AUR#809 Jan 28 Labor Migration Changing Ukraine; Plaited Lady; Lesser Of Two Evils; Ban On Desertion; Return To Ukraine; Living History Of Their Elders

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                                    LOOKING BACK TO GET
                     A CLEARER PICTURE OF THE FUTURE
        The ‘living history” of their elders that is part of their Ukrainian heritage.
                                                  [Article 22]
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor, SigmaBleyzer

               –——-  INDEX OF ARTICLES  ——–
            Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
   Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
 Traditionalists fear workers’ migration is undermining Ukrainian society and
liberals emphasize the advantages, but serious debate about the issue is lacking.
COMMENTARY: By Kerstin Zimmer, Transitions Online (TOL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Monday, January 22, 2007

By Stefan Wagstyl, Financial Times, London, UK, Tuesday, Jan 23 2007
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thu, January 25, 2007

Interfax Information Agency, Moscow, Russia, Thu, January 25, 2007


Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Tue, January 23, 2007


          Ukraine is the fourth largest migrant-receiving country in the world
By Finfacts Team, Finfacts Business News Centre
Finfacts Ireland, Tuesday, Jan 16, 2007


By Judy Dempsey, International Herald Tribune (IHT)
Paris, France, Wednesday, January 17, 2007


                     IN EASTERN EUROPE WANT THEM BACK.
By Michael J. Jordan, Correspondent, The Christian Science Monitor
Boston, Massachusetts, Wednesday, January 10, 2007

       We have had people from Bulgaria, Belarus, the Ukraine and Romania.
By Naomi Canton, Norwich Evening News 24
Norwich, United Kingdom, Wednesday, 24 January 2007


Associated Press (AP), Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, January 22, 2007


Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, January 24, 2007


                          INTO UKRAINIAN BY END OF 2007
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, January 22, 2007

OP-ED: by Myron Wasylyk, Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thu, Jan 25 2007

14.                           THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS
           Why Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) voted against the president
INFORM Newsletter #27, Newsletter for the international community
providing views and analysis from the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, January 24, 2007

15.                       BAN ON POLITICAL DESERTION
             Opponents and supporters of the ‘imperative mandate bill.’
 Bondage, serfdom, totalitarianism or a restoration of justice, a step forward
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Serhii Rakhmanin
Zerkalo Nedeli On The Web, Mirror-Weekly No. 2 (631)
International Social Political Weekly
Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, 20 – 26 January 2007


Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thu, January 25, 2007

                            SEEKS FRIENDSHIP WITH ISRAEL
NRG Ma’ariv website, Tel Aviv, in Hebrew 16 Jan 07
BBC Monitoring Service. United Kingdom, Thursday, Jan 18, 2007

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, January 16, 2007

Interfax Ukraine News, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thu, January 11, 2007


Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, January 1, 2007
21.                                  RETURN TO UKRAINE
   In an emotional trip, Sentinel columnist Greg Dawson finds the tragedy and
   miracle of years past, as well as a modern nation that opens its heart to him.
Greg Dawson, Sentinel Staff Writer, Orlando Sentinel
Orlando, Florida, Sunday, January 21, 2007
        The ‘living history” of their elders that is part of their Ukrainian heritage.
By Kristina Gray, Ukrainian Observer magazine, Issue 227
The Willard Group, Kyiv, Ukraine, January, 2007
  Traditionalists fear workers’ migration is undermining Ukrainian society and
liberals emphasize the advantages, but serious debate about the issue is lacking.

COMMENTARY: By Kerstin Zimmer, Transitions Online (TOL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Monday, January 22, 2007

All sides agree that labor migration is changing Ukrainian society, but
serious debate on the issue is absent.

Several years ago Ukraine’s then-president, Leonid Kuchma, referred to
Ukrainian women working in Italy as prostitutes. Ever since, the public
discourse on the role of labor migrants has become more intense and

In recent years, Ukraine has become one of the major labor exporting
countries in Europe. This has left its mark on Ukrainian society and changed
the perception of the labor migrants, the zarobitchany.

As both Russia and Ukraine’s European Union neighbors developed their own
policies on temporary emigration and immigration, Ukraine remained trapped
in a zone of indecision.

Its two biggest neighbors, Poland and Russia, see the need to attract
workers from Ukraine and elsewhere to mitigate problems of aging populations
and the shrinking pool of workers, but Ukraine seems unprepared to counter
its own demographic crisis.

Debate on migration in the media and politics is fragmented and tendentious,
as proponents of different views prefer to deliver monologues on the topic
rather than engage in real dialogue.

When they do talk about it, what Ukrainian experts and politicians alike
often focus on is the number of migrants actually working abroad – estimates
range from 2 million to about 7 million. While most scholars put forward
rather conservative estimates, politicians seem to overstate the numbers of
labor migrants.

The argument over the “real” number of zarobitchany develops into a
political fight, in which the zarobitchany become pieces in games played by
competing forces.

The political opposition uses high numbers as a hammer to bash government
social and labor policies that fail to prevent people from (temporarily)
leaving Ukraine, and it presents itself as the advocate of “normal”
                         THE MODERN WAY TO MIGRATE
Under this surface, the public debate on labor migrants reveals the
divergent orientations and development agendas politicians or groups have
ready for Ukraine.

While the Polish political and intellectual elite engages in a rather
“modern” debate on the current demographic and the growing labor-market
crisis, and Russia oscillates between modern and traditional ideas and
politics, the dominant Ukrainian discourse is characterized by traditional
and “anti-modern” elements.

People talk and think about labor migration largely in terms of people
traveling west to work, yet the main recipient of such migration, Russia,
hardly figures in public discussion.

Official and permanent migration from Ukraine to Russia has dropped after
peaking in the 1990s, but much undocumented migration continues.

These migrants can easily and legally travel to Russia thanks to a visa-free
policy, but most are illegally working without a permit.

Workers in this group, estimated at about 1 million, come from all regions
of Ukraine. Most are men who work predominantly in construction, especially
in and around Moscow and other industrial centers.

One reason for the lack of concern with migration to Russia could be its
perceived and unchallenged “normality,” because these zarobitchany are doing
nothing new.

Ukrainians have long worked in Russia on a temporary basis, mostly in the
form of entire brigades, and well-established networks exist that facilitate
this process. Some of these networks have a business character and some are
intertwined with organized crime.

What is largely unnoticed in the media is that most Ukrainians in Russia
work in the shadow economy and that the present migration often takes place
under much worse conditions than in Soviet times.

In contrast, labor migration to the countries of the European Union receives
much more attention, thanks not only to its considerable extent but also to
its distinct features and relative novelty.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry estimated several years ago that about
300,000 Ukrainians worked in Poland, 200,000 in Italy, up to 200,000 in the
Czech Republic, 200,000 in Spain, and 150,000 in Portugal.

In all these countries, they have only limited opportunities to work
legally, despite some recent legal changes, legalization campaigns, and
intergovernmental agreements.

Westward labor migration is more evenly balanced between women and men

– in some regions, women are even over-represented – and involves
disproportionately more people from central and western Ukraine.

These facts influence the tone of the discussion about westbound migration
in a way that reflects Ukrainians’ view of their relationship to the West,
especially the EU.
                         WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST
Ukraine faces a severe demographic crisis as its population rapidly shrinks
and ages. According to the last Soviet census, in 1989, Ukraine had about

52 million inhabitants. By 2002 the population had fallen to 48 million, and
according to some forecasts it will keep falling to about 38 million in

Permanent emigration after the breakup of the Soviet Union contributed to
the decline, but only moderately, and was partly offset as ethnic
Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars, and other “traditional” nationalities returned
to Ukraine from other parts of the fragmenting USSR. High mortality and low
fertility rates are the main drivers of the crisis. In addition, HIV/AIDS is
a ticking time bomb.

Concerns over demographic and social change, added to facts such as the high
share of women workers in the West – in Ukraine’s western regions, between
60 percent and 70 percent of labor emigrants are female – and the rural or
small-town origin of many emigrants strengthen the claims of those who argue
migration is helping undermine Ukrainian traditional life.

The absence of so many women – mothers and future mothers – from Ukraine

is often painted by traditionalists as the main reason for the declining
birthrate and as a cause of the decay of the traditional Ukrainian family.
In this view, mothers abandon their children, and wives their husbands.

In addition, it is bemoaned that Ukrainian women abroad are forced into
prostitution, thus losing the moral right or even the physical ability to
bear children.

The traditionalists often cast as irresponsible and selfish the women who
leave their husbands and children at home in search of a new life.

They also blame recent labor migration for a perceived social decay in
Ukraine. Many traditionalist social critics juxtapose Ukraine, represented
by disenfranchised but decent labor migrants, against the – to say the
least – morally suspect societies of the European Union. Behind this kind of
argument lies a belief in the pernicious influence of the West that emerges
from leftist and rightist thinking alike.

The leader of the Communist Party, Petro Simonenko, for example, not long
ago attacked the “orange camp” that came to power with President Viktor
Yushchenko for portraying labor migrants as active people and investors.

Such people are damaging Ukrainian society, he claimed, accusing them of
spreading alcoholism, drug abuse, and AIDS. In encouraging women migrants

in particular, the government was undermining their true role – to bear and
raise healthy children.
                                    ONE-SIDED DEBATES
Survey research in Ukraine suggests that the migrants themselves have quite
a different view and shows just how wide is the gap between what others say
about migrants and how migrants see themselves.

Although many had negative experiences abroad, labor migrants perceive
themselves as much more actively involved in shaping their own lives than do

What political recommendations and claims do the traditionalists derive from
these arguments? While in Western Europe, and increasingly in Poland and
even in Russia, regulated immigration is viewed as a means to counter the
demographic crisis and “rejuvenate” both the labor force and the population
at large, such opinions are exceptional in Ukraine.

Instead, a number of ideas are in the air. Some argue that the state should
encourage the labor migrants to return to Ukraine by creating new jobs, if
necessary from the state budget.

Those concerned with the decay of the family call for all things detrimental
to the flourishing of the traditional Ukrainian family to be combated:
divorce, pornography, prostitution, birth control, and abortion.

At the same time, the countryside – where the largest share of labor
migrants comes from – should be given a boost, again by budgetary means.
While these are essentially ideas based on traditional views, the proposed
means are rather technocratic and reminiscent of Soviet policies.

The traditionalists do not have a monopoly on public debate over migration
and all the social processes associated with it.

Other politicians and commentators see the trends and contradictions
underscored by the phenomenon of labor migration as an inevitable part of
modernization and globalization. Work abroad can bring many material
advantages to individuals and to wider Ukrainian society, they say.

One of those advantages is sorely needed cash: by rough estimates, migrants
remit several billion dollars annually to their families in Ukraine. Even
though this view does not deny the social problems caused by labor
migration, it emphasizes that labor migration is an individual response to
economic and social hardship.

Some liberal experts and politicians favor a program to boost immigration.
But this weakly developed debate has not yet resulted in political programs,
let alone policy.

Missing from the public discussion of labor migration is serious debate
between traditionalists and liberals. The zarobitchany become depersonalized
figures in one faction or another’s overall development proposals.
Curiously, the views and experiences of the labor migrants themselves go
largely unheard.   (

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

By Stefan Wagstyl, Financial Times, London, UK, Tuesday, Jan 23 2007

Migration is the most sensitive element of globalisation. Almost everywhere
people are on the move, primarily from the developing world to the rich
nations of Europe and North America. And almost everywhere in the host
countries there are growing concerns about the impact of migration on native

Liberal economists argue that migrants bring benefits all round. Migrants
themselves gain by moving from low-productivity jobs in poor regions to more
productive work in wealthier states; the host countries profit from the
money the immigrants spend and the taxes they pay; the countries of origin
benefit from the cash many migrants send back to their families.

However, immigrants have long been viewed with suspicion. Once accused of
arson and child-snatching, they are today blamed for stealing jobs, welfare
scrounging and involvement in international terrorism. While mainstream
political leaders mostly reject these claims, they are generally trying to
impose limits on migration.

Migration is nothing new in human experience but today’s waves are bigger
than before. People in poor countries are responding to the fundamental
changes caused by economic globalisation combined with an unprecedented

drop in birth rates in developed countries.

