AUR#828 Apr 13 Ten Steps Towards One Another; Damn Them Both; Is There A Way Out; What Say You, Mr. Akhmetov?; Billionaires Divvy Up Ukrainian Pie

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                     In-Depth Ukrainian News, Analysis and Commentary

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

         This political crisis must be resolved in a legitimate, constitutional
         manner and serve to spur the establishment of institutions, procedures
         and rules that will not allow any political players whatsoever to allow
         themselves to violate legal norms and freedom of political competition.

         Everyone already knows the list of reforms necessary for this: the
         judiciary, public administration and so on.

         However, so far, none of the Governments have been able to institute

         these reforms. This means that the primary objective is to establish the
         real reasons for the current failures and to declare their elimination a
         top priority. (ICPS, Kyiv, Article 4)                                          

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
1.                         TEN STEPS TOWARDS ONE ANOTHER
Mirror-Weekly, Dzerkalo Tyzhnya On The Web, No. 13 (642)
International Social Political Weekly, Kyiv, Ukraine, 7-13 April 2007

Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ideology & Policy at Boston University
Boston, Massachusetts, Thursday, 12 April 2007

3.                                    DAMN THEM BOTH!
Mirror-Weekly, Dzerkalo Tyzhnya On The Web, No 13 (642)
International Social Political Weekly, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sat 7-13 April 2007

COMMENTARY: By International Centre for Policy Studies (ICPS)
ICPS political analysts Ivan Presniakov and Viktor Chumak
ICPS Newsletter #360, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, April 9, 2007
                  Ukraine is in political crisis again. Is there a way out?
Economist, London, UK, Thursday, April 12, 2007

6.                       WHAT SAY YOU, MR. AKHMETOV?
EDITORIAL: Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Apr 12, 2007

Causes & possible consequences of the current political tensions in Ukraine.
Washington Profile, Washington, D.C., Wed, April 11, 2007

OPINION & ANALYSIS: By Alexander Konovalov

President of the Institute of Strategic Assessments
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 12, 2007

             Ukraine’s crisis: an interview with politician Viktor Khara
INTERVIEW: With Viktor Khara, Deputy Leader of Regions Party
By Svetlana Stepanenko, Vremya Novostei,
Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 10, 2007

10.                                 HIGHER AMBITIONS
EDITORIAL: Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Apr 12, 2007

11.                      THE TYMOSHENKO DOCTRINE
           The Orange Princess proclaims a concept for containing Russia
                     Yulia Tymoshenko’s anti-Russian policy course
COMMENTARY: By Fyodor Lukyanov
Chief Editor, Russia in Global Affairs
Vremya Novostei, Wednesday, April 11, 2007

                          An update on the political crisis in Ukraine
By Yanina Sokolovskaya, Izvestia, Moscow, Russia, Wed, Apr 11, 2007

13.                    ORANGEISTS ARE PREPARING COUP.
                      Russian Analysts Call For State Action to Avert

                                   ‘Authoritarian’ Coup in Ukraine
STATEMENT: By Sergey Markov, Iosif Diskin, Valeriy Khomyakov,
and Vladimir Zharikhin: “‘Orangeists’ Are Preparing Coup. Russian
Political Analysts Respond to Izvestiya Report”
Izvestia, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, April 11, 2007

COMMENTARY: By Vitaly Portnikov, Editor-in-chief
Newspaper Gazeta 24 in Kiev, Ukraine.
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 10, 2007

RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Wed, April 11, 2006

Mirror-Weekly, Dzerkalo Tyzhnya On The Web, No. 13 (642)
International Social Political Weekly, Kyiv, Ukraine, 7-13 April 2007

Despite the MPs’ well-creased suits, their crowding in the corridors of
courts and the Central Election Commission, despite the pre-paid marches
and demonstrations around the Presidential Secretariat and Parliament, most
Ukrainians tend to perceive the current political crisis as a storm in the
officials’ teacup.

The fierce fight for power is aggravated with the post-Soviet syndrome that
most of the political leaders involved suffer from: “the winner takes all”.
Yuliya Tymoshenko has never concealed her penchant for concentrated power,
which accounts for her unswerving opposition to the constitutional reform.

Viktor Yushchenko dreams of a Constitution that would restore the maximum
scope of presidential authority, empowering him to appoint and dismiss every
man of consequence in the state.

Viktor Yanukovych, by recruiting a constitutional majority in the Rada, has
been erecting a pyramid of his own power for eight months in the hope that
it will one day provide him with leverage equal to that of [former
President] Kuchma’s.

Every time these processes intensify, I recall my conversation with
[ex-Prime Minister] Pavlo Lazarenko:

– What are you after, Petro Ivanovych? – I asked him in the winter of 1997.
– Staying in the Premier’s office for eight years.
– That is impossible.
– Why?
– For many reasons; one of them being that you won’t share anything
  with anyone.
– In order to share, I should first have everything to myself.

In fact, today nobody is going to share anything, either, which is one of
the main reasons for Ukraine’s constitutional, political and psychological
crisis. The leaders of all the various political forces have been working
for a few years now to concentrate all kinds of resources (financial,
administrative, electoral, etc) under their control.

Moreover, they invest in people – judges, lawyers, journalists, political
analysts and consultants, sociologists, spin doctors – as one would invest
in real estate.

As a result, politicians have entrapped themselves: there are practically no
individuals or legal entities in the country who could arbitrate between the
opposing parties and win the trust of both.

Hence a lot of skepticism about the forthcoming Constitutional Court
judgement. No instrument of authority, unless it works in the “papal
conclave” regime, can be totally objective or unprejudiced. No court has a
reputation for impartiality and trustworthiness.

On the one hand, the country needs people and organizations capable of
finding legal and moral solutions to regularly erupting crises. On the
other, the political elite, unskilled in finding compromises within the
frameworks of legislation, heavily depends on sponsors and legal advisers.

Of course, one could wait for the CC ruling and hope all the concerned
parties will abide by it: we are a civilized nation, after all; we should
not repeat Russia’s mistakes of 1993. However, some people could view
the CC ruling only as an indicator of the winning party’s greater clout.

It is not up to courts to settle the current crisis and satisfy our leading
politicians’ ambitions. A new political generation could do the job, but it
will take years for this generation to come to the fore and grow into an
influential movement.

We have to live those years with the leaders available today, harbouring no
illusions about them but counting on their self-preservation instinct. They
might survive if they achieve a political compromise.

It should be a broad, stable and conscious compromise, whereby there would
be neither absolute winners nor total losers but, instead, everyone gaining
a little something. However, that is some way off.

Meanwhile the three players – President, Prime Minister and opposition
leader – are keeping to a hard line that could well bring them to a dead
end, together with the rest of the country.

Naturally, we would prefer the constitutional grounds for the President’s
decision to dissolve Parliament to be more solid. Alas!

Yet Yushchenko is essentially right: not only does the formation of a
300-man strong coalition destroy the “checks-and-balances” system but it
also distorts the election results and creates preconditions for the
Premier’s usurping an almost unlimited power.

This would be detrimental to both the President and the nation at large.
Until the Constitutional Court rules otherwise, the presidential decree is
in effect, and it should be enforced.

Failure to comply with it is punishable under law, including criminal law as
Yushchenko emphasized in his address to the nation.

The Supreme Rada, Cabinet of Ministers or other local governments, while
passing collective resolutions on defying the decree, could take this
scornfully-but as soon as it became endorsed with the NSDC decision, the
responsibility become personal.

The presidential decree enacting the NSDC decision allocates
responsibilities to particular state officials, who are in charge of funding
the election campaign with reserves, as well as procuring what the CEC
needs. Names and timeframes are specific: Yanukovych, Azarov, Kopylov,
Davydovych, Kharchenko; by 7 April, by 10 April, by 11 April, etc.

For example, if prime Minister Yanukovych, First Vice Prime Minister Azarov,
State Treasury Head Kharchenko, First Deputy Minister of Finance Kopylov,
CEC Chair Davydovych fail to meet the clear deadlines set in the decree,
Prosecutor General Medvedko must send his people to them.

Is the President prepared for this scenario? Can he rely on Medvedko to do
everything right? If yes, how will the coalition respond to the information
on penalties against their fellow party members? What will the consequences

The latter circumstance lays special responsibility upon the prime minister
of Ukraine. Yanukovych rejects the elections flatly. Proposing a “zero
option”, he is not playing fairly, as the adoption of the “imperative
mandate” law by the Rada (a concession he is ready to make) will not prevent
the formation of a constitutional majority.

The law will prohibit MPs from switching factions but it will not prescribe
how they should vote. According to the Constitution, MPs are free to vote
“at will”.

Viktor Yanukovych, who informs society of internal developments in the
Constitutional Court ahead of the CC press service (Sic!), must be sure the
CC will rule in his favour.

Yet one should bear in mind that, say, 15 minutes before the CC verdict is
announced, the President could sign another decree on disbanding the Supreme
Rada, amended so as to incorporate the CC recommendations.

A bit later the Constitutional Court could become non-operational again –
some justices could decide to quit, just getting out of the harm’s way.

One should also remember about the invisible internal opposition in the
Party of Regions headed by Rinat Akhmetov, who said he would not support
the concentration of the state power into the hands of one leader, be it
Yanukovych, Yushchenko or Tymoshenko.

Persistently refusing to comply with the presidential decree, the Prime
Minister is in violation of the law, meanwhile exacerbating problems within
his own party and practically assuming responsibility for the mounting
tensions that could spiral out of control.

Today Viktor Yanukovych seems to be a tool used dexterously by the
Parliament Speaker, and this belittles him in the public eye.

Yuliya Tymoshenko’s prospects are not as bright as one might think, either.

Even if the early elections do take place on 27 May, their legitimacy could
easily be challenged at a later stage. The election law allots 90 days for
election procedures. According to the Constitution, extraordinary elections
should be prepared and held within a shorter term of 60 days.

Should all branches of power interact productively to assist the CEC (which
is doubtful), the latter will have to allow for numerous minor
irregularities and cases of non-compliance anyway.

On 3 April political parties and bloc were to nominate their candidates for
district election commissions. So far only two blocs – YTB and OU – have
done it. Parties will have to hold extraordinary assemblies in order to form
election blocs, but their legal correctness and compliance with the party
charters cannot be guaranteed.

Election experts argue there will be no time to review and update the lists
of voters. District commissions will not be able to arrange for voting at
home for the disabled; nor to print absentee ballots.

The elections could turn from a competition amongst parties and platforms
into a contest of skills to use administrative pressure and ballot-rigging
techniques, to “count” votes and fight in courts.

Who can guarantee that Yuliya Tymoshenko will not end up with 6% instead of
what her bloc really gets? Who can guarantee that she would win her case in

Even if the elections are held throughout the country, their results could
be deemed illegitimate, which means that the international community might
hesitate to recognize them as well.

The least lucky players could appeal the election results in courts, both
Ukrainian and European, right after the elections or even some time later.

Two quite recent examples of such deferred actions involved the dismissal of
the chief judge of the Pechersk District Court by the President and of the
incumbent CEC – by the Supreme Rada: in both cases earlier decisions, made
in 2005 and 2004, respectively, were repealed.

