AUR#821 Feb 28 Upgrading Steel Plants; Growing IT Capacity; Naftohaz; VOA Cuts; Ukraine Needs Everyday Democracy; Yulia Tymoshenko In Washington

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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       

 
  UKRAINE NEEDS EVERYDAY DEMOCRACY
                                                 [Article Ten]
                        
ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 821
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor, SigmaBleyzer
WASHINGTON, D.C., WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 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.   UKRAINE TO LAUNCH COSTLY UPGRADE OF STEEL PLANTS
By Roman Olearchyk in Kiev, Financial Times
London, UK, Tuesday, February 27 2007

2 UKRAINE’S INTERPIPE SIGNS CONTRACT WITH ITALIAN CO
        TO BUILD MODERN ELECTRIC STEEL MAKING FACILITY
Investment in excess of $610m for state of the art facility in Dnepropetrovsk
Business Wire, New York, New York, Tue, Feb 27, 2007

3.    TWO UKRAINIAN AIRLINES FORM STRATEGIC ALLIANCE 
UNIAN news agency, Kiev, in Ukrainian, 27 Feb 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tue, Feb 27, 2007

4UKRAINE: GROWING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CAPACITY
Oxford Business Group, UK, Monday, 26 February 2007

 

5.               “WHY DID THE HEAD OF NAFTOHAZ QUIT?”
         Ukrainian gas chief quits over Yanukovych government’s policies
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Ivan Pysarenko
Ukrayinska Pravda online in Ukrainian, Friday, February 23, 2007
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007
 
6.            PLANNED CUTS IN LANGUAGE SERVICES MAR
              VOICE OF AMERICA’S (VOA) 65TH ANNIVERSARY
ANALYSIS: By Peter Feuilherade of BBC Monitoring
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007

7.      UKRAINIAN LEADERS GIVE MIXED VIEWS ABOUT U.S.
                      MISSILE DEFENSE PLANS IN EUROPE 
AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007

8. THE UNITED STATES’ “BROAD PROPAGANDA” CONCERNING
  “THE NUCLEAR THREAT AND BALLISTIC MISSILES FROM IRAN”
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Ukraine
The Day Weekly Digest #6, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb 20, 2007

9.         CONCORDE CAPITAL RELEASES FIRST CORPORATE
          GOVERNANCE RATINGS FOR UKRAINIAN COMPANIES
BUSINESS WIRE: Yahoo, Tuesday, February 27, 2007

10.               UKRAINE NEEDS EVERYDAY DEMOCRACY
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By VOLODYMYR NIKITIN
Director, International Center for Policy Studies (ICPS)
Interview in the “Tribune” section of Biznes
ICPS Newsletter #354, Kyiv, Ukraine, February 26, 2007

11.             YULIA TYMOSHENKO COMING TO AMERICA

Inform Newsletter, Issue 31, BYuT international publication
Kyiv, Ukraine Tuesday,, 27 February 2007

12.                            ORANGE FORCES UNITE
Inform Newsletter, Issue 31, BYuT international publication

Kyiv, Ukraine Tuesday,, 27 February 2007

13.             A NOT SO SUBTLE CHANGE IN GAS POLICY

Inform Newsletter, Issue 31, BYuT international publication
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 27 February 2007
 
14GO IT BLIND: PARLIAMENTARIANS PLAYING “WAR GAMES”
              OBLIVIOUS TO THEIR FELLOW CITIZENS’S NEEDS
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Alexei MUSTAFIN
Mirror-Weekly, Dzerkalo Tyzhnya, Zerkalo Nedeli, No. 7 (636)
International Social Political Weekly
Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, February 24 – March 2, 2007

15.                             UNNATURAL SELECTION

   Volodymyr Ogryzko and Viktor Korol had no chance to be approved
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: Shura CEAnko & Tatiana Brusselskaya
Mirror-Weekly, Dzerkalo Tyzhnya, Zerkalo Nedeli, No. 7 (636)
International Social Political Weekly
Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, February 24 – March 2, 2007

16.      UKRAINE’S COMMUNISTS ASSAIL U.S. AMBASSADOR
                      TAYLOR FOR CRITICISM OF JUDICIARY
Interfax, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, February 26, 2007

17. RUSSIAN UNION OF FORMER CHILD PRISONERS FROM NAZI
     CONCENTRATION CAMPS ACCUSE UKRAINIAN POLITICIANS
    OF REWRITING HISTORY ABOUT GENOCIDE DURING FAMINE
Interfax Ukraine News, Moscow, Russia, Tue, February 20, 2007

18.          HIGHEST U.N. COURT RULES SERBIA FAILED TO
                            PREVENT GENOCIDE IN BOSNIA 
Associated Press, The Hague, Netherlands, Monday, Feb 26, 2007

19.     INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE RULES SERBIAN

                       NATION DID NOT COMMIT GENOCIDE
Reuters, The Hague, Monday, February 26, 2007

20.                           THE GENOCIDE CONVENTION                                          

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) News
Toronto, Canada, September 18, 2006
 
21UKRAINIAN MUSEUM IN NEW YORK SAYS ‘RUSSIAN’ ARTISTS
      MALEVICH, ARCHIPENKO, & RODCHENKO WERE UKRAINIAN
By Carolyn Weaver, Voice Of America (VOA)
New York City, NY, Monday, 19 February 2007
 
22.      UKRAINE AND GERMANY TO COMPILE WORLD WAR II
                     SOVIET AND GERMAN CAPTIVES DATABASE
UKRINFORM, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, February 25, 2007
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1
 UKRAINE TO LAUNCH COSTLY UPGRADE OF STEEL PLANTS

By Roman Olearchyk in Kiev, Financial Times
London, UK, Tuesday, February 27 2007

Ukraine’s steel barons are pushing ahead with costly upgrades aimed at
reducing their dependence on increasingly expensive natural gas imports

from Russia and central Asia.

Interpipe, one of Ukraine’s largest industrial holding companies, which is
controlled by the Ukrainian billionaire Viktor Pinchuk, yesterday unveiled
plans to pump $610m (EUR470m, £310m) into the construction of an
energy-efficient steel mill. Italy’s Danieli, a leading supplier of
equipment and technology, has been hired to build the mill.

When completed in 2009, the factory will produce 1.3m tonnes of steel for
Interpipe’s steel pipe and railway wheel factories. Ukraine’s Soviet-built
mills rely heavily on gas furnace technology; the new mill will use
less-expensive electric arc furnace technology.

The country’s vast steel and chemical industries are highly dependent on
natural gas imports and have laboured to introduce energy efficiency
upgrades. Fuel prices nearly doubled to $95 per 1,000 cubic metres in
January 2006 and increased this year to $130.

Mr Pinchuk, the son-in-law of Leonid Kuchma, Ukraine’s former president,

is one of several ambitious Ukrainian billionaires planning to float shares in
a diversified portfolio of companies within the next few years.

The ageing steel factories are among their most valuable assets, but
modernisation is needed to bolster competitiveness.

“The future of Ukraine does not only entail modernisation of factories built
50-100 years ago. If we want to keep up with developed industrial countries,
we need to establish production facilities based on modern technologies,”

Mr Pinchuk said.

His mill may lay claim to being the single largest greenfield investment in
Ukraine. It could also be the first steel factory erected since Soviet days
in a country ranked as one of the largest steel-producing nations, although
other mills are under development.

Kostyantin Zhevago, a Ukrainian business mogul and owner of a diversified
business empire, plans to invest more than $1.5bn in two state-of-the-art
steel mills. One will be in Ukraine while a rolling mill designed to process
slabs is planned for Hungary.

Unlike their Russian peers, Ukraine’s industrial giants have not yet floated
stock on leading securities markets. But they have stepped up efforts to
fund modernisation and energy efficiency, landing large loans with big
banks.

Industrial Union of Donbass, also known as ISD Group, has in recent years
raised more than $850m from European banks for energy efficiency upgrades.

ISD, which owns a coke factory and two metallurgical plants in Ukraine,
acquired Hungary’s Dunaferr and Poland’s Huta Czestochowa mills in recent
years. It is holding merger talks with Russia’s ore conglomerate Gazmetall.
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2. UKRAINE’S INTERPIPE SIGNS CONTRACT WITH ITALIAN CO
       TO BUILD MODERN ELECTRIC STEEL MAKING FACILITY
Investment in excess of $610m for state of the art facility in Dnepropetrovsk

Business Wire, New York, New York, Tue, Feb 27, 2007

KYIV – Leading steel company INTERPIPE, signed a major new contract

yesterday with Italian company Danieli to build a state of the art electric
steel making facility. When completed, it will be the largest facility of its
kind in the Ukraine and Western Europe.

The contract was signed today in Kiev at a ceremony attended by
INTERPIPE’s founder, Viktor Pinchuk, and senior management from both
participating companies.

The new facility represents an investment in excess of $610 million and will
be capable of producing 1.32 million tons of round billets and blooms per
annum, providing INTERPIPE’s manufacturing mills with high quality steel

for the company’s pipes and wheels.

The site of the new mill is within the grounds of the company’s largest
existing mill in Dnepropetrovsk, the Niznedneprovsky Tube Rolling Plant
(NTRP). Construction will start in 3-5 months.

Commenting on the project, Alexandr Kirichko, Managing Director at

INTERPIPE said: “This electric steel making facility will provide the
company with its own resource base, as well as enhance quality control
at each stage of the production chain.

This cutting-edge facility will allow considerable reductions in gas
consumption (8 times less than the current rate) and overall emissions (2.5
times less). This project will also create 500 new jobs for the local
community. Most importantly, however, we will be in a position to provide
our customers around the world with better products more efficiently.”

From Danieli, Gianpetro Benedetti, Chairman and CEO said:
“We at Danieli, have extensive experience building these ‘mini mills’ for
mining and smelting complexes, and are delighted to be awarded this
prestigious contract by INTERPIPE.

Danieli will be managing the construction as a turnkey project, including
all the technological production, the auxiliary plants and services, along
with the all of the infrastructure, civil works and support buildings. This
facility will be the first of its kind in the Ukraine, which is very
exciting for both Danieli and INTERPIPE.”

Viktor Pinchuk, Founder of Interpipe also added: “The future of

Ukrainian industry is not just about modernizing existing mills and
factories – many of which were built over 50 to 100 years ago – we also
need to invest in new, high technology manufacturing facilities.

Through working with partners like Danieli on projects such as this, I am
very pleased to see that we are making a significant step forward in the
building of a modern industrial infrastructure for Ukraine in the 21st
century.”
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Background and technical information on the new facility:
The new Meltshop will feature all the latest Danieli technologies and
high-tech equipment available in steelmaking and casting: 160-ton twin
shell, inert roof-type LF and a double-tank VD equipped with a 4 stages
400kg/h steam ejector vacuum pump.

Split-shell FastArc AC EAF will operate based on 100% scrap and will be
equipped with the latest technology in chemical energy injection and HIREG
electrode digital regulation system, for enhanced furnace operation and for
energy consumption optimisation.

One four-strand FastCast bloom caster and one five-strand billet caster will
be equipped with the latest generation of tundish and mould design,
hydraulic oscillators and all means to enable high-speed casting of o 150mm
to o 470mm quality round billets and blooms.