They are finding it easier to move thanks to the spread of
telecommunications, the expansion of low-cost travel and the weakening in
border controls that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“International migration is likely to be with us as long as human societies
continue to develop,” the United Nations said in a global migration report
released last year. “In all probability, it will continue to rise in the
decades ahead.”

The UN estimates that the number of migrants has doubled in the last 50
years to about 191m in 2005. While this is still only a small percentage of
the world population (2.9 per cent in 2000), it is heavily concentrated in
the developed world. Of the 36m who migrated between 1990 and 2005, 33m
moved to industrialised regions, headed by Europe and North America.

From the point of view of the developed world, the most startling fact is
that UN calculations show immigration accounted for no less than
three-quarters of the population growth of developed nations in 2000-5.

Immigrants have contributed significantly to the generally healthy level of
economic growth seen in this period (notably in the US) – and to the growing
concerns of native populations.

A key element is the slowing birth rate in the developed world, which both
increases the need for immigrant labour and increases the fears about its
social impact. The rate in the developed rate is below 1.6, compared with
the 2.1 required for stable populations.

The UN forecasts that, over the next five decades, the world’s population
growth rate will slow but it will still increase from about 6.6bn today to
more than 9bn by 2050.

By then, the population of the developed world will be declining slowly by
1m a year, while that of the developing world will still be increasing by
35m, according to the UN’s central forecast.

No fewer than 50 countries, including Japan, Germany, Italy, Russia and most
other former Soviet republics, face steady population declines, with birth
rates already well below replacement rates.

The problem is particularly acute in Japan, which has traditionally been
very resistant to immigration, and in small states which fear their native
populations might become minorities in their own countries, such as the
Baltic states.

Among the developed states, the countries which are forecast by the UN to
grow are headed by the US, Canada and the UK – all high-immigration

However, even high inflows of immigrants will not prevent the ageing of
populations in the developed world – especially as falling birth rates are
combined with longer life expectancy. The UN forecasts that by 2050 about

80 per cent of the world’s over-60s could live in developed states.

The dependency ratio – the ratio of pensioners to those in work – will
increase rapidly, contributing to a growing financial burden on the workers.

Today there are about 30 pensioners for every 100 workers in the developed
world. By 2050, according to UN data, there could be 80. In Japan and much
of Europe it could be more than 100.

Governments in developed countries have begun to tackle the problem by
trying to raise retirement ages, increase lifetime contributions of workers
to pensions and reduce pension benefits.

However, they face serious resistance from older workers who have been
looking forward to earlier retirements and better benefits than may be
offered in future. Employers too often push for early retirement to
rejuvenate their workforces or to switch production to lower-cost developing

The challenges are especially acute in Europe, with its combination of low
birth rates and generous welfare states. CSIS, the US think-tank, estimates
that with no big policy change the UK’s public benefits to the elderly as a
percentage of gross domestic product will rise from 12 per cent in 2000 to
18 per cent in 2040, and from 13 per cent to 33 per cent in Spain.

Pro-birth policies can help. For more than 100 years, France has encouraged
large families with generous child allowances and other subsidies – with
moderate success.

More recently, Sweden has developed a model of generous allowances

combined with comprehensive child care allowing parents to return to work.

Compared with a European average of 1.5, the French fertility rate is 1.8
and the Swedish 1.7. However, there are limits. In both countries, as
elsewhere, women are postponing having children. The biological time
available to give birth to three or more children is declining rapidly.`

In Europe as a whole, there is some evidence that the ideal family – which
has long been two parents and two children – is now declining, with more
adults saying they only want to have one child.

Immigrants from outside Europe tend to want and to have larger families. But
the history of migration tends to show that immigrant communities move
towards the national norms.

Immigration cannot prevent the ageing of societies but it can slow the
process and provide more time to make adjustments.

This could ease tensions between workers and pensioners and between
generations. But it can only be achieved if host countries are ready to
accept the presence of much larger numbers of immigrants and descendents

of immigrants than in the recent past.                       -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thu, January 25, 2007

KYIV – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) may

hold an international conference for migration issues in Ukraine in 2008. The
parliament’s press service announced this to Ukrainian News.

According to the statement, during the January 25 PACE meeting the speakers
noted this conference is scheduled for the next year. At the meeting PACE
adopted recommendations as to agriculture, illegal employment in Europe and
state of illegal emigrants in impermanent employment agencies.

Speaking at the meeting, head of the permanent Verkhovna Rada delegation
Vitalii Shybko stressed that the European Council has always put the problem
of employment and migration into the spotlight.

He proposed to bring the legislative base, concerning social security of
hired agricultural workers and their interrelations with employers, in line
with that of the PACE member-countries.

In Shybko’s opinion, it is important that all the European Council
member-countries sign and ratify the Convention of Migrant Workers.

He also mentioned bad approach to performing bilateral agreements on mutual
employment between Ukraine and some other countries. By this he noted, that
not all the countries want to sign such agreements though they need work

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, in May 2006 the State Committee for
Nationalities and Migration initiated debate of the draft concept for
Ukraine’s migration policy.

Earlier, in the frames of the 2006 Ukraine-NATO target plan, Ukraine assumed
the commitment to endorse fundamentals of the state migration policy and
pass a law on the State Migration Service.              -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


Interfax Information Agency, Moscow, Russia, Thu, January 25, 2007

MOSCOW – According to a new Russian law in effect as of mid-January,
Ukrainian workers will be regarded as migrants, just as other foreigners
working in Russia.

“Ukrainian citizens will no longer have to be registered and will, like
other foreigners coming to work in Russia, be regarded as migrants, which
means the responsibility will rest with the party that hosts them, be it an
organization or an individual,” Federal Migration Service (FMS) press
secretary Konstantin Poltoranin told Interfax on Wednesday evening.

He said the agreement that allowed Ukrainian citizens to stay in Russia
without registration for up to 90 days is no longer valid.

“There is no longer such a thing as registration. Migration rules are now
much easier and are a matter of notification only. Now the receiving party –
an organization or an individual – will have to notify the federal migration
bodies within three days of the presence of a foreign national,” Poltoranin
said.                                                       -30-

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

Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Tue, January 23, 2007

Ukrainian PrivatBank plans to open branches in Spain, Italy, Greece and
Germany through its Latvian subsidiary Paritate Banka to service Ukrainian
migrant workers in Europe, PrivatBank said.

It is easier to set up a branch in the European Union (EU) through an bank
registered in an EU member country, PrivatBank’s vice-president Yurii
Pikush said. Latvian Paritate Banka has already transformed its
representative office in Portugal into a branch.

According to the World Forum of Ukrainians, over seven million Ukrainians
work abroad and make up 10 pct of the migrant workers in the world.

They work mainly in Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany and annually
transfer about 19 bln euro to Ukraine ($24.7 bln). PrivatBank, based in
Dnipropetrovsk, eastern Ukraine, is one of the biggest Ukrainian banks with
30.652 bln Ukrainian hryvnias ($6.061 bln/4.659 bln euro) in assets as of
December 1, 2006.

According to Fitch rating agency, the bank is 94 pct owned by Genadyi
Bogolyubov, Igor Kolomoiskyi and Alexei Martynov and 6.0 pct by the
bank’s top managers.                              -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
         Ukraine is the fourth largest migrant-receiving country in the world

By Finfacts Team, Finfacts Business News Centre
Finfacts Ireland, Tuesday, Jan 16, 2007

Migration can benefit both sending and receiving countries and reduce
poverty among migrants if it is better coordinated between countries,
according to a new World Bank report.

Migration within and from the transition economies of Europe and Central
Asia has been large and will likely continue to increase as declining birth
rates across much of the region will lead to an increased demand for a young
labour force, according to “Migration and Remittances: Eastern Europe and
the Former Soviet Union.” [see link below]

The report says that it has been well publicized that migration to Western
Europe has increased significantly over the past 15 years, with Western
Europe receiving 42 percent of migrants from Central and Eastern Europe, as
well as growing numbers of migrants from the former Soviet Union.

What is less known is that on a global level, Germany and France are the
only Western European nations in the top-ten migrant-receiving
countries.Russia is number two, and Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Poland are
also in the top ten.

Top 10 Migrant-Receiving Countries Worldwide: United States 1; Russia 2;
Germany 3; Ukraine 4; France 5; India 6; Saudi Arabia 7; Australia 8;
Kazakhstan 9; Poland 10.

Russia attracts migrants from the rest of the former Soviet Union, primarily
from the Caucasus and Central Asia, and poorer Central Asian workers migrate
to resource-rich Kazakhstan. Ukraine and Poland both serve as transit points
for migrants on their way to Western Europe.

Remittances are one consequence of migration that benefit both the migrants’
families and their home countries. For many of the poorest countries in
Eastern Europe and Central Asia they are the largest source of outside
income and have served as a cushion against the economic and political
turbulence of the past 15 years.

Remittances represent over 20 percent of GDP in Moldova and Bosnia and
Herzegovina and over 10 percent in Albania, Armenia, and Tajikistan.

To ensure that migration benefits both sending and receiving countries and
the migrants themselves, countries could more closely coordinate their
policies so that the supply of migrant labour can meet demand through legal
channels that respect the rights of migrants and are politically and
socially acceptable to migrant-receiving countries.

“Existing bilateral agreements can be improved to facilitate migration in
the region by matching the supply of migrant labour with the demand through
economic incentives,” explains Bryce Quillin, World Bank Economist and
co-author of the report.

There are no ready-made solutions for effective migration policy, yet one
possible route might be to combine short-term migration with incentives for
return or circular migration. Circular migration could allow migrants to
spend short periods of time abroad without creating new amounts of permanent

“New approaches, such as circular migration, and the use of economic
incentives could strengthen bilateral agreements,” says Willem van Eeghen,
World Bank Lead Economist. “If these approaches work, they will yield a
‘Triple Win’ for migrants and sending and receiving countries.”

Potential benefits of circular migration include:
[1] Receiving countries could fill labour shortages, increase revenue, and
reduce social tensions related to undocumented and unmanaged migration;
[2] Sending countries would accumulate human capital that might otherwise be
lost; and
[3] Migrants could increase their income, build human capital and financial
savings, maintain links with their families, pay lower remittance costs, and
create trade/investment linkages between countries.
Migration and Remittances: Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


By Judy Dempsey, International Herald Tribune (IHT)
Paris, France, Wednesday, January 17, 2007

BERLIN: The money that migrants around the world send to their families
back home is well known to alleviate poverty. But many of these workers,
usually from poor countries, face enormous legal and social barriers to
working in wealthier nations.

A report published this week by the World Bank lays out why the rich
countries, often with low birth rates and labor shortages, should coordinate
their efforts so that migrant workers can help them meet labor demand

The report, entitled “Migration and Remittances: Eastern Europe and the
former Soviet Union,” also examined the impact of remittances on local
economies and ways of encouraging greater stability in the labor markets.

Since some formerly Communist countries of Eastern Europe joined the
European Union, hundreds of thousands of Poles and many others from the
Baltic countries have moved to Britain, Ireland, Belgium and Germany to find

In some cases, this has led to labor shortages in their home countries,
particularly Poland. The report says that such shortages are being partly
filled by migrants from Ukraine and Belarus.

For most countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the World Bank said
that only foreign aid and direct investment exceed remittances as sources of
external financing.

“For many of the poorest countries in the region, they are the largest
source and have served as a cushion against the economic and political
turbulence brought about by transition” to capitalism, it said. Among the
world’s largest recipients of remittances, as a percentage of gross domestic
product, are Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, and Armenia.

In 2004, officially recorded remittances to Eastern Europe and Central Asia
amounted to more than $19 billion, about 8 percent of the global total of
$232.3 billion, according to the report.

Remittances sent in 2004 to Moldova accounted for nearly 30 percent of
gross domestic product. The figure was 24 percent for Bosnia and
Herzegovina and about 17 percent for Albania.

Despite the importance of remittances, the World Bank said that both
receiving and sending countries were failing to coordinate them.

