Daily Archives: March 15, 2007

AUR#824 Mar 15 Seven Billionaires; Local Newspaper Closed; Human Rights; Black PR; Tightrope; Millions Died Plus Gold, Silver, Diamonds & Antiquities Pillaged

                 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       

Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor, SigmaBleyzer

               –——-  INDEX OF ARTICLES  ——–
            Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
   Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
Edited by Luisa Kroll and Allison Fass
Forbes Magazine, New York, New York, March 8, 2007

By John Marone, Kyiv Post News Editor
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Mar 14 2007

         Closure of independent weekly Dzerzhinets in the central Ukrainian
          city of Dneprodzerzhynsk and the harassment of its editor-in-chief.
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
New York, New York, Wed, March 14, 2007

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices  – 2006
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C., Tue, March 6, 2007

Catherine Belton in London, Roman Olearchyk in Kiev and
David Ibison in Stockholm, The Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Wednesday, March 14, 2007

By Geoffrey Smith, The Wall Street Journal
New York, New York, Wednesday, March 14, 2007

                         HIS EU AMBITIONS FOR UKRAINE
By Roman Olearchyk in Kiev, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Thursday, March 15 2007


                               PRIORITIES UNCHANGED 
UT1 TV, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1715 gmt 14 Mar 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Wed, Mar 14, 2007


AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Mar 09, 2007

Paul Ames, AP Worldstream, Brussels, Belgium, Mar 08, 2007

Interfax-AVN, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 12, 2007

Polish News Bulletin, Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, Mar 15, 2007

By A. Bo., Les Echos, France, Wed, Mar 14, 2007

AFX Europe (Focus), London, UK, Wed, Mar 14, 2007

MarketWatch, London, UK, Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Czech News Agency, Prague, Czech Republic, Wed, Mar 14, 2007


Polish News Bulletin, Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, March 11, 2007


Mara D. Bellaby, AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Wed, Mar 14, 2007

Interfax news agency, Moscow, in Russian 1610 gmt 13 Mar 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tuesday, Mar 13, 2007

          Ukraine’s military technology integration into NATO has begun
Americans want Ukraine to join NATO and host missile defense elements
RBC Daily, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 14, 2007

21.                         PENTAGON HEADS FOR KIEV
                     US Primes Europe for Missile Defense System
COMMENTARY: By Nikolai Filchenko
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 15, 2007
22.                  THE CIS CHAMPION OF DEMOCRACY
           Ukraine Walks the Tightrope between Moscow and the West
POINT OF VIEW: By Gennady Sysoyev
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 15, 2007
23.                    WHY IS UKRAINE FIGHTING RUSSIA?
      Ukraine’s parliament passed a law on the famine of the 1930s, which
       it has interpreted as a Soviet genocide against the Ukrainian people.
OPINION & ANALYSIS: By Zakhar Vinogradov
RIA Novosti Commentator in Kiev
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Sunday, March 11, 2007
24.                      THE ORANGE ON THE OFFENSIVE
             The opposition provokes a parliamentary crisis in Ukraine
COMMENTARY: By Vladimir Solovyev
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 14, 2007
NTN, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1700 gmt 14 Mar 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Wed, Mar 14, 2007
MARA D. BELLABY, AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Wed, Mar 14, 2007
One Plus One TV, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1730 gmt 14 Mar 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Wed, Mar 14, 2007
By David R. Sands, The Washington Times
Washington, D.C., Friday, March 2, 2007
                             DIAMONDS AND ANTIQUITIES
        Holodomor was also a large scale and effective pillage of people
By Oleh Nadosha and Volodymyr Honsky (in Ukrainian),
Ukrayinska Pravda on line, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, January 5, 2007
Published by the Ukrainian Genocide Journal 
Issue Two, Article One (in English)
Washington, D.C., Sunday, March 11, 2007
LETTER-TO-THE-EDITOR: From: Stepan Speight Komarnyckyj
Ukrainian Genocide Petition in the United Kingdom
Ukrainian Genocide Journal, Issue Two, Article Seven
Washington, D.C., Sunday, March 11, 2007

Report Edited by Luisa Kroll and Allison Fass
Forbes Magazine, New York, New York, March 8, 2007

RANK           NAME            COUNTRY       AGE        BILLIONS

  214       Rinat Akhmetov         Ukraine           40              4.0
  323       Victor Pinchuk           Ukraine           46              2.8
  488       Serhiy Taruta              Ukraine           52              2.0
  488      Vitaliy Hayduk             Ukraine           49              2.0
  799      Ihor Kolomoyskyy      Ukraine           NA             1.2
  799      Henadiy Boholyubov   Ukraine           45              1.2
  891      Kostyantin Zhevago     Ukraine           33              1.0

It has been a busy year for Forbes’ team of fortune hunters. Strong equity
markets combined with rising real estate values and commodity prices

pushed up fortunes from Mumbai to Madrid.

Forbes pinned down a record 946 billionaires. There were 178 newcomers,
including 19 Russians, 14 Indians, 13 Chinese and 10 Spaniards, as well as
the first billionaires from Cyprus, Oman, Romania and Serbia.

Ingenuity, not industry, is the common characteristic; these folks made
money in everything from media and real estate to coffee, dumplings and
ethanol. Two-thirds of last year’s billionaires are richer. Only 17% are
poorer, including 32 who fell below the billion-dollar mark. The
billionaires’ combined net worth climbed by $900 billion to $3.5 trillion.
That equates to $3.6 billion apiece.

The average billionaire is 62 years old, two years younger than in 2005.
This year’s new billionaires are seven years younger than that. Of list
members’ fortunes, 60% made theirs from scratch.

Within the ranks are simmering rivalries. Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the
world’s richest man for 13 years, and his pal Warren Buffett, who holds the
No. 2 spot despite enormous charitable donations, are quickly losing ground
to Mexico’s most-monied man, Carlos Slim Helú.

Helú’s net worth is up an astonishing $19 billion this year–the single
biggest one-year gain in a decade–and is now just $7 billion shy of Gates
and $3 billion less than Buffett.

In Europe, Russia’s mostly young, self-made tycoons are catching up to
Germany’s often-aging heirs and heiresses. Russia now has 53 billionaires

(2 shy of Germany’s total), but they are worth $282 billion ($37 billion
more than Germany’s richest).

After a 20-year reign, Japan is no longer Asia’s top spot for billionaires:
India has 36, worth a total of $191 billion, followed by Japan with 24,
worth a combined $64 billion.

India’s rich are also marching toward the top of our rankings. Brothers
Mukesh and Anil Ambani, who split up their family’s conglomerate in 2005,
join Lakshmi Mittal, who heads the world’s biggest steel company, Arcelor
Mittal, among the world’s 20 wealthiest. India now has three in the upper
echelons, second only to the U.S………..              -30-

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

By John Marone, Kyiv Post News Editor
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Mar 14 2007

A ranking of the world’s richest individuals published by Forbes magazine
has apparently undervalued the assets of Ukraine’s wealthiest tycoon, Rinat
Akhmetov, by about threefold.

The US-based business magazine Forbes has included seven Ukrainian
billionaires in its annual list of the “World’s Richest People” for 2007 –
four more than last year – but at least one of them, the country’s
wealthiest person, has had his fortune seriously underestimated.

Last week, Forbes rated 40-year-old Donetsk tycoon Rinat Akhmetov, a
member of Ukraine’s parliament, 214th in its list of 946 billionaires,
estimating his net value at around $4 billion.

For comparison, Microsoft founder Bill Gates topped the Forbes list with
$56 billion, and Russia’s Roman Abramovich came in 16th place with $18.7

To the seven Ukrainian billionaires listed by the US-based magazine, there
were 19 Russians.

However, Kyiv-based analysts say the influential industrialist from Donetsk,
who boasts significant interests in metals, mining, energy,
telecommunications, food processing and even his own top-ranked football
team, is worth as much as three times more than Forbes gave him credit for.

“All our numbers are based on a snapshot of balance sheets taken on Feb. 9,
the day we locked in stock prices and exchange rates,” reported Forbes,
which boasts an international readership of 4.6 million.

Big Four international auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated the
consolidated assets of Akhmetov’s holding company, System Capital
Management, at $7.2 billion at the end of 2005.

Andriy Bespyatov, head of research at Kyiv-based investment bank Dragon
Capital, puts the figure now at almost $12 billion, based on the current
market value of Akhmetov’s assets, not all of which are traded publicly.

“We don’t know what kind of methodology Forbes used, but the figures
were greatly deflated,” Bespyatov told the Post.

For its part, PricewaterhouseCoopers might have used the book value of
SCM to get its figure of $7.2 million, he said. PricewaterhouseCoopers’

Kyiv office declined the Post’s requests for commentary, citing client

Following Akhmetov in Forbes’ “Richest People” list was Viktor Pinchuk, who
placed 323rd with assets of $2.8 billion. Pinchuk, the son-in-law of former
President Leonid Kuchma, controls Dnipropetrovsk-based Interpipe, one of
Ukraine’s largest business holdings, in addition to significant assets in
media, machine building and agriculture.

Bespyatov said Forbes’ estimation of Pinchuk’s wealth was more or less
correct, as were those of Ukraine’s third and fourth richest individuals:
CEO of the Industrial Union of Donbass, Serhiy Taruta, and National Security
and Defense Council Secretary Vitaliy Hayduk, also co-founder of the
industrial holding.

Forbes said both are tied for 488th place with an estimated $2 billion in
assets. Pinchuk’s spokesperson, Nikita Poturaev, declined to confirm or
deny Forbes’ estimate of his boss’ monetary value, adding only that “we
were very honored to have been included in the rating of such a prestigious

The fifth and sixth richest Ukrainians, according to Forbes, were the
co-owner of the so-called Privat business group (in Dnipropetrovsk) Ihor
Kolomoysky, at position 799th with $1.2 billion in estimated assets, and a
major shareholder in leading Ukrainian bank Privatbank, Hennadiy Bogolubov,
thought to be worth the same. Like their wealthier co-patriots, both control
a diversified business holding with assets in various sectors.

Dragon’s Bespyatov said the evaluations of Kolomoysky and industrialist
Kostyantin Zhevago, who placed last among Ukraine’s rich and 891st overall
with $1 billion in assets, were also distorted, but not as much as with

The Privat empire includes lucrative holdings in oil, chemicals, machine
building, metallurgy and finance, while Zhevago, at only 33 years of age, is
known for his mining, automobile, pharmaceuticals and banking interests.

In Forbes’ 2006 “World’s Richest People,” Akhmetov’s worth was estimated
at $1.7 billion, or $700,000 less and 191 places lower than in the previous

In the U.S. magazine’s 2006 list, Zhevago, Bogolubov, Kolomoysky and
Hayduk didn’t appear at all.                             -30-
LINK: http://www.kyivpost.com/nation/26283/

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
         Closure of independent weekly Dzerzhinets in the central Ukrainian
          city of Dneprodzerzhynsk and the harassment of its editor-in-chief.

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
New York, New York, Wed, March 14, 2007

NEW YORK – The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the
closure of independent weekly Dzerzhinets in the central Ukrainian city
of Dneprodzerzhynsk and the harassment of its editor-in-chief.

Dzerzhinets was closed on January 30, after the Zavodskoi civil district
court convicted the paper of defamation and incitement of religious and
national hatred.

