarrhoea and
encephalitis.

In developing countries the disease occurs against a backdrop of
malnutrition, other infections and poor healthcare. In such circumstances if
the disease does not kill, it leaves sufferers deaf and/or blind.
                                               MUMPS
In developed countries mumps now occurs most often in adolescents and

adults rather than children – in this older group its effects and sequelae can be
devastating and even fatal. The complications of mumps include orchitis,
mastitis, meningitis, encephalitis and arthropathy.

In the pre-vaccine era, mumps was the leading cause of viral meningitis. The
frequency of encephalitis increases with age and is the main cause of death
in adults affected by mumps.
                                             RUBELLS
While sometimes causing an illness so mild in children that it is not even
recognised, rubella infection in adolescents and adults can cause
significant complications, such as arthropathy, central nervous system
disorders and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS).

CRS is caused by rubella infection in early pregnancy and results in
miscarriages, stillbirths or multiple birth defects. As with mumps, in the
developed countries rubella now occurs most often in adolescents and

adults, thus increasing the risk of CRS.

These childhood diseases are still widespread in many parts of both the
developed and developing world. Even in countries where virus transmission
has been interrupted, there is a constant threat from imported disease.
These diseases can, however, be prevented.
                                           ABOUT GSK
GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical
and healthcare companies, is committed to improving the quality of human
life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. The company
employs more than 100,000 people worldwide.

GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, the world’s leading vaccine manufacturer is
located in Rixensart (Belgium).  It is the centre of all GlaxoSmithKline’s
activities in the field of vaccine research, development and production.

GSK Biologicals employs over 4000 employees in Belgium (approximately 6200
worldwide), of whom 1600 scientists who are devoted to discovering new
vaccines and developing more cost-effective and convenient combination
products to prevent infections that cause serious medical problems
worldwide.

In 2005, GSK Bio distributed more than 1,25 billion doses of vaccines to 165
countries in both the developed and the developing world – an average of 3
million doses a day.

Of those vaccine doses, approximately 159 million were doses of combination
pediatric vaccines, which protect the world’s children against a minimum of
three – and as many as six – diseases in one vaccine.

GSK has been operating in Ukraine for over a decade and currently has over
140 employees nationwide.                            -30-
————————————————————————————————-
For more details please contact: Andriy Hunder, Area External Affairs
and Communications Manager, Developing Markets EurAsia (Ukraine,
Central Asia & Caucasus), GlaxoSmithKline, andriy.i.hunder@gsk.com
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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15.                           ESCAPING FROM EMPIRE
                  Postscript to 15th anniversary of referendum affirming
                            Act proclaiming Ukraine’s independence

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Yurii SCHERBAK
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine and
Director, Center for Global and Regional Studies, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy
The Day Weekly Digest #41, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Dec 19, 2006

On Dec. 1, 2006, Ukraine marked an important date in its modern history: the
15 th anniversary of the national referendum that convincingly affirmed the
Ukrainians’ will to live in an independent state and the election of
Ukraine’s first president Leonid Kravchuk.

It would be a great exaggeration to say that Ukraine marked this event. Our
country practically did not celebrate this date, except for a few
perfunctory notes in the newspapers and some brief reports on television.

People were more interested in the new rental and utility fees and the power
struggle that has erupted between the blue-white-red coalition and the
Orange people than in an event of worldwide historical importance that
finally brought down the Soviet empire.

Of course, it is much pleasanter to mark Aug. 24: that’s a public holiday,
the weather is nice, there’s lots of entertainment, like parades and
pageants. You can knock back a beer on Independence Square, listen to

pop music, and see some fireworks – a real celebration, is it not?

Meanwhile, Dec. 1 is a far more significant date, and the national
leadership as well as “small Ukrainians” should have a much more reverent
attitude to it.

Unfortunately, Ukrainians, who are in the state of a cold civil war,
dreaming of an alchemical formula called the “national idea” and stuck in
the mire of everyday problems, apathy, mistrust, and disillusion, are
beginning to forget about the exalted lesson of national unity that the Dec.
1, 1991, referendum taught us.
1. WHAT DID UKRAINIANS VOTE FOR?
That day all divisions and all the political, geographic, religious, ethnic
and linguistic barriers that had existed in Soviet Ukraine, for decades
insistently imposed by the communist regime, were pushed aside.

It was a true peaceful mass revolution, the free expression of a people’s
will without any financial or administrative leverage applied. The Maidan of
2004 was a logical, if somewhat less unanimous, continuation of the 1991
referendum.

Eight months later the people, who as recently as March 1991 had supported
Anatolii Lukianov’s Jesuitical formula of living in an “updated Union,”
turned against a regime that was in the throes of agony and a system that
was disintegrating with unpredictable consequences for Soviet citizens and
the rest of the world.

