AUR#819 Feb 22 Yulia Tymoshenko Visits NYC & Washington Next Week; Crimea’s Separatist Card; Feed Grain Export Quotas Lifted; James Mace’s Mission

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

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

 
      FORMER UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER YULIA TYMOSHENKO
         LOOKING FOR BOOST DURING UPCOMING VISIT TO U.S.
                                                   [Article One]
                        
ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 819
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor, SigmaBleyzer
WASHINGTON, D.C., THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2007

              –——-  INDEX OF ARTICLES  ——–
            Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
   Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
1. FORMER UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER YULIA TYMOSHENKO
       LOOKING FOR BOOST DURING UPCOMING VISIT TO U.S.
Reuters, Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, February 21, 2007

2YULIA TYMOSHENKO TO SPEAK AT COLUMBIA UNIV IN NYC
               Talk will also be broadcast over the Internet via webcast.
Diana Howansky, Columbia University
New York, New York, Monday, February 19, 2007

3NATIONAL PRESS CLUB TO HOST ‘MORNING NEWSMAKER’
          NEWS CONFERENCE WITH MP YULIA TYMOSHENKO, 
            LEADER OF UKRAINE’S MAIN OPPOSITION PARTY
PR Newswire/USNewswire, Washington, Tuesday, February 20, 2007

4.     TYMOSHENKO BLOC AND OUR UKRAINE DISCUSSING
     POSSIBILITY OF JOINTLY DRAFTING NEW CONSTITUTION

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 20, 2007

5TYMOSHENKO SAYS UNIFICATION TALKS BETWEEN HER
     BLOC AND OUR UKRAINE HAVE REACHED FINAL STAGES 
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, February 21, 2007

6.   AMBASSADORS OF EU COUNTRIES QUIZ TYMOSHENKO

                  ON CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS IN UKRAINE
Interfax Ukraine News, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, February 21, 2007

7. TYMOSHENKO ACCUSES PARTY OF REGIONS OF PREPARING
   DISINFORMATION ABOUT HER INVOLVEMENT IN LAZARENKO 
       CASE RIGHT BEFORE HER TRIP TO THE UNITED STATES 
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 21, 2007

8. NO CHARGES AGAINST TYMOSHENKO IN UNITED STATES,
           U.S. EMBASSY SAYS, THE U.S. IS AWAITING AND

                    WELCOMES A VISIT BY TYMOSHENKO
Interfax Ukraine News, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, February 21, 2007

9.      OPPOSITION PUSHES THROUGH GAS-PIPELINE LAW

INFORM Newsletter, Issue 30, Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT)
Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, 12 February, 2007

10.     UKRAINE: ANOTHER EPISODE OF POLITICAL CRISIS
COMMENTARY: By Adam Swain
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb 21 2007

11.     UKRAINE’S CRIMEAN TATAR RADICALS, MODERATES
                  SPLIT OVER LARGE-SCALE LAND PROTESTS 
Black Sea TV, Simferopol, in Russian 1700 gmt 19 Feb 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tuesday, Feb 20, 2007

12.           UKRAINE’S CRIMEA: THE SEPARATIST CARD
EDITORIAL: Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, Feb 21 2007

13.         A LESSON IN STIFLING VIOLENT EXTREMISM 

              The Crimean Tatar experience proves that there is indeed a
                   nonviolent prophylactic for ethnoreligious conflict.
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: Waleed Ziad and Laryssa Chomiak,
The Christina Science Monitor, Boston, MA, Tue, February 20, 2007 

14.       UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT CANCELLED QUOTAS

                              FOR EXPORT OF FEED GRAIN
UNIAN News, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, February 21, 2007

15UKRAINIAN AGRARIAN CONFEDERATION SAYS LIFTING
            FEED GRAIN QUOTAS WAS THE RIGHT DECISION  
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, February 21, 2007

16 UKRAINIAN GRAIN ASSOCIATION CALLS FOR RESTART
     OF THE WORK OF THE GRAIN MARKET WORKING GROUP
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, February 21, 2007

17.   UKRAINIAN DELEGATION ARRIVES IN U.S. FOR TALKS
                                ON WTO ACCESSION
Interfax Ukraine Business Express, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, Feb 21, 2007

18.    UKRAINE IN “DIFFICULT POSITION” OVER U.S. MISSILE
     SYSTEM IN EUROPE, SAYS PRIME MINISTER YANUKOVYCH 
Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian 0913 gmt 20 Feb 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tue, Feb 20, 2007

19U.S. URGES UKRAINE TO CONDUCT SPEEDY INVESTIGATION
        INTO VANDALISM ACTS AT JEWISH CEMETERY IN ODESA 

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, February 21, 2007

20.          ROMANIAN PRESIDENT CRITICIZES UKRAINE’S

                          ATTITUDE ON SERPENT ISLAND 
Rompres news agency, Bucharest, in English 1600 gmt 19 Feb 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tue, Feb 20, 2007
 
                 WEB,  DUBBED INTO UKRAINIAN LANGAUGE
UNIAN, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, February 21, 2007
 
22.                        JAMES MACE AND HIS MISSION
By Oxana Pachlowska, University of Rome La Sapienza
National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
The Day Weekly Digest #6, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, Feb 20, 2007
 
23.              OUR STRANGE DEVOTION TO THE KREMLIN
OP-ED: By Anne Applebaum, Columnist
The Washington Post, Washington, D.C.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007; Page A13
                       WHAT WE HAVE ARE BAD RELATIONS
INTERVIEW: With James Sherr, Senior Researcher
Center of Conflict Studies in Great Britain
Mirror-Weekly, International Social Political Weekly
Kyiv, Ukraine, 6 (635) Saturday, 17-23 February 2007
 
25.                     THE REWARDS OF A LARGER NATO
COMMENTARY: By Greg Craig and Ronald D. Asmus
The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Mon, Feb 19, 2007; Page A19
 
26.                    MUNICH 2007 CHANCE FOR UKRAINE
COMMENTARY: By Kostyantyn Hryshchenko, Advisor to
Ukrainian Prime Minister Yanukovych, Former Foreign Minister,
Former Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States
Mirror-Weekly, International Social Political Weekly
Kyiv, Ukraine, 6 (635) Saturday, 17-23 February 2007
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1
FORMER UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER YULIA TYMOSHENKO
       LOOKING FOR BOOST DURING UPCOMING VISIT TO U.S.
 
Reuters, Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, February 21, 2007

KIEV — Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko hopes to get
help in resolving a months-old crisis that threatens the liberal aims of the
2004 Orange Revolution when she visits the United States next week.

Tymoshenko was a key figure in the mass protests that brought President
Viktor Yushchenko to office, but she was fired as prime minister after eight
months and now leads the opposition.

Yushchenko, his powers cut under the constitution, named his rival Viktor
Yanukovych as prime minister last year after his “orange” allies failed to
form a government. The two have since been engaged in a constant power
struggle.

Speaking Wednesday before her U.S. trip, Tymoshenko said the West no
longer understood Ukraine since the liberals failed to press their
pro-Western agenda of joining the European Union and NATO.

“We believe that after the Orange Revolution and the comeback of the old
political teams, the world stopped understanding Ukraine. I am going to the
United States to make Ukraine more understandable to the outside world,”
she said.

“This chaos has one name only: a constitutional crisis, when the president
and the prime minister … confront each other and their powers contradict
each other. So Ukraine has ended up with two masters wielding executive
power.”

Tymoshenko, sporting her trademark peasant braid in Ukraine’s parliament
building, said talks could no longer help. “There is only one way out of the
constitutional crisis, the same used by all democratic countries when such a
situation occurs, and that is an early parliamentary election,” she said. -30-
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2. YULIA TYMOSHENKO TO SPEAK AT COLUMBIA UNIV IN NYC
              Talk will also be broadcast over the Internet via webcast.

Diana Howansky, Columbia University
New York, New York, Monday, February 19, 2007

                                       YULIA TYMOSHENKO

WHAT:     Speech by Ukrainian MP Yulia Tymoshenko
WHEN:     Monday, February 26 from 6:00-7:00 pm
WHERE:   Rotunda of Low Memorial Library, 535 W. 116th St.,
                 Columbia University, New York, NY 10027

Yulia Tymoshenko, head of the All-Ukrainian Union Fatherland party and
the Yulia Tymoshenko Electoral Bloc, played a central role in Ukraine’s
Orange Revolution in 2004.

She served as Prime Minister of Ukraine from January-September 2005,
leading Forbes magazine to name her the 3rd of the 100 Most Powerful
Women in the World during this period.

Reservations are required, as seating will be limited to 450 individuals
and will be filled the day of the talk on a first-come/first-served
basis.

To RSVP, please call 212-854-9016 or email
yulia_rsvp@harrimaninstitute.org and provide your name and phone
number.

This talk, which will be in Ukrainian with simultaneous translation into
English, is free and open to the public. (For those who are not in the
NYC area and are unable to attend, the talk will also be broadcast over
the Internet via webcast.)                           -30-
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NOTE: Diana Howansky, Columbia University, dhh2@columbia.edu
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3. NATIONAL PRESS CLUB TO HOST ‘MORNING NEWSMAKER’
        NEWS CONFERENCE WITH MP YULIA TYMOSHENKO,
           LEADER OF UKRAINE’S MAIN OPPOSITION PARTY

PR Newswire/USNewswire, Washington, Tuesday, February 20, 2007

WASHINGTON – The following advisory was issued today by the
National Press Club:

National Press Club “MORNING NEWSMAKER”
News Conference, Friday, March 2, 2007, 9 a.m.
National Press Club (Lisagor Room)

Member of the Parliament of Ukraine and Leader of Ukraine’s Main
Opposition Party, The Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko (BYuT), Ms. Julia
Tymoshenko will discuss “Ukraine and European energy security, the
state of Ukrainian democracy, transitional democracies of central
Europe, and Ukrainian-Russian relations and their interplay with U.S.
foreign policy.” 

 
Contacts: National Press Club: Peter Hickman
301/530-1210 (H&O/T&F), 202/662-7540 (National Press Club),
pjhickman@hotmail.com
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4.     TYMOSHENKO BLOC AND OUR UKRAINE DISCUSSING
     POSSIBILITY OF JOINTLY DRAFTING NEW CONSTITUTION

 
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 20, 2007

KYIV – The Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and the Our Ukraine bloc are discussing

the possibility of jointly drafting a new Ukrainian Constitution. The Yulia
Tymoshenko Bloc’s leader Yulia Tymoshenko announced this to journalists in
response to a question posed by Ukrainian News.

Tymoshenko also said that the Constitution would probably remain unchanged
if a new Constitution was not jointly drafted. “If there is no joint version of the

new Constitution, then there will never be a new Constitution,” Tymoshenko
said.

She also stressed that the votes of deputies belonging to the Yulia
Tymoshenko Bloc and the Our Ukraine bloc alone are not sufficient to

pass a new Constitution in the parliament and that it is necessary to reach
compromises with other political forces.

According to her, the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and the Our Ukraine bloc

are also discussing creation of a joint appeal team in the parliament and
coordination of their legislative work.

Asked whether the two political forces discussed nomination of a single
candidate for the next presidential elections, Tymoshenko said no such

thing was discussed. “It is so far away… To distribute posts in the future…
Honestly speaking, it was not discussed,” Tymoshenko said.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Viacheslav Kyrylenko, the head of the
parliamentary faction of the Our Ukraine bloc, considers it necessary to
draft a new version of the Ukrainian Constitution.

The Communist Party’s proposed draft Constitution which provides for
abolition of the post of President and transferring the powers of the
President to the parliament.

The Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc intends to submit its own version of the new
Constitution by April. The Party of the Regions opposes the idea of drafting
a new version of the Constitution.  The Our Ukraine People’s Union party

and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc have decided to merge their factions in
local councils at all levels.                              -30-
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5.   TYMOSHENKO SAYS UNIFICATION TALKS BETWEEN HER
       BLOC AND OUR UKRAINE HAVE REACHED FINAL STAGES 

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, February 21, 2007

KYIV – The Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc’s leader Yulia Tymoshenko has said that

the talks between the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc, the Our Ukraine bloc, and
President Viktor Yuschenko on unification of the two blocs have entered
their final stages. Tymoshenko was addressing journalists at a news briefing
in the parliament.