Countries could, for example, cooperate more closely in filling labor
shortages, increase the revenue from remittances (in part by cutting the
sometimes exorbitant fees charged for sending money abroad) and reduce
the social tensions often associated with undocumented migration.

“New approaches, such as the use of circular migration and the use of
economic incentives, could strengthen bilateral agreements,” said Willem
van Eeeghen, the World Bank economist responsible for the report.

The report said that circular migration, or allowing migrants to spend short
periods of time abroad without seeking permanent residency, could enable
migrants to increase their income, build savings, pay lower remittance costs
and maintain links with their families.

“If these approaches work, they will yield a ‘triple win’ for migrants and
sending and receiving countries,” van Eeeghen said.          -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
    NOTE: Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.

By Michael J. Jordan, Correspondent, The Christian Science Monitor
Boston, Massachusetts, Wednesday, January 10, 2007

VILNIUS, LITHUANIA – Much ado was made in Paris several years ago
about the symbolic “Polish plumber” who was coming to steal jobs from
les français. Now, it’s Eastern Europeans who are lamenting the loss of
not only plumbers, but all service workers.

“If you want some repairs in your apartment, you can’t find anyone,” says
Rita Stankeviciute, a sportswriter in Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital. “It’s
ridiculous. Lines in the grocery stores are longer. When I used to need a
taxi, it was always three minutes. Now it’s ‘In an hour.'”

As Western Europeans fret about a new wave of Eastern Europeans flooding
their countries – this time from Romania and Bulgaria, the EU’s newest
members – those nations have an opposite concern: how to bring those
immigrants home.

For a small country like Lithuania, with a low birthrate but high rates of
immigration, alcoholism, and suicide, the situation is particularly urgent.

The former communist nation of 4 million has seen at least 400,000 people
migrate west, whether to work construction in Dublin, pick strawberries in
southern Spain, or conduct research in Scandinavia.

“We must invite them back,” says Zilvinas Beliauskas, director of the
government- supported Returning Lithuanian Information Center. “We
should consider them an integral part of the nation.”

Agencies such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have
also joined the repatriation movement. IOM’s Vilnius branch recently
unveiled its Lithuanian-language “Independent Migration Information Center”
website to separate fact from fiction for both Lithuanians contemplating
migration abroad and those mulling a return home.

It’s the first such IOM site among new EU members, says Audra Sipaviciene,
who heads the Vilnius office.

“If a migrant’s been gone for five years, sometimes they’re very pessimistic
about the job situation back home, that ‘Oh, nothing’s changed,’ ” says Ms.
Sipaviciene. “But it is very different. So if there’s good information, all
in one place, perhaps they’ll return.”

Deimante Doksaite, a young Lithuanian journalist who recently cofounded to keep the diaspora connected with home, had a
slightly different goal: show compassion.

“Immigration is the issue everyone here talks about,” says Ms. Doksaite. Yet
migrants “don’t get enough attention from Lithuania, so we wanted to … let
them know someone here cares. And this is the fastest, easiest, and cheapest
way to do it.”

In a region where seemingly everyone has a sibling or neighbor working in
the West, similar websites have also sprouted for Poles, Latvians, and

Economic migration westward, both legal and illegal, has been a constant
since the Berlin Wall crumbled 17 years ago. Some politicians in the
economically ravaged East have been reluctant to stem the tide.

The billions of dollars of remittances sent home annually to the region have
been a boon, and the exodus has eased pressure to produce decent-paying
jobs quickly.

In fact, the migrants have allowed states to project, somewhat misleadingly,
the image of having effectively tackled unemployment:In July, the EU said
Estonia and Lithuania had recorded the largest drops in unemployment
among all EU members.

But it’s also become clear that just as the brain drain harms the national
interest – as highly educated young professionals flee to fulfill their
earning potential in wealthier countries – the disappearing working class is
devastating local service industries, with shortages of construction
workers, truck drivers, waitresses, and supermarket clerks.

To compensate, some employers in the region are now turning to laborers from
Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and Moldova. In Vilnius, where there’s a fear of
re-Russification, “Lithuania for Lithuanians” sentiment runs high.

But Poland, by far the largest of the new EU members, couldn’t hold off any
longer. In August, the Polish Labor Ministry announced it would no longer
require work permits for farmworkers from the East arriving for seasonal

Some say higher salaries could bring back Poles, but that would also raise
costs for employers, making them less competitive in international markets.

“It’s my dream to return to Poland, but not for 30 percent of my salary,”
says economist Jacek Cukrowski, a regional adviser for the UN Development
Program in Bratislava, Slovakia. “So many have gone west [that] to return,
they might not have to receive equal pay, but certainly more than now.”

 In Lithuania, pay is only one factor, says Vida Bagdonaviciene, deputy
director general of the state Department of Lithuanians Living Abroad.

She says that some Lithuanians may be turned off by the bureaucracy,
corruption, and crime – the latter two often sensationalized by the media,
she says. Or perhaps it’s the gloominess. She says that one contented
transplant in Dublin told her, “Irish people are always smiling and polite.”

Lithuanian officials now study the Irish experience: Long a source of
migration, Ireland gradually evolved into the economic “Emerald Tiger” and
a destination target for migrants.

Mr. Beliauskas is a member of an interagency task force that the government
created earlier this year to propose ways to recover some of the nation’s
human resources – while also tapping the experiences they’ve accrued abroad.

The group expects to convene its first meeting this month, proffering
concrete ideas: small-business loans and special classes for young
Lithuanians to reintegrate into schools – and for young adults, year-long
scholarships to study or do research work in an institute.

On, much of the content is geared to life in Lithuania,
such as tax policies, job prospects, and real-estate prices. “Everything
comes down to quality of life,” says Ms. Bagdonaviciene. “Migrants have
contact with their family and friends, and they’re waiting for the signal
that things have really gotten better here.”                  -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

      We have had people from Bulgaria, Belarus, the Ukraine and Romania.

By Naomi Canton, Norwich Evening News 24
Norwich, United Kingdom, Wednesday, 24 January 2007

NORWICH, UK – “I don’t think I could employ British people and remain
solvent. The business as we know it today would not carry on without
migrant workers. They are absolutely critical to our business.”

These are the words of Peter Dickie, who runs the Wood Farm in Wicklewood.
He is one of a growing number of farmers who insist there is no local demand
for jobs in Norfolk’s soft fruit and vegetable growing industry and
therefore the fresh food that ends up on our plates is being picked and
packed by migrant workers.

According to the latest figures, 6,580 migrant workers came into the county
last year, and of those 1,650 came to Norwich, many of them looking for

Add to this the 11,724 unemployed people in Norfolk and 2,925 in Norwich
and that is a lot of people in need of jobs.

However, farmers say supermarkets’ pressure to keep prices low forces them
to keep wages at minimum levels, thus preventing them from employing some

Gone are the days when farms would send buses off to village market places
to pick up seasonal workers university students would pick strawberries
during their summer vacation.

Farms now rely on the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) which
gives people from non EU countries the right to work picking fruit on farms
across the UK for six months.

More than 15,000 temporary staff arrive each year in the UK under the scheme
from countries such as those in the former Soviet Union bloc.

But in January 2008 it will only be open to people from Bulgaria and
Romania, following their introduction into the European Union, who are
otherwise not going to be allowed free movement in the labour market.

The 50 Club Horticultural Employers’ Association is launching a judicial
review of the Home Office decision because it is worried that restricting
the scheme to people from those countries will mean Norfolk farms will face
a labour shortage in the future and the best workers may not be from these
two countries.

Colin Hall, director, said: “Until now the workers have been students coming
to the UK to earn hard currency that goes far back home and they often use
to pay for their studies.

“Few of them abscond and there is a need for them because there is a lack of
British workers. Migrant workers are very hard-working and not troublesome –
they keep farms going.

“We don’t think there will be sufficient reliable and suitable labour to
satisfy our requirements in the future.

“These students are young, they are in and out, they are doing degrees so we
know they are going to go back. We have a genuine concern that absconding
will increase with just the Romanian and Bulgarian workers because they are
not just students – it’s anyone of any age.

“SAWS operators normally try to build up relationships over a few years to
make sure they are honest and reliable. They have made an assumption without
calculating the impact that there will be sufficient numbers coming from
those countries. I don’t believe it’s the answer and effectively they are
closing the SAWS scheme down.”

Richard Hirst, left, chairman of NFU Horticultural Board, whose farm is near
Great Yarmouth, agreed there was a danger that eventually there would not be
enough people to do the work.

He said: “A lot of the work can’t be done mechanically and has to be done by
hand and eye. It’s a very good way for students to sample our Western way of
life and that has now been sacrificed.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “It does not make sense to have in place
restrictions on the economic activities of people with right to free
movement and at the same time continue to admit people subject to
immigration control to do the same type of work.”

Christine Lumb, executive director of Concordia, one of the SAWS operators
across the UK which supplies farms in Norfolk, said: “Young people in the UK
generally speaking are not interested in working the land and that’s why we
have to have migrant workers.

“They will earn £5.35 a week which is not that attractive for a British
person. Many of them have come from countries which are quite poor and this
is the only opportunity they have to see a democracy. This is the only
opportunity they have to travel outside of the country and look at new
technology and to take some knowledge away with them.

“No one has thought about what the farms might want. These people from
Bulgaria or Romania might be alcoholics. They might have been in prison. It
will be a different type of worker who might take the job. They could be
less motivated.

“The industry could be in total crisis in the future because there won’t be
any harvesters.”

Are you a migrant worker willing to share your story? Call Naomi Canton on
01603 772418 or e-mail
Andy Allen is the 10th generation of his family to run Portwood Farm in
Great Ellingham, Attleborough.

The 43-year-old said the asparagus side of his business would not survive if
it were not for migrant workers.

Mr Allen grows rape, barley, beans and sugar beet on 1,300 acres. Most of
the time he has three full-time staff, but from May to June he employs 35
seasonal workers and they all come through the SAWS scheme.

He said: “We don’t employ any local seasonal workers. It doesn’t fit in with
the term times of students and we need them to work seven days a week. We
pick and cut every day.

We have been down that line before but it just didn’t work. There are not
enough unemployed people in Norfolk. People here don’t seem to want to work
the land any more. People earn what they pick and they can earn up to £600
per week.

“I think the SAWS scheme is a great idea. It means that different cultures
can come together and learn about each other; we have had people from
Bulgaria, Belarus, the Ukraine and Romania. They live on the farm and they
love it. We can barely find them enough work. They like to work long hours
and they train really well.”

“I think we should give these people an opportunity to come here and there
should always be an allowance for people from non-EU countries, otherwise we
are going to have a shortage of labour in the future. Asparagus is dependent
on migrant workers.”
                               A RELIABLE WORKFORCE
Peter Dickie runs Wood Farm Wood Lane Wicklewood, Wymondham,
with his wife Joan.

When did you start your farm?
In 1992. Before that I had been working as a plant breeder for a subsidiary
of Shell in Italy and was made redundant.

What go you produce?
We grow strawberries, blackberries and raspberries and sell them to farmers’
markets, local wholesalers and supermarkets. I also grow wheat, barley and

Do you employ migrant workers?
From May to October I employ about 15 migrant workers through the SAWS
scheme. The rest of the year I don’t employ anyone. They are usually
university students.

Have you ever recruited locally?
Yes we have recruited from the UEA in the past but it’s better for us, with
modern regulations and so on, to have staff on site who we can train and we
know are following the rules and regulations. We often do training and
orientation and it’s difficult to do that if lots of new people are coming

Students from the UEA would not necessarily guarantee they could come every
day so we have the continuity problem. Last year we started picking at 5am
so it’s difficult to get students to do that. The price of strawberries has
not gone up in eight years and we are under extreme pressure to produce them
at low production costs.

What does a migrant worker do?
It depends on the weather but often they start at 5am and carry on till
12pm. They live in caravans on the farm and cook their own food. Most of
the time they are picking strawberries and putting them into punnets. We pay
them according to how much they pick.

They all tend to be students, some come as friends, some come alone. Often
if they are studying horticulture they tend to have more of a clue as to
what is going in. There is romance and they have arguments. We have one or
two barbecues for them which we organise as a family.