It was an escape from empire, an attempt at national salvation on everyone’
part without exception: Soviet Ukrainian citizens, irrespective of their
ethnic origins or party affiliation.

I think what mattered here was not just sober reasoning but also
subconscious impulses, such as genetic memory of the red empire’s bloody
crimes, the fear of nuclear and non- nuclear conflicts, and the desire to
wait out the historical storm in one’s own home, not in the outlandish
structure constructed by utopian fanatics, which extended from Afghanistan
to Finland.

When I was working in the US, I asked many people, including a Harvard
professor – a Sovietologist – a former defense secretary, a well- known
Washington journalist, a former ambassador to the USSR, and influential
members of the US Congress and administration whether they had ever

thought the Soviet Union might collapse and Ukraine gain independence.

No, they had not. They did not take this into account in their plans and
forecasts.

In his famous and thought-provoking book “The Rise and Fall of the Great
Powers,” published four years before the collapse of the USSR, Paul Kennedy
analyzed world history from 1500 to 2000 and came to the completely
erroneous conclusion that a bipolar world divided between the two
superpowers, the US and the USSR, would survive for an indefinite period of
time.

Moreover, no one could foresee Ukraine’s role in this geopolitical drama.
Both Western theoretical analysts and local communist practitioners looked
upon Ukraine as a totally tamed, weak-willed, and “reeducated” province of
the empire, only capable of setting records in the production of grain,
sugar beets, meat, and coal.

What is more, a number of progressive intellectuals in Moscow considered
Ukraine “more Soviet” and “reactionary and orthodox” than the imperial
center or its Baltic environs.

So much for the West or Moscow! I know dozens of outstanding figures of the
Ukrainian Renaissance, who had passionate dreams of national independence
but at the same time did not believe that history’s verdict of the Soviet
Union’s viability would be carried out so unexpectedly quickly, in our
lifetime, on Aug. 24, 1991, and confirmed on Dec. 1 as one that is not
subject to appeal.

Each person who voted “yes” in the referendum had his own, deeply personal,
reasons for doing so – ranging from ideological hatred of communism to a
utopian desire to see Kyiv at the head of a new Slavic empire that would
resemble Kyivan Rus’. But these historical and philosophical motives were
alien to the vast majority of those who came to the polling stations.

About 70 percent of those who voted for independence believed that when
Ukraine, with its rich resources and superior economic and human potential,
formed an independent state ruled by their “own” freedom-loving Kyiv, not by
imperial Moscow, it would quickly, if not instantaneously and almost
automatically, turn into a prosperous state and fill the ranks of Europe’s
advanced democracies.

This dream, phantasmagoria, utopia, and all-pervading illusion became, in
spite of its naivete, a purely Ukrainian national idea. Those who are now
seeking new intricate formulas tend to forget what 92 percent of the
Ukrainian electorate voted for: independence, well-being, democracy,
justice, and European choice.

And whatever the remaining Bolsheviks and heirs of Stalin may say, taunting
these naive Ukrainians (“Look at what your independence has brought us!”)
who believed in their dream, we, Ukrainian democrats, are convinced that the
people were not mistaken or deceived by the basic instinct for freedom.

Neither the sufferings of the millions of poverty- stricken Ukrainians in
the first years after the proclamation of independence, nor the collapse of
an ineffective and absurd centralized economy and semi-feudal collective
farming, nor energy problems, could kill the Ukrainian dream: on the
contrary, they made it even more pressing and indispensable.
2. DREAMS AND REALITY
The trouble is how the ruling elite has used the people’s mandate to
implement the Ukrainian dream.

For 15 years Ukraine has been running away from the empire, feeling the
hoarse breathing of its prisoner-convoy German shepherds and watching with
trepidation the hell that the empire’s Praetorian Guard is raising ever more
aggressively and openly in the political circuses and on the streets and
squares of Ukrainian cities.

The empire is now acting in a new guise of Eurasian oil and gas, where the
red star has an autocratic eagle, an Orthodox cross, and a Gazprom shut
valve inscribed in it.

But the organizational principles of the imperial space remain the same: a
single white tsar, omnipotent secret services, a single state-run radio and
television that can air pornographic programs but eschews free debate, and a
single imperial language that drives local “dialects” underground.

For 15 years a shameful act has been taking place before our eyes: the
government’s imitation of care for the people – a government that
deliberately robs people of fair wages, i.e., a considerable part of the
gross national product that belongs to them, a government that deliberately
hinders fair competition, stifles small and medium businesses, and carefully
raises and cherishes a clan of oligarchs, who transship the nation’s
hard-earned wealth offshore, thus strengthening foreign economies.

