AUR#844 May 18 Enduring Crisis In Ukraine, Test Case for European Neighborhood Policy; Ivan Plyushch; Four Neo-Soviet Forces In Ukraine; Putin’s Church

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1.                             ENDURING CRISIS IN UKRAINE: 
SWP Comments 9/2007, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik
German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP)
Berlin, Germany, Berlin, Germany, May 2007

                        BY PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION DEAL
               New elections could shut out Ukraine’s left-wing parties
Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume 4, Issue 93
The Jamestown Foundation, Washington, D.C., Fri, May 11, 2007

         Plyushch replaces Hayduk on National Security and Defense Council
Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume 4, Issue 95
The Jamestown Foundation, Washington, DC, Tue, May 15, 2007

              Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council (NSDC)
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Thursday, May 17, 2007


                                AGAINST THE PRIME MINISTER”
    Ukraine security supremo sacked for refusing to back prosecution of PM 
Article By Oleksandr Korchynskyy
Segodnya newspaper, Kiev, in Russian 14 May 07, p 2
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Monday, May 14, 2007

6.                      UKRAINE: WHO ELECTS WHOM AND HOW
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Serhii Rakhmanin
Mirror-Weekly, # 18 (647), Kyiv, Ukraine, 12 – 18 May 2007

REUTERS, Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, May 17, 2007

By Oliver Duff, The Independent, London, UK, May 16, 2007

9.                     FOUR NEO-SOVIET FORCES IN UKRAINE
COMMENTARY: By Stephen Velychenko
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, May 17 2007

                Petro Balabuyev, Top Designer of World’s Biggest Aircraft                                     

Associated Press, Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday May 17, 2007


                                  UKRAINE RETAIL VENTURES
AP Worldstream, Cleveland, Ohio, Monday, May 14, 2007

Edited Press Release by Dow Jones Newswires
London, United Kingdom, Thursday, May 17, 2007

Polish News Bulletin, Warsaw, Poland, Friday, May 18, 2007


                            STATES, NEXT TARGET IS UKRAINE 
Polish News Bulletin, Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, May 17, 2007


Business Wire, Concord Capital, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, May 17, 2007

PAP news agency, Warsaw, in English 1125 gmt 17 May 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Thu, May 17, 2007

Polish News Bulletin, Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, May 17, 2007

18.                                        POWER GAMES
EDITORIAL, Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, May 16 2007

                  Russia appears to have outmaneuvered the United States
COMMENTARY: By Sergei Blagov
Eurasianet, New York, NY, Wednesday, May 16, 2007

                           EU suffers stunning setback this week. 
Simon Tisdall, The Guardian, London, United Kingdom, Fri, May 18, 2007

By Yuri Zarakhovich, Moscow, Time magazine
New York, NY, Thursday, May 17, 2007
                          SHOW INDEPENDENCE FROM RUSSIA
Interfax, Tallinn, Estonia, Wednesday, May 16, 2007
               OF THE GREAT FAMINE OF 1932-33 (HOLODOMOR)
Remarks by the Permanent Representative of Ukraine,
H.E. Mr. Yuriy Sergeyev at the third informal thematic debate
of the 61″ UNGA session on Civilization and the Challenge for
Peace: Obstacles and Opportunities
United Nations, New York, NY, Thu-Fri, 10-11 May 2007
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #844, Article 23
Washington, D.C., Friday, May 18, 2007
        In 1944, the Soviet authorities deported about 190,000 Crimean Tatars.
TV 5 Kanal, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1000 gmt 17 May 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Thursday, May 17, 2007
By William D. O’Dell, The Hazen Star,
Hazen, North Dakota, April 26, 2007, page 12A
                       ENDURING CRISIS IN UKRAINE: 

SWP Comments 9/2007, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik

German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP)
Berlin, Germany, Berlin, Germany, May 2007

As negotiations over an “enhanced agreement” begin between the European
Union and Ukraine, the EU’s neighbor is again embroiled in a stubborn
internal conflict over power and resources that will lead to early
parliamentary elections and possibly to a premature presidential election
too. Although the economy is stable and the country has good prospects of
joining the WTO in fall 2007, Ukraine is currently politically paralyzed.

The conservative left alliance of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and the
quarreling democratic nationalist forces around President Viktor Yushchenko
and former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko continue to face off

The Ukrainian parliament that was elected in free and fair elections just
one year ago is on the point of being dissolved. The EU is regarded as a
mediator, and it should adopt this role as part of its neighborhood policy.

Three processes are currently under way in Ukraine:
  [1] Firstly, a two-party system is forming, with a left conservative
          party of labor and industry (Party of Regions, Socialists,
          Communists) and a democratic nationalist camp (“Our Ukraine,”

          “Yulia Timoshenko Bloc,” “Self-Defense Party,” “Forward Ukraine”);
     [2] secondly, the power struggle between president and prime minister
          is currently mushrooming into a broader conflict over power and
          resources between the two camps of parties and oligarchs; and
     [3] thirdly, the left conservative block is currently-at the beginning
          of May-celebrating a symbolic counter-revolution, filling
          Independence Square with its colors of blue, yellow, and red.

The political stalemate resulting from the elections of 2004 (presidency)
and 2006 (parliament) in fact mirrors the state of the transformation
process after fifteen years of independence. After making important steps
toward democracy and the free market Ukraine is currently suffering a
constitutional and parliamentary crisis, and foreign policy disorientation.
                                 CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS
The constitutional reform of early 2006 shattered Ukraine’s already fragile
political equilibrium. Alarmed at the prospect of a Yushchenko succession,
former President Leonid Kuchma initiated amendments to weaken the office of
the presidency, to narrow the president’s powers in general, and to
considerably restrict his prerogatives even in the fields of foreign policy
and defense. Kuchma failed to realize that his rearguard action would leave
Ukraine facing a situation of political paralysis.

President Yushchenko lost even more power and influence in January 2007 when
parliament overrode his veto to pass the cabinet law. Following democratic
procedure, the president then sent the matter to the Constitutional Court,
but with little prospect of success. Under the new law the prime minister
will appoint not only the foreign and defense ministers but also the
regional governors.

This would mean that after surrendering final authority in foreign policy
the president would also lose an important source of domestic political
influence. Although the Yulia Timoshenko Bloc had participated in overriding
the presidential veto, in spring 2007 it also asked the Constitutional Court
to review the government’s legitimacy.

The executive’s loss of authority became blatantly obvious when President
Yushchenko dissolved the Verkhovna Rada on 2 April but parliament simply
continued to meet regardless.

After the president’s decision had been referred to the Constitutional
Court, the crisis became total when the political loyalties of the
constitutional court judges became apparent and several of them who are
close to Yushchenko initially said they would recuse themselves from
involvement in the hearing.

In the end the Constitutional Court’s ruling was made irrelevant by the
president’s removal of two judges during the case and Yanukovych’s May 4
agreement to the holding of new elections. The prime minister hoped to win
the elections while the president wanted at all costs to avoid losing at the
Constitutional Court.

Agreement to hold early parliamentary elections does not mean the end of the
crisis, however, because the Party of Regions is also calling for the
presidential election to be brought forward to the same date.
The current Verkhovna Rada was elected in the “first free and fair elections
in Ukrainian history.” But the exhausting power struggle between president,
government, and parliament in summer 2006 over the authority to make
appointments already revealed the fragility of the parliamentary order.