The meltshop will include all auxiliary plants and equipment, including
material handling system, fume dedusting plant and cranes. Danieli
Automation will supply all electrical systems and advanced, fully integrated
automation system for the entire plant, including Level 3 for Planning,
Production Progress Control and Quality Management, Scheduling, Data
Warehouse and Stokyard Management.
Background information on INTERPIPE —–
INTERPIPE is a global producer of steel pipes and wheels, one of the fastest
growing producers in Eastern and Central Europe. With sales in excess of
$1.5bn, INTERPIPE produces 4.3 per cent of the world’s seamless pipes and
12.8 per cent of railway wheels.

The company employs 16,000 people at four high quality production mills (the
four largest tubular mills in Ukraine: INTERPIPE NTRP, INTERPIPE NIKO

 TUBE, INTERPIPE NTK, INTERPIPE NMPP), which between them produce
more than 1.4 million tons of steel products annually. INTERPIPE has a rapidly
growing global business in 76 countries around the world.
Background information on Danieli —–
DANIELI designs, manufactures and installs competitive plants and equipment
for the steel and industry worldwide. The annual turnover of the company is
EUR 2bn., of which over 98% is export related business. The company
employs over 5,000 people operating in 18 product lines.

The main products of the company are: Minimills – Integrated steelmaking
plants – Direct Reduction Plants – Electric steel meltshops – Continuous
casting plants and rolling mills for long and flat products – Strip
processing lines – Tube processing plants – Forging shops – Conditioning
lines – Cold drawing lines – Extrusion plants – Automation and process
control systems – Technical assistance and spare parts.

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3.   TWO UKRAINIAN AIRLINES FORM STRATEGIC ALLIANCE 

UNIAN news agency, Kiev, in Ukrainian, 27 Feb 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tue, Feb 27, 2007

Kiev, 27 February: Aerosvit and Donbasaero, Ukraine’s first and third
largest airlines respectively, have announced the formation of a strategic
alliance called the Ukrainian Aviation Group.

The director-general of Aerosvit, Aron Mayberh, and Donbasaero’s
director-general, Oleksandr Hrechko, said this at a news conference today.
[Pasage omitted: objectives detailed]

The first stage of such cooperation is scheduled for 10 years until 28
January 2017, they said.

The airlines are planning to form a joint network of routes, unite their
fleets and have a joint schedule of flights to achieve the biggest possible
synergy from the alliance. [Passage omitted: technical details]

By the summer navigation season (25 March), the united fleet of the alliance
will have 28 aircraft, including 16 Boeing and Airbus aircraft: three
long-range Boeing-767s, 11 middle-range Boeing-737s and two A-320

aircraft. The alliance also has nine Yak-42s and three An-24s. [Passage
omitted: background]                               -30-
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4. UKRAINE: GROWING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CAPACITY

Oxford Business Group, UK, Monday, 26 February 2007

Ukraine’s information technology sector frequently tends to fly under the
radar of international investors. However, the sector has experienced
substantial growth for the last three years. Long-term sustainability of
this growth will require significant changes in the country’s business and
policy landscape.

According to Ukraine’s state statistics committee, the country’s software
development market alone grew from about $90m in 2001 to $260m in 2005.

Still, the IT market in Ukraine is not yet saturated and there is plenty of
room for further growth. Oleg Bodnor, director for Cisco Systems Ukraine,
told OBG that demand for IT products is bigger than what’s on offer. There
are several factors for this.

[1] For one, many companies are coming under new, ambitious ownership
looking to increase their company’s profile through the implementation of
state-of-the-art IT. [2] Additionally, a growth in foreign investment has
raised the standards for everyone in the market.

Banks are the most IT-hungry sector, though an increasingly competitive
mobile telecommunications industry has left providers searching for the next
competitive IT advantage.

As many companies are preparing to be sold or to attract foreign investment,
upgrading their IT systems is seen as a fast way to add to their value.

However, some companies implement IT systems for purely cosmetic reasons,
without training their staff how to use them. The marketing director of a
local IT firm told OBG that this is not surprising, as it will always be
true that some are more oriented towards foreign investment and some are
more serious about increasing the skills of their staff.

While Ukraine has many qualified software developers and researchers, the
market remains quite fragmented for software development, with no critical
mass of companies involved in software research and design.

It is also widely acknowledged that the number of qualified IT people is not
keeping pace with developments, as changes in the country’s education

system cannot keep up with technology.

There is a big gap in IT specialist capability, and the government does not
often know how to teach modern technology in schools, said Bodnor.

Indeed, one of the issues is the extent to which the government is willing
to support IT development. In the past, government spending has been
relatively weak and sporadic. There is also a sense that the government does
not always see the value of such spending.

One foreign energy distribution company submitted its business proposal to
Ukraine’s national commission for energy regulation. IT included a plan to
invest in SAP, the industry standard for business software. The commission
turned down the proposal, citing the purchase as unnecessary spending.

Some companies may also balk at IT acquisitions because of the transparency
it creates. Ukraine’s business sector is still unaccustomed to significant
disclosure and although this attitude is changing, it is a slow shift.

While pressure could come from international capital markets, as companies
seek to do bond issues abroad, the pace of opening up remains slow.

In the wake of the Orange Revolution, the country benefited from World Bank
loans to finance its changeover in IT infrastructure. Legislation has been
passed setting long-term targets of creating technoparks and silicon-valley
type establishments.

Meanwhile, some of its neighbours, such as Russia and Belarus, are doing

the same thing, making it difficult to say where Ukraine will find its
competitive niche.

Some industry insiders say that although the government has not shown

much appetite in the past for IT improvement, the fact that it is openly
discussed and spoken about is a significant step forward.

Bodnar said the long term will require more stability and certainty. Much

of the future direction depends on the uncertain stance of Prime Minister
Viktor Yanukovich’s government towards improving IT infrastructure.

Some in the industry have cited the prime minister’s discussion of the
matter at the World Economic Forum in January as evidence he understands

the problems the Ukrainian IT market faces.

Up-to-date infrastructure and technologies, I am sure, will create
conditions for the efficient advancement of the Ukrainian economy and its
strategic development.

Modernisation of Ukraine’s economy is impossible without its integration
into the world economic system, said Yanukovich. It remains unclear how

this sentiment will evolve into policy. (www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com
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5.          “WHY DID THE HEAD OF NAFTOHAZ QUIT?”
         Ukrainian gas chief quits over Yanukovych government’s policies

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Ivan Pysarenko
Ukrayinska Pravda online in Ukrainian, Friday, February 23, 2007
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007

The head of Ukraine’s national gas company Naftohaz has quit over
disagreement with government policies, a website has reported. The author
said that Naftohaz chair Volodymyr Sheludchenko refused to sign off on
government instructions he believes will bankrupt the company.

The author said these include the establishment of a subsidiary which takes
away much of the company’s profits and an increased tax burden in the gas
sector. The following is the text of the article by Ivan Pysarenko, entitled

“Why did the head of Naftohaz quit?”, posted on the Ukrainian website
Ukrayinska Pravda on 23 February, subheadings appear as in the original:

On 21 February, after a week-long time-out, the government accepted the
resignation of the head of Naftohaz Ukrayiny, Volodymyr Sheludchenko.
Sheludchenko finally got what he wanted. He stepped off the Naftohaz ship
with relief, which is heading for the bottom of the ocean.

Sheludchenko first tried to quit his position as the chairman of the board
of directors in the autumn of 2006.

At that time, he hoped to find an ally in Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych,
whom he tried to warn of the huge Ukrainian company’s impending slip off an
economic precipice thanks to strategies chosen by Fuel and Energy Minister
Yuriy Boyko. But the prime minister’s verdict was: do as the minister says.

His second try was successful. Viktor Yanukovych said: “one of the main
reasons for the dismissal were health reasons”. But no-one believes that.

It is quite clear that Volodymyr Sheludchenko, an experienced expert in the
gas sector, was under pressure from the leadership of the Fuel and Energy
Ministry and did not want to take responsibility for the ruinous
consequences of the oil and gas decline shaped by more than simple
increases in the price of gas.
                          THE PATH TO BANKRUPTCY
Experts close to the sector say that the former chair refused to sign off on
Minister Boyko’s instructions to set up Ukrhazmerezha [Ukrainian gas
networks] as a subsidiary under the state company Haz Ukrayiny.

The balance value of all the state’s gas distribution network, except for
six west Ukrainian ones which opened a real war again Boyko’s intention to
take away their right to use the gas distribution network, have been put
into this company.

Second, as a professional, Sheludchenko could not agree with a written
instruction from Minister Boyko at the end of last year to purchase
technological gas (to provide for the operation of gas pumping units under
Ukrtransnafta), not from Naftohaz Ukrayiny, but from UkrGazEnergo at a
price of 130 dollars per 1,000 cubic metres.

At the same time, the transit tariff remains unchanged at 1.6 dollars per
1,000 cubic metres per 100 kilometres. And so, neither Ukrtranshaz nor the
regional gas utilities got any additional sources for covering the
difference in the price of 130 dollars compared to 95 dollars.

This difference arose because in the five-year gas agreement with Russia,
which was signed in January 2006, the price of transporting gas (which costs
95 dollars) is 1.6 dollars. Earlier under a price of 50 dollars for the gas,
the transport tariff was 1.09 dollars.

The price in 2007 rose to 130 dollars, and – to Russia’s delight – they
“forgot” about the transit tariff. If the lack of balance between the price
and the tariff is not regulated, it will become one of the main reasons for
declaring the gas transport and distribution networks bankrupt.

Every year, Ukraine uses about 6bn to 7bn cubic metres of technological gas,
which makes it possible to pump gas across Ukraine to Europe. So, when the
price has risen to 130, the tariff also needs to be raised, for example to
two dollars.

The former director of the Donetsk gas distribution network, Volodymyr
Sheludchenko did not want to take responsibility for the
artificially-created lack of balance in the transporter’s accounts. Experts
say he refused to sign off on instructions from the minister and so their
relations only continued to become more and more strained.

Government resolution No 1729 dated 12 January 2007 was also a stumbling
stone between Yuriy Boyko and Volodymyr Sheludchenko. Pursuant to this
resolution, neither Ukrtransnafta nor the regional gas utilities receive
money collected from gas consumers.

Because now payments for gas and transport go to UkrGazEnergo accounts,
and then they are proportionally distributed among all the gas delivery
entities.

“So, on the one hand, Ukrtranshaz and the utilities are in debt before
UkrGazEnergo, buying technological gas for 130 dollars, and on the other
hand they do not get money from the UkrGazEnergo joint venture for services,
and they will always be in debt to the joint venture for technological gas.

This scheme will lead directly to bankrupting Ukrtransnafta and the
distribution networks. The scheme is very dangerous, it borders on the
energy security of the state”, says MP and former chair of Naftohaz Oleksiy
Ivchenko.

A year ago, all of Ukraine accused Ivchenko of betraying national interests,
because it is his signature which is on the famous agreements signed the
night of 3 to 4 January 2006.
                                 WHO AND WHAT NEXT?
Volodymyr Sheludchenko was directly opposed to the gas scheme introduced
by the efforts of Ivchenko and former Minister Ivan Plachkov.

The UkrGazEnergo JV (Naftohaz Ukrayiny and Swiss-based RosUkrEnergo)
set up under the documents signed a year ago, basically deprived Naftohaz
Ukrayiny of a market capable of payment.

By the end of last year, the new operator supplied industrial enterprises in
Ukraine with 30bn cubic metres of gas (altogether Ukraine consumes 76bn
cubic metres). This year that volume is set to increase by at least 50 per
cent.

