Daily Archives: April 12, 2007

AUR#826 Apr 12 Ukraine’s Crisis Needs A Firm Response; History Hangs Over Rebel City Lviv; Viktor VS Viktor; Ukraine’s Latest Test; Medvedchuk’s Silver Bullet

                 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

COMMENTARY: By Viktor Yushchenko
Financial Times, London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, April 3 2007

By Roman Olearchyk in Kiev, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Wednesday, April 4 2007

Original article in Ukrainian by Anna Hryhorash, UP
Translated by Nykolai Bilaniuk for UKL
Ukrayinska Pravda, Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 7, 2007


                                TOWARDS EMERGENCY STATE”
INTERVIEW: With Bohdan Futey
Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Washington
By Valentyn Labunsky, for Ukrayinska Pravda (UP)
Translated by Eugene Ivantsov
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Stratfor Global Intelligence Brief, Austin, Texas, Tuesday, April 10, 2007

                              PARLIAMENT MUST BE FULFILLED
By Natasha Lisova, AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Thu, Apr 12, 2007

By Viktor Chyvokunya, in Ukrainian
Translated to English by Anna Platonenko
Ukrayinska Pravda, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 12, 2007

By Dario Thuburn, Agence France Presse (AFP)
Lviv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Apr 12, 2007

Polls & Research: Reid Global Monitor
Vancouver, BC, Canada, Thursday, April 12, 2007

RFE/RL, Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 12, 2007

             The lines of division have been drawn in Ukraine’s current political crisis
Deutsche Welle, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 12, 2007

13.                        RUSSIA: UKRAINE CRISIS LOOMS LARGE
By Chloe Arnold, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, April 11, 2007


                             SUPPORT OF NATO ENLARGEMENT 
Interfax news agency, Moscow, in Russian 0617 gmt 11 Apr 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Wed, Apr 11, 2007

Lessons In Democracy; Ekspert No. 14, Moscow, Russia, Mon, Apr 9, 2007

16.                               VIKTOR VERSUS VIKTOR
EDITORIAL: Financial Times, London, UK, Saturday, April 7 2007

17.                                UKRAINE’S LATEST TEST
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Adrian Karatnycky
The Wall Street Journal, NY, NY, Friday, 6 April 2007

Reuters, Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 10, 2007


                                MEDVEDCHUK’S SILVER BULLET
COMMENTARY: By Mustafa Nayem and Serhy Leshchenko
Ukrayinska Pravda website in Ukrainian
Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 6, 2007
Published by the Action Ukraine Report (AUR) in English
Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 12, 2007


Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume 4, Issue 70
The Jamestown Foundation, Wash DC, Wednesday, Apr 11, 2007
                                    PLAN MASSIVE RALLIES
By Yuras Karmanau, Associated Press Writer
Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, 11 April 2007

COMMENTARY: By Viktor Yushchenko
Financial Times, London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, April 3 2007

The ultimate responsibility of my office is to uphold the constitution and
ensure that political affairs are conducted in accordance with its
principles. That has always been my overriding priority because Ukraine’s
acceptance as a normal European democracy depends on it. It is essential

to the realisation of our most important national goals.

Ukraine’s young democracy today faces a new and dangerous challenge,

one that requires a firm and immediate response. It comes from a ruling
coalition that has exceeded its mandate and attempted to monopolise
political power, even at the cost of violating the constitution and ignoring
the democratically expressed wishes of the Ukrainian people.

Since the new government was formed last summer, I have repeatedly tried

to persuade Viktor Yanukovich, the prime minister, to govern in a spirit of
national unity and reconciliation.

Instead, the ruling coalition has waged a relentless campaign to overturn
both the constitutional balance of power and the results of the last
parliamentary elections.

This situation cannot persist. I have been left with no choice but to
dissolve parliament and call a fresh round of parliamentary elections for
May 27. It is an extreme measure, but I am also clear that the Ukrainian
national interest demands it.

In a democracy, the people must always be the final arbiters of power. Only
by trusting in the wisdom of the Ukrainian people can we break this
political deadlock and create the consensus necessary for our country to
move forward again.

I make no apologies for trying to reach a broad political understanding in
the difficult circumstances created by last year’s parliamentary elections.
As president, I saw it as my duty to put the long-term interests of Ukraine
before personal preference or partisan advantage. I considered it an
important test of our political maturity.

It is quite common in advanced democratic societies for elections to produce
results that oblige political opponents to govern in partnership. Germany
today is governed by a “grand coalition” of left and right. France has
experienced periods of “cohabitation”. The American constitution seems to
invite it, with the White House and Congress occupied by different political
parties more often than not.

In spite of this, these societies remain stable, prosperous and
well-governed. In each case the political elites understand that there is
something more important at stake than the pursuit of political power.
Respecting the wishes of their voters, they seek to share power in the
national interest.

Of course, ideas and policies are contested and debated, often in very
robust terms. But all sides observe limits in order to prevent political
competition from damaging the fabric of democratic life. When that becomes

a risk, they choose compromise instead of confrontation. Above all, they
respect their own constitutions and maintain the checks and balances
essential to prevent monopolistic abuses of power.

It was in that spirit that I reached out to Mr Yanukovich after it became
clear that the Orange parties would not be able to form a majority coalition
last summer.

After everything that had happened before, no one should be in any doubt
that it was a very difficult personal decision to make. But it was also one
that I firmly believed to be in Ukraine’s best interests.

As part of that process I negotiated a declaration of national unity in
order to bind president and government to a common platform setting out
coherent and realisable goals in line with the aspirations of the Ukrainian

It was on the basis of that historic compromise that I hoped to consolidate
Ukraine’s democratic transformation.

It is with great regret that I have to say that the spirit of reconciliation
and compromise required to make that arrangement a success has not been
reciprocated by the ruling coalition. They have consistently acted in bad

Instead of respecting the agreement to share power, they have sought to
undermine it by grabbing more power for themselves at every opportunity

and with every means available.

Instead of respecting the wishes of the Ukrainian people expressed freely at
the ballot box, they have used subterfuge to alter the parliamentary balance
in an entirely undemocratic manner.

These are not the actions of responsible democrats. They reflect attitudes
and behaviour that the Ukrainian people had every reason to believe had been
consigned to our past. Instead, it seems that we must fight and defeat them
once again.

For me, this is a matter of supreme national importance. If Ukraine is to be
recognised as an integral part of the community of European democracies,

it is imperative that this crisis is resolved in line with our own
constitutional principles. How can we be trusted to respect the rule of
international law if we cannot respect the rule of law at home?

I hope Mr Yanukovich will come to see that new elections are the only
appropriate way to resolve this crisis. Genuine democrats should never fear
the verdict of the people.

Only those who remain stubbornly attached to the old ways should want our
political future to be decided by intrigues and backroom deals. Ukraine
needs to show that it has left all that behind.                     -30-
The writer is president of Ukraine

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

By Roman Olearchyk in Kiev, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Wednesday, April 4 2007

For a moment it almost seemed like 2004 again. Against a backdrop of an
escalating constitutional crisis, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to
the streets of Kiev yesterday to protest against President Viktor
Yushchenko’s decision to dissolve parliament and call snap elections.

But any comparisons with the Orange Revolution – when massive public
protests propelled Mr Yushchenko into office – quickly proved misleading.

Despite the drama surrounding the power struggle between the president and
Viktor Yanukovich, his prime minister, yesterday largely passed without
incident as most Ukrainians went about their everyday business.

Such apparent indifference is one of the symptoms of the months of political
stalemate that followed the inconclusive result of the March 2006 general

That vote produced a parliament split between forces loyal to Mr Yanukovich,
whose power base is in the industrial, Russian-speaking east of the country,
and those broadly pledged to the more pro-western course favoured by the

The current power struggle is the biggest political clash since the Orange
Revolution and its outcome is likely to shape the way foreign investors and
partners view this young and fragile democracy.

The European Union yesterday sought to see the positive side of recent
developments. “There is an active and open political debate in Ukraine. This
is a sign that democracy is at work in the country,” said
BenitaFerrero-Waldner, the EU’s commissioner for external relations. But

she also noted that, “after months of rising tensions in the country, it is of
highest importance that political stability be re-established in Ukraine”.

Doubts about Ukraine’s political stability and the rule of law in the
country will complicate the plans Kiev’s leaders have for the reform of a
geopolitically strategic country, and fuel fears that it will remain
vulnerable to a tug of war between Moscow, Washington and Brussels.

Investors, who only last summer were upbeat about the prospects of a
pro-business government led by Mr Yanukovich, are today more cautious.

“We are likely to see increased uncertainty – which will obviously hurt
investment decisions in the country,” said Kaushik Rudra, executive director
at Lehman Brothers.

“The political infighting has essentially put major reform-related issues on
the backburner as the political elite strive to solidify their power base in
this constantly shifting and acrimonious environment,” said Jorge Zukoski,
head of the Ukraine branch of the American Chamber of Commerce.

The situation has been complicated by incomplete reforms that were aimed at
bringing greater stability to the former Soviet republic but are now
contributing to instability.

“The heart of the problem we are seeing now is the blurred political reforms
which were adopted in the heat of the Orange Revolution,” said Bohdan
Futey, a US judge who has advised Ukraine on constitutional issues and
judicial reforms.

While these reforms, aimed at preventing a return to authoritarian rule,
brought a peaceful resolution to the Orange Revolution, they had left the
country’s top tiers of government in a state of “legal chaos”, Mr Futey

The result has been a muddle that has led to conflict between the government
and the presidency.

Whether fresh elections will end that uncertainty is unclear. The hope in
the president’s camp is that a newly elected legislative body will put more
effort into establishing clear rules. Others fear that elections could
simply see another parliament split between bitterly opposed interests – and
continuing stalemate.                                -30-

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

Original article in Ukrainian by Anna Hryhorash, UP
Translated by Nykolai Bilaniuk for UKL
Ukrayinska Pravda, Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 7, 2007

A month ago, as the war for authority between the Cabinet of Ministers and
the President was just heating up, Viktor Yushchenko shot a salvo in the
direction of the government which has found its target only now.

On February 12th of this year, Yushchenko used a decree to found a
periodical bulletin called Ofitsiinyi visnyk Presydenta Ukrainy (Official
Newsletter of the President of Ukraine), which had been shut down by
him in 2005.

A month and a half ago Yushchenko thereby renewed his right to officially
publish his decrees and not depend on the publishing organs of the Verkhovna
Rada and Cabinet of Ministers -Holos Ukrainy and Uriadovyi kur’er.

Yushchenko was pushed into taking this step by the situation that arose with
the publication of the law on the Cabinet of Ministers, which significantly
limited his authority.

At that time the publishing organ didn’t give Yushchenko useful service. On
the other hand, a month and a half later the presidential newsletter gave
force to the decree of the head of state by which Yushchenko seeks to
reclaim his lost authority.

On April 2nd, the president dissolved the Verkhovna Rada, and informed the
Ukrainian people about this on Channel 1 at 9:10 PM. However, insofar as
television is not a means for officially promulgating decisions of organs of
government, there immediately arose rumours that Yushchenko will be denied
the possibility of publishing his decree in the official press.

However, already the next day it became known that the decree about the
dissolution of parliament was published after all. However, up to this time
Ukrainians have not had the opportunity to see it in printed form.

