AUR#805 Jan 15 Ukraine’s Power Battle Continues; 12th Century Relic Threatened; Ukraine’s Space Pioneer Korolyov; Armenia; Potemkin’s Villages

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Associated Press, Moscow, Russia, Friday, Jan 12 2007

Journal Staff Report, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, January 14, 2007

By Yulia Kyseliova, UCIPR analyst, Research Update, Vol. 13, No 1/473
Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research (UCIPR)
Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, January 13, 2007

By Roman Olearchyk in Kiev, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Saturday, January 13, 2007

Scholar fears Church of St. Cyril in Kyiv is the latest victim of political intrigue.
By Olenka Z. Pevny, PhD., Faculty member, Univ of Richmond, VA
Department of Art & Art History, specializing in Late Antique,
Byzantine and Medieval art history.
BRAMA.COM, New York, New York, Thursday, January 11, 2007

Itar-Tass, Moscow/Kiev, Friday, January 12, 2007


By Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press
Moscow, Russia, Friday, January 12, 2007

By William Atkins, ITWire, Australia, Monday, 15 January 2007

Man who designed the world’s first satellite, Sputnik and put first man in
space. He was sent as Convict N1442 to the gold mines of one of the most
feared parts of the Gulag labour camps the Kolyma region of eastern Siberia.
By Patrick Jackson, BBC News, United Kingdom, Friday, January 12 2007

Born in Ukraine in 1906, educated in Odessa, Kiev, and Moscow

A story of two brothers caught in Stalin’s hellish penal system.
Book World, The Washington Post,
Washington, D.C., Sunday, January 14, 2007; Page BW03

Ambitious project stirs emotions among widely varied communities.
By Peter Hecht – Bee Capitol Bureau
Sacramento, California, Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The International Criminal Court Is Complicating Efforts to Save Darfur
By Stephen Rademaker, The Washington Post
Washington, D.C.Thursday, January 11, 2007; Page A25

Exposing the denial of all genocide
Capitol Hill Screening of ‘SCREAMERS’ at Jan. 17th, 2007

Turkish Daily News, Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, January 9, 2007

NY Times refers to Armenian genocide as historical fact
By Harut Sassounian, Publisher, The California Courier
AZG Armenian Daily, Thursday, January 11, 2007

INTERVIEW: With Oleksandr Shyshka About History of Lviv
By Iryna Yehorova, The Day Weekly Digest #41
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What do we know about this Kyivan Rus’ hero of legends and history?
By Volodymyr Hrypas, The Day Weekly Digest #41
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

How Russian Empress Catherine II observed “Potemkin’s villages” in Ukraine
By Ihor Siundiukov, The Day Weekly Digest #41
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Associated Press, Moscow, Russia, Friday, Jan 12 2007

MOSCOW – Ukraine’s parliament on Friday overrode a presidential veto of
legislation that strengthens the powers of the premier, a move the
president’s supporters warned would destabilize the balance of power in this
ex-Soviet republic.

Lawmakers summoned 366 votes to override President Viktor Yushchenko’s
veto of a bill outlining the powers of the Cabinet of Ministers – well above
the 300 needed. At the same time, parliament rejected all 42 of Yushchenko’s
proposals to change the bill.

The bill was supposed to help clarify the division of power between the
president’s office and the premier’s Cabinet, but Yushchenko complained that
instead it just strengthened Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, Yushchenko’s
rival from the 2004 Orange Revolution protests.

“This law voids the principle of ‘restraint and counterbalance,”‘ Yushchenko’s
party said in a statement, calling the vote “an anti-constitutional upheaval.”

Yushchenko and Yanukovych share power in an awkward arrangement that
initially was billed as an effort to unite Ukraine, but instead has turned
into a tug-of-war for control. The constitutional changes that created the
power-sharing arrangement are sprinkled with contradictions and ambiguities,
making it unclear who should hold the upper hand in many decisions.

Yanukovych’s governing coalition holds a majority in parliament, but it has
less than the minimum 300 needed for an override. For the second time in a
week, however, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s bloc joined the
coalition, giving it the necessary votes.

In return, the coalition agreed to tentatively support a separate bill that
guarantees the rights of the political opposition.

Tymoshenko, who has vowed to bring down Yanukovych’s government,
defended her party’s decision to vote for the measure, saying it was needed
to help end the conflict brewing between the president’s office and the

“We are strictly holding to our positions, but to continue this conflict,
this chaos and disorder … a line must be drawn under this,” she said in
remarks posted on her Web site.

A Yushchenko adviser said the president would refuse to sign the Cabinet
bill into law, and would instead appeal to the Constitutional Court,
Ukrainska Pravda website reported. -30-

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

Journal Staff Report, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, January 14, 2007

KIEV – Ukraine moved a step closer to the constitutional crisis on Friday
when Parliament had overwhelmingly voted to approve a law that dramatically
reduces powers of the president.

The law, pushed for by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, was also backed by
opposition lawmakers loyal to former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko,
allowing Parliament to overcome a veto from President Viktor Yushchenko.

The law, approved by 366 lawmakers in the 450-seat legislature, is part of a
deal between Yanukovych and Tymoshenko that is apparently aimed at
marginalizing the president and his party.

“This alliance has clearly an anti-presidential nature,” Volodymyr Fesenko,
the head of the Penta political consultancy, said.

Yanukovych and Yushchenko had been battling for control over the country’s
foreign policy since early August when Yanukovych was approved as the prime

But Tymoshenko’s joining forces with Yanukovych is a major setback for
Yushchenko that may completely re-shape the country’s political landscape
and even change the foreign policy course.

“What happened is a complete usurpation of power, complete elimination of
powers of the president,” Yuriy Lutsenko, Yushchenko’s advisor and a former
internal affairs minister, said. “Now we’re back to 1999 when Ukraine has
lived under one center approving all decisions.”

The law allows the pro-government coalition to appoint ministers of foreign
affairs and defense if the president fails to nominate them within 15 days.
It also allows the coalition to nominate the prime minister if the president
fails to do so within 15 days after the coalition has been formed.

Yushchenko criticized the law, which he said brings in “a disbalance to the
Ukrainian system of power.” He suggested that he will probably send an
appeal to the Constitutional Court asking to cancel some of the law’s
controversial clauses.

“Most likely and most effective [solution] would be to review by the
Constitutional Court those clauses of the law that come in conflict with the
constitution,” Yushchenko said on Sunday. “A wider response would be the
area of amending the constitution.”

The approval of the law came two days after Yanukovych and Yushchenko had
apparently agreed to work together to prevent the looming crisis by jointly
amending the constitution. But Yanukovych has apparently changed his mind
after Tymoshenko had indicated her lawmakers would help the pro-government
coalition to overcome the veto.

“All political agreements have been failed,” Arseniy Yatseniuk, a deputy
chief of staff at the Yushchenko office, said on Friday.

As part of the deal with Tymoshenko, lawmakers loyal to Yanukovych voted to
approve a bill that may officially declare Tymoshenko the leader of the
opposition in Ukraine.

Tymoshenko has been competing with Our Ukraine, Yushchenko’s party, for
the role of the leading opposition force after Our Ukraine officials had quit
the Yanukovych government several months ago.

The approved bill would marginalize Our Ukraine by effectively promoting a
two-party political system in Ukraine that may be dominated by Yanukovych’s
Regions Party and Tymoshenko’s group.

Another bill approved by the Yanukovych-Tymoshenko alliance on Friday may
help Tymoshenko regain control over the Kiev city council. The bill allows a
party to expel lawmakers from local councils if they vote against the party
line. (tl/ez) -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

By Yulia Kyseliova, UCIPR analyst, Research Update, Vol. 13, No 1/473
Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research (UCIPR)
Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, January 13, 2007

It seems that Ukrainian politicians are still walking through a labyrinth of
relations and contradictions attempting to overcome the presidential veto
on the law “On the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine”.

This is evidenced by cautious statements by the First Deputy Head of the
Presidential Secretariat Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who disregarding a six-month
silence of the Constitutional Court commented on the document as saying,
“Because of the unconstitutional nature of the law on the Cabinet the
President of Ukraine is obliged to apply to the Constitutional Court for
recognizing the whole number of its provisions unconstitutional.”

According to Mr. Yatsenyuk, this will probably happen on Monday, January
15, as none of the 42 presidential amendments have been approved.

Meanwhile, it is more than traditional for Ukrainian politics, especially
after five-hour talks between the Prime Minister, the Speaker and the
President of Ukraine and a joint press conference on consolidation of
efforts and attainment of understanding.

There are no illusions about joint roundtables and public debates to be
heard by political forces building their thoroughgoing policy without taking
its consequences into account.
Presently, V. Yanukovych got the thread of Ariadne that would help
governmental agencies out of the labyrinth of crises. The law on the Cabinet
actually abolishes the political role of the Ukrainian President and
minimizes his influence on the process of policy-making and implementation.

Only two Articles of the law regulate the President-Cabinet relationship.
According to these Articles, the Cabinet of Ministers shall be responsible
to the President pursuant to the Constitution of Ukraine and shall base its
actions on presidential decrees issued on the basis of the Constitution.

Acts of the President of Ukraine issued within the limits of powers
indicated in Article 106, Paragraphs 5, 18, 21 and 23 of the Constitution
shall be signed by the Prime Minister and a minister responsible for
implementation of a respective act.

So, this is what is called countersigning. Though, its procedure is not set
at all. Theoretically, nothing changed as to designation of the Prime

Article 8 indicates that the Head of the government shall be designated by
the Verkhovna Rada upon a relevant proposal of the President of Ukraine. The
President shall put forward the proposal to the coalition of factions in the
Verkhovna Rada not later than 15 days after he received a proposal for

Should the Verkhovna Rada reject a candidature for the Prime Minister’s
office, the President of Ukraine shall, not later than 15 days following the
proposal, present a new candidature to the Verkhovna Rada for consideration
In other words, the President is deprived of the right to influence the
parliament in this aspect.

Also, he has no influence on personnel principles as to his quota in the
government because offices of members of the Cabinet are political ones, to
which the law on the public service is not applied. Hence, from now on,
court judgments on illegitimacy of a decision to resign any minister shall
be just a waste of time.

From now on, the Cabinet, on its own initiative or following presidential
decrees, shall have the permission to make proposals and develop drafts of
respective laws and acts of the President.

In other words, the Cabinet shall work for the President and the Council of
National Security and Defense of Ukraine (CNSD) because officials of the
CNSD, the Presidential Secretariat, advisory and other agencies and services
set up by the President have no right to give orders to the Cabinet of
Ministers, its members and interfere with their activity.

From now on, any inquiry for information about compliance or non-compliance
with any presidential decree may be regarded as interference. Also, members
of the Cabinet of Ministers and chairmen of other executive authorities may
not belong to and other agencies and services set up by the President.

This also theoretically limits opportunities of the Ukrainian President to
hold even trivial consultations, say, on the level of presidential

The Cabinet Action Program shall be approved not by a law but by a
resolution of the Verkhovna Rada. Hence, all the President can do is just to
read this document, if interested.

Meanwhile, there are provisions that vest the Cabinet with wide powers, for
instance, in shaping foreign political strategies.

In the area of foreign policy, the Cabinet of Ministers shall ensure, within
its powers,
[1] foreign policy of Ukraine;
[2] develop and approve programs in this field;
[3] coordinate programs for the stay of official foreign delegations
composed of members of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and other
relevant documents; and ensure, pursuant to the law on international
[4] solution of issues concerning signing and implementation of Ukraine’s
international agreements and treaties.

According to Article 45 of the law on the Cabinet, the Prime Minister shall
head activity of the Cabinet of Ministers, ensure implementation of Ukraine’s
domestic and foreign policy, the Cabinet Action Programs approved by the
Verkhovna Rada and execution of other powers of the Cabinet.

Any reference to constitutional rights and duties of the President of
Ukraine in this field is absent in the document.
Provisions of Article 43 on relationship of the Cabinet of Ministers and
public associations are especially interesting in the context of cooperation
of power with the third sector and civil society development.

Under the law, the Cabinet directly or through executive authorities shall
ensure the execution of legitimate rights of public associations and
consider their proposals within its competence.

However, there are some interesting nuances. Article 3, Paragraph 2 reads,
“Interference of any agencies, officials, enterprises, organizations and
public associations with decisions on issues within the competence of the
Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine shall be prohibited.”