Look attentively at the past 15 years, and you will feel yourselves
witnesses of Ukraine’s centuries-old history, that sad national story in
which exalted spirit and sacrificial heroism fight against and most often
lose to a loutish bunch of venal bosses, atamans, and large and small
hetmans bent on grabbing a luscious morsel from the people’s table.

If you recall the political actors of the past 15 years, you will understand
why Kyivan Rus’ disintegrated, why Bohdan Khmelnytsky’s Cossack state did
not materialize, and why the Ukrainian National Republic ceased to exist.

Just remember the personal relationships among Mykhailo Hrushevsky,
Volodymyr Vynnychenko, and Symon Petliura, or the vaudeville-style entourage
of Pavlo Skoropadsky. What an immortal algorithm of self-depreciation and
vanity is instilled in our history and its characters!

The only reason why the gloomy predictions of the CIA and Moscow analysts
concerning the inevitable demise of the independent Ukrainian state (one,
two, or five years after the proclamation) did not come true was that the
Ukrainian people proved to have a very strong and flexible inner structure,
and they showed great reluctance to be part of the empire again.

A nation that has never liked or trusted any bosses, either the old
communist or the new pseudo- democratic ones, has preserved a powerful
potential for self-preservation: no matter how bad the Ukrainian government
may be, it is not as dangerous as the far-away, repressive, cold, and
merciless imperialist government that despises those khokhly with their
fatback and fertile soil.

Even the most kindhearted nation does not forgive scorn and contempt.
Casting their ballot papers, voters remembered very clearly who had
organized the Holodomor, the Siberian prison camps, nuclear saber-rattling,
and the occupation of other “friendly” countries.

As long as this genetic memory survives, Ukraine will never voluntarily
return to the empire.
3. REMINISCENCES AND COMPARISONS
The referendum anniversary was nevertheless marked: Ukraine House extolled
the first president of Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk, on Dec. 1, 2006. In the
audience were people who are truly aware of what Kravchuk did for Ukrainian
history.

Among the speakers were his comrades-in-arms, former prime ministers Vitold
Fokin and Yevhen Marchuk, and former members of parliament and ministers,
diplomats, and public figures.

But for some reason Kravchuk did not receive any greetings from the second
and third presidents of Ukraine. They must have forgotten. I wish they had
not because, in comparison with those who came to power after him, Leonid
Kravchuk will always remain a true democrat, a wise, tolerant, cautious, and
far-seeing politician – a genuine Ukrainian patriot.

He was the first to hear the subterranean roaring of the earthquake that was
brewing in the bowels of the USSR and which could destroy his people. The
Belovezhskaia pushcha agreement was the pinnacle of his life because Russia
alone, in the person of Boris Yeltsin, could not have – and what is more –
would not have wanted to destroy the rotten imperial building.

Fifteen years ago Kravchuk executed a true feat: he risked his own life,
raising his fist against the seemingly indestructible foundation of an
empire.

Accordingly, he incurred the deep hatred of his recent communist friends,
those who had lived by the laws of a criminal gang that never forgives the
one who has embarked on the path of truth.

Kravchuk’s next feat was his decision to call early elections without
resorting to the administrative resource during the election campaign,
renounce any dubious strong-arm tactics, and democratically transfer power
to Leonid Kuchma.

I remember how Kuchma’s entourage was baffled in 1995 when visiting US
President Bill Clinton asked them to arrange a brief meeting with Kravchuk:
he wanted to shake hands with the person who for the first (and perhaps the
last) time in the history of the CIS voluntarily transferred power to his
democratically elected successor.

After coming to power, Kuchma’s team immediately started showing signs of
the typically Soviet syndrome: to destroy the predecessor (morally, if not
physically).

At first accusing Kravchuk of every sin, Kuchma later saw that he was beset
by the same problems; that he, like the first president, was in the grip of
the same objective circumstances – so he changed wrath into grace.

Neither could Viktor Yushchenko and his “dear friends” escape this syndrome
of looking for enemies in the ranks of his predecessors. These weeds are
running riot today, as Viktor Yanukovych’s team bulldozes representatives of
the “alien” team out of its way.

The Democrat Clinton was not afraid to appoint Republican Senator William
Cohen as US defense secretary. Meanwhile, today’s Ukrainian politicians
uphold the opposite principle: discord, revenge, and a search for “public
enemies,” who must be made short work of and humiliated in every conceivable
way.

Can you imagine a minister of foreign affairs (the No. 2 or 3 man in the
governmental hierarchy of Western countries), still officially in office,
being stopped – in a rude, boorish, and tough-guy manner – from attending a
cabinet session? Can you believe that these people want to go to Europe? Who
will let them in?