At the end of the day, the political elite and society at large would blame
Yuliya Tymoshenko for poorly prepared, non-transparent elections.

Furthermore, Yuliya Tymoshenko should be worried about the manner in which
negotiations on crisis management are being conducted. Yushchenko meets with
Yanukovych but Tymoshenko is not invited.

Why is it so? Why doesn’t the opposition leader take part in those talks as
an equal player alongside the Constitution guarantor and the ruling
coalition head? It is fundamentally wrong and ethically flawed.

Suggestions of a new “orange” coalition in Parliament are mere declarations,
and not even made by the President. Most probably, Yuliya Tymoshenko expects
Viktor Yushchenko to keep his promise this time and the “orange” coalition
to elect her prime minister.

These are her plans, but what are the President’s plans? He wants to have
the coalition re-formatted, yet his idea of the ideal coalition might differ
from Tymoshenko’s.

In view of the above, one could presume that neither the Constitutional
Court judgement (especially given the conditions under which it operates),
nor the 27 May elections will terminate the permanent power struggle, nor
yet secure the kind of stability that ensues from intensive reforms instead
of punitive sanctions.

A palliative solution, of sorts, would be to put off the early elections.
Speaking at the NSDC session, Yushchenko made it clear that the date of the
elections was negotiable. His message seems to have gone unheeded.

We have not found a plain, non-controversial legal provision for postponing
the election, although in the times of crisis the search for a compromise
could go beyond formal articles and clauses.

The 1996 Constitution, the 2004 Constitution and the 2004 Supreme Court
decision were all trade-offs made by persons whom the society vested with
power – Parliament, president and government. The rescheduling would allow
them to optimize the shortened procedures for early elections and to ensure

Well-prepared and transparent early elections could “inoculate politicians
against treachery”, as somebody in the Presidential Secretariat is quoted to
have said. It is important because new MPs, aware of the threat of losing
their seats in the Rada prematurely, would stop changing factions.

The problem of loyalty would be addressed, albeit formally. However, early
elections would hardly be conducive to ensuring the devotion of political
forces to their voters. Neither would they contribute to safeguarding
society in the fight for absolute power during the process of adopting a new

The elections will hardly bring more intellectuals to the Rada: according to
information from HQs, the party lists will not be revised dramatically. One
should not expect new slogans and clearer programmes, either.

There are always two ways out of a crisis: one – by overcoming and
developing, and the other – by exacerbating and degrading.

The top officials should tell the nation which way they have chosen for it.
The answer might be found only in trilateral negotiations resulting in a
trilateral distribution of responsibility for the direction and strategy of
the country’s development in the next decade, coupled with a clear and open
agreement about mutual concessions and portfolio allocations.

The compromise could be shaped as a triangle: President Yushchenko –
Prime Minister Yanukovych – and Speaker Tymoshenko.

It is a utopia, of course. Politically cognizant ZN readers understand
fairly well that deep inter-personal conflicts between these three
politicians, their mutual mistrust and contempt, make their ambitions
incompatible and any agreement almost out of the question. Yet why
should the country suffer from this war of ambitions?

Ukraine is stuck because parts of its political elite, unlike their Polish,
Estonian, Lithuanian, Hungarian and other Central and Eastern European
peers, have failed to agree about aims and objectives, failed to find a
common ground.

In those countries, the leftists, rightists and centrists united around one
goal – building a market economy with the possibility of EU and NATO
membership, creating democratic elections and a free press. They focused
their effort on what keeps them together rather than on what divides them.

We in this country know the difference between the Communists and the three
major political forces (notwithstanding commercial undertones of relations
within the ruling coalition). We can still see the difference in opinions
between the three major political forces and some Socialists.

Yet there is not much difference in mindsets of Yanukovych, Tymoshenko and
Yushchenko, and most of the MPs they brought to Parliament. We do not mean
their electoral slogans. What we mean is their actual, fairly universal,
views on achieving their goals.

The core of these three parliamentary factions is made up of wealthy people
whose main priority is business. Spokespersons for the factions and those
who add ideological flavour are, for the most part, not very affluent. All
three factions have similar approaches to property and courts.

Their relations with the media are different, mostly due to their varying
ability (rather than willingness) to put the media under control. The list
of similarities is very long. So let us think about the benefits for the
nation in the event of a truce amongst the three forces and their

[1] FIRST, the country would enjoy a certain period of stability conducive
to the implementation of much needed reforms. Sharing responsibility for
unpopular measures would facilitate the reforms.

You will remember how a year ago, in the height of a coalition-forming
debate, the orange team’s Action Programme miraculously coincided with

the Action Programme drafted by “Our Ukraine” and the Party of Regions.
They did not ally last summer but they were very close to it.

[2] SECOND, the nation would get an explicit idea of its development
strategy and its home and foreign policy involved in moving towards the EU,
European values and security frameworks.

[3] THIRD, the world would get a clear message about who to do business
with and what business to do in Ukraine.

[4] FOURTH, land would become a transparent commodity, thus putting

an end to grey misappropriation schemes (to Moroz and Hubsky’s great

[5] FIFTH, the unprincipled fight for power would stop, since the
authorities would pursue a coordinated course expediting the employers’
interests. Perhaps, the left or liberals will come to power some day.

However, as matters stand, three thirds of the Rada are owners of large
businesses, and the country’s development policy is dependent on their
interests. On the other hand, sustainable development of their business is
dependent on the society’s satisfaction with this policy.

[6] SIXTH, if three leaders share the power, no particular region of Ukraine
would feel underrepresented and vulnerable.

[7] SEVENTH, the Ukrainian authorities would not be aligned with one
specific region. They would expand their geographic base, attaching greater
importance to national priorities and the ruling team’s professionalism.
This would also enhance the human resources of public administration.

[8] EIGHTH, the domination of closed clans in certain sectors of the economy
would cease to exist. Mutual control of mixed management in those sectors
would reduce corruption opportunities and decrease the error rate.

This applies not only to the financial, energy and agricultural sectors, but
also to uniformed ministries. Multiparty control of them is much more
valuable for society than single-party control.

With a coordinated action programme in place, the multiple party allegiances
of key executives should not bring disorder into the implementation of
development strategies adopted by the three political forces.

On the contrary, it should proportionally satisfy the three leading
politicians’ ambitions for accessing the levers of power. Yuliya Tymoshenko
should receive a fair compensation (in terms of key positions for her team
members), as the Speaker has fewer powers than the President and Prime

[9] NINTH, laws earlier adopted by the Supreme Rada to the detriment of the
opposition and the president should be brought in accord with the
Constitution. In particular, the law on the Cabinet of Ministers should be
amended to exclude provisions infringing on presidential authority.

[10] And finally, TENTH, the constitutional majority formed by these three
forces should amend the Constitution, ridding it of indefiniteness and
compromise. The Constitution should give a clear answer to what kind of
republic Ukraine will be: parliamentarian or presidential.

 Two alternative versions of the Constitution could be put up for the
referendum, but both should be clean and clear. As we know now, the
palliative nature of the Constitution could cause a serious crisis.

A road to understanding, let alone implementing, this roughly outlined
solution for the deadlock will be long and difficult. We have driven
ourselves into a dead end, and are likely to do so over and over again.

If ideas voiced in this article are agreeable with the leading political
players, they should answer the following question: do we really need an
election before the new Constitution is adopted?

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

Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ideology & Policy at Boston University
Boston, Massachusetts, Thursday, 12 April 2007

On 2 April, President Viktor Yushchenko’s signature on a decree dissolving
the parliament began a period of heated rhetoric, posturing and uncertainty.
On 10 April, however, Yushchenko altered his position in favor of
negotiation – and perhaps some type of agreement.

In talks with Yanukovych, Yushchenko reportedly offered to “suspend” his
decree, in order to allow more time for new elections to be prepared.  They
are currently set for 27 May.  (1)

The task for Yushchenko today, however, is to ensure that any agreement does
not jeopardize the position he has carefully carved out for himself and his

When he dissolved parliament, Yushchenko accused members of parliament of
conducting a “fraudulent policy of intrigues and betrayals,” in order to
unconstitutionally increase the majority coalition.  He called this a
“threat to our country and nation.”   (2)

The move signified a strong return to political relevance for Yushchenko,
who had become isolated and seen his powers drastically reduced.

Parliament immediately refused to uphold the presidential decree.   MPs
called protestors out onto the streets, warned of “a split” between the East
and West of the country, appealed the decree to the Constitutional Court,
announced a boycott of the new elections, and suggested that new
presidential elections be held.

But on 9 April, both Yanukovych and Yushchenko sounded a conciliatory note.
In an interview published in the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita, Yanukovych
called for compromise and seemed to accept the idea of a new election, but
not on 27 May.

“Elections cannot take place on 27th May, as President Yushchenko is
demanding,” he said. If, of course, we are talking of honest and democratic
elections – it is necessary to decide on many technical questions, [and]
form election commissions.”  (3)

Yushchenko, for his part, announced a 15 point compromise plan, which
included everything from committing to pass certain legislation, to
“restoring a balance” among various political forces, to supporting the idea
of new elections.  It was unclear, though, just what Yushchenko hoped to
accomplish with most of these points and what he is prepared to sacrifice,
in order to reach an agreement.

In response to a question from reporters, Yushchenko suggested that he is
willing to talk about the possibility of pushing the new election back, in
order to provide better preparation time.  “This can be discussed in the
negotiations,” he said. (4)

However, in order to move the elections back, Yushchenko would have to
either rescind or reissue his decree.  Article 77 of the Ukrainian
constitution says, “Extraordinary elections [to the] Supreme Soviet of
Ukraine are appointed by [the] President of Ukraine and conducted [within]
the period of sixty days from the day of publishing of the decision about
stopping of plenary powers of the Supreme Soviet of Ukraine.” (5)

The decree was published on April 3.  The current election is set for 27
May, or 55 days after the publication of the decree.  Adding the
constitutional five extra days would place the election on a Friday.

This would lead to a host of questions, most notably regarding a string of
rash legislation “passed” by parliament, following its dissolution.
Parliament has rescinded some of these “laws,” in an attempt to convince
Yushchenko to capitulate.  It is unclear, however, how parliament would make
use of any extra time provided to it, particularly since Speaker Oleksandr
Moroz’s Socialist Party may not reach the next parliament.

Yanukovych also likely is looking for a guarantee that Yushchenko will not
stand in the way of his reappointment as prime minister, if his party should
secure a parliamentary majority following the election.  Furthermore, he and
his allies no doubt would like guarantees that their business interests will
not be undercut or targeted for investigation, should the opposition form a

Agreements for immunity on any questionable activities conducted by
government ministers also likely will be requested, as will concessions
regarding possible posts in a new opposition-led government, in regional
administrations, or in the country’s industrial monopolies.

On 11 April, Yanukovych ratcheted up the rhetoric again when he insisted
that he would agree only to parliamentary elections held simultaneously with
presidential elections. (6)  It is likely that Yushchenko would lose these

Yushchenko must be careful not to give away too much, however.  His tendency
to do so in the past allowed Yanukovych to isolate him and undermine his
authority.  It also allowed a return of certain tactics that were thought to
have been banished during the Orange Revolution of 2004.  These tactics
included pressure (both legal and physical) on media outlets and what
appeared to be open intimidation of political opponents.