‘The negotiating process with the President and Our Ukraine is practically
being completed today,’ Tymoshenko said. At the same time, she said that

the two blocs would be able to present a joint action plan within the next few
days.

‘I think that we will be able to propose a serious algorithm on how to
remove from power the people who are essentially destroying the country
today literally on Thursday-Friday (February 22-23),’ Tymoshenko said.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the Cabinet of Ministers has accused the
Our Ukraine bloc and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc of striving to destabilize
the situation in the country.

Viktor Baloha, the head of the Presidential Secretariat and chairman of the
council of the Our Ukraine People’s Union party, has forecast that the Yulia
Tymoshenko Bloc and the Our Ukraine bloc will sign an agreement on creation
of a single opposition force by March 5. The Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and the
Our Ukraine bloc intend to sign a cooperation agreement.        -30-
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6.    AMBASSADORS OF EU COUNTRIES QUIZ TYMOSHENKO
                   ON CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS IN UKRAINE

Interfax Ukraine News, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, February 21, 2007

KYIV – BYT leader Yulia Tymoshenko and ambassadors of the European

Union member states discussed Ukraine’s Eurointegration course, issues
of regional (including energy) security, and Ukrainian-Russian relations
during a business lunch in Kyiv on Wednesday.

The ambassadors also asked Tymoshenko to brief them on the position

of her political bloc concerning the constitutional crisis in Ukraine and
opportunities to settle it, the press service of the BYT reported.

The business lunch was sponsored by German Ambassador to Ukraine

Reinhardt Schaefer, the press service said.                -30-
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7. TYMOSHENKO ACCUSES PARTY OF REGIONS OF PREPARING
   DISINFORMATION ABOUT HER INVOLVEMENT IN LAZARENKO 
       CASE RIGHT BEFORE HER TRIP TO THE UNITED STATES
 

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 21, 2007

KYIV – Yulia Tymoshenko, the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc’s leader, has
accused the Party of Regions of preparing the disinformation that alleges
that the United States has declared her an accomplice in the case against
former Ukrainian prime minister Pavlo Lazarenko.

Tymoshenko disclosed this to the press. ‘The information is incorrect.

That is a provocation prepared by PR-company of the Party of Regions,’
she said.

Tymoshenko said that such provocations are purposefully prepared before
trips of politicians. Earlier, Tymoshenko had announced her intention to

visit the United States.

According to reports in the mass media, documents about Lazarenko’s
involvement in the case against Tymoshenko and vice versa have been
unveiled at a district court in California.

According to these documents, all Lazarenko’s statements that

Tymoshenko was not involved in his case have been rejected by the court.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the San Francisco District Court
sentenced Lazarenko to 108 months in jail and fined him USD 10 million
on August 25, 2006, for money laundering and sale of illegally acquired
property abroad when he was Ukraine’s prime minister.

Lazarenko is accused of laundering USD 4.5-5 million. Lazarenko was

initially accused of laundering USD 114 million through American banks.

The court started hearing the case against Lazarenko in mid-March 2003.
Lazarenko was detained in the United States in March 1999. He was released
on bail on June 14, 2003.                                 -30-
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8. NO CHARGES AGAINST TYMOSHENKO IN UNITED STATES,
           U.S. EMBASSY SAYS, THE U.S. IS AWAITING AND
                    WELCOMES A VISIT BY TYMOSHENKO

Interfax Ukraine News, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, February 21, 2007

KYIV – BYT leader Yulia Tymoshenko has never been under investigation
by the law enforcement bodies of the United States, the U.S. Embassy in
Kyiv told Interfax-Ukraine.

“She has never been charged of any crime in the United States, and there
have never been any investigations [into her activities] by the law
enforcement agencies of the United States,” a representative of the U.S.
Embassy in Kyiv said.

“The United States is awaiting a visit by Tymoshenko and would welcomes
such a visit,” the representative quoted U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine
William Taylor as saying.

BYT MP Oleksandr Turchynov has recently announced that Yulia
Tymoshenko will make a visit to the United States soon.

Some media in Ukraine reported that some documents have been published
in the United States that Tymoshenko has been found in that country as
involved in the scams of Former Premier Pavlo Lazarenko of Ukraine.
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9.  OPPOSITION PUSHES THROUGH GAS-PIPELINE LAW
 

INFORM Newsletter, Issue 30, Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT)
Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, 12 February, 2007

Last week the government climbed down on proposals to unify the gas-

pipeline networks of Ukraine and Russia. BYuT and Our Ukraine deputies
forced the issue to be put on the parliamentary agenda by blocking the
podium in the Verkhovna Rada. The bill was supported by 408 out of
448 registered deputies, leaving the Fuels and Energy Ministry’s plans in
tatters.

Yulia Tymoshenko, leader of the opposition and her eponymous block

likened the proposals to “selling off the family silver to an overbearing
relative who seeks wider control of the family estate.”

The scale of the defeat prompted an apparent change of heart from the
Yanukovych-administration. “Once again I want to confirm that the

Ukrainian gas-transport system is a property of Ukraine, state property
and is not to be changed. It is the priority of the governmental policy,”
said Prime Minister Yanukovych.

“Nobody will give anybody the ownership of Ukraine’s gas transportation
system,” echoed Deputy Prime Minister Mykola Azarov. This was an

ncredible admission, as previously Mr Azarov had defended yielding to
Russia a stake in the gas-pipeline network in return for low gas prices.

The new law goes well beyond preventing the “privatisation” of gas
infrastructure. It precludes a host of potential manipulations, including
spin-off, renting, leasing and mortgaging. It also prevents Naftogaz from
being liquidated under bankruptcy legislation.

While previous legislation had banned privatisation of the pipeline network,
the new law effectively closes remaining legal loop-holes, such as
management and concession rights, through which the network could be

ceded to foreign enterprises.

Referring to the events of last week, Tammy Lynch, of The Institute for the
Study of Conflict,Ideology & Policy at Boston University, opined that “the
passage of the bill should send a strong statement to President Putin and
members of the Ukrainian government who apparently expected no response

to their statements and proposals. Ukraine may be struggling to create a
consolidated democracy, but its parliament is far from a rubber stamp and
its opposition is far from cowed.”

A buoyed Mrs Tymoshenko said, “We have been too dependent on gas from

Russia and controversial intermediary traders, who make millions at the expense
of contracts that should have been negotiated directly between governments in a
transparent and accountable fashion.”
 
This was an unmistakable reference to RosUkrEnergo. The controversial
Swiss-based gas trader is owned by Gazprom’s banking arm and two Ukrainian
businessmen, whose identities were shrouded at the time the gas deal to supply
Ukraine with a mixture of Turkmen and Russian gas was struck.

“I think the next step should be scrapping the work of RosUkrEnergo,” said
Mrs Tymoshenko who has long maintained that there should be no role for

any intermediary companies in securing national gas deals.         -30-
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10. UKRAINE: ANOTHER EPISODE OF POLITICAL CRISIS

COMMENTARY: By Adam Swain,
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb 21 2007

In the last few weeks Ukraine has experienced an episode of political reform
as great and dramatic as anything seen during the Orange Revolution.

The Verkhovna Rada voted overwhelmingly to further emasculate the
beleaguered President Viktor Yushchenko, reducing the presidency to little
more than a symbolic head of state well above the party political fray.

The Cabinet evicted  Yushchenko’s pro-Western foreign minister, Borys
Tarasyuk, and even proposed a law that would strip the presidency of any
influence over foreign policy.

Perhaps not unrelated, some facts emerged of a long-term energy agreement,
in which Ukraine would cede partial control over its gas transport system to
Russia in exchange for participation in oil and gas extraction in Russia.

The failure of Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine bloc to either effectively govern
with the ruling Anti-crisis Coalition or accede to Yulia Tymoshenko’s
opposition Byut bloc’s call to dissolve parliament and stage new elections
has allowed the Party of Regions to extend its grip over the country’s
notoriously fragmented state bureaucracy.

On the face of it, the wrangling over the Constitution, the apparently
contradictory alliances between the political parties and the confusion over
who speaks for Ukraine internationally, has plunged the country into yet
another episode of political crisis.

The former Socialist interior minister in the Orange Revolution interregnum,
Yuriy Lutsenko, has toured the country to promote his new ‘People’s
Self-defense Movement,’ warning that the democratic gains won in the
Orange Revolution are under threat.

However, whilst some of the political maneuvering has been clumsy and the
political parties, at last mindful of the need to maintain popular support,
have struck contradictory positions, Ukraine has experienced a remarkable
consolidation of its state machine and its political system.

The democratically elected government has extended its control over the
state bureaucracy to facilitate clear and effective government. Equally, an
official opposition has begun to be institutionalized to scrutinize
government. These developments will significantly strengthen the capacity
of the state, a necessary precondition for further political and economic
development.

This has occurred because, with the exception of parts of President
Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine, the country’s political and economic power-
brokers, of whatever political hue, business group and region, have finally
learned the lesson of the Orange Revolution: Razom nas bahato, nas ne
podolaty (Together we are many, we cannot be defeated).

They have concluded that the profound divisions that opened up during the
Orange Revolution weakened them all and that they are individually and
collectively stronger in the worlds of politics and business, united around
a modus operandi for political and economic rivalry.

Their consent to abide by common rules stands to enhance the country’s
bargaining power with its neighbors to both the east and the west.

It is no surprise that Regions has driven the process of consolidation. You
only have to drive a few kilometers south from Donetsk, the home of Prime
Minister Viktor Yanukovych, to the village of Kyrsha, aka, the ‘widows’
village,’ with its opulent detached houses protected by prison-sized walls
and metal gates to match, to be reminded of the consequences of unfettered
rivalry.

Yanukovych and the commercial figures behind Regions have all learned

over the last 10 years that they mutually benefit when there is a balance of
power and a modus operandi amongst the Donbas’s leading political and
economic actors.

The Donetsk-based business groups, such as SCM and ISD, having out-
grown the region, require effective national government and the prospect
of stable transfers of political power from party to party to further
develop as successful international companies.

Since last year’s parliamentary elections, Regions has been practically
groping around to identify a reliable partner to establish a new modus
operandi on the national scale.

Our Ukraine, Regions’ desired partner, was hampered by its poor
performance in the parliamentary elections and its apparent inability to
act in a concerted manner.

Regions were forced to turn, first, to the ideologically antagonistic
Socialists and Communists and then to reach an historic compromise
with their bete noire, Tymoshenko.

The mutual antipathy dates back to Tymoshenko’s association with the
Dnipropetrovsk ‘clan’ that waged war (entrepreneurial and violent) with the
Donetsk ‘clan’ in the mid-1990s over the lucrative supply of gas in the
Donbass.

Hostilities, this time political, resumed when Tymoshenko, then deputy prime
minister in Yushchenko’s government, attempted to structurally reform the
energy sector, culminating in her sacking and a string of criminal
investigations into corruption allegations.

Despite this history, Tymoshenko has realized that Regions are in the box
seat and that Yushchenko has no intention of dissolving parliament and
calling fresh elections.

Byut and its financial backers have had little choice but to abandon their
long-held opposition to the constitutional reform passed in late 2004 and
embrace a parliamentary system in return for securing the role of official
opposition.

Byut supported Regions’ law to transfer the power to appoint the prime
minister from the president to parliament and the power to appoint the
foreign and defense ministers from the president to the prime minister.

In return, Regions supported the election of Mykola Tomenko, a former
deputy prime minister in Tymoshenko’s government, as second deputy
parliamentary speaker and a bill that disqualifies local and regional
council representatives who vote against their party line. The latter will

serve to shore-up Byut, whose caucuses in several councils across the
country have recently crumbled.

More importantly, once the ‘Law on the opposition’ is passed, Byut will be
granted the right to state funding, appoint a shadow cabinet and the heads
of several key parliamentary committees, establish independent commissions
of enquiry, and guaranteed access to television and radio.

Out of this historic compromise, a consolidated state machine and a
parliamentary political system based on electoral competition between two
centralized political parties is emerging.