It turns out that the decree was published in none other than Ofitsiinyi
visnyk Presydenta Ukrainy with a print run of three thousand copies. However
it is impossible to find this publication, which more resembles a pamphlet,
in any newspaper kiosks.

The entire print run was removed early in the morning from the
government-owned company “Ukrainian Press” by workers of the Presidential
Secretariat, perhaps fearing that it would be destroyed.

A copy of the publication with Yushchenko’s historic decree on its pages
found its way to Ukrains’ka pravda. Frankly, it looks pathetic, as if it had
been printed on an ordinary printer.

This newsletter is four pages long, and contains nothing except the text of
the document itself.

Conclusions about Yushchenko’s product reveal some interesting aspects
which bear witness that it was published in haste.

Firstly, this is the first issue of the “Official Newsletter of the
President” since its publication was renewed. Up to this time, Yushchenko
had not found it necessary to print his documents in it.

Secondly, the title page of the publication gives the date April 2.
Therefore in theory Yushchenko’s decree takes effect on that day, although
the physical appearance of the “Official Newsletter of the President” didn’t
happen until the morning of April 3. The newsletter was printed at night.

The editors of the “Official Newsletter of the President” explained to
Ukrains’ka pravda that this special issue was available only by
subscription, to which higher ranking government officials are entitled.

The editors explained that this is a result of the fact that this was the
first issue of the newsletter, and that it is not yet suitable for
full-scale distribution. In other words this reinforces the view that it was
prepared for publication in haste.

However, in the second half of the year, the newsletter will become
generally available, and there are plans to publish it twice a month.

The publication of Yushchenko’s decree in his own print organ, even if it
was one that looked rather poor, became the final punch in his attack on the
Verkhovna Rada.

It would appear that Yushchenko was preparing the ground for this, given
that the official certification of the state registration of the “Official
Newsletter of the President” was issued on March 30 2007, in other words
three days before the decree on the dissolution of parliament.   -30-
UKL is a single emission e-mail to a limited number of scholars and
professionals in the area of Ukrainian studies who have requested
receipt of the list for scholarly and educational purposes. For a free

subscription to UKL, write to darel@uottawa.ca, indicating your
occupation and postal address.
LINK: http://www.pravda.com.ua/en/news/2007/4/7/7421.htm
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                           TOWARDS EMERGENCY STATE”

INTERVIEW: With Bohdan Futey
Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Washington
By Valentyn Labunsky, for Ukrayinska Pravda (UP)
Translated by Eugene Ivantsov
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims Bohdan Futey is one of the
founders of democratic legal system in Ukraine. When Ukraine in plunged
into another political-legal crisis his opinion is extremely important as he
is an experienced American lawyer and an ethnical Ukrainian who cares

about Ukraine.

[PRAVDA] – Mr. Justice Futey, is the presidential decree to dissolve the
parliament legitimate from the legal point of view?

[FUTEY] If we carefully study the Constitution of Ukraine we will find
Article 102, clause 2 saying ‘the president is the guarantor of the state
sovereignty, territorial integrity, observance of the constitutional right
and freedoms of the citizens’.

The President believes that the abovementioned conditions are in jeopardy
now. That is why he issued a relevant decree and called early election.

As a guarantor of the Constitution, Mr. Yushchenko considers transfer of
MPs from the oppositional factions to the so-called Anticrisis Coalition, in
order to get 300 votes which will allow amending the Constitution, to be the
main threat for the constitutional system.

We need to know that the President has not got just the duties but also the
right to resort to strong measures which will prevent anti-constitutional
actions. The President did so.

There is another collision connected with the terms of cessation of the
Verkhovna Rada activity according to the presidential decree. I think the
Verkhovna Rada terminates its activity from the moment the presidential
decree is made public but not when the parliament of the new convocation

holds its first session, as some people claim.

[PRAVDA] Do you think that the decree dissolving the parliament was
the only true way?

[FUTEY] The President chose such a variant of resolving the problem under
which the people of Ukraine, as the only source of power in the country,
will make their choice and vote for those they want to delegate the power

I think it is the right decision. If it is impossible to resolve problems
politically early election is the only option left. There were numerous
attempts of the president to find different solutions to the problem. Let’s
recall negotiating tables, ratification of the National Unity Pact,
agreements on the possible amendments to the Constitution.

However, it turned out that everybody forgot about these agreements just on
the next morning after signing. The President tried to find another way out
and applied to the Constitutional Court.

The Constitutional Court has been idle for the recent 10 months since it had
no quorum as the Verkhovna Rada purposely refused to nominate judges.

When finally the Constitutional Court got quorum the parliament adopted an
unprecedented decision forbidding the court to review the Political Reform.

Now the Constitutional Court is overloaded with claims but has made no
decisions for the recent 7-8 months. So, the decision of the president to
dissolve the Verkhovna Rada and call early election is quite logical in this

[PRAVDA] But if the Constitutional Court adopts the decision stating
unconstitutional character of the presidential decree should it mean that
Viktor Yushchenko will have to accept such a decision?

[FUTEY] Judges of the Constitutional Court may decide it is a political
matter and refuse to interpret it like they did in 1998.

Back then, considering the Law on Election of the People’s Deputies, the
Court made a decision that establishment of a 3% barrier for a party or a
bloc to be elected to the Verkhovna Rada was a purely political matter
which the Court refused to consider.

In the current situation pressuring the Constitutional Court is absolutely
unacceptable. Unfortunately, there is every reason to fear the Court is
being pressured now.

Take the recent statement of the PM alone! Viktor Yanukovych announced
that supposedly the head of the Constitutional Court resigned. The
statement was immediately denied by the court’s press service.

[PRAVDA] Coalitional majority in the Verkhovna Rada accuses Mr.
Yushchenko of anti-constitutional decree dissolving the parliament,
resorting to anti-constitutional actions itself. In the first place it is the

attempts to restore Kuchma’s staff of the Central Election Commission (CEC).

[FUTEY] The Verkhovna Rada decision to restore the old CEC staff is
inherently illegitimate and unconstitutional. However, when Pechesrk Court
confirmed that judges started to fear discharges for adoption of unpopular

It is brutal pressuring of the judicial power which must be an independent
branch of power in a democratic country.

If they try to fire judges who adopted decisions unsuitable for the
parliamentary majority then we cannot talk about democracy in this country!
It is absolutely unacceptable in a democratic state.

[PRAVDA] Aren’t attempts of the parliamentary majority in the Verkhovna
Rada to restore the old CEC staff headed by Mr. Kyvalov the signal for Mr.
Yushchenko to reject packet agreements of 2004, including the Constitutional

[FUTEY] The tight knot of legal and political problems emerged due to the
abovementioned Constitutional Reform. It brought chaos to Ukraine and
caused all legal and constitutional conflicts we are facing now.

The authors of this reform have implemented it without study of all possible
consequences and what is more important without an all-national referendum.
You can not amend the Constitution and the political system without a

I cannot understand why the President did not declare all amendments to the
Constitution establishing parliamentary government in Ukraine illegitimate,
just after the relevant decision of the Constitutional Court adopted on
October 5, 2005.

The Court stated that change of the political system had to be carried out
through an all-national referendum only.

That was the starting point of the political crisis in Ukraine. Since that
the Verkhovna Rada has adopted a series of very controversial bills, like
the Law on the Cabinet of Ministers containing many anti-constitutional

In addition, transfer of individual MPs to the coalition creates a real
legal chaos. Something needs to be done about that.

I think that the people of Ukraine, as the chief arbitrator, must make their
contribution, especially since the problem concerns authorities of the
country. You must not fear election. In the US members of the House of
Representatives and 1/3 of the Senate are re-elected every two years.

[PRAVDA] What is your attitude towards some famous lawyers, like Serhiy
Holovaty, who battered presidential decree to dissolve the Verkhovna Rada?

[FUTEY] Serhiy Holovaty is a good friend of mine. But maybe his vision of
the problem is based on the provisions of Venetian Commission. Moreover, he
does not take into account all nuances of the legal and political process in

Problems in Ukraine must be resolved taking into account peculiarities of
Ukrainian legal system but not European or international legislation. In its
time, Europe also lived through such a transitional period.

We should keep in mind that current electoral system in Ukraine is based on
a party principle. When people vote for a certain party or a bloc they
support certain program, ideological platform and goals.

When representatives of this party or bloc join their opponents they neglect
the will of people and, thus, lose trust.

[PRAVDA] Do you think introduction of a direct presidential rule or the
state of emergency possible in Ukraine?

[FUTEY] I do not think Ukraine is moving towards the state of emergency.
Statesmen in Ukraine have always had wisdom and will to find the way to
resolve problems at negotiating table.

I am sure that early election is the best possible way out. Unfortunately,
Ukraine has to start anew again.

Before the independence of Ukraine we, Ukrainian Diaspora, used to say:
“Christ has risen, so will Ukraine!” 16 years have passed but Ukraine is for
some reason still on its Golgotha.                         -30-
LINK: http://www.pravda.com.ua/en/news/2007/4/11/7439.htm

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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Stratfor Global Intelligence Brief, Austin, Texas, Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Ukraine’s Constitutional Court is set to rule April 11 on the legitimacy of
President Viktor Yushchenko’s decision to dissolve parliament and call for
new elections. Ahead of the vote, the court’s judges have accused the
president’s rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, of threatening them and
are now saying they might boycott the vote.

Approximately 750,000 protesters have flooded into Kiev in anticipation of
the vote as both sides move quickly and desperately to ensure victory. Until
today, the court decision was the next step in the process; however, it is
now obvious that the court has become part of the chaos.
Ukraine’s Constitutional Court is set to decide April 11 whether to uphold
President Viktor Yushchenko’s decision to dissolve parliament and call for
new elections.

The vote has taken a few twists as Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich has been
accused of threatening a handful of the judges; those judges are now in
hiding, and hundreds of thousands of people have flooded the streets in
anticipation of the vote. Until today, the court decision was the next step
in the process; however, it is now obvious that the court has become part of
the chaos.

In the eight days since Yushchenko announced his decision, neither side has
made much progress in gathering more support. The pro-Western Yushchenko
dissolved the parliament April 2 after accusing his rival, the pro-Russian
Yanukovich, of usurping his authority in an attempt to strip all powers from
the presidency.

He is being supported in — or rather, pushed into — the confrontation by
Ukraine’s third political powerhouse, Yulia Timoshenko, who is trying to
resurrect the feelings from the Orange Revolution that brought her and
Yushchenko to power. Yanukovich immediately rejected the president’s
decision and has countered by calling for the decision to be overturned.

The decision now rests in the Constitutional Court, which has been slow even
to look at the dilemma, though the streets of Kiev have been shut down for
more than a week by demonstrators from all sides.

The Court has two options: Approve Yushchenko’s decision to dissolve
parliament and call early elections, or overturn Yushchenko’s decision,
which would allow parliament (and, moreover, Yanukovich) to stay in power,
thus stripping Yushchenko of what little power he has left.

The Constitutional Court is a precarious institution that has repeatedly
exacerbated problems in the battle between Yushchenko and Yanukovich. It is
made up of 18 judges; six are appointed by the president, six by the prime
minister and six by a judicial college.