As noted previously in The Analyst, during March representatives from
Ukraine’s Prosecutor-General’s Office (PGO) suddenly searched the apartment
of former Interior Minister and former Orange Revolution organizer Yuriy
Lutsenko.  The parliament then asked the PGO to investigate former Prime
Minister and Orange Revolution leader Yulia 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. (7)

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
followed on the heels of a number of incidents of reported pressure against
local and regional media outlets. (8)  These tactics do not suggest a
government that is moving toward consolidating an open, transparent

Yushchenko so far is in the “power” position.  He seized the initiative on 2
April and has not released it.  Yanukovych’s allies have been unable to
mount effective street protests, never matching the numbers promised.  The
decision by five Constitutional Court judges to recuse themselves from the
case, and the delay in the Court’s hearing of the arguments does not bode
well for a quick decision – or perhaps for any decision at all.  Therefore,
the President’s decree remains in effect.

Yushchenko has the chance to protect the gains made by Ukraine in 2004.
Yanukovych has the chance to transform his party into an organization truly
representing the will of his voters.  The true goals of both will become
clear as their negotiations continue.
                                           SOURCE NOTES:
(1) Associated Press, 1352 EST, 11 Apr 07 via
(2) “President Dissolves Parliament,” Press Office of Viktor Yushchenko, 2
Apr 07 via
(3) Rzeczpospolita, 10 Apr 07, republished on the Ukrainian Government
Portal via  See also Foreign Notes via for the English translation of parts of
the article.
(4) “President considers delaying date of extraordinary elections,”, 10 Apr 07 via
(5) Article 77, Constitution of Ukraine via
(6) Associated Press, 1352 EST, 11 Apr 07 via
(7) “Kuchmism 2?  Backtracking on reform in Ukraine,” The ISCIP Analyst,
Western Region, Volume XIII Number 10 (29 March 2007) via
(8) Ibid.
Contact Tammy Lynch at
To subscribe via RSS, please visit our website:
Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ideology & Policy at Boston University,
141 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215.

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
3.                              DAMN THEM BOTH!

Mirror-Weekly, Dzerkalo Tyzhnya On The Web, No 13 (642)
International Social Political Weekly, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sat 7-13 April 2007

The quest for international support started on the very first day of the
confrontation, which some in the mass media have called Ukraine’s most
serious political crisis since the Orange Revolution.

By appealing to the international community so actively and loudly, the
political leaders of both the pro-government coalition and the opposition
have demonstrated their helplessness, narrow-mindedness, and inability to
search for rational and acceptable solutions.
                                        MANY A WORD
Appealing to the world and accusing each other of usurping power in defiance
of the Constitution, representatives from the two opposing camps are using
such similar-sounding phrases as “to save Ukrainian democracy”.

Their press services keep sending out report after report about contacts
made with foreign partners by phone or in person, and about the support they
have enlisted.

Both camps already have impressive “collections” of authoritative names and
organizations. The coalition’s mouthpieces, for example, began with the
Council of Europe – the very organization they had just recently criticized
for its “biased” report on the situation in Ukraine.

Now their westward cries for help sound rather dissonant considering recent
anti-West and anti-American hysteria that followed the worst traditions of
the Cold War era.

The pro-presidential side is none the better: the SBU [Security Service of
Ukraine] granted Vladimir Zhirinovsky free entry to Ukraine in exchange for
his support (though the Foreign Ministry objected categorically).

Last year, Zhirinovsky was declared a persona non grata in Ukraine for
denying the very existence of Ukraine as a state and for other
anti-Ukrainian utterances.

So far, nothing unexpected has happened. Russian mass media, as usual, keep
drawing apocalyptic pictures, bringing up the Orange Revolution, and railing
at Yushchenko. Western media, as before, are far from positive about

At the same time, they no longer praise Yushchenko. Now their commentaries
sound with regret, irritation, and sometimes with sympathy, but with less
and less respect for the leader and declining optimism about Ukraine.

Since Tuesday, a great many foreign politicians have expressed their
opinions with regard to the situation in Ukraine. All Russian MPs (except
for Zhirinovsky) and notable politicians have stated their support for the
Yanukovych government and the coalition majority.

Western politicians are not unanimous and not so categorical in their
assessments of Yushchenko’s move, but they generally express their

The only leader to support Yushchenko openly is Polish President Lech
Kaczynski. In a phone conversation he said that “the best way out would be a
fair and transparent preterm election”. (Yanukovych, who counted on Poland’s
mediation, was deeply upset.)

The Kremlin is keeping silent: [1] firstly, Putin remembers too well the
blunders he made in 2004; [2] secondly, although he may favor Yanukovych
more than Yushchenko, the institution of presidency is sacred and
untouchable to him.

Federation Council Chairman Sergey Mironov even said in his comment that the
developments in Ukraine convinced him of “inexpediency of considering the
parliamentary model of government in Russia”. The Kremlin is unlikely to
criticize the Ukrainian president, even though his name is Yushchenko.

After all, has he done Russia any harm? He talks very much of the EU and
NATO and he is reputed to be pro-American. But wasn’t it under his
presidency that Russia secured supplies of its natural gas to Ukraine on
very favorable terms?

And didn’t Yushchenko try to convince U.S. officials how good the new gas
contracts were? Notably, comments from Washington are the fewest in the
general information flow.

All official comments are practically identical: Russian, U.S., and EU
officials as well as representatives from a host of international
organizations speak of resolving the conflict by peaceful means, abiding by
the law, following democratic principles, and reaching a reasonable

Russia may be willing but is unable to support either side. The West is
definitely unwilling – no matter how hard both sides are trying to enlist
its support. For some reason, both sides have illusions on that score.

No matter how many times Yanukovych has visited Brussels, or how many
Western leaders or ambassadors he has met with, or how convincingly he reads
out what his clever aides and speechwriters have written for him, 2004 has
not been forgotten.

No nice words can out-speak the expressive methods employed by the
Yanukovych government and the pro-government coalition.

Even Javier Solana, whose comments are usually very reserved, said in the
European Parliament last week that the Yanukovych government was “not the
one we expected”.

During a closed-door meeting of the EU ambassadors to Ukraine, only one
of them spoke against Yushchenko’s “undemocratic” actions. The rest either
stressed their neutrality, suggesting “the zero option” as the most
acceptable solution, or admitted the inevitability of the preterm election.

Meeting with foreign ambassadors at the Cabinet Club, Yanukovych failed to
produce the desired impression. The beginning was quite good. His
well-prepared speech was supposed to demonstrate his peaceability and
readiness for compromise.

But his impromptu utterances dispelled all illusions. In his natural manner,
Yanukovych tried to convince the ambassadors that there was no gross
election fraud in 2004.

Then he tried to justify the reinstatement of the former Central Election
Committee staff – the one headed by Sergey Kivalov and found guilty of
falsifying election returns in 2004 – by feeble explanations that the
Regions Party did not have its representatives on the committee.

Such utterances quickly erased the polite smiles from the ambassadors’
faces. And when Yanukovych said that the people would soon “carry
Yushchenko and his governors out of office on pitchforks”, the foreign
diplomats were dumbfounded.

At the same time, appeals to the world community and “democratic
 parliaments” to support the Ukrainian president sound poor and ridiculous.

His image of a brave revolutionary, democrat, and reformer has long lost its
luster, his decisions and steps look rather dubious, and his two-year-long
presidency has given so much reason for disillusionment.

The world community cannot support Yushchenko, because it no longer trusts
in his capability, methods, and earnestness in declaring high goals.

There is only one positive thing noted by international observers: the
presence of “active and open political discussions” and peaceful

In this regard, Ukraine differs strikingly from Russia where police quench
any feeble attempts to demonstrate opposition to the government’s policy.

Both confronting sides have to realize that each new day of this political
crisis worsens Ukraine’s international image and that the irresponsibility
of their stiff-necked leaders increasingly irritates the rest of the world.
In the first hours after the “Ukrainian shock”, EU officials preferred to
act by the wait-and-see principle. In a few days, they began to run out of
patience. Although the tenor of their official comments remains the same,
Brussels has already formulated several messages to the conflicting sides.

One: While everyone in Ukraine is looking forward to the Constitutional
Court’s verdict, the Europeans are not inclined to take it as the ultimate

[1] FIRSTLY, being rather skeptical about Ukraine’s judiciary, they will
regard either verdict passed by the CC as politically biased. Obviously,
Brussels is not inclined to regard Ukraine’s future as pending on the

[2] SECONDLY, Brussels top officials are sure that the current problem is of
a political rather than legal nature. European experts recognize the
legitimacy of both President Yushchenko and Premier Yanukovych but find
their current positions defective in legal terms. They admit that it is
impossible to make out who is right and who is wrong.

Hence, the second and key message: a way out of this crisis lies only
through a negotiating table, compromise, and political agreement.

[3] THREE: There should be not two but three negotiators: Yushchenko and
Yanukovych plus Tymoshenko. This week, Javier Solana had phone
conversations with these three persons (Parliament Speaker Moroz did not
have this honor).

[4] FOUR: It is evident to Europe that Ukraine cannot do without a new
general vote. Therefore, the sides should agree to an early election, which
Brussels views as a compromise solution to the crisis.

[5] In this context, the FIFTH message is extremely important: the President
and the opposition should agree to reset the date of the preterm election.
Otherwise, the civilized world might recognize it as undemocratic.

According to our sources, Brussels has made it clear that Kyiv should
refrain from inviting international observers to the election – they may
simply refuse to come as they consider the announced schedule as hardly

Calling to mind that the 2006 parliamentary election was recognized as a
perfect example of free and fair vote, European officials are stressing that
this time they will attach crucial importance to the preparations rather
than the poll per se. They know that Ukrainian legislation is far from
perfect and are ready to close their eyes to some minor organizational

However, if some key participants in the election process fall behind the
schedule or if the election does not take place in a large number of
constituencies on May 27, they will declare this election as undemocratic.

Yushchenko turns a deaf ear to Europe’s advice. After an extraordinary
session of the National Security and Defense Council on Thursday, Olexandr
Moroz told reporters that Yushchenko flatly rejected his proposal to
postpone the election date. Foreign Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk confirmed
that the presidential side would not invite international mediators.

Obviously, Yushchenko and his team would prefer to avoid their aid,
remembering how they persuaded him in 2004 to agree to the much hated
political reform. As he justly believes, it is the utter defectiveness of
the amended Constitution that has largely caused the current crisis, and
Europe recognizes this fact, too.

[6] Six: In case the key figures involved in this political crisis turn a
deaf ear to the above messages, the EU will have to act adequately in
relation to each of them and even revise its plans of further cooperation
with Ukraine.

The Foreign Ministry reassures us that “the political situation in Ukraine
will in no way affect the preparations for concluding a new enhanced
agreement with the European Union”, but the topmost officials in Brussels
warn: if the election is recognized as undemocratic, there will be very
serious consequences for relations between Ukraine and the EU – up to the
latter’s refusal to continue drafting the new agreement.

It is no secret that many European politicians, who were gladly wearing
orange scarves two years ago, are sighing with relief today: how good that
we didn’t go too far in our relations with that unpredictable country!