I think it’s good for them to come up against other people from across the
world. It gives these guys a break. What they earn in six months is more
than double their annual salary back home.

What are the benefits of employing migrant workers?
They are prepared to do it and the amount of money they earn is more
significant for them. Many of them are coming from subsistence environments
where there is no state subsidy.

Often their families have scrimped and saved to get them to university. I
don’t think I could employ British people and remain solvent. It’s good for
UK businesses because these people will take back positive thoughts about
the UK.

What do you think about the latest rules coming into force?
What the Home Office is doing is reducing the number now at the very time
when our operation needs more labour. (
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


Associated Press (AP), Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, January 22, 2007

KIEV – Thousands of Crimean Tatars rallied Monday on Ukraine’s Crimean
Peninsula to demand the return of land seized after Soviet leader Josef
Stalin forced the deportation of their ethnic group more than 60 years ago.

Lilya Muslimova, press secretary for the Tatar Mejlis, or Assembly, said
some 12,000 Tatars from across Crimea had gathered in front of the main
government building in the regional capital, Simferopol, to demand that
their land claims be honored. Regional police put the number at about 5,000.

The protesters – banging metal barrels and waving national flags – were also
demonstrating against changes to the criminal code that toughen penalties
for the illegal seizure of land, which they fear is meant to deter them from
pushing their land claims.

Some Tatars, frustrated by the government’s lack of response, have
physically taken over land on the Black Sea peninsula or attempted to block
access to the current owners.

“The land issue has been dragged out, and people have had enough,”

Muslimova said by telephone.

In 1944, Stalin accused the Crimean Tatars of collaborating with Germany’s
Nazis and ordered some 200,000 deported to Central Asia. Many have returned
since the 1991 Soviet collapse and have sought – mostly unsuccessfully – to
reclaim property, raising tension on the multi-ethnic peninsula.

Protests are common, but they rarely attract more than a few hundred people.
Fights also frequently break out between Tatars, most of whom are Muslim,
and the ethnic Russians and Ukrainians, who refuse to relinquish land they
were given after the Tatars’ deportation.                      -30-

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

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, January 24, 2007

KYIV – The Cabinet of Ministers has set up a commission for returning
property to religious organizations. Deputy Prime Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk
announced this at a press conference following the Cabinet of Ministers’
meeting on Wednesday.

In his words, the government endorsed at the meeting a resolution on the
creation of this commission. “I am confident that systematic and organized
work for returning church property to religious organizations will improve
cooperation between executive power and local government bodies in the
settlement of concrete questions,” Tabachnyk said.

In his words, particularly, the point at issue is return to religious
organizations of over 300 former spiritual and other clerical premises.

As Ukrainian News reported, in 2003 the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv
Patriarchy, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic
Church expressed protest against the draft law proposed by the Cabinet of
Ministers, which envisages the property right of churches to religious
installations, fearing that they may go over to the Ukrainian Orthodox
Church of Moscow Patriarchy.                           -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

If you are receiving more than one copy of the AUR please contact us.
                          INTO UKRAINIAN BY END OF 2007

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, January 22, 2007

KYIV – The Ministry of Culture and Tourism and film distributors have

agreed that 100% of foreign films for children will be dubbed into Ukrainian
or will have Ukrainian subtitles before the end of the year.  They signed a
memorandum to this effect on Monday.

The distributors undertake to provide citizens with open, full, authentic
and objective information about age restrictions, sale and language
requirements, and about time these films will be shown in Ukrainian cinemas.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the Ministry of Culture and film
distributors also agreed that 50% of foreign films will be dubbed into
Ukrainian before 2008. Deputy Prime Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk opposes

the idea of dubbing 100% of foreign films into Ukrainian.

In October 2006, the Kyiv Appeal Court cancelled the Cabinet of Ministers
resolution that requires all foreign films to be dubbed into Ukrainian.  -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
         Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.

OP-ED: by Myron Wasylyk, Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thu, Jan 25 2007

While in Jerusalem last week, Ukraine’s chief oppositionist Yulia
Tymoshenko called on her fellow politicians to visit Holy Land
religious sites to cleanse themselves from the dirt of Ukrainian politics.

The call was timely given her surprising political support to Prime Minister
Viktor Yanukovych’s successful efforts to overturn a presidential veto on
the law on the Cabinet of Ministers.

The new law expected to go into effect soon strips the president of key
executive authorities and vests them in the hands of the coalition

Given Tymoshenko’s opposition to the political reforms that weakened the
presidency during the height of the 2004 Orange Revolution, her early
January votes in the Rada caused many to question her true political

In fact, Tymoshenko allies openly distance themselves from any rational form
of democracy and state they are interested in gaining total control of state
institutions with few checks and balances.

This runs contrary to the president’s agenda of correcting the current
political asymmetry and refining a reliable system of checks and balances
between the presidency, parliament and coalition government.

Yulia Tymoshenko’s tactical alliance with the Party of Regions will not only
bring more chaos to governing institutions in the short term, but will have
grave consequences on the strategic development of Ukrainian democracy
for years to come.

Luckily there are at least 11 procedural and other violations of the
existing Constitution within the recently passed Cabinet of Ministers law
that could be used by the courts to turn back the latest attempt to usurp
political power in Ukraine without a consultation with voters.

However, until the courts hear the case, the law will have taken effect and
will have the following repercussions and consequences.

[1] First, the law on the Cabinet of Ministers overridden by parliament
strips the president of almost all executive authorities and places them in
the hands of the prime minister. In essence, a voter’s right to directly
elect the president has been violated.

Direct elections to the presidency with one set of powers have been replaced
with a presidency of limited political powers – that which former President
Leonid Kuchma and his top aide Viktor Medvedchuk couldn’t get parliament
to pass in the fall of 2004.

Tymoshenko’s support of the Cabinet of Ministers law now fully nullifies the
guiding principles and values that formed the rationale for the hard-fought
2004 presidential election that brought about the Orange Revolution.

[2] Second, Ukraine’s existing balance of political powers between two
directly elected democratic bodies – the president and parliament – will
under the new law on the Cabinet of Ministers shift completely to the
governing coalition.

Given the existing make-up of the parliament and the finances concentrated
in the Party of Regions, de facto all political powers shift to Prime
Minister Yanukovych.

The president’s earlier right to disband parliament if a ruling coalition is
not formed, a prime minister not nominated, a budget and national government
program not passed, is vested absurdly with the parliament itself. The
result is, again, a usurpation of power without consultation with voters.

[3] Third, the draft law on the so-called “imperative mandate,” which

Tymoshenko has fought so hard for, limits direct voter representation
further by giving political parties, and not the courts, the right to remove
elected council representatives.

If not vetoed by the president, the new law will allow party leaders to
replace those local deputies who abandoned their party lists in city and
oblast councils. Most notably, this could have an impact on the make-up

of the Kyiv City Council.

In effect, those elected deputies who express independent views and do not
follow the central party line face expulsion from party ranks and removal
from public office.

While this position may gain the support of strong party discipline
advocates, the protection of individual rights as guaranteed by the
Constitution will be violated and their adjudication and fair application
would rest not with the courts but with the central political committees of
political parties – much like the system that existed during the times of
the Communist Party Politburo.

So where have the Tymoshenko Bloc’s hasty actions steered Ukraine’s
nascent democratic polity?

The Jan. 12 votes were brought about by a turn of events among the
radicalized political faction within the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc. The latter
feared their further political marginalization by a stability pact that was
to be signed by President Viktor Yushchenko, Prime Minister Yanukovych
and Speaker Oleksandr Moroz in mid-February.

The president’s attempts to usher in a political culture of party
coexistence and political compromise as a means toward reaching agreement
on refining a democratic system of political checks and balances is a direct
threat to Tymoshenko.

Given her strong showing during the 2006 parliamentary election, her
immediate political goal is to amass as much Orange electorate support as
soon as possible.

This solidifies her positions in the Orange camp and limits potential
competition from rising democratic stars such as Yuriy Lutsenko, Arseniy
Yatsenyuk, Mykola Katerynchuk, Vitaliy Klitschko, and others.

To ensure she stays relevant, Tymoshenko played tactically against
Yushchenko the tried and true populist trump cards of “the worse off the
better.” Her only hope of achieving new parliamentary elections is to
further weaken the presidency and build up an encroaching opponent in

This, she hopes, will push Yushchenko to call early elections, which if held
soon are likely to turn Ukraine from a multi-party democracy to a political
system dominated by two highly centralized political parties with populist
platforms and authoritarian tendencies: the Party of Regions and the Yulia
Tymoshenko Bloc.

This turn of events would once again bring to the fore the east-west divide
and put Ukraine on the road to a long-term internal struggle that could
further push away prospects for Western or any other form of international
integration.                                             -30-
NOTE: Myron Wasylyk is Senior Vice President of The PBN Company,
where he provides political consultations to businesses, governments,
NGOs and political parties.

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
14.                THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS
               Why Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) voted against the president

INFORM Newsletter #27, Newsletter for the international community
providing views and analysis from the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ukrainian politics was stood on its head with the overturning, by the
Verkhovna Rada, of the presidential veto on the law of the Cabinet of
Ministers. Despite the severity of the rebuke, the president refused to
concede ground and last Thursday vetoed the law for a second time.

But this was a hollow gesture as the speaker of the parliament, Socialist
Party leader, Oleksandr Moroz, is able to sign and enact the legislation.

Viewed in its entirety, it appears that Ukraine has moved from being a
presidential to a parliamentary democracy.

So why did BYuT, which has campaigned steadfastly to revoke the
constitutional reforms, vote with the Yanukovych-government?

“Voting with Yanukovych was the lesser of two evils,” explained Hryhoriy
Nemyria, BYuT deputy leader and Mrs Tymoshenko’s top foreign affairs
adviser, “the step is clearly an interim solution which enabled us on
one-hand to end the deadlock and, on the other, to strengthen our position
as the leading democratic parliamentary opposition force.”

Clearly, there was mounting concern that the president was pushing for a new
agreement with the Anti-crisis Coalition. Two days before the vote, the
president, prime minister and speaker met to thrash out negotiations aimed
at formulating a modified National Unity Pact. “A ‘roadmap’ based on the
National Unity Pact will be the top issue at the negotiating table,” said
President Yushchenko at the time.

“Such a tactical compromise by the president would have been folly,”
remarked Mr Nemyria, “it was a solution aimed at preserving the status quo
and ignored the fact that the country is seized by a constitutional crises.
It was time for us to act.”

By voting as it did, BYuT pulled the rug from the feet of the
president and quashed any plans for a new National Unity Pact.
At the same time there was a degree of quid pro quo in that BYuT, in
exchange for its support, succeeded in getting the first reading of the law
on the Opposition passed – overcoming the first hurdle to establish a
western-style parliamentary opposition force.

Equally important was the signing of the law on the Imperative Mandate.
This entitles sanctions to be brought against regional council deputies that
refuse to follow the party line. This legislation will help eliminate
corruption in regional councils by thwarting unscrupulous politicians
wishing to follow business interests over their party’s policies.

Some, like Vasyl Lemak, Doctor of Legal Sciences, Professor of Uzhgorod
National University, believe the Imperative Mandate is not good for
Ukraine’s democratic development and ultimately “will carry it away from
democracy and European values of constitutionalism.”

Others argue that you cannot apply these mores to youthful democracies
trying to shake off the yoke of big business and oligarch influences.
Indeed, they see the tacit quid pro quo deal that shaped BYuT’s voting
behaviour as a cause for celebration – a healthy sign of a democracy at

There are many from both former-Orange camps who hope that the override
will be the much needed catalyst for President Yushchenko to exercise his
power to call early elections. One political analyst said, “it is less of a
catalyst and more of a detonator for Yushchenko to act.”

BYuT has called consistently for fresh elections and for the constitutional
reforms to be revoked. “We need to end the constitutional crisis by
democratic means,” said Yulia Tymoshenko, leader of the opposition and of
her eponymous bloc. “What you have seen is an interim position in order to
secure gains for Ukraine’s long-term future.