However, the nature and extent of any further political reform will depend
on how Regions’ and Byut’s popularity in the country develops over the
coming months.                                    -30-
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NOTE: Adam Swain is a Lecturer in Human Geography at The

University of Nottingham, UK.
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LINK: http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/oped/26156/
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11.     UKRAINE’S CRIMEAN TATAR RADICALS, MODERATES
                  SPLIT OVER LARGE-SCALE LAND PROTESTS 

Black Sea TV, Simferopol, in Russian 1700 gmt 19 Feb 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tuesday, Feb 20, 2007

SIMFEROPOL – A large-scale civil disobedience protest by radical Crimean
Tatars demanding land, which was to be held in Simferopol on 19 February,
failed to draw large numbers after the Crimean Tatar Majlis, an unofficial
ethnic assembly, banned it.

The moderates, led by Majlis head Mustafa Dzhemilyev, favour talks with

the government as a means of resolving the Crimean Tatars’ demands for
restoration of ancestral land and homes lost after their deportation to
Central Asia in 1944.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is to hold talks with Tatar leaders
during a visit to Crimea scheduled for 22 February. The following is an
excerpt from the report by Ukrainian Crimean Black Sea TV (ChTRK) on 19
February:

[Presenter] A 20,000-strong Crimean Tatar mass protest action, planned for
today, has failed. There was no blocking of roads, just marches along zebra
crossings. The large-scale civil disobedience action was cancelled after the
Majlis intervened. The protests were postponed till the end of February.

[Correspondent] Traffic policemen whistled, trying to stop Crimean Tatars
who were walking to and fro across the zebra crossing. Sometimes they
stopped, sometimes not. Traffic police, deployed at several key cites in the
city centre, did their best to prevent traffic jams.

This time, Crimean Tatars chose not to block motorways, despite their
earlier threats. Protesters said that they have responded to a request by
the Crimean Tatar leader, Mustafa Dzhemilyev.

Just the day before, Dzhemilyev appeared on TV and urged Crimean Tatars

not to start riots. So, there was only a series of brief protest marches, both
in Simferopol’s centre and outskirts.

Interior troops and a special task force monitored events from a distance.
The protest marches stopped at 1200 [1000 gmt] sharp. Activists read out an
open letter to the Majlis head.

They said that even though they did not agree with Mustafa Dzhemilyev, they
conceded to postpone the action. They decided to hold the next protest in
Yalta on 28 February.

[Unidentified protest leader, speaking through a loudspeaker] We still have
not kicked a single person out from our houses even though we have every
right to do it. Our houses were unlawfully taken away from us. We still have
not evicted anyone.

We have not harmed anyone. We have not insulted anyone. We have not spit in
anyone’s face. They live in our houses and sleep on our beds. And I know
that some of them still eat with our spoons from our cups!

[Correspondent] Protesters said that President Yushchenko’s visit to Crimea
was their last hope.

[Osman Tupalov, captioned as protest activist] As you can see, there were
nearly no protests today. Today, we have just shown that we existed and, if
Mr Yushchenko needs support in Crimea, Crimean Tatars will support him.

And do not try to provoke us.

We are waiting for our president on 22 February. And we hope that,
eventually, he will take our side. And Crimean Tatars will believe that
Ukraine has a president, at long last! [Passage omitted: more details]

[Remzi Ilyasov, captioned as deputy Majlis head] Mustafa Dzhemilyev has
addressed the Crimean Tatar people and said that he was opposed to such
actions because they could hamper the settlement of some problems at the 22
February talks with the president. Several issues, including the land
problem, will be discussed at the talks.

[Nadir Bekirov, captioned as Majlis’ presidium member] Neither the Majlis
nor its presidium banned the action. The Majlis failed to release an
official statement on this.

So, the Majlis itself did not impose an official ban on the protests.
Rather, some Majlis members were against the protests while other Majlis
members were for them.

[Correspondent] The Majlis head, Mustafa Dzhemilyev, has said that the
Majlis unanimously voted for the ban. Dzhemilyev described the stance of
those who opposed the ban as non-constructive.

[Dzhemilyev] In the Majlis, like in every assembly, different points of view
exist. But, if a decision is adopted, everyone should comply with it.
Sometimes, some people continue to stick to their own point of view. In
particular, Nadir [Bekirov] is one of them.

[Correspondent] By midday, there were no reminders of the Simferopol
protests, except extra police force guarding the Crimean parliament.

[Video shows: Crimean Tatars marching along a zebra crossing; protest
leaders speaking; Dzhemilyev interviewed.]               -30-
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12.      UKRAINE’S CRIMEA: THE SEPARATIST CARD

EDITORIAL: Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, Feb 21 2007

Appearing on Ukrainian TV’s Svoboda Slova talk show last week, Communist
Member of Parliament Leonid Hrach warned that the autonomous peninsula,
Crimea, could split away from Ukraine if the country joins NATO.

It’s no secret that Hrach, who once chaired Crimea’s legislature, would
support such a drastic move.

What is worrisome, however, is that such a threat could become reality,
mirroring other Moscow-backed separatist movements in the Moldovan

breakaway region of Transdniester, or Georgia’s secessionist Ossetia and
Abkhazia regions. And the Kremlin’s geopolitical ambitions should not be
taken lightly in this regard.

Such separatist movements are clearly designed to spur instability and
maintain Russian influence over former Soviet republics with European
ambitions.

As the strategy goes, you first create a problem, then send your
peacekeepers in with the purported intention of protecting ethnic Russians
left over from Soviet days.

It’s a formula that could, in theory, be applied in Crimea, whose population
is regarded as largely pro-Russian and anti-NATO. The strategy involves
keeping Russian peacekeepers in the region for a long time. It has worked in
Transdniester, which fought a war with Moldova proper in the early 90s.

Georgia, whose Western friendly president has continually bumped heads

with the Kremlin, is also in a hard spot, with two regions bent on gaining
independence from Tbilisi and aligning with Moscow.

The Kremlin’s divide-and-conquer strategy is clearly intended to complicate
efforts by both newly independent states towards integrating into western
structures, such as NATO and the European Union.

It is being done in Georgia and Moldova, why can’t it happen to Ukraine?

All Moscow and its agents in Ukraine, like the Communists, need to do is
flare up ethnic tensions in Crimea and play up the anti-NATO card, warning
residents that their sons and daughters could be sent to Iraq as combatants
if Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko gets his way in joining the Western
military alliance.

During past election campaigns, hard-pressed Ukrainian politicians have had
no qualms about playing the Russian-nationalism card in various hands – the
language issue, NATO, etc. – with Crimea often serving as the main game
table.

Re-igniting already tense relations between ethnic Russians and Muslim
Tartars, many of whom have returned to the peninsula as homeless refugees,
following their exile to Central Asia by Joseph Stalin during World War II,
will help catalyze this scenario.

Adding oil to the fire is the fact that Crimean Tatars have traditionally
supported the camp of Ukraine’s pro-Western President Yushchenko. Another
tactic the Russians have apparently employed includes efforts to hand out
Russian citizenship to population pockets in former republics.

Rumor has it that more and more of Crimea’s population are accepting Russian
passports. The practice has been going on for a long time in Transdniester,
and it isn’t just practiced by the Russians.

The threat is real, but what should Ukraine’s leadership do?

[1] First of all, they need to start informing the population effectively
about the benefits of joining NATO. Efforts thus far have been poor, to say
the least.

[2] Ukrainian leaders also have to crack down hard on separatist movements
in what Czarina Catherine the Great referred to as the pearl of the Russian
Empire. Focusing on the military benefits of joining NATO, including
security from an increasingly blustering Moscow, is not enough.

[3] Ukraine’s leadership needs to point out the economic benefits of Western
integration as well. For one, larger inflows of tourists who would arrive
when Ukraine integrates more closely with Europe would benefit Crimea more
than any other region in Ukraine.

[4] NATO membership also equates to more sales, contracts and jobs in the
military industrial complex, meaning aerospace and other hi-tech industries
such as rocket building. This should bolster support in the Russian-speaking
eastern industrialized regions of Ukraine.

Simply said, when you are a member of NATO, you have a solid chance of
selling your products to most first, second and third world countries. If
you’re not part of the club, you are left competing with Russia for the
scraps, namely third world contracts.

True, setting up joint ventures with Western aerospace and military
contractors will leave Ukraine as the smaller partner in most ventures. But
it should bring Ukraine’s producers the kind of experience and technology
needed to step up into the major leagues.

Moreover, sales of Ukrainian produced hi-tech military hardware, such as
tanks, airplanes and rockets, should exceed today’s levels many times over.
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13.             A LESSON IN STIFLING VIOLENT EXTREMISM 

              The Crimean Tatar experience proves that there is indeed a
                   nonviolent prophylactic for ethnoreligious conflict.
 
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: Waleed Ziad and Laryssa Chomiak,
The Christina Science Monitor, Boston, MA, Tue, February 20, 2007 

WASHINGTON –  The effort to help Muslim moderates and democratic

reformers, President Bush insists, is a primary bulwark against ethno-
religious conflict and the terrorism it breeds. Yet, five years into the war
on terror, real-world examples to support that contention are scarce.
There is, however, a conflict zone that has developed a strong model
of stifling violent extremism – one that could be replicated in hot
spots around the world: Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

Last month in picturesque Crimea, minority Muslim Tatars clashed
violently with ethnic Russians who make up the majority of the
region’s population. This was the worst in a string of incendiary
events that began in August 2006: pro-Moscow paramilitary gangs
assaulted Tatars at their holiest site, a building housing their
parliament was bombed, and a Tatar journalist was assassinated.

Meanwhile, foreign-sponsored Wahhabi Muslim extremist groups

appeared on the scene, urging violent retaliation. Most anywhere else
 in the world, this would have been the trigger for a major ethnoreligious
war. But thanks to the Tatars’ locally developed democracy, their
leadership was able to avert full-scale hostilities.

The Tatars of Crimea were victims of ethnic cleansing and deportation
policies under Russian czars and later under Joseph Stalin and the
Soviet Union. In 1944, Stalin deported all Tatars to Uzbekistan and
other parts of Central Asia. Throughout their exile, Tatars
maintained a strong national identity, and, post-Stalin, they formed
a celebrated nonviolent resistance movement.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Crimea became an autonomous
republic in Ukraine, and the resistance movement collaborated with
the newly independent Ukrainian government to secure Tatars’ right of
return. However, Crimea continues to be dominated by its Russian
majority and a pro-Moscow party.

The new repatriates faced oppression as ethnic Russian authorities in
Crimea prevented the restitution of land and job opportunities.
Rather than be marginalized, the Tatar leadership’s unique solution
was the 1991 creation of the Mejlis, or “assembly” system, to
establish their legitimacy in the Ukrainian political milieu.

Leaders adopted the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights as
their political model, with democracy and nonviolence as guiding
doctrines. Early on, Mejlis members appealed to the UN and the
international community for recognition of their rights, which has
resulted in close working ties between the Mejlis and various
international aid organizations.

 
The Mejlis was eventually recognized as a legitimate political player
by Ukraine’s government. Mustafa Jemilev, the father of the resistance
movement, now holds a seat in the Ukrainian parliament. Indeed, he
is part of the Orange bloc coalition, which has been a symbol for
democracy in the region and worldwide.

An elected religious institution, the Muftiyat, was established
alongside the Mejlis system to prevent the inpouring of religious
extremism and preserve Tatar Islamic folk traditions. Amid the ethnic
tensions, small-scale Wahhabist groups sponsored by Arab Gulf states
have emerged, including the banned Hizb-i-Tehrir, which castigated
the Mejlis for its “soft” policies. But the Muftiyat, allied with the
Mejlis, denounced these ideologies as “false teachings and objectives
rejected by Islam,” and swiftly silenced the radicals with popular
tolerance and education campaigns at local mosques.

The overwhelming success of the Mejlis in preventing the spread of
violence rests on its exclusive reliance on negotiations,
international support, and nonviolent public protests. When Tatar
rights are denied or provocation occurs, Mejlis leaders step in to
mediate. And the Mejlis actively preventsthe formation of independent
militias, recognizing their detriment to any negotiation process.

Despite many roadblocks, peaceful Tatar activism has achieved what
was previously inconceivable: repatriation and citizenship for
250,000 Tatars, quasi- recognition of the Mejlis by the central
government, and seats within Ukrainian and Crimean legislatures.

The Crimean Tatar experience proves that there is indeed a nonviolent
prophylactic for ethnoreligious conflict. Giving official recognition
to the political aspirations of indigenous minorities helps address
popular grievances through peaceful negotiation instead of street
violence.