There is another open question: even if the Ukrainian political leaders come
to terms and even if the election is more or less democratic, who can
guarantee that the opponents will return to the negotiating table and reach
an agreement on amending the Constitution?

The Europeans believe, not without reason, that the primary cause of the
current political crisis in Ukraine was the constitutional crisis and that
the Ukrainian legal field is a minefield. Therefore, the amendments to the
Organic Law must rule out any possibility of diarchy: Ukraine must have one
top leader and speak in one voice on the international arena.

Europe is sick and tired of the Ukraine problem. This country is losing the
last of their favorable attitudes and its last chances for fruitful
cooperation. Europe is fed up with Ukraine’s obscure problems.

Europe has apprehensions that even a successful settlement of the current
crisis might be followed by another crisis in a couple of months.

Europe sees no guarantees that the appeased Ukrainian politicians will
immediately start reforms and work day and night for the good of this
country. Europe sees no such leader at the moment.

Europe has never had any illusions about Yanukovych, is disillusioned about
Yushchenko, and is still mistrustful about Tymoshenko – an unknown entity
with strong populist and authoritarian inclinations.

More likely than not, few will volunteer to mediate between the conflicting
sides. By far, such statements of intent have only come from Polish
President Kaczynski (who would like to make himself known in the eyes of the
European community) and the Russians (who are always ready to lend their
younger brother a helping hand).

Big European leaders are in no hurry to soil their hands and reputations in
these dirty political squabbles. Whatever is happening in Ukraine today is
no longer taken as a fight between good and evil, between democracy and

It is perfectly clear to everyone in the world that this is nothing but an
inane grasping after power – for personal reasons, not as a means of
serving this country.                                  -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


COMMENTARY: By International Centre for Policy Studies (ICPS)
ICPS political analysts Ivan Presniakov and Viktor Chumak
ICPS Newsletter #360, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, April 9, 2007

The political crisis gripping Ukraine today happened because the country
lacks institutes to defend political competition and democratic freedoms.

What is critical is that this crisis be resolved in a legitimate,
constitutional manner, whether that be calling legitimate early elections or
through a negotiated compromise. Even more importantly, it must push all of
Ukraine’s political forces to undertake reforms that will enshrine the
country’s democracy
                     POLITICAL CRISIS CAUSED BY

                      UNPROTECTED DEMOCRACY
The political crisis in Ukraine became possible because the institutions
that should guarantee democratic rights and freedoms are either ineffective
or missing altogether.

The political changes that took place with the Presidential election in 2004
brought with them some key democratic freedoms: free Verkhovna Rada
elections, freedom of speech and of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom
of political competition, a strong opposition, and the beginnings of a civil

Still, in the two years since then, the foundations have not been built for
democratic institutions that would enshrine and entrench the democratic
freedoms gained.

The state machine can still be used for administrative leverage in political
struggles, the Constitutional Court has proved ineffective, the judiciary is
not carrying out justice, the rights of the opposition are not enshrined in
law, the organization of political parties remains far from democratic
standards, and the levers of political influence available to civil society
exist only formally.

None of the Governments has carried out the reforms necessary for this. None
of the Governments has worked on the basis of public policy standards or
instituted a democratic system of decision-making that might allow the
opposition and civil society to have input into state policy.

The absence of such institutions allows any government to feel itself above
punishment, while the opposition feels marginalized.

This leads to gradually radicalized tactics of political competition. As a
result, the means of political struggle move ever farther away from
democratic principles and the rule of law.

Indeed, the coalition has been expanding its majority unconstitutionally,
the coalition and opposition approved a Law on the Cabinet of Ministers
containing a number of provisions that counter the Constitution, and the
President refuses to reinstate one of the oblast governors despite a ruling
from the Supreme Court that requires this.

In short, free political competition has moved outside the bounds of the law
and is slowly eroding both democracy and the rule of law.
In situations where there is a serious political crisis, the practice of
developed democracies shows that the use of pre-term legislative elections
can be beneficial.

When the political elite are unable to resolve their differences
independently and legitimately, early elections make it possible to get a
fresh mandate from the people, who are the only source and bearer of power,
and thus to renew the violated legitimacy of both the government and the
opposition, and to pass judgment on the two sides in the conflict.

This happened in Great Britain in Winter 1979, when the Government of
Margaret Thatcher replaced that of James Callaghan in pre-term elections and
went on to become one of the most successful reform Governments.

This has happened in many other democratic countries as well. Moreover, the
Head of State has the right to dissolve the parliament for purely political

In the Ukrainian context, early elections, should they take place, will have
a similar function: to confirm the mandates of various political forces. But
elections alone will not resolve the key problems with democracy in Ukraine.

They will not guarantee the democratization of the political system or the
resolution of political conflicts. There is a good chance that the next
coalition and Government will have the same conflicts with the President

and this will return the country to the same crisis it is in now.
Negotiations are always a legitimate and democratic way of resolving
conflicts. Still, the content and outcomes of the roundtables held in
2006-2007 have discredited negotiations as a tool for resolving political
conflict in Ukraine.

The negotiations tended not to have a strategic character and were not
directed at removing the causes of the political conflict.

Moreover, their subject matter failed to offer a confirmation of the
democratic and legal foundations of the work of Government, the

opposition and all the branches of power.

The various parties did not set as their goal reaching understanding as to
priorities in the evolution of the country’s political system or state
policy, but rather used these negotiations as a tactical means in their
political struggles, an exchange of mutual concessions in the form of
appointments, powers or rights-which often violated both democratic
principles and the principle of rule of law.

Two examples were the Law on the Cabinet of Ministers and the imperative
mandate, which were supposed to cure an undemocratic disease using
undemocratic methods.

Placing the Manifesto of National Unity on the agenda proved a premature
effort to resolve state policy using a democratic approach when it was the
actual approach that needed to be consolidated.

So, until the agenda is altered, as well as the approach to negotiating,
there is no chance that they will lead the country out of the current
political crisis.

                                  CHANGES IN RULES
This political crisis must be resolved in a legitimate, constitutional
manner and serve to spur the establishment of institutions, procedures and
rules that will not allow any political players whatsoever to allow
themselves to violate legal norms and freedom of political competition.

Everyone already knows the list of reforms necessary for this: the
judiciary, public administration and so on.

However, so far, none of the Governments have been able to institute these
reforms. This means that the primary objective is to establish the real
reasons for the current failures and to declare their elimination a top
priority.                                            -30-
For additional information, contact ICPS political analyst Ivan Presniakov
or Viktor Chumak. International Centre for Policy Studies, 13-a Pymonenka

Street Kyiv 04050, Ukraine; Phone: +38044 484-4410; 484-4400,
Fax: +38044 484-4402; E-mail: Andriy Starynsky,,
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
    Send in names and e-mail addresses for the AUR distribution list.
                   Ukraine is in political crisis again. Is there a way out?

Economist, London, UK, Thursday, April 12, 2007

THE tents and flags are back in Independence Square; shots of the crowd
again beam from giant screens to make them feel strong. The tactics are
borrowed from the orange revolution of 2004; but the heart is missing.

Speakers strive in vain to rouse the masses-some drunk, many seemingly paid
to attend. At a protest encampment near the Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, the
carnival atmosphere of 2004 has been replaced by one of surliness.

This shabby parody was provoked by the decision last week of Viktor
Yushchenko, whom the revolution swept to Ukraine’s presidency, to dissolve
the Rada and call an early parliamentary election for May 27th.

The Rada’s majority and the government say the president’s decree is
unconstitutional. Both are headed by Viktor Yanukovich, who was beaten in
2004 but became prime minister again last year.

Mr Yushchenko’s team says, as his adviser Oleg Rybachuk puts it, that Mr
Yanukovich has himself “ignored all the constitutional blah blah blah” since
he returned to office, constantly encroaching on Mr Yushchenko’s authority,
and using blackmail and bribery to amass a majority big enough to emasculate
the president altogether. (Mr Yanukovich’s people retort that the members
they have turned are too rich to need bribing.)

The government is refusing to organise the vote. Mr Yanukovich’s Party of
the Regions (PRU), and its Communist and Socialist allies, are refusing to
participate in it, until Ukraine’s constitutional court rules on the
legality of the president’s dissolution decree.

Some of the court’s judges this week complained of threats and pressure,
delaying the hearing. Mr Yanukovich deployed a mix of menace (threats of
impeachment, thousands bused into Kiev for his rallies) and compromise to
persuade Mr Yushchenko to back down. But the president is not inclined to.

Attending an Orthodox Easter service, he said he was determined to “cleanse
the temple of the Pharisees and money-changers”. Mr Rybachuk says Mr
Yanukovich’s lot are gangsters who respond only to force.

On April 11th a way out of the impasse involving an election, but not as
soon as May, suddenly looked likely. Prolonged instability would not suit
the business tycoons who stand behind Mr Yanukovich. But less comfortable
outcomes are still possible, such as a court ruling after the election that
retroactively invalidates it. A more immediate danger is violence.

This week riot police were positioned between Independence Square and a
rival, pro-president rally staged (with better music) nearby. Mr
Yushchenko’s strong support in the capital, crucial in 2004, and his control
of most of the security services, might prove decisive if the crisis

Optimists see this latest Ukrainian stand-off as a product of the youth and
fragility of its democratic institutions, and especially of a fudged
constitutional reform agreed in 2004. They hope that a fresh election, plus
some constitutional tinkering, will produce cleaner and more stable
politics-even if, as Yuri Yakimenko, a Kiev pollster, says is likely, the
new Rada ends up looking much like the present one.

The only change might be that the Socialists, who betrayed their supporters
by joining Mr Yanukovich, fail to get in. There will doubtless also be much
talk of reviving the old orange alliance between Mr Yushchenko’s party and
Yulia Tymoshenko, his revolutionary ally and one-time prime minister, for
whom every crisis brings fresh opportunity.

The trouble is that, whatever its constitutional arrangements, Ukraine will
for the foreseeable future be governed by corrupt, discredited politicians.
Mr Yanukovich and his gang seem to treat everything-judges, parliamentary
seats, protesters-as commodities for sale.

To them the orange revolution was a paid-for confidence trick. But the
revolutionaries themselves emerged from the same post-Soviet regime. Many
were motivated by greed as much as principle, and afterwards felt entitled
to political and financial rewards.

Worse, beneath the struggle for power and assets lies a deeper schism, which
Mr Yushchenko has failed to bridge. Although he roused only half-hearted
cheers at his Kiev rally, Mr Yanukovich unquestionably commands wide
support in south and east Ukraine.

Old geopolitical loyalties are part of the explanation. “Yushchenko is
Bush’s puppet,” said one of the livelier protesters in the square, wearing a
Red Army cap and carrying a placard showing George Bush as a Nazi. The
Americans, she added, need Ukraine for their war with Russia.

But there are other differences between Mr Yanukovich’s backers and the
western and central Ukrainians who mostly support his opponents.

The east suffered in the Stalinist famine of the 1930s and inherited a
political culture that combines narrow paternalistic expectations with
profound cynicism. Easterners despised Mr Yushchenko in 2004 because,
to  them, his promises of a new sort of government were so much cant.