Despite spectacular changes of loyalty (for example the leader of the
Socialists, Oleksandr Moroz, moving from the Orange camp to Yanukovych’s,
for which he gained the office of speaker of parliament) the constitutional
democratic procedures have served tolerably both in elections and in the
formation of parliamentary majorities.

Parliamentary defections soon began, however, and have prevented the
Verkhovna Rada from developing an effective working routine. At the end of
March 2007 19 deputies left the Yulia Timoshenko Bloc and another six left
the Our Ukraine group.

Most of them joined the National Unity Coalition made up of the Party of
Regions, the Communists, and the Socialists, which as a result grew from 243
to 260 deputies. The “imperative mandate” introduced by constitutional
amendment is designed to prevent precisely such changes of parliamentary
group-which are motivated not least by financial incentives.

There were also differentiation processes. The Orange camp is disintegrating
into groups within and outside parliament. The “coalition” of Our Ukraine
and the Yulia Timoshenko Bloc, reconstructed at the beginning of 2007,
directs its efforts toward revising the constitution, implementing the
imperative mandate, dissolving parliament, and holding new elections.

In all these efforts it is acting not as a force for reform but more like a
defensive alliance attempting to block a complete take-over of power by the
Party of Regions.

The decisive integrative force here is no longer Our Ukraine, but rather the
Yulia Timoshenko Bloc, which had to deal with the aforementioned
parliamentary defections but on the other hand has been able to integrate
both the People’s Movement of Ukraine (Rukh) of sacked foreign minister
Borys Tarasyuk and Viktor Penzenik’s Reform and Order Party.

The Party of Regions financed by oligarchs such as Rinat Akhmetov has
advanced to become the new party of power. It supplies most of the ministers
and deputy ministers as well as countless officials in the central and
regional bureaucracies.

The situation that governors and mayors, factory directors and oligarchs owe
their position to the Party of the Regions is certainly no longer restricted
to eastern Ukraine.

Despite regular friction, the Communists and Socialists remain steadfast to
the coalition and further reduce the room for political compromise, to which
some of the moderate Party of the Regions deputies would certainly be open.

Since the election in 2006 the Verkhovna Rada has become an arena for
demonstrative gestures with parliamentary groups regularly quitting and
returning, sessions demonstratively boycotted, and occupations of rostrums,
microphones, and voting systems.

The distance between the political camps became clear in the list of demands
issued by the opposition in March 2007, calling among other things for a
constitutional referendum, confirmation of the president’s foreign policy
agenda and policy sovereignty, an end to the massive restrictions on the
Ukrainian language and culture, the dismissal of Interior Minister Vasyl
Tsushko and Prosecutor General Oleksandr Medvedko, the appointment of the
secretary of the National Security and Defense Council by the president, the
dismissal of ministers with business connections, the termination of all
treaties with the gas trader RosUkrEnergo, and the securing of a direct gas
supply from the producing regions of Russia and central Asia, as well as
popular demands such as raising wages, salaries, and pensions, fighting
corruption, and reversing decisions made by the Yanukovych government in
connection with its cabinet law.

                         CRISIS OF FOREIGN POLICY
The foreign policy dimension of the crisis reveals itself in the drama
surrounding the dismissal of the long-serving pro-Western Foreign Minister
Borys Tarasyuk, which played out between December 2006 and January 2007,
and in the subsequent twice failed candidacy of Volodymyr Ohrysko, a
professional diplomat close to Tarasyuk.

According to the Party of Regions Ohrysko’s appointment could have
“disturbed relations with Russia,” while the Communists complained that the
president’s favored candidate to succeed Tarasyuk was the same but worse.

The outcome was another-avoidable-erosion of the president’s authority.
Avoidable because the new foreign minister appointed on March 21, Arseniy
Yatsenyuk, is also close to the president.

Yatsenyuk, a commercial lawyer, former economy minister, and author of a
business studies textbook on banking supervision who is only thirty-two
years old, hails from the western Ukraine and had already made a reputation
as a civil servant in senior central and regional positions.

The bickering over the foreign minister appointment clearly revealed three
tendencies that make it more difficult for the international community to
deal with Ukraine.

[1] Firstly, foreign policy has become an arena where domestic crises are
fought out.

[2] Secondly, Ukrainian foreign policy is currently expressed by many
voices, often contradictory. Prime Minister Yanukovych is currently
attempting to grab the lead in negotiations with the EU. The foreign
ministry risks losing the initiative in the tensions between the presidency
and the prime minister’s office.

For example, Mr. Yanukovych’s team bypassed the president and the foreign
ministry to conduct negotiations (that have not so far produced any results)
over full Ukrainian membership in the Common Economic Space with Russia,
Belarus, and Kazakhstan, about a Ukrainian gas production project in western
Siberia, and about a 50 percent stake for Russia in the Ukrainian gas
transport system.

[3] Thirdly the EU will have to contend with regular leadership changes in
Ukraine as political fortunes fluctuate.

                              PRACTICAL TEST FOR THE

Negotiations on the “enhanced agreement,” for which EU will provide almost
?500 million by 2010, started in early March 2007.

The EU hopes the agreement will bring about:

     a) a new reform agenda for Ukraine,
     b) the emergence and consolidation of a democratic system of
     c) an improvement in the investment climate in Ukraine for domestic

         and foreign investors,
     d) a constructive Ukrainian contribution to European energy security,
     e) a new role for Kiev in resolving regional conflicts, for example the
        Transnistria conflict.

The discussions between President Yushchenko, Commission President

José Manuel Barroso, and EU External Relations Commissioner Benita
Ferrero-Waldner on March 8, 2007, reinforced the Ukrainian impression that
“the door to the EU is not closed to Ukraine,” as Oleksandr Chalyi,
Yushchenko’s deputy chief of staff, put it.

In particular, Chalyi regarded Ferrero-Waldner’s statements that the
neighborhood policy explicitly avoids defining the format of future
relations between the EU and Ukraine as a breakthrough in mutual relations.

Developing these mutual relations, however, would require an end to
Ukraine’s domestic and foreign policy paralysis. Although the request for
international mediation expressed on April 9 by groups in the Ukrainian
parliament (and later also by the government in Kiev) came at a point where
the internal options for conflict resolution had not yet been exhausted, the
EU will not be able to avoid taking a mediating role in the constitutional
conflict and in the normalization of institutional relations between
parliament, the executive, and the judiciary.

In view of the upcoming Ukraine-EU summit on September 14, 2007, that is
due to finalize the “enhanced agreement,” every month of political deadlock
means lost negotiating time for the new agreement and above all lost time
for the reform agenda for Ukraine itself.

Among the provisions of the agreement are the creation of a free trade area
and the intensification of neighborly relations with Ukraine.