Founder and Editor-in-chief Margarita Zakora said the decision is related to
the paper’s highly critical articles about local businessmen and officials
that revealed corruption in the city.

According to Zakora, authorities have tried to prevent her from launching a
defense or filing an appeal by not informing her of court dates and blocking
her access to case files. Zakora said she received a notice informing her of
an appeal court session scheduled for January 30-three days after it

A week before, the same court ordered the seizure of property belonging to
the journalist and the paper, and the payment of 140,660 hryvnias
(US$29,071) in defamation damages to a local police chief for articles
accusing him of corruption and intentionally violating the city’s laws.

This court session was also held without Zakora’s knowledge; she was
informed of the decision January 31, when she found court notices stuck to
her front door.

Authorities have refused Zakora’s appeal, saying the time limit has passed.
Zakora maintains she could not meet the deadline because she received the
court’s notification too late.

“The closure of Dzerzhinets comes at the end of a seriously flawed judicial
process which has denied our colleague Margarita Zakora the right to answer
her accusers,” Executive Director Joel Simon said.

“The paper Dzerzhinets must be allowed to appeal this verdict, which should
be overturned. We also call on local police to investigate the attacks on
Zakora and guarantee her safety.”

On July 12, pornographic cartoons of the journalist were pasted on the walls
of her office building, the local library, and other public places.

Dzerzhinets reporter Nadezhda Kuznetsova also received the cartoons and a
copy of the paper by mail, which she turned over to the local prosecutor’s

On June 17, 2006 an unidentified gunman fired into her apartment window,
days after the paper carried a letter to the editor critical of local
businessmen. Police had opened a criminal investigation, but no arrests were
made.                                               -30-
Committee to Protect Journalists, E-mail: info@cpj.org
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


Country Reports on Human Rights Practices  – 2006
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C., Tue, March 6, 2007

Ukraine, which has a population of slightly less than 47 million, is a
republic with a mixed presidential and parliamentary system, governed by a
directly elected president and a unicameral Verkhovna Rada (parliament) that
selects a prime minister. Verkhovna Rada elections were held on March 26.

According to international observers, fundamental civil and political rights
were respected during the campaign, enabling voters to freely express their

The opposition Party of Regions won a plurality of the vote, formed a ruling
coalition, and established a government. Civilian authorities generally
maintained effective control of the security forces.
[1] Problems with the police and the penal system remained some of the

most serious human rights concerns. Problems included torture in pretrial
detention facilities; wrongful confinement in psychiatric hospitals; harsh
conditions in prisons and pretrial detention facilities; and arbitrary and
lengthy pretrial detention.
[2] There was also continued violent hazing of conscripts and government
monitoring of private communications and movements of individuals
without judicial oversight.
[3] Slow restitution of religious property continued.
[4] There was societal violence against Jews and anti-Semitic publications
were a problem.
[5] There were serious incidents of refoulement – the forcible return of
persons to a country where they feared persecution. Refugees were
abused at detention facilities.
[6] Serious corruption in all branches of government and the military
services also continued.
[7] Trends of violence and discrimination against children and women,
including sexual harassment in the workplace and trafficking in persons
remained concerns.
[8] Frequent police and societal harassment of minorities, particularly
Roma and dark-skinned persons, remained a problem.
[9] Violence against dark-skinned persons was a growing problem in
the last half of the year.
[10] Inadequate labor legislation permitted both government and
companies to limit the ability of workers to form and join unions of
their choice and to bargain collectively.

During the year the government made several improvements in its human

rights performance. The elections for the Verkhovna Rada in March
were the freest in the country’s 15 years of independence and the media
continued to consolidate post-Orange Revolution gains in freedom of
speech and expression.                        -30-
For full Ukraine country report, see:
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Catherine Belton in London, Roman Olearchyk in Kiev and
David Ibison in Stockholm, The Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Telenor, the Norwegian mobile telecommunications company, has accused
Altimo, the telecoms arm of Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s Alfa
Group,of running a “black PR” campaign against it in Ukraine.

In documents presented to a US arbitration panel yesterday, Telenor alleged
Altimo had paid Ukrainian journalists to discredit it and hired “false
experts” to undermine it in public, among other things.

The allegations represent a serious escalation in a long-simmering dispute
between the two companies over their shareholdings in Russian mobile
operator Vimpelcom and Ukraine-based Kyivstar.

Altimo responded yesterday with a sharply worded statement saying Telenor
was distributing “forged documents”. Telenor said it received the documents
from a “friendly source”but did not offer further details.

The dispute has spilled onto the streets of Kiev in recent weeks. Numerous
billboards have appeared in prominent places in the capital displaying the
slogan “Norwegians! Respect Ukrainian Laws!”

Telenor sought to escalate the pressure on Altimo further yesterday by
issuing a statement asking if the Russian company’s advisory board backed
the alleged “black PR” campaign.

Members of Altimo’s advisory board include Lord Hurd, former UK
foreign secretary, Sir Roderick Lyne, former British ambassador to Russia
and Sir Julian Horne-Smith, former deputy chief executive of Vodafone.

“The campaign was intended to incriminate the reputation of all Norwegian
citizens in Ukraine,” Telenor said in a statement yesterday.

There had been hopes recently of a rapprochement between the two after
Altimo said it was prepared to swap its 43.5 per cent stake in Kyivstar for
Telenor’s 26.6 per cent stake in Vimpelcom. However, it is understood these
negotiations have now collapsed.

Aside from the “black PR” allegations, Telenoralso filed a complaint
yesterday in the US District Court of New York against Altimo claiming it
was in contempt of an earlier US courtinjunction which banned Altimo from
engaging in further legal action in Kiev while arbitration proceedings
between Altimo and Telenor were ongoing.                  -30-

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

By Geoffrey Smith, The Wall Street Journal
New York, New York, Wednesday, March 14, 2007

MOSCOW — The long-running dispute between Russian conglomerate Alfa

Group and Norway’s telecommunications giant Telenor ASA over their joint
venture in Ukraine escalated yesterday when Telenor accused Alfa of
mounting an elaborate smear campaign in the Ukrainian media.

According to documents prepared for a New York arbitration panel by

Telenor, Altimo, Alfa’s telecom arm, paid more than $86,000 in February
alone for various acts of defamation.

Telenor said these included placing negative articles in the Ukrainian
press, orchestrating bogus “round tables” of public figures condemning
Telenor and Norway in general, and placing banner advertisements on streets
in central Kiev with the message “Norwegians, Respect Ukrainian Law!”

Altimo denied the allegations and accused Telenor of slandering it in turn.
“The forged documents presented [by Telenor] are a routine bad-faith attempt
to disinform society about Altimo’s activities, intended to damage the
business reputation of our company,” it said.

The accusations are the latest move in an acrimonious conflict between
Telenor and Alfa, a vast financial-to-telecom conglomerate controlled by
Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman.

Both are shareholders in OAO Vimpel Communications, one of Russia’s largest
cellphone operators, and Kyivstar, a Ukrainian mobile provider, and have
been vying for control of the two companies in a struggle marked by multiple
lawsuits and frequent boardroom battles.

Telenor owns 56.5% of Kyivstar, Ukraine’s largest mobile-phone operator by
subscribers. Altimo owns the other 43.5% through a subsidiary, Storm.

The two had cooperated for years on developing both Kyivstar and VimpelCom,
in which Alfa holds just under 40%, and Telenor 27%. But relations soured in
recent years as differences over the strategic development of the two
companies became irreconcilable.

Yesterday, Telenor asked a New York court to hold Altimo in contempt for
trying to derail the arbitration of their Kyivstar dispute.

Telenor said Alfa had filed three new suits in Ukrainian courts this year,
aiming to prevent Kyivstar’s 2006 results from being audited. It argued this
violated a December ruling prohibiting Alfa or its subsidiaries from taking
such action.

Telenor started arbitration proceedings with the New York Federal District
Court in February 2006 in response to what it perceived as efforts by Altimo
representatives on the Kyivstar board to block decisions by boycotting board

Altimo Vice President Kirill Babayev said in an email the company “fully
respects the New York Federal Court and has never violated any of its
decisions or rulings.” He called Telenor’s accusation “yet another PR stunt”
to distract attention from its legal defeats in the Ukrainian courts.   -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

                        HIS EU AMBITIONS FOR UKRAINE

By Roman Olearchyk in Kiev, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Thursday, March 15 2007

KIEV – Faced with political gridlock at home, Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine’s
pro-western president, will today row back on previous calls for speedy
membership of the European Union.

In a speech in Denmark this evening, Mr Yushchenko is set to call for a
fresh start in relations between Kiev and the EU, where opposition towards
the eastward expansion of the bloc has been rising.

“Membership of the European Union remains our ultimate goal, but is not an
end in itself,” Mr Yushchenko said in statement released ahead of the visit.

Ukraine’s desire to meet the criteria for EU membership “is driven primarily
by an internal desire to create a stable, prosperous and democratic
society”, he said.

But he added: “We therefore need to focus on the substance of reform and
integration and not become pre-occupied with the end point. If we get the
substance right, the rest will take care of itself. This will be the basis
for a breakthrough in the Ukraine-EU agenda.”

This evening he is ex-pected to call for the establishment of a special
panel of EU officials that could help steer Kiev towards western standards
of democracy, prosperity and eventual membership within a decade.

The policy shift will be viewed as an attempt by the embattled president to
shed his reputation as a “Euro-romantic” – a charge levelled at Mr
Yushchenko by Viktor Yanukovich, prime minister, who is seen by many as
pursuing pro-Russian policies.

Mr Yanukovich, who lost the 2004 presidential elections to Mr Yushchenko,
made a remarkable comeback last summer, emerging as head of government

after inconclusive elections. Since then the two bitter rivals from the 2004
pro-democracy “Orange Revolution” have been locked in a bitter power
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
    NOTE: Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.

                              PRIORITIES UNCHANGED 

UT1 TV, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1715 gmt 14 Mar 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Wed, Mar 14, 2007

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has said that his country’s foreign
policy priorities have not changed despite his differences with the
government because these priorities are clearly set out in the constitution
and do not depend on personalities.

Speaking in a prerecorded interview broadcast by two Ukrainian TV channels
on 14 March, Yushchenko said: “Undoubtedly, the foreign policy priorities of
the nation have not changed. They are stipulated in the constitution.

They are stipulated in the law – in particular, in the law on the main
principles of defence and security policy. These are laws that provide for
our integration into continental policy. And it goes without saying that the
foundations of that policy have no personified nature.”

Yushchenko criticized Finance Minister Mykola Azarov for making public
statements on US plans to deploy elements of a missile defence system in
Central Europe, saying Azarov was not in a position to comment on an issue
clearly outside his remit.

Speaking about the missile defence system, Yushchenko warned against hasty
conclusions. He added that Ukraine should respect its neighbours’ choice.

“It is a state’s right to develop its defence policy or to take integrated
part in the development of defence policy,” Yushchenko said. “Why should
Ukraine judge a nation or people for taking a correct decision, plainly

[1] First, we should clearly separate strategic threats from issues of a
regional defence initiative.

[2] Second, we should receive the clearly stated positions of the countries
that will host those means so we could show respect for their interests.
This is quite important. Neither of the countries has given an official
reply, therefore, excuse me, it is not appropriate now in Kiev to stir up
the issue of our attitude.