The principle of the total political elimination of predecessors, now
sinking its roots in Ukraine, is setting a very dangerous precedent and is
extremely harmful to a state that suffers from an acute shortage of skilled
personnel.

The referendum’s 15th anniversary was also the subject of the international
roundtable debate “Moving Forward, Looking Back,” which was organized by the
embassies of Canada and Poland as well as the Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine:
it was the referendum that opened the doors of the international community
to Ukraine.

The participants of the roundtable recalled that Poland and Canada were the
first to give diplomatic recognition to independent Ukraine – on the second
day after the referendum and a few hours later, respectively. As a witness
and participant of those events, I can say that these first acts of
international recognition were of paramount importance to Ukraine.

It is difficult to overestimate the significance of these gestures: Poland
and Canada – in 1991 and today – are doing their utmost to lead us out of
the imperial space and help us join global processes.

Yevhen Marchuk, the former prime minister and defense minister of Ukraine,
delivered a brilliant and bitter speech at the conference, focusing on the
lessons of the past.

Asked why the Soviet Union, a mighty empire that had a powerful ruling party
and a strong repressive apparatus, collapsed, Marchuk said that the national
idea had come to the fore and suppressed proletarian internationalism.

In Marchuk’s view, Kravchuk, an experienced statesman, did a very wise thing
by refusing to follow in the wake of radicals, both leftists and rightists.

Kravchuk’s principle of “walking in between raindrops” worked far more
effectively in extreme conditions than any abrupt, provocative gestures.
Neither the communist fundamentalists nor the national radicals stood any
chance of state-building success in the conditions that emerged in 1991-92.

The 15 th anniversary of the referendum provokes deep reflections on the
role and destiny of Ukraine in the world as well as on the system within the
state.

The people who breathed the air of freedom in the 2004 Orange Revolution and
who have again fallen, like in 1991, under a spell of their own illusions
and hopes, will never forgive the “Orange ones” and their chief Maidan
showmen for their betrayal.

They will long remember that these politicians defiled their most exalted
dreams and hopes for justice.

The public is aware that political impotence, absence of strong governmental
willpower, and the petty struggle for power and money rather than for
Ukraine led the Orange team to open up a Pandora’s Box with their own hands
when they ignominiously lost to the “blue- white-reds” because of the
helplessness and inefficiency of the Maidan leaders.

Ukraine has again been swept by a murky wave of counterrevolution
brandishing the slogan of all-out revenge and witch hunting. They are trying
again to impose old imperial myths and an inferiority complex on society.

Back in fashion is provincial kowtowing to the Kremlin, where the winners
regularly go for reports and instructions, like their predecessors used to
visit the Communist Party’s Central Committee and the Council of Ministers
to obtain funds and coordinate ministerial appointments.

In the air hangs the pre-storm atmosphere of a creeping coup d’etat,
slippage toward authoritarianism, a radical change of domestic and foreign
policy, and departure from democratic gains.

Like all temporary and uncertain political upstarts, the “winners” are
trying to persuade society that they have come to power for a long time, if
not forever.

Following the example of Brezhnev-style Kremlin leaders, they are restoring
to power the most odious and compromised figures in order to create the
illusion of stability and their irreversible domination.

Why on earth do they need this? In democratic countries, ruling parties
mercilessly discard any compromised politicians and immediately replace them
with new, “clean” ones. For what matters most is the image of a party, not
the destiny of an individual son of a bitch.

In the 16th year after the referendum we must proclaim loudly: Ukraine is in
danger!

And the sooner the mechanism of parliamentary coalition changes implemented
by the authors of the constitutional amendments starts to work, the better
it will be for the country: this will reduce administrative pressure on the
real economy, which, as experience shows, has learned to work quite well
without governmental injunctions.

This will make the successors – those who will replace the Orange and the
White-Blue – more cautious in their words and actions.

Ukraine must have not a primitive, provincial copy of the imperial model but
a system of dynamic equilibrium that will take into account the interests of
this country’s different parts rather than of one clan enraged out a common
predatory reflex.

In his book Five Years of the Ukrainian Tragedy (1999) Marchuk wrote that a
certain category of high-ranking officials is provided with total impunity.
This kind of person becomes “one of us” and is easy to manipulate and
control. The author noted that this “controllability” is typical of the
underworld.

When the government is stupidly confident of its impunity, this may be fatal
for the state and society. The sooner it departs the scene, the better it
will be for Ukraine.
4. PRELIMINARY CONCLUSIONS
So are those 15 years since 1991 lost years? Are the hopes of all those who
voted for independence dashed?