That cynicism has not been wholly vindicated. Ukraine now has freer media
and more assertive citizens. Even today’s rancour can be seen as evidence of
political pluralism, at least when compared with the situation in
neighbouring Russia. But, thanks to the orange leaders’ shortcomings and
squabbles, neither have the cynics turned out to be completely wrong.

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

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

Analysts and pundits working for both sides in the current political
standoff agree that the timing of the crisis indicates that the real battle
being waged is first and foremost for the country’s economic resources.

The economy’s reaction to this newest crisis will show whether the country’s
bullheaded economy remains immune or susceptible to a chronic political

However, the timing of the crisis could not be worse: WTO membership
and a free-trade zone with the EU are just around the corner.

Pundits are arguing that outside forces responsible for the stalemate (the
West or Russia, depending upon who you believe) want to make Ukraine as
unattractive as possible for potential investors, while they continue
gobbling up the nation’s resources via shady methods and deals.

It is always easier to pass blame and to assign responsibility for internal
problems to external forces. But there are enough large and independent
economic players within the country, who have remained largely on the
sidelines during the crisis.

Their voices have yet to be heard, and their actions can help resolve the
standoff for the benefit of the country’s economy and democracy.

The first name to come to mind is that of the man who is reportedly the
country’s richest: Rinat Akhmetov. It is up to people like him to take a
clear, pro-Ukraine position in this political crisis.

Akhmetov is arguably the most influential member in Premier Viktor
Yanukovych’s governing coalition. Today, more than ever, it is time for
businessman like Akhmetov to show their true colors.

They cannot put their business interests ahead of the country. They are most
capable of telling Yanukovych to back off. Doing so would ultimately benefit
Ukraine and their businesses.

If they fail to do so, they will show that they have not changed since the
Orange Revolution. Their true colors will surface and they will dispel any
hopes that they are genuinely pro-Ukrainian businessmen and politicians.

They will show that they are willing to stake the entire country to protect
their strictly personal interests.

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Causes & possible consequences of the current political tensions in Ukraine.

Washington Profile, Washington, D.C., Wed, April 11, 2007

[1] Alexander J. Motyl, co-director of the Central and East European
Studies Program at Rutgers-Newark;
[2] Paul D’Anieri, Associate Professor of Political Science at the
University of Kansas;
[3] Taras Kuzio, President of Kuzio Associates, and
[4] Adrian Karatnycky, Founder and President of the Orange Circle

Washington Profile: What are the fundamental reasons for the current
political crisis in Ukraine? What, if anything, do recent developments
reveal about Ukraine’s democratic development?

[1] Alexander J. Motyl, Professor of Political Science, Deputy Director of
the Division of Global Affairs, and co-director of the Central and East
European Studies Program at Rutgers-Newark:

There are four fundamental reasons.

     1) First, the constitutional reform was poorly conceived and left many
questions about the relations between president, parliament, and premier
unclear or unanswered. A power struggle was inevitable.

     2) Second, the Party of Regions overplayed its hand in the struggle for
power and led the opposition to conclude that it aspired to total control.

     3) Third, the Orange parties have been unusually inept for much of the
period following the March 26, 2006 parliamentary elections, thereby
enabling the Party of Regions to expand its power almost undeterred.

     4) And fourth, Yulia Tymoshenko’s decision to side with the Regions in
overriding President Yushchenko’s veto of the Law on the Cabinet
fundamentally tilted the balance against the president and effectively
promoted the Regions’ agenda.

The crisis is just the latest in a series of democratic movements (starting
in 1999-2000 and continuing through the 2004 Orange Revolution) aimed at
weakening and/or dismantling the authoritarian system built by President
Kuchma. In that sense, Ukraine is experiencing in compressed form what
Poland experienced in the 1970s and 1980s.

Ukraine’s ability to sustain such a strong anti-authoritarian movement
testifies to the emergence within Ukrainian society of powerful forces that
want democracy and will continue to want democracy, regardless of how the
current crisis is resolved.

Also important is that all of Ukraine’s elites are using, and sometimes
abusing, Ukraine’s democratic institutions and laws in order to promote
their political ends.

Authoritarian elites in authoritarian systems do not act in this manner:
they generally bypass or emasculate democratic institutions and laws.

Although this use and abuse of democratic institutions and laws may strike
us as absurd, it actually testifies to the emergence within Ukraine of a
still weak, but no longer trivial, democratic political culture.

[2] Paul D’Anieri, Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate
Dean for the Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the
University of Kansas:

The fundamental reason for the current political crisis in Ukraine is that
political outcomes in Ukraine are still driven more by the distribution of
de facto political power than by the process outlined in the institutional

Both sides in this showdown have sought to have the rules enforced only when
doing so is consistent with their interests. Since last year’s elections, or
even before, the distribution of power has favored the Party of Regions and
its supporters.

It is consistently seeking to use the power it has to gain even more power.
Yushchenko, having made a series of tactical and strategic mistakes, is left
desperately pursuing a measure of dubious constitutionality, because he has
no confidence in the legal system.

The crisis tells us that the underlying forces that drive Ukrainian politics
have not significantly changed since the Orange Revolution. Power politics
dominate institutional rules. The rule of law has not been strengthened.

The Constitutional Court, which behaved in a promising way in December
2004, has not solidified its role as an institution that impartially rules
on constitutional disputes.

Civil Society has not become a powerful force constraining politicians. One
significant result remains largely in place, the freeing of the media.
However, the media are increasingly under pressure.

[3] Taras Kuzio, President of Kuzio Associates, an independent consultancy

and government communications company based in Washington DC and Kyiv:

There are a number of different factors here. The constitutional reform,
which was adopted in 2004 was hastily adopted at the time, even though
possibly the intention was good, to move from a presidential to a
parliamentary system, as most post-communist states which are parliamentary
systems have done far better in democratization than those with

But the reforms were hastily adopted during the political crisis of the
Orange Revolution, and these were never really rectified in 2005.

This was partly the President’s fault because he did have one year of
extensive executive powers under the constitution in 2005 and he could have
either put the reforms to a referendum, possibly to abolish them, or he
could have called for a constitutional commission to improve them. But he
basically ignored the fact that they were pending in early 2006.

And of course it was never really envisaged, or never really foresaw, that
the main beneficiary from the constitutional reforms would be the defeated
Presidential candidate Victor Yanukovych.

So this is also laid a kind of time bomb under them, because it is not
unusual in even Western mature democracies for there to be conflict between
parliaments, presidents and government: France has had this for decades.

But at the same time, there is an added factor here at work besides the
issue of newly established constitutional norms and institutional conflicts.

There is also the fact that Victor Yanukovych came back as Prime Minister in
August 2006, and he comes from a political culture which seeks to dominate
the political system.  His isn’t a culture of compromise and coexistence
between different political forces.

The main reason why the president really changed from opposing early
parliamentary elections to moving in favor of them literally only took place
in the last two weeks or so, because there had come to be numerous
provocations from the part of the parliamentary coalition in government who
were surprisingly not really satisfied with the enhanced powers they
received under the constitutional reform and were seeking to move into
territory and powers that were those of the president.

There were numerous and countless examples there of the parliamentary
coalition in government chipping away at the president’s powers and chipping
away at the president’s parliamentary factions.

The red line that was crossed took place in late March when a large number
of deputies from the opposition Our Ukraine, which is the pro-presidential
party, defected to the parliamentary coalition, and the parliamentary
coalition began talking about the fact that they would soon obtain 300
votes, and thereby a constitutional majority, which would then, in effect,
completely sideline the president.

[4] Adrian Karatnycky, Founder and President of the Orange Circle, served
for over a decade as Executive Director and President of Freedom House:

     1) I think there are two.  One is that the country is deeply split
politically, I wouldn’t say ethnically, but politically between people in
the East and the South who want a closer and more accommodating relationship
with Russia and people in the West and Center who want a closer and more
accommodating relationship with the U.S. and Europe.  So that’s one level.

     2) And the second level is that overlaying all of this was a negotiated
change in the constitution, so there is a separate fight for power and for
the division of power.  Much of this was unclear, it was not specifically
delineated in the constitution, and unfortunately the constitutional court
has heretofore refused to help to clarify it.  So all of these things have
come together in this crisis.

I think only the end result will be able to determine the state of Ukraine’s
democratic development.  One thing I would say is that the rhetoric of all
of Ukraine’s political players is around the constitution and around the
adherence to democratic procedure.

I think you have in effect two legitimate institutions.  You have a
legitimate head of government in a coalition based on a democratically
elected majority, and you have a democratically elected president who also
received a majority vote.

So I think in a sense it shows that both sides feel confidant and strong
because they have democratic legitimacy on their side.  I would say that all
of this is occurring in terms of the demonstrations thus far in an orderly
and peaceful fashion.

Civil society is mobilized in a responsible way.  The media are extremely
open, but I would say also responsible, even the partisan media.

If you look at newspapers across the board, at the major websites, the ones
that have developed a higher rating and audience, even though some of them
have a political tilt, they provide a broad range of analysis and commentary
by all the major players, and I think all of them have had editorially a
position that there should be a negotiated solution, there should be a
solution through democratic institutions and standards.  So I would say a
pretty good performance thus far in terms of keeping it within the realm of
a democratic process.

The one issue which has become a little tense in the last day is the tumult
over the Supreme court and today five justices have said that they are
withdrawing from the case, one short of denying a hearing of the
parliament’s case on the constitutionality of the president’s decree dissolving the
parliament and mandating new elections.

In that statement the justices made claims of extreme political pressure
primarily emanating from the government’s side against the justices in the
fulfillment of their responsibilities.

Washington Profile:  What could be the aftershocks and wider consequences

of the crisis on Ukraine and the rest of the region?

Motyl: Everything depends on how the crisis will be resolved. There are
three possible scenarios.

     1) The Constitutional Court supports Yushchenko, the Yanukovych forces
accept the verdict, and new elections are held. Ukraine’s democracy would
benefit, and a clear signal would be sent to the post-Soviet space that the
trend toward authoritarianism is reversible. That could have enormous
consequences for the 2008 presidential elections in Russia.

     2) The Constitutional Court rules against Yushchenko and the Orange
opposition accepts the verdict. If the governing coalition then returns to
its power-grabbing ways, part of the opposition may defect to Yanukovych,
while part may become more intransigent.

While that would certainly weaken the Orange camp, it would not necessarily
make the Regions more unrestrained in their ambitions. The larger the
governing coalition and the more Orange defectors it contains, the more
unwieldy and possibly more moderate it will have to be — especially if it
faces the certainty of continued anti-authoritarian movements and public

This outcome would not promote democracy in Ukraine, but neither would it
necessarily represent a huge setback. The message for the region would be
that authoritarianism, while perhaps not easily reversible, is not
necessarily invincible.

     3) Whatever the Court’s verdict, some side refuses to accept it and the
crisis continues. Ironically, the Regions may be more likely to accept a
negative verdict than the opposition for two reasons: first, Regions will do
well in new elections, and they know it; second, Yushchenko controls the
forces of coercion.