In this respect, issues relating to activity of public councils founded by
the Yanukovych’s government under Kuchma are especially technological as
any criticism or elements of public control may be interpreted as
Politics means not only powers and PR but also the opportunity to manage the
national budget. Article 30, Paragraph 2 governs that presentation of the
Verkhovna Rada with drafts on changes to the law “On the National Budget of
Ukraine” falls under the sole discretion of the Cabinet of Ministers.

So, it is not the President’s concern as well but doesn’t it run counter to
the legislative initiative of Ukrainian MPs? In the budget context, issues
regulating relations with local self-government bodies are also rather

For instance, under Article 42, the Cabinet of Ministers shall have the
permission to present the Verkhovna Rada with draft laws on granting some
executive powers to local self-government bodies and simultaneously submit
proposals to fund the execution of such powers completely from the national
budget or by transfer of some national taxes to local budgets and transfer
of state-owned units to the communal ownership or the use of local
self-government bodies.

It is interesting whether respective rules of the law will be applied to all
the regions of Ukraine and transfer of what executive powers to local
self-government bodies is meant.

Could it potentially increase tension between executive leadership from the
opposition and public councils? Could it create more opportunities for
corruption and local confrontations?
It has to be mentioned that according to its general philosophy, the law
transforms Ukraine not into a parliamentary but into a kind of a “Premier’s
republic”. From now on, the Prime Minister of Ukraine actually has absolute
power concerning both strategy and implementation of a manpower policy. This
encompasses 13 powers.

We shall wait and see whether the number 13 will be lucky for our Premier.
For example, the Prime Minister shall submit candidacies for designation to
and dismissal from the office of chairmen of local state administrations to
the Cabinet.

What if these candidatures do not coincide with those nominated by the
President? He also controls proposals of ministers to designate or dismiss
their first deputies and deputies.

The Premier has other powers provided for by the Constitution of Ukraine,
this and other laws. See the full text of the law on the Cabinet of
Ministers of Ukraine on the site of the Verkhovna Rada at
Nevertheless, notwithstanding provisions of the above law, a major bonus of
the Yanukovych’s team includes not only the number and quality of new powers
of the Prime Minister but also the constitutional majority in the parliament
received due to support of the first violin of the opposition Yulia

Cooperation has begun this year, when the Verkhovna Rada overcame the
presidential veto on the law “On Introduction of Changes to the Land Code of
Ukraine Concerning a Moratorium on Prohibition of the Sale of Agricultural
Land before Adoption of Respective Legislative Acts”.

367 out of 438 MPs voted for the veto, including 185 MPs from the Party of
the Regions, 20 – the Communist Party, 31 – the Socialist Party, 120 – Yulia
Tymoshenko’s bloc and 5 – Our Ukraine.

The next step was overcoming the presidential veto on the law on
introduction of changes to the law of Ukraine on banks and banking with the
assistance of MPs from Yulia Tymoshenko’s bloc, whose votes contributed to
positive solution of the situation.

A vote of January 12, 2007, when the Verkhovna Rada overcame the
presidential veto on the law “On the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine” became
a real culmination compared only to events surrounding formation of the
anti-crisis coalition.

366 out of 370 MPs gave their votes for such a decision, inclusive of 186
MPs from the Party of the Regions, 121 – Yulia Tymoshenko’s bloc,31 – the
Socialist Party and 21 – the Communist Party.

Our Ukraine has left the session as a protest against the overridden
presidential veto on the law “On the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine” and
later on made a statement about betrayal of the Tymoshenko’s bloc.

An agreement on joint actions in respective direction between the Tymoshenko’s
bloc and the coalition was emphasized. Yulia Tymoshenko received the first
reading of the law on the opposition and an imperative mandate for deputies
of local councils.

Later on, she pointed out no possibility of fundamental cooperation between
its bloc and the Party of the Regions.

She underlined that her bloc was ready to vote for legislative acts
necessary to settle certain issues, e.g. the laws on the opposition,
imperative mandate and social regulations, together with the Party of the
Regions interpreting such cooperation “not as a joint strategic but as a
concurrent vote”.

At the same time, such joint voting might represent variations on the topic
of changes in the Constitution and language policy.

Given the situation, the Yanukovych’s team has trump cards in this boring
game, especially after joining of the Tymoshenko’s bloc. Though, will its
leader win because life doesn’t stand still and that a way out of the
labyrinth has been found. It seems that we are in for many other battles
with local Minotaurs. -30-
For more details about the Research Update, please contact the UCIPR
e-mail: Contact persons – Yulia Tyshchenko and
Kostyantyn Mykhailychenko.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

By Roman Olearchyk in Kiev, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Saturday, January 13, 2007

In a major blow to Ukraine’s pro-western president, Viktor
Yushchenko, the country’s parliament on Friday boosted the authority
of the government headed by his arch-rival, Viktor Yanukovich, prime

Legislators overcame a presidential veto to pass legislation that
increases the authority of Mr Yanukovich’s government, marginalising
the presidency. The law is a turning point in a power struggle
between the pair.

The two leaders have been locked in a political tussle since the
Orange Revolution of 2004, clashing over top government posts as well
as foreign and domestic policy since Mr Yanukovich assumed the
premiership last year.

Mr Yushchenko’s allies described the law as an attempt to “usurp”
power in the country.

Backed by a majority of legislators and enjoying the support of Yulia
Tymoshenko’s opposition bloc, Mr Yanukovich’s governing coalition
mustered more than the two-thirds support required to override the

In return, Ms Tymoshenko garnered support for a law granting the
opposition oversight over the government and another bill permitting
parties to eject members from parliament and regional legislative
bodies as punishment for voting against the party line.

The latter is expected to help Ms Tymoshenko’s camp halt the exodus
of legislators from its faction and to form a majority in the city
council in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital.

Ms Tymoshenko, a firebrand politician, played a major role in
mustering support for Mr Yushchenko during the 2004 presidential
elections, but their relations soured after was sacked as prime
minister in 2005.

The votes came as a surprise. Days earlier Mr Yushchenko and Mr
Yanukovich appeared to have mapped out plans for a compromise on
cabinet appointments.

The new law undermines presidential authority in several key areas.
It authorises the government to rebut decisions by regional officials
appointed by the president. It also limits Mr Yushchenko’s authority
over the foreign, interior and defence ministries.

An aide to Mr Yushchenko said the law violates twelve constitutional
norms and promised to challenge it through a constitutional court.

Oles Dony, a political analyst in Kiev, said: “This situation is
proof of the continuation of dangerous tendencies in Ukraine’s
political arena, namely the lack of transparency, the inability to
stick with political agreements reached, repeated backroom dealings
and violations in voting procedures.”

Mr Yanukovich, who suffered a humiliating defeat in the 2004
presidential elections despite Russian backing, staged a remarkable
comeback last August after Mr Yushchenko nominated him as prime
minister in an attempt to end four months of political paralysis.

Mr Yushchenko secured safeguards for his pro-western agenda, namely
swift integration with the European Union, Nato and the World Trade
Organization. His allies have since accused Mr Yanukovich of stalling
reforms and blocking Ukraine’s integration with the west.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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Scholar fears Church of St. Cyril in Kyiv is the
latest victim of political intrigue.

By Olenka Z. Pevny, PhD., Faculty member, Univ of Richmond, VA
Department of Art & Art History, specializing in Late Antique,
Byzantine and Medieval art history.
BRAMA.COM, New York, New York, Thursday, January 11, 2007

Alarming news has come from colleagues in Kyiv regarding the preservation
of Ukraine’s most important twelfth-century monument – the Church of St.
Cyril of Alexandria (Kyrylivs’ka tserkva).

Through a series of what appear to be deliberately devious actions it
appears that the Church of St. Cyril, which was part of the Cultural
Preserve of the Cathedral of St. Sofiia – a UNESCO site, has been deprived
of its protective status and a free hand is being given to the Ukrainian
Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOCMP) to remodel the
interior of the monument.

This includes the overpainting of murals by such prominent
nineteenth-century artists as M. Vrubel and M. Murashko, and, even more
significantly, the desecration of unique 12th century frescoes.

Among the truly irreplaceable compositions in the church is the life cycle
of the 5th century Patriarch of Alexandria, St. Cyril. Images from the life
of this saint occupy the entire east apse of the Kyivan church and
constitute the only representation of the life of this church father in the

Without exaggeration, the Church of St. Cyril is the most important 12th
century monument in Ukraine. Its medieval frescoes are unparalleled not only
in terms of Kyivan Rus’ visual culture, but also in the context of Middle
Byzantine art.

The Church of St. Cyril of Alexandrian is a monumental princely foundation
built by either the Princess Maria Mstyslavivna or her husband Prince
Vsevolod Ol’hovych (r. 1139-1147). It served as the burial chapel of Maria
and her offsprings.

The medieval frescoes of the Church of St. Cyril are the only specimens of
monumental 12th century Orthodox iconography to survive in the former Rus’
(see Kievan Rus’ – History of Ukraine) and present Ukrainian capital city,

Together with the Church of the Savior in the Mirozh Monastery in Pskov,
Russia, they comprise the most important examples of medieval monumental
painting executed in the Byzantine tradition to survive in East Slavic

Notwithstanding several recent publications about the Kyrylivs’ka tserkva,
the monument remains gravely understudied.

It has never been thoroughly or professionally photographed, the
inscriptions have not been analyzed by paleographers, and the dedication
and medieval images have never been considered in the context of broader
Byzantine or local Rus’ developments.

There are so few actual medieval monuments remaining in Ukraine and even
fewer with iconographic evidence from the Kyivan Rus’ period that preserving
the Kyrylivs’ka tserkva is a cultural priority.

According to colleagues in Kyiv the current crisis unfolded in the following
manner. A few years ago (2004?) the Church of St. Cyril was quietly removed
from the highly protected list of the Cathedral of St. Sofiia Cultural
Preserve, clearing the way for its ultimate transfer to the Ukrainian
Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.

In a recent church newsletter an official of the UOCMP complained about the
Vrubel oil paintings not being ‘iconic’ enough, and that museum restrictions
prevent the burning of candles required for proper Orthodox services.

The UOCMP hierarchy also expressed displeasure with the frescoes claming
that they are not inspiring enough and are not reflective of the UOCMP
dogma. Voicing such complaints, the ecclesiastics declared their desire to
repaint the interior.

It appears that Ukrainian laws governing historical sites can be manipulated
so as to allow the church building to be removed from the list of historical
sites following an official assessment and inventory of its worth.

This apparently already has taken place as a sum of 998 hryvnias is being
cited as the amount the UOCMP would need to pay the Ukrainian government
for the building. Once this sum is paid the UOCMP would have the authority
to remodel the interior of the monument.

Expressions of concern from abroad and from ecclesiastical, cultural,
academic and scholarly communities may be of some help to those in

Ukraine who are attempting to preserve this monument. -30-
Dr. Olenka Pevny is a faculty member at the University of Richmond,
Department of Art & Art History, specializing in Late Antique, Byzantine
and Medieval art history.
Article shows several photographs.
NOTE: The article has now been translated into Ukrainian and published
by Majdan:
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Itar-Tass, Moscow/Kiev, Friday, January 12, 2007

MOSCOW/KIEV – Russia and Ukraine are marking on Friday the birth
centenary of legendary Soviet spacecraft designer Sergey Korolyov, who
won the space race with the United States in the 50s and 60s by launching
the first Sputnik and the first man to space.

Russia issued a commemorative medal and will launch a cargo Progress
spacecraft on January 18 named after Korolyov.

Unlike his US counterpart Wernher von Braun, Korolyov was a top-secret
personality until his unexpected death on January 14, 1966 because of an
allegedly botched surgical procedure and was known only as the “Chief

An underserved victim of Joseph Stalin’s repressions, Korolyov spent six
years in gulag. He was arrested in 1938 during Stalin’s Great Purge and
accused of subversion, apparently due to his desire to work on liquid-rocket
powered aircraft rather than solid rockets. Supposedly he had spent too much
money on a project that was not considered a top priority.

After release in 1944 Korolyov contributed greatly to the development of
ballistic missile technology, but was preoccupied with space travel plans.
In 1953 he proposed to launch a satellite into orbit and four years later
implemented the idea.

Korolyov’s planning for the manned mission began in 1958 and Yuri Gagarin
became the first man in space on April 12, 1961. Korolyov was twice awarded
the Hero of Socialist Labor Order and thrice the Order of Lenin.