 
That’s the lesson of the Mejlis and Muftiyat in Crimea. And
it’s the lesson that should be applied to other conflict zones, from
Muslim minority populations across the former Soviet Union, to the
Kurds in Syria and the Moros in the Philippines.

Fostering local participatory movements isn’t just about keeping
democracy healthy. In the global war on terror, it’s one of the best
defenses against transnational fundamentalism.     -30-
——————————————————————————————-
Waleed Ziad, an economic consultant and a principal at the Truman
National Security Project, writes extensively on Islamic
fundamentalist movements. Laryssa Chomiak, a Department of

Homeland Security fellow, covered the Crimean Tatar minority for
the University of Maryland’s Minorities at Risk Project. They recently
returned from Crimea, where they interviewed Tatar leaders.
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LINK: http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0220/p09s02-coop.html
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14.    UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT CANCELLED QUOTAS
                            FOR EXPORT OF FEED GRAIN

UNIAN News, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, February 21, 2007

KYIV – During the meeting on February 21, Cabinet of Ministers of

Ukraine cancelled quotas for export of feed grains – wheat, barley and
maize, informed Viktor Slauta, Vice-Prime Minister of Ukraine on agricultural
issues, according to APK-Inform. At the same time restrictions for export
of milling wheat remain.

According to the President of Ukrainian Grain Association, Vladimir
Klimenko, quotas cancellation will positively effect Ukrainian grain market
stabilization. Also, he noticed that everybody understands that quotas
introduction prevents entry of Ukraine into WTO.

Experts of APK-Inform agency consider that after quotas cancellation feed
grain trade will become more active and prices can go up, especially for
maize.

“Last week after announcements of the officials concerning forthcoming
cancellation of quotas export activity was up. It caused rise in average
prices for barley and maize by 5-10 UAH/tonne,” stressed analyst of
APK-Inform, Natalia Shelest. According to her it is worth expecting for
activation of feed grain purchases from domestic consumers.

We remind that in September 2006, the Cabinet of Ministers introduced
licenses for grains export, and in October, the Government approved the
regulations on introduction of quotas for grains export. In December, the
Cabinet of Ministers introduced the quota for 1.106 mln tonnes of grains for
export for 2006/07 MY, including 3.000 tonnes of wheat and rye, 600.000
tonnes of barley and 500.000 tonnes of maize.

By regulations No 185 from February 13, 2007, the Government of Ukraine

gave additional export quotas for grains given to port elevators and/or
terminals for storing before January 25, 2007. Additional quota for wheat
and meslin (mixture of rye and wheat) totals 228.000 tonnes, for barley –
606.000 tonnes, for maize – 30.000 tonnes.                        -30-
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15.  UKRAINIAN AGRARIAN CONFEDERATION SAYS LIFTING
            FEED GRAIN QUOTAS WAS THE RIGHT DECISION  

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, February 21, 2007

KYIV – The Ukrainian Agriculture Confederation says that, following the
abolition of export quotas on fodder grain, prerequisites emerged for
removal of the international tensions that had formed as a result of grain
quotas introduction. Ukrainian News learned this from the confederation
press service.

“The Ukrainian Agriculture Confederation says that the current developments
(abolition of quotas on the export of fodder grain) are absolutely logical,
the more so because prerequisites appeared for removal of certain
international tensions caused by grain quotation,” the press service says.

The confederation gave a positive mark to the Cabinet of Ministers’ decision
on export quota abolition, as Ukraine has already formed prerequisites for
liberalization of the market of grain crops, which is confirmed by
representatives of sectoral associations shouldering responsibility for food
safety, as well as representatives of the cattle-breeding industry, who say
they have enough grain for the period until a new harvest.

The press service also noted that the Ukrainian Agriculture Confederation
plans to initiate and take part in debates on the functioning of grain
market in Ukraine in the next season (2007/2008 marketing year), as all
subjects of grain market must understand and know the terms on which they
will work in the midterm perspective.

“For all rules of the game to be worked out in good time and, respectively,
for each of the market subjects to be able to count on its own business
activity,” the confederation stressed.

As Ukrainian News reported, the Cabinet of Ministers abolished quotas for
the export of fodder grain. The Cabinet intended to abolish export quota on
barley and corn by the start of March.

It increased grain export quota by 864,000 tons to 1,970,000 tons for the
2006/2007 marketing year by the resolution that took force on February 15.
The additional quotas reached 606,000 tons for barley, 30,000 tons for corn,
and 228,000 tons for wheat.

In December 2006, the Cabinet of Ministers set a grain export quota of 1.106
million tons for the 2006/2007 marketing year, including 600,000 tons of
barley, 500,000 tons of corn, and 3,000 tons of wheat and rye each.  -30-
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16.   UKRAINIAN GRAIN ASSOCIATION CALLS FOR RESTART
     OF THE WORK OF THE GRAIN MARKET WORKING GROUP

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, February 21, 2007

KYIV – The Ukrainian Grain Association is calling for the restart of work of
the working group for grain market under the Cabinet of Ministers to see
effective dialogue between the market operators and government officials.

Ukrainian Grain Association president Volodymyr Klimenko presented the
position of the grain market operators during the Internet conference on the
LihaBiznesInform portal.

“In order to facilitate an effective dialogue between agrarian officials and
representatives of the grain business it is necessary to restore the work of
the working group for grain market under the Cabinet of Ministers of
Ukraine,” he said.  He noted that the working group was permanently
operating with the four previous governments.

“It worked with the government of [Anatolii] Kinakh, [Viktor] Yanukovych,
[Yulia] Tymoshenko, and [Yurii] Yekhanurov. The same group was created

four months ago under the current government. However, instead of [meeting]
monthly at least two draft decisions concerning the grain market it has not
started the work,” he said.

In his opinion, there wouldn’t have been problems facing the agrarian market
if the working group had operating and a relevant dialogue between the
authorities and the agrarian business had been established.

He said a vice premier for the agroindustrial complex had always headed the
working group with the previous governments.
“As for the introduction of the post of vice premier for the agroindustrial
complex, we are supporting the step and believe it was a big mistake that
the post didn’t exist,” he said.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, on February 8, the parliament appointed
Parliamentary Deputy Viktor Slauta of the Party of Regions as a Deputy Prime
Minister for the agroindustrial complex.
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17.   UKRAINIAN DELEGATION ARRIVES IN U.S. FOR TALKS
                                  ON WTO ACCESSION

Interfax Ukraine Business Express, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, Feb 21, 2007

KYIV – A Ukrainian delegation led by the Ukrainian Deputy Economics

Minister Valeriy Piatnytsky has arrived in Washington for meetings with
members of the working group examining Ukraine’s application for World
Trade Organization (WTO) accession.

The Ukrainian delegation held similar meetings in Geneva, Switzerland, on
February 19-20, the Ukrainian Economics Ministry’s press service said.
Ukraine expects a final positive decision on the issue of WTO accession

will be adopted in mid-summer.                     -30-
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FOOTNOTE: The Ukraine-U.S. Business Council is sponsoring a
lunch on Friday for two members of the Ukrainian delegation.  AUR Editor
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18.    UKRAINE IN “DIFFICULT POSITION” OVER U.S. MISSILE
     SYSTEM IN EUROPE, SAYS PRIME MINISTER YANUKOVYCH 

Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian 0913 gmt 20 Feb 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tue, Feb 20, 2007

UKRAINE – Chernihiv Region – Ukraine is going to formulate its position
regarding the deployment of the US anti-missile system in Poland and the
Czech Republic after looking into possible consequences of this step for
Ukraine, Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych told journalists at the
Desna training centre in Chernihiv Region today.

“Certainly, we are in a difficult position today. We are now checking
whether it poses threats or, I would say, difficulties for us. After doing
this, we will take the final decision and formulate the country’s position
on this issue,” he said.

[The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said earlier that the deployment of elements
of the anti-ballistic missile system in the Czech Republic and Poland will
help enhance the international community’s potential in combating the
proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction. See UNIAN news

agency, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1626 gmt 23 Jan 07,]
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19. U.S. URGES UKRAINE TO CONDUCT SPEEDY INVESTIGATION
        INTO VANDALISM ACTS AT JEWISH CEMETERY IN ODESA 
      
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, February 21, 2007

KYIV – The United States is calling on the Ukrainian authorities to conduct
a speedy investigation into the acts of vandalism at the Jewish cemetery in
Odesa. Ukrainian News learned this from the US Embassy’s press release.

‘The Embassy of the United States was very concerned to learn about the
extensive desecration of graves and memorials at the Jewish cemetery in
Odesa, which is the resting place for thousands of victims of the Holocaust,
over the weekend of February 17-18, 2007,’ the statement reads.

The Embassy says that such acts of hate-inspired vandalism are repugnant

and have no place in a tolerant society like Ukraine.

The Embassy commended the Odesa authorities’ quick action to begin repairs
to the cemetery and encouraged the city of Odesa to take action to prevent
incidents like this in the future.

‘The U.S. Government urges the Government of Ukraine to conduct a thorough
and speedy investigation to bring the perpetrators of this hate crime to
justice,’ the statement reads.

As Ukrainian News reported, on February 18, a group of unknown desecrated
over 500 graves at the Third Jewish Cemetery and two monuments to Holocaust
victims in Odesa. The hooligans drew swastikas on the gravestones and the
monument.

The monument was erected in memory of over 25,000 people (most of whom

were Jews) who were burned on that place by Nazis during World War II.

Identical inscriptions and swastikas were also found on the monument to the
victims of the Holocaust in Prokhorovskyi park.

The monument was erected at the foundation of the birch alley planted in
memory of the people of various nationalities who rescued Jews during the
war, risking their own lives.                         -30-
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20.          ROMANIAN PRESIDENT CRITICIZES UKRAINE’S
                          ATTITUDE ON SERPENT ISLAND 
Rompres news agency, Bucharest, in English 1600 gmt 19 Feb 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tue, Feb 20, 2007

BUCHAREST – President Traian Basescu on Monday 19 February rated

as hasty the action of Ukrainian authorities in relation to the Serpent Island.

‘This is what I would call a hasty action of the Kiev authorities (…) I
think trying to prove that the Serpent island is inhabited, that the
delimitation of the continental shelf and the exclusive trade zone should
pass through this island was not among the happiest actions. I really doubt
such trick will work with the international courts,’ Basescu told the
Romanian public radio station in a statement.

He mentioned having talked with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yushchenko
about the establishment and the definition of the continental shelf
belonging to Romania and Ukraine in the Black Sea, because of the economic
significance of the shelf. ‘I noticed that this had been an issue for nine
years, that no progress was made and that there was no chance of solving the
issue through bilateral talks.

And then, Romania brought before the International Court of Justice in The
Hague the matter of defining the continental shelf and the exclusive
economic zones of the two countries in the Black Sea, in the spring of
2006,’ said Basescu.                                     -30-
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21. PRESIDENT VISITED CINEMA, SEES MOVIE, CHARLOTTE’S
                WEB,  DUBBED INTO UKRAINIAN LANGUAGE

UNIAN, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, February 21, 2007

KYIV – Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko, accompanies by his famine,
visited a movie theatre in Kyiv to see a film by Gary Winick, Charlotte’s
Web, in Ukrainian, according to the President’s press-office.

The President told reporters the Ukrainian language “is returning to
 cinemas” and that he welcomed a recently signed memorandum between

the Culture Ministry and film distributors under which 100% of children’s
movies and 50% of other foreign films will be dubbed for Ukrainian
speaking audiences by the end of 2007.

“I like the first requirement very much. The second one is a bit mild but I
think we will make it stricter during our discussions,” he said.

He also praised last year’s decision by the previous government to impose
quotas to dub foreign films into Ukrainian, which was, however, later
cancelled by the Kyiv Economic Court of Appeal.

“I am sure this ruling will be reconsidered because it contradicts national
priorities and our goal to develop the film distribution business and
cinematographic art,” he said, adding that he had recently appealed to the
Prosecutor General “to protect national interests in this area.”

As for the development of the Ukrainian language, he added, more and more
people come to understand that it can help us unite. Mr. Yushchenko said it
was incumbent on him to make Ukrainians understand it is their obligation to
know and learn their native language.