Frankly, I would like to recommend that no such steps be made on behalf of
the authorities until the stage of negotiations and consultations has been
passed and until this issue has been formally put to consideration and a
formal decision has been taken.”

He defended his choice of foreign minister, Volodymyr Ohryzko, whose
candidacy has been rejected by parliament. Yushchenko described him as a
career diplomat with a good professional record and reputation.

He added: “Why not Ohryzko? It this at variance with the constitution or the
law? Finally, is this in breach of moral, ethical or specialist
requirements? Why not Ohryzko?

The president of Ukraine will never be a source of instability in this
country, but as regards the games being played on the field pertaining
exclusively to the president’s remit, I would like to state once again that
the president will always have a final say on these issues.”

Speaking about negotiations on a new accord with the EU, he said Ukraine is
not insisting on having a specific date for its EU membership, but it wants
the EU to clearly state a European prospect for his country.

“We are not talking about a calendar date,” Yushchenko said. “It is
extremely important for Ukraine to secure something else – a beacon that
determines Ukraine’s European prospect.”

He added: “The main thing for Ukrainians, in my view, is understanding that
the answer as to when Ukraine will be in the European Union largely depends
on ourselves.”

Yushchenko also defended his pro-NATO stance, saying that Ukraine’s
involvement in a collective European security system was a major safeguard
of Ukrainian sovereignty and independence.

“I am an ardent proponent of forming real foundations of Ukrainian national
independence,” he said, suggesting that NATO could provide those.

“What model of security is capable of defending Ukrainian sovereignty in the
best way?” he asked rhetorically, recalling the NATO experience of Ukraine’s
Central European neighbours.

“I am a proponent of a collective model of defence and security in the
interests of both Ukraine and other European countries,” Yushchenko said.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Mar 09, 2007

KIEV – President Viktor Yushchenko appealed to this ex-Soviet republic’s
political parties to do more to ensure that Ukraine makes it into the
European Union during their political careers.

Yushchenko’s call came amid disappointing results in talks with the EU,
which has agreed to work toward closer political and economic ties with the
nation of 47 million, but stopped short of recognizing it as a future
candidate for membership.

Both Yushchenko and the more Russian-leaning Prime Minister Viktor
Yanukovych have declared EU membership a strategic goal – rare common

ground for the often feuding duo who share power.

In the past two weeks, Yanukovych traveled to Berlin and Yushchenko to
Brussels to push for more recognition from the EU; both declared their
visits a success, but returned home without promises of future membership.

“Our national idea is a European Ukraine,” Yushchenko told a crowd of
political supporters as he laid flowers at a monument to the revered
national poet Taras Shevchenko on the 193rd anniversary of his birth.

Yushchenko said he was convinced that Ukraine would join European

structures someday, saying he had “no doubt.”

“But I would very much like for it to be done by this generation of
politicians,” he said. “This is something we must talk about very clearly,
distinctly and constantly.”
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Paul Ames, AP Worldstream, Brussels, Belgium, Mar 08, 2007

BRUSSELS – EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana stressed on Thursday

that political and economic reform in Ukraine are essential for the stability of
the country, where the pro-Western president is locked in a power struggle
with a government led by his Russian-leading rival.

“I hope very much that the process of political reform and economic reform
will continue, that will be very important also for the bilateral relations
with the European Union,” Javier Solana told reporters after meeting with
President Viktor Yushchenko.

The president was forced into a power-sharing arrangement with his rival,
Viktor Yanukovych, who became prime minister after elections last year.

Yanukovych’s coalition has trimmed back Yushchenko’s authority and sought

to counter the president’s strongly pro-Western push in foreign policy.

He has put Ukraine’s move toward NATO membership on hold and forced the
ouster of the pro-Western foreign minister.

Last week, parliament – dominated by Yanukovych’s party – refused to endorse
the president’s new nominee for the post, causing concern in Brussels about
the stability of a neighbor that is becoming increasingly important as a
transit route for Western Europe’s oil and gas supplies from Russia and the
Caspian region.

Solana said the EU wanted to deepen relations with Ukraine but stressed, “we
would like to see the Ukrainian government, the Ukrainian political
structures to be as stable as possible and as constructive as possible.”

Ukraine and the EU launched negotiations on Monday for an agreement to
cement closer economic and political ties, but upset Yushchenko’s supporters
by stopping short of the former Soviet republic’s appeals to be recognized
as a candidate for membership in the European bloc.

Yushchenko said he hoped that position might evolve during the negotiations.
He was in Brussels to attend a meeting of center-right political leaders
from across Europe ahead of an EU summit focusing on the environment and
energy security.

Ukraine is a key transit country for oil and gas supplies to the EU from
Russia, and the EU is keen to develop further links to alternative fuel
suppliers around the Caspian Sea to help reduce the bloc’s dependence on
imports from Russia.

The EU is hoping Ukraine will agree to extend a 670-kilometer (410-mile)
pipeline from Odessa on the Black Sea to a Polish refinery in the city of
Plock so it can bring Caspian oil to the west. However officials from
Yanukovych’s government have expressed doubts about the project.

On a visit to Poland on Wednesday, Yushchenko said the pipeline project was
“one of the biggest projects discussed in Eastern Europe,” and a big chance
for Ukraine to develop economically and increase its position in Europe.

The EU on Wednesday announced a A494 million (US$647 million) aid

package for Ukraine over the next four years, substantially increasing annual

The assistance will focus on strengthening “good governance and democratic
institutions, bringing Ukrainian legislation and standards closer to those
of the EU and supporting cooperation in key sectors such as energy,
transport and the environment,” the EU said in a statement.    -30-

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Interfax-AVN, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 12, 2007

KYIV –  The majority of Ukrainians are against their country’s
proposed entry to NATO, with the number of those opposed
up 4.1% in the past six months, General Director of FOM-Ukraine
Oleksandr Bukhalov told a news conference at the Interfax-Ukraine
headquarters in Kyiv on Monday.

According to FOM-Ukraine polls, the proportion of the population
opposed to Ukraine joining NATO grew to 64.1% in February, up
from 61.8% in November and from 60% in August, he said.

The proportion of those wishing Ukraine to join NATO was 19.1%
in February, up from 17.8% in November, but down from 19.2% in
August, he said.

The percentage of those undecided fell to 14.3% in February from
18.7% in August.

The proportion of those who want Ukraine to stay out of any military
alliance fell to 45.9% in February, down from 50% in August, and the
proportion of those taking the opposite view rose to 29.4% from
23.8% over the same period.

The company polled 2,000 people older than 18 in 160 cities, towns
and villages and said the margin of error was 2.2%.         -30-

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Polish News Bulletin, Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, Mar 15, 2007

WARSAW – A further two foreign companies will debut on the Warsaw Stock
Exchange (WSE) in the first half of the year, said the WSE president Ludwik

“Orco is close to its debut. A Ukrainian firm from the food sector Kreatiw
is working on its prospectus as well. Its offering should be conducted by
the end of June,” Sobolewski said.

Orco Property Group, a property developer registered in Luxembourg, wants to
acquire at least EUR100m from shares it will offer in Warsaw and Budapest.
The company is listed in Paris and Prague already. Its capitalisation
currently amounts to around EUR1bn.

According to Sobolewski, at least sixty companies could make their debuts on
the WSE this year, compared to thirty-eight in 2006. The WSE is actively
looking for firms willing to enter the Polish capital market abroad.

It is currently taking part in the Poland Expo Kazakhstan 2007 fair, which
is an opportunity to talk to representatives of seventy Kazakh companies.

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By A. Bo., Les Echos, France, Wed, Mar 14, 2007

FRANCE – French retail giant Auchan yesterday announced a triple partnership
agreement in Ukraine with Furshet, the country’s second largest supermarket
group. First, it will acquire a 20 per cent stake in Furshet, and then the
pair will set up two separate companies.

One will be charged with developing the Auchan brand in Ukraine, while the
other will develop shopping centres based around hypermarkets. Learning from
its mistakes in Morocco, Auchan will have respective controlling stakes of
66 and 50 per cent in these two companies.

Furshet turned over approximately 370m euros last year, an increase of 41
per cent on 2005. Its founder, Igor Balenko, will remain at the helm.  -30-

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AFX Europe (Focus), London, UK, Wed, Mar 14, 2007

LONDON – Ukraine should raise its domestic energy prices to help maintain
its infrastructure, primarily the crucial pipeline that links Russia with
western Europe, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today.

“The leverage Ukraine has on transit is weakening,” the IEA’s executive
director Claude Mandil told delegates at a ‘Ukrainian Energy Summit’
conference in London.

Ukraine plays a major role in securing Europe’s energy needs, taking more
than 80 pct of cheap Russian gas supplies to Europe via pipeline. It also
hosts major oil transit routes.

Mandil suggested Ukraine, which he noted was the “most energy intensive
country in the world,” should raise internal prices in order to improve
transit infrastructure.

Prices are so low in the gas, coal, electricity and heating sectors that
maintenance costs are not even covered. “The only sector where prices

cover costs is in oil and oil products,” he explained.

Despite some rises, low tariffs are also plaguing the industry as they lead
to a shortage of investment, said the official. Further, low tariffs run the
risk of re-nationalisation, as the government would be able to buy back
companies it sold off, which could hinder competition.

Mandil also urged Ukraine to focus on transparency issues, as data from

the Eastern European country is questionable.
He said some of Ukraine’s energy data is “extremely poor,” and there is
“huge scope for improvement,” in setting market regulations.

However, a Ukrainian consultancy — Troika — said domestic utility tariffs
surged 87 pct year-on-year in 2006, as the government adjusted them to
higher gas prices.                                  -30-

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MarketWatch, London, UK, Tuesday, March 13, 2007

LONDON – Ukraine’s CJSC Ukrgazenergo is in talks with Western banks
to raise $1.3 billion in loans and is also in discussions to acquire power-
generation assets in countries to the southwest of the former Soviet
the company’s chairman said Tuesday.

Ukrgazenergo, a natural gas distribution company, is a 50-50 joint venture
between Ukrainian state utility Naftogaz and RosUkrEnergo AG. RosUkrEnergo,
a joint-venture between OAO Gazprom and businessman Dmitry Firtash, has a
monopoly on the sale of gas to Ukraine following a controversial agreement
in early 2006.

Speaking in an interview, Ukrgazenergo Chairman Igor Voronin said the $1.3
billion in loans would finance the acquisition of 10 billion cubic meters of
gas for storage to face a peak of consumption during the year.

In the interview, he said the company was in talks with Credit Suisse Group,
ABN Amro Holding NV , Morgan Stanley, WestLB AG, Raiffeisen and Merrill

Some $400 million in loans last year was raised with OTP Bank Rt.,
Raiffeisen and Alfa Bank, he added.

Voronin also said the company is in talks to acquire power-generation
infrastructure both in Ukraine and abroad, seeking to seize opportunities on
“undervalued” assets.

He said assets bought abroad wouldn’t use any of its gas. The chairman said
the company is buying its gas at $130 per 1,000 cubic meters and selling it
at $140. After general expenses, taxes and interests on its debt, it still
generates a small profit, he said.