We have always maintained that the constitutional reforms were a mistake,
that there needs to be new parliamentary elections and that there will be no
strategic deal with the Party of Regions. We will continue to push for this
but now will do so from a stronger base. This week BYuT has showed that
it’s not just beautiful but is also strong.”

In referring to the strategic significance of the January 12th vote, Tetyana
Nikolayenko, writing for  Ukrayinska Pravda, summed it up as “the most
successful for Yulia Tymoshenko since she got 22% of votes at the
parliamentary elections.”

Whilst the next reading of the law on the Opposition may be less easy going,
BYuT has nevertheless strengthened its political capital both in the
national parliament and at regional level.  Concurrently, it sent a strong
message to the president and underscored its position as the main opposition
force in the country. If the president has the gumption to act, then the
pro-western future of Ukraine may take a step closer to becoming reality.
                               LAW ON THE OPPOSITION
The Opposition Bill passed its first reading. Major rights include:

[1] The right to form an opposition shadow government that is funded by the
Verkhovna Rada. The head of the Shadow Cabinet may take part in the
session of the Cabinet of Ministers and has speaking rights.
[2] Leadership of 12 parliamentary committees.
[3] First deputy positions in parliamentary committees, except those chaired
by the opposition.
[4] Nomination of candidates for governmental agencies such as the National
Bank Council, National Television, Radio Broadcasting Council, Accounting
Chamber and the High Council of Justice.

[5] The right to make proposals concerning the draft state budget,
determination of the parliamentary agenda, reports for formation of domestic
and foreign policy, state budget and approval of the government’s action
[6] The right to receive information on state governing bodies and state
                     LAW ON THE IMPERATIVE MANDATE
Local MPs or regional deputies may be deposed by their political party for:
[1]Infringement of the Laws and Constitution of Ukraine, other legislative
acts of Ukraine, the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea
and lawful acts of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea;
[2] Insufficient execution of their deputy responsibilities
relating to this law and other laws of Ukraine;
[3] Use of their deputy mandate to pursue personal and self-interest, and
the systematic infringement of ethics and moral norms.
Questions or comments? E-mail us at
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                Opponents and supporters of the ‘imperative mandate bill.’
   Bondage, serfdom, totalitarianism or a restoration of justice, a step forward

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Serhii Rakhmanin
Zerkalo Nedeli On The Web, Mirror-Weekly No. 2 (631)
International Social Political Weekly
Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, 20 – 26 January 2007

A week ago, the Ukrainian parliament adopted an “imperative mandate bill”.
Opponents of this legislative innovation label it as “bondage”, “serfdom”,
and “return to totalitarianism”.

Supporters praise it as “restoration of justice”, “a step forward in the
development of parliamentarianism”, “a hard but necessary disciplinary

Under the new law, a person elected to a representative body as a member of
a political party is bound to their respective faction. Any deserter for any
other faction shall be stripped of their mandate.

These “political handcuffs” were put on MPs in December of 2004. On January
12 2007, the parliament voted for the bill that “cuffed” members of regional
and district councils.
                          FROM JULIUS CAESAR TO LENIN
The term “imperative mandate” is not quite relevant to the bill in question.
Most reference books explain it as “a form of responsibility of elected
representatives before their voters” which implies the voters’ “legal right
to recall their representatives”.

In fact, it is an instrument of the people’s influence on their servants.
The Ukrainian “imperative mandate”, instead of bridging the gap between the
choosers and the “chosen”, makes it even wider.

The question of elected representatives’ political responsibility arose long
ago. Early cases of expulsion date back to ancient times. Even Julius Caesar
resorted to this weapon. Later, medieval rulers learned and enriched the
experience of Romans and Greeks.

The term “imperative mandate” in its “classical sense” emerged in 1871 when
the French communards made members of the National Assembly hostages of the
electorate. They invented an entirely new model of government: amalgamation
of the executive, legislative, and judicial functions.

Persons elected through general suffrage received posts in courts,
administrative offices, and representative bodies. They stayed at their
posts as long as they were up to their voters’ expectations and demands. The
negligent had to step down at once.

Studying the experience of using this instrument in different countries in
different historical epochs, experts noticed some peculiarities. It worked
in the political systems that tended to concentration of power and where the
source of power was (de jure and de facto) the state, not the people.

The freedom-loving French spirit did not bear the fetters of the imperative
mandate too long and outlawed it for good. Yet, the seeds sown by the French
communards sprouted abundantly in another country of permanent revolutions –

From 1905, when parliamentarianism emerged in the Russian Empire and until
the 1917 Bolshevik coup, members of the Duma held so-called “free mandates”,
i.e. they were not directly responsible before their voters who could not
recall them. Nicholas II granted them “complete freedom of opinion”.

The Bolsheviks went a different way: in 1918 they introduced a system of
mandatory reports of “workers’, peasants’, and soldiers’ deputies” to
voters. During the Civil War, they used it too practically: they simply
dissolved representative bodies on all levels.

According to S. Danilov, a well-known chronicler of political history,
“between 1917 and 1925 reelections occurred so often that there was simply
no time for recalling individual deputies”.

Professor M. Pobokin and other experts on this subject cite exemplary cases:
the Cheka [Russian abbreviation for “Extraordinary Commission” – the early
predecessor of the KGB – A.B.] coerced voters to recall “socially alien
deputies” from local councils.

The imperative mandate was an invariable attribute of the Soviet political
system throughout its existence. This norm was present in the first
constitution of 1918 and the last constitution of 1977. However, the
procedure of recalling a people’s representative at voters’ initiative was
practically never used.

[1] Firstly, the legislative mechanism for recalling people’s
representatives appeared in 1959.
[2] Secondly, even the leading theoreticians of Soviet law were not
unanimous in defining the imperative mandate. Thirdly, the Soviet electoral
system was purely decorative and there was no need to recall decorative

In the late 1980s, some Soviet jurists even called the imperative mandate a
“useless instrument”. In civilized countries it is regarded as
anti-democratic, and authoritarian regimes have other means of influence on
disobedient lawmakers.

Interestingly, the recall procedure in Bolshevik Russia was invented by
Lenin. In the fall of 1917, he personally drafted a document that made the
basis of the decree of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee “On
Recalling of Elected Deputies”.

More interestingly, Lenin was the first to raise the issue of Bolsheviks’
responsibility before voters and denied their direct dependence on the
position of the party leadership.

In 1903 in Geneva he said, “There is the important question of imperative
mandates. This issue was raised long before the party congress and it was
decided to abolish imperative mandates. It was resolved that no member of
the party must consider himself bound by any obligations to the organization
that delegated him to the congress.” [here and further bold-faced by the
author – A.B.].

Thus, Lenin was against what the Ukrainian lawmakers legalized a hundred
years later (the Communist faction voted for the imperative mandate bill
almost in a body – 20 yeas and one abstained). Lenin was against blind
obedience to the party leadership.

He rejected the very form of the imperative mandate the Ukrainian lawmakers
just voted for. How does that go with the Ukrainian Communists?
                                   THEORY AND PRACTICE
Few states practice the imperative mandate. One of them is Russia. From the
next elections on, members of the State Duma as well as of regional and
local legislative assemblies will have no right to desert their factions.

Urging the lawmakers to vote for the imperative mandate bill, Duma Vice
Speaker Lyubov Sliska called the imperative mandate a “normal international

She was wrong. According to open sources, the membership of the “imperative
mandate club” is not numerous: Russia, Cuba, China, North Korea, Vietnam,
India, the South African Republic, Nigeria, Vanuatu, and Ukraine. Judging
from this list, it is anything but a “normal international practice”.

In India, for example, an MP may be stripped of the mandate not only for
deserting his faction, but also for voting “autonomously”. In the South
African parliament, there is a symbolic term for the norm of imperative
mandate – “anti-traitorous”.

In all European countries (except Ukraine), people’s representatives hold
free mandates: they are accountable to their own conscience and the entire
nation, not just a constituency or a political party.

If some individual representatives or political parties fail to live up to
their voters’ expectations, they have no or almost no chances to be

The imperative mandate contradicts the European legal tradition and is
generally viewed as a means of exerting pressure on people’s
representatives. It is banned by the constitutions of Belgium, Germany,
Italy, Finland, and France.

One may argue that members of those parliaments don’t sell their votes as
openly as Ukrainian lawmakers do.

That’s right, but there is an example: Poland has lived through something
like this, but after long discussions, Polish jurists decided not to limit
constitutional rights and ruled that members of the Sejm should have the
right to secede from their factions.

At the same time, the MPs ought to be aware of the likely damage to their
reputation and further career.

Even in the self-proclaimed Caucasian republic of Nagorny Karabakh the
majority voted in late 2006 for a local constitution that said in black and
white, “The people’s representative is not constrained by the imperative
mandate.” And Ukraine chooses to be more like Nigeria or Vanuatu.

Opponents of the imperative mandate admit that uncontrollable desertions
from factions upset the balance of political forces and are detrimental to
certain political parties, but they are convinced that this “serfdom” is far
more detrimental to the entire nation.

They admit that desertion is immoral, but “opportunists” would go against
the grain anyways, even though they were bound to their faction.

One may call such an approach naive, but unlike Nigeria or Vanuatu, the rest
of the civilized world has it. It is officially accepted by the Council of
Europe. Ukraine, being its member, assumed the obligation to follow the
Venetian Commission’s recommendations.

This leading European organ of constitutional law has repeatedly warned the
Ukrainian lawmakers against imposing the imperative mandate: “This norm
may . weaken the Verkhovna Rada by invalidating the free and independent
mandate of its members who will be unable to follow their convictions and
remain members of parliament.

The mandatory membership of a faction or bloc impairs the independence of a
people’s representative and may be regarded as unconstitutional, considering
that members of parliament are supposed to represent the people and not the
parties they belong to.”

The Venetian Commission has sharply criticized the Ukrainian parliament
three times, recommending it to abandon this instrument as a threat to the
voters’ and their elected representatives’ rights. The Constitutional Court
of Ukraine has ruled three times that the imperative mandate does not limit
the citizens’ rights.

Well, Ukraine may disregard European theories and practices. But then

why complain about Europe keeping its door closed to Ukraine?

To belong to Europe means not just to have luxury cars or expensive
boutiques of European brands. As long as Ukrainian politicians are ignorant
of this truth, all doors will remain closed to this country.
                                       DISTORTING MIRROR
Last week the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (whose members had bailed out in
dozens) initiated the bill on imperative mandate for members of local councils,
urging other factions to “restore the voters’ rights”.

Their former allies from the pro-presidential Our Ukraine said nay as one.
Some of them recalled the Venetian Commission’s warnings.

The same happened in 2001 but. exactly the opposite way: the pro-Yushchenko
faction submitted a draft bill that banned MPs from deserting their
factions. Its author was Boris Bezpaliy. Now he is one of the most vehement
opponents of the imperative mandate.

But in 2001 he never mentioned the Venetian Commission and said, “Deserting
the faction of the political party that issued them the MP mandates, they
distort the actual returns of elections.

This bill is meant to protect the voters’ interests. MP mandates must remain
in the hands of the party the people voted for.” We hear the same from
Tymoshenko in 2007.

In 2001, her faction stood up against the imperative mandate. Her
representative Chernenko called it “draconic”, asking his opponents with
indignation, “Why do you include rolling stones in your election rolls?

Before you nominate your candidates, think well who you choose so you don’t
have to hold them back by force!” Almost all members of the Tymoshenko
faction voted against the bill. Nevertheless, their resistance did not
outweigh the majority’s position – the bill collected 262 votes.

The then President Leonid Kuchma supported the innovation. In his letter to
the Constitutional Court, he maintained that it would protect the voters’
rights and freedoms as an insurance of their will. The judges shared his

The members of the Tymoshenko faction who lashed out at the imperative
mandate in 2001 are now all for it. Why? In the country of legal nihilism
where political leaders follow the principle of political expediency, it is
no sin to change a political position.

Hence a question: if a people’s representative can change his mind whenever
he likes, is it right to prohibit him to change his faction? No imperative
mandate can prohibit metamorphoses in the Weltanschauung. These
metamorphoses are the very root of all evil and it is just silly to fight it
with dubious legal acts.