Thanks to this scheme, the Ukrainian gas market has completely been
reformatted and as a result, Naftohaz Ukrayiny is left with the traditional
debtor – the heating and communal utilities sector. Last year, Naftohaz
borrowed 630 dollars from the supplier of Turkmenistan gas, Swiss-
registered RosUkrEnergo.

The debt was covered at the expense of a foreign credit. But in the first
two months of this year, communal enterprise increased the debt for gas by
another 1bn hryvnyas, which debt RosUkrEnergo will have to cover with a
credit.
               THIS IS A DIRECT ROAD TO BANKRUPTCY
Clearly, this is a direct road to bankruptcy, and this is why Volodymyr
Sheludchenko protested against such a scenario.

Seeing the financial dead-end ahead of Naftohaz, Sheludchenko protested
against the government’s policy to increase the tax burden on the oil and
gas sector. As proposed by the government, the 2007 law on the budget
envisions an increase in the rent for extracting oil, gas and gas
condensate.

According to the law, Naftohaz must this year clear its tax debt of 2.64bn
hryvnyas which accrued in previous years (the overall sum is 3.7bn
hryvnyas).

Naftohaz’ aggregate sum of payments to the budget this year is over 14bn
hryvnyas, or almost 26 per cent of the company’s income. Of course, this
will result in less cash flow for the company and consequently damage its
financial showing.

It is very clear that Sheludchenko sees no prospect in this sector and so he
does not want to be held responsible for the collapse of development plans
outlined for the company.

At the end of last year, Naftohaz’ consolidated credit portfolio was already
over 2.5bn dollars, and of this credit 95 per cent was acquired from
non-resident banks.

Naftohaz’ financial plan for 2007, agreed with the authorities, envisions
obtaining a new credit worth 3.3bn hryvnyas which will be used to pay the
old credit, and nearly 2.8bn hryvnyas of this sum is to be found on foreign
markets.

At the same time, Naftohaz does not plan to take out credit to cover the
debt which will accrue before RosUkrEnergo this year. And it will accrue,
because the level of payments from the communal sector for gas in the height
of the heating season has dropped sharply.

While politicians are busy deciding who should be held responsible for the
unfounded rises in [utility] tariffs and promising to lower them, payments
continue to shrink. In just the first two months of this year, the debt of
communal consumers for gas grew by 1bn hryvnyas.

Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych or Finance Minister Mykola Azarov will
appoint a new head of Naftohaz who will be able to fill the state coffers at
the expense of taxes on Naftohaz.

And so the new criteria for the job is experience in the financial sector,
but with a knowledge of energy. It is most likely that this will be a person
close to the top officials in the government, but not to Yuriy Boyko.
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6.      PLANNED CUTS IN LANGUAGE SERVICES MAR
       VOICE OF AMERICA’S (VOA) 65TH ANNIVERSARY

ANALYSIS: By Peter Feuilherade of BBC Monitoring
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007

On 24 February the Voice of America quietly marked 65 years since it began
broadcasting on shortwave from the United States to Nazi-occupied Europe

in 1942.

The anniversary was overshadowed by budget proposals from the Bush
administration which would end VOA radio broadcasts in several languages,
including Cantonese, Russian, Uzbek and worldwide English.

Senior US international broadcasting bosses argue that the VOA and other
US-government funded stations must shift their focus away from shortwave
radio to satellite television and the internet, as well as concentrating
more on countries involved in the “war on terror”.

But critics of the new priorities, including senior journalists in VOA’s
ranks, oppose the downgrading of radio and say it would be tragic for the
broadcaster to do away with most programmes in English.
                        “REACHING OUT TO KEY REGIONS”
From its headquarters in Washington, VOA broadcasts in 45 languages on radio
and the internet. Many VOA programmes are now on television. VOA claims a
weekly audience of 115 million worldwide for its news, education and
cultural programming.

(The BBC World Service, by comparison, last year announced a record global
audience of at least 163 million listeners a week.)

Twenty-eight hours a week of Persian TV via satellite and 30 minutes a day
of radio broadcasts to Somalia are among the latest VOA initiatives.

But the Bush administration’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year
(beginning 1 October 2007) would eliminate most VOA English broadcasts, as
well as radio programmes in 12 other languages. The plan seeks to end VOA
broadcasts in Cantonese, Uzbek, Croatian, Greek, Georgian and Thai.

Albanian, Serbian, Bosnian, Macedonian, Hindi and Russian radio would also
be cut, although those services would continue television programming.

VOA would also eliminate all 14 hours per day of VOA NewsNow English
broadcasting, but would continue English-to-Africa programmes and the
Special English broadcasts that use a limited vocabulary.

US government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty broadcasts to Ukraine
and Tibetan services from VOA and Radio Free Asia would also be reduced.
RFE/RL broadcasts in Uzbek would continue.

The US Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) – which oversees all of
Washington’s international radio and TV services – said programmes in some
other languages would be expanded, and there would be an increase in total
spending on international broadcasting.

The proposed budget calls for increased VOA broadcasting to North Korea,
Cuba and Venezuela, as well as continuing a daily Somali programme.

A BBG statement added: “The budget also fully funds initiatives begun in
fiscal year 2006 to critical Muslim audiences. These include the expansion
of VOA television to Iran to a 12-hour stream, VOA Pashto radio programming
to the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region, television programmes to
Afghanistan and Pakistan and Al-Hurra Europe, the 24/7 service to Arabic
speakers in Europe.”

The planned cuts “simply reflect budget realities,” said VOA Director Dan
Austin, adding: “If we had the money, I would love to do it all. But these
are tight budget times for any agency of this government, so we have to set
our priorities. And I think reaching out to key regions in the language that
people there understand and speak most frequently has to be the first
priority.”
                                     CRITICS SPEAK OUT
FreeMediaOnline.org, a San Franciso-based nonprofit organization founded to
support freedom of the press, described the proposed cuts and reductions in
US international broadcasting as a “gift to dictators and suppressors of
press freedom.”

“Whenever budget cuts become necessary to pay for new programmes to
countries and regions where freedom of expression is suppressed, the BBG
inevitably relies on cutting programmes to audiences which are also deprived
of free media but are less important for the foreign policy goals of the
Administration.

This lack of consistency sends a terrible signal to defenders of freedom and
courageous journalists around the world,” the organization said after the
new budget was unveiled earlier in February.

The proposed radical reduction of English-language programming has provoked
its own backlash. Sanford Ungar, who headed VOA from 1999 to 2001,
commented: “I think it’s laughable, tragic and absurd for the Voice of
America not to broadcast in English.

I mean, if Radio Moscow stopped broadcasting in Russian, people would be
shocked. If Radio Beijing stopped broadcasting in Chinese – imagine Radio
France not broadcasting in French.”
                              FAMILIAR ECHOES FOR BBC
The shake-up at VOA over new emphases for budgets and languages to

reflect the changing global political environment will have familiar echoes for
other international broadcasters, such as the BBC World Service.

In 2006, the BBC axed 10 language services to shift resources towards the
planned Arabic TV service.

Among those cut were the Thai service, closed just months before the
military coup in Thailand in September 2006.

The debates over geopolitical priorities going on between VOA journalists,
managers and their political paymasters should be closely followed by their
BBC counterparts, as the World Service plans reviews of its Chinese and
Russian-language services in the coming months.                -30-
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7. UKRAINIAN LEADERS GIVE MIXED VIEWS ABOUT U.S.
                    MISSILE DEFENSE PLANS IN EUROPE 

AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007

KIEV – Ukraine gave mixed signals Tuesday about whether it will support U.S.
plans to deploy a missile defense system in eastern Europe, with the prime
minister warning it could hurt relations with neighboring countries while
the president indicated tacit support for the plan.

“We believe that deploying a missile defense system in Poland and Czech
Republic will not benefit relations between our countries,” Prime Minister
Viktor Yanukovych told the German newspaper, Handelsblatt, according to

his press service.

President Viktor Yushchenko later called on politicians to remember their
commitment to Europe’s collective security when considering the plan.

“We must consider our national interests” and the country’s declared aim to
participate in creating a unified security system for Europe, Yushchenko
said, according to Ukrainian news agencies.

Ukraine has refrained from declaring its official view about Washington’s
plans to put a radar system in the Czech Republic and a missile interceptor
site in Poland, saying it needs to learn more. U.S. experts are due to visit
Ukraine in early March to explain the plans, which have angered Russia.

Yushchenko and Yanukovych repeatedly tussle over foreign policy in this
ex-Soviet republic. The pro-Western Yushchenko has sought to earn Ukraine a
place in NATO and turn Ukraine toward the West, ideas that have been met
with skepticism among Yanukovych’s more-Russian leaning party, which
dominates in Ukraine’s largely Russian-speaking east and south.

Washington says the installations are meant to deal with a potential threat
from Iran, but Moscow has rejected the assurances, calling them an effort to
strengthen U.S. military might in the region.

Some Ukrainian politicians have warned that the defense system could make
Ukraine’s neighbors targets, raising the risk of military action in Ukraine.

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========================================================
8.  THE UNITED STATES’ “BROAD PROPAGANDA” CONCERNING
   “THE NUCLEAR THREAT AND BALISTIC MISSILES FROM IRAN”

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Ukraine
The Day Weekly Digest #6, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb 20, 2007

The goal of The Day is to acquaint its readers with a variety of viewpoints.
We believe that a newspaper must be a free tribune. The editors do not
always share the views expressed in our paper.

Today we are publishing the opinion of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic
of Iran to Ukraine with regard to the recent interview with William Taylor,
the US Ambassador to Ukraine.

“The press service of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to
Ukraine presents its respects and has the honor to notify the following.

In his interview with The Day, published in issue no. 5 of Feb. 13, 2007,
concerning the US’ decision to deploy elements of anti-missile defense
systems on the territory of Poland and the Czech Republic, the US
Ambassador to Ukraine called the goal of this deployment a response to
‘the threat of nuclear warheads on ballistics missiles from Iran and North
Korea’.

We express our protest and deep regret concerning the unfounded statements
of the US Ambassador in this interview, reject his allegations, and also
make public the following in order to correct public opinion:

The US government, in raising the question of deploying elements of
anti-missile defense systems in Central Europe, has launched a broad
propaganda campaign in connection with this issue and is thus seeking to
distract world public opinion from the shameful results of its operation in
Iraq.

The response to the imaginary threat of nuclear warheads, which do not exist
in objective reality and are the product of the imagination of White House
leaders, is a completely unfounded argument, and the leaders of a number of
countries have already given an adequate reply to this.

The respected journalist of The Day also correctly formulated a question
in this interview about the fact that the Americans have not managed to
convince anyone in favor of their decision.

It is worth mentioning that the general White House policy, especially in
recent years, is being implemented without feeling any necessity to provide
explanations and convince the international community, and this has had
terrible and devastating results.

The attack on Iraq and Afghanistan is a clear example of such actions and
the unilateral policy of the US.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has stated many times that it does not have
aspirations for nuclear weapons. Such weapons are not humane and cannot
guarantee either the domestic or external security of any country.

Iran was one of the first states to suggest the creation of a nuclear-free
zone in the Near and Middle East.

Thank you for publishing our Embassy’s explanations.”      -30-
———————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/177532/

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9.   CONCORDE CAPITAL RELEASES FIRST CORPORATE
    GOVERNANCE RATINGS FOR UKRAINIAN COMPANIES

BUSINESS WIRE: Yahoo, Tuesday, February 27, 2007

KYIV, Ukraine – Concorde Capital (www.concorde.com.ua) is proud to
be the first investment bank to conduct a comprehensive study of corporate
governance standards in Ukraine.