He was also the winner of the Lenin Prize. In 1958 he was elected to the
Soviet Academy of Sciences. A street in Moscow was named after Korolyov
in 1966.

The town of Kalingrad near Moscow, which hosts the mission space center and
is home to the Energia space corporation, was renamed to Korolyov in 1996.
The Energia, which Korolyov headed for 20 years, was also renamed after the
Chief Designer. -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

By Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press
Moscow, Russia, Friday, January 12, 2007

MOSCOW – His work and even his name were once top Soviet secrets. It
wasn’t until after his death that Sergei Korolyov became known to the world
as the man who led the team that put the world’s first satellite into orbit
and sent the first human into space.

Russia marks the 100th anniversary Friday of the birth of Korolyov, who
suffered years of torture, starvation and hard labour in Josef Stalin’s
gulag before becoming chief of the Soviet rocket program.

His daughter, Natalia, recalled how her father, who was forced to mine for
gold in a labour camp amid freezing cold and hunger, loathed the precious
metal for the rest of his days. “He kept repeating: I hate gold,” she said
in an interview published in the daily Rossiiyskaya Gazeta.

Korolyov, an aeronautical engineer, was arrested in 1938 during Stalin’s
Great Terror and sentenced to hard labour for anti-Soviet activities.
Stalin’s henchmen broke his jaw during interrogations, he lost all his
teeth, and after two years in the camp was on the verge of death with heart
and other ailments.

He survived, thanks to aircraft designer Andrei Tupolev, who asked
authorities to transfer Korolyov in 1940 from the labour camp to join a
design team working on new combat planes. The team worked behind bars,
like many other Soviet design bureaus, and it was only in 1944 that Korolyov
was freed.

When he saw his family for the first time, he talked for hours about his
life in prison and then asked them to never question him about it again. “I
want to forget that nightmare,” he said, according to his daughter.

She said his ordeal made him immune to fear of authorities. “Father simply
wasn’t afraid of anything after that. He could boldly tell leaders that he
categorically disagreed with something.”

After the Nazi defeat, Korolyov led a team of engineers who flew to Germany
to gather information on V-2 rockets designed by Wernher von Braun,
Korolyov’s future rival in the U.S.-Soviet space race. Korolyov’s team
started by copying the German rocket but quickly developed its own designs.

After the first Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile designed by
Korolyov was put in service in 1956, he offered to use one to launch a
satellite into orbit. Korolyov’s deputy Boris Chertok recalled the top brass
opposed the idea as a distraction from the military program, but Soviet
leader Nikita Khrushchev backed it.

“Korolyov was primarily a designer gifted with a rare insight, but he also
was an excellent organizer,” Chertok told a news conference Thursday. “He
realized that any big project requires a huge amount of organizational

When Korolyov became aware of U.S. plans to launch the first American
satellite in 1958, he shelved a complex Soviet project in favour of building
a simple version quickly. On Oct. 4, 1957, Sputnik opened the Space Age.

Korolyov’s name was only known to Soviet leaders and a narrow circle of
space workers, anonymity that sometimes made him sad. “We are like miners –
we work underground. No one sees or hears us,” his daughter recalled.

Rossiiyskaya Gazeta said Khrushchev twice rejected an offer from the Nobel
Prize Committee to nominate the man who designed Sputnik and the spacecraft
that carried the world’s first human, Yuri Gagarin, into space on April 12,
1961. “We can’t name one single person. It’s the entire people building the
new technology,” Khrushchev was quoted as saying.

Korolyov’s daughter said her father dreamed about flying to space himself.
After Gagarin’s flight, Korolyov told the family he wanted to be in his
place: “I should have done it, but age is a problem and they wouldn’t let me
do it anyway.”

She said Korolyov was superstitious – opposing launches on Mondays and
barring women from the launchpad. He carried two coins in his pocket and was
distressed he couldn’t find them on the day he was hospitalized in January
1966. He died of a heart attack during surgery just after turning 59.

It was the official obituary that first told the Soviet people – and the
rest of the world – who Korolyov was. Korolyov’s death dealt a crushing
blow to the Soviet moon program, which collapsed in a series of booster
explosions while the United States sent Neil Armstrong on his moon walk in

“Our successes would have been much greater if Korolyov lived longer,”
Chertok said. -30-
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NOTE: Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.

By William Atkins, ITWire, Australia, Monday, 15 January 2007

January 12 and 14, 2007 passed without much fanfare for the one-hundredth
and forty-first anniversaries of the birth and death (respectively) of an
important man to the development of robotic and human space exploration:
Sergey Korolyov (sometimes spelled Sergei Korolev).

Chief Soviet rocket engineer and spacecraft designer and scientist Sergey
Pavlovich Korolyov (January 12, 1907-January 14, 1966) was the architectural
counterpart to German-American engineer Wernher von Braun (1912-1977) in the
United States during most of the 1957-1975 space and arms race between the
United States and the Soviet Union.

His role in the Soviet space program with respect to rocket technology and
spacecraft design was critical to the Soviet contribution to space travel
and exploration for four decades-between the 1930s and the 1960s-and has
continued to influence the Russian space program. The Soyuz spacecraft,
which was designed by Korolyov in the early 1960s, is still in operation in

His life, contributions, and accomplishments were kept a secret until after
his death. He was only known to the public as the Chief Designer.

However, at the one-hundredth birthday celebration for Korolyov, President
Vladimir Putin called him a “true pioneer and the author of the first,
bright space exploits.”

Korolyov’s contributions to space exploration were almost never realized
when he was arrested in 1938 during the dictatorial rule of Soviet leader
Josef Stalin, forced to work at hard labor for several years, and almost
died from the freezing cold, hunger, and strenuous work of the gulags
(prison labor camps). Fortunately, Korolyov survived the brutal conditions
forced upon him.

In the 1930s, Korolyov provided critical knowledge for the Soviet Union to
launch its first liquid fuel rockets. In the 1940s, he improved on the
design of the German V-2 rocket technology. In the 1950s and 1960s, he was
largely responsible for the Soviet Union’s ability to launch its first
intercontinental ballistic missiles and spacecraft.

For instance, Korolyov was critical for the successful launching of Sputnik
1 on October 4, 1957-what was the first artificial satellite to orbit the
Earth, and generally considered the beginning of the U.S./Soviet space race
and the start of space exploration.

He was also instrumental in such Soviet projects as the first probe (Luna 2)
to reach the Moon (September 14, 1959), and the Vostok series of spacecraft
(1960-1963), which placed the first human (cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin) in space
on April 12, 1961.

In addition, Korolyov engineered the success of the Voskhod program
(1964-1966), which included the first space walk by cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov
on March 18, 1965.

At the time of his death in 1966, Korolyov was working on the spacecraft
Soyuz, the lunar landing vehicle Luna, and unmanned missions to the planets
of Venus and Mars. The Soviets may have lost the space race to the United
States upon Korolyov’s death.

Three-and-one-half years later, the U.S. Apollo 11 mission landed astronauts
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon-the first humans to step on the
lunar surface.

Korolyov has been awarded the Lenin Prize, the Order of Lenin, and the Hero
of Socialist Labor. He was elected to the Russian Academy of Sciences. The
Korolyov crater on the Moon was named in honor of him, as well as asteroid
1855 Korolyov. Many other honors have been bestowed on Sergey Pavlovich
Korolyov, the architect of the early Soviet space program.

A biography of Korolyov (“Sergey P. Korolev. The Great Engineer and
Scientist”) is found at:

The article “Korolev, Mastermind of the Soviet Space Program” by James
Harford appears at:
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Man who designed the world’s first satellite, Sputnik and put first man in
space. He was sent as Convict N1442 to the gold mines of one of the most
feared parts of the Gulag labour camps the Kolyma region of eastern Siberia.

By Patrick Jackson, BBC News, United Kingdom, Friday, January 12 2007

As a century falls since the birth of the late Soviet space pioneer, Sergei
Korolyov, BBC News looks at the stark contrast between a life spent in the
mines of the Gulag or in secrecy, and his posthumous fame.

Sergei Korolyov’s anniversary is being celebrated in Russia and his native
Ukraine with ceremonies, commemorative medals and coins, while a Progress
spacecraft being sent to the International Space Station next week will be
specially decorated in his honour.

On Moscow’s Red Square, wreaths are being laid at his grave in the Kremlin
wall, the last resting-place of the USSR’s officially recognised heroes.

Inside the Kremlin itself, a function will be devoted to the memory of the
man who designed the world’s first satellite, Sputnik, and put the first
man, Yuri Gagarin, in space.
Back in April 1961, Gagarin himself was feted on the same square after his
return from making history but Korolyov was unable to join him there.

The space programme leader’s car had been positioned among the last in the
triumphal procession into Moscow and he and his wife were unable to wade
through the crowd, Korolyov’s daughter Natalya Korolyova told Russian
newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta in an interview.

On another occasion devoted to Soviet space exploration, he tried to take a
seat at the front of the hall and was turned away by stewards with the
words: “These seats are only for those with a direct connection to this
event, Comrade.”

The fact is that Sergei Korolyov spent his whole career unknown to most
of his fellow countrymen and unknown to the outside world.

“He was always described simply as the Chief Designer of Carrier Rockets
and Spacecraft,” says space historian Peter Bond.

Korolyov’s name was only revealed by the Soviet state on the day of his
death at the age of 59 in 1966.

But just a few decades earlier, he had faced the prospect of disappearing
into complete oblivion as a victim of Stalin’s repressions.
Arrested in 1938 during a purge of the scientific research institute where
he worked, the brilliant young scientist was sentenced to 10 years’ prison
on a trumped-up charge of planning anti-Soviet sabotage.

His jaw broken by his interrogators, he was sent as Convict N1442 to the
gold mines of one of the most feared parts of the Gulag labour camps, the
Kolyma region of eastern Siberia.

An ordeal of 12-hour days of back-breaking work, poor diet, the cold and
abuse at the hands of guards and the genuine criminals among the convicts
wore him down.

By the time, a couple of years later, he was transferred to work in a
special prisoners’ design bureau in Kazan – the move which marked the
rebirth of his career – he had lost all his teeth to scurvy and was
suffering from other ailments.

Set free in 1946, he spent his first night at home telling the adult members
of the family about his ordeal, Natalya Korolyova said.

He finished with the words “Never ask me about it again – I want to forget
it all like a horrible dream.”

His daughter adds that her father had developed a loathing for gold and
would frequently say he hated it.

Another time, he apparently told a colleague, referring to the secrecy in
which he had to work: “We are miners, we are underground – nobody
sees or hears us.”

The success of Sputnik in 1957 sent shock waves though the USSR.
“The Soviet government was stunned by the global media coverage and
demanded ever more spectacular flights from Korolyov’s team,” Peter
Bond told the BBC News website.

“This led to the first animal in orbit, the first human, the first woman,
the first three-person mission and the first spacewalk.”

Korolyov, he added, was only part of a large space industry which included
several influential rivals and there were also many failures under his
leadership, which were hidden from the public at the time.

His Soyuz spacecraft, for example, which first flew a few months after his
death, killed its cosmonaut.

“Yet he was undoubtedly the inspiration behind the glory years of the Soviet
space programme,” according to Mr Bond, who has a book on planetary
exploration, Distant Worlds, published next month.

Korolyov may have a town named after him in Russia, and craters on the
Moon and Mars which bear his name, but his memory appears able to
create unease at the Kremlin even now.

His time in the Gulag is the focus of Korolyov, a Russian film made to
coincide with the 100th anniversary by director Yury Kara.

It was meant to be shown at the Kremlin function, Kara told Izvestiya
newspaper, but it appears that it was finally dropped from the programme
and replaced with a concert. -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Born in Ukraine in 1906, educated in Odessa, Kiev, and Moscow

Sergei Pavlovich Korolev (1907-1966) is widely regarded as the founder of
the Soviet space program. Involved in pre-World War II studies of rocketry
in the USSR, Korolev, like many of his colleagues, went through Stalin’s
prisons and later participated in the search for rocket technology in
occupied Germany.

His incredible energy, intelligence, belief in the prospects of rocket
technology, managerial abilities and almost mythical skills in
decision-making made him the head of the first Soviet rocket development
center, known today as RKK Energia.

He deserves the most credits for turning rocket weapons into an instrument
of space exploration and making the Soviet Union the world’s first
space-faring nation.
Sergei Korolev was born on December 30, 1906 (January 12, 1907, in the
Gregorian calendar, currently in use in Russia) in the city of Zhitomir in
present day Ukraine, in the family of a Russian language teacher. A year
later, family moved to Kiev, Ukraine.