In a statement distributed to the press Tuesday, Ukrgazenergo said it
generated UAH1.01 billion (UAH1=$0.2) in earnings before tax for 2006 on
revenue of about UAH16.8 billion.

For 2007, the company is contracted to import a minimum of 55 billion cubic
meters and could buy up to 62 billion cubic meters, which compares with 34
billion cubic meters last year.

The RosUkrEnergo agreement giving it the monopoly of gas imports to Ukraine
has been criticized for its opacity. But Voronin said the accusations
“suggesting corruption or criminal behavior … have no basis.”

“Nobody can give an example in how (the agreement) is not transparent,” he
said, insisting the terms of the contracts have been disclosed.

Voronin said his own company, Ukrgazenergo, expects to pay the equivalent

of $2 billion in taxes to the Ukrainian government in 2007, or 10% of the
national budget, compared to $800 million, or 3% of the national budget, in

Asked if he was concerned that Gazprom could decide to sell directly to
Ukrainian customers, Ukrgazenergo’s Chairman said “Why? Do they want to sell
cheaper? I am sure Gazprom understands the various problems of bilateral
Russian-Ukrainian relations,” he added.                    -30-

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Czech News Agency, Prague, Czech Republic, Wed, Mar 14, 2007

BRATISLAVA – Slovakia will meet the EU conditions concerning its border

with Ukraine by June, Interior Minister Robert Kalinak told journalists today.
“We do not accept any variant other than that we will be prepared (in
June),” Kalinak said.

The Slovak-Ukrainian border is to become an external border of the broadened
Schengen area as of next year. A EU assessment commission will arrive in
Slovakia in late June to check the security of the border with Ukraine.

The government of PM Robert Fico today agreed on an action plan according

to which Slovakia would join the Schengen area.

Kalinak said the plan was a reaction to last year’s critical comments about
Slovakia not being sufficiently prepared for Schengen. Kalinak said that a
new Slovak-Ukrainian border crossing in Vysne Nemecke would be opened

by June.

However, first EU commission will come to Slovakia in late March to assess
the country’s preparedness in the area of personal data protection. In
September, the commission is to check the protection of Slovak air borders.

Originally, Slovakia and other countries that joined the EU in 2004 were to
join the new police database, the Schengen information system, called SIS

However, in view of the delay in the development of SIS II Portugal’s
proposal was finally approved to expand the operating SIS I database to
include the new EU countries.                             -30-

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Polish News Bulletin, Warsaw, Poland, Sunday, March 11, 2007

WARSAW – After months of difficult negotiations with Ukraine, the

embargo on Polish meat has been lifted. However, for most Polish meat
producers exporting to Ukraine is unprofitable.

“Hardly anybody exports. Some companies try to form business contacts, but
exporting is unprofitable at the moment,” said Witold Choinski, head of the
Association of Meat Producers, Exporters and Importers.

Depending on the product, the duty ranges from 0.6 to 0.8 percent of the
price plus EUR1 per kilo. However, it cannot be lower than 10 percent. “We
are now checking whether other countries are obliged to pay the same rates,”
said Choinski. The entrepreneurs suspect that the meat from Germany may be
transported to Ukraine via Russia.

The rates would have to fall by at least 50 percent with slightly higher
prices if exports were to be profitable. “We are still negotiating, hoping
that something may change. So far, we have exported successfully to South
Korea, Japan and Hongkong,” said Maciej Duda from PKM Duda.

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Mara D. Bellaby, AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Wed, Mar 14, 2007

KIEV – A senior U.S. general said Wednesday that the Pentagon’s planned
missile defense system in Europe would be useless against Russia’s vast
arsenal of warheads, and expressed hope that Moscow’s opposition to the
initiative would eventually soften.

Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, spoke
during a two-day visit to Ukraine to explain U.S. plans to put a radar
system in the Czech Republic and a missile interceptor site in Poland to
guard against potential attacks from Iran, a project that has angered Russia
and received a mixed reaction in this ex-Soviet republic.

“We are talking about no more than 10 interceptors,” Obering told
journalists. “They would have no effect against hundreds of missiles and
thousands of warheads that the Russians have. … They are not even in a
proper position if we were concerned about Russian missiles.”

Pro-Russian protesters interrupted a news briefing by Obering, chanting:
“Yankee, go home” until they were forcibly dragged out by security guards.

“I’m very glad to see that democracy is alive and well” in Ukraine, Obering
said after the brief disruption. Asked if he’d seen such opposition anywhere
else, he quipped: “Only in my own country.”

There are no plans to put any part of the missile defense system in Ukraine
– a move that would enrage Russia – but U.S. officials have said that
Ukrainian industry might be invited to cooperate on the military project.

Ukraine’s pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko has strongly hinted that
he backs the plan, saying that it would help create a unified defense system
for Europe. “We are talking about Ukraine’s solidarity with countries that
are developing a defense policy. It’s not a policy of conflict,”

Yushchenko later told Ukraine’s ICTV and state television in an interview.
“Why should Ukraine condemn a nation for taking the right decision?”

But the more Russian-leaning Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych warned that
deploying such a system near Ukraine’s western borders could harm Ukraine’s
relations with its neighbors.

Under the constitution, the president controls foreign policy, but
Yanukovych has taken a bigger role in all foreign policy decisions.
Ukraine’s government has said it would only give a formal opinion after it
learns more.

A major concern has been the potential for missile or interceptor components
to land on Ukrainian territory, causing injuries here.

Obering said the interception process releases a “tremendous amount of
energy .. destroying almost the entire warhead and interceptor. That is why
we want to use this ‘hit to kill’ technology.”

He said that an Iranian missile could fly over Ukrainian or Russian
territory, but that debris from a destroyed missile “will not fall on
Ukraine or Russian territory.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he does not trust U.S. claims that
the missile defense sites were targeted at a potential Iranian missile
threat and has warned that Moscow could be forced to take countermeasures.

Obering said that Russia has been invited to visit interceptor sites in the
United States, and if the host European countries agreed, “we would extend
that invitation to those sites in Europe.”

“I hope that our ongoing engagement with the Russians will hopefully
mitigate some of their concerns,” he said. “They will be understanding that
these sites in no way represent a threat to them.”

Obering said the missile plan also includes a mobile radar site that would
have to be located closer to Iran, but he said because the defense system
wouldn’t be operational for another four to five years, there is time to
decide where to locate that.

He said that no countries in the Caucasus – three ex-Soviet republics in
which Russia and the West are vying for influence – had been asked to
participate.                                      -30-
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Interfax news agency, Moscow, in Russian 1610 gmt 13 Mar 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tuesday, Mar 13, 2007

MOSCOW – The leadership of the Federation Council Defence and Security
Committee is critical of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko’s statement
supporting the deployment of sections of the US missile defence system in
the Czech Republic and Poland.

“The creation in Poland and the Czech republic of US bases of the missile
defence system does not promote peace or enhance security in Europe, not to
mention the development of good-neighbourly relations.

This is obvious to any unbiased military expert,” Vasiliy Klyuchenok, first
deputy chairman of the Federation Council Defence and Security Committee,
told Interfax-AVN today.

In his view, “the creation throughout the world of US bases of the missile
defence system meets US aspirations to achieving global superiority”.

“Under the cover of fighting terrorism and ensuring protection against
nonexistent missile threats, the USA is doing all that it can to ensure its
absolute dominance in the world. And it is a great pity that such a simple
truth is not perceived by the leaders of some neighbouring counties of
ours,” Klyuchenok said.

Another deputy chairman of the upper house’s Defence and Security Committee,
Adm Vyacheslav Popov, described Viktor Yushchenko’s statement as
“counterproductive and short-sighted”.

“Today’s statement by the Ukrainian president supporting proposals to
station parts of the US missile defence system in the Czech Republic and
Poland shows that Yushchenko personally, in order to please the USA, is
ready to support any initiative by Washington,” Popov said.

The senator emphasized that “the statement shows that the Ukrainian
president is still taking its lead from the aggressive US foreign policy and
is ready to support any US initiatives”.

“I would not be surprised if Yushchenko wanted to see components of the
third positioning area of the missile defence system in Ukraine too. But he
will hardly get support from the Ukrainian people,” Vyacheslav Popov said.

“The USA has always pursued, above all, its own imperial interest and it
does not care about the interests of Ukraine. It has simply used, once
again, the voice of the Ukrainian president to achieve its goals in the
confrontation with Russia,” he said.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said today that the deployment of
parts of the US missile defence system in the Czech Republic and Poland
would meet the interests of entire Europe.

“If the interests of each country are protected, if we have a means of
defence, then the interests of peaceful coexistence will only win from
this,” he told the Vesti-24 TV channel.                    -30-

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             Ukraine’s military technology integration into NATO has begun
     Americans want Ukraine to join NATO and host missile defense elements

RBC Daily, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko joined in Europe’s
arguments over missile defense yesterday – siding with Washington,
of course. Yushchenko became the second politician (after Czech
lawmaker Liubomir Zaoralec) to effectively admit that the US missile
defense shield in Eastern Europe is meant for a war with Russia.

Yushchenko let this be understood in an interview with
EuroNews, placing the missile defense system in the context of US-
Russian relations: “In order to talk clearly about this issue, we
should take a stand based on Ukraine’s national interests. The
answer to this question can be formulated in two dimensions.

Firstly, American-Russian bilateral relations, which I don’t wish to
comment on at present. And then there are issues of a European
nature – a collective nature, I would say.” Yushchenko called on
Western Europe to set aside its doubts and follow the Czech Republic
and Poland in closing ranks beneath Washington’s anti-missile
umbrella. In commenting on Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych’s
negative reaction to the deployment of missile defense elements in
Europe, Yushchenko described it as “sending the wrong message.”

It’s worth noting a recent statement made by NATO Secretary-
General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, concerning deployment of tactical
missiles in south-eastern Europe, which allegedly isn’t covered by
the Czech-Polish missile shield. Experts believe that these missiles
may be installed in Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey. But Scheffer
didn’t specify a timeframe. Meanwhile, the US House of
Representatives voted on March 7 to pass a bill in support of NATO
membership for a number of countries, including Georgia and Ukraine.

The question of Georgia is already settled: there’s talk of
membership in 2009. Ukraine’s membership, as Scheffer noted in
February, is also planned for 2009 – but everything depends on the
endurance of Yanukovych, with the United States backing the
Yushchenko-Tymoshenko alliance to oppose him. Although Yanukovych
controls the economy, he is clearly losing on the media front. The
Orange forces are hoping to get his Cabinet dismissed by May.

Yushchenko dismissed his advisor, Yuri Lutsenko, yesterday in order
to give him time to organize anti-government demonstrations in May.
Lutsenko has already established the People’s Self-Defense
organization for that purpose.

If Yanukovych is dismissed, Ukraine’s accession to NATO in 2009
would become more than likely – and so would the prospect of Ukraine
hosting American missile defense elements. Some American missile
defense experts arrived in Ukraine yesterday. The delegation is led
by Henry Obering, head of the US Missile Defense Agency.

The official purpose of the visit is to inform Ukrainian leaders of
plans concerning the Czech Republic and Poland. For some reason,
however, the Americans will mostly be meeting with Ukrainian Defense
Ministry generals, who already support all US and NATO proposals.