Our study is aimed at providing foreign investors whose equity universe
includes Ukrainian companies with greater insight into the corporate culture
behind these companies.

We rated 118 companies, encompassing all sectors of the Ukrainian economy,
based on Reporting & Disclosure, Investor Relations, Minority Concerns and
Strategic Risks, as these areas are currently of the most interest to
investors on the Ukrainian market.

The total scores possible in our rating ranges from -8.5 to 11.0:

11.0 – 9.0 Quality corporate governance standards (Q)
8.5 – 6.0 Above Average (AA)
5.5 – 3.0 Average (A)
2.5 – 0.0 Below Average (BA)
0.0 or less Poor (P)

Of the 118 companies, 7 earned our Q rating, 13 came in as AA’s, there were
24 A’s, 22 BA’s and 51 companies received our P rating. The average score
for our study is 1.5.

CONSUMER GOODS: Leaders Of The Pack. Consumer goods producers’
results were well above the rest of the sectors with a mean score of 6.9.
High scores by Astarta (11.0), XXI Century (11.0) and solid marks by Sun
Interbrew (5.0) and Slavutich (8.5) lifted the sector average.

Large international holding companies backing the brewers as well as the
listing of XXI Century in London and Astarta in Warsaw support their
strong ratings.

FINANCIAL SERVICES: Good, We Thought They’d Be Better. The
sector received the second highest average score, 5.9. However, except
for Ukrsotsbank (6.5), smaller local banks had the stronger scores, led
by Bank Forum (9.0), Megabank (6.0), Ukrgazbank (5.5) and Rodovid
Bank (5.0).

While media darling Raiffeisen Bank Aval’s score of 6.0 was also solid, it
failed to meet our expectations in terms of investor relations.

OIL & GAS: Bogged Down By Refineries. Despite being boosted by the
inclusion of three foreign-based companies (Cardinal 10.0, JKX 9.0, Regal
9.0) whose openness to investors and past IPOs brought them high scores,
along with Ukrnafta (6.5) and our top scorer Galnaftogaz (11.0), the sector
came in way behind financial services with a score of 4.3.

The shoddy tallies received by the list’s traded refineries pulled down the
sector.

METALS & MINING: NITR & KSTL Head & Shoulders Above The Rest.
As a sector, metals and mining had some of the lowest overall results in our
research (average score 1.2), however, Nyzhnoydniprovsky Pipe and Mittal
Steel Kryvy Rig went against the grain to bring strong marks of 7.5 and 6.5
respectively.

NITR, despite being part of a large Ukrainian holding, leads in terms of
transparency and financial disclosure in the pipe sector.

The entire report is available: http://www.concorde.com.ua/downloads/.
——————————————————————————————–
Contact: Concorde Capital, Nick Piazza, np@concorde.com.ua,

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LINK: http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/070227/20070227005525.html?.v=1
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10.          UKRAINE NEEDS EVERYDAY DEMOCRACY

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By VOLODYMYR NIKITIN
Director, International Center for Policy Studies (ICPS)
Interview in the “Tribune” section of Biznes
ICPS Newsletter #354, Kyiv, Ukraine, February 26, 2007

In an interview in the “Tribune” section of Biznes, a Ukrainian weekly, ICPS
Director Volodymyr Nikitin draws attention to the lack of key institutions
and processes in Ukraine that are necessary for it to develop.

The country still does not have everyday democracy, a proper leadership

has not been formed, and there are no true statesmen.

Nor has the opportunity to improve things been made good yet. Mr. Nikitin
says that if the state is unable to nurture real leaders, the private sector
can take up the challenge and work for the development of its country

St. Luke, a prominent surgeon and priest whose grave is in Crimea, wrote
once that humans think with their heart. It is also important for people to
think about Ukraine not just with their minds, but also with their hearts.

1.  EVERYDAY DEMOCRACY
The first thing that needs to change in Ukraine is its lame democracy.
Ukraine has developed all the institutes of representative government, but
everyday democracy is still missing.

Ukrainian politicians have become accustomed to a situation where they can
re-distribute power and extend it to the local level. But in a democratic
society, the main task for an official is to serve the public. For Ukrainian
politicians, the idea of this “true purpose” is stressful, indeed.

As long as the top-down soviet machine is in place and working, Ukrainians
will not be able to establish everyday democracy in their society.

Whereas the interests of only one group, the Communist Party nomenclature,
were legitimate in the Soviet Union, nowadays, various organized groups

have equal rights and are entitled to defend their interests. But Ukraine’s
politicians have not been taught how to deal with such a situation.

In the Western World, this system is well developed and is called “public
policy.” This means Ukraine need not reinvent the wheel in order to
establish everyday democracy for itself. What is really needed are
administrative reform and the political will of the country’s leadership.

The second thing that Ukrainian society needs is a serious dose of
“de-sovietization,” as ICPS Honorary Chair Vira Nanivska likes to put it.

 
We have not tried this. Ukrainians have not identified what the soviet
system was, what we were dealing with, and what needs to be changed.

Yet, all this is very clearly formulated in the papers of the soviet secret
service. “Sovietization means depriving the population of all possibilities
to participate in political life, eradicating private property, and
implementing a top-down, totalitarian system of government administration.

This is the only ideology and no doubts can be permitted.” So far, the
Ukrainians have not changed much: they’ve admitted the public to political
life and they’ve allowed private property.

2. UKRAINE HAS NO INTELLECTUAL ELITE
It seems to me that the main threat to Ukraine is Ukraine itself, that is,
its internal state. The country does not have an intellectual environment:
intelligence, intellectual achievements and an orientation towards
developing intelligence are not welcome in Ukraine.

 Miserly funding is allocated to science and education. If we look at those
individuals who carry authority in Ukraine, they are not models of
intellectual capacity. This means the country lacks a true elite, and this
constitutes one of the most serious dangers for Ukraine.

Ukrainians frequently confuse the idea of an elite with the privileged
classes. There are many privileged people in Ukraine who have power and

who take positions that would normally be taken by an elite, but they do not
fulfill the functions of a true elite.

The elite means those individuals who live according to clear principles,
those who safeguard and develop the country’s future. The purpose of an
elite is to put together development programs and to guide the trajectory of
the nation’s progress.

To implement this, we have to adhere to key principles, such as honor and
responsibility, which constitute the foundation of European culture.

3. MISSING: EUROPEAN VALUES
Unfortunately, our very real shift away from Europe began back when the
bolsheviks first came to power. What is Europe and what is European culture?

First of all, this means European thinking and a European outlook. Europe is
a unique combination of Greek scholarship, Roman law and Christianity. The
combination of these three elements is what made Europe, Europe, and
distinguished it from the rest of the world.

One of the main principles underlying European thinking is the division of
world into visible and invisible, the world of ideal objects and the world
of mundane problems. These two worlds should not be confused, no matter
what.

Yet, that is precisely what the bolsheviks did. In order to attract the
proletariat and bring to life the slogan, “Even a cook can govern a
 country,” they transformed ideal concepts into material things.

In general, this is typical of uneducated people: to think that it is
possible to touch justice or a nation with your fingers.

Attempts to realize the ideal on the earth have always had bad consequences
for the development of that country. In Ukraine, this led to a situation
where most people lost all sense of the “higher universe” completely.

Although the churches are the bearers of ideas, principles and values around
the world, in Ukraine, they do not entirely fulfill this function.

The Pope may regularly address the faithful with messages that combine
Christian ideas with important issues of everyday life, but Ukrainian
pastors do not do this.

In Ukraine, Christianity amounts to little more than formal rituals, even
paganism, for many people. The church frequently brought enlightenment to

a society. This function can also be fulfilled by philosophers who explain the
essence of life to people.

Unfortunately, there are no such philosophers in Ukraine today. This
lamentable fact has its own historical explanation. All the soviet elite and
all strategic studies were focused in Moscow.

When Ukraine broke away from the Soviet Union, it did not have any
world-class theoreticians in many scientific areas.

In a developed country, the elite is actively engaged in global issues,
analyzing human development scenarios. The Americans, the Europeans

and the Russians all do it.

In Ukraine, this activity is largely undeveloped, which means that nobody
here even makes an attempt to insert Ukraine into the global arena. At best,
Ukrainians are mentioned in foreign scenarios.

4. QUALITY EDUCATION LEADS TO A RESPONSIBLE ELITE
To carry out this analytical work, the right kind of training is needed, and
this must be based on a quality education. Today, education is viewed mainly
as a social function in Ukraine.

Yet it must fulfill another extremely important function: to prepare
individuals who are capable of forming an elite.

To tell the truth, the country needs fundamentally different educational
institutions for this purpose, where young people work in small groups under
the guidance of authoritative individuals and carry out practical work.

Such students must meet special requirements that will make it impossible

to be accepted and graduate using personal connections.

In Ukraine, no educational institution, not even the National University of
Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, has set such a goal for itself.

Thus, the question is: How will individuals who can think and speak on the
basis of principles emerge in Ukraine? “Midwives” are always necessary. In
the past, saints played the role of intermediary. What can Ukraine do now?

It makes little sense to expect that people will become saints. Also, it is
also unwise to expect that everybody will become an intellectual or take on
intellectual functions.

However, there should be individuals who will make the link between the two
worlds mentioned earlier and lead others.

If the state cannot raise an elite, the private sector can get involved in
this process, as happened in Russia.

There, a group of oligarchs chipped in US $5mn each-Roman Abramovich

donated US $26mn-, bought a piece of land close to Moscow, and
launched construction of the Moscow School of Management.

The country’s elite will be trained in this institution, yet this project
was 100% financed by business. There was no public capital in it.

We can say many things about Russia, but the fact remains that our

neighbors have begun to take care of the future. This School will work
both for business and for Russia, while oligarchs themselves act as
both lecturers and students.

I am convinced that, after this School is opened, this institution will
become the original Russian outpost for “piping” global experience into

the country.

I don’t see a similar level of social responsibility among businesses in
Ukraine. Yes, Viktor Pinchuk has launched a scholarship program for

talented students and Rynat Akhmetov finances research into the
educational issues, but their efforts are not especially significant compared
to, say, the Russian oligarchs and compared to what could be done in
Ukraine.

5.  A COUNTRY THREATENED BY CONCEPTUAL CHAOS
As a result of all this, something that philosophers call a conceptual
cataclysm has emerged in Ukraine. When people do not have clear-cut

concepts of the ideal and the material worlds, they tend to confuse
concepts or to simply not distinguish them at all.

For example, Ukrainians often equate “knowledge” and “information” or
“leftists” and “conservatives,” although these are fundamentally different
concepts.

In this looming conceptual chaos, it becomes less and less possible to
govern the country because people are disoriented.

How can this situation be changed when Ukrainians essentially have no

moral giants whom the country might emulate? When they have no
landmark projects that might set the country’s future course?

Thank God, Ukraine got lucky with its people, an ironic and somewhat
dispassionate lot. Ukrainian society is seeing movement although, so far,
this movement is not being shaped by ideas but driven by chaotic feelings.

6. BUSINESS CAN BEGIN TO DRIVE THE COUNTRY
Today, Ukraine has countless politicians, but not a single statesman. Who
can, then, take responsibility for the country’s development? As a matter of
fact, this can be done by the private sector.

 
For example, all the largest corporations in the world have internal
educational systems. Such powerful companies as General Motors and
Motorola have their own universities.