Charlotte’s Web is a live-action/computer-animated feature film, based on
the popular children’s book of the same name by E.B. White. The book was
first published in 1952 and tells the story of a barn spider named Charlotte
and her friendship with a pig named Wilbur. It is one of the best-selling
children’s books of all time.                             -30-
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22.                          JAMES MACE AND HIS MISSION

By Oxana Pachlowska, University of Rome La Sapienza
National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
The Day Weekly Digest #6, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It is awful when you have to say about a close friend whose loss has left
lifelong pain, “It is a good thing that he left this world without seeing
this.”

That is what I told myself on Nov. 28, 2006, after the Verkhovna Rada
passed the law on the Holodomor. Yes, they passed the law but in a way
that stigmatized both individual MPs and the entire nation.

Mace departed from this life without witnessing this disgrace. He died
before Ukraine’s ruling political force acknowledged itself-through its de
facto refusal to vote-as the legal successor to the authors of the Great
Terror, the culprits who tried to destroy Ukraine.

The voting clarified Mace’s idea that Ukrainian society is post-genocidal.
What did he mean by this designation? He had in mind precisely a
post-genocidal society rather than a post-colonial one, as some researchers
maintain. After all, post-colonial societies typically had civilized
colonizers.

Post-colonial India has embarked on a democratic course and is turning into
an economic colossus. Even the Republic of South Africa, despite the former
system of apartheid, is freeing itself from the shackles of colonialism and
gaining economic weight. Civilized parent states had the courage to
relinquish their colonies at an opportune time and treat them as equals.

However, this is not the case with Ukraine. Unlike civilized parent states,
Ukraine’s colonizer never thought of relinquishing its conquered
territories. On the contrary, the more it agonizes, the deeper it digs its
claws into countries, regions, and entire geopolitical areas. The claws
being “fraternal,” this kind of colonialism is not likely soon to become
post-colonialism.

Perhaps this is why the visible colonial heritage in Ukraine is “diffused”
in the post-genocidal heritage, often invisible but nevertheless constantly
present, and not only in society’s psychology but also in the stimuli,
complexes, and nightmares of its psyche.

Mace left us a tragic thought that will take us a long time to reflect on.
For years to come, its purport will remain a painful and hidden nerve of our
history.

The paradigmatic approach requires that the Holodomor be considered together
with two other cases of 20th-century genocide within the span of Christian
civilization-the Armenian and Jewish genocides. In addition to the countless
political and economic causes of these two genocides, there were also
cultural factors. It was not simply a matter of one nation destroying
another.

Rather, these were different ways of destroying Christian civilization. In
the case of the Armenian genocide, Muslim fundamentalism was the destructive
mechanism. In the case of the Holocaust, an atheistic monster that had
renounced God destroyed a nation that was the historical and cultural cradle
of Christian civilization and on whose territory the Christian God was born.

The Holodomor was similar in this respect: the anti-Christian world
destroyed the world of Christianity. The newly-created political Moloch
fought against God. Ruining and profaning temples, it destroyed a
civilization that was the last Christian stronghold on the already
immeasurable expanse of nihilistic Bolshevik barbarism.

Until this day the wound inflicted by the Armenian and Jewish genocides on
these nations remains incurable. These tragedies became the new starting
point for their history.

It is generally accepted that the Holocaust as genocide cannot be compared
to any other genocide. Is this correct? I don’t know. I say frankly: I don’t
know. Perhaps those who insist on the Holocaust’s uniqueness have a point.
But equally unique is the Holodomor, even though this genocide was also
conducted in the same eschatological vein of Endlosung, or Final Solution.

The only difference was that the Holocaust was an act by killers with
unconcealed intentions. Germans were true to their meticulousness even
here-they had developed both theoretical and practical foundations for this
genocide.

In contrast to this, the Holodomor was more of a hallucinatory project
accompanied by rhetoric about the friendship of fraternal nations and other
cliches produced by the ideological schizophrenia of Russian communism.

In the former case it was all about the Aryan race; in the latter, about the
Soviet people as the final product of this criminal social engineering. In
fact, there is no difference here: in both cases all those who did not
conform to the corresponding paradigm were destroyed.

These two national catastrophes are clearly unique but from two different
perspectives. To the Jewish people the tragedy of the Holocaust became the
unifying energy needed for self-understanding, strengthening their identity,
and for a new perception of their place and significance in the world.

The Holocaust also became an overwhelming moral shakeup for the whole
world and, above all, for Europe. In the postwar period, Europe developed
the concept of genocide and posed the question of its own collective
responsibility for this crime. For the first time a crime against one people
was interpreted as a crime against the entire human race.

This idea became the foundation of a new ethos for both people and
20th-century historical science. The scope of the problem is not restricted
to Hitler and Nazism, which became the epitome of extreme inhumanity. This
conversion of the human being into a beast was condoned by all those who
connived at what was taking place and abetted the crime by means of their
consent, cooperation, and silence.

The world was forced to admit that one nation’s tragedy should not be
restricted to its own history. Rather, only humanity’s collective memory of
the tragedy can guarantee that it will never again be repeated.

This is the origin of Europe’s atonement for wronging the Jewish
people-moral atonement that has spanned decades. Germany’s path to a
democratic state began with the recognition of the crime it had committed,
its detailed recording, and constant, incessant, and dramatic atonement,
both individual and collective.

This is the kind of atonement that pervades every day and every minute-
German television channels regularly air programs on the history and
analysis of the Holocaust. Europe is also atoning financially. Jews were
finally given an opportunity to have their own state. For decades Germany
has been paying astronomical sums to the descendants of the six million
murdered Jews.

Of course, awareness of the Holocaust was an indicator that postwar Europe
had reached democratic maturity. But this understanding was achieved
because the Jewish community was able to organize and structure its protest,
self-protection, and, finally, its demand for atonement.

This is what happens when a nation has self-respect. This nation’s drama
becomes the moral standard for the conscience of the entire human race.

For the Jews the tragedy of the Holocaust became a protective wall of their
memory and a symbol of courage, endurance, indestructibility, and
immortality. I remember the November 2005 demonstration in Rome in
protest against the threats of Iran’s president to destroy Israel. After all
the
official speeches in front of Iran’s embassy, in the glow of streetlights
and the rustle of plane trees, an orchestra began playing Jewish tunes.

A pair of young Jewish sweethearts suddenly began dancing to the tune of
“Hava Nagila.” Among the spellbound people and in front of journalists’
cameras, they danced with such passion and obliviousness that it was clear:
they were a thousand years old- and this was just the beginning.

In Europe awareness of the Holocaust became a moral standard of democracy
and a mandatory pass to the civilized world. At a Ukrainian studies
conference held in Italy, a well-known Slavist from Israel said that the
attitude of post-Soviet Ukraine to Jews will be its passport to the circle
of civilized countries.

It is hard to disagree with this statement. But then an interesting question
arises: to what world can Ukrainians’ attitude to their own nation and
tragedies be a passport? It is probably a passport to the anti-world or, in
simple terms, to that part of the jungle where no passports are needed and
where history begins in the morning and ends in the evening. This is why it
is simply redundant.

This jungle is not as distant as one may think-government palaces are thick
with jungles. If the huge numbers of published (finally!) and reprinted
documentary evidence cannot help our MPs, or “people’s deputies” as they
are called, to recognize the deaths of millions of our compatriots as
genocide (and thus, a crime against humanity), then they do not consider

Ukrainian society, which includes their own electorate, part of humanity.

Unlike the Holocaust, the Holodomor was one of the main factors that led to
Ukraine’s loss of identity and rendered society’s consolidation impossible.
Postwar Europe wrote the history of its catastrophes. Once again the postwar
USSR falsified history.

The Holodomor was one of the top-secret topics in this history. Therefore,
having lost its past for the umpteenth time, Ukraine turned out to be
incapable of implementing its design for the future.

Hitler sought to wipe out the Jews precisely as a nation because they were
scattered all over Europe, without a state or territory of their own. Stalin
also wanted to annihilate Ukrainians as a nation but this nation had its own
country and land. Hitler wanted to destroy the Jewish culture, but the
Biblical people had a culture that was spread all over the world and knew
how to preserve it.

In contrast to this, both past and contemporary Ukrainian culture was
contained in Ukraine. Therefore, parallel to the Holodomor, Stalin destroyed
the temples and books of the past as well as Ukraine’s cultural, artistic,
and scholarly elite of the time.

The main idea of the Holodomor was to turn Ukraine into a non-Ukrainian
republic, and with time-into an anti-Ukrainian entity. As we can see,
Stalin’s project succeeded. Accomplished only halfway, it nonetheless

succeeded. Stalin changed the genetic code of our nation.

It was not by accident that Ukraine was the arena of these events-Ukraine
was the second most rebellious part of the Russian empire (surpassed only by
Poland) and the most recalcitrant one in the Soviet empire. The Moloch of
the Stalinist empire suppressed this resistance in an unprecedented sadistic
and cynical way.

It did not kill directly, as was the case during the Holocaust, when a
person was at least able to oppose the killers or die with dignity. Russia
killed Ukraine by turning people into vegetative beings, reducing them to an
animal-like existence, and making them incapable of resistance, opposition,
and moral choice.

Vassily Grossman’s novel Forever Flowing describes the wailing of people in
Ukrainian villages. People could not walk; they were only able to crawl to
the nearest train station, where this was possible, hoping for some merciful
hand to throw a piece of bread to them. The windows in Odesa-Kyiv trains
were then boarded up.

In keeping with the law “on five ears of grain,” women and mothers were
shot right in the fields if they were caught picking a few ears of grain for
their dying children. And all this took place in the “breadbasket of
Europe.”

It was the Holodomor that exposed the Russian world’s total contempt for
the human being as such, for fundamental human feelings, and for any moral
dimension of human existence. Also uncovered was its pathological hatred
of so-called fraternal Ukraine.

Together with people’s lives, the Holodomor took away the feeling of home
and the sense and culture of work. But above all, it destroyed love for the
land that was transformed from a life-giving resource into a boundless grave
devouring both the dead and the living, stirred by their groans, and
devouring new lives over and over again.

Instead of human feelings, society was overcome with fear-total, abject fear
of being oneself, speaking one’s mother tongue, and remembering one’s
dead.

It was the fear of existing. Since Stalinist times Ukrainian society has
been paralyzed by the fear of existing.

This led to the abyss of non-presence, non-work, and non-morals. This also
caused the greediness of some and the willingness for a half- starved
existence and constant poverty of others. As long as they leave us alone, as
long as they don’t torment us. What freedom? What democracy? ” We will
endure.” Having endured the Holocaust, we can endure anything in this
world.

This is also where the rejection of our own culture stems from. It has
remained in our genome: the sentence for being part of this culture is
death.

Fear is the only and total legacy that the System left to Ukrainian society.
This humiliating heritage is being passed down from generation to
generation. It erodes language, dignity, and memory in people. It erodes
the human being in people.

This type of society is easy to rule. This society can get only one kind of
government for itself-the government of thieves, cynics, and plain
criminals.

The Holodomor destroyed not only a century-long supply of the country’s
demographic and economic resources but also the Ukrainian rural cosmos
in its cultural, linguistic, and philosophical continuity and, most
importantly, its thousand-year-long ethos of Ukraine’s relationship with the
earth.

The Ukrainian peasant would not put a loaf of bread on the table upside
down-you were not allowed to offend bread because it was given by God.
The one who managed to wipe from the face of the earth this rural world that
tended its God-given land was then able to lay waste to this land with the
help of Chornobyl and bury it under tons of radioactive waste.

Midas, the king of death: whatever he touches turns into death.

Who else besides the descendants of this collective Barbarian would be able
to loot the country the way they have done today? Who would be able to force
millions of people abroad in search of some humiliating way to earn some
money for the same piece of bread that was confiscated in the 1930s?

Who would be able to let grain rot in ports and then throw it into the Black
Sea? Who would be able to yield to Russia the security and independence of
the country-piece by piece, on a regular basis? Who would laugh in the face
of his own electorate?

One state official was recently quoted by The Ukrainian Truth on Feb. 9,
2007, as saying in his garbled mixture of Russian and Ukrainian, “Why don’t
I hear applause, I wonder?…Somehow I don’t see joy… on your faces.”

Today we see this post-genocidal anti-Ukraine on every corner, once again
mainly in the ruling circles. This anti-Ukraine is robbing the state in
broad daylight. It is humiliating society, trampling on its graves, and
continuing the policy of Russification.