The six not picked by Yushchenko or Yanukovich are evenly split between the
two camps. This is not to say that they cannot be persuaded to change sides
as the battle continues. It takes a majority (10 judges) vote for a motion
to pass, which means for this vote, each side will fight for one judge to
change allegiances.

At an April 10 press conference outside the Constitutional Court, it was
announced that five of the 18 judges are boycotting the vote and have gone
into hiding. Four of these five are from Yushchenko’s handpicked six, and
the fifth is pro-Yushchenko.

The judges have accused Yanukovich supporters of bullying and threatening
them and are now under the protection of Yushchenko’s security service at an
undisclosed location. For the vote to proceed, only 12 of the remaining 13
judges need to be present.

The judges most likely have a real concern for their safety; Yushchenko
himself was poisoned during the run-up to the Orange Revolution. This move,
though, creates several different scenarios for the court’s vote.

The first option is obvious: With five fewer pro-Yushchenko votes, the odds
are on Yanukovich, though the margin remains slim since he still needs to
sway one judge over to his camp. However, the situation does ensure that the
vote will either end in a tie or will go the prime minister’s way.

However, if Yanukovich does not feel he can sway that last judge to his
side, he now has a new option. He can call on two of his own judges to
boycott the session, which would make the number of judges needed fall below
the required 12 and force a further postponement of the vote.

This occurred in 2006, when the court postponed any decision on a case
disputed between the two camps for eight months before reconvening.

The third option is that the five judges come out of hiding — as per
Yushchenko’s request — for the vote. As the court is split evenly,
Yushchenko and Yanukovich have each been actively campaigning for

one judge to change sides.

Yanukovich is apparently going the intimidation route to gain that one last
judge. Yushchenko has met secretly with the judges twice now — though
he is not constitutionally allowed to do so — in his push for a resolution.

In these last hours leading up to the vote, each side will make many fast
and desperate moves. Adding to the tension is the fact that 750,000
people — with more arriving by train each hour — have crowded into the
streets of Kiev to protest for each side.

Yanukovich’s supporters make up approximately 60 percent to 65 percent
of the people in the streets, though that still leaves a large number for
the Yushchenko-Timoshenko camp. The protests have remained peaceful,
though the crowd is growing exponentially.

The protesters are waiting for a decision from the Constitutional Court —
not realizing that the court has also become part of the uncertainty —
before they decide if they will peacefully support the decision . if there
is a decision at all. (http://www.stratfor.com/)                 -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                          PARLIAMENT MUST BE FULFILLED

By Natasha Lisova, AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Thu, Apr 12, 2007

KIEV – President Viktor Yushchenko said Thursday that his order to dissolve
parliament and hold new elections would stand, continuing a war of wills
with Ukraine’s premier who has signaled his readiness to compromise.

Yushchenko said his decree must be fulfilled, and described it as a
legitimate response to an attempt by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and
his parliamentary majority to usurp power.

“Forming the coalition, the majority in parliament, the government by
illegal means, making illegal decisions and ignoring the will of voters all
leads to a usurpation of power,” Yushchenko said at a news conference

Yanukovych and his majority coalition in parliament have contested
Yushchenko’s order in the Constitutional Court, which begins hearings
Tuesday on the decree’s legality.

The standoff has triggered the biggest political crisis since the 2004
Orange Revolution, and brought a return to the street protests and tent
camps that became a hallmark of that mass action against election fraud.

On Thursday, thousands of Yanukovych’s supporters again filled Kiev’s
Independence Square. In a square some 300 meters (980 feet) away, several
hundred of Yushchenko’s supporters _ bedecked in his party’s orange color _

On Wednesday, Yushchenko said he was willing to compromise by freezing his
dissolution decree, which called for elections on May 27. Such a move would
likely allow parliament to return to work at least temporarily, and give all
parties more time to prepare.

Yanukovych also eased his uncompromising stance Thursday, saying he might
agree to early elections even if the Constitutional Court rules against

“If the Constitutional Court declares the decree unconstitutional, elections
are possible if all participants in the political process agree at a
political level,” Yanukovych said after meeting with Lithuanian Premier
Gediminas Kirkilas.

However, Yanukovych’s spokesman, Denis Ivanesko, said the premier was not
agreeing to elections under any condition. On Wednesday, Yanukovych had told
supporters that if early parliamentary elections were held then early
presidential elections should be held simultaneously.

Both the West, with whom both Yushchenko and Yanukovych have said they were
eager to build closer relations, and Russia, Ukraine’s historical partner,
have repeatedly appealed for calm.

The standoff between the premier and the president has been brewing since
Yanukovych’s party won the largest share of votes in last year’s election.

Yushchenko’s decree last week followed a recent defection of 11
pro-presidential lawmakers to Yanukovych’s coalition that moved it closer to
a 300-seat, veto-proof majority in the parliament that would allow
Yanukovych’s allies to change the constitution.               -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

By Viktor Chyvokunya, in Ukrainian
Translated to English by Anna Platonenko
Ukrayinska Pravda, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 12, 2007

The two main political opponents Viktor Yanukovych and Yulia Tymoshenko are
taking turns trying to convince the whole world that they behave with utmost
rectitude. In such a manner, through foreign recognition, they are aiming at
strengthening legitimacy of their own scenarios inside Ukraine.

For this purpose, Mr. Yanukovych and Mrs. Tymoshenko have held their
meetings with foreign ambassadors, where each of them, in their own way,
made an attempt to prove their rightness. There was a 12-hour time
difference between the two meetings with nearly equal number of participants

Yulia Tymoshenko convened a meeting of the diplomats on Tuesday evening in
the parliamentary cinema hall on the Verkhovna Rada premises. Before the
meeting the BYuT leader’s assistant handed out the certificate, prepared by
Mrs. Tymoshenko’s team as to President Yushchenko’s legality of actions.

Hryhoriy Nemyrya, Foreign Affairs advisor to Mrs. Tymoshenko, sat on her
right. Two seats on her left were free, the third one on the left was taken
by the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor, who in this way
appeared to be the closest person to the opposition leader. Mrs. Tymoshenko
preferred to stand and, swaying nervously from side to side, painted the
diplomats a detailed picture of the new political events.

“We all know what sort of person the President of Ukraine is: he is not the
one who confronts or resists, he is a person who compromises,” Mrs.
Tymoshenko said and explained that Viktor Yushchenko had no other choice but
to call early elections.

She notified that the coalition is obliged to obey the decree as to the
dissolution of the Parliament, issued by Viktor Yushchenko. “Another variant
is confrontation and resistance, and it is hard to imagine what consequences
of this may actually follow,” stated Mrs. Tymoshenko at a quick pace.

“It impossible to imagine that there are people in democratically developed
countries in the highest official circles who would refuse to obey the laws
and decrees!” she appealed to the diplomats, trying to evoke the memory of
their homelands.

“The only possible way now is to pursue the peaceful policy and not to
resist! That is why the opposition does not call on the people to come to
Maidan on principle!” Mrs. Tymoshenko said, adding that the orders
prohibiting street campaigns and public rallies were sent to local BYuT

The opening speech was over and the ambassadors passed on to asking Mrs.
Tymoshenko their questions. But it was later announced that the private
session would follow afterwards and all the mass media representatives were
therefore asked to leave the hall. However, Ukrayinska Pravda managed to
find out the contents of this heart-to-heart talk.

Yulia Tymoshenko notified that in case the conflict is sharpened Viktor
Yushchenko himself will issue a decree that the money be appropriated for
holding early elections.

She also said that it was non-legitimate of the Parliament to vote for the
decree which reinstated the previous members of the Central Election
Commission of Ukraine (CECU) in their former position. “We are facing a
brand new unlawful procedure here: for the members of the CECU are to be
appointed on the proposal of the President!” Mrs. Tymoshenko said

One of the ambassadors asked her whether Viktor Yushchenko can withdraw his
decree on Parliament dissolution. Mrs. Tymoshenko gave a curt answer: “That
is just impossible! For if the President makes concessions, it is going to
be the same old story, like the one with the National Unity Pact!”.

Yulia Tymoshenko notified that the Constitutional Court of Ukraine is the
only body that is empowered to revoke presidential decrees.

At the same time, she admitted that there is “very little chance” that the
Constitutional Court will consider the deputies’ appeal against Mr.
Yushchenko’s unlawful decree.

“In that case, however, the legal proceedings may take three months at
least: because one would need to initiate a case before the court, to carry
out the expert examinations etc. ,” Mrs. Tymoshenko explained.

The BYuT leader notified that one should not count on the stabilizing role
of the Constitutional Court. “Its functioning is blocked! None of the claims
filed last year followed with a verdict! And only regarding the imperative
mandate we may expect a decision, which will take two weeks,” Mrs.
Tymoshenko stated.

“I know that judges will always find a million ways not to take up some
certain position,” she added.

Being aware that the imperative mandate would provoke criticism among the
Europeans, Yulia Tymoshenko started reassuring them: “This imperative
mandate is temporary and it will only function until Ukraine forms itself as
a democratic country.”

She explained that the imperative mandate is necessary for preventing
corruption. Mrs. Tymoshenko waxed indignant over the bribe rates: “I have
been in the Parliament for four convocations and I can claim that there have
never been such large sums of money in politics! It has been initiated since
this convocation.”

As regards the comments that the decree signed by Viktor Yushchenko is
unconstitutional, Mrs. Tymoshenko replied without presenting any further
arguments: “There is a good proverb in Ukraine – so many lawyers, so many

According to Mrs. Tymoshenko, the fact that Viktor Yushchenko has dissolved
the Verkhovna Rada should also be a good lesson to the politicians. “This is
the key principle of this school: any violation of the Constitution will not
be left unpunished. And no matter who the next President is, he will always
keep that in mind,” Mrs. Tymoshenko said.

One of the diplomats voiced his concern to Yulia Tymoshenko that somebody
will try to make the newly formed Parliament non-legitimate too, if the
election results do not satisfy the Party of Regions: it will be enough for
them that 150 deputies abdicate.

“It will be impossible to implement such a scenario from the moment the
deputies, elected during early poll, have taken an oath,” Mrs. Tymoshenko
said and added confusingly: “I mean, the guaranteed instability is not
planned ahead.”

“It is hard to understand what is actually going on in Ukraine, for at first
glance it looks like an utter chaos,” Mrs. Tymoshenko said, expressing her
sympathy with the ambassadors.

The meeting then proceeded to the discussion of possible results of early
elections. “I do not believe that Ukrainian people will once again give 32
per cent of their votes to the Party of Regions,” Mrs. Tymoshenko assured.

She also began explaining the ambassadors why Our Ukraine and BYuT are not
going to take part in early elections as a single mega bloc.

“In the electoral dimension the political powers of BYuT and Our Ukraine
have several sectors with different, mutually incompatible political views,”
Yulia Tymoshenko claimed.

“During the last elections we were first in the west and in the center of
the country. We took the second place in the east. Our political force is
gradually making its way through the east of Ukraine. And in the end it will
turn out that by means of these elections we will unite the whole country!”
Mrs. Tymoshenko shared a recipe for the elementary solution of a problem,
which used to be a hard nut to crack for men.

“I believe that Our Ukraine too, together with the President, will receive
more votes during the early elections than in 2006,” Mrs. Tymoshenko added.