Most large business structures contain a core that prepares elite managers
both for the corporation and for the country. In Ukraine, business either is
not thinking or does not know about this kind of possibility.

We’re living in an atmosphere of self-reassurance-“We’ll survive this, too.”
And so, we reflect neither on our own sickness nor on our place in the
world.

Today, all Ukrainians need to understand: We are a young country and we

have a chance to build that country that we want to live in, without the
terrible baggage of the past borne by countries with a centuries-long history.

We must take this chance: the window of opportunity is open-but not for
long.                                                   -30-
—————————————————————————————————-
This is an abridged version of the article that appeared in Biznes No7 (734)
12 February 2007. You can view it online at
http://www.business.ua/i734/a23189 (in Russian).  Biznes, one of the top
Ukrainian weeklies, dedicates its Tribune section to the most interesting
opinions, comments and ideas.
————————————————————————————————–
International Centre for Policy Studies, Kyiv, Ukraine
E- mail: astarynsky@icps.kiev.ua; Web-site: http://www.icps.kiev.ua

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11.        YULIA TYMOSHENKO COMING TO AMERICA

 
Inform Newsletter, Issue 31, BYuT international publication
Kyiv, Ukraine Tuesday,, 27 February 2007

The cost of a punishing schedule traversing the country visiting local
councils caught up with Yulia Tymoshenko this week, when Ukraine’s leader of
the opposition was forced to cancel the New York leg of her visit to the USA
due to a bout of flu.

Ms Tymoshenko planned to be in New York City on 26-27 February before
heading to Washington DC. Highlights of the New York leg were to include a
speech at Columbia University and meetings with prominent members of the
investment community, including a luncheon at JP Morgan. Meetings with the
media and policy makers were also cancelled.

Ms. Tymoshenko’s decision to delay her departure to the United States was
taken on the advice of her physician. “Ms. Tymoshenko understands that this
schedule change will be a disappointment to many in New York,” said Hryhoriy
Nemyria, her top foreign policy advisor and a deputy leader of BYUT.

“Consequently, she is already discussing plans for a return trip to New York
as part of her outreach to various diaspora, media, public policy, and
business constituencies in the United States and elsewhere,”

Despite the set back, Ms Tymoshenko plans to travel directly to Washington
where she will meet with government officials, lawmakers, policy experts,
scholars and members of the US-Ukraine diaspora.

A highlight of the visit will be meetings with US Vice President Dick Cheney
and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who met Ms Tymoshenko during

her last visit to Ukraine

Looking forward to the trip, Ms Tymoshenko said, “As an unwavering

supporter of freedom and  democracy in Ukraine, I look forward to returning
to the birthplace of these historic principles.”

This will be the first visit by Ms Tymoshenko to the USA since entering
politics. It is seen as an opportunity to articulate her party’s liberal
economic policies and reiterate that any future administration with her as
leader will combat corrupt practices and ensure Ukraine adheres to the best
traditions of European democracy.

At the same time, an emboldened Ms Tymoshenko will speak on behalf of

the recently unified parliamentary opposition to draw attention to the
constitutional crisis threatening to destabilise the country. “My sense is
some in America mistakenly believe the Orange Revolution is over, that
democracy has won – and that liberty and justice have secured their place in
our country’s history,” commented Ms. Tymoshenko.

“The Orange Revolution is not over,” she continued, “the movement that
brought thousands of Ukrainians together to overthrow the post-Soviet regime
lives on. Much progress has been made to bring democracy to Ukraine, but
much more remains to be done.”

Recent events in Ukraine, underline this point. Just last week the conflict
between parliament and the president’s office was magnified when President
Viktor Yushchenko’s nomination for foreign minister, Volodymyr Ohryzko,
gained only 196 of the 226 votes needed to secure his appointment.

Other issues, such as heavy-handed Soviet-style interventionism in the grain
market and a recent thwarted attempt to unify Ukraine’s gas-pipeline network
with Russia’s, further underline the gravity of the situation. Even that
last bastion of democracy, a free press has come under increasing attack.

According to the 2007 report from Reporters without Borders, the
improvements in press freedom achieved by the Orange government in 2005

was offset last year by increased physical attacks against journalists and the
judiciary’s inability to complete the murder trial of investigative reporter
Georgiy Gongadze.

Finally, Ms Tymoshenko will address geopolitical issues critical to the
security of Ukraine, Europe and the United States. These include pressures
put upon neighbouring states by Russia, particularly in relation to energy
security.

While in Washington, the BYuT delegation will meet with both senior
Republican and Democrat politicians. Mr Nemyria, sees this as a two-way
process, “We have the opportunity to speak to both sides on Capitol Hill,
take away some positive learnings and see how they may apply to our ongoing
reform efforts in Ukraine.”

On the morning of March 2, Ms Tymoshenko is scheduled to speak at the
National Press Club in Washington. The speech is entitled, “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”

In contrast to Mr Yanukovych’s visit last December, Ms Tymoshenko had
planned to embrace the Ukrainian diaspora. Although the New York activities
have been temporarily shelved, in Washington she will receive an award at
the annual Ronald Reagan banquet.

Saddened that the trip will be shorter than planned, Ms Tymoshenko, said,

“I nevertheless look forward to experiencing first-hand the great example of
freedom and democracy that is America.”                 -30-
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12.                               ORANGE FORCES UNITE
 
Inform Newsletter, Issue 31, BYuT international publication
Kyiv, Ukraine Tuesday,, 27 February 2007

On Saturday, 24 February, BYuT and Our Ukraine signed an opposition

merger accord, uniting the pro-presidential bloc with the multi-factional
opposition led by Yulia Tymoshenko. By combining forces the parliamentary
opposition now has over 200 seats in the 450-seat Verkhovna Rada
(parliament).

The accord strengthens the hand of the opposition to check the government of
Viktor Yanukovych and his Anti-crisis Coalition – comprising the Pro-Russian
Party of Regions, the Communist Party and the Socialist Party.

 
The opposition is now able to prevent Mr Yanukovych from mustering the
300 votes needed to override presidential vetoes and, more significantly, has a
stronger platform from which to seek early parliamentary elections.

The mutual accord is based on the draft coalition agreement of June 2006. It
outlines a framework with actions to unite democratic forces both within
parliament and whenever a parliamentary majority or a coalition government
is formed.

The unified group will be governed by a coordinating council, which
comprises six representatives from each member of the opposition.

As a matter of principle, the united opposition will seek early
parliamentary and local elections and will appeal to the Constitutional
Court to empower the president to dissolve the government. It backs

Ukraine’s eventual membership of the EU, supports the imperative mandate
and will campaign for the abolition of the December 2004 amendments to the
Constitution.

This long awaited agreement is seen my many as a boost for Yulia

Tymoshenko and welcomed by most former pro-democracy supporters
wanting to see the reconciliation of the former Orange Revolution partners.
The move also vindicates Ms Tymoshenko’s drive to build a multi-factional
opposition movement.

“She is unquestionably in the driving seat, ” said one insider, “she
attracted defectors from the Socialist Party, secured support from the
Reforms and Order Party and has others waiting in the wings to join the
bloc. She applied enough force to bring Our Ukraine to its senses and
throughout the many ups and downs, has kept public faith with the president,
proving herself a skilful and worthy leader. From now on Yanukovych will
have his work cut out for him.”                          -30-

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13.          A NOT SO SUBTLE CHANGE IN GAS POLICY
 
Inform Newsletter, Issue 31, BYuT international publication
Kyiv, Ukraine Tuesday, 27 February 2007

There appears to have been a change of tactics by Gazprom and Ukrainian
energy officials following the amendments to laws passed by the Verkhovna
Rada prohibiting the unification of Russia and Ukraine’s gas-pipeline
infrastructure. The new game plan appears to be the transfer of pipeline
assets at a local oblast level to Gazprom in return for access to gas and
oil extraction in Russia.

A somewhat peeved Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych branded the recent
legislative amendments as “political spin” that has “brought nothing new to
lawmaking,” and harmful to Ukrainian-Russian relations. His remarks came
after deputies, including those from his own faction, the Party of Regions,
voted to prevent the unification of the gas-pipeline networks.

Since then, Mr Yanukovych has pledged that Ukraine will defend its national
wealth and at the same time deepen its relations with Russia.

On 21 February, President Viktor Yushchenko signed the law passed by
parliament. Yet two days before, Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister, Yuriy
Boyko, indicated that Ukraine was prepared to transfer oblast level gas
distribution assets in return for access to Russian gas and oil extraction
projects. Following talks with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, Mr Boyko said,
“Russia is not interested in anything other than distribution networks in
Ukraine.”

This view was brought into sharper focus by Valery Yazev, Chairman of the
Russian State Duma Energy Committee, during remarks over Russia’s possible
investment in the Bogorodchany-Uzhgorod pipeline in Western Ukraine. Mr
Yazev indicated that the Russian Federation is interested in the whole gas
transportation system of Ukraine rather than merely parts like the
Bogorodchany-Uzhgorod pipeline.  Dismissive of the pipeline project, he
said. “All we could offer in exchange for such property would be a small
unimportant gas field.”

Oleksandr Turchynov, BYuT deputy leader remarked, “The Kremlin has made

no secret of wanting to take control of our gas transportation system and we
would be naive in the extreme to believe it will respect the wishes of the
Verkhovna Rada and stop there.”

While the new law will not cause Gazprom to abandon its plans to wrestle
control of Ukraine’s gas-pipeline network, it appears to have prompted a
change in tactics. Vladimir Socor, writing for the Eurasia Daily Monitor,
illustrated how a plan to focus on local distribution networks might lead to
the bigger prize, “Such transfers could, however, eviscerate Ukraine’s gas
transport system from within, aggravating Naftohaz’s already bleak financial
situation and potentially setting the stage for a transfer of the transit
system itself later on.”

It could be easy to forgive Russia for wanting to exercise control for
purely commercial reasons, but clearly this is not the case. The Kremlin has
cynically used Gazprom as a political tool to coerce its neighbours.
Furthermore, Gazprom’s forced takeovers of major Western assets in Russia’s
energy sector have been achieved with a ruthlessness more befitting the
mafia than a responsible energy company.

 “Any government needs to maintain strong links with its historical trading
partners,” said Mr Turchynov, “but we must be vigilant and not fall prey to
ceding vital assets that would cost us dearly, economically and
 politically.”
                        Putin Praises Ukraine-Russia Gas Deal
Speaking recently at the Munich Conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin
defended Russia’s overall policy on energy saying that “all that we have
done and are doing is designed to achieve only one goal, namely to transfer
our relations with consumers and countries that transport our energy to
market-based, transparent principles and long-term contracts.”

Talking specifically about Ukraine, Mr Putin said that he considered
President Yushchenko’s signature of the gas deal with RosUkrEnergo was “a
responsible, absolutely correct and market-oriented decision.”

How the Kremlin considers the employment of a controversial intermediary
such as RosUkrEnergo as adhering to “transparent principles” beggars belief.
After all, this is a company that only revealed the identities of its
Ukrainian half-owners after a sustained barrage of press criticism; a
company whose auditors resigned over doubts over its ownership structure; a
company with alleged links to organised crime figures, and which became the
subject of an investigation by the US Justice Department.

It is clear that “the correct and market-oriented decision,” only applies to
RosUkrEnergo’s beneficiaries who are reaping considerable benefits In 2006
the company earned approximately $500 million a month.