It calls intelligentsia a “narrow stratum” – a glaring Freudian slip, an
acknowledgement of one’s own post- Soviet descent: where were intellectuals
a stratum doomed to destruction if not during the orgy of the
lumpenproletariat called the USSR?

This anti- Ukraine will do its utmost to prevent the state from taking a
single step toward Europe and keep it in the gray zone of geopolitical
non-existence- the only way to have a few more years for its final
despoilment.

Here is a picture of post-genocidal society in one isolated region- Kharkiv
oblast. When all of two MPs from the Party of Regions voted for the Law on
the Holodomor, Yevhen Kushnariov, one of the party’s leaders, in an
interview with Radio Liberty magnanimously promised that the party would not
discipline the MPs. “For now this will have no consequences,” he said (Dec.
9, 2006, www.pravda.com.ua).

In November 2006 in Kharkiv oblast, which was happy about Russian obtaining
the status of “regional” language, not one local government official
attended the official ceremony to commemorate the Holodomor victims. The
proceedings took place at the Ukrainian-Polish Memorial and near the Cross
to the Holodomor Victims. But 30,000 people came to Kushnariov’s funeral.

Fact file: during three months of 1933, over 600,000 people died in Kharkiv
oblast. The total mortality count reached 2,000,000-one-third of all
peasants in the region. As can be seen from archival photographs, peasants
died on the city’s central street. Every morning their bodies were dumped
into suburban ravines. Every evening the streets were covered with new
corpses.

Kharkiv was then the capital of the Ukrainian SSR, so historians call the
city in that period “the capital of despair.”

These things occurred during the Postyshev terror. Some streets in Kharkiv
are still named after the bosses of the Communist Party of Ukraine, who
carried out the genocide. Naturally, the city has a Postyshev Prospekt.

It was in Kharkiv, in 1933, that Mykola Khvylovy shot himself. He understood
that he was doomed and that Ukraine was destined for this bloody massacre.
At the cost of his own life Khvylovy sent a warning. By this one pistol shot
he put a period on the final page of the brilliant and tragic Executed
Renaissance.

I can add one more thing: it is good that Mace did not live to see the day
when a member of the Communist cadre was appointed director of Ukraine’s
historical archives. He would feel hurt. As a person who loved Ukraine so
much, he would feel ashamed of the country.

However, as a scholar he would receive full satisfaction: his uncanny thesis
about our post-genocidal society has found complete confirmation.

To be a post-genocidal society means to have no memory. It means to have
one’s memory in the off position. A society that has been destroyed this way
is a lobotomized society. The part of society that managed to withstand the
lobotomy does not possess sufficient psychological power and physical
strength to push aside this necrotic mass of stifled brain that is pressing
down and choking the living brain with its dead weight.

Mace was a scholar. He worked with facts and figures. He gave them rational
explanations. But I have always had the feeling that he came to this culture
because he had been called by the dead. Probably because they still have not
been buried-for they have not been mourned, and because they have been
forgotten.

He heard their voices. He heard them from afar, from a distant country and a
different continent. He learned their language. While despicable servants of
the System, barely able to stick a few insincere Ukrainian words into their
defective mixture of Russian and Ukrainian, were sneering at his accent, Jim
rolled his American “r” in the language of the dead who had called him, and
he talked with them freely.

Mace was opposed to any form of contempt for man. This was the algorithm
of his intellectual opposition to any manifestations of totalitarianism. In
this he was a true son of the finest democratic America that is built on the
spiritual heritage of Washington and Lincoln.

He had such an acute and passionate sense of justice and honesty that it
seemed to have burned him from the inside. It was this feeling that brought
him to Ukraine-a country that became, possibly like no other country in the
world, a victim of permanent injustice and unfair treatment.

In many countries, involvement in the Holocaust entails criminal
responsibility. France is planning to make denial of the Armenian genocide a
crime. One of the categorical conditions for Turkey’s accession to the EU is
its acknowledgement of this genocide.

What we hear from the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine even now is “the so-
called genocide” and “Mace, the Holodomor dreamer.”

Kyiv and other cities of Ukraine are choked by a noose of streets bearing
the names of its persecutors. Monuments to persecutors stand in all
Ukrainian cities.

Therefore, it is difficult to hope that a country like this will be reckoned
with in the world. Russia understands only the language of
force-contemporary official Ukraine can only speak to Russia from the
position of weakness and meekness. Europe understands the language of
self-respect. For today’s official Ukraine this is a profoundly foreign word
that it does not know how to translate into its political doublespeak.

Official Ukraine, as it is today, i.e., lobotomized, will hardly find money
in the state budget for a Holodomor Memorial or for the Institute of
National Memory. It is erecting monuments to falsifiers of the elections
rather than to scholars who are restoring its history from the abyss of
oblivion.

This kind of Ukraine finds millions of dollars for idiotic pre-election
advertising and none for the publication of Mace’s works. This is all the
more deplorable when we recall that Mace did not write exclusively about
the Holodomor-he researched the history of 20th-century Ukraine.

To publish his works means to make public a whole array of skeletons in the
Russian-Ukrainian political closet. In 1983 Mace published a book in the US
on the destruction of national communism in Ukraine. He wrote merciless
articles on the political nature of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Some of his results appear prophetic today. For example, Mace wrote about
the drama of Ukrainian socialism. “For better or worse, in 20th-century
Ukraine socialism was the most influential ideology.” This is the opening
statement in a chapter of his book entitled Ukrainian Statehood in the 20th
Century (published in 1996).

Whereas the beginnings of Ukrainian socialism are associated with such
prominent figures as Mykhailo Drahomanov and Mykhailo Hrushevsky, in its
present stage it features names one feels ashamed even to pronounce in this
series.

One can only say, “Jim, unfortunately, the most influential ideology in
Ukraine was indeed socialism!” The idealistic socialism of its first
adherent was a significant obstacle in the construction of the Ukrainian
state.

Further degeneration of this socialism and its fall from the level of the
European tradition to negotiations in the flea market of post-Soviet
politics have proved the political and moral fiasco of this ideology in the
history of Ukrainian statehood.

Mace’s paper at the Kharkiv congress of the International Association of
Ukrainian Studies in 1996 was entitled “The Sociogenetic Legacy of the
Genocide and Totalitarianism in Ukraine and Ways to Overcome It.”

Mace was fully aware that the genocide-produced pathological deviations in
Ukraine were proportional to the eschatological dimensions of the genocide
itself. They are difficult to eradicate because genocide derives its name
from its undermining effect on the foundation of a nation’s gene pool.

Mace opened up before Ukrainian society the book of its Apocalypse and
read this Black Book aloud. But society did not really hear him because the
areas of its collective brain that are responsible for self- preservation,
self-protection, and survival had been neutralized and lobotomized.

On Nov. 26, as you light a candle to commemorate the tens of millions of
Ukrainians who were killed only because they had grown crops from time
immemorial, just look out of your window. You will see candles lit here and
there. Otherwise-the shimmer of TV screens blasting local or Russian pop
music.

It is difficult to say whether society will remain in this vegetative state.
Together with his fellow Ukrainian historians, Mace did everything possible
to revive the nerve tissue of the Ukrainian nation’s brain-in order to make
it send signals, to make memory work, and to help society restore its will
to live.

Whether the national brain will indeed start working is not under Mace’s
control. It is up to Ukrainian society-and Russian society, for that matter.
Russia became the self-appointed heir of the gold and diamond funds of the
USSR. It will become a civilized state only when it has recognized that it
is also the heir of the bloody fund of the USSR.

Many offensive remarks about Mace have been voiced from the rostrum of the
post-Soviet Verkhovna Rada. Looking at parliament we mostly see crowds of
vicious political corpses with glassy eyes.

Jim, however, is strangely alive. Perhaps he was privy to some kind of
mysticism, as were his ancient Indian ancestors. Maybe he knew the mystery
of overcoming death because everything that he occupied himself with was
tragedy. But he was rarely seen without a smile.

Even when he was resentful, with good reason, he exuded a powerful energy of
good will and inexplicable optimism that he alone possessed. Jim seemed to
believe, despite all indications to the contrary, that common sense would
prevail and man would overcome human-generated absurdities and phantoms.

I believe that all of us who in some way collaborated with Jim will always
measure our history by his work, his love for Ukraine, and his intellectual
integrity. Most importantly, we will refer to his deep conviction that
Ukraine is a nation of astonishing vitality and that one day it will get
over its post-genocidal legacy and become a conscious, noble, and orderly
European country-a country respected in the world, in particular because it
has self-respect.

After all, the Orange Revolution proved that this European Ukraine is
already nascent. Despite hardships, it is coming into being or, more
exactly, beginning to revive.

When I asked Jim to meet one of my Italian doctoral students, who was
researching Khvylovy, he said, “Oh, sure thing! A friend of Khvylovy is a
friend of mine!” – as if Khvylovy had not shot himself in 1933 but lived
somewhere near Jim, across the street, and from time to time they would get
together for a cup of coffee.

Now Jim is definitely drinking coffee with Khvylovy.

Some day we may be able to see Mace carved in stone on a Kyiv street.
Lively and passionate as he was, he would take it in good stride because he
does not need a monument. What was more important to him was a
monument that he himself worked on-a monument to millions of innocent
Ukrainians who were tortured to death.

Perhaps a monument to Mace is necessary above all for Ukraine. It would be
an important landmark indicating that the country is starting to awaken from
its post-genocidal state, which means that it is beginning to distinguish
destroyers from those whose love for Ukraine cost them their lives.

For our country this would be a small step but one that would bring it
closer to Europe. And this step would be taken thanks to the American,
James E. Mace.                                       -30-
————————————————————————————————
LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/177534/
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
23.            OUR STRANGE DEVOTION TO THE KREMLIN

OP-ED: By Anne Applebaum, Columnist
The Washington Post, Washington, D.C.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007; Page A13

“I have a difficult time explaining that speech. It doesn’t accord with
either the world as we see it nor with the character of our interactions
with the Russians.”
— Condoleezza Rice, Feb. 15

Ten days have passed since the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, made a
speech in Munich accusing the United States of plunging the planet into “an
abyss of permanent conflicts,” of deliberately encouraging the spread of
weapons of mass destruction, and (this from a country that regularly
blackmails and manipulates its neighbors) of having “overstepped its
national borders in every way.”

During that time, the American secretary of state — quoted above — has
not been alone in expressing surprise.

With varying degrees of shock, commentators and politicians have speculated
about the significance of Putin’s “new” language, wondering whether it means
Russia’s road to democracy has reached a fork, whether Putin was really
speaking to his domestic audience or whether the speech heralded some kind
of policy change.

In fact, the only thing continually surprising about President Putin is the
surprise itself. For we have long known a great deal about Putin, about his
biography — his time as a KGB officer in East Germany, his years in the
government of St. Petersburg — and about his personal philosophy, too.

We have long known, for example, that he is a great admirer of Yuri
Andropov, the former Soviet leader best remembered for his belief that
“order and discipline,” as defined by the KGB, would revive the weakened
Soviet Union of the 1980s.

Way back in 1999, Putin went so far as to dedicate a plaque to Andropov
in a corner of the Lubyanka, once the headquarters of the KGB as well as
its most notorious political prison.

Since then, Putin has not ceased emulating many of the methods of the
Andropov-era KGB, including its paranoid suspicion of America. He
continues to treat all Western organizations in Russia, whatever their
purpose, as “spies and diversionaries.”

He has used Russian television — all state-owned or state-influenced — to
portray the recent mysterious deaths of his critics, including one by
polonium poisoning, as part of a nefarious Western plot to discredit his
government.

In the wake of the 2004 Beslan school massacre, he hinted that American
support for Chechen terrorists was to blame. I myself have heard that claim
repeated in Moscow more than once.

Nevertheless, we were surprised, are surprised and apparently always will be
surprised by Putin, just as we were surprised by Yeltsin before him and
Gorbachev before that.

Despite Putin’s background and his well-known views, President Bush from
the beginning of his term treated Putin the way all American presidents
treat all Russian leaders: as America’s new best friends.

Bush, infamously, looked deep into Putin’s eyes, found him to be “
straightforward and trustworthy” and invited him to his ranch.

Not so many years earlier, when President Boris Yeltsin was up for
reelection, President Bill Clinton told his main Soviet adviser, Strobe
Talbott, that “I want this guy to win so bad it hurts.”