According to Ukrayinska Pravda, the BYuT headquarters have information at
their disposal that during the elections on May 27 Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc is
likely to get more than 25% of the votes, whereas Our Ukraine will get
15-17% and the Party of Regions, together with the People’s Opposition Bloc
of Natalia Vitrenko, will not even reach 35%.

According to BYuT’s estimates, no other parties will enter the new
Parliament after early elections have been held.

With her nerves on edge after the meeting, Mrs. Tymoshenko came out to the
journalists, where she, avoiding diplomatic language, characterized the
actions of Oleksandr Moroz.

On hearing the journalists say that the speaker “fantasizes” in his talks
with the Council of Europe as to the legitimacy of his actions, Mrs.
Tymoshenko feverishly rushed: “What did you say!? Fantasizes? Oleksandr
Oleksadrovych does not fantasize any longer! He raves!”

“And if he keeps on acting like GKChP (State Emergency Committee), he will
have to bear criminal responsibility!” After that Mrs. Tymoshenko safely
left the building.

Viktor Yanukovych scheduled his meeting with the ambassadors for Wednesday
morning in the club-house at the Cabinet of Ministers. The Prime Minister
was accompanied by almost all his international advisors: Kostyantyn
Gryshchenko, Anatoliy Orel, Andriy Fialko and Leonid Kozhara.

Hanna Herman, who changed her political orientation last year and became a
member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs also attended the meeting.

Anatoliy Zlenko and Paul Manafort were nowhere to be seen though. However,
there is some information that in the morning Mr. Yanukovych received
recommendations from the American consultant, who suggested that Viktor
Yanukovych should follow the line of non-recognition of the decree on
Parliament dissolution, but on no account to aggravate the situation.

Being on edge, Mr. Yanukovych read out his speech to the diplomats. The
Prime Minister was indignant, for he “has not so far managed to find the
answer to the question” why the day when early elections were decreed the
President did not hold any personal consultations with him.

“I had some telephone calls with the President concerning. concerning that
day., Mr. Yanukovych’s voice stumbled and he read correctly, – Concerning
his official visit to Russia. I also had a conversation with the secretary
of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. Nobody said a word
about the dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada!”

Mr. Yanukovych said that he is not going to follow the decree on Parliament
dissolution until the Constitutional Court of Ukraine renders its decision.
“I should state that President Yushchenko’s own interests are taking
precedence over those of Ukraine, and his actions have more than doubtful
legal foundations,” the Prime Minister claimed.

Viktor Yanukovych put forward his suggestions for Mr. Yushchenko through the
diplomats. No changes were made within the two days: he is ready to start
working on the changes in the Constitution, to ban the activity of the
so-called ‘turncoats’ and even to broaden the coalition by virtue of Our

– There is another scenario. If the President and the opposition take a
resolute stand on the early elections to the Verkhovna Rada, and the tension
in the country reaches its critical point, it is the people of Ukraine who
should have the last word. – Mr. Yanukovych said.

According to several governmental sources, this very moment the Prime
Minister was supposed to announce that if that is the case, early
presidential and parliamentary elections should be called at the same time.
However, he did not say that.

– We will be forced to accept early elections. But we have nothing to be
afraid of, for we are confident of our victory! We have no fear of the time
lost., – Mr. Yanukovych’s voice stumbled again, he corrected himself then, –
I am sorry! We have fear of the time and possibilities lost.

Mr. Yanukovych assured that “negotiations, dialogues, and compromises are
not yet over”.

After his opening speech Mr. Yanukovych, like Yulia Tymoshenko, moved on to
answering the ambassadors’ questions behind closed doors, and Ukrayinska
Pravda managed to find out the contents of this private meeting again.

Unlike Mrs. Tymoshenko, Mr. Yanukovych is sure that the Constitutional Court
is able to make a quick evaluation of Mr. Yushchenko’s decree on Parliament

– But is it possible that the decision of the Constitutional Court may be
disregarded? -one of the ambassadors asked.

– For my part, I demonstrated this back in 2004. Though it was very
difficult for me to put up with the decision rendered by the Supreme Court
of Ukraine – the decision did not correspond to reality.

Mr. Yanukovych started getting nervous at the mention of the previous
presidential elections. The Prime Minister did not even realize that he made
fools of the diplomats, for back in 2004 all the foreign governments refused
to recognize the results of the legendary second tour, which should have
made Mr. Yanukovych President of Ukraine.

“There were no such serious falsifications, as the Supreme Court resolved.
There were only several individual cases here and there. But the decisions
taken by the courts were nothing, it is typical of any country!” Mr.
Yanukovych stated.

Returning to the present events, Mr. Yanukovych promised the ambassadors:
“As for the coalition, we will put up with any decision rendered by the
Constitutional Court!”

“If neither party recognizes the decision rendered by the Constitutional
Court now, it cannot be tolerated, for it may lead to unforeseeable
consequences,” the Prime Minister added.

Mr. Yanukovych gave no explicit answer to the question what would happen if
Yushchenko insisted on holding early elections on May 27, and the Prime
Minister did not accept this.

“If the President starts pressing on us, it means that we began to act
beyond the legal framework and outside the law,” Mr. Yanukovych said.

He also indicated that the fact of reinstating the previous members of the
Central Election Commission of Ukraine (CECU), headed by Serhiy Kivalov, in
their former position is not more than just a game.

“For this moment, there are 186 deputies in the faction, and we have no
representative in the CECU. And under the law there should be proportional
representation of the political forces in the CECU structure. If the
representation is proportional, the question is withdrawn then.

Mr. Yanukovych reverted then to his incisive remarks and started getting
confused: “The President of Ukraine does not protect the law. He protects
the Law on the Opposition. But there is no such law! That is why the
situation in the CECU is one of the issues we should be seeking compromise
on. “

The Prime Minister tried to disprove the diplomats’ assertions as to the
deputies’ switching, which has actually been a formal cause to call early
elections. Mr. Yanukovych reminded that half a year ago Yosyp Vinsky of the
Socialist Party (SPU) did not comply with the decision of the Party and
refused to enter the anti-crisis coalition.

“This matter has two sides. When the deputies were switching from one
coalition to another, the President did not say a word. But when they
switched from the opposition to the coalition, it gave rise to questions,”
Mr. Yanukovych explained, promising to “find the solution to this problem”.

“As for the Ukrainian legislation, it does not prohibit the deputies
switching from the opposition to the coalition. There are deputies who are
constructively and openly disposed to it, one may view the Party of
Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (PPPU) as a glaring example,” Mr.
Yanukovych said.

The diplomats also reminded Mr. Yanukovych of Viktor Yushchenko’s words as
to the fact that, contrary to the National Unity Pact, the balance of power
between the President and the government has been upset.

The Prime Minister suggested: “We made changes to the Law on the Cabinet of
Ministers and adopted them at the first reading. The second reading is being
prepared now. We are ready to consider the President’s suggestions, to
arrive at a decision and to adopt the changes to the Law on the Cabinet of
Ministers. And to withdraw this question too”.

“As for the National Unity Pact, the law on the principles of foreign and
interior policies is being prepared at the moment. And one may expect to see
some of the regulations of the National Unity Pact in this law”.

Mr. Yanukovych did not come out to the journalists after the meeting was
over and left the club-house of the Cabinet of Ministers through the
backdoor entrance, finding himself at the territory of the government
buildings. He did not walk to his building though, he took a car.

Two days after the Parliament was dissolved the journalists have been so far
unable to put any questions to Mr. Yanukovych on the matter.

In particular, whether the words of one of Mr. Yanukovych’s party members
are true: “Mr. Yushchenko will revoke his decree as soon as the country
stands still, for we are preparing the all-Ukrainian strike”.        -30-

LINK: http://www.pravda.com.ua/en/news/2007/4/12/7451.htm
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
    NOTE: Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.

By Dario Thuburn, Agence France Presse (AFP)
Lviv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 12, 2007

LVIV, Ukraine – Coffee, honey vodka and political talk are the order of the
day at the Blue Bottle, a smokey cafe here in a ramshackle courtyard in the
heartland city of Ukrainian nationalism.

Mention the relentless rise of pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych,
currently locked in a fierce struggle with President Viktor Yushchenko, and
patrons of the cafe don’t mince their words.

“It’s like when Rome let in the barbarians and then they sacked the city,”
said Ostap Odushkin, a wry philosophy professor from Lviv university.

Like many cafe regulars, all in their 20s and 30s, Odushkin took part in the
Orange Revolution mass protests of 2004 that brought to power pro-Western
Yushchenko against Moscow-backed Yanukovych.

“The revolution changed our mentalities, but now it’s just theatre. They’re
like actors dividing up the money,” said Katya Terebenets, 25, a mobile
phone shop manager, her blonde hair glowing in the candlelight.

Yushchenko on April 2 ordered the dissolution of parliament and early
elections after a months-long power struggle with Yanukovych, who has
refused to obey the president’s order and insists that fresh elections would
be illegal.

Yanukovych is unpopular here in the centre of nationalist western Ukraine.
The bar goes silent when a waiter, Igor, mentions that the prime minister
came to the cafe last year during an election campaign and seemed nice

“What? Just imagine what would happen if the guys from Donetsk come
and take your place over. Just imagine the fights. It would be a nightmare,”
said Grigory Tsytsyn, a local doctor.

The political crisis in Ukraine has exacerbated divisions between the east
of the country, centred on mostly Russian-speaking cities such as Donetsk,
where Yanukovych comes from, and the mainly Ukrainian-speaking west.

“There is a divide. People are not doing enough to unite this country. It’s
a place with two different mentalities,” said Father Marek, who asked that
his last name not be used, a Polish Catholic priest who has worked in Lviv
for the last 15 years.

The Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches on the cobblestone streets
of this elegant city commemorate a bygone age of prosperity that many
here look back on with nostalgia after years of rule by Moscow.

In the east of the country, the derogatory label for inhabitants of Lviv is
“Bandera’s People,” a reference to Stepan Bandera, a 20th century
nationalist who fought against the Soviet Union in World War II and was
poisoned by the KGB.

Lviv residents refer to the Blue Bottle as the “separatist cafe.”

While there are no genuine separatists here, there is a political vibrancy
in this proud city of 700,000 people, where history is never far from
present day politics.

The cafe seeks to recreate the feel of a time seen as Lviv’s golden age when
the city was part of 19th-century Galicia, a territory once ruled by the
Austro-Hungarian empire that is now split between Ukraine and Poland,
now just 60 kilometres (37 miles) away.

The bar is run by pony-tailed activist Markiyan Ivashchishin, who took part
in protests against Soviet power in 1990 and was an active participant in
the Orange Revolution.

Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party has set up offices on Crooked Lime Tree
Alley, a Lviv backstreet where nationalists once gathered in secret during
Soviet times.

The city’s nostalgia can also take a more light-hearted tone. Every year,
the “Knights of Galicia” awards are given to city public figures and
intellectuals at medieval-style ceremonies presided over by a “King of

This pseudo-aristocracy is the brainchild of Taras Voznyak, editor of a
cultural journal called “Ji,” the 13th letter of the Ukrainian alphabet, and
an eloquent commentator on his city.

In a recent article about Lviv in which he called for the city to build more
links with the

European Union, Voznyak wrote: “Lviv should become the centre where
the new ‘Ukrainian idea,’ the new ‘Ukrainian project,’ will flourish.”  -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

                                  OVER THERE IN UKRAINE?

Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Apr 12, 2007

The question – and confusion – from a US university student is
understandable. Less than three years after the Orange Revolution captivated
the world, Ukraine is once again embroiled in a crisis that involves
thousands of protestors in the capital’s center and a battle for control of
the country.

This time, the resolution of the crisis will determine whether Ukraine
continues to move forward toward democracy or backtracks toward the
arbitrary, oppressive environment that existed prior to the Orange

When President Viktor Yushchenko dismissed the parliament on April 2, he
unleashed a political firestorm that had been smoldering for months.

The dismissed members of parliament immediately refused to capitulate and
encouraged street demonstrations on Independence Square – the former hub
of the Orange Revolution. This inevitably led to numerous international
headlines touting the possibility of renewed mass civil unrest and conflict.

This, however, is no revolution. In fact, it lacks even the smallest
manifestations of a popular protest movement. The number of protestors on
the street is but a tiny fraction of those in 2004, the atmosphere is tired
and bitter, and the Ukrainian public as a whole has chosen largely to ignore
the political scuffle between their president and their parliament.

So, while Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych refuses to accept the decision of
President Yushchenko to disband parliament, and while President Yushchenko
demands that the government and parliament must bend to his will, most of
Ukraine is trying its best to go about its own business – at least for now.

These facts, however, should not diminish the potential importance of events
occurring in Ukraine. No matter how the situation ends, it will have
far-reaching effects – some potentially negative, but some potentially very
positive – for the country’s drive toward democracy.

The greatest potential negative effect for Yushchenko and the opposition
politicians supporting him clearly would be created by the outbreak of
violence.  Serious injury to just one Ukrainian would stain Yushchenko’s
administration irreparably. A number of international analysts – in
particular those writing from Russia – have suggested that this scenario is

These suggestions have been well and irresponsibly stoked by the rhetoric of
both Yanukovych and dismissed parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz.
But, while any situation can turn ugly very quickly, there seems little
appetite on the street for a real physical confrontation.

Perhaps even more important, Prime Minister Yanukovych stands a good
chance of returning to his post after a new election, and his backers depend
on domestic stability to maintain their business interests. It would be unwise
and illogical for them to provoke a violent confrontation under these

The biggest risk to Yushchenko’s position may come from the Constitutional
Court, which is hearing an appeal of the president’s decree from 53 members
of parliament.  Yushchenko’s legal position is not strong, and the
“loyalties” of a number of the Constitutional Court judges are unknown.

Should the Constitutional Court find Yushchenko’s decree to dissolve
parliament unconstitutional, President Yushchenko would face humiliation,
and likely would serve the rest of his (perhaps abbreviated) term as an
ineffectual lame duck.

While this scenario is more possible than a violent confrontation, most
Ukrainian legal analysts suggest that the Constitutional Court – which has
not ruled on a case in eight months – will put off a decision on
Yushchenko’s decree indefinitely.

Nevertheless, in the past, President Yushchenko has avoided any action with
even the slightest hint of a potential negative outcome. So, given this, why
did he choose to go forward? And why are political and civic activists
generally supportive?

Of course, only President Yushchenko can ever truly understand why he did
what he did.  But, his rhetoric suggests that he saw himself backed into a
corner with no way out but to dissolve the parliament.

For the first time, the president seemed to fully comprehend the oft-stated
goal of the majority coalition in parliament to transform Ukraine into a
full “parliamentary republic” by concentrating all power in the hands of the
prime minister and parliament.

In the last seven months, thanks to superb political maneuvering and what
Yushchenko called unconstitutional expansion of the governing coalition, the
majority slowly began to make good on its threats.

Yushchenko lost all input on economic policies, could not pass favored
legislation, and saw Yanukovych halt or stall progress toward NATO, WTO
and European Union membership. The president, quite simply, was being
politically purged.

Also in recent months, many business owners in Ukraine – including those
supporting the president – became alarmed by what they saw as the return of
certain arbitrary economic policies that existed prior to the Orange

The questionable privatization of the Luhanskteplovoz holding company (which
was quietly sold for half of its estimated value) no doubt was of particular
concern. Given this, it appears that many of the businessmen supporting
Yushchenko may have pushed for a bold move.

The move was originally demanded several months ago by Ukraine’s main
opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.  The former prime minister accused the
Yanukovych government of returning to oppressive methods used by former
President Leonid Kuchma. She and her allies suggested that the country’s
leaders were endangering the freedoms Ukrainians had fought so hard to win
in 2004.

In late March, these charges were given credence. Representatives from the
Prosecutor-General’s Office (PGO) suddenly searched the apartment of former
Interior Minister and former Orange Revolution organizer Yuriy Lutsenko and
then accepted a request from the parliament to examine Tymoshenko’s dealings
as head of a gas intermediary in the mid-1990s. Both Lutsenko and Tymoshenko
had announced that they would lead major protest actions in the spring.

At the same time, the Ukrainian National Television Channel 1 cancelled its
only political debate program, “Toloka,” after Tymoshenko and Vyacheslav
Kyrylenko of Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine bloc appeared on the program. This
also followed on the heels of a number of incidents of reported pressure
against local and regional media outlets.

There is little disagreement that the atmosphere in Ukraine had become
significantly more difficult in recent months. The “lawlessness,” of the
government, wrote Anders Aslund in The National Interest, was “palpable.”

Given this, it is not surprising that a large portion of the country’s
elites and activists would rather brave the current protests and a new
election than maintain the status quo. They now are beginning to understand
that democracy is not built in a day. It is not a straight, clear path.

But should Ukraine hold a free and fair election in May, should voters send
a message that politicians will be held accountable, no matter what the
final outcome, the country will have taken another small step forward.
NOTE: Tammy Lynch is a Senior Fellow at Boston University’s Institute
for the Study of Conflict, Ideology & Policy.
LINK: http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/oped/26456/
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Polls & Research: Reid Global Monitor
Vancouver, BC, Canada, Thursday, April 12, 2007

 Many people in Ukraine are dissatisfied with the country’s foremost body of
law, according to a poll by the Sofia Social Studies Center. 46.6 per cent
of respondents believe the country’s constitution needs to be amended.

In Ukraine, a series of public demonstrations took place in Kiev after the
November 2004 presidential run-off. The Ukrainian Supreme Court eventually
invalidated the results of the second round, and ordered a special re-vote.

Opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko-whose supporters wore orange-
coloured clothing at events and rallies-received 51.99 per cent of all cast
ballots, defeating Viktor Yanukovych.

Constitutional amendments adopted in the wake of the “Orange Revolution”
transformed Ukraine’s political system, from a presidential into a
parliamentary republic, and sparked a power struggle between the president
and the prime minister.

In March 2006, Ukrainian voters renewed the Supreme Council. In July, the
“anti-crisis” governing coalition-which includes Yanukovych’s Party of
Regions (PR), the Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU) and the Communist Party
of Ukraine (KPU)-was formally announced. In August, Yanukovych was
confirmed as prime minister, while Yushchenko remained as president.

On Apr. 2, Yushchenko dissolved the Supreme Council and called an election
for May 27. The legislative branch refused to acknowledge the decree and
vowed to continue meeting. Yushchenko has said he will not back down,
declaring, “Our truth is to live according to the letter and, most
importantly, to the spirit of Ukraine’s Constitution.”

On Apr. 10, five of the 18 members of the Constitutional Court expressed
disappointment with the current situation and called for bodyguards before
issuing their ruling on the election call. Judge Volodymyr Kampo declared:
“Gross pressure has been applied.”
                                            POLLING DATA
Do you think the Ukrainian constitution needs to be amended?

               Yes             46.6%
               No              30.1%
               Not sure      23.4%

Source: Sofia Social Studies Center
Methodology: Interviews with 2,012 Ukrainian adults, conducted from
Mar. 22 to Mar. 31, 2007. Margin of error is 2.2 per cent.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


RFE/RL, Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, April 12, 2007

KYIV – In an interview with RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, President Viktor
Yushchenko said the only democratic way to resolve the political crisis in
his country is by holding new elections.

President Yushchenko didn’t say was when exactly those elections would take
place. Officially the election campaign is under way and a date is set for
May 27.

But yesterday a Yushchenko ally, National Security and Defense Council
Secretary Vitaliy Hayduk, said the president does not rule out that the
decree dissolving parliament and ordering early elections can be suspended.
                                  ELECTIONS QUESTION
That would mean, the aide said, a new timetable for elections. It would also
apparently allow parliament to continue working in the interim.

Observers say Yanukovych — who only yesterday (April 11) warned of
unspecified “consequences” if Yushchenko refused to rescind the decree —
has shown signs of softening, suggesting he may agree to take part in early
elections if certain conditions are met. Speaking to RFE/RL, Yushchenko
assured that dialogue between all forces in the dispute is continuing.

“I think the difference is that we are constantly consulting. There is an
active dialogue. We have a regular dialogue with all the institutions of
power. There is no feeling of isolation on the part of the parliament, the
government, or the presidency as far as communication or dialogue is
concerned,” Yushchenko said.

Ukraine’s Constitutional Court is due to start hearings into the decree’s
legality on April 17, although five out of 18 judges are refusing to
consider the case, citing political pressure.
                              INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS
Meanwhile, international diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis are under
way. Russian and Polish diplomats were in the capital to discuss with
Ukrainian government officials ways of resolving the crisis.

And the European Parliament’s vice president, Marek Siwiec, held a news
conference in Brussels today following a fact-finding mission in the
Ukrainian capital.

But Yushchenko said he is confident that Ukrainians could resolve the crisis
“by themselves”: “We should settle these internal problems through political
means. Ukrainians should go through this by themselves because this
[experience] is not something that you can borrow from someone else or
receive it as a gift from someone,” Yushchenko said.             -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

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             The lines of division have been drawn in Ukraine’s current political crisis

Deutsche Welle, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 12, 2007

KYIV – Rival demonstrators rallied in the Ukrainian capital Wednesday as
defiant Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych rejected a possible concession
by his political enemy, President Viktor Yushchenko.

Yushchenko issued a decree last week to dissolve parliament and hold
elections on May 27 after accusing the ruling majority led by Yanukovych of
abusing the constitution.

Yanukovych is defying the order and hundreds of his supporters have camped
outside government buildings in Kiev for more than a week, with thousands
more holding daily rallies in the capital.

According to a top Yushchenko aide, security council head Vitaly Gaiduk, the
president “does not exclude that the decree could be suspended,” thereby
delaying the holding of new elections.

However, Yanukovych fired back, telling demonstrators he would only agree
to new legislative elections if they “take place alongside early
presidential elections” — a condition that pro-Western Yushchenko has

previously refused to consider.
Several thousand supporters of Yanukovych rallied on Independence Square,
many waving the blue-and-white flags of his Russian-backed Regions Party.
Thousands of Yushchenko supporters demonstrated on Europe Square

“The presidential decree is unconstitutional. That’s not my president and
his party is against the people,” Georgy Yershov, a 70-year-old pensioner
from Dnipropetrovsk in eastern Ukraine, said at the anti-Yushchenko rally.

At the pro-presidential rally, demonstrators held up placards reading:
“Honest Court, Honest Elections,” “East and West Together” and “No to
the Criminals in Power!”