In 1910, Sergei’s parents separated and he moved with his mother to her
parents home in the town of Nezhin. Korolev’s parents officially divorced in
October 1916 and soon Sergei’s mother remarried. In 1917, the year of the
Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, the family moved to Odessa, a major port
city in Ukraine. (84)

In 1922, as the city was still recovering from the civil war, Sergei Korolev
passed qualifying exams for a senior year at the Odessa professional
construction school, an equivalent of a community college in the West. Here
he met his future wife, Kseniya Vincentini.

In addition to a top-notch staff, the Odessa construction school gave its
graduates a privilege of entering colleges without entrance exams.

At the time, Sergei was already interested in aviation, likely ignited by
his step-father, a well-educated engineer, with booming dual career in the
railroad industry and technical education. In June 1923, Korolev joined
newly created Friends of Air Fleet Society. (241)
In 1924, Korolev transfered to the Kiev Polytechnic Institute, where he
joined a group of glider enthusiasts. Two years later Korolev transferred to
Moscow’s Bauman High Technical School, MVTU, the best engineering

college in Russia, often compared these days to MIT in the United States.

Korolev graduated from MVTU in 1929 and in 1931 he joined the Central Aero
and Hydrodynamics Institute, TsAGI. (2) In July 1932, Korolev was appointed
chief of Jet Propulsion Research Group, GIRD, one of the earliest
state-sponsored centers for rocket development in the USSR.

In 1933, the group was reorganized into the Jet Propulsion Research
Institute, RNII, where Korolev worked as Deputy Chief of the institute. At
RNII, Korolev led the development of cruise missiles and of a manned
rocket-powered glider.
On June 27, 1938, at the height of Stalin’s purges, Korolev was arrested and
sent to concentration camps in Siberia, in the region of the Kolyma River.
Korolev fateful roller coaster continued in March 1940, when he was suddenly
returned to Moscow and imprisoned in the infamous Butyrskaya prison.

On July 10 of the same year, a special commission chaired by Lavrenti Beria,
chief of Stalin’s secret police, sentenced Korolev to eight years in labor
camps on phony allegations of sabotage. “Fortunately” for Korolev, in
September 1940, he was transferred to “sharashka” — one of numerous design
bureaus in prison.

The sharashka network was organized in 1939, to exploit huge population of
the Soviet GULAG. Officially called TsKB-29, Korolev’s sharashka was led by
Andrei Tupolev, also a GULAG prisoner and located in the city of Omsk.

There, Korolev participated in the development of the Tu-2 bomber, a major
aircraft of the Soviet Air Force during World War II.

Korolev was then transferred to another sharashka in the city of Kazan,
where he became a deputy to Valentin Glushko, his former colleague from
NII-3 and future partner and competitor at the dawn of space age.

On July 27, 1944, the authorities “paroled” Korolev and on Sept. 8, 1945,
Korolev traveled to Germany for evaluation and restoration of A-4 ballistic

In August 1946, while still in Germany, Korolev was appointed chief of a
department in the newly created NII-88 in Podlipki, northeast of Moscow.
This organization was made responsible for the development and industrial
production of missile technology based on German hardware.

At the peak of his career, Korolev led the development of the world’s first
ballistic missile, known today as R-7, which became a base for a
long-lasting family of space boosters, carrying Russian cosmonauts into
orbit for decades to come.

In the following years, Korolev led the development of several generations
of ballistic missiles, launch vehicles, science, military and communications
satellites, interplanetary probes and manned spacecraft. In 2006, the Soyuz
spacecraft, which he conceived at the dawn of the space era, turned forty
years in operation.

Korolev died at the height of his career as a result of a botched surgical
operation on January 14, 1966. Even before his death, Korolev’s largest
undertaking, the development of the giant N1 Moon rocket, faced mounting
technical challenges, unrealistic schedule and political pressure to beat
Americans to the Moon.

Due to secret nature of the Soviet space industry, Korolev’s contribution to
the space program was only recognized by the Soviet authorities after his
death. For several more decades, Korolev’s personality remained a subject of
distortions by the official Soviet press.

Only in 1994, Yaroslav Golovanov, a Russian journalist and historian,
published the first uncensored biography of Sergei Korolev.

(18) In 2002, Korolev’s daughter Natalya completed her own monumental
biography of her legendary father, in which she closely retraced Korolev’s
incredible life journey and made public large volume of rare imagery from
the family archive. (241) -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
A story of two brothers caught in Stalin’s hellish penal system.

Book World, The Washington Post,
Washington, D.C., Sunday, January 14, 2007; Page BW03

A Novel: By Martin Amis, Knopf. 242 pp. $23

Over the past decade, the English novelist Martin Amis has been increasingly
haunted by a colossal historical atrocity that doesn’t really belong to
him — at least not in the usual way such catastrophes are assigned as moral
burdens to posterity.

In Koba the Dread (2002), his slim and forthright nonfiction volume about
Soviet communism’s 20 million victims, Amis admitted to having felt a
certain youthful queasiness over the way demonstrations against the Soviet
Union’s 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia tended to be “sorrowful, decent”
and quite small affairs, whereas America’s involvement in Vietnam gave rise
to teeming protests marked by “unfakable emotings and self-lacerations.”

If the 1973 publication of Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago failed to make
more than a dent in Western political ignorance, Amis did recognize a
certain progress in the historical debate: “The argument, now, is about
whether Bolshevik Russia was ‘better’ than Nazi Germany. In the days when
the New Left dawned, the argument was about whether Bolshevik Russia was
better than America.”

Amis’s own imagining of Soviet crime shows no sign of resting. House of
Meetings, his new novel about life during and after the gulag, is a slender
book, on the same scale as the nonfictional Koba, and quite imperfect as a

But it is vivid and even scarifying, more than some mere noble
acknowledgment of mass suffering, a suffering that Western intellectuals so
often excused.

House of Meetings is told by an unnamed narrator born in 1919 and now in
his 80s. A veteran of World War II, he admits: “In the first three months of
1945, I raped my way across what would soon be East Germany.” It was not,
however, for any such actual crimes that he soon joined millions of new
prisoners in the Soviet camps; it was for committing an imagined offense
from the ever-lengthening and always more inane list of political

The narrator’s half-brother, Lev, a physically slight, intellectual
pacifist, joins him in one of the Arctic prisons in 1948. Lev’s crime
(sentence: 25 years) is to have been overheard “praising America.”

What he’d actually been praising was “The Americas,” the brothers’ nickname
for Zoya, a gorgeous girl they both love, whose voluptuous upper and lower
halves are separated by a waist “as thin as Panama.”

The narrator’s emotions for Zoya may have struck him “like an honor,” but
it’s the unprepossessing Lev with whom Zoya falls in love. The experience
renders him “almost paranoiac with happiness. It was like religion combined
with reason.”

She even makes his stutter vanish. (Zoya’s first name may be Amis’s tribute
to Zoya Vlasova, an actual victim of Stalinism — less than 10 years old —
unforgettably footnoted by Solzhenitsyn and quoted in Koba.)

Having lost out to Lev, the narrator must console himself with a bitterly
grandiose explanation for Zoya’s failure to have enjoyed his own kiss:
“The taste she didn’t like was the ferrous hormone of war. . . . I could
attribute my failure to historical forces, along with everything else.
History did it.”

House of Meetings remains less a story of romantic rivalry than of fraternal
love. As the much tougher customer and the first to arrive in the camp, the
narrator must teach his brother how to “find some murder in his heart” if
Lev is to survive the logic and methods of the system, whose twin pillars
are boredom and terror.

Amis makes fine use of the gruesome history he’s read and heard, letting
readers hear “the sound of three hundred men eating in their sleep” as well
as the crunches and cracks of the beatings, one of which leaves Lev with
“two worms of bloody phlegm coiling out of his head.”

In the years after Stalin’s death, the gulag system falls from rebellion
within and liberalization without, a process that turns the Soviet Union, by
the late 1950s, into a society of ex-prisoners and ex-jailers.

In those days, when one queued for fruit or some other scarce commodity,
the narrator explains, “If the line was fifty Russians long, there would be
seven or eight who had been away. There would be another seven or eight
who had helped put them there.”

The novel guides us in a glinting, almost furtive way through the brothers’
later lives, revealing Lev’s eventual abandonment by Zoya as well as the
narrator’s material success, first as a television repairman and then an
expert on “rotary launchers for nuclear weapons.” All of this occurs prior
to his own reckoning with Zoya and then emigration to America in the early

The book opens two decades after that. He has returned, quite rich, to
Vladimir Putin’s post-Soviet Russia, which he recognizes as never having
undergone the atonement that Germany at least attempted to practice for its
own mass murders.

Hearing news, in 2004, of the Chechen rebels’ siege of Beslan’s School No.
1, he feels himself “re-Russifying,” once more picking up the “national
traits: the freedom from all responsibility and scruple, the energetic
championship of views and beliefs that are not only irreconcilable but also
mutually exclusive, the weakness for a humor of squalor and cynicism, the
tendency to speak most passionately when being most insincere, and the
thirst for abstract argument.”

The “Russian cross” is not an emblem of revitalized Christianity but a point
of actuarial calamity: the graphic intersection of the declining birth rate
and the rising death rate, which occurred in 1992. “Russia is dying,” says
our narrator, in farewell. “And I’m glad.”

His voice throughout is ugly and seductive, full of Amis’s typically
wonderful phrasing and metaphor: An apartment building full of the retired
political elite in the 1980s contains “many a venerable and contented
mass-murderer — taciturn amnesiacs on state pensions”; shaking hands with
a politically reliable Soviet novelist, the narrator feels “the vile bivalve
of his clasp.”

The difficulty with such bravura moments is that readers will too often feel
themselves hearing not the gulag survivor but the accomplished English

A line such as this one — “Great beauties, they don’t have to do the work
that we have to do, the work of vox populi and ‘Mass Observation’ ” —
belongs more to Oxford than to Omsk; it is the price Amis occasionally can’t
help paying for his own extreme gifts.

The book’s title refers to a camp building in which Lev is permitted a
conjugal visit with Zoya in 1956. What actually happens inside the House of
Meetings, and its shattering effect upon the narrator’s half-brother, become
the chief psychological mystery and source of suspense in the novel, but the
revelatory payoff may strike readers as somewhat vague and anticlimactic,
dampened as it is by some of the same abstraction that the narrator finds so
telltale in the national character.

Still, the book gnaws at one’s memory. Amis tries to imagine history with
the intimacy and specificity that the greatest historical novelists,
including Tolstoy, have always presumed to seek for it.

History is the element that Soviet citizens were encouraged to see
themselves living in and moving through, always forward; it is the element
from which Americans tend to see themselves, even now, as being exempt.
For Amis’s narrator, it is the swirl in which we swim and sink, a poison
that lays waste to millions of lives and sullies even a kiss. -30-
Thomas Mallon’s novels include “Henry and Clara,” “Bandbox” and the
forthcoming “Fellow Travelers.”
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Ambitious project stirs emotions among widely varied communities.

By Peter Hecht – Bee Capitol Bureau
Sacramento, California, Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Assemblyman Lloyd Levine says he came to understand his Jewish cultural
roots and comprehend a horrific epoch in history on a trip to Israel in

He was at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, transfixed by
cubes stacked like children’s play blocks. Each depicted children who died
of Nazi genocide. A somber voice intoned their names as 1.6 million beams
of light reflected the toll of young lives taken.

“For the next several hours, I had the abiding urge to throw up,” Levine,
D-Van Nuys, said. “It makes you sick knowing what happened.”

Levine returned to California determined to make his own contribution to the
victims by seeking a “dignified and quiet” memorial outside the Capitol to
honor those who “perished and suffered” in the Holocaust.

But as the bill he sponsored was debated and amended in the Legislature and
then signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Sept. 30, Levine’s
original vision grew markedly.

Under Assembly Bill 1210, which goes into effect Monday, California will
begin a quest to construct a memorial at Capitol Park not only for victims
and survivors of the Holocaust, but for all people who faced genocide and
ethnic cleansing across the world and many generations.

On its face, the effort raises a poignant challenge by seeking to bring
together diverse peoples and histories to acknowledge acts of inhumanity
from the Holocaust of Nazi Germany to the killing fields of Cambodia to the
ongoing ethnic slaughter in Darfur.