The EU, the Council of Europe, and the German EU Presidency
have following options for finding a way out of the current crisis:

     [1] Forming a Ukraine contact delegation made up of members of the
          European Parliament, the Council of Europe, and international
         These must be figures who are accepted by the whole Ukrainian
          political class (such as for example former Polish President
         Alexander Kwasniewski);
     [2] Setting up a judicial advisory team made up of lawyers and (former)
          constitutional court judges to draw up proposals for resolving the
          constitutional crisis;
     [3] Intensifying inter-parliamentary cooperation with the national EU
     [4] Continuing and accelerating the existing programs for implementing
          the action plan in the ENP framework;
     [5] Supporting Ukraine’s efforts to join the WTO in 2007 or 2008;
     [6] Expanding neighborhood policy to cover civil society projects such
          as the German Ukraine development program (currently in planning),
          which also covers eastern regions of Ukraine.
NOTE: Dr. Rainer Lindner is a researcher at the Russia Federation/CIS
Research Unit of SWP. This article was re-published by the Action
Ukraine Report (AUR) with the permission of Dr. Lindner and the SWP.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                        BY PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION DEAL
               New elections could shut out Ukraine’s left-wing parties

Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume 4, Issue 93
The Jamestown Foundation, Washington, D.C., Fri, May 11, 2007

Ukraine’s constitutional crisis seemed resolved on May 4, when Prime
Minister Viktor Yanukovych agreed to early parliamentary elections.  But the
date of the vote cannot be finalized until a compromise package of
legislative and constitutional changes is adopted (see EDM, May 4, 9).

President Viktor Yushchenko has to choose whether to go ahead with the vote
on July 1 or July 8, before the summer recess. Alternatively, he could hold
them in September or October, as the pro-Yanukovych Anti-Crisis Coalition
(ACC) prefers.

However, the adoption of the necessary legal package is being dragged out by
the two left-wing members of the ACC, the Socialists (SPU) and Communists
(KPU), who are as much to blame for the crisis as they are for holding up
its resolution.

The KPU have been in catastrophic decline since the 2002 parliamentary
elections, when they placed second, trailing Our Ukraine. While the KPU
obtained 20% of the votes in 2002, by 2006 their support collapsed to only
3.66%, with most KPU voters, especially in the Donbas and Crimea, defecting
to Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.

The SPU and KPU fear being shut out of the next parliament and disappearing
as a political force. The Socialists’ votes would likely be picked up by the
center-left Yuriy Lutsenko and Yulia Tymoshenko (BYuT) blocs.

Lutsenko resigned from the SPU when it defected from Yushchenko’s camp to
the Party of Regions in July 2006, giving it sufficient votes to create the

The Socialists and Communists fear that the Party of Regions will enter a
grand coalition with Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine, rather than them, in the new

The SPU emerged while the KPU was banned from August 1991 to October

1993 for its support of the hard-line August 1991 Moscow putsch.

It later re-established itself as a left-wing force opposed to the
centrist-national democratic alliance that ruled Ukraine until 2000-2001,
when the controversy over abuse of office surrounding then-President Leonid
Kuchma divided them into warring camps.

The center-left SPU and BYuT dominated the anti-Kuchma movement, while
Yushchenko and his national-democratic allies supported Kuchma as the head
of state and opposed his impeachment.

They alternated between giving half-hearted support to the protests and
seeking to build a coalition with the moderate wing of the pro-Kuchma
centrist camp.

Consequently, on the eve of the 2004 elections SPU leader Oleksandr Moroz,
currently speaker of parliament, was one of only two politicians who
Ukrainians believed to have high moral standards. The other was Yushchenko.

This image is misleading. Moroz has been tainted by scandal himself. The SPU
actually cooperated with the center-left Hromada party in 1998-99 when it
was led by former prime minister Pavlo Lazarenko, who fled to the United
States in 1999. A U.S. court later sentenced Lazarenko to nine years in
prison on money-laundering charges.

In addition, the SPU and KPU, like the left throughout the former USSR, have
always opposed the institution of the presidency. In 2003-2004 they
cooperated with pro-Kuchma centrists to back constitutional reforms
transforming Ukraine from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary republic.

Ukraine’s hastily adopted and flawed constitutional reforms, coupled with
the Socialists’ use of illegal methods to railroad these reforms through
parliament, are at the heart of Ukraine’s current crisis.

On the eve of Yushchenko’s April 2 decree dissolving parliament, the SPU and
KPU boasted that a new constitutional majority would be created by summer.
Ukraine would be transformed into a full parliamentary republic, leaving
Yushchenko a lame-duck president.

Yushchenko’s fate has been linked with Moroz for at least three years. Moroz
won 5.82% of the vote in the first round of the 2004 presidential elections
and agreed to back Yushchenko in the runoff with Yanukovych.

However, in return he demanded that Yushchenko support constitutional
reforms, which he agreed to do on December 8, 2004. Yushchenko’s condition
was that the reforms not come into effect until 2006 rather than immediately
after his election, as the centrists and the left wanted.

The left’s eagerness to railroad the reforms through was flawed

in five ways.

[1] First, the legislation was not considered over two parliamentary
sessions and was approved without a separate vote on each article.

[2] Second, parliament — then still controlled by Kuchma loyalists —
ignored the Council of Europe’s June 2005 recommendations on constitutional

The Venice Commission, the CoE’s legal advisory panel, recommended

changes regarding the imperative mandate, inter-institutional relations, human
rights, and the constitutional court. These reforms, the Commission
believed, would “improve the state of democracy and rule of law in the

[3] Third, the Venice Commission correctly predicted that the hastily
adopted constitutional reforms, “might lead to unnecessary political
conflicts and thus undermine the necessary strengthening of the rule of law
in the country.”  It also warned that the reforms would not establish “a
balanced and functional system of government.”

[4] Fourth, parliament blocked the work of the Constitutional Court from
October 2005 to July 2006 by not supplying its full quota of judges. Then
August 2006 the ACC forbade the Constitutional Court from reviewing the
constitutional reforms.

[5] Fifth, the ACC refused to join the president’s constitutional commission
to implement the improvements that the Venice Commission had proposed. The
ACC’s refusal to meet the president’s moderate approach to reforms has
pushed Yushchenko toward BYuT’s call for a referendum on the reforms.

Moroz’s moral standing was further dealt a blow by his alliance with the
Party of Regions after campaigning in 2006 on an Orange (pro-Yushchenko)
coalition platform. The SPU had been in both Orange governments in

Ukraine’s 2007 crisis is a product of the left’s willingness to use illegal
means to railroad through constitutional reforms that would transform
Ukraine into a parliamentary republic by abolishing the presidency.

This threat, and the ACC’s unwillingness to compromise or join his
constitutional commission, prompted President Yushchenko to issue

his decree to dissolve parliament.

Early elections could be the death knell of the political left as a serious
force within Ukrainian politics, and the left-wing parties are desperately
trying to avoid the inevitable.  (  -30-
(Ukrayinska pravda, May 5-9;;;

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
        Plyushch replaces Hayduk on National Security and Defense Council

Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume 4, Issue 95
The Jamestown Foundation, Washington, DC, Tue, May 15, 2007

On Saturday, May 12, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko replaced Vitaly
Hayduk with Ivan Plyushch in the post of secretary of the National Security
and Defense Council (NSDC). Hayduk — co-owner of the steel company
Industrial Union of Donbas along with Serhy Taruta — is a businessman from
Donetsk Region and a former energy minister.

Plyushch is a seasoned right-of-center politician and a close ally of
Yushchenko. He was twice speaker of the Ukrainian parliament — in 1991-94,
when Ukraine HAD just gained independence, and again in 2002-02, at the
height of the popular protests against the then-President Leonid Kuchma.

Hayduk’s resignation did not come as a surprise, as he did not support the
radical line of behavior in relations with political opponents as currently
pursed by Yushchenko.