If the role of RosUkrEnergo in supplying gas to Ukraine contradicts the
norms off transparent liberal economics, the question must be asked if there
is a genuine need for monopolistic intermediaries, of any ilk, to broker
national gas deals? The answer is simple. It can be found with millions of
ordinary Ukrainian citizens struggling to meet inflated winter bills for gas
and electricity.                                         -30-

———————————————————————————————-
Questions or comments? E-mail us at taras@byti.org.ua
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
14. GO IT BLIND: PARLIAMENTARIANS PLAYING “WAR GAMES”
               OBLIVIOUS TO THEIR FELLOW CITIZEN’S NEEDS

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Alexei MUSTAFIN
Mirror-Weekly, Dzerkalo Tyzhnya, Zerkalo Nedeli, No. 7 (636)
International Social Political Weekly
Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb 24 – March 2, 2007

One should have seen the faces of the MPs that stormed the parliamentary
rostrum and, later, electrical control unit last week. When the TV cameras
were on, they looked determined and rapt but when there were no reporters
around, the parliamentarians’ faces lit up with sheer joy.

Children look like this when they are happily engrossed in a game known only
to them. Many years ago in television chronicles, I saw the Balkan
guerrillas’ eyes shining like this when they first held real guns in their
hands. They were like children at play, but their guns and bombs were real.

I remembered about them having heard a Ukrainian MP say he would not be
surprised if shooting started in the Verkhovna Rada.

The parliamentarians, too, seem to be playing “war games,” oblivious to
their fellow citizens’ needs and to the fact that the entire nation could
become the loser in this game.
                                     PASSING THE BUCK
Ukrainian politicians keep blaming their opponents for the increased
municipal utility tariffs. Yulia Tymoshenko criss-crosses the country
scolding the prime minister and his government for the price rise; ministers
retaliate with sporadic TV interviews passing the buck to Yuriy Yekhanurov
and Yulia Tymoshenko, which headed the Cabinet in 2005.

The dispute over high gas prices- USD 130 today, USD 95 yesterday or USD

50 the day before – grows into a squabble about where tariffs grew more
dramatically – in Donetsk, where the party of Region is at the helm, or in
Western Ukraine where the “orange teams” have majority in local councils.

It verges on absurdity. For example, at a teleconference last Monday Vice
Prime Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk asked sternly: “What party has the majority
in Uzhgorod City Council that raised tariffs to a record level?” (expecting
to hear it was YTB) and got the answer, clear and loud: “Our Ukraine and the
Party of Regions!”

When Tymoshenko proudly reports about forcing a local government to reduce
tariffs by 15%, her opponents from the Party of Regions retort that it is
her party’s representatives in that very local government that raised
tariffs almost threefold, in the first place, and a 15% reduction is
nothing.

Nobody seems to care what happens in the municipal economy and utilities
infrastructure next year or, say, in five years. Some municipal bosses use
gloomy forecasts as a trump card against their contenders.

Thus, Kyiv Mayor Leonid Chernovetsky declared: “We have reduced tariffs but
there are tradeoffs – the city will have no money for reforming municipal
services, and we will hardly find any other funding sources.”

His Cherkasy counterpart Serhiy Odarych acknowledges that the tariff
decrease has cost the city budget UAH 30 million, and the municipal reform
will not be financed from the city budget either.

Companies that provide municipal services could require new subsidies soon
since many residents, abetted by politicians, stopped paying their utility
bills.

Politicians (at both local and central levels) did their best to persuade
their countrymen and countrywomen the tariffs were raised unjustifiably and
by refusing to pay under new tariffs, citizens expedite their rights and
legitimate interests.

They also insisted tariffs could only be raised upon relevant public
consultations. Now these same politicians call for the people to pay their
most recent bills (smaller than in January but still twice as large as last
year), without bothering to prove their accuracy or holding public
consultations.
                                         TUG OF WAR
The opposition in local governments could face an avalanche of
recriminations for “robbing common Ukrainians.” The minister of labor
already argued tariffs should not have been raised two-fold when the gas
prices grew only by 1.5 times.

The Prime Minister promised to initiate criminal proceedings against
municipal officials responsible for the sharp and ungrounded rise in
tariffs.

If somebody ends up in jail, the opposition will not be able to accuse the
ruling party of political repressions – the latter will readily quote Yulia
Tymoshenko’s numerous demands to bring “exploiters” to task.

We all know that such ostentatious ruthlessness toward “oppressors of small
Ukrainians” will be nothing but a political demonstration. So is the YTB
initiative to pass a law aligning tariffs with average wages. YTB faction
members readily admit it, and the anti-crisis coalition’s reaction seems
totally unreasonable.

Why should they persevere in blocking the draft law and making martyrs of
the YTB? No wonder opposition MPs would look so happy crowding around

the parliamentary podium and cutting off electricity to the Rada building.

In order to bring their opponents out into the open, the coalition should
stop upbraiding them and setting countless enquiry commissions. Instead, it
should seek the opposition’s proposals on immediate municipal reforms and,
most importantly, their long-term strategy for municipal economies and
infrastructure development.

This could prove the most unpleasant challenge for Our Ukraine and the Yulia
Tymoshenko Bloc, as neither seems to have a comprehensive (or
comprehensible, for that matter) program of municipal reform.

The reason why the anti-crisis coalition would challenge the opposition on
this matter is obvious: the Party of Regions and Socialists have no
municipal reform strategy of their own either. It is much easier to jostle
in a Rada session hall and count written-off billions than deliver on
election promises.

Meanwhile, municipal reform could grow into a nation-wide project capable of
making Ukrainian politicians work for their voters, for Ukrainian people. It
could, eventually, change the nature of Ukrainian politics, where
competition is underway among charismas, slogans and spin techniques, rather
than among national development programs.

However, Ukrainian politicians would not condescend to such down-to-earth
issues as municipal economy, utility and tariff policies. They would not
sign “pacts” and “road maps” relating to sewage, water supply or municipal
waste management.

They find more excitement in discussing NATO accession, official languages
and church unification, particularly given that discussions of this kind are
infinite.
                                        TWO ACES IN MISERY
Of course, Ukrainian politicians never forget about “small Ukrainians.”
Their greatest concern is about those most in need – that is why minimum
wages and pensions are considered the best measurement of the politician’s
love for the people.

You will remember how hard the opposition fought with Yanukovych’s first
government back in 2003-2004 to raise the minimum wage and how both camps
speculated on minimum pension payments during the election campaign.

 Last year it was less emotional but Yushchenko still criticized the 2007
budget for low social standards. As a result, parliament required that the
Cabinet of Ministers raise minimum wages and pensions provided the 1Q
economic performance indicators showed positive dynamics.

Now the time has come to pay the debts. Formally, the first quarter will be
over on March 31, but the Presidential Secretariat could not wait so long:
the president submitted a draft law on increasing minimum wages starting
March 1, citing [First Vice Prime Minister] Mykola Azarov’s cheerful reports
about Ukraine’s remarkable economic growth.

The anti-crisis coalition blackballed the presidential initiative, together
with the YTB draft law on tariffs.

Yet “small Ukrainians” should not lose hope: the government will raise the
minimum wage, if only to stop the President and opposition from gaining more
sympathizers.

Yanukovych, who said a week ago, he would not haste to revise budget
expenditures, has changed his mind and today asserts that the minimum wage
will grow as planned.

So pensioners can sigh with relief. Yet will authorities ever start thinking
of the middle class that generates revenue for the state budget and makes
economic growth possible?

Politicians strive to be liked by their electorate. In Ukraine,
beneficiaries of social subsidies tend to be the most active voters.

Those who can take care of themselves sometimes ignore elections. Therefore
all Ukrainian presidents, parliaments and governments deliberately
understate social policy targets.

As a result, the social group that suffers most is not even entrepreneurs,
but qualified workers and employees of budget-funded institutions
(educators, medics, librarians, etc). Their incomes are low but not as low
as those of the poor, and they are asked to have patience. However, patience
gradually wears thin.

Moreover, neighbouring countries offer much higher salaries for similar jobs
and Ukraine is losing thousands of migrant workers.

According to expert estimates, in a few years this country might be
desperately short of a workforce. The situation can be rectified if
qualified workers’ wages grow significantly, rather than by scanty by the
cent.

Politicians, however, seem unaware of the imminent threat: they continue to
“play out the misery.” To use gambling terminology, the warning about two
aces in the widow does not put them on alert. Ukrainian politicians are
still unprepared to let their rivals have aces, even if it means losing the
game.

It might not be about gambling, after all. The ruling coalition and the
opposition just do not know how to behave otherwise.

Neither is sophisticated enough to understand that, although minimum wages
and pensions can be established by law, average salaries hinge on the
overall strength of the national economy.

Neither governmental resolutions nor presidential decrees can make a private
employer pay more to its employees.

Authorities can only encourage it to do so with a sound economic strategy
and incentives. Yet Ukrainian politicians have problems designing sound
strategies. They offer their voters what they have in stock: tricks, schemes
and games.

You have not got enough money? OK, we won’t pay salaries to the Foreign
Ministry employees! Your water taps went dry? OK, we will cut off
electricity in Parliament! Shared hardships unite people.        -30-

———————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.mirror-weekly.com/ie/show/636/55967/
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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15.                             UNNATURAL SELECTION
       Volodymyr Ogryzko and Viktor Korol had no chance to be approved

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: Shura CEAnko & Tatiana Brusselskaya
Mirror-Weekly, Dzerkalo Tyzhnya, Zerkalo Nedeli, No. 7 (636)
International Social Political Weekly
Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb 24 – March 2, 2007

It was clear from the start that Volodymyr Ogryzko and Viktor Korol had no
chance to become Foreign Minister and Security Service Chief. Ukraine’s
lawmakers have been too busy waging a war in parliament to deal with
“unimportant” staff issues like this.

Opposition factions, the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine suggested
postponing the vote until the situation in parliament is normalized.

However, First Vice Speaker Adam Martynyuk, who administered the session
did not even put the proposal to vote. No wonder: the majority coalition was
set to turn down the candidates nominated by the President.

They did not even let Ogryzko make his opening address – they never cared
what he was going to say. Instead, they showered him with questions they
never needed answers to and with boorish remarks.

The “debates” on the candidates resembled a farce staged three months
before, the reports from then-Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk and Defense
Minister Anatoliy Grytsenko.

What members of the majority said on Thursday sounded outrageously
shameful. They accused Ogryzko of speaking Ukrainian at a conference,
defying an obscure Russian participant’s demand to speak Russian.

They accused him of refusing to cede Ukraine’s national interests to Russia.
Why not appoint [Moscow mayor] Yuri Luzhkov Foreign Minister of Ukraine?

Obviously, it was not Ogryzko’s pro-Western orientation or pro-Ukrainian
position in talks with Russia that antagonized the pro-government majority.
The main reason was the same old wrestle between President Yushchenko and
Prime Minister Yanukovych.

Some observers say that Ogryzko should have “worked on the lawmakers”
instead of waiting passively for the vote. However, as it looks, the
majority would have turned down any candidate offered by the President –
whether Condoleezza Rice, or Joschka Fischer, or even Sergey Lavrov.

Yushchenko would not bend over backwards to lobby for Ogryzko. All he
did was reiterate that Ogryzko would “continue the course pursued by Boris
Tarasyuk” -the man so hated and finally sacked by the pro-government
majority. Instead, Yushchenko should have stated that the new foreign
minister would continue the president’s course.

It is impossible to predict who will become the foreign minister of this
country. Yushchenko has announced his intention to nominate Ogryzko again.