No, we are different now. Ukraine and the world have changed beyond
recognition. What was once played as part of a worldwide bloody tragedy (the
history of Ukraine as part of an empire) today resembles a tragicomic farce
performed by provincial actors.

Indeed, Ukraine became an independent state, and it has managed to run quite
far away from the empire:

[1] For the first time in its centuries-long history, Ukraine has a powerful
mechanism for protecting its national interests as a state, a subject of
international law, recognized by the world community. The only problem lies
in the reasonable application of state levers;

[2] For the first time Ukraine has begun to identify its own national and
geopolitical goals instead of having to passively accept imposed
participation in the imperial games of “southwestern area” rulers;

[3] For the first time there is not only a theoretical but also a practical
opportunity to form the Ukrainian political nation in a consistent and
state-oriented way.

As Viacheslav Lypynsky once said, “Only in a separate Ukrainian state can
the Little Russian tribe be turned into the Ukrainian nation…We want a
Ukrainian State that embraces all the classes, languages, and tribes of the
Ukrainian Land;”

[4] For the first time conditions were created to form a Ukrainian political
elite that espouses the idea of statehood and Europeanness. Even today there
is a powerful state-minded intellectual potential in the person of
highly-educated young people, true Ukrainians who should be actively invited
into the government.

For the first time in hundreds of years people in Ukraine are not being
imprisoned or punished for loving their fatherland, for having an
independent opinion, or for devotion to European values – and very soon the
numbers of such individuals are going to grow into a new quality.

People may tell me that far from everything mentioned above has been
realized in Ukraine.

This is true, but we still have managed to do quite a lot in these 15 years.
Just look at old photographs and TV recordings and try to recall how we were
back in 1991 when we were isolated – in terms of borders, transportation,
information, etc. – from Europe.

Try to imagine the streets and cafes of our cities, the interiors of our
apartments, and, above all, our idea of ourselves and the world that existed
15 years ago, and you will see how far we have come since then.

Our main discovery is that we have understood that over these years the
authorities have been, with certain exceptions, worse, intellectually
poorer, and less moral than the people.

It is the authorities that slowed down our development and our movement
towards prosperity. The authorities have broken all kinds of records in a
wide-scale pilfering of the nation’s property, not in fair rule or economic
progress.

On Dec. 1, 1991, the people also voted for Purification. The Maidan gave a
new impulse to this mighty, irreversible process.

No matter who may slow down this process for some time, Purification is
looming and with it, Ukraine’s final liberation from the somber ghosts of
the empire.                                           -30-
———————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/174432/
———————————————————————————————–
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
16. RUSSIAN STATE RUN TV ACCUSES UKRAINIAN AUTHORITIES
        OF NEGLECT AND INCOMPETENCE REGARDING CRIMEA

BBC Monitoring research in English 19 Dec 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Russia’s state-run Rossiya TV channel has chastised the Ukrainian government
in a series of four special reports which portrayed the Crimean peninsula as
“a land in decay”.

Broadcast over the period 27-30 November, the reports accused the Ukrainian
authorities of neglect and incompetence as correspondent Dmitriy surveyed a
number of controversial issues which he believed to be crucial to Crimea’s
welfare and stability.

The peninsula’s ethnic Tatars and “new Ukrainians” were among the other
targets for criticism in the reports, each of which lasted more than five
minutes and featured in that day’s main primetime news bulletin.
[1] LAND GRABS
In the first of his reports, Kaystro examined efforts by members of various
ethnic groups to seize plots of land across Crimea and settle there.

“Land grabs became a Crimean reality 10 years ago,” he reported. “To start
with, there were isolated instances, but once it had turned into a mass
phenomenon, it was already too late.”

Kaystro’s report painted a picture of a peninsula riven by disputes over
land rights. Foremost among the ethnic groups involved are the Crimean
Tatars.

They were deported en masse to Central Asia and Siberia in 1944, and the few
hundred Kaystro said had returned since then “are now demanding land not
only for themselves but also each member of their family”.

His report also featured clips of remarks made by various parties to the
dispute, including an imam and the leader of a local pressure group opposed
to further Tatar settlement of the peninsula.

Brief mention was made of attempts by ethnic Russians to compete for land in
Crimea. However, Kaystro paid greater attention to suggestions that the
radical Islamist group Hezb-e Tahrir has seized land as part of a wider
expansion of its activities on the peninsula.

“Its plans include seizing the peninsula’s main roads and bays,” Kaystro
said. “It’s no surprise whatsoever that they’re trying to seize them… it
would be an excellent platform for an amphibious assault.”