Ukrayinska pravda — a well-informed source — has said that Hayduk wanted
to resign as early as January, as he opposed the opposition’s intention to
boycott the work of parliament, which Yushchenko eventually backed.
Kommersant-Ukraine said that Hayduk did not support Yushchenko’s April 2
decision to dissolve parliament, either.

Hayduk’s resignation coincided with a chain of events last week that could
exacerbate tension between Yushchenko and the ruling coalition after a brief
détente following Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych’s approval consent to an
early parliamentary election (see EDM, May 9).

On May 10, Yushchenko said that if the coalition insisted that the early
election should be held no earlier than October, rather than in the summer,
as he wants, he would instruct the NSDC to come up with “certain measures”
to make the opponents agree with his conditions. Yushchenko did not specify
which measures he meant, and NSDC Secretary Hayduk’s reaction has been
unknown to the public.

On May 11, the head of the presidential secretariat’s service for
law-enforcement bodies, Valery Heletey, made the sensational announcement
that plans were underway to murder leading opposition politicians, including
opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko, the leader of People’s
Self-Defense bloc and former interior minister.

Heletey also said there was “a scenario for splitting the country being
developed” and that “criminals working with certain political forces,
radical forces, helped by some spin doctors” were involved.

Yanukovych’s Party of Regions (PRU) condemned Heletey’s statement, saying
that it was part of a “smear campaign” against political opponents. The
Interior Ministry, which is headed by Vasyl Tsushko, a member of the
Socialist Party allied with Yanukovych, dismissed Heletey’s statement as
groundless and provocative.

Yanukovych’s coalition urged the Prosecutor-General’s Office to come up with
a legal assessment of Heletey’s statement and accused the presidential
secretariat of torpedoing the talks between the two rival camps on early

Vasyl Kyselyov, one of PRU’s leaders, has suggested that Hayduk resigned
because he “disapproved of the Heletey provocation.” Kyselyov alleged that
there had been plans to stage an attempt on the life of an opposition
leader, so as to use this as a pretext for introducing the state of
emergency with NSDC’s blessing.

Kyselyov praised Hayduk for resigning, and said that he hoped that Plyushch
“would not break the law or moral standards.”

Another leading member of the PRU, Volodymyr Syvkovych, commenting on
Hayduk’s replacement, said that Plyushch “is a very radical man.” Communist
leader Petro Symonenko said that Plyushch’s appointment disrupted the talks
on early elections.

And another Communist, deputy parliament speaker Adam Martynyuk, suggested
that Yushchenko broke the law by appointing Plyushch, as he had reached the
maximum age allowed for state officials, 65.

Plyushch tried to dispel the fears about him in an interview given to
Kommersant-Ukraine immediately after his appointment.

He said that he opposes the use of force in the current political crisis,
and that Yushchenko’s team would make a concession to the opponents
regarding the date of early parliamentary elections, postponing it to

Plyushch also reminded that he is a convinced proponent of the idea of a
broad coalition including Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine, the Yulia Tymoshenko
Bloc, and the PRU.

The head of Yushchenko’s secretariat, Viktor Baloha, a “hawk” who is widely
believed to have been the main opponent of “dove” Hayduk in Yushchenko’s
team, said in a statement on May 14 that Hayduk resigned voluntarily.

Baloha said that Plyushch’s tasks on the new job would include reforming the
law-enforcement system, eradicating corruption in courts, and “correcting
the energy policy of Ukraine taking into account the global realities.”

Hayduk is known to have been unhappy with the current scheme of buying
natural gas from Russian and Turkmenistan, in which the main role is played
by RosUkrEnergo, a Swiss-registered joint venture between Russia’s Gazprom
and private individuals in Ukraine. (
(Interfax-Ukraine, May 11-13; TV 5 Kanal, May 12; Ukrayinska pravda,
UNIAN, ProUA website, Kommersant-Ukraine, May 14)
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

              Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council (NSDC)

BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Thursday, May 17, 2007

On 12 May 2007, President Viktor Yushchenko replaced Vitaliy Hayduk, a
billionaire from Donetsk, with Ivan Plyushch, a seasoned right-of-centre
politician, in the post of secretary of the National Security and Defence
Council (NSDC).

The NSDC is the president’s main consulting body. The NSDC is formally
chaired by Yushchenko, and it usually includes the officials who hold top
positions in various branches of power. The secretary manages the council de

Plyushch, one of the most experienced Ukrainian politicians, became speaker
of parliament immediately after Ukraine gained independence in December
1991, when his predecessor in this position, Leonid Kravchuk, was elected

Plyushch, a kingmaker Ukrainian style, admits that it was he who proposed
Leonid Kuchma, later to be Ukrainian president, for the post of prime
minister to Kravchuk in 1992, and that he also proposed that President
Kuchma appoint the then chief banker Viktor Yushchenko as prime minister in
1999. Since then, Plyushch has been a key ally of Yushchenko.
                             FIRST STEPS IN AGRICULTURE
Plyushch began his career in agriculture. Later on he moved to work in the
Soviet Communist Party bodies. Towards the end of Gorbachev’s perestroika,
Plyushch became a public politician.

Plyushch was born into a family of peasants in the village of Borzna,
Chernihiv Region, on 11 September 1941. After graduating from an
agricultural school in 1959, he started to work as a vegetable collector at
a local collective farm; later, he was promoted to an agronomist.

In 1962, he studied at a school for agricultural managers. The same year, he
joined the Communist Party, and his career started seriously.

In 1967, Plyushch became the director of a collective farm in Chernihiv
Region. In 1974, he was promoted to deputy director of the local association
of vegetable-growing and dairy farms.

In 1975, Plyushch moved to Kiev, where he became the deputy to the
agricultural department head at the regional committee of the Communist
In 1979, Plyushch graduated from the Social Sciences Academy under the
Communist Party Central Committee in Moscow. The beginning of the 1980s

saw Plyushch climbing the career ladder at Kiev Region Communist Party’s
agricultural department.

In 1984, he became deputy head and then head of the Kiev Region council. In
1990, Plyushch was elected to the Ukrainian parliament from the Communist
Party’s list. The following year, he left the party and was elected first
deputy speaker of parliament.

In 5 December 1991, Plyushch was elected speaker for the first time. He
served as speaker until the elections in 1994, and his second term as
speaker started in January 2000, when as a result of the “velvet revolution”
in parliament the Communist and Socialists were banished from top posts.

In 2002, Plyushch was elected to parliament again, as a member of the
pro-Kuchma People’s Democratic Party, but he lost the post of speaker.

Once in parliament, Plyushch joined another progovernment faction,
Democratic Initiatives, but on 30 September 2003 he joined the
Yushchenko-led opposition, becoming a member of the Our Ukraine faction.

After the 2004 Orange Revolution, Plyushch moved further to the right of the
Ukrainian political spectrum, joining the Ukrainian People’s Party of Yuriy
Kostenko in March 2005. The right-wing Kostenko-Plyushch bloc failed to
clear the 3-per-cent barrier to parliament in the March 2006 election.
                                           CURRENT ROLE
As an informal adviser to Yushchenko, Plyushch participated in the talks
between Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovych in July-August 2006, as a result of
which Yanukovych became prime minister and Yushchenko’s brainchild, the
Declaration of National Unity, was signed.