“We’re here to support the president and his decision… There is a lot of
pressure against the judges. We want to say: do not be afraid, we are with
you,” said Nadya Kryvonos, a local deputy from Kremenchug in central
Yushchenko and Yanukovych have feuded since 2004, when the Orange
Revolution protests brought Yushchenko to power after a presidential
election win initially handed to Yanukovych was declared fraudulent.

On Wednesday, former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski, who
played a key role as a mediator in the Orange Revolution, held talks with
Yanukovych and other top Ukrainian officials.

“Russia and Poland have expressed their readiness to be international
mediators,” Olexander Chaly, deputy head of the presidential administration,
told reporters.

Yushchenko cancelled a scheduled trip to address the Council of Europe in
Strasbourg on the political crisis, instead sending his foreign Minister,
Arseny Yatsenyuk, officials said.

A delegation of Russian parliamentarians also met deputies from the
Yanukovych-led governing coalition and voiced their support for the ruling
majority’s stand against the president.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament warned EU institutions not to get
involved in Ukraine’s political crisis until its own people have had a
chance to tackle the issues themselves.

“All resources in Ukraine should be used to solve the problem,” Marek
Siwiec, the deputy chairman of the European Parliament, said. Only after the
Ukrainian Constitutional Court has ruled on the legality President
Yushchenko’s dissolution of a parliament order “can we see whether there is
space for European involvement,” he added.

“Members of the court cannot escape their responsibility,” Siwiec said. “I
believe Ukrainian democracy is able to solve the problem using a word which
is not popular, but useful: compromise.”

Siwiec told a news conference in Kiev that, unlike in 2004 when Yushchenko
won strong, unequivocal Western support, this time neither side could expect
special treatment.

“All parties have a legal and democratic mandate now,” he said. “That’s a
huge difference.”
The constitutional court, which is made up of 18 judges, has been asked by
Yanukovych to rule on the legality of the presidential decree and a decision
is expected within weeks, experts said.

On Tuesday, the court announced that it would not start examining the case
until April 17. Meanwhile, five judges from the court, three of them
Yushchenko appointees, said they were being put under undue political

The Sevodnya daily said the constitutional court’s decision to delay
examining the case played into the hands of Yushchenko by “cutting off the
retreat for the governing coalition.”

Party lists for elections on May 27 would have to be prepared by April 17.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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By Chloe Arnold, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, April 11, 2007

MOSCOW – The recent spat in Ukraine between the president, Viktor
Yushchenko, and his rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, has been
followed closely in Russia.

Russian politicians have been eager to speak out about the mounting crisis,
with the Duma issuing a statement on April 6 supporting the Ukrainian
Verkhovna Rada and denouncing Yushchenko’s decision to dissolve parliament.

But a member of a Russian State Duma delegation visiting Ukraine, Duma
Deputy Aleksandr Krutov, denied today that Russia was interfering in
Ukrainian politics.

The Duma’s statement “is not interference in [Ukraine’s] internal affairs.
It is an assessment of the Ukrainian president’s decree,” Krutov said.
“Anybody, any organization, any country may give their assessment to any
legal act in any country. The State Duma has given its own assessment and it
is fully entitled to do so.”
                                         OLD TIES
Events in Ukraine have provoked strong feelings among many Russians.

Russian television news programs have devoted hours of airtime to the
current crisis in Ukraine. The escalating row has dominated the news and the
front pages of most of the newspapers in Russia for several days.

‘The idea of Ukraine becoming a completely independent state is very hard
for Russians to understand.’

Yevgeny Volk, the director of the Moscow branch of the Washington-based
Heritage Foundation, says Russia and Ukraine are bound together. “The idea
of Ukraine becoming a completely independent state is very hard for Russians
to understand,” Volk says.

“It always used to be that when something happened in Ukraine, we regarded
it as something that was happening to us. We’d watch it with a great deal of
attention. And of course the question of Ukraine joining the West, becoming
a member of NATO or the European Union — this is the worst imaginable
nightmare for Russian public opinion.”
                                  WINTER OF ORANGE
Three winters ago, when demonstrators wearing orange jackets took to the
streets in Kyiv to contest fraudulent elections, they had the strong support
of Washington and the European Union.

The results of the election were overturned and the Western-leaning
Yushchenko came to power in what became known as the Orange Revolution.

But three years later, there are signs that the West’s support for Ukraine has

 Western countries supported Orange forces in Ukraine in 2004 Sam Greene, a
political researcher at the Carnegie Moscow Center, says things look
different now.

“Unfortunately, attention spans, particularly in Washington — but I think
not only in Washington — I think are sometimes shorter than we would like
them to be, and I think that interest has moved on. I think we saw similar
dynamics probably in Georgia and probably in Kyrgyzstan,” Greene says.

But has the void left by the Western governments that supported the Orange
Revolution in Ukraine, the Rose Revolution in Georgia, and the Tulip
Revolution in Kyrgyzstan left an opportunity for Russia to regain influence
in these former Soviet republics?

Greene says the issue is a little bit more complicated. “The attention
deficit from Washington’s side may provide some opportunities to Moscow.
They’re more aware of an opportunity when it comes up and they might be able
to take better advantage of it,” Greene says.

“But in the long run, the real meat and bones of the relationship is
something that is played out and fought over on a daily basis, not just in
these moments of crisis and specific opportunity, but something that is part
of trade negotiations and diplomacy and investment.”
                                          SAVING FACE
In recent years, Russia has taken steps to exert political influence in the
region. At the beginning of 2006, an energy row between Moscow and Kyiv took
on broader implications when Russia said it would no longer supply gas to
Ukraine at reduced rates.

Eventually, Ukraine was forced to accept the new terms. A few months later,
Georgia agreed to pay market rates for Russian gas, too.

Greene says part of Russia’s show of force is about saving face. “The other
thing they’re sensitive to is image and prestige, partly for domestic
reasons, partly for maintaining this international rhetoric that obviously
makes them feel very good on some level,” Greene says.

“They certainly would not want to see Ukraine join NATO or Georgia join
NATO. They certainly would not want to see American antimissile systems and
radar bases directly on the other side of the Russian border.”

At the same time, he says, Moscow is coming to realize that the influence it
used to wield over countries like Ukraine and Georgia is on the wane.

The decision makers in the Kremlin are under no illusion they can bring
these countries into line — now, he says, their primary concern is to do
business with them.                                  -30-

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

Interfax news agency, Moscow, in Russian 0617 gmt 11 Apr 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Wed, Apr 11, 2007

MOSCOW – The USA has once again demonstrated to the international

community that it is striving to establish a unipolar world, the first deputy
chairman of the State Duma committee on international affairs, Leonid
Slutskiy, has said.

This is how he commented on US President George Bush signing on 10 April

a law approved by Congress to support Georgia and Ukraine joining NATO.

“Making these countries as well as other states join NATO is a targeted
policy of the White House aimed at creating a unipolar world led by the
USA,” Slutskiy said.

He added that by doing so, the US administration strives “to destroy
Russia-oriented links in the CIS and in the long run eliminate the CIS
itself by partially replacing it with the GUAM [alliance of Georgia,
Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova]”.

“In view of a critical attitude towards Russia of many countries, NATO
member states and the bloc’s potential members, the Americans are trying to
hinder Russia’s rapid development,” Slutskiy said.

Slutskiy believes that in doing so they [Americans] “are undermining the
foundation of a political and economic upsurge in our country and at the
same time directing Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and several other states
towards joining a single bloc. Thus, they are striving for the role of a
state which is at the centre of the universe”.                   -30-

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

Lessons In Democracy; Ekspert No. 14, Moscow, Russia, Mon, Apr 9, 2007

Ukraine is not lagging behind Russia. The Orange Revolution did
not signal a retreat into the post-Soviet past, but the choice of
an entirely different development paradigm for the state and
governance. Ukraine has chosen the path of political freedom.

      The president disbands the parliament without having any
constitutional grounds to do so. The parliament refuses to submit,
threatening to impeach the president. Independence Square is full
of Orange demonstrators – and this time they’re not alone: Regions
Party supporters have pitched their tents in Europe Square nearby.

      The Blues, the Oranges… Yes, it all seems to resemble Russia’s
situation in 1993 – and the immediate thought is that Ukraine is
lagging behind us by 15 years, still being stuck in the early
post-Soviet era. But this analogy is misleading.

      Ukraine is not lagging behind Russia. In 2004, when Putin was
still establishing his hierarchy of governance, Kuchma’s hierarchy
in Ukraine was already established – and proved to be almost
stronger than the hierarchy we have now. The Orange Revolution did
not signal a retreat into the post-Soviet past, but the choice of
an entirely different development paradigm for the state and
governance. Ukraine has chosen the path of political freedom.

      In effect, Ukraine became “the other Russia” in 2004: free
from executive branch control of the political arena, with full-
fledged political competition, free media, and citizens being able
to exercise real influence in political decisions.

      Therefore, current events in Ukraine are important not only because

Ukraine is our nearest neighbor and vital economic partner, but also
because this offers us a coherent picture of how events might have
developed in Russia if we had taken the same path. In other words,
Ukraine is teaching us some “lessons in democracy.” And we should
pay close attention to those lessons.

      It’s a waste of time to seek the causes of Ukraine’s current
crisis in a confrontation between Western Ukraine and Eastern
Ukraine, between pro-West and pro-Russian orientations, or any
ideology. What forced Yushchenko to take emergency measures was
the political expansion of Ukraine’s largest financial-industrial

        The Donetsk group wasn’t pursuing any murky goals; it
simply sought all available power in order to achieve its economic
objectives – expanding its business and the ability to bargain
properly with Russia in the natural gas trade. Even a weak
president was regarded as an obstacle by the Donetsk group.

        Therefore, it started buying up votes in parliament – and if
Yushchenko hadn’t disbanded the Rada, the Regions Party would have
accumulated a constitutional majority very soon. The cost of doing
so – tens of millions of dollars – would have been recouped
easily, of course. This kind of reasoning and methods are entirely
natural for oligarchic conglomerates. This is what YUKOS was doing
in 2003: buying up votes in the Duma.

      Another lesson from Ukrainian democracy concerns inevitable
populism. In a situation where citizens are actually able to
influence the authorities, all political forces in Ukraine have
made it their chief objective to avoid disappointing their voters,
while arranging for voters to be disappointed in their rivals. In
these circumstances, it’s turned out that individuals can pursue
their business objectives quite easily – but no one spares a
thought for establishing some sort of state strategy.
       What’s more, any political force that secures the support of at

least a third of voters gets carte blanche to ride roughshod over the law,
redesign the state system, and redistribute property. So the state
is doomed to continual instability. All political forces that are
dissatisfied with their position have an interest in replacing the
Cabinet and holding a new election. Voters have an interest in
that as well.

      But all these lessons can’t be reduced to “how lucky we are
not to have political freedom and democracy.” Ukraine’s democracy
hasn’t been an entirely negative experience. Political freedom has
enabled Yanukovych to not only return to power, but to become even
stronger. And the expansion of his business group has been
restrained by the fact that ordinary citizens have some real
significance in politics.

For all its political and financial power, for all its influence over

prosecutors and other leverage, the Donetsk group has been forced to
back down before a weaker political opponent. Since the force factor in
politics has become substantially weaker since the Orange Revolution,
Yanukovych can’t simply “sort out” his opponent, even when that
opponent’s actions aren’t entirely lawful. What’s more, Yanukovych
cannot ignore the proposed election – that would demonstrate that
he’d rather rely on force than on voters.