The report left little doubt over who Kaystro felt was to blame for the
rising tide of land grabs, or his assessment of the extent of the problem.
“Two Crimeas, two realities – the one you find in glossy travel guides, and
this one,” he observed.

“While local authorities are weak and often corrupt, while the authorities
in Kiev remain completely unwilling to change anything, the peninsula is
simply being pilfered piece by piece. And while Crimea was once known as a
powder keg, now it’s seen as a land in decay.”
[2] HOLIDAY HOMES
Kaystro’s second report looked at holiday homes and other properties built
by rich Ukrainians in areas of historical significance and natural beauty in
Crimea. Presenter Mariya Sittel’s introduction set the tone.

“Of course, Crimea is de jure an autonomous region within Ukraine. But de
facto the peninsula is inextricably linked to Russian history and culture,”
she remarked. “Protected areas are disappearing from the face of the Crimean
land, and the earth itself is vanishing beneath piles of construction waste
and bulldozers.”

“New Ukrainians” were the main target of Kaystro’s report as he accused them
of following “an infectious Crimean fashion” by hiring developers to build
their properties in the middle of nature reserves.

In the most glaring example of this trend, Kaystro said the site of a former
concentration camp used to house Jews during the Second World War had been
fenced off and a penthouse had been built “right on their bones”.

The Ukrainian authorities also came in for criticism. Kaystro gently mocked
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko’s permanent representative in Crimea,
Hennadiy Moskal, who was shown voicing indignation at the construction
projects.

The correspondent undermined Moskal’s remarks by suggesting the envoy had
spoken “as if he has nothing to do with any of this”. Moskal’s claim to know
who was responsible for all the holiday homes was also met with something
approaching ridicule.

“Both he and other senior officials say they know who did this,” Kaystro
said. “They are almost mythical officials on the take, although without
surnames or titles, over whom no authority can be exerted.”

Kaystro concluded his report by appealing to his viewers’ sense of
nostalgia. “What is happening on the peninsula is being described as the
start of a funeral for old Crimea, which all of us, regardless of national
borders, would appear to have lost,” he mused. “Judging by the pace being
set by these adventurous people from the authorities and from business, soon
there will be nothing left of Crimea to carve up.”
[3] SEVASTOPOL
Ethnic Russians living in Sevastopol, home of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, were
portrayed as a people “under siege” in the third of Kaystro’s reports.

The correspondent used the threatened closure of Trans-M, Crimea’s most
popular Russian-language radio station, as an opportunity to explore other
possible examples of alleged discrimination against ethnic Russians living
in the city and elsewhere in the peninsula.

“They’re trying to force the peninsula to talk and listen only to
Ukrainian,” said the presenter introducing the report. “Far worse, Russian
residents of Sevastopol are being threatened with physical violence.”

Clips of interviews used by Kaystro in his report reinforced the perception
that ethnic Russians were being mistreated and disenfranchised.

They included Trans-M listeners protesting against the “excesses”
perpetrated in the name of the Ukrainian language, complaints from the
chairman of Trans-M’s board of founders, claims by a leader of the ethnic
Russian community in Sevastopol that the Ukrainian authorities have launched
a concerted campaign to make the city more Ukrainian, and a local councillor
railing against suggestions that some monuments dating back to the Tsarist
period should be removed.

None of the clips featured any opposing view or any defence of Ukrainian
policy, whether at federal or local level.

Kaystro concluded his report on Sevastopol by reviving an image used in his
previous report on the construction of holiday homes in Crimea. He conjured
up the emotive picture of houses being built “by the so-called local elite”
on the bones of dead men, in this case Soviet soldiers killed during the
Second World War.

“Not just thousands but tens of thousands died here,” he said. “Their
remains were simply churned up by bulldozers, in order to build these
cheerful houses and lattice-work fences.”
[4] MUSEUMS IN DISREPAIR
The final report in the four-part series accused the Ukrainian authorities
of neglecting Crimea’s cultural heritage.

It focused on the plight of a number of tourist attractions that have fallen
into disrepair, including a museum dedicated to Russian playwright Anton
Chekhov and the historic Livadiya Palace in Yalta.

Kaystro revisited two themes he had touched upon in his earlier dispatches.
Rich Ukrainians, he suggested, were damaging the island’s heritage by buying
up properties of historical significance.

“First they temporarily occupy estates once owned by the old Russian
nobility, then they skilfully establish ownership over them – and this time
forever.”

He also implied that the Ukrainian authorities, including President Viktor
Yushchenko himself, were lending their backing to the Crimean Tatars as a
bulwark against other ethnic and cultural influences in the peninsula,
including ethnic Russians, Bulgarians, Greeks and Armenians.