Plyushch has participated in the political crisis settlement talks between
Yushchenko and Yanukovych in April-May 2007, following Yushchenko’s
controversial decree to disband parliament.

Plyushch’s appointment as secretary of the NSDC came as a surprise to many.
Volodymyr Sivkovych, an influential member of Yanukovych’s team and former
security officer, told journalists that Plyushch is “more radical” than his
predecessor Hayduk.

Other Regions MPs, Vasyl Kyselyov and Yuriy Samoylenko, went as far as
suggesting that Plyushch’s appointment was an indication that Yushchenko was
going to use the NSDC for introducing a state of emergency.

And the well-informed Ukrayinska Pravda website recalled that as an ally of
Yushchenko during the 2004 Orange Revolution Plyushch reportedly suggested
bringing tanks to Kiev in order to intimidate Yushchenko’s opponents.

In his first big interview after his appointment, Plyushch tried to assuage
the fears of Yushchenko’s opponents. He said that he is not a supporter of
radical actions and recalled that he has long backed the idea of a broad
coalition including Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine, the Party of Regions and the
Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc.

Plyushch is known for his open style and for telling journalists what he
thinks, regardless of his position or the position of his allies.

In an interview to the business daily Delo on 12 January 2006, he criticized
Yushchenko for “lack of professionalism and unpredictability” and for his
“uncertain attitude to constitutional reform”. He also forecast that
“unfortunately, Viktor Yushchenko will be learning from his own mistakes”.

Delovaya Stolitsa, a business weekly, forecast in its 14 May 2007 issue that
Plyushch would work to build bridges between Yushchenko and Yanukovych, at
the same time distancing Tymoshenko from Yushchenko. Plyushch has never
concealed his scepticism about Tymoshenko’s political and managerial
Currently Plyushch is Yushchenko’s main negotiator in the crisis settlement
talks, Yanukovych’s side being represented by another seasoned politician,
First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Mykola Azarov.

The head of Yushchenko’s secretariat, Viktor Baloha, has said that
Plyushch’s tasks in the new job would also include reforming the
law-enforcement system, eradicating corruption in courts, and “correcting
the energy policy of Ukraine taking into account the global realities.”

Parliament’s deputy speaker Adam Martynyuk has pointed out that Plyushch’s
appointment was not legally flawless, as he has reached the retirement age
for state officials, 65. Plyushch is married, and he has a daughter.     -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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                            AGAINST THE PRIME MINISTER”
    Ukraine security supremo sacked for refusing to back prosecution of PM 

Article By Oleksandr Korchynskyy
Segodnya newspaper, Kiev, in Russian 14 May 07, p 2
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Monday, May 14, 2007

Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council secretary Vitaliy Hayduk was
sacked for refusing to agree to the prosecution of Prime Minister Viktor
Yanukovych, a tabloid has said, quoting unnamed sources.

The Ukrainian paper, Segodnya, is owned by Rinat Akhmetov, a key supporter
of Yanukovych. President Viktor Yushchenko replaced Hayduk with former
parliament speaker Ivan Plyushch on 12 May.

The following is the text of an article by Oleksandr Korchynskyy entitled
“Did Hayduk refuse to open a criminal case against the prime minister?” and
published by Segodnya on 14 May:

Segodnya has been told by sources close to [former secretary of the National
Security and Defence Council] Vitaliy Hayduk, his dismissal is connected to
his refusal to take part in a forceful solution to the political crisis.

The scenario looks as follows: the National Security and Defence Council is
summoned to a meeting, where violations of the law (non-compliance with the
president’s decree [dissolving parliament and calling a snap election]) by
the government, particularly Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, are

It is not excluded, that the Security Service of Ukraine even demonstrates a
decision to launch a criminal case against the prime minister in this

According to the law, an official figure (anyone working within the
executive branch of power, including the prime minister) may be relieved

of his duties in such cases through a decision by the investigator.

The National Security and Defence Council adopts a decision where it
recommends the president to appoint an interim prime minister and
simultaneously dismiss, for example, the interior minister and appoint an
interim minister to this post as well (since the president cannot appoint a
legitimate prime minister or interior minister without parliamentary

Later, if necessary, these officials would be arrested (a court controlled
by the presidential administration would make such a decision and the
Security Service or the Interior Ministry implements it). From this moment
on, the president’s hands would be untied.

“Of course, this has nothing to do with observing the law, which is why
Hayduk refused to go along with this and asked to be dismissed.

Maybe [the new head of the National Security and Defence Council Ivan]
Plyushch will also refuse to solve the crisis by force, but the president
will have a trump card in negotiations with the prime minister: ‘this is
what will happen if you don’t give in,’ he will say,” our sources say.

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

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Serhii Rakhmanin
Mirror-Weekly, # 18 (647), Kyiv, Ukraine, 12 – 18 May 2007

Election campaigns are underway in the country, but they have nothing to do
with the people’s constitutional right to elect their representatives. These
elections need no candidate lists, voter registries and ballot-boxes.
Politicians are not being elected today – they are making their choice.

And they cannot make it. The algorithm of choosing the only right option was
formulated long ago. It is simple: “Whenever you do not know how to behave –
obey the law”. Yet nobody expects Ukrainian “masters of compromise” to
follow this rule anymore.
Disrespect of law has become a norm in this country. Every leading political
player has done it. All of them pay lip service to the rule of law while
encouraging lawlessness and contempt of civil rights.

A chronic conflict of interpretations has turned into a war of laws. Over
the last couple of weeks, this war has taken freaky forms.

The Presidential Secretariat, parliament and government have been producing
piles of mutually exclusive, legally questionable regulatory acts,
directives and orders. The authors persuade the public that their respective
documents represent the ultimate truth.

Should we be surprised, then, that the country has two prosecutor generals
at the same time, two chairs of the Central Election Commission, two chief
judges of the Pechersk District Court in Kyiv, two governors of Kyiv Oblast
and even two chairs of the Euro-2012 Football Cup Steering Committee?

Since recently, this epidemic of staff cloning has spread to the
Constitutional Court. The institution designed to treat societal and legal
ailments has itself contracted a disease.

We are not in a position to judge if this institution has also been affected
with the corruption virus, how advanced the disease is and what remedies
could help. Yet we could urge the “doctors” to cure themselves first, of
legal nihilism and an addiction to political expediency.

The Constitutional Court was supposed to function as the only arbiter in the
ever-lasting dispute between powers, irrespective of whether elections take
place or not, irrespective of who wins and what forces form a coalition at
the end of the day. However, all rivals in the lingering political struggle
did their best to deprive themselves of fair arbitration.

Justices selected against the criteria of personal loyalty, rather than
professional eligibility, cannot possibly be impartial. Justices, who have
been tempted and deprived with material comforts, cannot possibly be

Justices faced with demands to pass a “correct” judgement cannot possibly be
objective. Society has a lot of questions to ask of the CC justices, but it
has even more questions to ask of the politicians that formed this court and
discredited it in the public eye.

It is still unclear if snap elections will take place at all and what
results will be. Yet it is absolutely clear that the current political clash
has destroyed the little respect of law that ever existed in this country,
and it will take a lot of time and effort to restore it. Are the key
political players willing to do so?

Contrary to skeptical predictions, most Ukrainians welcomed the agreement
reached a week ago between the head of state and the head of the government
on an early parliamentary election.