Obering’s delegation includes his deputy, Patrick O’Reilly, who
recently spoke of Ukraine and the Trans-Caucasus being included in
the American missile defense zone.

Ukrainian Communist Party leader Petr Simonenko: “I think the
American delegation is made up of monitors and inspectors. They
won’t be explaining the missile defense deployment plans for Europe.

They will be checking Ukraine’s compliance with terms set in secret
agreements with the United States. This strategy is aimed at 2008-
09.” Soviet-era missile attack warning stations at Mukachevo and
Sevastopol in Ukraine may be converted to American missile defense
elements in future. (Translated by Elena Leonova)

LINK: http://www.rbcdaily.ru/
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21.                    PENTAGON HEADS FOR KIEV
                    US Primes Europe for Missile Defense System

COMMENTARY: By Nikolai Filchenko
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 15, 2007

Yesterday an American delegation headed by US Ballistic Missile Defense
Agency director Lieutenant General Henry Obering arrived in Kiev, where the
Pentagon’s representatives and the Ukrainian authorities were due to discuss
plans to expand America’s ballistic missile defense system into Poland and
the Czech Republic.

In the face of the increasing number of opponents that the idea is facing,
including much of Western Europe, Washington has clearly decided to
attempt to placate the naysayers by sending General Obering in to do some

The Pentagon delegation’s visit to Ukraine was organized on the initiative
of the American side. In Kiev, the meetings lasted from early in the morning
until late in the evening and included talks with Defense Minister Vitaly
Gaiduk, presidential advisor Vladimir Gorbulin, deputies from the Upper Rada
(the Ukrainian parliament), and representatives from the Ukrainian Foreign

On the request of the Americans, the meetings were held behind closed doors,
with General Obering appearing in public only at a final press conference to
discuss what brought him to Kiev and the talks that he had with Ukrainian
military and government officials.

According to General Obering, the American anti-missile facilities that may
soon be installed in Poland and the Czech Republic are necessary only to
neutralize the threats posed by Iran and North Korea. He insisted that these
facilities are not a threat to Russia and that the US has no plans to
establish a similar system in Ukraine or the countries of the Caucasus.

“We are talking about no more than ten interceptors,” Obering assured
journalists, adding, ”They would have no effect against the hundreds of
missiles and thousands of warheads that the Russians have. .They are not
even in the proper position if we were concerned about Russian missiles.”

General Obering’s placatory speech was briefly interrupted by four activists
from the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine (PSPU), who chanted “Yankee,
go home” and waved banners featuring anti-NATO and anti-American slogans
before being subdued by security guards and ejected from the room.

Several journalists were briefly involved in the scuffle, as was Ukrainian
Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Deshchetsa, who managed to rip a banner
from the hands of one of the protestors.

In response to the incident, General Obering observed, “I am very glad to
see that democracy is alive and well” in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, a demonstration was taking place on the street outside the
building, where about 50 PSPU activists chanted “We’re not Yankees, we’re
Slavs, and our brothers are the Russians” and carried signs reading “No to
American missile defenses in Europe,” “No to pro-NATO plans in Ukraine,”
and “Ukraine against NATO.”

The antics of the PSPU activists were unlikely to puncture the mood for
Washington’s emissaries, who were being handled with utmost care by
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko.

Eager to make General Obering feel welcome in Kiev, President Yushchenko
argued in an interview with Euronews the day before the American delegation
arrived that the idea of Poland and the Czech Republic hosting elements of
the US missile defense shield in is in Europe’s best interest.

“We are talking about the installation of components that are defensive in
nature and that will serve the interests not only of Poland and the Czech
Republic but of Europe as a whole,” he said, adding that “the development of
a collective model is always better than the development of a bipolar system
of confrontation.”

Mr. Yushchenko’s sanguine outlook is not shared by Ukrainian Prime Minister
Viktor Yanukovych, who has long criticized Washington’s plans to expand the
shield in Europe, but the prime minister’s opposition gave the president no
pause. President Yushchenko dismissed Mr. Yanukovych’s fears, calling his
position an incorrect signal.

“My main point is this: Europeans should rest assured that not a single
democratic victory of the Orange Revolution will be ceded or ruined,”
promised the president.

Incidentally, there were some signs of rapport between Yushchenko and
Yanukovych yesterday that could facilitate the hammering out of a unified
position for Kiev on the issue of the missile defense system: during a
meeting yesterday evening, the two Ukrainian leaders finally agreed on a
candidate for foreign minister, a question on which Viktor Yanukovych has
been stonewalling all progress for the past several months.

This is a positive signal for the West, which has been quietly confused
about whom to carry on talks with, given that Ukraine’s two leaders hold
diametrically-opposed opinions on foreign policy.

“The visit by the Americans is an overture. Their plan is to at least test
the waters, to find out how the Ukrainian elite feels about the missile
defense system and to try to make sure that it does not come out against
[the system].

They need the Ukrainians to not destroy Eastern European solidarity on this
question,” said Vadim Karasev, the director of the Kiev Institute of Global
Strategy. “Right now the Ukrainian military is not unanimously opposed to
the missile shield, and that is significant,” he noted.

Henry Obering has every reason to believe that his visit to Kiev yesterday
was successful. Today General Obering heads for Germany, whose leadership
has been increasingly critical of the American plan to put its missile
shield in Eastern Europe without consulting all interested parties.

Recently German Chancellor Angela Merkel maintained that Washington should
take Russia’s opinion on the matter into account and mentioned that she
plans to bring up the subject during her visit to Warsaw on March 16-17: “I
think that we will discuss it there. .We, and I will say this in Poland,
prefer a solution within NATO and also an open discussion with Russia about

During his visit to Germany, General Obering plans to hold discussions with
German military officials and politicians similar to his talks with the
Ukrainian authorities, and he is sure to push Ukraine’s cautiously positive
outlook on the shield in hopes of convincing his German colleagues that
Washington’s plans involving Poland and the Czech Republic will not rupture
relations with Russia.                                 -30-
LINK: http://www.kommersant.com/p749972/US_Ukraine/
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               Ukraine Walks the Tightrope between Moscow and the West

POINT OF VIEW: By Gennady Sysoyev
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Ukraine authorities had to have guessed that the visit to Ukraine by
General Henry Obering, the head of the US Ballistic Missile Defense Agency,
would provoke at least some level of annoyance in Russia.

Moreover, taking into account that the general arrived in Kiev at the height
of a Russian-American war of words concerning the expansion of America’s
missile defense system into Poland and the Czech Republic, the fact that
Kiev not only allowed the overseer of the US missile defense system to visit
but even received him at a fairly high level of government was very annoying
indeed for Russia.

The actions of the Ukrainian authorities do have a certain logic of their
own: the ballyhoo surrounding the question of the expansion of the American
missile defense system in Europe gives Kiev a chance to stake out its own
foreign policy course, the idea of which boils down to a balancing act
between Moscow and the West.

Such a course was successfully charted by former Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma, who flirted with the West right up to a discussion of the advantages
for Ukraine of joining NATO, while all the while throwing adoring glances
over his shoulder at Russia.

This strategy brought more than a few dividends both for Mr. Kuchma
personally, who managed to stay at the top of the political heap, and for
Ukraine as a whole, which received cheap oil and gas from Russia while
simultaneously building a relationship with the EU and NATO.

After the triumph of the Orange Revolution in December 2004 and the coming
to power of the Yushchenko-Tymoshenko duo, Ukrainian foreign policy
began to list sharply in the direction of the West.

Eventually, however, the trend proved to be short-lived, and all Ukraine got
out of it was the title of “CIS Champion of Democracy” and a gas war with

The political pendulum in Ukraine is now swinging in the opposite direction.
Last spring Viktor Yanukovych, who since 2004 has reliably worn the label of
“pro-Moscow politician,” triumphantly returned to power when his party won
the parliamentary elections. Since then, observers both in Ukraine and
abroad have been talking about Kiev’s return to the bosom of Russia.

At the same time, however, both the “pro-Western” Yushchenko and the
“pro-Russian” Yanukovych understand that orienting themselves only towards
the East or towards the West is ultimately not beneficial either for
themselves or for their country, where each of them considers himself the
key figure.

Thus, immediately after assuming the position of prime minister, Viktor
Yanukovych conveniently forgot about his solemn pre-election oath to make
Russian the country’s second official language.

Then, during a visit to Brussels in September, he attempted to push through
EU financing for the construction of a trans-Caspian gas pipeline from
Azerbaijan to Western Europe that would bypass Russia entirely.

During his December trip to the US, he promised not to sell Ukraine’s gas
pipeline network to Moscow and lobbied for his country to join the WTO
before Russia.

Meanwhile, Viktor Yushchenko got busy making overtures to Russia by firing
his vehemently anti-Russian foreign minister, Boris Tarasyuk, and preparing
for an official visit to Russia.

So no matter who eventually becomes the top dog in Ukrainian politics, the
victor will unavoidably have to strive to balance his interests between
Russia and the West based on the price that they have to offer for various
concessions that Kiev could make. The American missile defense system will
raise the stakes to tempting heights.                         -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
    Ukraine’s parliament passed a law on the famine of the 1930s, which
       it has interpreted as a Soviet genocide against the Ukrainian people.

OPINION & ANALYSIS: By Zakhar Vinogradov
RIA Novosti Commentator in Kiev
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Sunday, March 11, 2007

MOSCOW – Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has once again
surprised Russia and other countries.

He recently unveiled a monument to Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko in
Tbilisi, capital of Georgia, signed several intergovernmental agreements
there, and announced his intention to establish a museum of the Soviet
occupation of Ukraine, like the one he visited in Tbilisi together with his
friend, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, and those in several Baltic

As usual, the Ukrainian and Georgian presidents said cynically that they
had nothing against Russia, and that the museums were only proof of their
countries’ respect for their past, for the elder generation victimized by
the Soviet regime.

Neither leader explained how they would separate the victimized Ukrainians
and Georgians from the Ukrainian and Georgian occupiers.

The picture has been complicated by the fact that millions of those who had
been considered occupiers one day became victims of Stalin’s regime the
day after.

The truth is that these official speeches are poor camouflage for ordinary

Attempts at political correctness made by Yushchenko and Saakashvili did
not sufficiently hide their anti-Russian sentiments. It is clear to everyone
that they have become friends because they hate Russia.

Yushchenko’s stance in this historical confrontation looks more vulnerable
and less consistent than the position of Saakashvili.

Under its current president, Ukraine is moving further away from its
neighbor and partner, Russia, contrary to economic logic and common

Some two months ago, Ukraine’s parliament passed a law on the famine

of the 1930s, which it has interpreted as a Soviet genocide against the
Ukrainian people.

These are the methods used by Yushchenko and his ideological comrades
to consolidate Ukraine.

Unfortunately, they are uniting the country not to tackle issues of social
and economic development of interest to both the eastern (pro-Russian)

and western (anti-Russian) parts of Ukraine, but to focus its attention on
negative issues, hunt down witches and stir up ghosts.

By doing this, Yushchenko is creating more problems for himself. Ukraine’s
parliament expressed its outrage at the famine in Ukraine in the 1930s, but
completely overlooked the hunger in Belarus and Russia.

Moreover, Ukrainian leaders are pretending not to remember that the famine
happened because of the policies pursued by Stalin, a Georgian by
nationality, and unnamed leaders of Ukraine.