Though still an ill-defined concept, the idea of such a memorial is stirring
emotional discussions among vast, varied communities affected by genocide.

In Glendale, Haig Hovespian hopes the memorial will acknowledge the mass
murder of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in Turkey in 1915.

“A vast majority of Armenians who came to California were either survivors
or descendants of the victims of Armenian genocide,” said Hovespian,
community relations director for Armenian National Committee of America.
“If you want to boil it down, it is the reason that they are Californians

In Sacramento, Zang Fang, 36, believes such a monument should acknowledge
Hmong refugees who fled wanton killings in Laos during 30 years of
retaliations for the Hmong’s support of the United States’ secret war
against communist Pathet Lao in the 1970s.

As a toddler, Fang lost his father, Joua Lue Fang, who fought alongside U.S.
forces and was killed in an explosives accident. As an 8-year-old, he saw an
uncle, Zong Chue Fang, executed and lost a cousin, Xialee Fang, who was
gunned down while collecting wild roots as Pathet Lao forces sacked Hmong

Thousands were ultimately killed or imprisoned, and 200,000 people were
forced into exile. Fang’s family attempted a perilous trek on a mountain
trail lined with bodies of Hmong victims. They eventually made it to
Thailand in a boat crossing the Mekong River, as 16 people drowned when a
second boat capsized.

“What the Hmong did to help the Americans needs to be acknowledged,” Fang
said of the Capitol memorial. “And the price they paid to help the Americans
needs to be acknowledged.”

Under AB 1210, a nine-member International Genocide Commission, including
at least six survivors or descendants of genocide, will be appointed to
select a design and initiate private fundraising to build the memorial.

“The construction of this memorial will help all Californians remember the
unimaginable suffering genocide survivors endured,” Schwarzenegger said in
signing the legislation.

The bill declares that “California recognizes the atrocities of all ethnic
cleansing campaigns,” including “the Holocaust, Kosovo, Armenian genocide,
Rwanda, African American slaves, Native Americans and the plight of the
Hmong in Southeast Asia.”

If built, the memorial would be the 16th major monument at Capitol Park,
joining the Civil War Veterans Grove, the Father Junipero Serra statue, and
veterans, Vietnam War and firefighters memorials.

The planned genocide memorial’s attempt to meld such horrific events from
far corners of world history may prove particularly sensitive.

Andrew McPherson, director of design at Nacht & Lewis Architects in
Sacramento, which designed a veterans memorial plaza at Mather Field, said
the genocide commission should cast a wide net in seeking input.

“To have somebody go off into a vacuum and design a memorial is really,
really risky,” he said. “You’re going to have people coming out of the
woodwork that have different ideas. And you’re going to have people who
may be offended, saying, ‘Why wasn’t I asked?’ “

Holocaust survivor and author David Faber, 80, of San Diego wonders how
other acts of genocide can be incorporated into the same reflective space as
a Holocaust memorial.

“It’s nice if they do that,” Faber said. “It can work, providing that it is
put into sections: the Holocaust here, Rwanda here, Kosovo here.”

His hesitation over a combined memorial may be because his own sense of
persecution is literally burned into his flesh. Faber’s left forearm bears
number 161051 from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany,
one of numerous death camps he was shuttled to as a boy.

He witnessed Nazi soldiers executing his mother and five sisters at his home
in Poland. He also lost his brother, father and more than 90 extended family
members to the Holocaust.

“We’re talking 6 million people (who perished),” Faber said. “How many
would be here now if they hadn’t been murdered? It would be over 50
million. A generation was wiped out.”

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los
Angeles, said a universal-themed Capitol memorial would be an appropriate
“statement of empathy and solidarity with all victims of genocide.”

“It is a shocking and depressing statement that, here in the 21st century,
you have to stand up again and again and say this type of behavior cannot be
sanctioned,” he said.

That’s why San Francisco lawyer Martina Knee, a daughter of Holocaust
survivors and a member of the Bay Area Darfur Coalition, wants the memorial
to acknowledge still unfolding mass killings of hundreds of thousands of
villagers in western Sudan.

And Igor Cimpo, 30, of Sacramento wants the memorial to honor the 12,000
people who died in the former Yugoslavia in Sarajevo and the 8,000 — Muslim
men and boys — massacred in Srebrenica.

The Bosnian refugee dodged Serbian sniper fire during the 1992-1996 siege of
Sarajevo, “running to get water, to get food, always wondering if you were
going to make it home.”

“There was genocide in the middle of Europe. It happened again, so long
after the Holocaust,” Cimpo said. “I fear these events happen and people
forget overnight. I’m afraid they’re forgetting now.” -30-
The Bee’s Peter Hecht can be reached

FOOTNOTE: There is no mention of the Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-1933
(the Holodomor – induced starvation, death for millions, genocide) in the
article above. We would like to know if any Ukrainian-Americans in
California are working to make sure the Ukrainian genocide is included in
the memorial that will be built. AUR EDITOR
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
The International Criminal Court Is Complicating Efforts to Save Darfur

OP-ED: By Stephen Rademaker, The Washington Post
Washington, D.C.Thursday, January 11, 2007; Page A25

Over the past three years, more than 400,000 people have perished in the
Darfur genocide. Fighting has intensified in recent months as diplomatic
efforts to end the conflict have faltered.

The government in Khartoum bears principal responsibility for the continued
killing, but recently an unexpected obstacle to ending the bloodshed has
emerged: the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Critics of the ICC predicted early on that it would be more a hindrance than
a help to ending most conflicts. The threat of prosecution would rarely
motivate both parties to stop fighting, they argued, but in many cases it
would be powerful enough to convince at least one side that it was better
off continuing to fight. Yet even the ICC’s critics have been surprised by
the degree to which this is being borne out in Darfur.

Much of the world agrees that to end the genocide a highly capable U.N.
peacekeeping force must immediately be deployed to Darfur.

The only footnote to this consensus is China, which, eager for access to
Sudan’s oil and armed with a veto at the U.N.

Security Council, forced the United Nations to accept a precondition to
action in August: that the government in Khartoum must consent to the
deployment of any U.N. force.

The Sudanese government has no history of objecting to U.N. peacekeeping
forces on its territory. It agreed as recently as January 2005 to the
deployment of a 10,000-member U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Sudan
to monitor implementation of a peace agreement with rebels there, and that
force remains in Sudan.

So what has led Khartoum to reject today what it was willing to accept just
two years ago? According to Sudanese government spokesmen, it’s the
involvement of the ICC.

Sudan is not a party to the treaty establishing the ICC, so the only way the
court could obtain jurisdiction over crimes in Darfur was to be granted such
jurisdiction by the Security Council. The council took that step in March

The Bush administration supported bringing in the ICC, not least because the
perpetrators of the Darfur genocide are so richly deserving of prosecution.
More fundamentally, the administration went along because this was the
strongest action that other members of the Security Council were prepared to
take at the time.

The political situation mirrored that surrounding the Security Council’s
decision to create a war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in 1993.

In both cases, the United States was pressing for resolute steps to end
genocide, but other countries, particularly in Europe, were unwilling to
agree to steps that might entail significant military, economic or political
costs. The idea of deploying eager prosecutors rather than effective
peacekeepers emerged as a low-risk compromise.

But war crimes prosecutors didn’t stop genocide in Yugoslavia, and they
haven’t stopped it in Darfur either. To the contrary, the example of the
Balkans, where U.N. peacekeepers in Bosnia and Kosovo have tracked down
and arrested war crimes indictees, appears to have hardened the opposition
of Sudanese officials to a U.N. force.

Quite predictably, those officials are saying they’re not interested in a
U.N. peacekeeping force in Darfur if, as in the Balkans, it would offer them
a one-way trip in handcuffs to The Hague.

Those seeking to end the genocide have naturally been seeking new ways to
pressure Khartoum. Realistic options for tightening economic sanctions are
few. So, having failed to recognize that it was a mistake to call in the
ICC, many critics of the regime have compounded the error by trying to
ratchet up the threat of ICC prosecution.

This, of course, reinforces the regime’s impulse to say no. Indeed, it would
be hard to devise a policy better calculated to perpetuate Sudan’s refusal
to accept a U.N. peacekeeping force in Darfur.

If the Sudanese government ever begins to seriously consider agreeing to a
U.N. force in Darfur, the first thing it is likely to seek is guarantees
against the arrest and prosecution of Sudanese officials by the ICC. But it
is not clear that the Security Council would be able to grant the government
those guarantees should the international community be prepared to consider
such a bargain.

In an effort to insulate the ICC from political pressure, the treaty
establishing the court seeks to make it impossible for the Security Council
to permanently end ICC proceedings once they have commenced.

Should efforts to deploy a U.N. force fail and the genocide continue,
options for ending the bloodshed may narrow to some sort of coalition
military action.

Given China’s opposition, such action almost certainly would have to be
carried out without Security Council authorization and would be vastly
inferior to the deployment of an effective U.N. peacekeeping force.

In the analogous cases of Bosnia and Kosovo, coalition military action was
in large measure U.S. military action, and the same would be true in Darfur.

No matter how noble our objectives, U.S. military action without U.N.
authorization against another Arab government would prove deeply unpopular
in many parts of the world, and America would pay a steep political price.

If this is where we end up in Darfur — or if the genocide continues
unabated because peacekeepers cannot be deployed — there will be three
culprits to blame: the bloodthirsty regime in Khartoum, the oil-thirsty
government in Beijing and the U.N. Security Council’s shortsighted decision
to bring in the ICC. -30-
The writer, vice president of a Washington-based government affairs and
consulting firm, was an assistant secretary of state from 2002 to 2006, with
responsibility for arms control, nonproliferation and international
FOOTNOTE: The Ukrainian government continues to totally ignor the
ongoing genocide today in Darfur in spite of their many speeches about the
Ukrainian genocide of 1932-1933 (the Holodomor – induced starvation,
death for millions, genocide) and strongtly stating that genocide must not
be allowed to happen again. AUR EDITOR
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Exposing the denial of all genocide
Capitol Hill Screening of ‘SCREAMERS’ at Jan. 17th, 2007

Posted by barbarnabe, Soadfans News, Sunday, January 14, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC – SCREAMERS, the gripping documentary about the
multi-platinum, Grammy-award winning band “System Of A Down’s” campaign
to end the cycle of genocide, will be screened before a Congressional
audience on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, January 17th, reported the Armenian
National Committee of America (ANCA).

The evening’s program – which is being hosted by Congressmen Adam Schiff
(D-CA) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Save Darfur, the ANCA Endowment, and the
Raffy Manoukian Charity – will start with a 6:30 pm reception, continue with
a 7:30 pm screening, and conclude with a discussion with the film’s director
Carla Garapedian and special guests.

It will take place in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the James
Madison Building of the Library of Congress. (Independence Ave SE, between
1st and 2nd Streets)

“SCREAMERS is about exposing the denial of all genocide, Armenia, the
Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, the Iraqi Kurds and the
current horror in Darfur,” said Garapedian.

“It is about making sure the same critical message George Clooney and Don
Cheadle are ‘screaming’ about is heard, that these atrocities ‘never happen

And I believe, it is this generation, the ‘screamers’, who will make sure
all genocide is recognized and ends, because ‘screamers’ will no longer
tolerate or accept previous generations of politicians and humanitarians who
have so miserably failed them.”

“Adolph Hitler used the Armenian Genocide as a blueprint for the Holocaust,
silencing the potential reservations of his generals by asking the chilling
question: ‘Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the
Armenians,'” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.

“These hateful words, inscribed on the walls of the U.S. Holocaust Museum
and Memorial, remind us all of the compelling moral cause of our time – the
message delivered so clearly and powerfully by SCREAMERS – that we must
end forever the cycle of genocide.”

SCREAMERS debuted at the American Film Institute Film Festival on November
2nd and won the coveted AFI Audience Award. On hand for the opening were
Garapedian, “System Of A Down” band members Serj Tankian, John Dolmayan
and Shavo Odadjian, producers Pete McAlevey and Tim Swain, sponsor Raffy
Manoukian of the Raffy Manoukian Charity and a host of genocide recognition
and prevention activists from the ANCA, Save Darfur, and other groups.
[check photos of this event here]

SCREAMERS is a production of MG2 productions in association with BBC
Television and The Raffi Manoukian Charity.

Garapedian, a veteran reporter who has made a career of covering the most
difficult stories, from Chechenya to repression in Afghanistan, follows the
European tour of “System Of A Down” and their ongoing efforts, through music
and activism, to raise awareness about denial of all genocide, tracing the
band members’ own personal journey of their grandparents surviving the
Armenian Genocide and its legacy of a century of atrocities.