Our people seemed sincerely glad that their leaders were still capable of
meeting each other halfway. Later it surfaced, though, that parties to the
agreements were two people, rather than the political forces supporting
                    AGREEMENT CAME AS A SURPRISE
The agreement came as a surprise to the majority of both Viktor Yushchenko’s
and Viktor Yanukovych’s allies, which casts doubt on the two leaders’
commitment to democratic and transparent negotiations. It also proves, yet
again, that neither of them is ready to strictly follow the “letter of the

I will explain what I mean. Yushchenko issued an ambiguous (to put it
mildly) decree, purportedly, to ensure compliance with the Constitution.

He also assured the public that he would accept any judgement of the
Constitutional Court. Yanukovych refused to act upon the presidential decree
before the Constitutional Court pronounced its verdict.

In legal terms, the Prime Minister’s response was even stranger than the
President’s decree but his deliberate deference to the highest
constitutional authority looked like a good excuse.

Without waiting for the CC ruling, the President and Prime Minister
announced a truce and an agreement to hold snap elections. In fact, the
President neglected his duties as the Constitution’s guarantor and the Prime
Minister denied his words.

Both insisted in public that the conflict was of a political, rather than a
legal nature, so it calls for a political-and-legal redress, for
negotiations and compromises. Both pointed to elections as the only solution
to save the country from splitting.

To the outsider, it looked as follows: two big bosses have sealed the fate
of the people. One forgot about his partners’ opinion, pledges to the voters
and his own vows. The other discounted his promises to partners, the spirit
of the Constitution and his own decrees. Both disregarded the vestiges of
the CC authority.

If the parties did, indeed, realize they had to look for a political
solution and reach a compromise regardless of the CC ruling, why couldn’t
they wait for the ruling, no matter in whose favour it might be, and
publicize their agreement afterward?

Both leaders should have ensured that the CC arrived at an objective
verdict. In this way, not only could the opponents achieve a compromise but
also set a precedent. Yet neither was guided by the spirit and letter of the

The President understood the CC decision would not make him happy. The Prime
Minister understood he might get no decision at all. That is why both turned
their backs on the Constitution Court. Their compromise is built on mutual
dependence, rather than mutual responsibility.

Further developments demonstrated that the interests of the country and its
people did not matter much to the parties that are planning to take the heap
of controversies and problems bringing the nation along with them into the
future post-election Ukraine.

Their negotiations about, inter alia, a new law on the Constitutional Court
and new principles of selecting CC justices, have been stuck.
Who can we trust? Can we believe in Yushchenko’s sincerity when he intends
to enhance rule of law with Piskun as Prosecutor General and guard the
Constitution with Havrysh as a Constitutional Court justice?

Can we believe in Tymoshenko’s consistency when she promises to recognize
and obey any CC decision and then accuses the CC of an inability to make a
lawful decision?

Can we believe in Yanukovych’s law-abiding nature when he treated the CC
first as an object of capital investment and later – as an object of
haggling with the President?

People are at a loss: they do not know who to trust and what to believe. Are
the countless claims of possible attempts at Yushchenko, Yanukovych, Moroz,
Tymoshenko, Lutsenko, Baloha credible?

Isn’t it yet another PR ruse in the run-up to the elections? Who generate
those rumors – opponents or supporters? The country is wallowing in lies.
People are trapped in the webs of lies that nobody, even their authors, can
                                    FUTURE OF NATION:

The opposing parties’ choice has not been in favor of law, transparency and
the nation’s interests. They are busy choosing the lesser of two evils.

Should they agree to the snap elections or shouldn’t they? To Yanukovych, it
is a pragmatic, practical question. What is better – a bird, no matter how
lean, in the hand or two, big and fat ones, in the bush?

A chance to win broader support at the next elections is tempting, but it is
hard to let go of the powers that are already his.

What is better for the Party of Regions – holing elections in the summer or
in the autumn? In the summer heat, it is easier to raid local polling
stations and ensure the desired result. On the other hand, with a few social
manipulations (like salary and pension rise) the ruling coalition could
improve its popularity ratings by autumn.

What is better for “Our Ukraine” – trying to negotiate an alliance with the
Party of Regions now or taking their time and hoping for increased
popularity, miracles and Tymoshenko’s pliability?
As usual, a choice for future of the nation is the last thing they think or
care about.

Under the circumstances, what choice is left to us?
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

REUTERS, Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, May 17, 2007

KIEV – The head of Ukraine’s Constitutional Court, asked to rule on
parliament’s dissolution, quit on Thursday and politicians made little
progress in setting a date for a new election to end months of political

Pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko and his rival from the 2004 “Orange
Revolution,” Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, have been at odds for months
over a division of powers.

Yushchenko issued two decrees last month dissolving parliament and calling
an election to the assembly. The prime minister, friendlier to Moscow,
initially ignored the order and asked the Constitutional Court to assess the

He later agreed to the poll, but talks to set a date and work out
legislative details remain deadlocked.

Court chairman Ivan Dombrovsky submitted his resignation for the second time
in a month on Thursday and officials said it had been accepted. The court
replaced him with another judge — one of three dismissed by the president
in the past month.

Commentators have said it is uncertain the court will issue a ruling which,
in any event, might have little meaning in the confrontation between the two

A “working group” of experts charged with organizing the election was due to
resume deliberations on Friday.

Also due to sit on Friday was the powerful National Security Council, whose
decisions are law once signed by the president.

Yushchenko last week accused his adversaries in the working group of
stalling and threatened to ram an election date through the council if no
deal could otherwise be struck.

His second decree set a date of June 24, but he has acknowledged this could
be put back to July. Yanukovich says it is unreasonable to stage an election
before the autumn.

Thousands of the prime minister’s supporters gathered in Independence
Square, focus of the 2004 protests that catapulted Yushchenko to power, but
their leader failed to appear.

Yushchenko beat Yanukovich in a rerun of a rigged 2004 presidential election
after weeks of rallies and has promoted NATO and European Union

membership and liberal economics.

Both sides in the current confrontation have tried to recreate the
atmosphere of 2004, but rallies have been relatively small and lacking in
enthusiasm.                                          -30-

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

By Oliver Duff, The Independent, London, UK, May 16, 2007

Tony Blair is so busy leaving “the crowds wanting more… [being] the star
who won’t even play the last encore” – to quote the leaked words of his own
No 10 advisers, who last year suggested his victory tour of the nation and
appearances on Blue Peter, Songs of Praise, etc – that he has committed a
grave diplomatic snub (something else for Gordon to sort out).

The Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko, the poisoned leader of Ukraine’s
2004 “Orange Revolution”, was expecting to meet our outgoing Prime Minister
today for tea, nibbles and a nice photocall to boost his “democratic”

Unfortunately, Our Tone is in Washington saying goodbye to George Dubya –
and appears to have forgotten to tell Yushchenko not to bother coming.

“Due to an unavoidable change in the British Prime Minister’s foreign travel
plans,” says a Ukrainian Embassy official, “the British and Ukrainian sides
have agreed to postpone a working visit of the President of Ukraine to the
United Kingdom on [16 and] 17 May.”

An “unavoidable change”? Blair has known for weeks that he was off to
Washington; you don’t just rock up in America and drop by the White House.

Yet a Ukrainian diplomatic source tells me that No 10 only called Yushchenko
to tell him not to bother catching his flight at the weekend.