      Then again, events in Ukraine are moving rapidly, and the
“lessons in democracy” obviously aren’t over yet. There may be
some highly unexpected surprises. (Translated by Elena Leonova)
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
16.                      VIKTOR VERSUS VIKTOR

EDITORIAL: Financial Times, London, UK, Saturday, April 7 2007

Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko has finally taken off his gloves in
his long-running political conflict with Viktor Yanukovich, the country’s
power-hungry prime minister. In dissolving parliament and ordering new
elections, Mr Yushchenko claims to have launched an all-out battle for
Ukraine’s fragile democracy.

Sadly, it may be a case of too little, too late. In the immediate aftermath
of the 2004 Orange Revolution, Mr Yushchenko had the authority to shape

his country’s future.

In the past two years, he has squandered much of his political capital
through splits with former allies, indecision and fruitless efforts to
co-operate with Mr Yanukovich, his former bitter rival and the man whose
supporters tried to rig the fraudulent 2004 presidential election that
triggered the Orange Revolution.

It would be wonderful if Mr Yushchenko could recover the ground he has lost
and put Ukraine on the road to a thriving, outward-looking democracy with
strong ties to Russia and the west. However, his chances are not good.

The conflict is the result of the compromise that ended the Orange
Revolution, under which power was transferred from the presidency to
parliament. But it has been an unequal struggle. As the co-author of the
compromise, Mr Yushchenko has felt obliged to try to make the agreement
work, even at the cost of his own power.

Meanwhile, Mr Yanukovich, who recovered from his 2004 defeat to triumph in
last year’s parliamentary elections, has taken advantage of the deal by
presenting himself – somewhat improbably – as a champion of parliamentary

While playing lip-service to co-operation, he has ruthlessly expanded his
power, poaching pro-Yushchenko MPs. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s powerful business
oligarchs have mostly sided with Mr Yanukovich, giving him the means to
finance his support base.

Although Mr Yushchenko has now staked his remaining political authority on
new elections, it is uncertain they will go ahead.

Even if there are fresh polls, Mr Yushchenko seems unlikely to emerge
triumphant. Opinion polls indicate he and Mr Yanukovich will both retain
strong parliamentary parties, as will the popular Yulia Tymoshenko. Ukraine
faces months, if not years, of political turmoil.

The conflict in Kiev reflects wider divisions in Ukraine with Mr
Yushchenko’s pro-west policies enjoying more support in western Ukraine than
in Mr Yanukovich’s strongholds in the east.

Mr Yanukovich favours close ties with Russia. As a whole, Ukrainians broadly
support Mr Yushchenko’s drive for future EU membership, but they dislike his
wish to join Nato.

Such an ambivalent country is naturally prey to outside influence. Russia,
which saw the Orange Revolution as a disaster, has tried to restore its
political and economic influence. It has already intervened in the latest
crisis, with the Duma yesterday condemning Mr Yushchenko’s actions.

The EU has been right to react cautiously to the latest events. The west
must support democracy in Ukraine, mainly by keeping alive the hope of
future EU membership. It should also confront any attempt by Russia to
subvert political freedom. But western governments should not involve
themselves too closely in the current power struggle.

The time is not right, the position is unclear and Mr Yushchenko,
unfortunately, is not the man he could have been had he capitalised better
on the Orange Revolution.                               -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
== =====================================================
17.                      UKRAINE’S LATEST TEST

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Adrian Karatnycky
The Wall Street Journal, NY, NY, Friday, 6 April 2007

Two and a half years after the Orange Revolution captured the imagination

of the democratic world, Ukraine is facing another political crisis.

Again, the standoff pits the pro-Western forces of President Viktor
Yushchenko against the Europe-skeptics and pro-Russians allied with Prime
Minister Viktor Yanukovych and his Party of Regions. On Monday, President
Yushchenko dissolved the parliament and called for new elections on May 27.

Mr. Yushchenko’s tough-minded actions were driven by three factors:

[1] First, in the nine months since the Party of Regions cobbled together a
governing majority with support from Communists and Socialists, its leaders
have worked to erode the president’s powers by usurping his constitutional
role as the architect of foreign policy, diminishing his power to issue
binding decrees and weakening the National Security Council.

[2] Second, through a variety of blandishments, patronage and, according to
opposition forces, massive bribes, some two dozen deputies have defected to
the governing coalition, raising the prospect that over time it may attain a
constitutional majority that would marginalize the role of the presidency.
Mr. Yushchenko described the organized defections as an attempt at a
“revision of the political results of the 2006 elections.”

[3] And last, many in President Yushchenko’s inner circle are convinced that
the government is filled with high-ranking officials carrying out Russia’s

In the past, Mr. Yushchenko has earned a reputation for stoic patience and
procrastination. Some have interpreted these traits as weakness. But as the
president made clear his week, when he decides to act there is no turning
back. This time, as during the Orange Revolution, Mr. Yushchenko was spurred
to action by the surprising level of public outrage at the growing
domination of the Regions party.

On Saturday, with scant preparation, over 100,000 nonviolent opposition
protesters gathered in Kiev’s central square. Their enthusiastic expression
of support for new elections appears to have turned the tide and settled the

The last few days have been filled with Sturm und Drang declarations on both
sides about “anticonstitutional actions” and the “usurpation of power.” And
there is a danger that Russia will seek to exploit the disarray to promote
economic and political reintegration.

Notwithstanding such dangers, most factors point to a peaceful and
democratic resolution, either through snap elections or through rulings by
the Constitutional Court, heretofore deadlocked and unwilling to act to
resolve the mounting dispute.

The president remains in firm control over the armed forces, the militarized
detachments of the militia, and the security services.

The country’s mainstream media are open and provide reliable and responsible
information. Regional governors have taken a stand solidly behind the
president while the Central Election Commission said it is ready to hold

And if push comes to shove, events will be determined in the capital Kiev,
where the tandem of President Yushchenko and firebrand oppositionist Yulia
Tymoshenko commands overwhelming public support.

Ukraine is not an incipient Yugoslavia. There is no ethno-political divide
and each of its regions (apart from Crimea) has a solid ethnic Ukrainian

Moreover, 16 years into independence, the vast majority of the political
establishment on both the “Orange” (Yushchenko-Tymoshenko) and Blue
(Regions) sides is committed to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and
sovereignty. At the same time, there are signs of disagreement and

disarray in the governing coalition.

While the Socialists, a minor party that stands to lose its parliamentary
place in a new vote, and Communists are seeking radical responses, with some
leaders calling for the elimination of the presidency, and others demanding
the president’s impeachment, moderates in the Party of Regions, who are
allied with major business interests, have been sending signals that they
are interested in compromise.

Despite a twofold hike in natural gas prices and a spike in the price of
petroleum, Ukraine’s economy is booming. It grew 7% last year and is set to
make similar gains his year, driven mainly by banking, the metals and
chemicals industries, retail and real estate.

As a result, the business community backs both President Yushchenko and
Prime Minister Yanukovych and does not want protracted conflict. Rinat
Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest man and one of the Regions party’s most
influential leaders, said Tuesday that “no matter how hard it is, we will
have to sit down at the negotiating table again and again.” He called for
leaders on all sides to refrain from incendiary rhetoric and declared that
“unresolved political warfare stands in the way of economic growth.”

Ukraine has seen the emergence of an engaged citizenry, has survived several
government changes in contested elections, and has an emerging middle class
and business elite interested in stability. All of this makes it likely that
Ukraine will come through this crisis with its democratic institutions

There is even a chance that, after the people have spoken at the ballot box,
it will be possible to accelerate the major economic reforms everyone
expected after the Orange Revolution in 2004, when the world watched with
hope and trepidation the difficult birth of Ukraine’s democracy.   -30-
Mr. Karatnycky is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council of the U.S. and
founder and president of the Orange Circle.
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Reuters, Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 10, 2007

KIEV – Judges on Ukraine’s top constitutional body said today political
pressure and threats were preventing their efforts to end the country’s
longstanding political deadlock.

The Constitutional Court has been asked to rule on whether pro-Western
President Viktor Yushchenko, at odds for months with parliament and his
prime minister, violated the constitution by dissolving the legislature and
calling a May election.

Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, defeated by his arch-rival Yushchenko in
presidential elections following the 2004 “Orange Revolution” protests,
refuses to take part in any new parliamentary polls pending the court’s

“Specific political forces … are putting pressure on a number of judges,
and on all the judges as a whole, and do not allow us to arrive at any legal
decision,” five of the court’s 18 judges said on the eve of the start of

The judges demanded bodyguards to protect them against “clear public threats
… pressure aimed at intimidating (judges), influencing their activity for
political aims and securing favourable decisions”.

Judge Pert Stetsyuk, reading the statement to reporters, said the five could
take no further part in the case “until conditions are provided for
unbiased, independent examination”.

None of the five would say who was behind the pressure, but judge Viktor
Shyshkyn said “constant incitement from the rostrum in parliament amount to
an element of pressure”.
                                  DEFIANT PARLIAMENT
Since the president issued his decree on April 2, parliament has continued
to pass acts in defiance of the dissolution order, including a bar on
financing the election called for May 27.

Yanukovich, backed by a majority in the chamber, has called on the president
to rescind the decree pending a ruling by the Constitutional Court.

Yushchenko said he dissolved parliament because the majority was illegally
poaching his supporters. He dismisses as meaningless any measures adopted by
parliament since the decree.

The prime minister’s backers have held rallies to recreate the atmosphere of
the 2004 “orange” protests. But numbers have been small and the resolve of
demonstrators unconvincing.

Several thousand of Yanukovich’s supporters gathered in central Kiev on
Tuesday. The opposition, led by ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, has long
called for a new election. Opposition supporters have called a demonstration
for Wednesday.

A backer of European Union and NATO membership, Yushchenko has seen his
powers cut by constitutional change and his popularity has sunk as
supporters accused him of indecisiveness.

Yanukovich, friendlier to Moscow, staged a remarkable comeback in Ukraine’s
last parliamentary election – barely a year ago – when his party took first

Appointed prime minister after “orange” parties could not form a government,
he initially agreed to uphold Yushchenko’s pro-Western policies, but has
chipped away at his authority.                             -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                          MEDVEDCHUK’S SILVER BULLET

COMMENTARY: By Mustafa Nayem and Serhy Leshchenko
Ukrayinska Pravda website in Ukrainian
Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 6, 2007
Published by the Action Ukraine Report (AUR) in English
Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 12, 2007

Probably, in a year or two some Ukrainian producer will shoot a film about
the present goings-on in Ukraine. In this case, the film should be titled
“Stanik 6/12” by the analogy with a well known film “Fahrenheit 9/11” made
by Michael Moore. [Susanna Stanik became justice minister in the reign of
Kuchma’s gray cardinal, Viktor Medvedchuk – Transl.]

This name and these two figures may become crucial in breaking the stalemate
afflicting Ukraine. On Thursday, Apr. 3, 12 out of 18 judges of the
Constitutional Court voted to open hearings following the demand by 53 VR
lawmakers to render unconstitutional Pres Yushchenko’s decree to dissolve
VR. The judge who will report to CC on the case is Susanna Stanik.