The “evolution of views” is a peculiar feature of Ukrainian politicians. The
brightest example is [Parliament Speaker] Olexandr Moroz. He was the only
Socialist to vote against the imperative mandate for members of local
councils and the only representative of the pro-government coalition to call
its constitutionality in question.

He stated his “indifferent” attitude to the innovation, but then disproved
his own statement, saying, “It’s wrong to extrapolate partisan problems on
the rest of society;” “It would be hard to keep the discipline with the
imperative mandate;” “This is a case of oppression of concrete people’s
representatives;” “To a certain extent, this is coercion.”

He would have the moral right to say so if he hadn’t said the opposite just
a few months ago. In spring of 2006, Moroz (who was not Speaker yet) spoke
for the imperative mandate for members of local councils.

Meeting with representatives of European Socialist parties in Kyiv on May 3,
Moroz said that it was necessary and justified as it proceeded from the
logic of forming coalitions at the local level. When was he earnest – last
spring or this winter?
                           CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES
Moroz is right, saying that the imperative mandate bill is unconstitutional
and the President has every right to veto it. This legal act applies to
members of local councils who were elected in March 2006 and who joined
other factions before it was adopted. Thus, it is retroactive.

Article 58 of the Constitution says that a legal act may have the
retroactive force only if it mitigates a liability, and this is a case of
the opposite. Voting for the bill in defiance of this article, 362 MPs
violated the Constitution.

Members of the Tymoshenko faction approached the Constitutional Court

with a request to interpret the constitutional norms related to the imperative
mandate. The judges are going to hear the case on January 25.

Many believe that Yulia Tymoshenko made a big mistake by striking a deal
with the coalition majority on January 12, when her faction contributed 120
votes for the law on the Cabinet of Ministers in exchange for the coalition
majority’s votes for the bills on the opposition (in first reading) and on
the imperative mandate.

Tymoshenko’s supporters praise her for the deal because:
[1] she has demonstrated her ability to pursue an independent policy;
[2] she has lobbied for decisions that are of crucial importance to her;
[3] she has put local councils where her political force has the formal
majority under full control;
[4] having contributed to the limitation of Yushchenko’s presidential
powers, she has spurred him to a much coveted preterm parliamentary

Tymoshenko’s opponents argue that her deal with the pro-

government coalition has done more harm than good:
[1] it has brought down the people’s trust in Tymoshenko and her political
[2] it has brought coalitions of the Tymoshenko Bloc and the Our Ukraine in
some local councils to the verge of breakup;
[3] it has buried the last hopes for a preterm election (which is tantamount
to Yushchenko’s political suicide);
[4] it has conserved the regime of the Donetsk clan at least until 2011.

Time will show which side is right, but the above pros look rather
questionable while the cons are very convincing.

What has Tymoshenko gained? – The bill on the opposition in first reading?
Who says the coalition majority will vote for it in second reading? She has
the bill on the imperative mandate, but what if the President vetoes it?

Tymoshenko refers to some “verbal agreements with Yanukovych”, but the
Constitutional Court may invalidate the bill as unconstitutional. And even
if these bills take effect, the coalition may just as well revoke them – it
has more than the required 226 votes.

There is much talk about the “morality” of Tymoshenko’s move and her
“betrayal” of Yushchenko (or Yushchenko’s betrayal of Tymoshenko). Yet,
Ukraine has witnessed some grosser immorality – betrayal of ideals. The
Tymoshenko Bloc claims that the imperative mandate serves the interests of
voters and parliamentary democracy.

However, according to the bill, the fate of a “renegade” is to be decided by
the leadership of his or her party. This means that the fate of the people
elected by the whole country is at the mercy of a very narrow group. Does
that meet the interests of voters and principles of democracy?

Tatiana Melikhova, leader of the Tymoshenko faction in the Kyiv City
Council, reports happily that one deserter has already applied for
restituting his membership in the faction and that six more are ready to
follow suit. Big deal! Traitors are coming back!

So what? Who trusts those who have betrayed once? What are they worth

in terms of voters’ interests and democratic values?
Besides, who says that they will be allowed to return? The bill doesn’t. It
only provides for stripping them of their mandates.

There is another question: who will succeed the renegades stripped of their
mandates? It is no secret that Tymoshenko factions in some local councils
are short of members. Other factions have other problems: a number of their
neophyte members have stated their refusal to return to their initial

Olga Bogomolets who was elected to the Kyiv City Council as a member of

the Our Ukraine left the OU faction very soon. In an interview with the ZN she
explained, “I always held my ground. That was one of the main reasons I left
the faction that never actually needed people with strong personal
positions. I’d rather surrender my mandate than my principles.” Others may
have other reasons – ideological or mercantile.

One thing is for sure: Ukraine can hardly benefit from the imperative
mandate bill. A day will come when people’s representatives will stop
trading their votes and will feel their responsibility before voters without
any legislative constraints.

Nobody knows when it will come, but the more similar Ukraine is to

North Korea and Nigeria, the longer we will have to wait.    -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thu, January 25, 2007

KYIV – Some 10,000 of residents of the Sumy city and region have held a
demonstration on Independence Square, the central square of the region’s
capital, to support the People’s Self-Defense movement started by
ex-minister of internal affairs and president’s aide Yurii Lutsenko.

The demonstration began at 5 p.m. and ended at 6:30 p.m. Musical band

Tartak and singer Maria Burmaka opened the rally.

Demonstrators held a sign saying, ‘Lutsenko is one of the few who did not
betray the people of Ukraine’, signs with the names of their settlements,
state flags and the flags of Our Ukraine People’s Union party and Ukrainian
National Assembly.

Taras Stetskiv, one of the organizers of the movement, made a speech to the
gathering in which he highlighted the need to establish people’s control
over the authorities.

Lutsenko made a speech after Stetskiv and urged all democratic parties to
unite. The demonstrators chanted: ‘Thank you, Yura!’

The state anthem was played at the end of the rally and Lutsenko handed over
the flag of People’s Self-Defense to the people who came to the square.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, on January 23, Lutsenko set off on a
tour around Ukraine to create steering committees for People’s Self-Defense
movement. He started his movement when Rada dismissed him from the

ministerial post on December 1.                  -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                            SEEKS FRIENDSHIP WITH ISRAEL

NRG Ma’ariv website, Tel Aviv, in Hebrew 16 Jan 07
BBC Monitoring Service. United Kingdom, Thursday, Jan 18, 2007

Excerpt from interview with visiting Ukrainian opposition leader Yuliya
Tymoshenko by Eli Bradenstein posted on the web version of the Israeli
newspaper Ma’ariv on 16 January; subheadings are the newspaper’s own

[Bradenstein] Yuliya, it seems that the Orange Revolution has failed.
[Tymoshenko] For some reason, everyone thought that a week after the
revolution the country would prosper and all of the expectations would be
realized, but that’s impossible, because the forces that sustained the
corruption and the oligarchies in Ukraine were so strong and well
entrenched, and it was a big mistake to think that.

[Bradenstein] Is that an indication of the politicians’ weakness, including
your own?
[Tymoshenko] It became clear that the politicians were weaker than it had
seemed. All of the politicians who led the revolution were not strong enough
to fight with the citizens who went out into the squares.

Perhaps I did not do enough either, but I think that the political force I
head is continuing on that track, and is capable of learning from mistakes
and not giving in to disappointment.

[Bradenstein] With [Viktor] Yanukovych as prime minister, how is it even
possible to talk about continuing the revolution?
[Tymoshenko] For now he is only the prime minister, but I do not know of a
force in Ukraine that could prevent us from doing what needs to be done in
order to continue the revolution. It’s just a matter of time until that
happens. [Passage omitted]
Tymoshenko arrived for three short days, and during that time she has
already visited Yad Vashem, the Jewish Agency and Jerusalem’s Old City.

She also met with a string of politicians, such as Ministers Avigdor
Lieberman, Binyamin Ben-Eli’ezer, Shim’on Peres and Knesset Speaker Dalya

Today, Tymoshenko will meet with opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu,
and at Tel Aviv University she will lecture on the democratic challenge in
the Commonwealth of Independent States [CIS] and Ukraine and on their
relations with the West.

One of the assessments for the circumstances of her visit to Israel is
Tymoshenko’s desire to bolster her standing in the West, ahead of a possible
run in the near future for Ukraine’s presidency. Apparently, she thinks that
in Israel there will be enough politicians who will act on her behalf in the
international arena.

[Bradenstein] Why did you come to Israel?
[Tymoshenko] This is my second visit to Israel. We are looking for friends
and partners here. Since Ukraine has problems of its own, such as the
struggle for its economic and political independence, I have an interest in

I believe that Israel has also not completed this struggle. Russia, in that
sense, unites Ukraine and Israel, sine we love Russia and want it to help in
achieving this independence and employ a more honest politics vis-a-vis both

[Bradenstein] What Israeli politician do you admire?
[Tymoshenko laughs] When a politician from one country expresses

support for a politician in another, he always risks a clash of interests.

Still, I’ll go out on a limb and say that I feel deep affection for two
politicians – Yitzhaq Rabin, who aroused within me a sense of
determination – and the second is Gold Me’ir, apparently because of a
certain female solidarity and admiration for strong women, who occasionally
take the world in their hands and more than once change it. [end Tymoshenko]

As expected, Tymoshenko did not mention a single living Israeli politician,
“despite the fact that I know several of them”.

[Bradenstein] You talk about friendship with Israel, but during the second
Lebanon war Ukraine did not side with us.

[Tymoshenko] Unfortunately, sometimes the media are dependent on their
owners. Russian politicians, Russian businessmen and the Kremlin in general
influence the media in Ukraine. I would like to see the media in Ukraine be
more balanced and not support any side, but rather simply cover the events.

[Bradenstein] Over the past two years the number of anti-Semitic incidents
in Ukraine has grown greatly, and there are increasing complaints that the
Ukrainian government is not doing enough to fight the phenomenon.

[Tymoshenko] My people and your people have suffered much throughout
history and we will do everything we can to fight the negative phenomena of
anti-Semitism. [end Tymoshenko]

Regarding Ukrainian Jews living in Israel, Tymoshenko said that one of the
reasons for her coming to Israel is to learn about their situation

She also said that she intends to help with legislation in the Ukrainian
parliament on behalf of Ukrainian Jews (about 250,000 who immigrated to
Israel over the past 15 years – E.B.) who have left and who need help
safeguarding their rights: “I find it unfortunate that Ukraine created such
conditions that its citizens were forced to leave it.

However, I am also not ignoring the fact that Ukraine’s Jewish citizens are
going to their state, and therefore it is a very complex thing to judge
their decision to live among their people.

We need to create comfortable conditions so that they will not leave, while
on the other hand everything should be done for those who do leave so that
they will not sever their ties with Ukraine. We need to do everything we can
for them in order to solve problems such as pensions and visas.

Our politicians should be more tolerant toward those who decided to leave
for Israel, as well as toward the Jews who continue to live in Ukraine and
by so doing are endangering their lives.

[Bradenstein] Aren’t you afraid of being assassinated?
[Tymoshenko] I am afraid, but as a politician in Ukraine I will continue on
my path.

[Bradenstein] Why do you need this? It’s much calmer in business.
[Tymoshenko] Because I cannot do without it. My goal is to establish new
standards of politics in Ukraine. It doesn’t matter whether I’m in the
opposition or in power.                               -30-
[return to index] Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
     You are welcome to send us names for the AUR distribution list.

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, January 16, 2007

KYIV – The Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc parliamentary faction has asked the
parliament of Israel to recognize the Ukrainian famine of 1932-1933, known
in Ukraine as Holodomor, act of genocide against the Ukrainian people.

Ukrainian News learned this from a statement by the press service of the
Yulia Tymoshenko bloc. The press service referred to a meeting between
eponymous bloc leader Yulia Tymoshenko and Knesset [parliament] Speaker
Dalia Itzik in Israel.

Tymoshenko handed a relevant appeal of the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc to the
Knesset over to Itzik. Tymoshenko said the Knesset might pass a relevant
decision soon. “We see a good will from the Israeli politicians and this
inspires hope,” Tymoshenko said.