“The President was going to meet Blair but Blair cancelled on Monday – very
late,” mutters the diplomat. “We have postponed it for an indefinite time.
We consider this very unfortunate.”

Does Blair care anymore?                              -30-

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

COMMENTARY: By Stephen Velychenko
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, May 17 2007

Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych’s opinions about the country he rules
should not be viewed in isolation by anyone interested in Ukraine or the EU.
First and foremost it must be stressed that his neo-Soviet Party of Regions
is not a “normal” political party in a “normal” state.

It is a restorationist party that seeks to prevent the democratization of a
de facto “post-colonial” state, and to keep it subordinated to its former
ruler. Should it succeed the EU would have to face the prospect of an
unstable eastern border.

While the party formally supports “Eurointegration” – just as Putin supports
the Eurointegration of Russia – it has not explicitly stated that it stands
for for “EU membership for Ukraine.”

Yanukovych’s public statements in various EU countries, therefore, cannot
be taken seriously until this commitment is clearly stated in his party’s

Given this omission there is every reason to believe that as soon as it
manages to create a majority by dubious methods in the Verkhovna Rada, it
will first incorporate Ukraine into Russia’s Single Economic Space and the,
and only then, via Russia, “integrate into Europe” – presumably just like

Ukraine reemerged on Europe’s political map in 1991 after more than 200
years of direct foreign political rule imposed by military might.

Between 1709 and 1711, 1918 and 1921, and again between 1944 and 1950
Russian armies invaded Ukraine in a series of bloody wars that tied Ukraine
to first the Tsarist and then Soviet empires.

Under Russian rule Ukrainians got Russian-style serfdom, Siberian exile,
governmental prohibition of publishing and teaching in the native language,
terror, and famine-genocide.

When Ukraine emerged as an independent state in 1991 there was no “war of
liberation.” Consequently the leaders of the imperial or “old regime” elite
were not exiled or executed.

They remained in power until 2004 and have since managed to retain positions
of influence to such a degree that they can keep their own out of jail.
Their constituency, meanwhile, is the product of Soviet migration policies
that directed Russians into and Ukrainians out of Ukraine.

This immigration and “ethnic dilution,” combined with deportations and
millions of unnatural Ukrainian deaths between 1917 and 1947, created large
Russian-speaking urban centers in the country’s four easternmost provinces.

Educational and media policies channeled upwardly mobile non-Russian rural
migrants into Russian-speaking environments and allowed urban Russians to
live, work and satisfy their cultural and spiritual needs without having to
use or learn Ukrainian.

Second and third generation urban Russian immigrants and assimilated
migrants spoke in Russian, lived in a Russian public sphere and were
Moscow-oriented both culturally and intellectually.

After 1991 most of the urban population accepted Ukrainian independence, but
few changed their Russian-language use or intellectual-cultural orientation.

Since 1991 an increasing percentage of Russians and Russian speakers view
Ukraine as their native country. In 2005, only 6 percent of Ukrainians still
considered themselves to be “Soviet citizens.”

The percentage for Russians was 18 percent. While 2 percent of Ukrainians
still did not regard Ukraine as their native country, 9 percent of Russians
living in Ukraine did not.

This means that a percentage of the population in Ukraine today, of whom
most are Russian, support foreign rule over the territory in which they
live – much as did once the French in Algeria, the Germans in Bohemia and
Poland, the Portuguese in Angola, and the English in Ireland.

This nostalgia for empire on the part of some Russian speakers would be
harmless if not for Ukraine’s entrenched neo-Soviet political leaders who
exploit it to maintain their by-gone imperial power.

Both would be manageable if leaders in Russia, the former imperial power,
were able to resign themselves to the loss of their empire, and like the
British, help the new national democratic Orange coalition rather than its
imperial era collaborators.

Putin is no DeGaulle, who realized in the end that French settlers had to
leave Algeria.

Ukraine’s neo-Soviet leaders are organized into four major groups with
varying degrees of support covert and overt from Russia and its

government – whose ambassador in Kyiv is not known to have ever made
a speech in Ukrainian.

[FIRST GROUP] Ukraine’s Communists and the [SECOND GROUP]
Natalia Vitrenko Bloc openly advocate the abrogation of Ukraine’s
independence and its reincorporation into a revamped imperial Russian-
dominated USSR.

[THIRD GROUP] The Russian Orthodox Church, which claims an estimated

50 percent of Ukraine’s Orthodox, is not only led by a Patriarch in Moscow
who sits in Putin’s government, but also is dominated by a chauvinist and
anti-Semitic fringe.

This Church does not recognize Ukrainians as a distinct nationality, it
publicly supports Ukraine’s Communists, and fielded priests to run in

In June 2003 the Russian patriarch bestowed the “Order of Prince Vladimir”
upon the leader of Ukraine’s Communists. No more than 8 percent of

Ukraine’s voters back these old communist party leaders.

[FOURTH GROUP] The more serious threat to Ukrainian independence is
posed by the fourth of the major neo-Soviet groups: the Party of Regions.

Although election results suggest approximately one-third of all voters in
2006 supported the Party of Regions, these returns are dubious.

[1] First, they are a product of documented coercion, intimidation and
covert operations – albeit smaller in scope and scale than was the case in

[2] Second, they are based on “machine politics” in Ukraine’s eastern
provinces where Yanukovych’s party is in control of the local administration
and manufacturing, and can offer people fearing poverty and insecurity
short-term material incentives in return for votes.

[3] Third, they are based on a lingering Soviet-style “cradle-to-grave”
enterprise-paternalism, still stronger in eastern than western Ukraine, that
allows managers and owners to politically blackmail their employees – much
as “company-town” owners did in 19th century Western Europe and America.

It is difficult to determine how strong the party would be in Ukraine’s
east, without the dirty tricks, machine politics and neo-feudal
intimidation. But the Regions certainly would have less than one-third of
the seats in the country’s parliament.

The party ostensibly supports Ukrainian independence inasmuch as its leaders
regard Ukraine as a territory that they should control as a “blackmail
state,” just as they controlled it up to 2004.

Yet, its anti-constitutional advocacy of Russian as a “second language,” for
example, shows it wants to keep Ukraine within the Russian-language
communications sphere and out of the English-language communications
sphere, which now includes the EU.

While the Canadian and Polish ambassadors can learn to speak Ukrainian prior
to their appointments well enough to use it publicly, some Party of Regions
leaders have the unmitigated gall to speak Russian in parliament.

A number of their leaders, like First Deputy Premier Mykola Azarov, have not
managed to learn Ukrainian after 15 years of independence.

But then how many French in Algeria learned Arabic? How many English in
Ireland learned Gaelic? How many whites in Africa knew Swahili or Bantu?
How many Japanese learned Chinese or Korean? How many Germans in
Breslau learned Polish?

Additionally, Regions leaders engage in symbolic colonial-homage-type acts
that pander to imperial Russian nostalgia and compromise Ukraine’s status as
an independent country.

In November 2005, for example, Viktor Yanukovych publicly presented the
speaker of the Russian Duma with a “bulava” – the Cossask symbol of
Ukrainian statehood.

The Party of Regions’ leaders learned their politics under the Soviet regime
and have failed to learn any other kind. They ran Leonid Kuchma’s “blackmail
state” and employ criminal Bolshevik-style electioneering practices.