Never mind that inside Russia, Yeltsin was already associated with massive
theft and economic chaos, or that his regime was perceived internally as
corrupt and nepotistic: The American president went out of his way to visit
Moscow during the campaign, just to make sure Yeltsin won.

It is, if you think about it, an odd phenomenon. After all, American
presidents generally don’t campaign on behalf of their French counterparts
or look deep into the eyes of German chancellors in order to divine their
true natures. While at times very friendly, neither Clinton nor Bush seems
to have felt a mystical connection to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Yet Russian politicians still seem to make American politicians grow
starry-eyed and lose their bearings.

Perhaps it’s a secret longing for the glamour of those Cold War summits, for
the days when it seemed as if the personal relations between superpower
statesmen could ward off the destruction of the entire planet. Or perhaps
they put something in the vodka — sorry, mineral water — at those elegant
Kremlin lunches.

Either way, it’s time to kick the habit. True, it is perfectly possible that
whoever leads Russia after Putin steps down ( if Putin steps down) will
be a nicer, friendlier person. It is perfectly possible that we will find
areas of cooperation with him, just as we sometimes do with Putin.

But however friendly and cooperative, however much a “democrat” he
appears to be, I hope we’ll avoid the instant professions of eternal
friendship. At the very least, we’ll avoid being unpleasantly surprised,
yet again, if things turn out otherwise.                    -30-
—————————————————————————————–
Anne Applebaum: applebaumanne@yahoo.com
—————————————————————————————–
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/19/AR2007021901172.html

——————————————————————————————————————-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
24.      JAMES SHERR: WE DO NOT HAVE A NEW COLD WAR.
                      WHAT WE HAVE ARE BAD RELATIONS

INTERVIEW: With James Sherr, Senior Researcher
Center of Conflict Studies in Great Britain
Mirror-Weekly, International Social Political Weekly
Kyiv, Ukraine, 6 (635) Saturday, 17-23 February 2007

We asked James Sherr, a senior researcher at the Center of Conflict Studies
in Great Britain, to comment on the Munich developments.

He emphasized, as usual, that his views may not necessarily coincide with
the official stance of the British government and Defense Department

[Question] The Munich conference has already been referred to by many

as a place where a new cold war was kicked off.

What do you think is behind the new tense situation in relations between the
USA and Russia: forthcoming presidential elections in the two countries,
Russia’s claim, supported by rich oil and gas reserves, for a role as a new
superpower, or simply inept policy of the current US administration?

[James Sherr] We need to revise the paradigm. We do not have a new cold war.
What we have are bad relations. The Cold War was something very specific,
and it is not coming back.

What is notable about Putin’s Munich speech? In a word, mentality. Putin
connected factors in US and Western policy that Western policy makers simply
do not connect. For good or ill, democracy now plays a prominent rhetorical
role in the Iraq conflict.

So when someone in Washington speaks about democracy in Russia he is
supposedly thinking about conflict. And any prudent or ill-judged comment
(e.g. Secretary of Defense Gates) about ‘log-term uncertainties’ regarding
Russia supposedly means that the US now regards Russia as part of the ‘axis
of evil’.

Because some newer members of NATO have anxieties about Russia, this
supposedly means that NATO enlargement is anti-Russian and that missile
defence systems in Poland and the Czech Republic are designed (in General
Ivashov’s words) to ‘corner’ Russia.

No one in the Russian national security establishment has publicly stated
the obvious: that these interceptors have no offensive use, that they cannot
intercept Russian ICBMs from those locations and the US Global Integrated
Missile Defence programme was established at a time when US-Russia relations
were extremely good.

The fact is that very few Russians (or for that matter Ukrainians)
understand just how obsessed the United States is about the longer term
missile threat from Iran (and to a lesser extent, North Korea). And so, when
Americans are not thinking about Russia or Ukraine, it is assumed that they
are.

Were there more calculated motives behind Putin’s speech? I think so.

[1] First, on the eve of an extremely high profile visit to the Middle East,
it was designed to mobilise those who could be impressed.
[2] Second, at a time when the EU is considering a much more robust

approach to energy security, it is designed to warn that Russia is already
aggrieved and that Brussels should tread carefully.
[3] Third, it tells the Russian public that when Putin picks his successor,
he will know what he is doing. And finally, I fear, it means that national
security will be a big theme in the succession process.

[Question] Both the US and Russia have increased their defense budgets
considerably. Ukraine looks unconcerned in this respect. What does Ukraine
risk today by not rejuvenating is weapons arsenals and military equipment
(no matter if it eventually enters NATO or not)?

[James Sherr] I hope that this is not the question posed in Ukrainian
defence circles!

[1] First, only in the worst, most far-fetched case would the US or Russia
pose a classical military threat to Ukraine.

Russia has too many other supposedly ‘non-provocative’ means it can employ
to threaten Ukraine. Military pressure on Ukraine is the only thing that
will bring a Cold War back to Europe!

[2] Second, Ukraine simply cannot afford to defend itself against the very
worst case.

[3] Third, by trying to do so, Ukraine will diminish its ability to defend
itself against what really threatens it: weak institutions, uncoordinated
and poorly financed defence and security structures – all of them vulnerable
to penetration by shadow structures and by those who seek to harm Ukraine.

[Question] Do you expect a new NATO cleavage because of rising tensions in
relations between the US and Russia?

[James Sherr] No, I think it is having the opposite effect. Even many
leading centre-left newspapers in EU countries have criticised Putin’s
speech. As the Czech Republic’s Foreign Minister stated, we ‘should thank
Putin’. He ‘clearly and convincingly argued why NATO should be enlarged’.

[Question] What kind of effect may increasing tensions in relations between
Moscow and Washing have on Ukraine?

[James Sherr] Not well, of course. It will sharpen all the internal
cleavages and misunderstandings. And to jump back to your earlier question,
it will sharpen Ukraine’s security dilemma.

Ukraine needs real partners and, in my view, that means steadily closer
integration with NATO. But unless a convincing proportion of Ukraine’s elite
and society agree, further steps in that direction will be difficult.

[Question] What, in your view, was Washington thinking about when making
hostages to its relations with Moscow the countries which were seeking in
NATO a greater degree of security for each of their citizens?

[James Sherr] To reiterate, no one in Washington was thinking about Moscow
when they proposed the basing of missile defence interceptors to the Polish
and Czech governments. But perhaps they should have.

Perhaps they also should have thought more about the political sensitiveness
of those countries and their neighbors.

If I may repeat something I said in early 2002, the focus on ‘terror’ and
‘rogue states’ is more likely to narrow vision than broaden it and, like cataracts
in the eye, obscure sight of other interests that Americans dare not lose
sight of.

————————————————————————————————–
http://www.mirror-weekly.com/ie/show/635/55911/
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
25.                  THE REWARDS OF A LARGER NATO

COMMENTARY: By Greg Craig and Ronald D. Asmus
The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Mon, Feb 19, 2007; Page A19

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bellicose speech at the Munich security
conference on Feb. 10 has caused some to revive their arguments against
enlarging NATO. The policy was wrongheaded because it produced the
nationalist policies that emanate from Moscow today, they say.

NATO expansion was a bad idea, they argue, because it enraged the Russians
and prompted them to elect a former KGB officer and cold warrior as
president. The only thing we got out of NATO enlargement, they say, was the
Czech navy.

The critics were wrong when they opposed adding nations to the alliance in
the 1990s, and they are still wrong. In fact, the more time that passes, the
better the arguments in favor of enlargement look. There were basically
three reasons for expanding NATO, and each has been proved right.

[1] First, NATO enlargement was meant to provide a security shield behind
which the countries of Central and Eastern Europe could bury their
historical conflicts and peacefully integrate into the West.

By taking the lead on enlargement, NATO helped make expansion of the
European Union possible as well. The result is that Europe is more
democratic, peaceful and secure than ever.

All of us — Europeans, Americans and Russians — benefit. The threats
Russia faces today are not in the West but in the South and to the East.
Indeed, Moscow has more stability and less uncertainty on its Western
borders than at any time since Napoleon.

[2] Second, we enlarged NATO as a hedge against a Russia that, down the
road, might once again emerge as a regional bully or threat. That is exactly
what Moscow is in danger of becoming. But the good news for Central Europe
is that it is secure now that it is firmly anchored in NATO and the European
Union.

Just imagine what Central Europe would look like today if we had not
enlarged the alliance: Central and Eastern Europe leaders would spend more
time worrying about how to stand up to Russian pressure than building
democratic institutions and managing robust, free-market economies.

Relations with Poland or the Baltic states would look something like the
troubled relations Moscow has today with Ukraine and Georgia. We would
again have instability in the heart of Europe when we could least afford it.

[3] The third reason to enlarge NATO was broader and more strategic. At the
time, President Bill Clinton spoke of his desire to help Europe resolve its
continental conflicts and of his hope that this would encourage Europeans to
raise their geopolitical sights, assume more global responsibility and
become partners with the United States in addressing new threats beyond
Europe. Does anyone doubt the need for precisely that after Sept. 11, 2001?

Would NATO be in Afghanistan today or be talking about a more global mission
if we had not helped build a stable post-Cold War security system in Europe
in the 1990s?

If Europe were not secure today, it would be much harder to persuade our
allies to engage with us in places such as Afghanistan or the Middle East.

To say that NATO expansion triggered Putin’s election as president is to
rewrite history. When it comes to Vladimir Putin’s career, we can thank
Boris Yeltsin. He picked Putin as his successor to protect his own
interests, not for reasons that had anything to do with NATO expansion.

Let’s stop pretending that Russia’s troubling emergence as an illiberal,
increasingly authoritarian state driven by a form of Eurasian
petro-nationalism is the result of Western policy. It is because of
developments inside Russia over which the West has little control.

To say that the West got nothing out of NATO expansion is to miss the forest
for the trees. While many of NATO’s new members are still poorer than
Western European nations, their contribution to the alliance on a per capita
basis is higher than that of most West European allies.

The nations of Central and Eastern Europe are democratic, stable and
prosperous. They made this progress precisely because they were able to
leave the Soviet orbit and become part of Europe.

That dream of joining NATO and rejoining Europe galvanized their populations
and caused them to unite in support of tough reforms that were achieved only
because they were the price of joining NATO. And today they have the
confidence as well as the wherewithal to deal with the rise of a nationalist
Russia.

In truth, with NATO’s expansion we got much more than the Czech navy.
We got a Europe that is whole and free. And we have an alliance that is
better able to protect us from the threats of the future precisely because
it as buried so many ghosts from the past.

That’s a pretty good deal.                              -30-
———————————————————————————————–
The writers served in the State Department during the Clinton
administration. Greg Craig was director of the Office of Policy Planning,
and Ronald D. Asmus was deputy assistant secretary for European affairs.
———————————————————————————————–
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/18/AR2007021800902.html
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
26.                    MUNICH 2007 CHANCE FOR UKRAINE

COMMENTARY: By Kostyantyn Hryshchenko, Advisor to
Ukrainian Prime Minister Yanukovych, Former Foreign Minister,
Former Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States
Mirror-Weekly, International Social Political Weekly
Kyiv, Ukraine, 6 (635) Saturday, 17-23 February 2007

Munich, where in 1938 the great powers met to split up among themselves the
territory of Czechoslovakia, once epitomized disregard for the sovereignty
and interests of minor states, heeding instead the global centers of power.

The scale of human losses such disrespect incurred is well known. This may
be why Munich was selected as the venue for a conference on security policy,
which in today’s world plays a different role than it did in the past.

Munich is the venue for annual conferences on new trends in international
relations. This is a forum that enables big, medium and small countries to
work together in the joint search for responses to global challenges.

I have been a frequent guest in this forum, which is sometimes referred to
as a political Davos. Impressions from discussions here have been invariably
profound and vivid, spawning fresh ideas and new political constructs.

But this most recent forum, the 43rd, exceeded even the greatest
expectations of its annual participants.

High-profile statements made by well-regarded political figures have created
so many reverberations and comments throughout the world that they simply
must not pass unnoticed in the context of the current political discussion
in Ukraine. The significance of this year’s forum was evidenced by the
roster of its participants.

These included the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, the
Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, the NATO Secretary General
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the EU foreign and security affairs chief Javier
Solana, the US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, US senators J. MacCain

and J. Liebermann, as well as foreign ministers and defense ministers from
numerous other countries.