In principle, the Ukrainian elite knows very well that its pseudo-historical
stand is vulnerable. But it is using it to hide its anti-Russian policies.

Russia, busy with its gas and oil projects, has chosen to disregard the new
ideological studies of its neighbors.

Its parliament seems not to notice the ideological tumor spreading through
the Commonwealth of Independent States, an ailing but still alive
organization bringing together 11 former Soviet republics.

As all of us who belong to the older generation were told in Soviet
universities, the viability of the superstructure depends on the foundation,
that is, on economic relations. Unfortunately, the superstructure (ideology)
is being turned into the foundation in some ex-Soviet countries.

Russia and Ukraine have more things uniting them than pushing them apart
economically. These ties do not just include Russian oil and gas supplied to
Ukraine, which it delivers to Europe. This makes our countries natural and
indivisible partners.

But the main thing is that Russians and Ukrainians have a common history,
which was both good and bad, and a common culture, which they
developed over centuries. And lastly, many Russian and Ukrainian families
are interrelated.

But Ukrainian politicians’ ideological confrontations with Russia, and
Russia’s apathy towards the issue, are making their people hostages to a
war against the ghosts of the past.

This is a perfect background for some Ukrainian political analysts, who
write in the press about choosing a specifically Ukrainian path towards
Europe, in the name of which Russia, once the closest and friendliest of
neighbors, is termed “the country of Russian imperialism.” They seem to
believe that if they want to become part of Europe, they should attack

A top official in Yushchenko’s administration recently told me that Ukraine
can become not only a gas transit but also a political corridor between
Russia and Western Europe.

This is a disputable idea, for Russia does not need intermediaries, but it
is quite new for Ukraine. Maybe Ukraine should use the available
foundation to rebuild its ideological superstructure of confrontation with
Russia into that of real partnership.

This idea has also been supported in the European Union, which Ukraine
wants to join so much.

Justas Paleckis, a Lithuanian member of the European Parliament who
attended meetings of the Ukraine-EU inter-parliamentary cooperation
committee, told the Ukrainian daily Den: “The main thing for Ukraine is to
have good relations with Russia. The European Union does not need
countries that have problems with their neighbors.”

Therefore, the war against the ghosts of the past is useless and even
harmful to Ukraine.

In the meantime, Yushchenko will be building his museum of Soviet
occupation, and maybe some time soon U.S. anti-ballistic missile
systems will be deployed near it. After all, what could be better than a
good neighbor?                                   -30-
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and do not
necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.
LINK: http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20070309/61773609.html

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
24.                 THE ORANGE ON THE OFFENSIVE
             The opposition provokes a parliamentary crisis in Ukraine

COMMENTARY: By Vladimir Solovyev
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Yulia Timoshenko Bloc and pro-presidential Our Ukraine factions declared
a boycott of sessions of the Ukrainian Supreme Rada yesterday. The Orange
forces are threatening not to return until the government of Prime Minister
Viktor Yanukovich meets their demands.

If the opposition does not fall victim to infighting and is able to continue
it offensive against Yanukovich, it will have a real chance of forcing early
parliamentary elections.

A real parliamentary crisis threatens in Ukraine, a year after parliamentary
elections. It was initiated by the Yulia Timoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine,
which agreed on February 24 to force the Yanukovich government out of office
and to hold early parliamentary elections.

More than 200 opposition members of parliament walked out of the parliament
yesterday and announced that they would not return to the Rada sessions.

Spokesmen for the two main Orange parties said that the radical step was
made necessary by the prime minister’s refusal to listen to the opposition’s

They were referring to a 17-item ultimatum signed recently by Yulia
Timoshenko and Our Ukraine faction leader Vyacheslav Kirilenko in the
presence of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and handed over to the
“anticrisis coalition” (a union of Yanukovich’s Party of the Regions, the
Socialist Party and the Communist Party).

The most radical demands by the opposition are:

   [1] the denunciation of the agreement for Ukraine’s entry into a
        single economic space with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan;
   [2] guaranteeing the president a key role in foreign policy;
   [3] dismissal of Interior Minister Vasily Tsushko and Prosecutor
        General Alexander Medvedko;
   [4] transfer of control over the internal forces from the Interior
        Ministry directly to the president; and
   [5] dissolving the contract with RosUkrEnergo in favor of direct
        agreements on natural gas supplies with Russia, Uzbekistan
        and Kazakhstan.

That was not the limit of the Orange appetite, however. The Timoshenko Bloc
and Our Ukraine hold that constitutional reform has led the country into
constitutional crisis and are, therefore, demanding that a commission be
formed to develop new changes to the country’s basic law.

In addition, they are urging Yanukovich and his associates to stop their
offensive against the Ukrainian language and to settle the crisis brought on
by growing utilities fees.

It would appear that the opposition was expecting from the beginning that
its demands would not be met. That is why they announced in advance that
there would be a parliamentary boycott if the anticrisis coalition did not
meet their demands.

Yanukovich met their expectations. He called their ultimatum “political
pandering” and “populism.” “That is the nature of their team,” Yanukovich
stated as he made it clear that he would not take heed of their demands.

“They have one goal: to receive power beyond the bounds of Ukrainian
legislation. They show their attitude toward the law at the same time. It is
nothing new for us.”

That was a call to action for the Timoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine. On the
command of the faction leaders, members of the factions gathered up their
things and walked out of the Supreme Rada. Yulia Timoshenko stated that the
parliamentarians would not return until the anticrisis coalition paid
attention to their demands.

“Today, everything is being dome to turn the parliament into a rubberstamp
machine that works only for the Viktor Yanukovich team. They want to draw
attention away from the constitutional crisis by offering the citizens draft
laws that do not in fact solve the problems.

They plan to throw the citizens a bone and make believe that all the issues
are settled,” Timoshenko stated, promising that “the band that is in power
in Ukraine will not rule.”

The mass Orange exodus from the parliament did not shut it down completely.
The anticrisis coalition controls 240 of 450 seats, which will allow it to
pass any law except constitutional amendments.

But it is not enough for the ruling majority to feel comfortable. Yushchenko
has already promised Timoshenko that he will veto any laws that do not suit
the united opposition.

Timoshenko has Yanukovich in a difficult position. Any decision that the
prime minister may put to the parliament can be blocked by the president at
the demand of the Timoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine. To overcome a
presidential veto, 300 votes are needed, which the anticrisis coalition does
not have.

Earlier, the ruling coalition had made behind-the-scenes agreements with the
Timoshenko Bloc to gather the votes to override vetoes, as occurred on
January 12 of this year, when Yushchenko’s veto of a law on the cabinet of
ministers was overridden with 366 votes. Now there is no one to make an
agreement with in the half-empty auditorium, and that means that all
legislation is under threat.

Yanukovich supporters are looking frantically for a way out of the
situation. Yesterday, one of the coalition leaders, speaker of the
parliament Alexander Moroz, stated openly that a constitutional majority may
be achieved with refugees from the Timoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine who
are dissatisfied with their leaders’ actions.

“When I talk about 300 people who will united with us, I have in mind the
sensible people who are tired of destructiveness and conflicts that do not
for society or the government or the parliament,” he said.

“After all those cataclysms, a significant part of the parliament members
will unite with us and work to change the constitution, among other things.”

The anticrisis coalition can count on a small influx into its ranks from
disappointed Orange MPs. But they are not likely to make a constitutional
majority. Analysts say that the speaker’s announcement should be taken as a
psychological attack on the opposition.

“Moroz’s statement was bravado, self-assurance and intimidation of the
opposition,” said Vadim Karasev, director of the Kiev Institute of Global
Strategy. “It is unrealistic that they will round up 300 votes. In a fight
like the one now, all refugees will be considered traitors.”

His efforts to frighten the opposition had consequence that Moroz did not
expect. The speaker’s readiness to accept all those dissatisfied with the
Timoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine into the anticrisis fold elicited a furious
reaction from the opposition. Timoshenko took the opportunity to accuse
Moroz of dirty politics.

“They are working very carefully with the MPs – scaring their children and
offering bribes. And they plan to round up 300 votes on that basis in order
to change the constitution and pass laws without a presidential veto. It is
practically a system for a coup d’etat.”

The Orange leaders do not hesitate to say that they will use their
unscheduled parliamentary vacation to stir up agitation in the regions and
urge the public to fight the authorities. The opposition’s mass offensive
against the Yanukovich regime is planned for May.

“We are preparing a mass protest action in Kiev for late spring. It will be
a spring freedom march! We are calling on all conscientious citizens of
Ukraine to take to the streets as a sign of protest against the policy of
the government and the anticrisis majority,” stated Rada member from Our
Ukraine Nikolay Katerinchuk.

“Our main goal is to install democratic authorities, conduct democratic
reforms and that is impossible under this constitution and this government
and that parliament. So there is only one choice – early parliamentary

Yushchenko is also preparing for the spring flare-up in the fight against
Yanukovich. In recent weeks, he has been traveling through Ukraine (he was
in Zhitomir Region yesterday) and is taking every chance to criticize his
opponent. Yesterday evening, Yushchenko also fired his adviser former
interior minister Yury Lutsenko.

After leaving his ministerial post, Lutsenko headed the pro-presidential
public Self-Defense movement and more recently has been working in the
presidential secretariat on new Orange political projects. Now, in the heat
of the standoff, he cane devote himself fully to politics.

The current aggressive opposition stance may guarantee them success. But for
that to happen, experts say, it is necessary for the Timoshenko Bloc and Our
Ukraine to support each other and to stand firm in their efforts to provoke
a parliamentary crisis. If that is so, the country can expect early
parliamentary elections.

“The parliament is becoming a less representational political institution
and has lost its meaning,” Karasev told Kommersant. “The parliament is
turning into an organ of three political forces: the Party of the Regions,
the Socialist Party and the Communist Party, that is, it is a parliament of
the east of the country.”

In that case, Karasev says, the constitutional crisis will turn into a
parliamentary crisis, leading to a possible of a governmental crisis and
more legal grounds to dissolve parliament and hold early elections.

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

NTN, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1700 gmt 14 Mar 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Wed, Mar 14, 2007

KIEV – [Presenter] The leaders of the country, the president [Viktor
Yushchenko], the prime minister [Viktor Yanukovych] and the parliament
speaker [Oleksandr Moroz], have again said that they have reached


They decided to return to implementing provisions of the national unity
declaration [signed before Yanukovych’s appointment last August]. They

also agreed to set up a national council for Ukraine’s strategic development.

The head of state said this while opening the meeting of the National
Security and Defence Council [today].

He also said that a working commission comprising MPs will soon start
working. It will be led by Yushchenko, Yanukovych and Moroz. The task of

the commission is to make the system of power well-balanced, in particular by
way of amending the constitution.

[Yushchenko] Today we discussed logistics to launch the commission’s work
and how it will formulate these proposals. The president will submit these
proposals to parliament.

This is a good road map which, in my view, gives an answer to key systemic
disbalances that are currently in place between the branches of power.