If the Orange side refuses to accept the verdict, and if the current elites
supporting Yushchenko remain supportive of him, then the likely outcome may
be a behind-the-doors deal between Yushchenko and Yanukovych. Such an
outcome would represent a decaying of Ukrainian democratic institutions and
political culture and would signal to the post-Soviet space that democratic
norms are indeed in retreat.

While all three outcomes are possible, the first may be most likely (albeit
marginally so). Scenarios 2 and 3 entail continuing instability, and neither
Yushchenko nor Yanukovych wants that. And Scenario 1 entails new elections,
in which the Party of Regions and the opposition are sure to do well.

Considering that the Court appears to be more or less evenly divided between
Yushchenko and Yanukovych supporters, the judges may be more swayed by
political judgments than by inherent legalities.

D’Anieri:   The consequences will depend on exactly who prevails and how.
If, as I predict, Yanukovych prevails, it means the completion of the
lengthy self-destruction of Viktor Yushchenko and Nasha Ukraina.

It likely means a return to the pre-Orange period, in which a single group
dominates, and in which other actors have powerful incentives to come to
terms with that group, rather than challenging it.

Again the tendency is for power to become increasingly concentrated, rather
than naturally tending toward balance. It is not clear what means would be
necessary for Yushchenko to prevail, but the consequences would not likely
be good.

Many commentators have focused on the hope that Yushchenko will prevail over
Yanukovych. This misses the more basic point that politics in Ukraine are
not much closer to liberal democracy than they were immediately after the
Orange Revolution, and that the trend is now in the opposite direction. This
is true even if Yushchenko somehow prevails.

Kuzio: Well there are different scenarios that could come from this.
Ukraine could emerge from this a far better democratic system, assuming that
no violence takes place, that this is peacefully resolved.

Again, these kinds of constitutional political crises are not that uncommon
in the West as well, in Western Europe in particular.  But a more negative
scenario could be that this could be the undoing of President Victor

He really in many ways is in a no-win situation because if he had not acted
then the anti-crisis coalition could have very quickly received a
constitutional majority of 300 members of parliament, and he would have then
been completely sidelined.

At the same time, rather he has acted, he is also in a very difficult
situation because he doesn’t know how the constitutional court will rule,
the legality of his decree is on semi-tenuous grounds, and the outcome could
be his removal from power potentially through impeachment or at the very
least through presidential elections ahead of 2009.  So there are different

One could be the more optimistic that eventually some kind of negotiated
compromise could be reached and a more refined constitutional reform could
be the result of the crisis.

Or a more pessimistic scenario would be that the outcome would be that
President Yushchenko loses power and that Ukraine moves towards a full
parliamentary republic where the dominant person is Victor Yanukovych.

Karatnycky: Ukraine has had numerous occasions where compromises were
struck.  President Yushchenko’s radical critics on his side would say that
he has been too accommodating, but he certainly has shown that he is a
person who is interested in trying to reach compromise, so I wouldn’t
exclude that.

Also there are very strong signals that within the Party of Regions the
people who represent larger business interests want stability and would like
to see a peaceful compromise that leads to the consolidation of the country,
which is divided basically 50/50, something that creates a consensus that
allows the country to move vaguely forward without half the country feeling

So it seems to me as long as there are those types of major players involved
on either side of the negotiating process, that despite all of the tension
and heated rhetoric, in my view the chances for a soft landing and a
reasonable solution are still pretty high in Ukraine.          -30-

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

OPINION & ANALYSIS: By Alexander Konovalov
President of the Institute of Strategic Assessments
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 12, 2007

MOSCOW. We will never know what former Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma had in mind in 2004 when he initiated an amendment to the country’s
Constitution shifting the balance of power from the president to the Supreme
Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, and making the formation of the government
directly dependent on the alignment of forces in the Rada.

What his intentions, the important thing is that the Ukrainian people were
given the chance to become real players on the domestic political scene.
                           THE ORIGINS OF THE CRISIS
But let’s not idealize the Ukrainian model, all the more so since the 2004
constitutional reform was implemented in a rush. In a way, it actually made
possible the current political crisis.

There are two views on how the latter started. The supporters of the
coalition led by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych declared that President
Viktor Yushchenko violated the Constitution by dissolving the Rada.

Indeed, Article 90 of the Ukrainian Constitution cites only three reasons
for disbanding parliament before it serves its term. The president’s
opponents maintain that Yushchenko had none of these reasons, dubious as
they are.

The Constitution also says that the president can make a decision to
dissolve parliament only after consultations with its speaker, his deputy,
and leaders of the parliamentary representations of political parties.

But it does not specify what these consultations should amount to: simple
notification, a compromise, or consensus. Vague wordings that allow for
various interpretations have provoked the current crisis.

The president’s supporters have a completely different view of events. They
believe that the crisis started not with the decree on the Rada’s
dissolution but much earlier – when 11 deputies left the Yulia Tymoshenko
and Yushchenko parties to join the Yanukovych coalition. It is rumored that
they were motivated more by financial considerations than a change in
political views. In other words, they were paid.

Moreover, the ruling parliamentary coalition announced that this was just
the beginning, and that very soon defectors would increase the Yanukovych
coalition to 300 or more deputies, and the prime minister would receive a
constitutional majority in parliament. He would thereby be able to amend the
Constitution, which would turn the president into a purely decorative

Under the circumstances, the president declared that the ruling coalition
was trying to change the alignment of forces in the Rada by unconstitutional
methods, thereby distorting the results of the parliamentary elections. He
said that he had no other choice but to dissolve the Rada and call early

It goes without saying that the causes of the crisis are not limited to
these political and legal reasons. Standing behind the conflicting groups
are serious economic interests because business in Ukraine has a direct
influence on politics.

There is another factor at work: politically Ukraine is so divided along
regional lines on many key issues that there are doubts that it will remain
a unitary state. Its future will probably involve significant federalism.

Last but not least, the personal traits of Ukrainian political leaders are
also playing a major role in the current events. The real driving force
behind the crisis is neither President Yushchenko, nor Prime Minister
Yanukovych, but Yulia Tymoshenko and her supporters in parliament.
Tymoshenko is certainly Ukraine’s strongest politician. She has indomitable
energy and a striving for power.

She is already preparing for new parliamentary elections, and she has signed
an agreement with Yushchenko’s party, Our Ukraine, on the distribution of
seats in the future government depending on the results of elections to

Needless to say, she will not settle for less than the job of prime
minister. However, now it is important to get out of the deadlock without
breaking the law and provoking a power confrontation.
It is encouraging that in spite of all the rallies on the streets of Kiev,
political leaders went to the Constitutional Court to resolve the dispute.
Moreover, both sides promised to obey its ruling, whatever it may be. But
the court may not be of great help.

Immediately upon receiving the inquiry into the legitimacy of the
presidential decree to dissolve the Rada, the court’s chairman, Ivan
Dombrovsky, resigned because he said he could not work under pressure.

The president did not accept his resignation, but several days later five of
the 18 members of the Constitutional Court refused to deal with the inquiry
for the same reason.

They published a statement saying that many politicians had already called
the president’s decree on the Rada unconstitutional, even though this was
the prerogative of the Constitutional Court. Moreover, these five judges
demanded protection by government guards.

The court consists of three groups of six judges – one appointed by the
president, another by parliament, and the third by the national congress of
judges. The five judges who complained of pressure were all from the
president’s list. It looks like the court is trying to avoid being a referee
in this conflict.

In the last eight months it has not made a single decision or replied to a
single inquiry on constitutional problems. For the time being, the hearings
have been suspended until April 17, although it is clear that the situation
in the country leaves no room for any arbitrary delays.

The situation in defense and law-enforcement agencies is very complicated.
The defense minister stated publicly that he would only support the Supreme
Commander, that is, Yushchenko. The heads of security agencies and the
Ministry of Internal Affairs backed the government and parliament.

An attempt to involve these agencies in the conflict is bound to result in a
confrontation between the army and the police and interior troops. Judging
by the circumstances, nobody is going to risk that.

Finally, there are calls to impeach the president for his unconstitutional
decree. That road leads nowhere. First, there are not enough grounds for
such a measure, and second, the laws required to do so still have not been
passed, for instance, a law on special prosecutors.
Today, everyone wants to know whether it is possible to avoid the use of
force in settling the crisis in Ukraine. There is a risk of military
involvement, but it is not very great. There are a number of factors in
favor of a peaceful settlement of the crisis, although it may take more time
than we would like.

The most important factor is the Ukrainian mentality and its tradition of
settling disputes. The second factor is directly linked to the first one:
accumulated parliamentary experience.

The Rada’s low threshold (3%) allows rather small political parties to get
in, and decision-making requires a search for compromise between groups
with quite different political views. The ability to negotiate instead of
imposing one’s views on others is a very important quality of the Ukrainian
political elite.

The interests of business groups are also influencing Ukrainian policy.
Let’s not forget that there are concrete business interests behind
practically every political party.

This fact has its pluses and minuses, but what matters here is that the
business community has no stake in the country’s complete political
destabilization or disintegration.

The above factors do not guarantee the peaceful and smooth operation of the
democratic process.

Any Ukrainian leader will have to consider the gap in views between the
eastern and western regions on many key issues, as well as rampant
corruption, the boundless striving for power of politicians like Yulia
Tymoshenko, and the willingness of such politicians to seize power whatever
the cost.

Under the right circumstances, all these things and many others could
prevail and push the country into a power struggle.

There are still many opportunities to avoid such a scenario. Many Ukrainian
analysts believe that it will not be possible to avoid early parliamentary
elections. It would be best if the warring sides went back to where they

The president could annul his decree dissolving the Rada; the government
coalition could cancel all the laws that it passed during this period, first
and foremost, the law on the cabinet that limits the president’s powers; the
dates for early elections could be fixed, and work on improving the
Constitution could continue in order to rule out a repetition of the current
crisis.                                               -30-
Alexander Konovalov is president of the Institute of Strategic Assessments.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and do not
necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

             Ukraine’s crisis: an interview with politician Viktor Khara

INTERVIEW: With Viktor Khara, Deputy Leader of Regions Party
By Svetlana Stepanenko, Vremya Novostei,
Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 10, 2007

An interview with Viktor Khara, deputy leader of the Regions Party
faction in the Ukrainian parliament. “Tymoshenko and Yushchenko are
tools of the Americans, who want Ukraine to become a NATO member –
even if this means a Yugoslavia scenario!”

Supporters of the ruling coalition and the government are resuming
their protests, demanding the cancellation of President Viktor
Yushchenko’s decree that disbanded the Supreme Rada and scheduled a
new parliamentary election for May 27. Meanwhile, the Orange forces
are planning an ongoing 24/7 protest rally in another square, using
the slogan “Down with the Rada!”

At an emergency meeting yesterday, the Rada urged President
Yushchenko to cancel his decree, in the interests of preventing a
civil conflict. Lawmakers threatened Yushchenko with impeachment and
the prospect of a referendum on joining NATO. The Rada condemned
Yushchenko’s visits to the Constitutional Court, which is expected
to assess the legitimacy of his decree.

Question: President Yushchenko insists that all state agencies
and government bodies should comply with the decree. The parliament
and the government are refusing to do so. What are their motives?