The report’s concluding remarks confirmed the overall tenor of Kaystro’s
reporting on Crimea. He looked back over all four of his dispatches and
warned of external forces intent on disrupting the peninsula’s delicate
cultural and political balance.

“It seems that the political grandmasters in Kiev and other important global
centres really do need an unstable Crimea, affected by corruption, ethnic
issues, land sales and a dying culture,” he reflected. “It’s an ideal place
for political anglers waiting for a major catch by the Black Sea.”
———————————————————————————————–

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
17.   DOCUMENTARY FILM PROJECT “LIFE IN THE DEAD ZONE”
 About the elderly survivors currently living in the Chornobyl exclusion zone

Irene Zabytko, Producer, Writer
Life In The Dead Zone: A Writer Visits Chernobyl
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #799, Article 17
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dear Friends,

This is a brief hello and to let you know that we are currently in the midst
of producing LIFE IN THE DEAD ZONE, a documentary about the elderly
survivors currently living in the Chornobyl exclusion zone.

The documentary is based on my novel, The Sky Unwashed, and will feature

the real life people who returned to live in their irradiated villages within
the “dead zone” area surrounding the nuclear power plant that exploded on
April 26, 1986.

Peter Mychalcewycz, the director, and myself will travel to the “dead zone”
near Chornobyl and to one of those evacuated Ukrainian villages to film the
people who are still inhabiting their homes despite the radiation. We will
witness how they are living their lives in the most contaminated place on
the planet.

In addition, our film will also be including dramatic reenactments taken
from my book. When you scroll down, you’ll see the Synopsis for our film
which explains our project in more detail.

Once we get on the road to Chornobyl, I will share the adventures and
progress via my new blog which will be posted on our website (currently
under construction).

The hard part is getting on that road. We are soliciting funds for this film
project which will be in four categories:

[1] Our first goal for LIFE IN THE DEAD ZONE will be traveling to Kyiv and
Chornobyl for a research trip (for location shots, meeting the people who
will interviewed, going through the archival footage to use in our film
etc.). We have received some donations including a State of Florida Artists

Grant, but we are still a long way from reaching our financial target of $9,000+.
[2] Our second goal is to begin formal shooting in Chornobyl hopefully in
spring, 2007.
[3] The third goal is to travel to Canada and shoot the dramatic
reenactments taken directly from my novel and segue these scenes with the
non-fiction ones of the actual Chornobyl inhabitants.
[4] Our last goals will be post-production (film-editing) and distribution.

                 HELP US GET ON THE ROAD TO CHORNOBYL!!
Movies, even low-budget documentaries are expensive. Besides travel and
accommodations (and these are not at all luxurious!), film production costs
tend to run high.

Camera, lighting and sound equipment, personnel, post-production costs,
insurance (imperative–otherwise we can’t shoot anywhere) and many other
related costs are all a necessary part of the budget before, during and
after shooting.

We are continuously fundraising and generous contributors including the
State of Florida “Artist’s Enhancement Grant” (for a pre-production research
travel trip to Kyiv) are flowing in. But we are only at the beginning…

Will you help us get us on the road to Chornobyl? Will you help us bring the
stories of the real life survivors of one of the worst environmental
disasters in the world?

The Chornobyl disaster still devastates and impacts not only the villagers
who returned, but our entire planet. By watching their lives unfold on film,
we will see not only their survival and strength and spirit, but also how
such horrific catastrophes must be avoided.

Film is the best way to remind the world that we cannot allow another
Chornobyl to ever occur again, and we believe that Life in the Dead Zone
will educate, enlighten and impact millions of viewers in movie theaters and
in classrooms throughout the world.

All donations are welcome and with your help, we will get this important
project underway and completed.

We are a non-profit 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization and your donations will
be tax-deductible with the added benefit that our thanks to you will be
eternal and you will receive good karma, blessings, and the knowledge that
you are participating in a landmark and important film project. Plus, we’ll
put your name on the film credits!

Please make out your checks to: THE UKRAINIAN ARTISTIC CENTER
2657 W. Iowa Street, First Floor, Chicago, IL 60622-4755
Please earmark it as: “CHORNOBYL FILM”

THANK YOU!! DIAKUYU!!!

If you need more information, have questions, concerns, ideas and of course
cheering on, drop me an e-mail.