Other prominent participants included Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko,
who reiterated Kyiv’s aim to work intensively on building up a new Europe in
cooperation with other nations.

It is clear even today that the Munich conference of 2007 marked the
beginning of not only critical re-evaluation of the modern international
relations system, but also began a broad public discussion on the real
principles on which the current global order rests.

Topics of this kind have been previously addressed mostly by members of the
expert community, and – no matter how highly respected these experts might
have been – were mostly taken as a private position.

This time along Munich was the venue for a discussion where traditional
stereotypes and reticences, more revealing than speeches, gave place,
unexpectedly to straightforwardness, and, most importantly, to an unmasking
of the positions and strivings of those claiming global leadership.

On the one hand, the Munich remarks by Russian President Vladimir Putin have
generated numerous reverberations throughout the world. The Russian leader,
in an emphatic speech, outlined the key division of the modern world –
between opponents and proponents of a unipolar world.

Putin stated, “All the happenings in the modern world today are a direct
consequence of attempts being made to impose a concept of a unipolar
world. This would be a world of a single master, a single sovereign. Such a
situation adversely affects not only those beyond that system but the
sovereign itself, and destroys it from within.

The United States has overstepped its national boundaries in all areas –
political, economic and humanitarian — where it has been imposing something
on other states. Who can feel very good about it?”

The world is much more complex today than 20 or 30 years ago, and in this
world there are those who do not understand any arguments other than those
backed by superior force. This is the reality.

There can be no doubt that the world needs an ‘effective muscular
transatlantic alliance,’ said the US Minister of Defense Robert Gates in
response to remarks made by the Russian leader.

I think it would be worthwhile to compare these statements with Winston
Churchill’s Fulton speech in March 1946.

I would not compare the words of these politicians in terms of lesser or
greater strength. What seems most important to me is that speakers in the
Munich forum, remarkably in one speech by a prominent British politician,
drew attention to the fact that the end of the Cold War, like the end of WW
II, has not made the world as stable and predictable as people had expected.

Meanwhile, a very considerable, if not the best part of Ukraine’s political
elite, no matter what political camps they may belong to, still view the
county’s international policy priorities based on the world picture as it
was in the early and mid-1990s.

It was the hope of many at the time that the West’s sweeping victory in the
Cold War would remove all obstacles in the way that were preventing the
spread of liberal-democratic principles, and encourage newly independent
states to build up their countries based on these principles.

At that time, European integration processes were advancing very rapidly,
and hope even sprang within Ukraine that it would not be long before it
could join that integration process together with other fellow states from
the former socialist camp, which a united Europe had taken in whole, but
mostly on credit.

NATO, having lost its worst enemy, relegated its chief mission as a
military-political alliance to the background, and has been trying since
then to find a new role in advancing democracy and stability, and to
identify new mission areas such as combating terrorism, ecological threats,
crime and drug smuggling. But it turns out that the world has not been
changing in the way we would have liked.

In other words, relying on old perceptions in shaping foreign policy
strategies today would be not only wrong but dangerous as well. It is high
time for the Ukrainian political elite to take a practical view of the world
which surrounds us and about which they know so little.

The Munich conference is to kick off this complicated but much-needed
process of Ukraine’s revaluation of its influential place and role in
resolving global challenges.

                       INCIPIENT THAWING OF THE POLES
We need to realize that the outlines of the new international system which
are being built upon the remnants of the Yalta-Potsdam model are still
vague and unstable.

Each potentially influential state (Ukraine is among the world’s thirty
countries with the greatest potential of international influence) still has
a chance to take part in shaping the new rules of the game in our
international system. And no obsolete paradigms or stereotypes should
be an obstacle in this field of maneuvering.

                UNIPOLAR WORLD HAS NOT BEEN REALIZED
The United States has been short of either resources or resolve to maintain
stability and international order on its own.

The point is not in its failed attempts to set up stable democratic regimes
in Iraq and Afghanistan by means of military force, but rather in the fact
that no single country, no matter how strong it may be financially or
militarily, has been able to extinguish crises in Iraq, Afghanistan or
elsewhere.

On account of this, the Americans are being simultaneously criticized for
being too much involved in the affairs of other states and entire regions on
the one hand, and for being involved insufficiently in the effort to put an
end to violence and impoverishment on the other.

In the corridors of the Munich forum, an example was cited of America’s
diminishing dominance in the world.

Before our eyes the President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez, who was until
recently perceived as nothing more than a lone eccentric, managed to pull
into an anti-US bloc such Latin American countries as Venezuela, Bolivia,
Ecuador, Nicaragua and Cuba.

Not far from its own borders the USA failed to prevent a union of
anti-American regimes, which have successfully exploited popular
disappointment with Washington-sponsored neo-liberal reforms.

The US still remains the world’s greatest military power, backed up by
ever-increasing defense spending, but America is not the only wealthy
country anymore.

Using a massive expansion of markets in Africa and Latin America, China
is steadily ousting Washington from its role as the main partner of the
developing world.

The Chinese, whose leaders are visiting the Third World countries as
pragmatic potential partners, offer more credits and more investment, while
being less demanding politically and economically than the Americans or
Europeans.

Meanwhile, in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf region, the USA is no
longer perceived as the only key player determining the situation in that
part of the world.

This is demonstrated by the first-ever visit of a Russian President to Saudi
Arabia, by Iran’s increasing role in Iraq, and also by Washington’s
impotence to effectively help in resolving the Palestinian crisis. Stories
of the USA losing its monopoly of influence on various regions of the
world are legion.

I would only add for that matter that the concept of a unipolar world is
meeting an increasing opposition in other great nations such as China,
India, Brazil and Russia – an opposition which is steadily developing into
solidarity.

Washington is looking at this situation as a reality, but the time is not
yet ripe for giving up altogether this philosophy of a unipolar world.

Instead, the US is placing a premium on bringing its allies in Europe and
the Asian-Pacific region into its fold.

                     NATO’S ROLE IN THE MODERN WORLD
Speaking to the Munich forum, the US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
emphasized that NATO’s chief mission remains unchanged in its core.

“An alliance consisting of the world’s most prosperous industrialized
nations, with over 2 million people in uniform — not even counting the
American military — should be able to generate the manpower and materiel
needed to get the job done in Afghanistan, a mission in which there is
virtually no dispute over its justness, necessity, or international
legitimacy,” Gates said.

NATO is not a paper membership or a social club or a talk shop. It is a
military alliance, one with very serious real-world obligations.

The boundary lies now not between ‘old’ and ‘new’ Europe but between those
who do all they can to fulfill their collective commitments and those who do
not, Gates continued to say.

He expressed the hope that all of NATO’s 26 member states, not six as is the
case now, “will meet the benchmark of spending 2 percent of gross domestic
product on defense, a commitment agreed to by each member of the alliance”.

We need to know and understand this-all of it. NATO must not be viewed
simply as a stopover on the way to EU membership or as a club of stable
democracies providing reliable security guarantees.

Membership in that organization will mean for Ukraine, among other things,
preparedness to display transatlantic solidarity in complex situations and
to undertake serious commitments: military and financial.

Until these aspects of the issue are assessed profoundly and from all
angles, any responsible talk of Euroatlantic integration would be premature.
And this work should start by assessing Ukraine’s ability to spend two
percent of its gross domestic product on defense.

But whatever a final decision on our membership in NATO might be, Ukraine
cannot hope for playing any visible role in the modern world without
spending sufficient sums on its own military.

                                    EUROPEAN CHALLENGE
To many participants in the Munich conference, a key message came from
the German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Even though during the Cold War he agreed with the US Secretary of Defense
on the need for NATO enlargement, this time along Steinmeier stated that
single-handed effort by the alliance is not enough to cope with global
issues such as climate change, overpopulation and lack of natural resources,
which all are posing an increasing threat to the world.

Instead, he called on the US and EU to cooperate as equal partners beyond
their work together in NATO.

Here we see the Europeans’ efforts to get out from under US guardianship
and to play a more weighty role in resolving the problems which, sadly, much
more concern ‘old’ Europe than the United States.

Another sensation of the Munich conference – which was much spoken of in
unofficial conversations there – was Germany’s claim for a more prominent
role in global policy.

Berlin does not make a secret of its resolve to enter the club of countries
developing the rules of play for the new international system, and this
trend should be taken into account by those accustomed to thinking of US
and EU positions as just one and the same.
                              NEW COLD WAR CHALLENGE
At the Munich conference, there was much talk, notably by European
politicians, of Russia’s new role in maintaining international security.

In particular, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated, “Even today
Russia in many instances bears shared responsibility with us”.

“This has to do with its contribution to resolving the Middle East conflict,
and, considering the Iran situation, we see that none of the resolutions [on
that country] would become effective without Russia’s participation. As for
the Balkans, by acting jointly with Russia, we could get many things started
and accomplish much”, said Merkel.

The trouble is that Kyiv, as well as a good number of other capitals
worldwide, was late in adequately assessing Russia’s renewed influence in
that region and on the world as a whole.

Most policy makers in Ukraine did not notice Russia developing into a
wealthy enough state, strong militarily and politically, whose elite is
increasingly becoming self-confident and assertive, and dares to behave
defiantly, if not aggressively, in the international arena. And we still
have to learn how to play ball with such a neighbor.

And, most importantly, the European Union, which itself is seeking an
optimal pattern for dialogue with Moscow, needing its support on many
issues, is not going to help us in that effort.

The point is not only in Ukraine’s dependence on Moscow for natural gas.
What Europe is awaiting from Kyiv is reliability and predictability in its
relations with Russia.

Paris, Berlin and Brussels all stand ready to give a helping hand to Ukraine
in countering pressure from Russia. But they are not going to get involved
in a conflict if it is provoked by Ukraine’s inconsistency and reluctance to
honor its obligations.

This could be clearly felt in Munich, where European politicians decided not
to engage in yet another discussion on the prospects of a Russian-Ukrainian
partnership in the gas industry, especially since the EU, as in previous
cases, could not sort out who had been right and who wrong in the most
recent gas dispute, because of Ukrainian officials’ propensity to secret
negotiations with Moscow.

On the other hand, there are too many politicians in the West and Russia
alike who are still thinking in the Cold War-era terms and keeping their
guns ready.

A number of strongly-worded statements by the Russian President and
high-ranking American officials has given rise to talk about a new global
rivalry between Moscow and Washington.

And we have to realize that in this situation much more depends on Ukraine
than many used to think, because our country could be a reliable bridge
between the West and Russia and a battlefield for those two alike.

The choice here depends to a considerable degree on the Ukrainian elite,
since it is owing precisely to a lack of agreement between opposing camps
there, along with their inability to compromise, that there is competition
between Moscow and Washington over Ukraine’s political market.

A graphic illustration is last year’s parliamentary coalition process and
the following scramble for influence on the ruling majority and the
government.

Ukraine’s sovereignty and the scope of the rivalry between international
powers depend on Kyiv’s stance here, and on the ability of the country’s
political elite to refrain from accepting outside support when it comes
resolving internal tensions.
                          CONSOLIDATION REQUIREMENT
The Munich conference has proven that the narrow perception of security
as dealing simply with low-level threats is becoming history now.

It is becoming more clear that security implies not a state as such but
rather a process and movement.

Security is a situation where the threat level is constantly low. So,
neglecting an aspect of security such as competitive capabilities of states
in the fight for survival may bring about great problems.

The Soviet Union used to spend huge sums of money on getting itself
prepared for combating internal and external enemies, but eventually it
broke apart because of an acute shortcoming in its own system.

After all, let us accept that all the major threats to Ukraine’s national
security are coming from the inside, making the country more vulnerable
to external challenges.

If the Ukrainian political elite does not consolidate, any kind of
international policy strategy–even one that is well-considered and takes
into account all the realities of modern international relations–will be
doomed to failure.

Today, our state has a unique chance of not only defending its right to an
independent foreign policy but also of joining those who are shaping the
new architecture of international relations in the region, as well as in the
global situation.

The only thing necessary for this is that decision-makers in Ukraine act as
one, using a unified platform, and work together in the search for resources
needed in responding to challenges within Ukraine’s political system, rather
than balancing itself between global centers of force.

Ukraine can afford neither an internal cold war nor an internal bipolarity.
———————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.mirror-weekly.com/ie/show/635/55910/
———————————————————————————————–
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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