Viktor Khara: Articles 19 and 60 of the Constitution forbid us
to carry out criminal orders. The decree in question was issued
unconstitutionally. It is criminal because it will lead to the
installation of a new regime – in other words, a coup. The president
doesn’t even make a single reference to Article 90 of the
Constitution, which lists only three grounds for dissolving the
Rada: if it fails to form a coalition within a month of an election,
if the parliament fails to meet for 30 consecutive days, or if the
coalition fails to form a new government within two months of the
previous Cabinet stepping down. None of these apply in the present
case, right?

Yushchenko is out to install the Orange forces in the halls of
power again, and to expand his own powers. This March, Yulia
Tymoshenko submitted a bill aimed at repealing the constitutional
reforms that restricted presidential power. Yushchenko promised her
the job of prime minister in exchange.

Question: The parliament says it won’t obey the decree unless
the decree is validated by the Constitutional Court. Are you sure
that the Constitutional Court will rule in your favor?

Viktor Khara: The Constitutional Court cannot do otherwise, as
long as it acts according to the law. Yushchenko knows that he is in
trouble, and that he has only himself to blame – hence the pressure
he’s applying to the Constitutional Court. But the Constitutional
Court should be above politics.

Question: Yushchenko told Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych to
implement the decision of the National Security and Defense Council
concerning state funding for the election he has called. Yanukovych
refuses to do so. What if Yushchenko fires him for this

Viktor Khara: Yushchenko and the National Security and Defense
Council hold no power over Yanukovych. The Constitution states
plainly that the Cabinet is accountable to the parliament. And the
parliament told the government in no uncertain terms to withhold
election funding.

In fact, it’s the presidential secretariat that is in violation of the law.

Question: A similar situation in Russia in 1993 ended with the
Armed Forces firing on the parliament building. Do you think this
could happen in Kiev?

Viktor Khara: Ukraine is not Russia, and we’re not in 1993 any
more. Still, a state of emergency may be declared. The National
Security and Defense Council’s special forces and regular army
troops might even be ordered to capture the Rada building and the
government building. But that would spell civil war, and Ukraine’s
disintegration along the Dnieper River boundary. Western Ukraine
would remain with Yushchenko, and the rest with the Rada.

 Tymoshenko and Yushchenko are tools of the Americans, who want
Ukraine to become a NATO member – even if this means a Yugoslavia
scenario! The south and the east of Ukraine will never tolerate
that. Neither we nor our children will ever join NATO!

 Question: The Rada and the coalition control some security and
law enforcement agencies – the Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor
General’s Office. Might the coalition resort to using force?

Viktor Khara: The prosecutor general is not empowered to
evaluate presidential decrees. In theory – should the president
continue this lawlessness – something will have to be done to spare
the country all of it. If you ask me, the Rada and the Prosecutor
General’s Office should cancel the parliamentary immunity of any
lawmakers who call for changing the constitutional order. Let them
be placed under house arrest or something. (Translated by A. Ignatkin)
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
10.                        HIGHER AMBITIONS

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

In keeping with tradition, the political events in Ukraine could not be left
ignored by the country’s northern neighbor. Politicians in Moscow still have
a hard time drawing the line between what are internal and external
Ukrainian affairs.

Before Easter, the Russian Duma passed a resolution questioning the
constitutionality of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko’s decree on
disbanding parliament.

On April 10, the Russian legislature’s speaker said that Yushchenko’s decree
is unconstitutional and that the Duma will send 20 of its members to Ukraine
to act as intermediaries. Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to be
above the fray until April 10, when one of his aides openly questioned the
legality of Yushchenko’s decree.

One would think that Moscow has learned a lesson from its meddling in
Ukrainian affairs during the 2004 presidential elections, when Putin openly
endorsed Viktor Yanukovych – currently Ukraine’s prime minister – for
president. But nobody dared tell Putin that such behavior is unacceptable in
relations between genuinely democratic states.

One can hardly expect European leaders to do so now, as the Russian leader
can, on a whim, decide to disrupt energy supplies or wreak other
 “asymmetric” havoc with their economies.

But the EU is right to step up economic engagement with Ukraine, offering it
a free-trade agreement. It should take a more ambitious approach,
recognizing Kyiv’s prospects for membership.

The West must continue supporting the democratic cause in Ukraine and
confront any attempt by Russia to subvert political freedom or undermine
Ukrainian independence by monopolizing energy supplies, for example.

Ukraine offers solid prospects as a source of hydrocarbons, electricity and
bio-diesel that should be exploited by EU countries to break Moscow’s
strengthening grip over energy supplies.

The leaders of mature democracies can let their Ukrainian (and Russian)
counterparts know that pre-term elections are not the equivalent of a coup
d’etat; that when political elites are unable to compromise and the branches of
government fail to perform, then the best remedy is to turn to the people to
pass a final and binding judgment.                            -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

           The Orange Princess proclaims a concept for containing Russia
                     Yulia Tymoshenko’s anti-Russian policy course

COMMENTARY: By Fyodor Lukyanov
Chief Editor, Russia in Global Affairs
Vremya Novostei, Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The next issue of “Foreign Affairs” magazine will include an
article by Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko. She argues
that Russia’s Western partners have concentrated on supporting
reforms, but this “cannot replace serious efforts to counter
Russia’s intrinsic expansionism.”

      The West’s policy on Russia has gained a new ideologue. The
next issue of “Foreign Affairs” magazine, released in late April,
will include an article by Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia
Tymoshenko: “Containing Russia.”

      This title, along with the subtitle (“the sources of Russia’s
behavior”) and the article’s introduction, immediately set the
necessary tone. Tymoshenko is referencing George Kennan’s famous
Long Telegram; along with his essay on “The Sources of Soviet
Behavior,” this became the conceptual foundation for the policy of
containing the USSR. This policy remained in force right up until
the fundamental changes that took place in the international arena
in the late 1980s and the early 1990s.

      And this is Tymoshenko’s starting-point. After noting that she
doesn’t believe in the possibility of another Cold War, she states
that since the collapse of communism, the West has never managed to
work out a realistic policy on Moscow. Russia’s Western partners
have concentrated on supporting reforms, but this “cannot replace
serious efforts to counter Russia’s intrinsic expansionism.”

      The West has been acting as if “erstwhile diplomatic considerations
had become irrelevant. But they have not become irrelevant, since
Russia spans the world’s geopolitical heartland and is perpetuating a
merciless imperial tradition.”

      Timoshenko criticizes the outcomes of such an approach. “Rather
than including Russia in a system of dialogue and cooperation when
it was weak… the West ignored it.” In effect, Tymoshenko’s main
postulate is as follows: no matter how Russia develops, no matter
how successful its transformations may be, it should not be expected
to lose its essentially imperial nature. “The West should strive to
create counterweights to Russian expansionism, rather than staking
everything on domestic reforms in Russia.”

      “If there is any country that requires Europeans and the West
as a whole to have a united policy on relations, that country is
Russia.” Tymoshenko maintains that immediate action is necessary,
since “dependence on Russian energy supplies will only grow.”

      “Unfortunately, when the spectrum of possibilities is broadest,
political leaders, as a rule, have the least understanding of what
should be done. And a good idea comes when the moment for resolute
and effective action has passed.” Tymoshenko cites what she regards
as an eloquent example: the French and British policy of appeasing
Hitler prior to 1939.

      Tymoshenko notes that adherence to the principle of collective
security has ensured peace and prosperity for Europe over the past
60 years. Its present-day incarnation should be a “collective energy
market” and a rejection of any separate deals with Gazprom that
might threaten EU plans to build pipelines bypassing Russia or
enable Gazprom to engage in blackmail.

      Tymoshenko proposes giving some thought to applying anti-
monopoly procedures to Gazprom, like those used by the EU against
Microsoft. In order to strengthen the will of the Europeans, Tymoshenko
gives a detailed analysis of the gas production problems that Russia’s
largest company will encounter in the not-too-distant future.

      Tymoshenko maintains that due to the influx of oil-and-gas
revenues, the Kremlin has lost its “sense of proportion”; that is,
it has acquired an exaggerated impression of its own strength. The
only way to wake it up is by having the West adopt coordinated
policies in all areas: democracy issues, Chechnya, Kosovo, the
transit protocol to the European Energy Charter, Iran, and Russia’s
treatment of its neighbors. “If Russia is prompted to concentrate on
developing its own territory, for the first time in its history,
that would be the best way of supporting Russia’s reforms.”

      Tymoshenko’s article doesn’t contain any revelations; all this
has been written many times before in the West. However, few
articles have set out grievances against Moscow in such a
concentrated and logically structured form. Most importantly, this
provides the first unequivocal answer to the question that is
constantly being asked by Western strategists and analysts: how to
behave toward a Russia which has recovered from the ruin of the
1990s much sooner than anyone expected.

      Until now, no one has ventured to state openly that a new
containment policy is necessary. The tail-end of “strategic
partnership” between Moscow and the West, declared on the ruins of
the USSR, still lingers. All the same, the Orange Princess will
certainly find many like-minded people in the West, and this article
will meet with a fervent response on both sides of the Atlantic.

      Incidentally, reading Tymoshenko’s article leaves the impression
that she had some American assistance in composing it; this is a
fairly high-quality article, and very American in its style.

      Tymoshenko gives her own country only a passing mention, but
it’s symptomatic that this article is being published at the height
of yet another crisis in Ukraine. The era of Viktor Yushchenko – a
weak leader, inclined to compromise – seems to be drawing to a
close. And it’s Tymoshenko who is moving to the forefront now, as
the most prominent and uncompromising proponent of Independence
Square ideology.

      Over the past 18 months to two years, the division
of Ukraine’s political forces into “pro-Russian” and “pro-Western”
has dimmed substantially. The political process has started
developing in a different system of coordinates, based on intra-
Ukrainian logic.

      Judging by the article in “Foreign Affairs,” Tymoshenko is
prepared to back a truly anti-Russian policy course, highlighting
geopolitical differences rather than downplaying them. Under the
circumstances, we can hardly expect that Moscow will continue
resisting the temptation to interfere. Thus, a new match may soon
begin in the great Ukrainian game.
Translated by Elena Leonova
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

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                         An update on the political crisis in Ukraine

By Yanina Sokolovskaya, Izvestia, Moscow, Russia, Wed, Apr 11, 2007

The Constitutional Court of Ukraine has taken some more time
out, postponing the hearing that will decide whether President
Viktor Yushchenko’s decree disbanding the parliament is
legitimate. The hearing, scheduled for today, has been postponed
until April 17. Meanwhile, Ukrainian politicians have made another
attempt to reach agreement – only to fail again.

“Let the streets settle our dispute,” said Yushchenko to
Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych when they met yesterday. He
added: “There’s only one way to achieve a compromise between our
political forces – by means of an early election.”

Yanukovych’s supporters claim that Yushchenko is increasingly
inclined to use force to resolve the situation.

“Our Ukraine is preparing acts of provocation and violence in
Kiev,” says Vadim Kolesnichenko, Regions Party member, adding that
he received these tidings from friends in Yushchenko’s faction.

“The Internal Troops will intervene in the conflict by
Wednesday or Thursday. They are prepared to use force,” says
another Regions Party member, Yuri Miroshnichenko.