Itzik assured Tymoshenko in turn that Israel, as a country that has lived
through a number of tragic events in its history, understands the Ukrainian

“We will attentively study all of the aspects of this page of the history
and we will take all efforts to pass the best decision for the Ukrainian
people,” Itzik said.

Tymoshenko and Itzik discussed the development of small business and the
live of pensioners, who have come to Israel from Ukraine and don’t get
pensions in Ukraine.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, President Viktor Yuschenko said the main
event of 2006 was the recognition of Holodomor by the Verkhovna Rada as an
act of genocide against the Ukrainian people.                      -30-

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

Interfax Ukraine News, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thu, January 11, 2007

KYIV – A Polish MEP has called on the European Parliament to recognize the
Ukrainian famine of 1932-1933, known in Ukraine as Holodomor, as an outrage
upon humanity.

Polish MEP Konrad Szymanski has presented a relevant draft resolution of the
European Parliament, according to the Polish Rzeczpospolita newspaper.

The draft resolution reads that the Holodomor in Ukraine was an artificial
famine aiming at the punishment of Ukrainian people for their resistance to
the collectivization.

According to the Polish newspaper, representatives of two largest factions
in the European Parliament have signed the Polish draft resolution of the
European Parliament.

To date, 26 countries have recognized the Holodomor as an outrage upon
humanity, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Georgia, Moldova,
Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.                  -30-

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

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, January 1, 2007

KYIV – President Viktor Yuschenko calls the Verkhovna Rada’s recognition

of the famine of 1932-1933, also known as Holodomor in Ukraine, as act of
genocide of Ukrainian people the main event of 2006. Yuschenko made a
statement to that score in his New Year address to the nation.

“In 2006, under the will of people, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine recognized
Holodomor of 1932-1933 as act of genocide. This was the event of the
historical scale, the most important fact of the national life in 2006,” he

Among achievements in 2006 Yuschenko also named the birth of 400,000

babies in Ukraine. Ukrainians stop being pococurante and the charitable
event of collection funds for the children’s “Hospital of Future” indicated
that, he said.

While referring to polls, Yuschenko said Ukrainians became more patriotic in
2006 due to the moods of young people in the eastern and southern regions of

The success of the Ukrainian national football team at the World Cup in
Germany in 2006, where Ukraine was among top eight teams of the world,

was a joyful event for Ukrainians, Yuschenko said.

Yuschenko said he was proud of Ukrainian peacekeepers performing their
mission in other countries. “There is pride for Ukrainian peacekeepers, who
rescued lives of hundreds of thousands,” he said.

Yuschenko said there was a feeling of freedom, real economic growth and
growing attention to Ukraine in the world.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, President Viktor Yuschenko has left
together with his family to the Huta village (Bohorodchany district,
Ivano-Frankivsk region) to celebrate the New Year and Christmas holidays.

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
       Please contact us if you no longer wish to receive the AUR    
21.                        RETURN TO UKRAINE
  In an emotional trip, Sentinel columnist Greg Dawson finds the tragedy and
  miracle of years past, as well as a modern nation that opens its heart to him.

Greg Dawson, Sentinel Staff Writer, Orlando Sentinel
Orlando, Florida, Sunday, January 21, 2007

On a flawless late-summer day in eastern Ukraine that mimicked the nation’s
flag of sky blue over harvest gold, I stood at the top of a hill and stared
into the grassy ravine where Nazis dumped the corpses of my Jewish
grandparents and great-grandparents.

This is where my mother, Zhanna, was supposed to die, in this ditch, with
her sister, Frina. Miraculously, they escaped this killing field called
Drobitsky Yar, used their wits and musical talent to survive the Holocaust,
and came to America.

In September, my wife and I visited Ukraine to trace their odyssey for a
book I’m writing called “Hiding in the Spotlight.” There were surprises and
revelations — but also delights — at every turn of a two-week trip that
took us to five cities by plane, train and careening automobiles.

Our route included the capital, Kiev, a cosmopolitan city of breathtaking
topography and beauty, and my mother’s birthplace, Berdyansk, a resort town
of leafy boulevards and open-air markets in southeastern Ukraine on the
serene Sea of Azov.

Ukraine, which gained independence when the Soviet Union unraveled in 1991,
is a country of dramatic extremes. Cities such as Kiev and Kharkov pulsate
with youthful energy and optimism.

Mass transit is jammed, and construction cranes abound. But from the windows
of our night train from Poltava to Mariupol, we caught glimpses of grinding
poverty and blank-stare lethargy in rural areas, the legacy of failed Soviet

On a rollicking minibus ride from Mariupol to Berdyansk, we bisected
thousands of acres of rich, dark farmland — the land Hitler coveted — that
gave Ukraine its nickname, “the breadbasket of Europe.”

It could have been the American Midwest except for one haunting detail: no
farmhouses, another vestige of Soviet rule, when the government owned
everything and there were no private farms.

My personal discoveries began in Kharkov, 300 miles east of Kiev, close to
the Russian border, where my mother’s family moved when she was 8 years

I was startled to find her childhood home still standing, along with her
school and the conservatory where she and her sister studied piano.

But the most jarring moment came on that idyllic day at Drobitsky Yar, a
place of sloping fields and ravines outside Kharkov. Starting on Dec. 26,
1941, the Nazis slaughtered more than 16,000 Jews there.

Part of the somber beauty of the Drobitsky Yar memorial is the subterranean
Room of Tragedy, where the names of 4,300 of the dead are etched on the
walls, illuminated by candlelight.

In the sepulchral half-light, I scanned the walls in faint hope of finding
the names of my mother’s parents and grandparents. And there they were —
four names in a vertical row, neat as the column in which my family was
marched to the ravine by whip-wielding guards, starting with my
great-grandfather, “Arshansky N.M.”

My eyes wandered over to the next row, and the sight of the first name
sent a sharp chill up my spine: “Arshanskaya Z.D.” My mother. Dead.

Under her name, “Arshanskaya F.D.” Her sister. Dead.

It’s impossible to describe how I felt as I stared at my mother’s epitaph
and, in a way, my own. The black Cyrillic letters were a silent rebuke to my
very presence: “You are not supposed to be here! You cannot exist!”

Then, oddly, a feeling of triumph began to wash over me. My mother had

told me the story of her survival in detail, but there was a surreal, fantastic
quality to it. Seeing her name on the wall among the dead had finally made
her life real for me.

I wanted to call her back home and say, “Mom, you did it. You beat the
bastards.” And I might have if things had not gone from the sublime to

the farcical in the turn of a head.
                                         A CLOSE CALL
My wife, Candy, had gone outside to take video of the Drobitsky Yar
memorial arch and had placed our digital camera at the base of the steps.
It seemed safe. No one else was there except a guide and a security officer.

When she stopped taping and turned around, the camera was gone. I saw two
teenage boys scampering into an apple orchard 50 yards away; one appeared to
be carrying something — perhaps our camera loaded with priceless photos of
the trip.

I did what seemed the only sensible thing for a visitor who didn’t know the
landscape or the language — I ran into the apple orchard after them, the
portly security guard chugging behind me in pursuit. When I caught up with
the boys, they were empty-handed and looked bewildered when I said,
“Camera?” and held an imaginary camera up to my face.

I figured the camera was gone. But our charming guide, a woman named Irina,
took a walk in the orchard with the boys, and 45 minutes later we had our
camera back.

By that stage of our trip, less than a week in, we were used to the antic
episodes that had started the day we landed in Kiev.

Thanks to a manic porter who took control of our bags before we knew what
was happening, we entered the country without going through customs, a
serious violation that gave us visions of Ukrainian jail cells and
confiscated possessions.

Then, we almost had to spend our first night on the street because we locked
ourselves out of our rented apartment and couldn’t figure out how to make a
local call to the landlord.

We were rescued by Natasha, hostess of a swanky club called Decadence,
where we hoped to find someone who spoke English. We were not optimistic.
This was not France or Italy — English is Greek to most Ukrainians.

Natasha spoke very little English, but she recognized the nearby apartment
building from a camera-phone picture that Candy, acting on experience, had
taken “just in case” we became lost.

To our amazement, Natasha somehow knew the identity of the young woman
whohad let us into the apartment earlier in the day — we never even got her
name — and called to tell her the stupid Americans had locked themselves

Lest you get the wrong impression, I should say at this point that we loved
Ukraine. My capsule description for those who ask is that Ukraine is off the
leash — in a good way. There’s an exuberance, an unvarnished, unabashed
quality to life in vivid contrast to the regulations, inhibitions and
airbrushing of American life.

In Ukraine, “keeping it real” is not a marketing slogan; it’s the way it
is — from sporadic hot water to nonexistent traffic control. The streets
are a massive bumper-car ride, and no one wears seat belts.

On one of our thrilling, if harrowing, taxi rides, the driver found all
lanes blocked. No problem! He simply zipped onto the adjoining trolley-car
                                        SAFETY ISSUES
You walk at your own risk in Ukraine because most sidewalks double as
streets and parking lots. On our first day we were strolling down one of
Kiev’s broad sidewalks when we jumped at the beep! of a Lada, a boxy little
Soviet-era car, coming up behind us.

There is a downside to this refreshing frontier mentality. Don’t even think
about visiting Ukraine if you are physically handicapped.

The Great Pyramids are more accessible. We were on the fifth floor of a new
hotel with no elevator and no bellhops. Don’t expect onlookers to rush up
and help hoist a leaden suitcase. In public places, Ukrainians have a
live-and-let-lift philosophy.

In private, kindness and generosity overflow. One night in Kharkov, we dined
in the home of Antonina Bogancha, whose husband’s gentile family
courageously sheltered my mother and her sister in that same home after they
escaped the death march.

Antonina served us Ukrainian delicacies such as salo — raw pork fat — and
her son-in-law, Vadim, toasted us with vodka until we could barely move.

This was repeated the next night at the apartment of Vadim, his wife,
Larissa, and their beautiful daughter, Marianna. Later we were treated to an
evening of world-class Russian ballet and given desserts to take back to our
hotel room.

Ukraine is not affluent by American standards, but there is an elegance in
everyday life that’s missing here. Even cafeterias and casual outdoor cafes
serve food on lovely dishes; we never saw paper or Styrofoam. Each tea
service seemed more exquisite than the last.

However, don’t bother looking for the no-smoking section. If you’re
wondering where tobacco companies are making up for lost profits in the
United States, come to Ukraine.

It’s also nirvana for beer companies. Drinking starts at breakfast and
doesn’t stop. One morning, the man at the next table was having the
Ukrainian breakfast of champions — black bread, eggs, ham, cheese,
cucumbers and a Heineken.
                                  BEAUTIFUL BENEFITS
Ukraine’s population, at least in the cities, seems fixated on shoes. Men
wear pointy shoes Santa’s elves would envy, and women glide over the
rutted, uneven sidewalks in stiletto heels. I wish I had a hryvnia (the
local currency) for every time Candy marveled, “You just don’t realize
how hard that is.”

There’s no obesity epidemic in Ukraine, or modesty epidemic either,
especially among young women. It’s easy to see why so many American
men go there in search of brides better-looking — a hundred times
better-looking — than themselves. The dollar stretches like Gumby in
Ukraine, so they can wine and dine with abandon.

The metro is 10 cents. Vending-machine coffee is a quarter. (Nescafe is all
the rage in Ukraine — no sign of Starbucks.) A beautiful bouquet of roses
from a street vendor was $3. Tickets to the ballet, $4. A fabulous meal for
two with exquisite service at the best hotel in Kharkov, $40.

Ukraine is a place of wild contradictions, with one foot in the past and the
rest of it rushing toward a bright future. Snapshot: A babushka — a
grandmother in a headscarf, a revered and iconic figure — burning leaves on
a city sidewalk next to an ATM and a luxury hotel.

The country is filled with golden-domed cathedrals and stunning statuary
honoring war heroes, poets and, yes, Lenin. But in Kiev’s Independence
Square, where the Orange Revolution was celebrated, there is a huge stage
and video screen for rock concerts.