The film, distributed by Maya Entertainment, is currently playing in the Los
Angeles area and will open on January 26th in New York City, Washington, DC,
Boston, Chicago and Detroit.

On December 22nd, during an ANCA-Western Region press conference outside
of the opening of the film in Encino, California, Congressman Brad Sherman
(D-CA) and Garapedian spoke to the media about ending the cycle of genocide,
from the Armenian Genocide of 1915 to the Genocide going on in Darfur today.

SCREAMERS will debut in Washington, DC; New York; Boston and
Chicago on January 26th.

Fresno Screening Set for January 19th. For additional cities and dates
check back SOADFans news and -30-
FOOTNOTE: There is no mention of the Ukrainian genocide of
1932-1933 (the Holodomor – induced starvation, death for millions,
genocide) in the article above. AUR EDITOR
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Turkish Daily News, Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, January 9, 2007

WASHINGTON – A leading pro-Armenian member of the U.S. House of
Representatives has said he will soon introduce a resolution for recognition
of the World War I-era killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as

“We as a nation must … acknowledge the Armenian genocide, and I will soon
introduce a resolution in the House that will honor the victims and put
Congress on the record,” Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, said in a
Friday statement. “I am hopeful that with new leadership in Congress we can
finally get it passed.”

The new U.S. Congress formed in nationwide elections in November opened
on Thursday. U.S. Armenian groups have already said they will seek
congressional passage of at least one genocide resolution before April 24,
designated by U.S. presidents as day of remembrance for the Armenian

Earlier Armenian efforts for genocide recognition failed during the first
six years of President George W. Bush’s administration as then Republican
House leadership prevented a full floor vote for the measures.

But Armenians’ Democratic allies won a landslide victory in the Nov. 7
elections, winning the control of both the House of Representatives and the

And the new Democratic congressional leadership favors the Armenian
position. New House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, another California Democrat,
announced before the elections that she would back recognition of the
Armenian genocide in the new Congress.

On the Senate side, Democratic majority leader Harry Reid and Joe Biden,
who is due to become chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, are both sympathetic to the Armenian cause. “I think we have the
best chance probably in a decade to get an Armenian genocide resolution
passed,” Schiff said earlier.

The Bush government, like earlier administrations, has declined to qualify
the Armenian killings as genocide and urged Congress to refrain from passing
a genocide resolution, saying such a move would damage ties with Turkey, a
key strategic ally.

Turkey’s public is extremely sensitive on Armenian claims, and successive
Ankara governments have warned Washington that any congressional recognition
of genocide allegations would lead to a review of the entire U.S.-Turkish

In a related development, a group of up to 20 Armenians held a five-day fast
in front of the Turkish consulate in Los Angeles last week to protest
against “Turkey’s continued denial of the Armenian genocide,” the Armenian
news agency Asbarez reported. A large Armenian community lives near the Los
Angeles area in California. -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
NY Times refers to Armenian genocide as historical fact

By Harut Sassounian, Publisher, The California Courier
AZG Armenian Daily, Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Foreign Minister of Turkey, Abdullah Gul, announced this week that
the Turkish government is planning to launch in 2007 a new comprehensive
propaganda campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide.

All previous Turkish government attempts to bury the facts of the Armenian
Genocide have ended in failure, after wasting millions of dollars on
lobbying firms and books by phony “scholars.”

Ironically, the more the Turks try to deny the crime committed by Ottoman
Turkey in 1915, the greater the number of countries, international
organizations and individuals that recognize it.

In recent weeks, after the Argentinean Parliament recognized the Armenian
Genocide, Ankara warned that country’s Senate not to follow suit. Despite
the Turkish warning, and maybe because of it, the Argentinean Senate adopted
the Armenian Genocide resolution unanimously!

A couple of months ago, when the French Parliament adopted a bill that would
make it a crime to deny the Armenian Genocide, the Turkish government gave a
similar warning to the French Senate.

If the Turks continue to irritate the French by their threats and obnoxious
insults, I have no doubt that the Senate would reciprocate by adopting this
new law by an overwhelming majority!

Here are a few other items of interest to our readers:

[1] Several Turkish newspapers reported last week that the Armenian American
lobby scored a major victory when Pres. Bush could not get the Senate to
confirm Richard Hoagland, the Ambassador-designate for Armenia.

The Turkish press quoted an analyst as saying that the blocking of
Hoagland’s nomination was a major success for Armenians: “The Armenian
lobby has never been this strong.”

[2] The Canadian Jewish News reported on December 14 that Israel has
developed “a rich friendship” with Shiite Muslim Azerbaijan. “The
relationship was born in 1992 when Israel supported Azerbaijan against
Armenia in the Karabagh War,” the Jewish publication stated.

Since then, Israel has continued “to provide intelligence, security and
military training to Azerbaijan.. Israel’s Backcell is the second-largest
cell phone operator” in Azerbaijan and is “one of many Israeli businesses
doing brisk trade” in Baku.

[3] The Turkish Culture Minister announced last week that the official
opening ceremonies for the renovated Aghtamar Armenian Church would
take place on April 24.

The Patriarch of Constantinople, Archbishop Mesrob Moutafian, issued an
uncharacteristically bold statement, saying that holding the ceremony on
that date would be exploiting Armenian people’s suffering for political

He said that neither he nor any other Armenian would participate in such a
ceremony on April 24. It has been obvious to me from the very beginning that
Turkish officials were planning to exploit the renovation of Aghtamar for
political purposes, independently of the date of the ceremony.

Maybe the Patriarch, instead of objecting, should have accepted that date
and turned the ceremony planned for April 24 into a commemoration of the
Armenian Genocide — which would have been a first in Turkey since 1915.

[4] Sylvester Stallone announced last week that he is interested in making
Franz Werfel’s famous novel, “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh,” into a
blockbuster movie. Turks went into total panic and organized a worldwide
e-mail campaign urging Stallone not to be “an instrument of Armenian

Armenians on the other hand were so excited that they started celebrating as
if the movie was already made. Surprisingly, neither Turks nor Armenians
seem to remember that Stallone has made this same announcement several
times in the past with nothing to show for.

However, should Stallone end up making this movie someday, he can count on
the Turks to provide a lot of free publicity, ensuring its success!
[5] Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Erdogan, told the editors of the New York
Times last week that they had become “a tool in the hands of the Armenians.”

He was unhappy that the N.Y. Times had decided that the newspaper would
refer to the Armenian Genocide as a historical fact.

This is the second time that the Turkish Prime Minister has personally
complained to the N.Y. Times on this issue in the past couple of years.

Maybe it’s about time that Erdogan realized that the N.Y. Times, true to its
noble calling, is a tool for the truth and not a tool for Turkish denialism.

[6] Father Serop Azarian, the Pastor of the St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic
Church in Granite City/St. Louis, sent me an e-mail describing his encounter
with Turkish novelist and Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk, at a lecture sponsored
by the Washington University in St. Louis on Nov. 27.

Fr. Azarian said in his e-mail: “Although in his speech Pamuk came close to
mentioning the Armenians, denounced the criminal regime of the Young Turks
and the delusional Turkish leaders of today, and spoke about the need for
Turkey to be more open and responsible, he did not say one word about
Armenians or the Genocide. He was cautious and, I think, rather cowardly in
not telling the truth.

While signing his books, I approached him and asked him if he would write a
novel about prominent Armenian Genocide victims, such as novelist and
Parliament member Krikor Zohrab. Initially, he warmly said (in a very low
voice): ‘I live there [Turkey]. I cannot do it.’ Then in a louder and more
blunt tone he said: ‘As a novelist, I choose what I write.’ “

Later on, in December, while in Sweden to receive the Nobel Prize for
Literature, when asked about the Armenian Genocide, Pamuk replied: “No
comment!” It appears that Turkish denialists have succeeded in scaring this
great writer into silence with their threats.

Let’s see what 2007 has in store for the Armenian Cause. One thing is
certain: Armenians can count on Turkish denialists to continue publicizing
the Armenian Genocide by their extremist actions. -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

INTERVIEW: With Oleksandr Shyshka About History of Lviv
By Iryna Yehorova, The Day Weekly Digest
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

[THE DAY] “Mr. Shyshka, you live right in downtown Lviv and your windows
face the Arsenal.”

[OLEKSANDR SHYSHKA] “The fact that I had to pass Marketplace Square
every day also had an impact on me. Can you imagine: on your right is High
Castle and on the left is Freedom Avenue and to reach it you walk down
ancient narrow streets, striding through history.”

“Oscar Wilde once said ‘The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it.’
Today many historians say that Lviv is more than 750 years old.”

“We are really celebrating the so-called 750th anniversary of Lviv, although
it would be more correct to say the ‘750th anniversary of the first recorded
mention of Lviv.’

“The Galician-Volhynian Chronicle says that Kholm (now a city in Poland) was
burning and you could see this fire as far away as near Belzky Fields (now
the Lviv neighborhood Znesinnia). Since the blaze could be seen from Lviv,
this means the city already existed as a town. Unfortunately, there is no
other concrete evidence.

“At the time, Prince Danylo of Halych or, as some say, King Danylo, was
building a number of fortified towns in the Galician-Volhynian Principality,
which was the western frontier of Kyivan Rus’. Incidentally, he built Kholm
and other towns, so historians believe that he also turned Lviv into a town.

“Still, there is ample evidence that people were living here long before
that. In the 1990s, when the Golden Lion Hotel was being built, a
5th-century settlement was uncovered. If the results of those excavations
are anything to go by, we could celebrate the 1,500th anniversary of Lviv.

“The Galician-Volhynian Chronicle does not mention any date. The year 1256
was suggested by way of comparison, i.e., taking into account events that
are precisely dated in other chronicles. It was the well-known Ukrainian
historian Professor Krypiakevych and his follower Biletsky who came to this
conclusion in 1956.

“But other historians claim otherwise. For example, Leonid Makhnovets
recently published a new translation of the Galician-Volhynian Chronicle, in
which he gives the year 1257. The Poles say it is 1259, and researchers of
ancient chronicles even say 1270. Let me explain about the year 1270.

“In the vicinity of the present-day Old Market Square, all the way to the
Pidzamche railway station, was the city of Danylo, which had the largest
number of Orthodox churches; they exist to this day.

“To tell the truth, a dozen of them were destroyed – some from old age and
others as a result of the policy of the Austrian government, which was
carrying out a church reform and trying to Germanize Lviv as much as

“The second town, according to historians and excavations, was populated in
1270 – this time it was the city of Prince Lev (Lion).

“He moved the boundary further south and founded what we call the medieval
part of Lviv, around Market Square. And, since it was the city center in the
16th-17th centuries, it was commonly believed (especially by Polish
chronicle researchers) that Prince Lev laid the city’s foundations in 1270.

“Polish researchers later claimed that the new territory was laid by Casimir
(Kazimierz) the Great in 1340, although it had already existed for about 70

“The Poles came here because the last Galician prince, Yurii-Boleslaw II,
was poisoned by boyars and the state was left without a ruler. Casimir took
advantage of this and made a foray into Lviv in 1340. Despite this, the
so-called Boyar Republic headed by Dmytro Diadko existed for another nine

“Then there were all kinds of peripeteia, and in 1386 Queen Jadwiga of
Poland finally made Lviv part of the Polish Kingdom as the city of the
so-called Lviv Land, i.e., the metropolitan city of this region.”

[THE DAY] “Tourism is now giving an impetus to Lviv’s development. What
was it in the Middle Ages – trade?”

[OLEKSANDR SHYSHKA] “There were several periods of untrammeled
growth. The first one began in 1386 and ended when the Turks seized
Constantinople. At that time Lviv was very affluent because it was located
at the intersection of trade routes and maintained close commercial ties with
the Middle East. Then these lucrative ties were cut and Lviv went into decline.

“To crown it all, in 1527 a raging fire gutted almost everything except for
a few buildings and fortifications. Lviv’s second burgeoning began later, in
the 17th century. Many foreigners, particularly Italians, arrived. (The
original Lviv was Germanized.) Their advent helped revitalize trade with
Western Europe and reestablish links with the Orient.

“Bohdan Khmelnytsky’s wars undermined Lviv’s progress, although he failed
to capture the city. After all, he never set himself this goal, but the area
was destroyed.