It is clear, however, that unless he comes to terms with Yanukovych and the
coalition majority, Ogryzko is doomed to share Tarasyuk’s fate and this –
yet another – round of a shameful political game is show badly on Ukraine’s
international image.

The majority coalition wants to make use of the newly adopted law on the
Cabinet of Ministers and arrange for a pro-Yanukovych candidate’s
appointment, bypassing the President.

Whoever takes office, he will be caught between a rock and a hard place. As
long as the President and the Prime Minister continue their tug-of-war, even
the most experienced, rational, and gifted diplomat will hardly succeed.

Saying nay to Viktor Korol, the majority acted like a pack of wolves in a
well-known fable. MP Yuri Klyuchkovsky of Our Ukraine faction said, “They
reject Korol just because he is a member of Our Ukraine, because he was
nominated by the President and because he is a highly qualified
professional. They disregard everything he ought to be appointed for.”

Commenting on Yushchenko’s intention to nominate Korol again for the post of
Security Service chief, MP Taras Chornovil of the Regions Party said, “We
have nothing against Korol personally, but the President must guarantee with
his decree that the SBU will be equidistant from any political force.” Hah!

How can a presidential decree guarantee the political neutrality of any law
enforcement body? And why didn’t the majority demand the same when
appointing the Prosecutor General or the Interior Minister?

According to MP Kiselev of the Regions Party faction, Korol fell victim to
the opposition’s behavior [the notorious blackout in the parliament
building, opposition MPs blockading the electrical control room – A.B.].

“The day before, we were going to vote for Korol,” Kiselev told reporters.
President Yushchenko said he would press parliament to reconsider Korol .

Nobody questions Korol’s professionalism, but he is a police professional.
This was the only logical (though not the main) argument against appointing
the police general to the post of Security Service chief.

The main question is “whose” SBU is. The same concerns the Prosecutor
General’s Office and the Interior Ministry, and it is this circumstance, not
the law, that determines the functions of each of these bodies.

Considering the present political realities, Korol is not the worst
candidature, and the second vote might well be positive. It took Yushchenko
almost two months to choose Korol as the candidate, and it took the
parliament twenty minutes to turn him down.

The circus the lawmakers made of an important issue revealed a very
regrettable fact: representatives of the so-called “political elite” do not
care much for this country and its national interests and are unable to
adequately assess and neutralize internal and external threats to its
national security.

The people that claim to be the political elite have a rather primitive way
of thinking and utilitarian interests. To them, even real threats to
national security mean less than the fight against their opponents.

Rounding up their Thursday session, the lawmakers adopted a statement,
urging the European Union to give Ukraine a clear signal on the prospects
of membership in the new EU-Ukraine agreement. Isn’t that a farce?
———————————————————————————————

LINK: http://www.mirror-weekly.com/ie/show/636/55971/
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
16.    UKRAINE’S COMMUNISTS ASSAIL U.S. AMBASSADOR
                     TAYLOR FOR CRITICISM OF JUDICIARY

Interfax, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, February 26, 2007

KYIV – Ukraine’s Communist Party has assailed U.S. Ambassador
William  Taylor’s statement  on  the  need  to  change Ukraine’s judiciary
as interference in the country’s internal affairs.

“These  assertions  by an American official have nothing to do with
the U.S.  Department  of State or Mr. Taylor’s concern about the defense
of Ukrainian  citizens’  rights,  and are a form of open pressure on the
country’s  judiciary,  and  on  the judges and the courts which disagree
with violations  of  Ukrainian  laws  and  of  investment obligations by
American companies,” the Communist Party said in a statement on
Monday.

The  Communist  Party said, however, that Ukraine’s judiciary is in
need of  an  immediate reform and that the positive practice of electing
judges must be restored.

Reforms  must  cover  the  entire law enforcement system which must
protect  ordinary  people,  not  the  group interests of businessmen and
politicians,” the statement says.                     -30-
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LINK: http://www.interfax.com/3/244571/news.aspx
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
17. RUSSIAN UNION OF FORMER CHILD PRISONERS FROM NAZI
     CONCENTRATION CAMPS ACCUSE UKRAINIAN POLITICIANS
    OF REWRITING HISTORY ABOUT GENOCIDE DURING FAMINE

Interfax Ukraine News, Moscow, Russia, Tue, February 20, 2007

MOSCOW – Ukrainian neo-nationalists are trying to re-write the history,
the Russian Union of Former Child Prisoners from Nazi Concentration
Camps (RSNBU) said in a statement on Tuesday

“The voices of the ideological successors to the Organization of Ukrainian
Nationalists and the Ukrainian Rebellion Army (OUN-UPA) have become
louder recently as they bid to falsify history, to turn two brotherly
nations, Russia and Ukraine, into foes.

Russia, for instance, is publicly accused of the genocide of the Ukrainian
people, during the Famine in 1932-1933,” the statement says.

A number of Ukrainian politicians are trying to use an old thesis about
premeditated genocide, which first appeared during the Cold War among
Ukrainian nationalists who fled abroad, it says.

“The famine spread throughout the Soviet Union, millions of Russians
and other Soviets fell victim to it. The population of Ukrainian towns
had bread and other food supplied from Russia, Polish and Bulgarian
villages,” it says.

“The RSNBU considers the attempts by some Ukrainian politicians to
rehabilitate OUN-UPA nationalists to be unacceptable and blasphemous.

These are murderers who fought on the same side as Nazi Germany and
are responsible for killing millions of people. It is a fact that Ukrainian
nationalists were part of the SS divisions and the notorious Nachtigal
battalion,” the statement says.

“We know what fascism is, and how people suffer from it. That is why
we demand condemnation of the attempts by some Ukrainian politicians
to whitewash the crimes of the Ukrainian nationalists against mankind,
and to use the 1932-33 tragedy as a political tool,” it says.   -30-
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18.   HIGHEST U.N. COURT RULES SERBIA FAILED TO
                        PREVENT GENOCIDE IN BOSNIA 

Associated Press, The Hague, Netherlands, Monday, Feb 26, 2007

THE HAGUE, Netherlands –The United Nations’ highest court on Monday
exonerated Serbia of direct responsibility for the mass slaughter of Bosnian
Muslims at Srebrenica during the 1992-95 Bosnia war, but ruled that it
failed to prevent genocide.

In a landmark judgment, the International Court of Justice said Serbia also
failed to comply with its obligations to punish those who carried out the
genocide in July 1995, and ordered Belgrade to hand over suspects for trial
by a separate U.N. court. However, it rejected Bosnia’s claim for monetary

reparations.

“Financial compensation is not the appropriate form of reparation for the
breach of the obligation to prevent genocide,” the judgment said.

The case before the International Court of Justice, also known as the World
Court, was the first time an entire nation was being held to judicial
account for the ultimate crime.

It specifically demanded that Serbia hand over for trial Gen. Ratko Mladic,
the general who oversaw the Bosnian Serb onslaught at Srebrenica, to the
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Serbia has said
it has been unable to arrest Mladic since his indictment 12 years ago.

Key to the court’s findings was its conclusion that no one in Serbia, or any
official organ of the state, could be shown to have had the deliberate
intention to “destroy in whole or in part” the Bosnian Muslim population – a
critical element in the 1948 Genocide Convention.

The judges found that Serbia, though it supported the Bosnian Serbs, fell
short of having effective control over the Bosnian army and the paramilitary
units that carried out the massacre.

It also rejected Bosnia’s argument that the accumulated pattern of
atrocities during the war, fueled by Serb nationalism and driven by Serbian
weapons and money, was tantamount to responsibility for genocide.

Unusually for such an important case, the judges were in accord, voting
overwhelmingly in unison on the various points of the decision with only one
or two dissenters.

By 13-2, the court found that Serbia had the power to foresee and prevent
the Srebrenica slaughter – the worst on European soil since World War II –
and failed to use it. By 14-1 – only the Serbian judge against – demanded
Mladic’s transfer.

The Serbian leaders “should have made the best effort within their power to
try and prevent the tragic events then taking shape,” in the U.N. enclave,
the scale of which “might have been surmised,” the ruling said.

In Bosnia, the clearing of Serbia of direct blame was met with anger.

“Shame on the people who reached such a verdict. How can they say not guilty
of genocide when there are photos, video footage. They are again torturing
our people, these mothers,” said Zinaida Mujic, representative of Mothers of
Srebrenica association, who lost two sons in the war.

In Brussels, Friso Roscam Abbing, EU Commission spokesman, urged both

sides to respect the judgment “to ensure justice and enable reconciliation to
start.” The European Union has made Serbia’s hopes for membership
conditional on its cooperation in handing over Mladic and other fugitives.

Reading a summary of the ruling for nearly three hours, court president
Judge Rosalyn Higgins said it had been clear in Belgrade there was a serious
risk of a massive slaughter in Srebrenica, when some 7,000 Bosnian Muslims
were killed.

But Serbia “has not shown that it took any initiative to prevent what
happened or any action on its part to avert the atrocities which were being
committed,” said the judgment.

Serbia’s claim that it was powerless to prevent the massacres “hardly
tallies with their known influence” over the Bosnian Serb army, said the
ruling by the court, also known as the World Court.

As she continued reading parts of the book-length judgment, Judge Higgins
said the tribunal relied heavily on the findings of the U.N. war crimes
tribunal for Yugoslavia, which has convicted two Bosnian Serb army officers
on genocide-related charges for the deliberate slaughter of more than 7,000
Bosnian Muslims at the U.N.-protected enclave.

“The acts committed at Srebrenica … were committed with the specific
intent to destroy in part the group of the Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina as
such, and accordingly … these were acts of genocide” committed by Bosnian
Serb forces, the judgment said.

In a key ruling at the outset, Higgins rejected Serbia’s argument that the
court had no jurisdiction in the case. It said the former Yugoslavia had the
obligation to abide by the 1948 Genocide Convention throughout the war, even
though its membership in the United Nations had been suspended in 1992. The
World Court can only adjudicate disputes among U.N. member states.

Bosnia submitted its genocide case to the court in 1993. Since then, the
Yugoslavia tribunal, which judges individuals accused of war crimes and
crimes against humanity, has sentence two Bosnian Serb army officers for
complicity in genocide or aiding and abetting genocide at Srebrenica.

Then-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic also was brought to trial on
genocide charges but died in the U.N. jail in The Hague last March, just
weeks before his four-year-long trial was due to end.
————————————————————————————–
                                    WHAT IS GENOCIDE?
The text of the definition of genocide cited in Article 2 of the Convention
on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted by the
U.N. General Assembly in 1948:
In the present convention, genocide means any of the following acts
committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical,
racial or religious group, as such:
Killing members of the group;
Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring
about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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19.    INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE RULES SERBIAN

                       NATION DID NOT COMMIT GENOCIDE

Reuters, The Hague, Monday, February 26, 2007

THE HAGUE – The top U.N. court ruled on Monday that Serbia did not

commit genocide through the killing that ravaged Bosnia during the 1992-95
war, but said Serbia had failed in its obligation to prevent and punish
genocide.

The International Court of Justice President Judge Rosalyn Higgins said:
“The court finds by 13 votes to 2 that Serbia has not committed genocide.”

This is the first time a state has been on trial for genocide, outlawed in a
U.N. convention in 1948 after the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews.

Although the killing of 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men in Srebrenica did
constitute genocide, Serbia was not responsible and was not complicit

in the massacre, Judge Higgins said.