Using his authority as Commander-in-Chief, Yushchenko has
decreed that the Internal Troops will no longer take orders from
Interior Minister Vasili Tsushko (a Yanukovych loyalist). He has
also made Internal Troops Commander Alexander Kikhtenko a member
of the National Security and Defense Council.

In the wake of these moves, almost all of the security and law

enforcement agencies are on Yushchenko’s side: the Defense ministry,
the Ukrainian Security Service, the Internal Troops, the Border Guards.
Only the Emergencies Ministry units are outside Yushchenko’s control;
they are commanded by Nestor Shufrich, a coalition supporter.

Lawmakers from the parliamentary majority claim that military
units in the vicinity of Kiev have been placed on alert. Lawmakers
approached Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko, trying to arrange
some unscheduled inspections of military units, but Hrytsenko (a
Yushchenko supporter) refused.

Yushchenko called a meeting yesterday for all security and
law enforcement agency chiefs. According to our sources, the
president’s secretariat is drafting a decree to dismiss the
Cabinet and appoint Yushchenko as acting prime minister. The
Ukrainian government would continue in that form until the
parliamentary election.

Yanukovych says: “Yushchenko’s actions are leading us toward
civil confrontation.”

Hrytsenko, who attended yesterday’s meeting, thinks
otherwise: “The possibility of declaring a state of emergency was
not discussed.”

One of the big questions is whether the parliamentary
election will take place on the date set by President Yushchenko:
May 27. According to our sources, this Our Ukraine won’t have
enough time to compile its candidate list and reach agreement with
the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc on going into the election as a team.
The paperwork must be submitted to the Central Electoral
Commission by April 17.

Viktor Baloga, head of the president’s secretariat, says that
the election may be postponed. If so, Yanukovych’s supporters
would have to appeal to the Constitutional Court again –
challenging another decision made by Yushchenko.

The Constitutional Court situation is becoming more tangled
as well. On April 12, five Constitutional Court members stated
that they were “facing pressure from certain political forces” and
demanded bodyguards. Until bodyguards are provided, these judges
refuse to “participate in considering issues of great moment for
the Ukrainian people.”

Sergei Prikhodko, President Putin’s aide for international
affairs, commented on the Ukraine situation yesterday: “We hope
that the Ukrainian head of state will be sufficiently responsible
and capable to ensure that events proceed within the boundaries of
the constitution and the law. We do have some questions about the
extent to which certain steps are consistent with that principle.”

Moscow has also responded to developments in the United
States, where President George W. Bush has signed legislation
supporting NATO membership for five states, including Ukraine and
Georgia. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Washington’s
support for the idea of Ukraine joining NATO “does not facilitate
the normalization of the political situation in that country.”

Taras Chornovyl, Regions Party:
Yushchenko is creating problems for himself. His supporters
say that the Regions Party is provoking aggression. But you won’t
find any weapons or baseball bats in the tents set up by our
demonstrators. Yushchenko is seeking a pretext for introducing
direct presidential rule.

He wants to regain his place as leader of the executive branch. We

believe that Yushchenko may use the special assignment (spetsnaz)
troops against us, even though lawmakers have parliamentary immunity.
We are prepared for any and all scenarios, including an election.
Whenever it is held, we shall win it.

Vladimir Polokhalo, Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc:
President Yushchenko is taking control of the security and
law enforcement agencies. He fears treason, and is trying to
control the entire spectrum of security and law enforcement. He is
not content to have the Interior Ministry and the Emergencies
Ministry headed by the parliamentary coalition’s nominees.

Speakers at demonstrations often talk of the possibility of force
being used. Discord is being incited between Eastern and Western
Ukraine. The aim is to induce more people to travel from these
regions to Kiev, where they can start clashing in the streets. But
I believe that the Ukrainian mindset won’t permit the situation to
be pushed into bloodshed. (Translated by Elena Leonova)
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
         Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
                      Russian Analysts Call For State Action to Avert

                                   ‘Authoritarian’ Coup in Ukraine

STATEMENT: By Sergey Markov, Iosif Diskin, Valeriy Khomyakov,

and Vladimir Zharikhin: “‘Orangeists’ Are Preparing Coup. Russian
Political Analysts Respond to Izvestiya Report”
Izvestia, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Russia’s National Strategy Council (NSC) wishes to express extreme

concern over the development of the crisis in Ukraine. The NSC wishes
to draw attention to the fact that an interview with Verkhovna Rada Deputy
Chornovolenko, a very close associate of Viktor Yushchenko and Yuliya
Tymoshenko, which was published in Izvestiya’s 6 April 2007 edition,
revealed a plan for a coup d’etat in Ukraine, into which extremist forces
are pushing President Yushchenko.

The revolutionary plan comprises several stages:

1. Recalling parliament without legal grounds;
2. Disregarding decisions of the Constitutional Court or preventing

    its operation;
3. Illegally dissolving the government by presidential edict;
4. Declaring a state of emergency in the country and the arrogation of
    absolute power by the president;
5. Using the security structures to block the operation of organs of
    power (parliament, government, regional councils, the General
    Prosecutor’s Office, municipal mayors);
6. Holding elections at such short notice as to prevent the president’s
    opponents from preparing for them;

The aim is to secure the complete domination of the president’s

supporters in electoral commissions at all levels, and then to bring
about, with the aid of mass electoral fraud, the formation of a
submissive parliament and, finally, to change the president’s constitutional
powers — in essence, to establish an authoritarian regime.

The NSC calls upon the leaderships of Russia and the EU countries to

make every effort to prevent a coup d’etat in Ukraine, to help the
country’s politicians to return to the rule-of-law regime, and to achieve a

(Signed by) NSC Co-Chairmen Sergey Markov, Iosif
Diskin, Valeriy Khomyakov, and NSC member Vladimir Zharikhin.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

COMMENTARY: By Vitaly Portnikov, Editor-in-chief
Newspaper Gazeta 24 in Kiev, Ukraine.
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 10, 2007

MOSCOW – Political tensions in Ukraine subsided over Easter, but only
for a short while. The warring parties did not even wait for the end of the
holidays – foregoing their day off on Monday, MPs gathered for an
extraordinary session on April 9.

This shows that tensions will increase even further. Nobody is going to wait
for the Constitutional Court to give its verdict. Although the
representatives of the ruling coalition and the president’s supporters have
voiced their readiness to accept its ruling on the president’s decision to
dissolve parliament, they do not really mean it.

The president has made it clear more than once that he is not going to make
any concessions. Nor does he have any reservations about ignoring the law.

The coalition is powerful enough to block the elections even if the
Constitutional Court decides they should be held – it is enough to recall
the Central Election Commission members who suddenly fell ill. In a
nutshell, I wouldn’t count on a legitimate settlement of the crisis over the
presidential decree.

This has been confirmed by, among other things, the constant meetings
between Viktor Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovych. It would seem they have
nothing to talk about after the president’s decision to dissolve parliament.

Representatives of the clans locked in combat for Ukrainian resources are
trying to reach an agreement on spheres of influence.

One of the meetings was attended by billionaire Vitaly Gaiduk, who controls
the National Security and Defense Council, and Viktor Baloga, who is not so
fabulously rich but heads the presidential secretariat and can influence
decision-making; another billionaire and Gaiduk’s partner, Sergei Taruta,
has declared his support for the presidential decree.

Yushchenko and Yanukovych could just as well leave the political arena
altogether, and let Donetsk billionaires from Lugansk settle it all with
billionaire Rinat Akhmetov from the Donetsk Botanical Gardens because the
current conflict does not have an iota of ideology.

Nobody is discussing how to run the country; there are no disputes about
Ukraine joining NATO or building a single economic space with Russia.
What NATO?

These people have made their fortunes God-knows-how; they were the
backbone of Leonid Kuchma’s rule; they have created the worst kind of
corporate state imaginable and are robbing its naive people, who find it
hard to assume responsibility for the homeland’s future.

Now they are dividing up Ukraine in a most vulgar manner and using
politicians as puppets. Nothing else is taking place in Ukraine, and nothing
else will happen there.

For these reasons, analysts like me, who compare the confrontation in
Ukraine with the events in Russia in 1993, or Belarus in 1997, are both
right and wrong at the same time. In 1993, Russia did not yet have oligarchs
who ruled the political elite.

They emerged later on – after President Boris Yeltsin destroyed
parliamentary democracy, or rather hopes for it, as there was no democracy
in Russia at that time.

In Ukraine’s case, the oligarchs are there and they are running the whole
show. They alone will decide the development of what we would like to
call the political situation, and the forms of clan-related struggle.

In any event, the Ukrainian confrontation is in its infancy, and the
Ukrainian people do not yet have any idea what these forms of struggle
might be.

Neither do the billionaires know that it’s no joke, that their clash may
leave heavy wounds on Ukraine’s body, that their crude rivalry may call into
question even the existence of a young state. But why would they bother
about that?                                          -30-
Vitaly Portnikov is editor-in-chief of the newspaper Gazeta 24 in Kiev,
Ukraine. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and do
not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

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

RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Wed, April 11, 2006

MOSCOW -The U.S. administration is continuing to pursue a policy on
disintegration of post-Soviet space, a Russian political expert said
Wednesday. U.S. President George Bush has signed into law legislation
supporting a Ukrainian and Georgian bid to join NATO.

The NATO Freedom Consolidation Act of 2007, already approved by the Senate
March 15 and the House of Representatives March 26, envisions $12 million in
aid to Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Georgia and Ukraine in 2008, which “have
clearly stated their desire to join NATO and are working hard to meet the
specified requirements for membership.”

“It is just a step in a comprehensive plan to remove Ukraine from Russia’s
geopolitical space and an important move to destroy the Commonwealth of
Independent States (CIS),” said Leonid Ivashov, president of the Academy of
Geopolitical Sciences.

“The Americans are openly interfering in Ukraine’s internal political
affairs and are determined, if not impudent, in this effort,” the expert

He said the interference was part of a consistent and well-thought policy
the United States has been conducting for many years.

“We can recognize here a multi-vector, systematic approach aimed at
destroying the post-Soviet space and removing a number of states, including
Ukraine from the former integral geopolitical space of the commonwealth,”
Ivashov said.

According to the Russian expert, the signing of the document by President
Bush conspicuously coincides with a current political crisis in Ukraine.

“We regard this as a double-pronged approach – to apply strong pressure on
the Ukrainian opposition to the president and his supporters, and, on the
other hand, to support pro-American, pro-NATO forces in Ukraine,” he said,
adding that the U.S. ultimate goal is to control Ukraine, either through the
North Atlantic alliance or through bilateral relations.

As well as being uneasy about the opening of NATO bases on the territory of
Russia’s former Soviet allies in the Baltic region and Central Asia, Moscow
strongly opposes efforts by Georgia and Ukraine to join the alliance, saying
the prospect threatens its security and will unleash a new arms race.

Ukraine has been divided on the proposed NATO membership, reflecting major
policy differences between the Western-leaning president and the more
pro-Russian prime minister, who says the country is not ready for the move.

The idea is unpopular with the largely Russian-speaking population in the
east of the country. Opinion surveys have indicated that more than 50% of
Ukrainian nationals are against joining the former Soviet Union’s Cold War
enemy.                                                  -30-

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