Meanwhile, all very best wishes for the holidays and beyond.
Peace out and within,

Irene Zabytko, Producer, Writer
LIFE IN THE DEAD ZONE

P.S. If you have made a contribution, THANK YOU again! If you pledged but
haven’t done the deed yet, could you take a moment and send on your donation
while it’s on your mind? Much appreciated!
————————————————————————————————–
                 SYNOPSIS OF THE FILM DOCUMENTARY
       “LIFE IN THE DEAD ZONE: A Writer Visits Chornobyl”
By Irene Zabytko

In 2000, I published a novel called The Sky Unwashed (Algonquin Books of
Chapel Hill) which is about a group of elderly women who returned to their
deserted and highly contaminated village in the “dead zone,” the areas
surrounding the Chornobyl (Ukrainian transliteration of “Chernobyl”) nuclear
power plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident.

Those surrounding, mostly rural areas were highly irradiated after the core
of reactor number four exploded on April 26, 1986 at 1:23 a.m. causing
fires, a nuclear meltdown, and sending out a radioactive cloud that
blanketed Ukraine, Belarus, Scandinavia and Western Europe.

The official Soviet death toll was 31 people; however it is assumed that the
more truthful toll is around 25,000. The Ukrainian Health Ministry now
estimates that 2.4 million Ukrainians suffer various health problems from
exposure that is most probably linked to this disaster.

My novel is based on a newspaper article that I came across in the August 5,
1990 issue of “The Ukrainian Weekly” a few years after the explosion.

The article documented and featured how several elderly people chose to
return to Opachichi, a village near Chornobyl, to reclaim and live in their
ancestral abandoned homes despite a government ban of anyone living in the
“dead zone” the 30 kilometer radius surrounding Chornobyl which is made up
of several abandoned villages.

Since the article’s publication in 1990, more elderly have since returned
and are still living there on their pensions despite the fact that Chornobyl
is among the most radioactive area on the planet-the fallout damage being
roughly the equivalent of 400 Hiroshima nuclear bombs (The Guardian, April
26, 2006).

In 1992, a year after Ukraine declared its independence from the Soviet
Union, I was teaching English in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capitol, and situated about
60 miles from Chornobyl. All of my students were affected since someone they
knew exhibited unusual illnesses such as lymphoma, thyroid disorders, and
birth defects.

Many of the people I came to know in my daily life there were also touched
by this catastrophe–from my host family (who were nuclear physicists,
ironically enough, and who tried to warn people in Kyiv about the
catastrophe), to the old babusi i.e., the old women in the open air bazaars
I witnessed who sold their prized mushrooms and flowers without openly
admitting that they were once residents from Chornobyl and insisted that
their merchandise was “clean.”

I was eager to visit Opachichi in particular and to see for myself if there
were any inhabitants and survivors since I was writing my novel at the time.
Some of my students offered to help, and we rented a cab.

The driver was reluctant to take us to the dead zone unless we paid him a
substantial bribe. I gave him my Swatch-watch, and we almost made it to the
zone’s interior before a policeman stopped us and told us to leave “before
we got cancer.”

Soon after, I returned home to the States where I completed my novel, The
Sky Unwashed which features the elderly Chornobyl survivors returning to a
fictional village modeled after Opachichi.

Like the real life survivors, my characters were determined to return to
their homes because they had no where else to go, and they desired to die on
their land despite the contamination.

On February 17, 2005, on the National Public Radio program, “Morning
Edition,” the reporter Lawrence Sheets visited Opachichi and discovered that
many people continued living there 14 years after the accident (as was
foreshadowed in my novel). Over the years, I have also read several press
accounts about these people nicknamed samosels, who had returned to their
homes.

According to Volodymyr Kholosha, Ukraine’s Vice Minister of Emergencies in
his address on April 28, 2006 at the United Nations commemorative assembly
marking the 20th anniversary of Chornobyl, three million people were
affected, ten per cent of Ukraine’s land was irradiated, and 164,000 people
were relocated following the accident (The Ukrainian Weekly, May 7, 3006).

In this documentary, I will–at last–visit the elderly in their homes
preferably in the village of Opachichi which is a small community of these
survivors.

My purpose is to meet with two, or at the most three households, and film
their daily lives, to hear their stories of what happened to them during and
after the nuclear reactor exploded at Chornobyl hear why they chose to
return, and to see how they are surviving.

I am especially interested to learn about their health concerns, how they
get their supplies, what do they do to stave off boredom, what food do they
consume and where does it come from, how are they connected to the outside
world (is there electricity at least for a television or radio), what
rituals do they celebrate, what chores or jobs do they do all day, what
community-related activities do they have?

Interspersed with the documentary footage, dramatic reenactments from my
novel The Sky Unwashed will be featured that parallels the lives of the real
inhabitants. Throughout, I will provide personal narratives comparing my
book to the real life people of Opachichi.

In my novel my fictional characters do not fare well. I want to see whether
the real life people do.                                    -30-
———————————————————————————————–
[return to index] Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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