“After the partition of Poland, the Germanization of Lviv began again. In
fact, the new revival was launched when the Austrian government passed a law
on the so- called Dual Empire, i.e., the unification of Austria and Hungary.

“Galicia was granted certain privileges, for example, a Sejm, and Lviv
became a full-fledged city authorized to pass its own local government
resolutions. Actually, the year 1860 saw a new revival of the city, which
coincided with the Industrial Revolution. The Lviv-based trade and
industrial fair was known throughout Europe.”

[THE DAY] “People of various nationalities made a contribution to the city’s
crown of glory. Whom would you name?”

[OLEKSANDR SHYSHKA] “The first people were, naturally, Danylo of
Halych and his son Lev as founders of the city. If one speaks of the Polish
kings in later times, it was Jan III Sobieski who did his utmost for Lviv.

“Among the interesting personalities of Polish culture was Burgomaster
Kampian, who personally funded the construction of the City Hall tower. He
made a sizable contribution, although he also spent municipal funds.

“I must mention the Lviv chancellor, subsequently burgomaster, Bartolomeusz
Zimorowicz, who left us a well-documented chronicle of Lviv.

“Among Ukrainians, we have the brothers Rohatynets, who founded the
Stauropegion Brotherhood. One of the brotherhood’s members, Kostiantyn
Korniakt, also built a tower at his own expense, which became part of the
Assumption Church ensemble.

“The Austrian period also boasts some personalities that are interesting
from the intellectual angle, for instance, the scholar and Basilian monk
Kompanewicz, who excelled in historical studies. In 1844 the historian Denys
Zubrytsky published an unsurpassed work on the history of Lviv, which
comprises chronicles and carefully documented materials.

“He recorded various facts that he found in the books of the municipal
courts and magistracy. As a result, we have a detailed description of every
year in the period from 1340 to 1772.

“There were many political personalities in the second half of the 19th
century. I must name some writers, such as the members of the Ruska
Triitsia, the Ruthenian Triad, who in fact introduced the standard Ukrainian
language in Galicia, as well as Ivan Franko and a pleiad of other political
and public figures, who were then working in Lviv.

“Some time later, a group of Ukrainian politicians headed by Kost Levytsky
and Yevhen Petrushevych came to the fore.

“One should also note the military men, who laid the foundations of the
Ukrainian Sich Riflemen (Sichovi Striltsi) and Kyrylo Tryliovsky, who
organized a network of Sich physical-education associations that later made
it possible to form the first legion of the Sichovi Striltsi. This was in
fact the embryo of the first Ukrainian regular military unit.”

[THE DAY] “We do not know much about the technological discoveries made
by Lviv residents.”

[OLEKSANDR SHYSHKA] “Among the discoveries of worldwide importance
one must recall the famous oil lamp invented by Ivan Zeh and Ihnatii Lukashevych
at Mykolasz’s pharmacy. Intensive research in microbiology was conducted at
Professor Weigl’s institute, where an anti-typhus serum was developed.

“Under the German occupation, the institute continued to function and a
number of world-famous scientists, such as Stefan Banach, who were left
without means of subsistence, were in dire straits. The serum was made out
of the blood that the lice sucked. Whenever Banach would come to the
institute, he was given some lice in a little box, and they sucked his

“Thus, the universally acclaimed mathematician, author of the theory of
normed linear spaces (Banach spaces), was able to get ration tickets. This
even helped some researchers evade deportation to Germany.

“Among the scholars of Polish background living in Lviv was Eugeniusz Romer,
who founded a cartographic institute and helped establish the Atlas book
publishing company.”

“Lviv lived through a lot of tragedies. One of them – by far the biggest
according to some – was the shooting of Lviv intellectuals by the Nazis.”

“It is difficult to say that this was the tragedy of an entire city: it was
the tragedy of individual families, an intellectual loss. About 40 people
were shot, among them doctors and liberal arts scholars – undoubtedly,
well-known people who were able to rally young people to their side.

“I think the Holocaust is Lviv’s greatest tragedy, because a third of Lviv’s
prewar population was wiped out in a two-year period. The Jews were driven
into the Lviv ghetto; they were exterminated there as well as in other
camps. Then the ghetto was burned down.

“With a few exceptions, about 100,000 Jews who were living in Lviv were
killed. Incidentally, Poles accounted for about 60 percent of the city’s
prewar population, Jews about 30 percent, and Ukrainians, not more than 15
percent. These figures varied in different years.”

[THE DAY] “Ukrainians say there is a special Galician mentality. What does
this mean?”

[OLEKSANDR SHYSHKA] “It can be explained by a number of phenomena.
For example, boisterous merrymaking and extravaganzas were banned in Lviv
in the early 17th century. In fact there was a decree on modesty.

“The different social strata were supposed to live in harmony. Otherwise,
one could drink away an entire estate. So there were certain restrictions.

“But, seriously, there really is a Lviv phenomenon. Its roots are quite
tangled. Lviv was under foreign influence from 1340 onward. Poland, Austria,
and other governments imposed their policies, but the Ukrainian element
remained intact.

“In other words, while assimilation, if only in the field of language, took
place comparatively easily in eastern Ukraine, it failed, for some unknown
reasons, to get off the ground here.

“The Polish royal government was not exactly enthusiastic about Ukraine,
there was not much democracy here, the Ukrainians and Jews were in fact
driven into a small ghetto.

“Look at former Jewish Street, now named after Ivan Fedorov, and Old Jewish
Street. Ukrainians lived in between the Marketplace and the Wallachian
Church, on Ruthenian Street.

“In other words, these two nations were in the same situation in terms of
area and number of houses. All the rest belonged to others: Poles, Germans,
Italians, Scots, etc. It was an international community of sorts. Yet
Ukrainians managed to preserve their traditions and religion.

“Even when they had to accept a church union with Rome under the relentless
economic pressure of the Polish government, they still closely guarded their
calendar, rites, and the language of the liturgy, thus fully disengaging
themselves from the Roman Catholics. This resoluteness of spirit allowed a
small but Ukrainian Lviv to exist.

“In the revolutionary period, eastern Ukraine was rife with socialist
elements, while there was very little socialism here. The Communist Party of
Galicia, later of Western Ukraine, was not very strong and did not have
widespread support.

“Conversely, the national liberation movement, the Western Ukrainian
National Republic (ZUNR), and the Ukrainian Galician Army (UHA) were the
local people’s own flesh and blood.

“Later, in the interwar period, after the Western Ukrainian National
Republic had been suppressed, the surviving Ukrainian Sich Riflemen formed
the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists.

“Naturally, the Poles persecuted them, there were trials, and almost all the
leaders were behind bars, but there was no terrible extermination like in
the east.

“In spite of the repressive regime that was imposed by panska Polska (noble
Poland), to quote a Soviet cliche, the atmosphere was not so stifling. This
helped preserve the national cadres that later participated in the new
struggle as part of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), etc.

“In the Soviet era there were also persecutions, but there was no terrible
mass-scale departure of the people from their traditions. Everyone
celebrated Christmas and Easter. There was ample room for dissidence here.

“Ukrainian was always the language of instruction at Ivan Franko University.
The Ukrainian spirit was always alive and well, enabling many people to
breathe as easily as they could.”

[THE DAY] “Does your heart bleed when you hear it said today that Lviv is a
provincial city?”

[OLEKSANDR SHYSHKA] “Where there is a capital, there must be provinces.
My heart really bleeds when I see a terribly neglected Lviv. I am pained by
Lviv’s cobblestone roads, which are being ruined because nobody is repairing
them, not because they’ve received a new covering.

Something is rusting away, something has gone off, and then garbage
collectors come and take all of it away. I cannot say that a lot of the city
was renovated on the eve of the city’s jubilee, except perhaps Market
Square. But even here things are not so simple.

Some people cry, ‘They have cemented our historic past!’ Excuse me, but is
Market Square really our historical past? It was just a place for trading.

Yes, they have dug up some old cobblestone. So what? You can’t banish an
old town from contemporary life and turn it into a museum. This isn’t done

The present and the past must go hand in hand. There is more politicking
than common sense here. As for the way money is being made, paid, and
distributed in this case, the re-constructors are not the one who should be
blamed. The problem is the wrong mechanisms that the government should
eradicate.” -30-
[return to index] Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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What do we know about this Kyivan Rus’ hero of legends and history?

By Volodymyr HRYPAS, The Day Weekly Digest #41
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

“Near the glorious city of Kyiv
There was a picket of mighty warriors.
Ilia Muromets was their leader,
Dobrynia Nikitich the younger – his deputy,
There was also Alesha the parson’s son.”

These and other lines of the heroic epic were created chiefly in the 10th –
11th centuries in the southern lands of Kyivan Rus’. The text was
transmitted orally from person to person over a period of nearly a thousand
years and has reached us by unknown routes.

Despite the semi-fairytale plots, the depicted events are unquestionably
based on real facts, and the main legendary characters portray historic
personalities of different periods of the Kyivan Rus’ era brought together
by folk imagination. Some of them, like Illia Muromets, the most beloved
hero of the legends, left their traces in people’s memory only.

Information about other figures may be traced also through written sources.
From them we learn that among the Rus’ strong men killed in the Battle of
the Kalka River in 1223 was Alesha Popovych.

It is not difficult to recognize Prince Vseslav Polotsky in the legendary
character of Volkhv (the Magus) Vseslavievych, and the Polovtsian Khan
Tugorkan – in Zmii (Serpent) Tugarin.

The magnificent banquets of Prince Volodymyr the Beautiful Sun are mentioned
in the chronicles, and Dobrynia Nikitych turned out to be the uncle of
Prince Volodymyr Sviatoslavych.

Volodymyr’s origins on his mother’s side were cloaked in mystery – if not
for his contemporaries then for succeeding generations. He was not only from
the house of Riuryk but also the son of a bondswoman, a “robychych,” as the
proud Rohnida claimed.

According to the Hypatian copy of the chronicle The Tale of Bygone Years,
when Sviatoslav was leaving on a military expedition in 970, after Olha’s
death, “he placed Yaropolk in Kyiv and Oleh – in Derevy.

At this time the people of Novgorod came to plead for a prince: “If you
don’t come to us, we will find a prince elsewhere.” And Sviatoslav said: “Whom
do you want to come to you?” Both Yaropolk and Oleh refused.

And Dobrynia said: “Ask Volodymyr.” For Volodymyr was [born] of Malusha,
Olha’s alms-maid, Dobrynia’s sister, and their father was Malko Liubchanyn,
and Dobrynia was Volodymyr’s uncle. And the people of Novgorod said to
Sviatoslav: “Give us Volodymyr.” And the people of Novgorod took Volodymyr.
And Volodymyr went with Dobrynia, his uncle, to Novgorod, and Sviatoslav
went to Pereiaslavets.”

The information mentioned in this chronicle entry is unique, as none of the
other historical sources mention Volodymyr’s mother or her relatives. But
this entry gives rise to more questions than answers. Many scholars have
tried to read something new in the hidden and unspoken message of those
laconic lines.

One of the problematic words in this chapter is “alms- maid.” It is
translated in different ways: sometimes as “the one who enjoys favor,”
sometimes as “the servant who gives alms.” In the Laurentian copy of the
chronicle Malusha is mentioned as Olha’s “kliuchnytsia” (bondswoman). It may
be concluded that Dobrynia’s status was the same, and Volodymyr was a
concubine’s son.

According to the chronicle, at the beginning of his rule Volodymyr had
hundreds of concubines. But after the prince’s death only the legitimate
sons of his wives competed for the Kyivan throne (the names of the
contenders are listed in the chronicle). None of them was a concubine’s son,
as he could not claim the title.

Proof of this is Yaroslav Osmomysl’s ill-fated attempt to make Oleh, his
lover’s son, the heir to his throne of Halych. Beyond all doubt, Sviatoslav
had numerous concubines.

But the chronicle limits the number of Sviatoslav’s sons (and Olha’s
grandsons) to three persons only: Yaropolk, Oleh, and Volodymyr. This
fact suggests that Malusha was another of Sviatoslav’s wives.

In this case, what was her possible background? We may assume that
Sviatoslav married a bondmaid to whom he had taken a liking. But one fact
contradicts this assumption: Dobrynia came to Novgorod with the young
Volodymyr as the regent, the ruler of this second most important of the Rus’

It seems most unlikely that the noble boyars of Novgorod would tolerate
being subordinated to a kinless parvenu who had reached the top simply
because of his sister, no matter who she was – a prince’s wife or a
concubine. To have a position like that Dobrynia had to be at least a
boyar’s son.