[Yanukovych] We believe that if there is economic growth, if the decisions
taken are implemented, I have in mind the budget amendments that have been
drafted, then the president has every ground not just to join this process
of improving the economy and stabilization but to lead it. This is his duty.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Mara D. Bellaby, AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Wed, Mar 14, 2007

KIEV – Ukraine’s feuding president and premier reached agreement

Wednesday to set up a commission tasked with resolving their ongoing
dispute over power in the ex-Soviet republic.

Pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko and the more Russian-leaning

Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko have been battling each other for
supremacy for much of the last six months – a tug-of-war that has at times
led to conflicting messages about Ukraine’s foreign and domestic policy

“We came to a joint conclusion that today all institutes of power must work
together for political and economic stability in our country,” Yanukovych
said after meeting with the president.

The commission will study ways to improve Ukraine’s system of government

and propose changes to its Constitution to clarify the division of power.

Yushchenko said that the two leaders and Parliament speaker Oleksandr

Moroz also will seek to identify national priorities they can work on together.

“There is an understanding that this is a really difficult process where we
need to have huge patience (and) an appreciation for national and state
priorities to avoid pointless conflict,” Yushchenko said.

The apparent breakthrough in the troubled relationship came after the two
top opposition parties –  both aligned with Yushchenko – walked out of
parliament Tuesday and refused to return in protest over the way they and
the president have been sidelined.

Yanukovych, who lost the 2004 presidential election to Yushchenko after
street protests known as the Orange Revolution, has had the upper hand

since his party put together a governing coalition last year.

But Yushchenko has increasingly chafed at his diminished role, and his new
alliance with former Orange Revolution ally Yulia Tymoshenko, whose party is
the biggest opposition bloc in parliament, gave him more strength to force
agreement from Yanukovych.

With Tymoshenko vowing to work together with Yushchenko’s party,
Yanukovych’s majority lacks the necessary 300 votes in the 450-seat
parliament to override presidential vetoes.

Yushchenko’s office said he and Yanukovych also reached agreement over

the question of naming the new foreign minister.

Last month, parliament rejected Yushchenko’s choice of career diplomat
Volodymyr Ohryzko to replace the ousted Borys Tarasyuk. Yanukovych’s party
had orchestrated the pro-Western Tarasyuk’s ouster, and it led opposition to

Yanukovych told Ukraine’s Interfax news agency that “we talked about us
supporting the candidate put forward by the president,” but he stopped short
of saying that meant the majority parliamentary coalition would approve
Ohryzko.                                        -30-

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

One Plus One TV, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1730 gmt 14 Mar 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Wed, Mar 14, 2007

KIEV – Ukrainian opposition leader Yuliya Tymoshenko has condemned the
agreement reached today between President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime
Minister Viktor Yanukovych to return to implementing the provisions of the
national unity declaration signed before Yanukovych’s appointment last
August and to set up a national council for Ukraine’s strategic development.

Speaking during a studio interview on One Plus One TV on 14 March,
Tymoshenko said, “It seems to me that while I was out of Kiev for half a
day, the criminal authorities have somehow confused Viktor Andriyovych’s
[Yushchenko] plans again and tried to draw him once more onto a road without
an end.

I am convinced that neither Yanukovych nor the parliamentary majority will
change their absolutely anti-Ukrainian intentions, or their social policy.”
Tymoshenko said she wanted to meet Yushchenko and hear his position first

She also said that regardless of the position of the president and his Our
Ukraine bloc, her force would continue to push the ruling coalition to
fulfil the united opposition’s 17-point ultimatum, which was approved by the
president earlier this week.

“Our strategic plans for defending Ukraine and defending the people are
unchanged, and whatever the format we have to do this in – in a coalition or
opposition forces or independently – we will do it,” she said.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

By David R. Sands, The Washington Times
Washington, D.C., Friday, March 2, 2007

Ukraine’s revived Orange Coalition will press for early elections in a bid
to halt Russia’s growing influence and control over the country’s vital
energy assets, opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko said in an interview

Mrs. Tymoshenko, a former prime minister and key figure in the pro-Western
Orange Revolution street protests of December 2004, said Ukraine’s
sovereignty and hopes for better relations with the West are in jeopardy if
the government of pro-Moscow Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych serves
out its full term to 2011.

“If this government is in power until then, there would be nothing left of a
democratic Ukraine,” she said, speaking through an interpreter with editors
and reporters at The Washington Times. “The territory would still exist, but
it would not be Ukraine any longer.”

Mrs. Tymoshenko’s party and the party of pro-Western President Viktor
Yushchenko signed a new deal over the weekend to cooperate in parliament,
seeking to end a disastrous feud among the Orange Revolution allies that
enabled Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Moscow party to reclaim power in August 2006.

Mrs. Tymoshenko, considered a front-runner among reformists for the 2009
presidential vote, said the reunited pro-reform parties will push for early
parliamentary elections, although the move faces both political and
constitutional hurdles.

On a high-profile U.S. visit that includes meetings with Vice President Dick
Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Mrs. Tymoshenko said the
United States must speak out for Ukraine despite a full foreign-policy plate
that includes Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and other pressing crises.

She noted there was “disillusionment” in Washington about backsliding in
Ukraine since her coalition was propelled to power in 2005 by a wave of
street protests that became known as the Orange Revolution because of the
orange flags and banners carried by the protesters.

But, she said, “a country as large and influential as your own has to lead
this kind of work. Your country does not have the right to be fatigued about
Ukraine’s future.”

Mr. Yanukovych, whose tainted win in the 2004 presidential election sparked
the Orange Revolution, has engineered an abrupt about-face in Ukrainian
policy since his political comeback last summer.

With a power base in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking east, the prime minister has
put a hold on Ukraine’s efforts to join NATO, dismissed Mr. Yushchenko’s
pro-Western foreign minister, and signed an accord tightly linking Ukraine’s
economy to those of Russia and Belarus.

The charismatic Mrs. Tymoshenko, sporting her trademark blonde braids, said
Mr. Yanukovych’s allies dominate the courts and key security ministries in

Rich eastern business clans from Mr. Yanukovych’s political base in Donetsk
are buying influence and lawmakers to keep him in power, she said.

Mr. Yanukovych’s party “is trying to buy deputies like chickens in a
bazaar,” she said, “and these politicians are allowing themselves to be

She was particularly scathing about the government’s energy concessions to
Moscow. She said Russia, through a shadowy Swiss-based intermediary company,
is in the process of locking up Ukraine’s oil, gas and electricity markets,
giving Russia a near-monopoly of energy supplies to much of Europe.

“Our new government and the Russian Federation are eating up the country’s
energy system like eating buns for breakfast,” she said. But she stressed
she did not consider herself an “enemy of Russia,” blaming instead Ukrainian
officials for failing the country’s basic economic and political interests.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “is doing his own thing,” she said. “It
isn’t that I don’t like Russia. Politics cannot be motivated by such
feelings. It’s simply that I love Ukraine,” she said.

Mrs. Tymoshenko acknowledged that she had moved too quickly in her short,
stormy first stint as prime minister. Mr. Yushchenko dismissed her after
just nine months in office in September 2005, and her tenure was marked by
numerous policy and personal clashes.

She said Mr. Yushchenko also had underestimated the power of entrenched
interests opposed to the Orange Revolution reforms. A series of
constitutional changes since 2004 have weakened the president’s power while
building up the prime minister.

She compared Ukraine in 2005 to a scuba diver trying to surface too quickly
after years in the stagnant political depths. “If I have a chance to have
the responsibility in the future, unfortunately the reforms will have to
come at a slower tempo, to make sure we do not get another case of the
bends,” she said.                                        -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                             DIAMONDS AND ANTIQUITIES
         Holodomor was also a large scale and effective pillage of people

By Oleh Nadosha and Volodymyr Honsky (in Ukrainian),
Ukrayinska Pravda on line, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, January 5, 2007
Published by the Ukrainian Genocide Journal 

Issue Two, Article One (in English)
Washington, D.C., Sunday, March 11, 2007
The official events to commemorate the victims of the Holodomor and
repressions are over. Viktor Yushchenko should get a lot of credit for his
commitment to the truth and determination to make his case in front of those
who are not aware of the full measure of the manmade famine in 1932-1933.

Such awareness-raising efforts should have been undertaken earlier and on
a larger scale. In my opinion, this year’s commemoration was the most
convincing, marking a watershed in the realization by Ukrainians of true
dimensions, causes and consequences of the Armageddon that struck
Ukraine in 1932-1933.

But: No matter what people are talking about, they are talking about money,
runs Murphy’s Rule 1.

It looks that only the horrors of the Holodomor can contradict this truth.
But, in fact, the whole world must be told that the 1932-1933 Holodomor
was not only the largest genocide recorded in history but also the most
large-scale and effective pillage of people.

It was a kind of gold procurement, a gold rush the Communist style, with
the victims taking out their family valuables from hiding places and
bringing them to pillagers in the hope of putting off death from starvation
or surviving.

We must admit that this idea took some time to dawn on the authors. It
came when one of us asked his mother in a telephone conversation about
how the family managed to survive the famine.

Their salvation, it turned out, was thanks to 7 massive gold things of rare
beauty and purity presented by grandfather, nobleman Kyrychenko and
captain of a ship in the Far East.

Having taken this gift of her father (in cash terms, it was a well-sized
capital) to a Torgsin store, grandmother saved the family and many
residents in her village of Monastyryshche, Ichnya rayon, Chernihiv oblast.
The rest of the villagers died.

The big question came up quickly: how much wealth had been pocketed by
the Communists in Ukraine? After digging in libraries and pestering several
professors, we can point to some facts.

Torgsin stores (an abbreviation of “trade with foreigners”) during the
Holodomor became the only chain of state-run stores where the populace
could buy some food essentials – but only for precious metals or hard

Formally, the all-union chain was set in the summer of 1930 under the
foreign trade ministry. In Ukraine, such stores began to operate actively
since January of 1932, with starving peasants, not foreigners, as their

The resolution “On creating the all-Ukrainian Torgsin office” was passed
by the Ukrainian Economic Council under the government of Ukraine on
June 29, 1932.

Government experts said that “the collection of hard currency held by the
populace will play a major role”, that “the gold kept in households must be
collected via a chain of Torgsin stores and used to serve the interests of
the proletarian state.” Can the dates and directives be viewed as

We compared the time and content of various resolutions and documents
on setting up the Torgsin chain in Ukraine with Communist party resolutions
to launch a genocide by starvation (on
[1] raising grain procurement targets, on
[2] “the three spikelets law” [law imposing criminal liability for taking
       even three spikelets from the state farm fields – Trans.], on
[3] banning food trade in rural areas, on
[4] combating “saboteurs” [peasants whom the authorities accused
     of sabotage of mandatory grain deliveries – Trans.] and others).

We were horrified by the perfectly synchronized timing of these documents.

The time pattern was as follows:
     1) the party takes away all grain from peasants;
     2) Torgsin stores take away all gold and hard currency. Further
          analysis of how the party and the Torgsin chain worked
          revealed that
     3) everything was done to prevent the  survival of Ukrainians.

In exchange for their gold and silver jewelry, peasants received coupons
which they could later exchange for food. The exchange could take up to
two months, and very often bearers of coupons were dead by the time
they could get some food. There was a secret instruction to Torgsin
salesmen: “do not promise customers a quick exchange.”

According to eye-witnesses, many starving people died when standing in
kilometer-long lines to Torgsins or immediately after they received food.