Although the Orange supporters are rubbing their hands, praising Yushchenko’s
belated determination, there is no absolute certainty that the CC will side
with the incumbent. The reaction of the Regions and statements by some
politicians favoring VR dissolution indicate that Yushchenko is gradually
losing ground.

It all started with the abortive resignation of CC Chief Justice Ivan
Dombrovsky. It is anyone’s guess who pushed Mr Dombrovsky into handing

in his resignation, president or premier.

Yushchenko supporters are confident the chief justice was overpowered by the
person who had seen him last, Viktor Yanukovych. The premier, meanwhile, has
pointed his finger at the Orange team.

Interestingly, the first to break the news that 11 CC judges had rejected
Dombrovsky’s resignation was Olena Lukash, deputy minister without
portfolio. The CC reacted indignantly, decrying leak of information from CC
closed sessions.

And Ms Lukash, Region’s main mouthpiece on the CC matters and a PR expert,
could have hardly released the  information to the media that might damage
her party.

On the other hand, the Orange team hailed the rejection by CC to accept
Dombrovsky’s resignation. This was interpreted by the presidential
administration as an indication of support by the judges to the chief
justice, who is believed to be Yushchenko’s loyal man. However, in the wake
of some latest developments their optimism might be premature.

The allegations that Yushchenko would have never dissolved VR had he not
been assured of the CC support seem somewhat exaggerated.

According to some sources, Yushchenko has thrown all his weight with the CC
not to pass a favorable verdict on his decree, but to prevent the court from
taking any decisions whatever – even the decision to start its hearings.

In this case, Dombrovsky’s resignation and therefore the CC paralysis would
play into the hands of the incumbent, not the coalition. Yushchenko’s
insiders believe that the president may count on the support of only 7

It’s too little for a favorable verdict, but enough to create the lack of a
quorum. The rumor has it that the seven CC judges had vowed either to go on
sick leaves or resign immediately after the decree dissolving VR.

The purpose of such a move is to create a lengthy uncertainty. The plan
drawn up by presidential administration was as follows: either the Regions
would lose their nerve and would agree to pre-term elections or, if the
judges could prolong their sick leaves until May 27 [voting day – Transl.]
while the coalition continued to spurn the elections, this would give the
president another legal trump to introduce, for instance, a state of

That the Orange team opted for such scenario is supported by many facts. For
instance, Yulya Tymoshenko, while addressing foreign diplomats, hinted that
CC will hardly be able to pass its verdict. In private conversations, she
openly admitted that even opening the hearings can take years.

Still, for some reasons this scenario did not work, and the pendulum has now
begun to swing in the opposite direction. Instead of panicking, the Regions
began to insist that the issue be considered by the CC. As of Wednesday,
Apr. 4, the coalition leaders have become increasingly reserved and

On the one hand, if we compare the rhetoric of Yanukovych supporters
immediately after Yushchenko signed his decree (when they openly dubbed his
actions criminal) and, on the other hand, the style of Yanukovych at his
Wednesday press conference, it may look as if the Regions leader has taken a
crash course in democracy in just two days.

And his major lesson is that the CC is his last firewall.

For Yushchenko, however, even a 9-9 vote in the 18-member CC is fraught

with the risk that the coalition may challenge the validity of his decree and
flout it. A single vote may become decisive, as 10 votes are needed to pass
a ruling.  (Translated for the AUR by Volodymyr Hrytsutenko, Lviv) -30-
LINK: http://www.pravda.com.ua/news/2007/4/6/57073.htm)
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume 4, Issue 70
The Jamestown Foundation, Wash DC, Wednesday, Apr 11, 2007

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has rejected calls for a truce from
Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and ignored the pacifying overtures made
by Yanukovych’s allies in parliament last week. Yushchenko insists that his
April 2 decree to dissolve parliament was in line with the constitution and
that an early election to parliament will take place on May 27 despite the
parliamentary majority’s disapproval.

It is not clear, however, how and with what money the election will be
conducted. The ruling coalition is boycotting it, and the Finance Ministry
says there is no money for it in the state coffers.

The parliamentary majority’s initial reaction to Yushchenko’s decree was
highly emotional.

The coalition of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions (PRU), the Socialists, and
the Communists, protesting Yushchenko’s legally doubtful decree, made a
series of controversial statements ranging from accusations of power
usurpation and calls for Yushchenko’s impeachment to instructions to the
Prosecutor-General’s Office to open a criminal case into the “abuse of
office” by Yushchenko, to threats of criminal responsibility against those
state officials who complied with Yushchenko’s “criminal orders.”

Parliament also took a highly controversial decision to restore Serhy
Kivalov, who had been blamed for trying to rig the 2004 presidential
elections in Yanukovych’s favor, as chairman of the Central Electoral

Yushchenko, however, did not bend to pressure, so the coalition changed its
tactics and started to send pacifying signals. On April 4 parliament changed
the wording of its April 2 statement against the dissolution, removing from
it the accusation against Yushchenko of “masterminding a coup.” Speaking on
the same day, Yanukovych offered Yushchenko a “zero option.”

He said that his allies would accept most of Yushchenko’s earlier demands,
such as amendments to the law on the Cabinet and making some of the
provisions of the Yushchenko-drafted National Unity Declaration of August
2006 law, in exchange for the withdrawal of the April 2 decree.

Yanukovych made more compromise offers at his press conference on April 5.
He ruled out impeachment for Yushchenko and said that he had asked Austrian
Federal Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer to mediate efforts to settle the
Ukrainian crisis. Yanukovych remained firm, however, on the point of early
elections. He said that his allies would recognize them only if the
Constitutional Court finds that Yushchenko’s decree was legitimate.

On April 6 the pro-Yanukovych coalition showed yet more readiness to
surrender to Yushchenko’s demands. A parliamentary session, which no
supporters of Yushchenko attended, passed (237-23) Yushchenko’s plan to
conduct exercises involving foreign troops in Ukraine in 2007, which it had
rejected two days earlier.

The coalition also expelled from its ranks the defectors from Yushchenko’s
Our Ukraine (NU) and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (BYT). Yushchenko had
quoted the defections as the legal foundation for his decision to dissolve
parliament (see EDM, April 3).

Yushchenko, however, firmly rejected the coalition’s overtures. Addressing
the nation on Easter Eve, April 7, he said that it was his duty to “cleanse
the temple of the Pharisees and merchants” with his decree on parliament’s
dissolution. “My decision is constitutional and legitimate,” he said. “There
will be no turning back.”

Yushchenko’s determination outraged the coalition. At an emergency session
on April 9, parliament approved statements accusing Yushchenko of
“blackmailing” the Constitutional Court, and the Security Service of
“spying” on judges and coalition leaders, calling Yushchenko’s April 2
Decree illegal, and urging early presidential elections and a referendum to
rule out NATO membership.

Yushchenko’s snap parliamentary election plan, meanwhile, faces serious
difficulties. The coalition parties and their allies outside parliament are
boycotting it. As a result, local electoral commissions are being formed
without their participation. Finance Minister Mykola Azarov, who is one of
the PRU’s founders, has said that no money will be provided for organizing
the election because no funds for this had been earmarked in this year’s

Only parliament may amend the budget, but Yushchenko does not recognize
parliament’s legitimacy after his dissolution decree. All this means that
the election will hardly be properly organized, and significant
irregularities should not be ruled out.

The results of the most recent opinion polls conducted by two respectable
Kyiv-based pollsters show that the ruling coalition has nothing to fear if
the Constitutional Court upholds Yushchenko on parliament dissolution and
early elections. The current coalition, hostile to Yushchenko, would likely
be preserved in the next parliament, so Yanukovych should be able to stay on
as prime minister.

His PRU would get 35.3%, according to the Sofia pollster, and 33.5%,
according to the Razumkov Center. BYT should be second (25.1% according to
Sofia and 24.9% according to Razumkov), followed by NU (Sofia’s 5.4% and
Razumkov’s 9.6%), and the Communists (Sofia’s 4.7% and Razumkov’s 5%).

The Socialists may fail to clear the 3% barrier (Sofia gives them 2.8%, and
Razumkov 2.1%), but they will be competing for the last seats in parliament
against the radically anti-Western Vitrenko Bloc (1.6% from Sofia, and 2.5%
from Razumkov), which is another likely ally of the PRU.
(Channel 5, April 2-9; UNIAN, April 4, 6; Ukrayinska pravda, April 4;
Interfax-Ukraine, April 6)

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

By Yuras Karmanau, Associated Press Writer
Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, 11 April 2007

KIEV, Ukraine – Opponents and supporters of President Viktor Yushchenko
planned to hold competing rallies Wednesday, amid a political crisis
centered around his order to dissolve parliament and call early elections.
The protests threatened to become the biggest in the ex-Soviet nation since
the 2004 Orange Revolution.

Yushchenko dissolved the parliament last week and called early elections,
accusing his arch-rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, and his majority
coalition in parliament of trying to usurp power.

Yanukovych and his parliamentary allies rejected the order as
unconstitutional, and appealed to the Constitutional Court. The standoff has
triggered the worst political turmoil in the nation of 47 million since the
Orange Revolution. Russia, Ukraine’s historic partner, and the West, with
whom Ukraine has been trying to build closer relations, both have appealed
for calm.

On Wednesday, several thousand of Yushchenko’s supporters marched to the
Constitutional Court and then back down Kiev’s main avenue, chanting “Honest
Court! Honest Elections!” Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party pledged to gather
more than 100,000 people for a protest later in the day.

“We must help Yushchenko and Ukraine to stand for the choice that we made
during the Orange Revolution,” protester Svetlana Rohozhyna said.
Yanukovych’s supporters, meanwhile, planned a major rally on Kiev’s main
Independence Square.

“Today we must hold very big rally to force Yushchenko to see a real
situation in the country,” Yanukovych’s supporter Yuriy Pechatov said.

The rallies echoed the Orange Revolution mass protests, when Yushchenko had
called out hundreds of thousands of his supporters to protest against
Yanukovych’s fraud-marred victory in the bitter presidential race. Ukraine’s
Supreme Court threw out Yanukovych’s victory and ordered another poll, which
Yushchenko won.

In the current dispute, the Constitutional Court had been expected to begin
hearings Wednesday on Yanukovych’s challenge to the president’s order, but
postponed them until Tuesday. Five of the 18 judges refused to attend the
hearings, citing pressure from Yanukovych’s camp, which it denied.

Yanukovych criticized the court for the delay, and appealed to Yushchenko to
halt his order dissolving parliament. His Cabinet formally refused on
Wednesday to fulfill Yushchenko’s demand to allocate funds for holding the

At the same time, Yanukovych rejected a proposal by his coalition partner,
the Communists, to hold a national protest strike, saying it would hurt

Yushchenko said Tuesday he would not back down from the order to dissolve
parliament, but said he could compromise on when new elections would be
held. His order called for elections on May 27.

Meanwhile, former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, who played
mediator during the Orange Revolution, arrived Wednesday in Kiev to meet
with Yushchenko and Yanukovych.

During the meeting with Kwasniewski, Yanukovych expressed concern about

the situation, saying it could hurt Ukraine as well as its partners, the Cabinet
said in a statement. Yanukovych called for international mediation, while
Yushchenko insists there is no need.                            -30-
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