It is also unlikely that Malko Liubchanyn could have been deemed worthy of
mention by the chronicler if he were a serf. For this he would have had to
be a well known figure, which explains why the chronicler did not bother to
give any details about Liubchanyn. The names of lesser known people were
usually followed by some personal details: a warlord, somebody’s uncle, a
teenager, or a serf.

Studying these questions, Prozorovsky, a 19th-century Russian historian,
came to the conclusion that Dobrynia and Malusha were both Prince Mal
Drevliansky’s children. Their father had led an uprising of the
Derevlianians against Ihor in 945. Malko Liubchanyn was the new name of
the former Derevlianian prince whom Olha was supporting in Liubech.

Relying on information from the chronicles and later studies on this
question, one can give a broader and more likely interpretation of the
chronicle entry for the year 970. While Olha was alive, Sviatoslav had no
reasons to distribute the Rus’ land among his young sons. Leaving on
numerous military expeditions, he was certain that the government was in
his mother’s reliable and devoted hands.

There were now two groups of mutual adversaries left in Kyiv – the
Varangians (Scandinavians) headed by Sveneld, and the Slavs led by Dobrynia.
Sveneld, who was the most influential warlord in Ihor’s time, could – during
the prince’s long absence – try to seize power in Kyiv and thus in all of

Dobrynia also sought revenge against the Varangians, because it was Sveneld
who had crushed the Derevlianians’ uprising in 945. Therefore, Mal’s son had
every reason to consider Sveneld his personal enemy, and he linked all his
hopes with Volodymyr.

The victory of either of the sides jeopardized Sviatoslav’s status. In this
complicated situation the prince of Kyiv made a decision worthy not only of
a military leader but of a mature and experienced statesman. To neutralize
both adversaries he opted for some decentralization in his absence.

It’s worth mentioning that in 970 Sviatoslav was no older than 30, so there
was no question of his sons’ independent reign. Real power was in the hands
of the regents. Taking into consideration the mighty potential of the
Varangian party, Sviatoslav appointed their representative as a regent for
his elder son Yaropolk in Kyiv (later Sveneld took the regency).

To avoid a military confrontation between Sveneld and Dobrynia and to
prevent the latter from separatist plotting against Kyiv, the prince did not
send Mal’s legitimate heir (Volodymyr or Dobrynia) to the Derevlianians, but
appointed his second son Oleh to rule there.

But the regency for Oleh was given not to the Varangians but to the
Derevlianian boyars. Consequently, Oleh (Volha Sviatoslavych of the legends)
became an active leader of Derevlianian interests. Sviatoslav’s attention to
the land of the Derevlianians attests to their leading role in the Slavonic

According to the chronicle, Sviatoslav did not intend to let Novgorod, the
second most important and distant of the Rus’ lands, out of direct
subordination to Kyiv. Only the Novgorod representatives’ threat to find
another prince (not from the house of Riuryk) to rule made Sviatoslav
change his mind.

Granting Riuryk’s own ancestral lands to Dobrynia and Volodymyr was a
demonstration of Sviatoslav’s great trust in Mal’s son and a great honor.
But Sviatoslav’s main achievement was limiting the Varangians’ influence in
the northern part of Rus’.

We can only assume what was going on in Novgorod at that time because the
chronicler described only events in Rus’ (which meant only the Kyiv lands).
Behind the brief lines of the chronicle we can see Sveneld’s efforts to
exacerbate relations with the Derevlianians. He sought a pretext to defy
Sviatoslav’s will and grounds for seizing the Derevlianians’ land; he
organized provocations.

Finally, the Derevlianians’s patience wore thin. In 975 Oleh killed
Sveneld’s son Lot, who was hunting in his gaming lands. In the war that
followed in 977 the Derevlianians were defeated, Oleh was killed, and
Yaropolk “inherited his land.”

Dobrynia and Volodymyr did not assist the Derevlianians in their war,
although they must have understood that war was inevitable after Lot’s
death. Dobrynia may have been bound by his oath to Sviatoslav to recognize

Dobrynia did not want to be the first to break the promise, or Sveneld’s
victory may have been so quick that he was simply unable to react. He may
have been waiting for Yaropolk and Oleh to exhaust each other, so that he
could then direct the course of events according to his desires.

However, the latter assumption is less likely, as Novgorod appeared
unprepared to repel Sveneld, and both Dobrynia and Volodymyr had to flee
to Scandinavia. Had events in Novgorod proceeded according to Sveneld’s
scenario, only Yaropolk, out of all of Sviatoslav’s sons, would have
remained alive.

If he had died, the ruling Riuryk dynasty might have been substituted by
that of Sveneld – the young princes had no heirs yet. Was Sveneld counting
on this?

When they were escaping to Scandinavia, Dobrynia and Volodymyr almost
certainly emptied Novgorod’s treasury, nor did they waste their time
overseas. As a result, within three years, Sveneld, a highly experienced
wolf, was caught by surprise. Shortly after their arrival in Novgorod,
Dobrynia and Volodymyr celebrated their victory in Kyiv.

This attests to both the thoroughness of their preparation for the march to
“the mother of Rus’ cities” and their military capabilities.

A significant role was also played by the lack of popular support for the
pro-Varangian government and the popularity of Dobrynia and Volodymyr,
who eventually became legendary heroes.

There was also a dark side to their triumph: their road to power led through
the treacherous assassination of Yaropolk. These dramatic events ushered in
a new era in the history of Kyivan Rus’, in which there were two key
figures – Volodymyr and Dobrynia. -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
How Russian Empress Catherine II observed “Potemkin’s villages” in Ukraine

By Ihor SIUNDIUKOV, The Day Weekly Digest
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, December 19, 2006

In the spring of 1787 Catherine II, Empress of Russia, “Her Gracious
Majesty” and the “Mother of the Fatherland,” decided to make a personal
inspection of the newly-annexed territories of southern Ukraine and the
Crimea, which were called Novorossiia (New Russia.)

Catherine’s close confidants – governor of New Russia Grigorii Potemkin,
Nikita Panin, Oleksandr Bezborodko, and Aleksei Khrapovitsky – clearly
understood that the journey was primarily a political action, not a pleasure

However, “Her Majesty,” with the complete agreement of her favorites, tried
to impart the character of a court amusement, a kind of court “picnic” of
almost nationwide meaning, to her trip to Ukraine.

French diplomat count Segure, who accompanied the tsarina, later recalled
that in the hundreds of huge carriages in Catherine’s cortege and at the
post stations en route, her courtiers and foreign diplomats, and generally
everyone whom the tsarina regarded as crucial to the journey.

“All these people went on entertaining themselves absolutely the same way as
they did in Tsarskoe Selo or the Hermitage: they told jokes about Voltaire,
Diderot, and other French freethinkers, had refined conversations on
history, literature, farming, and mythology, and devised charades for one

We are interested not only in the aristocratic “discussion clubs” but the
real situation in Ukraine at the time. A few years earlier, in 1783,
Catherine had introduced serfdom on the territory of former Hetman Ukraine,
which soon spread to all the Ukrainian territories annexed to the empire.

Former free Cossacks and peasants, who had already long forgotten what the
burden of serfdom slavery represented, found themselves stripped of their
rights and sold like dumb beasts, like cattle.

These same years were a period marked by the intensive and destructive
process of “gathering to the empire” and “Russifying” the Ukrainian Cossack
officers (and the Ukrainian noble class) and turning them into the Russian

Catherine’s favorites, especially Potemkin, were fully aware of what the
empress “wished to see” during the journey.

That is why Grigorii Potemkin (also known as “His Serene Highness Prince
of Tavriia;” “darling Grishenka;” and in the Zaporozhian Sich in whose
destruction he had “played a role” – Hrytsko Nechos) did everything possible
to delight Her Majesty’s eye with vistas of rich, prosperous Ukrainian
villages, peasants content with life, who greeted the empress with flowers,
bread and salt, and holding icons in their hands.

Catherine, who was sailing along the Dnipro to Kherson, seldom went ashore
and gazed at the “prosperity” of her subjects only from a distance.
Meanwhile, Potemkin had spent huge sums on painting ordinary village houses
and building a facade of new ones, creating all the conditions necessary to
satisfy the tsarina.

The topic of “Potemkin’s villages” – a word combination that came into wide
use after 1787 – is trenchant, deep, and inexhaustible. I will not dwell on
it here.

I only want to mention that such “villages” are built in those places and in
those times where a despotic power, suppressing people with brute force
and/or on the strength of a lie, seeks to place this people in its own
invented and constructed reality in which it schizophrenically believes.

There was a definite political component to Catherine’s visit. First of all,
the tsarina wanted to inspect New Russia, the territory that had been
granted to the ever-helpful Potemkin.

Second, in view of the military conflict with Turkey, Catherine decided to
impart the character of a political demonstration to her journey and prove
that she was not at all afraid but even ready for war and, if necessary,
would help speed it up.

The itinerary was not chosen by chance either: [1] Kyiv; Kaniv, where the
tsarina had an unimportant meeting with King Stanislaw Poniatowski of
Poland, who was rapidly losing power and influence; [2] Kherson, the most
important center of the newly created imperial fleet; Bakhchisarai, the
former capital of the Crimean Khanate; and [3] Sevastopil whose strategic
importance Catherine was beginning to understand.

Catherine derived plenty of impressions from the wealth and productive
potential of the land “newly-found” by the Russian imperial state, rapid
growth and development of new towns and fortresses that were quickly
appearing in this steppe land, the strength of the army concentrated there,
the battle capacity of the fleet that was being feverishly created, and the
beauty and wealth of the recently annexed Crimea.

As for the people, long ago they had become an immaterial abstraction for
the tsarina. When she was young, she drafted merciful laws that stated in
particular: “One should avoid cases that lead to people being enslaved,
unless there is a crucial need for this, and not for one’s own well-being
but for the state’s benefit; however, this happens very seldom.”

There is, however, every reason to think that the following words were
closer to the “mother-tsarina’s” heart: one must avoid anything that would
“confirm in the Little Russians the depraved opinion, according to which
they regard themselves as a different people from the local (i.e., the Great
Russian) one.”

In this the empress was very consistent: everything that recalled the former
independence of Hetman Ukraine was persecuted and ruthlessly eradicated.

The empress’s journey was a clear example of combining business with
pleasure. Catherine invited her “intimate friend” and political partner
Austrian Emperor Joseph II, whose help in the “expansionist” great-power
projects she appreciated deeply, to accompany her. In their conversations on
a variety of topics, the Russian and Austrian monarchs did not forget about
politics even for a minute.

The alarming questions of France’s unruly and troublesome state, the
arrogant policy of Prussia’s King Friedrich-Wilhelm II, who actively meddled
in other countries’ domestic affairs and, most importantly, in the future of
Turkey whose demise was predicted in the next five or ten years – all these
were actively discussed in the gallantly hypocritical manner typical of the
18th century.

When the tsarina talked to her personal secretary Khrapovitsky, she was more
confidential and frank, complaining about the European governments that were
“provoking and equipping the sultan by all means.”

She declared sharply: “But we ourselves can launch a war against the Turks
on the grounds of conflicts with them in matters concerning the Caucasus
and the Danubian Principalities.”

When she was in the circle of foreign diplomats, Catherine joked ambiguously
about the journey she was undertaking, “which is a serious threat to
Europe’s order and stability,” because the Western monarchs are convinced
that “Emperor Joseph and I intend to capture all of Turkey, Persia, and
perhaps even India and Japan.

“What do you think,” the empress asked Khrapovitsky,” perhaps it is really
so?” No comments on this episode, one of many brushstrokes to Catherine’s
image, are necessary.

The arrival of the Russian court with its brilliant “escort” in Bakhchisarai
was an impressive political display of the triumphant might of the state
headed by Catherine.

All these people were sincerely and deeply convinced of the inviolability
and naturalness of the existing order of things: wealthy nobles – and serfs.
The government should not be poor; this is the way it was, is, and ever
shall be.

Catherine II was very satisfied with the journey, having visited Kyiv,
Kaniv, and Kherson and returned to St. Petersburg.

But this is an “external” fact lying on the surface. The general conclusion
of this story may be more interesting for us.

Even the best “Potemkin’s villages” – an indispensable attribute of
despotism and self-will – decline and scatter, appearing unattractively
naked before an astounded audience. -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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