Here are the highlights of the court’s ruling:

“Serbia has not committed genocide, through its organs or persons whose

acts engage its responsibility under customary international law;

“Serbia has not conspired to commit genocide, nor incited the commission

of genocide;

“Serbia has not been complicit in genocide, in violation of its obligations
under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of
Genocide;

“Serbia has violated the obligation to prevent genocide, under the
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,

in respect of the genocide that occurred in Srebrenica in July 1995;

“Serbia has violated its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention
and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide by having failed to transfer Ratko
Mladic, indicted for genocide and complicity in genocide, for trial by the
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and thus having
failed fully to cooperate with that Tribunal;

“Serbia shall immediately take effective steps to ensure full compliance
with its obligation … to transfer individuals accused of genocide or any
of those other acts for trial by the International Criminal Tribunal for the
former Yugoslavia, and to cooperate fully with that Tribunal;

“The case is not one in which an order for payment of compensation, or …

a direction to provide assurances and guarantees of non-repetition, would
be appropriate.”                                 -30-
———————————————————————————————-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
20.                    THE GENOCIDE CONVENTION
                                         
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) News
Canada’s national public broadcaster.
Toronto, Canada, September 18, 2006

                WHAT IS THE GENOCIDE CONVENTION?
Officially called the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of
the Crime of Genocide,” it was passed by the United Nations General
Assembly in December 1948 and came into effect in January 1951.

The convention says that “genocide, whether committed in time of peace
or in time of war is a crime under international law” which the parties to
the convention “undertake to punish and prevent.”

It defines genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole
or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” by:
Killing members of the group.

Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group.

Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring
about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.

Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

How did the term “genocide” come about?

The Genocide Convention came about largely through the efforts of one
man, Raphael Lemkin. Lemkin is also credited with coining the term
“genocide.” Lemkin was a Polish Jew who first began to warn the world
about Adolf Hitler’s plans to attack Jews in Europe as early as 1933.

He was largely ignored and in 1939, after the Nazis invaded Poland, he
was forced to flee to the United States. When he tried to warn U.S.
government officials about the Holocaust he was again ignored, with
officials maintaining that his claims of what was happening in German-
occupied Europe were “rumours.”

Then Lemkin was inspired by a speech by British Prime Minister Winston
Churchill that described what Germany was doing in Europe as “a crime
without a name.”

In 1944, he published a long, scholarly account of what was then known
about the Holocaust, including copies of Hitler’s anti-Jewish decrees. It
was called Axis Rule.

In the book Lemkin introduced a new word “genocide” describing a crime
that went beyond murder to the annihilation of a people.

Within a week of publication of the book, the Roosevelt administration
released a statement that it now had evidence to “substantiate” the facts of
the Holocaust. Then the news media plucked the term “genocide” from the
book reviews and began using it in news coverage.
                         THE GENOCIDE CONVENTION
In the years after the Second World War, the new United Nations began work
to update what are called “the laws and customs of war.” While negotiators
worked to update the Geneva Conventions that set the rules for warfare,
Lemkin began a major lobbying effort at the UN to create a law that would
outlaw – if not prevent – new attempts to wipe out a people.

A year after the war, in December 1946, and after a debate over whether to
use the narrow term “extermination” or Lemkin’s wider “genocide,” the UN
passed a resolution calling for a new convention, and the secretary general
asked Lemkin to write the first draft.

It took almost two years of debate for the United Nations to agree on a
definition, but on Dec. 9, 1948, before the Cold War began to split the
organization, the General Assembly unanimously adopted the Genocide
Convention.

Lemkin then turned his energy to making sure that the convention was
ratified. By Oct. 16, 1950, 20 countries had ratified and the Genocide
Convention became international law. Canada ratified the convention on
Jan. 12, 1951.

There was one key exception. The United States initially refused to ratify
the convention, arguing, as it does now against the International Criminal
Court, that it might be unfairly used to target Americans.

The convention fell off the American agenda until one senator, William
Proxmire, pushed over the years to have it ratified. He made 3,211
speeches before he was partially successful.

One reason the convention was ratified by the Americans was that then
president Ronald Reagan was embarrassed by the controversy over his
visit to a German war cemetery that contained the remains of members
of the Waffen SS; after the visit the Reagan administration pushed the
ratification to mollify critics.

The U.S. Senate finally ratified the convention in 1986, 40 years after it
was first drafted, but, as Samantha Power says in her book The Problem
from Hell, it was “so laden with caveats that it carried next to no force,”
restrictions pushed by conservative senators such as Jesse Helms, Orrin
Hatch and Richard Lugar. It officially became U.S. law in November 1988.
ENFORCING THE CONVENTION FROM SADDAM TO SUDAN
So far, the Genocide Convention has had the opposite effect to what Lemkin
intended. Power and other critics point out the convention does not give
governments the numbers of dead or displaced required to constitute
genocide, so they have used the wording of the convention to avoid enforcing
it.

The slaughter in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge had occurred before the
U.S. ratified the convention, but a year after the ratification, in March
1987, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein began a campaign against the Kurds, which

included poison gas attacks and the displacement of thousands.

Although the United States now calls the campaign genocide, it didn’t at the
time because officially there was not enough proof that Saddam was
committing genocide against the Kurds.

The U.S. and other nations used similar arguments in both Rwanda and
Bosnia, saying there was not enough information, or that what was going
on did not fit the legal definition of genocide.

The Clinton administration, which was wary of intervention after the
collapse of the U.S. mission in Somalia, had a deliberate policy of avoiding
use of the term genocide in references to Rwanda, even though 800,000
people were killed in the first 100 days of the civil war.

On Sept. 2, 1998, a Rwandan mayor, Jean-Paul Akayesu, became the first
man convicted of genocide by an international tribunal for directing and
inciting local mobs to rape and murder Tutsis. Even in that case, there were
legal arguments whether or not what happened in Rwanda was genocide.

The tribunal eventually ruled that any “stable group” that was targeted
could be subject to genocide, a definition that did not satisfy most critics
even though it did narrow the options for politicians who wanted to avoid
using the term.
                       WILL DARFUR BE DIFFERENT?
On Sept. 9, 2004, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared before
the Senate foreign relations committee to testify about the killing and
displacement of people in the western region of Sudan known as Darfur.

Powell told the senators that an investigation by U.S. officials had found a
“pattern of atrocities: Killings, rapes, burning of villages committed by
Jinjaweed [militias] and government forces against non-Arab villagers.
[were] a co-ordinated effort, not just random violence.”

He then said “the evidence leads us to the conclusion, the United States to
the conclusion, that genocide has occurred and may still be occurring in
Darfur.”

Powell went on to say: “So let us not be too preoccupied with this
designation. These people are in desperate need and we must help them.

Call it civil war, call it ethnic cleansing, call it genocide, call it ‘none
of the above.’ The reality is the same. There are people in Darfur who
desperately need the help of the international community.”

But Powell did not offer intervention by the United States, which may not
be possible with much of the U.S. army tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan,
saying “no new action is dictated by this determination. We have been
doing everything we can to get the Sudanese government to act
responsibly.”

He then said it was up to the African Union to intervene in Darfur and
provide enough troops to monitor the situation.                -30-
————————————————————————————————
LINK: http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/sudan/genocide-convention.html
————————————————————————————————
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21. UKRAINIAN MUSEUM IN NEW YORK SAYS ‘RUSSIAN’ ARTISTS
      MALEVICH, ARCHIPENKO, & RODCHENKO WERE UKRAINIAN

By Carolyn Weaver, Voice Of America (VOA)
New York City, NY, Monday, 19 February 2007

Some of modern art’s great innovators, including Kazimir Malevich, Alexander
Archipenko and Alexander Rodchenko, are usually described as Russian
artists. But these painters and sculptors were actually born or raised in
Ukraine, and thought of themselves as Ukrainian.

Their mislabeling is a lingering result of decades of Soviet repression of
Ukrainian culture. Crossroads: Modernism in Ukraine, 1910-1930, on view at
The Ukrainian Museum in New York City, is one attempt to correct the record.

When you think of Ukrainian art, works of folk religious art may come to
mind: naïve paintings and rough-hewn sculptures of Christian saints and
angels, of Christ and the Madonna. A roomful of such works, many of them
from the private collection of Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko, is one
of two exhibits now on display at The Ukrainian Museum in New York.

The Museum’s other current exhibit, of Ukrainian modernist art from
1910-1930, is at first glance, radically different. But as museum director
Maria Shust says, a closer look shows the imprint of Ukrainian folk art on
the modernists.

“You can see how that [folk] work influenced this,” she said in a recent
interview. “The strong sense of colors, the flatness of the surfaces, but
also the deepness of the spirituality.”

The show recovers the overlooked Ukrainian heritage of some modernist
masters, including Kazimir Malevich, a pioneer of abstract painting. He’s
represented by two works in the show. Shust said that Malevich was the one
of the first painters to use geometric shapes alone in his work – shapes
that aren’t meant to represent particular objects in the natural world.

Those images may have been partly inspired, she said, by the geometric
abstractions of Ukrainian folk embroidery, and by the simple shapes of
village life: a church cross, white-washed houses, the square black opening
of a stove.

Like Malevich, Alexandra Exter, Alexander Archipenko and other
Ukrainian-born or bred artists are often lumped in with Russian artists of
the time.

Yet they were born or raised in Ukraine, where early in the 20th century,
Kyiv, Kharkiv and other cities were centers of innovation in painting,
theater, sculpture and other arts. Ukrainian artists were at the forefront
of international modernist art movements such as Cubism and Futurism.

That ended with Stalin. In the 1930s, Ukrainian nationalism and language
were forbidden. Only “heroic realism,” propagandistic art in service to the
Soviet state, was permitted. All else, including abstract art, was
considered decadent, subversive.

“Most of the intelligentsia during this period was eliminated,” Shust said.
“They were sent to gulags, they were executed. Others were stopped. Others
were just forced to change the way they created.”

Some artists fled to Paris and other cities in the West. The Soviet
government confiscated 2,000 modernist works in Ukraine. Only about 300
survive today.

Crossroads: Modernism in Ukraine, 1910-1930, features more than 70 such
works, including many not previously seen outside Ukraine. It opened last
year at the Chicago Cultural Center and is on view in New York at The
Ukrainian Museum until April 29.                          -30-
————————————————————————————————
LINK: http://www.voanews.com/english/2007-02-19-voa46.cfm
————————————————————————————————
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
22.    UKRAINE AND GERMANY TO COMPILE WORLD WAR II
                 SOVIET AND GERMAN CAPTIVES DATABASE

UKRINFORM, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, February 25, 2007

KYIV – The German “Saxon Memorials” association representatives will visit
Ukraine in order to discuss with the Security Service issues related to
preparation of joint scientific works and perspectives for cooperation in
documents searching on German prisoners of war.

As the SSU (Security Service of Ukraine) press-center told UKRINFORM, the
SSU archive officials are cooperating with German counterparts in technical
documentation treatment and restoration, which are being kept in the SSU
state archive, regarding the Soviet and German captives, and those interned
during the World War II, as well as burial places.

In particular, an electronic Soviet prisoners of war database is being
compiled, it is composed of data about 9 thousand persons.

The materials have been used by the “Saxon Memorials” association in
compiling a single database on the Soviet captives on the basis of the
archival documents of German and Russian national archives, as well as
archives of the “FSB” (Federal Security Service of Russia Federation) and
the “KGB” (State Security Agency) of the Republic of Belarus, with whom

the relevant agreements were signed.                      -30-
————————————————————————————————
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