Here are some of the eye-witness reports:
Every morning a 7-year-old boy Yury Perepada saw the following scene:
horse-driven carts used to go along Khreshchatyk [Kyiv’s main street –
Trans.] One man was in the cart, with two other men escorting it by feet.
Their mission was clear the street from corpses or those close to death.

The two lifted the bodies, put them on the cart and covered with matting.
Children and adults walked the streets by-passing the dead. The bodies
were reportedly taken to the Oktyabrsky hospital, laid up in layers and
from there taken to the Bajkove cemetery to be thrown in ditches and
covered up with sodium chlorite.

He remembers that there was a commercial bakery in 6 or 8 Pushkin St.
where they sold bread at very high prices. Still, the line of customers
stretched farther than Proriizna St. People often died standing in the
line.” (The Ukrainian Holocaust of 1932-1933: Evidence of survivors.
Ed. By O. Mytsyk. Kyiv Mohyla Academy publishers, 2004 – Vol. 2).
“Since late night, we had to line for bread that tasted like sawdust. We
stood in line all night, and broke into tens in the morning as they would
allow only ten persons into the store.

Mom took her and dad’s golden wedding rings to the Torgsin store,
receiving several kilos of flour for them. From it, she made halushkas
(boiled lumps of pastry).” (The Ukrainian Holocaust of 1932-1933:
Evidence of survivors. Ed. By O. Mytsyk. Kyiv Mohyla Academy
publishers, 2004 – Vol. 2).
In Kyiv I saw dying peasants from nearby villages. Those miserable creatures
didn’t look like humans. They didn’t ask for food, they sat or lay, their
bodies swollen and big like logs, under the walls of building on Podol’s
Upper and Lower Banks. The dead were taken to Babyj Yar to be buried.
Half dead inhabitants were also taken there to die. (The Vechirny Kyiv,
November, 1998).

I well remember bread lines. Sometimes, they were several kilometers long.
Those who lined for bread at dawn could get their small piece of bread only
late at night. Mostly, they were peasants from nearby villages.

I remember how people from villages would get their bread, sit in the corner
and die right there on the street. (The Ukrainian Holocaust of 1932-1933:
Evidence of survivors. Ed. By O. Mytsyk. Kyiv Mohyla Academy publishers,
2004 – Vol. 2).

Very often the starving peasants were intercepted by GPU (sectet police)
officers who arrested the alleged speculators and took away their bread.
GPU often scattered peasants or locked them up – to ensure their deaths.
I remember well how in the fall of 1932 Kyiv was full of starving and
swollen peasants, trying to exchange their inexpensive possessions for bread
or other food. A major inflow of starving peasants took place in the spring
of 1933. The capital’s squares and streets were full of live skeletons and
swollen people.

Their numbers were especially large in the  Polol district on the Upper and
Lower Bank  where there were many wide benches on which hundreds of
poor victims crowded. They were sitting, lying and dying.

Every morning carts went around the city streets. Their teams consisted of a
horseman and his assistants who picked up dead bodies. Together with the
dead, they also took away still living people. The dead and the half dead
were taken to a church on the Horeva St. where they were piled up.

Around the church a deep and wide ditch was dug out in which they put the
dead when the church was full of bodies. There was a bakery on the Upper
Bank St. which sold bread at commercial prices. One could buy only one
kilo of bread.

As the bread was in short supply, people stood in huge lines since late
night. Militsiya (police) scattered lines of exhausted people, drove them
into the church and locked them up there. They died in the church.

My mother Ulyana Khomenchuk  got into one of such police raids and was
locked up in the church. After 2 days they opened the church to get rid of
the bodies and put new victims into it. But my mother was alive and was
spared this satanic conveyor of death.

No one was swollen from starvation in our family, because we lived on the
Trukhaniv island and gathered deadwood which we floated across the
Dnieper and sold on the market. Besides, we had some valuables inherited
by my mother. Traders willingly accepted the valuables in exchange for food.

In Torgsin stores, supplies of flour, lard, sausage, tinned food were
abundant. In exchange for golden decorations we bought the cheapest brand
of maize flour from which my mother baked pies and sold them on the market
to feed her family. All Kyiv residents were involved in such business not to
die from the famine. (The Samostijna Ukrayina, October, 1999).

The major cause of deaths of peasants, even of those who got food from
Torgsin stores, was the mark-up, an officially allowed profit of a Torgsin
salesperson which was the difference between the amount of gold accepted
from the populace and the amount handed over to the bank. Very often,
salesmen understated in their receipts the weight and quality of gold they
took from starving people.

The mark-up could reach several kilos, with every gram of gold stolen from
peasants paid for by their lives. There were other kinds of fraud in which
Torgsin salesmen were involved, despite their high salaries and additional
food rations. Torgsin stores bought gold from Ukrainians at much lower
prices than those on the international market.

We cannot but agree with V. Marochko, Doctor of History, about another
dimension of this criminal robbery: the gold, titled by the authorities as
scrap gold, was a dangerous asset because it was part of sacred spiritual

Family valuables, crosses, wedding rings, baptizing crosses were kept in
the families and handed over by one generation to another, adding to the
national spirit.

October 1933, a chain of 263 Torgsin stores operated in Ukraine. Each store
had its own network of smaller outlets. The largest number of Torgsins was
in the Kyiv oblast (58), the smallest number in the Donetsk oblast (11) and
the Moldavian autonomous Soviet republic (5). The chain had its specific
targets for the purchase of gold and hard currency which, because they were
excessive, were never met.

The scale of the Communist-engineered gold rush matched the time frame set
for the genocide: with 6 mn hard currency karbovanets earned by Torsins in
1931, the figure ballooned to 50 mn in 1932 and to 107 mn in 1933.

Of the total amount of valuables sold by starving Ukrainians, 75.2% was
precious metals, gold, silver, and platinum. Of the total amount of gold,
38% was in tsarist coins, or 18% of the total revenue received.

While in 1932 Torgsins “procured” 21 tons of gold (worth 26.8 mn
karbovanets) and 18.5 tons of silver (worth 0.3 mn), the figures for 1933
were respectively 44.9 tons of gold (worth 58 mn karbovanets) and 1420.5
tons of silver (worth 22.9 mn).

It was extremely unprofitable for Ukrainian to sell silver as the price of
it dropped threefold since 1917. Peasants were paid 1.25 karbovanets for
1 g of silver, with the price on the New York stock exchange at 1.8
karbovanets. Communist party revenues from such transactions were

The government allowed Torgsins to purchase diamonds in the fall of 1933
when gold and silver buying fell significantly as the populace had sold what
they had and the number of Ukrainians dropped sharply. There was only
one Torgsin store buying diamonds, in Kharkiv.

Ukrainians got 12 karbovanets for one carat of defective diamonds and 260
karbovanets for pure diamonds. Any guesses why such a huge disparity in

In four months alone, Torgsins bought 600,000 karbovanets worth of
diamonds. In 1932-1933, the Soviet Union sold abroad antiquities,
pictures and ancient jewelry worth 5.8 mn golden karbovanets.

Torgsins were not the only tools to rob starving Ukrainians. Who can
count the money Ukrainians had to pay for food on the black market
where the prices for bread were tens of times higher than even in the

Or the amount of gold pillaged by the authorities from individual farmers?
A recount of such incident was given by war veteran Oleksij Riznyk in his
article “Gold for the dictatorship of the proletariat” (The Ukrayina moloda,
23.11.2006, p. 11):

“In 1931-1932, the authorities launched a large-scale operation against
individual farmers. Militsiya took groups of them to a prison in Vinnytsia.
My father was one of them.

On arriving in prison, every farmer was told the amount of ransom in golden
rubles he had to pay for his freedom. Militsiya officers rushed into the
cell, took inmates by the hair and hitting their heads against the heads of
others said, ‘Oh, hear how the gold chimes.’

Some were taken to torture cells where they were beaten up, had their
fingers broken by doors – until the victim agreed to name the sum of ransom
sufficient for butchers. My father told them he had only 35 golden rubles
left. The militsiya officers happily took the money and let him go.”

In conclusion, let us hear another eye-witness report:
MYKAL from the village of Pukhivka, Brovary rayon:

It was in the spring of 1933. I was eighteen and was a student at Kyiv’s
college of teachers. The enrollment was 99 persons, while only 33 graduated
from the college. Where are the rest 66 students? Some of them died and
some of them left for good. Sahno Volodya died at the math lesson after
working a night shift at the Ukrkabel plant. We carried him out and buried
at the Lukyanivsky cemetery.

We ate at a students’ canteen on Dyka street. They would give us a plateful
of water with one pea, calling it soup. We got 150 g of bread a day. I
prayed that nobody stole my bread coupons. The bread ration was so
meager you didn’t feel you ate anything.

One episode has remained engraved in y memory. We had a lesson in military
training outside Kyiv near the Lukyanivsky cemetery. We were dog-tired but
our instructor ordered us to run. Three of us didn’t run, we sneaked away.
There was a boy who had lived in an orphanage, Kostya.  It was time to
return, but he was sitting at a distance and didn’t move.

When we came up to him we were scared stiff – he was sitting near a ditch
full of children’s corpses. They all lay in a mess: positions of legs, arms
and bodies showed that they had been dumped in the ditch from a cart.

There were seven such graves there. They did it at night, bringing the
bodies, dumping them and going away for more corpses.

Our instructor called us, but we were shaking and crying, especially the boy
from the orphanage. He said: “This is going to happen to me, too.”(1933:
Famine; People’s Book. – Memorial. /Compiled by L. Kovalenko and V.
Manyak. Kyiv, 1991.)

If you divide the amount of gold and silver pumped out from Ukrainians
by the Communist regime, you’ll get 5 convertible karbovanets. Or 12
kilos of flour. That was the price of life, to be exact, the price of a
horrible death of one Ukrainian.

Is there any place for graves on the cemetery of destroyed illusions?
The authors express their acknowledgments to V. Marochko, Doctor of
History, S. Vakulyshyn, expert on Kyiv, N. Sukhodolska, Ph.D.(Biology),
R. Krutsyk, head of the Kyiv branch of Memorial and other researchers
for their help in preparing the article for publication.
LINK: http://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2007/1/5/53000.htm)
NOTE:  This article was translated from Ukrainian to English solely
for the Ukrainian Genocide Journal by Volodymyr Hrytsutenko,
Lviv, Ukraine.  The translated article can be used but only with

permission from the Ukrainian Genocide Journal, Washington.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

LETTER-TO-THE-EDITOR: From: Stepan Speight Komarnyckyj
Ukrainian Genocide Petition in the United Kingdom
Ukrainian Genocide Journal, Issue Two, Article Seven

Washington, D.C., Sunday, March 11, 2007

RE: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Ukraine-Genocide/

Dear Morgan Williams

Please could you help promote the petition,
http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Ukraine-Genocide/, by circulating details via

the Ukrainian Genocide Journal?

The more people who sign, and the more people who visit the

www.holodomor.org.uk website (visiting the site will mean that it appears
in Google searches and signposts people towards the petition) the greater
will be the impact.

I am aware that some British politicians will resist Holodomor recognition
so this support is required.
Please help,

Yours truly. Steve Komarnyckyj (lviv@skomarnyckyj.fsnet.co.uk)
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