As we passed through one night, we were trapped among thousands of
exuberant partners singing and cheering as Epcot-quality fireworks lit up
the sky and set off car alarms. And this was on a Sunday night.
                                    NO INDIFFERENCE
No place in the world has produced more classical virtuosos than Ukraine,
but the contemporary soundtrack, heard in taxis and buses and cafes, is the
driving beat of Gypsy punk, familiar to anyone who has seen Everything Is
Illuminated, a 2005 movie about a young American who goes to Ukraine to
find the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis.

One of the charms of the movie is the fractured English of the Ukrainian
guide, Alex. I thought of Alex our last night in Ukraine when I was perusing
the guest information at the Boryspil Airport Hotel.

“We have provided all up to the slightest trifles, from cozy and modern
furniture up to beautiful curtains. All this is a part of an interior. Their
ensemble creates fine harmony which does not leave indifferent the client.
We hope to make your staying here pleasant and memorial.”

Our trip to Ukraine was more than memorial. From Drobitsky Yar to vodka
toasts, bumper cars, ballet and stilettos, it was, to use Alex’s pet phrase,
“most premium,” and did not leave indifferent the clients.
                              COMPLETING THE STORY
Until recently my mother’s past — half my genealogy — existed only as an
abstraction for me, a shadowy parallel universe consisting of fragments of
an untold story.

I had never seen an image of my mother as a child, or of her mother and
father, until a few years ago when a cousin in Israel — who my mother
thought was dead — sent her precious photos.

My trip was the culmination of an attempt to recover my mother’s past, and
with it my own. She prepared for me an introduction, written on a notecard
in Russian, with a photo of her family taken before the war.

Dear countrymen!
I am turning to you because my son Greg and his wife, Candy, don’t speak

and don’t know the language. It is in case they need help. He wrote a book
about Ukraine and about my family. The book is about heroism of our people.

Everyone in my family was killed in Kharkov, and it is only because of the
help of the kind population in our wonderful place that my sister and I are
alive so that the story could be told about us.

Greg and Candy already love you the way I do. Thank you all for generosity
and for colossal courage. Be happy and healthy.

Zhanna Arshanskaya Dawson, who would love to be going to see you all.

I handed out the cards everywhere, to flower vendors, hotel clerks, waiters,
cabbies, babushkas selling seeds and nuts on the street, and the words had a
magical effect. Faces that greeted me with wariness and suspicion dissolved
into nods, knowing smiles and, often, tears.

A language barrier separated us, but in the eloquent smiles and tears of my
mother’s countrymen, I read this message: “Welcome home, at last.” -30-
NOTE: Greg Dawson can be reached at
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
        The ‘living history” of their elders that is part of their Ukrainian heritage

By Kristina Gray, Ukrainian Observer magazine, Issue 227
The Willard Group, Kyiv, Ukraine, January, 2007

History is taught in many ways and I have chosen what I hope and believe
will be one of the most effective in order to help my students at Wisconsin
International University of Ukraine (WIUU) understand the history that is a
part of their heritage.

I required my sophomore students to ask their grandparents, “Where have

you been?” or put another way, “Tell me about your life?”  I reminded them,”
a shortened pencil is better than a long memory.”

My students’ essays provided many answers to these questions about their
grandparents’ past in order to comply with a Service Learning project I had
assigned them.

The interviews necessary to satisfy course requirements uncovered stories of
events that occurred during the communist period of the former Soviet Union.

My Ukrainian students became not only passionate about this subject of the
“living history” of their elders, but they proved to be very articulate in
recounting the stories.  At least ten themes emerged with quotable quotes
from fourteen of my students.

Tanya Pavlova revealed her great grandmother’s story that she learned from
her grandmother: “In 1930 my grandmother’s father was dispossessed by
Bolsheviks. He was called a “kulak” because of having too big of a
household. His family lost everything, including some of their lives.

My great-grandfather was sent to prison, where he sickened and died. Part of
the family was sent to Siberia; another part to Arkhangelsk to camps for
‘Enemies of the State.’ Only because my great-grandma married a poor man
before these events was she able to escape being sent to Siberia.”
Dmitriy Mykhaylusenko penned what he knew about the Holodomor: “People

were treated like cattle and some of them became insane.  I heard kids ate dirt
and wheat seeds together because they thought it would grow up in their
stomachs and they wouldn’t be hungry anymore.”

Maryana Bobyliak wrote that the starvation period was a “black spot” in
Ukraine’s history, “My Grandma has her own story of how they used to eat
grass and how they had one cow that lived, not in a shed, but in their house
with all six people. That cow saved their family.”

Maryana continued, “People who worked in granaries said that grain was
purposely strewn with some kind of green powder.  People died on the roads.
They took them into a wagon like some pieces of wood and put all of them
into one grave.”
After the Holodomor tragedy, within ten years there was The Great Patriotic
War (better known in the West as World War II) where the storytelling
continues about the Red Army valiantly fighting the Nazis or fascists.

Katya Khandogina reflected that her great grandfather went to build barriers
against German tanks and probably an enemy projectile killed him.

“His body was never found and unfortunately the family knows nothing about
the details of his death and cannot bring flowers to his grave.”  Renata
Kozak artfully carved out these words, “The story of my grandparents out of
a million others is a small stroke on the large, bloody painting of WWII.”
                                       WWII – PARTISANS
But then there were the Partisans whose WWII activities are framed as brave
souls holed up in the forests close to Byelorussia who simultaneously fought
both the Nazis and the Red Army.

Roma Shatov noted what his grandmother told him about helping the Partisans:
“Fortunately, Ukrainian Partisans found us. They were very surprised that
two little girls were willing to help them.

After some time of discussion, the head of the Partisan detachment, Olexiy,
gave us the first task to carry the letters to the villagers. We were
running home with those letters as if it were our birthdays.

After sometime of helping our Ukrainian Partisans, we became like a small
bridge betweens the Partisans and the villagers.  This bridge gave an
opportunity to transfer priceless information.”
                      WORLD WAR II – GERMAN SOLDIERS
Also, a theme that kept surfacing in my students’ writings, besides the
German atrocities, were the kind acts of certain German soldiers toward
Ukrainians as individuals, families or whole villages.

In some cases, a German soldier warned people ahead of time that their
village would be torched. In other situations, a caring German fed a whole
family or the German invaders did not destroy a church. There are even
reports of a firing squad that did not shoot villagers already lined up for
this fate.

Tanya Pavlova told of her grandmother’s return from Donbas to be met with
German sympathy.  “In thirty-one days they managed to get to Putivl, which
was occupied by Germans. The Germans had transformed her former home,

the biggest in the village, into a hospital (by the way, it remained a hospital
until 1980).

Inhabitants recognized her and told the occupying Germans that she was the
owner of the house that they now used. To her astonishment, she was given
one room there.

My grandmother remembers how one German doctor gave her a big piece of
chocolate and showed the photo of his family, whom he missed but had to stay
here because of the war. ‘He always said that both Hitler and Stalin must be
shot’ my grandma remembers.”

However, many grandparents were forced into German labor camps and tried to
escape the Germans who needed extra human power to support their Nazi war

Ulia Sotnik’s great-grandfather had been captured by the Germans and in 1947
walked home through all of Europe to Ukraine to rejoin his wife and see his
daughter for the first time in seven years.  It took Ulia’s grandmother a
whole year to call him “Father” once they were reunited.
                                    AFTERMATH OF WWII
For Julia Levenko’s grandmother, life did not become easier after the war.
“Years 1946-1947 brought a famine due to a bad harvest.” There was barely
anything to eat. There were no potatoes and the bread was available only to
those with special cards.

The children received 300 grams of bread per day each, the father was
allotted 700 grams because he was working, and the mother got nothing
because she had no job. However, even this 1.3 kg was nothing to be greatly
appreciated since it was of very poor quality.

Jane Shcherbakova’s grandmother also keenly felt the lack of food after WWII
stating, “Everyday my mother cooked soup out of grass that is called Loboda;
usually people put it in salad.  Now whenever I see it, I want to throw up.”
                                     TEARS IN HER EYES
In the course of meeting their assigned tasks, students were met with many
tears, stories that suddenly went silent because of great emotion in the
retelling and voices that might become very strained by the emotions brought
forth by memories.

Roma Shatov noted: “I didn’t want my grandmother to cry, and I could imagine
how hard it was for her to remember the time of war.”

Maria Polishchuk’s grandmother said, “I was left without parents at the age
of 13. My parents were hiding a Jewish family in the basement of their house
and had to pay with their lives and the lives of their children.”

By chance Maria’s grandmother was absent when the German soldiers murdered
her family.  Maria ended with, “She stayed alive but till now when she tells
us about those days she can’t help herself from crying.”

Anna Myshlyakova’s grandmother told some things, “but many stories about

the terrors she had to go through she still keeps secret.”  Anna’s grandmother
had witnessed her father as well as others in the village being burned alive
as punishment for being Partisans.  Anna reflected, “I cannot blame her for
not telling anything before. No one would like to remember such things.”
                             IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION
Julia Batarchukova also shared her thoughts about the importance of
education, based on what her grandmother told her about her great
grandfather who died heroically in the Great Patriotic War. Consequently,
her great grandmother was left without the breadwinner to feed their six

This bereaved mother was caught getting extra bread from a guard and both
were sent off to Siberia where she died. “The Soviet authorities were
ruthless and sent all six children to different charity houses.

Five years later when Aleksey, the eldest brother, became eighteen years
old, he managed to travel across the country searching for his brothers and
sisters.”  Even though it was difficult, the siblings were all reunited
under the care of Aleksey, who deprived himself of an education while he
worked at a plant.

Julia continued, “My grandmother highly appreciates everything her brother
did for them, saying, ‘He gave us a chance for a better life. He forbade us
to work and insisted on our excellent studying. Aleksey was absolutely
right. We all entered the universities and all of us got a ticket to a
better life.'”
                          GRATEFUL GRANDCHILDREN
Finally, one other theme that emerged was respectful appreciation for their
elders. Sergey Petrov confessed that he and his peers take everyday
conversation for granted while elderly people often feel very isolated due
to distance, sickness that keeps them bedridden or the death of friends.

Some of the elderly do not have the pleasure of talking to anyone for days
on end. Sergey wrote, “This simple fact explained all the excitement
Evdokiya had when I came to her house and asked permission to talk to

her about her life.”

Others view their elders as important as if returning to a distant past.
Alex Evstigneyev believed that we should “value these people as an
inexhaustible resource of knowledge and life experience.”

Roma Shatov’s grandmother quoted a Ukrainian idiom of a “white bar after

a black bar,” which portrays the indomitable Ukrainian spirit of believing
that good things always happen after bad things.

The Ukrainians are waiting for the good to happen and perhaps impatiently
expecting the present form of government to mete it out.

George Onyschuk claimed: “It is offensive to me that our country cannot
ensure a proper old age to its heroes and they have to live out their days
receiving scanty pensions.”

Katya Khandogina was realistic: “I realized that the government did not
think about people who fought for our land.  The leadership of the Soviet
Union always repeated that everything is for the people but nothing was

done to improve their lives.  The deaths of thousands of people are on their

The question of “Where are you going?” may be asked of Ukraine after a
look at its thousand-year history.  Having just read Henryk Sienkiewicz’s
historical novel,  Quo Vadis, written in 1895, I now understand why a
Ukrainian woman recommended this book to me several years ago.

After the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, Sienkiewicz’s book seems almost
prophetic about how Stalin’s iron rule of 30 years would try to destroy

Reading Sienkiewicz’s book makes one realize that Emperor Nero’s acts
against his own Roman citizens pale in comparison to the millions of
Ukrainians who perished under the hammer and sickle. Yet, the nationalistic
spirit of Ukrainians is unquenchable even today.

I want my students on their own initiative to continue to write with
shortened pencils about the memories of their grandparents.

Not only should the current Ukrainian government be challenged with the
question of “Where are you going?” but also the Ukrainian youth of today
should help to correct the injustices from yesteryear and be able to know
where they are going, hopefully to a better and brighter future.
Kristina Gray teaches at Wisconsin International University of Ukraine in
Kyiv. All photos appearing with this story (except that of the students)
were provided by those interviewed from their own family collections.

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