Not the least of these is advertising in the press soliciting “supporters”
to attend their demonstrations. The “protesters” are paid a set rate at the
end of every day.

They publicly belittle Ukrainian independence and are in constant contact
with Russian extremists like Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Konstantin Zatulin and
Yuri Luzhkov.

Foreign observers must ask themselves how a Party of Regions-led
“blackmail state” is supposed to fit into the EU?

How can such a Ukraine be “stable” if it is dependent on Russia, a
resource-based autocracy, at a time when resource-based autocracies
everywhere else in the world are notoriously unstable?     -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
               Petro Balabuyev, Top Designer of World’s Biggest Aircraft

Associated Press, Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday May 17, 2007

KIEV, Ukraine – Petro Balabuyev, a lead designer of the world’s largest
aircraft, the An-225, died Thursday, according to the Antonov aviation
design bureau. He was 75.

Balabuyev headed the Kiev-based bureau for almost 20 years, and was the
top designer for many aircraft, including the An-225 and the An-124-100.

The six-engine An-225, which first flew in 1988, is capable of carrying 275
tons of cargo for a distance of 2,790 miles. The An-124-100 has a capacity
of 165 tons. Both planes are also noted for their ability to land smoothly
at poorly equipped airports.                          -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

                            UKRAINE RETAIL VENTURES

AP Worldstream, Cleveland, Ohio, Monday, May 14, 2007

CLEVELAND – A developer of shopping centers in the United States said

Monday it has reached a deal with a developer in Germany to build malls in
western Russia and Ukraine to cater to the growing middle class.

Developers Diversified Realty, a suburban Cleveland-based real estate
investment trust that develops, leases and manages shopping centers, will
commit $225 million (A166 million) toward the $300 million (A221.5 million)
venture with ECE Projektmanagement, based in Hamburg, Germany, providing

$75 million (A55.5 million). They expect financing will bring the value of the
deal to $1.2 billion (A890 million).

“Russia and Ukraine provide appealing investment opportunities due to their
favorable economic conditions and underserved retail real estate markets,”
said Scott A. Wolstein, Developers Diversified’s chairman and chief

Developers Diversified and ECE will focus on urban areas with populations
greater than 500,000, including Kiev.

The venture expands Developers Diversified’s international scope. It has
properties in the Untied States, Puerto Rico and Brazil.

Wolstein has been CEO and a director of Developers Diversified Realty since
its organization in 1992. It owns and manages about 800 retail operating and
development properties. Wolstein separately leads the Wolstein Group,
involved in a $230 million (A170 million) remake of an old part of Cleveland
along the Cuyahoga River.                               -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

If you are receiving more than one copy of the AUR please contact us.

Edited Press Release by Dow Jones Newswires
London, United Kingdom, Thursday, May 17, 2007

LONDON – Dragon-Ukrainian Properties & Development, an active investor in
the development of new commercial properties as well as in the redevelopment
of existing properties in Ukraine which offer the prospect of attractive
returns to its shareholders, said Thursday that it plans to float on AIM.

The company plans to place new Ordinary shares of 1 pence each at $2 and
expects to have a market capitalisation of $200 million on Admission which
is expected on June 1.

The initial focus will be on the development of new and re-development of
existing commercial properties in the retail, office and warehousing

However, the directors will also consider alternative types of investment in
real estate, including land acquisitions with development potential for
residential projects, where they believe such investments will generate
appropriate returns for shareholders.

The company’s initial investment and development activities will focus on
Kyiv and Kyiv oblast as well as other major regional centres of Ukraine
where the population exceeds 700,000 people.

Whilst the primary focus will be on the development and re-development of
commercial properties and, to a lesser extent, on secondary market
acquisitions, the company will actively seek opportunities to enter into
sale-and-leaseback arrangements, mainly in the retail sector where the
directors believe such opportunities are likely to be present, given the
continued expansion of the retail sector in the Ukraine.

The company expects to implement its strategy in partnership with one or
more local property development experts. It may acquire properties from such
partners and may make investments in, or from joint ventures with them.

The directors expect the company to play an active role in selecting and
supervising the projects in which the company will become involved.

The company expects to invest the net proceeds of the placing within 24 to
30 months after Admission. Funds not invested will be held on deposit in
cash or in near cash instruments.

Dragon Capital Partners will act as investment manager to the company and
will be responsible for identifying new investment opportunities for the
company. The company’s nominated adviser and broker is Zimmerman

Adams International.                               -30-
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Polish News Bulletin, Warsaw, Poland, Friday, May 18, 2007

WARSAW – The agreement on co-operation between the WSE and the

PFTS, the largest of Ukraine’s eight stock exchanges, does not signal capital
ties between the two: the WSE has no intention of taking over the PFTS.

The Polish stock market only wants Ukrainian companies in need of
substantial capital and planning debuts on international stock exchanges, to
hit the WSE instead of the LSE.

The agreement provides that companies that choose to hold their IPOs in
Warsaw will later be listed on both stock exchanges: the WSE and the PFTS.

This is how WSE President Ludwik Sobolewski wants to improve the Warsaw
floor’s liquidity and to build its international position. The benefits are
to be mutual. “We will talk to companies operating in Ukraine to float their
affiliates on the PFTS,” said Sobolewski.

The WSE president also wants to promote the Ukrainian stock exchange among
Polish businesses. The PFTS currently hosts 697 companies. At the start of
May, its capitalisation amounted to EUR51bn.
                                BUYING OUT THE BALKANS
Romanian and Bulgarian company shares are becoming extremely popular in
Poland. TFI Investors, a new investment fund association, started selling
certificates of the new Bulgarian-Romanian fund FIZ on Monday.

According to its sources, all the ZL100m pool was bought out by the
investors on the same day. The TFI offer is one of the few possibilities for
easy investment in the Balkan countries. According to analysts, these
countries are meant to experience a boom similar to that in Poland.

President Sebastian Buczek believes that it can expect fast improvement in
indicators, as well as development of loans and deposits. However, some
specialists suggest that individual investors be cautious. While purchasing
shares is a good idea, buying real estate is not, as it is too expensive.

On the other hand, Ukraine still appears to be an attractive, but
non-transparent market, due to an unstable government and administrative
difficulties.                                                 -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


Polish News Bulletin, Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, May 17, 2007

WARSAW – Polish e-companies are gradually strengthening their position in
other Central East European (CEE) states.

Internet auction service Allegro has already taken over the major part of
its sector in Hungary and the Czech Republic, while mBank, an Internet arm
of the domestic BRE Bank, is successfully conquering the markets of Poland’s
eastern and southern neighbours.
Internet communicator Gadu-Gadu is preparing for expansion into Ukraine,
while, leading Polish e-advertising broker, already controls 50
percent of the Lithuanian market and continues to strengthen its presence in
Latvia and Estonia.

“So far, Western European and US giants have not been treating us as serious
competition, which we managed to use to our advantage,” explains Adam Goral,
CEO of Asseco Poland IT company.

His words are confirmed by the fact that before eBay decided to enter
Poland, Allegro managed to strengthen its position on the domestic market to
the point where it did not have to fear being overtaken by the international
Internet auction giant.

The case was similar with Gadu-Gadu, which despite the arrival of Skype has
retained its number-one position in the Polish instant messenger market.

After learning that foreign giants are not unbeatable when on away ground,
domestic e-companies started making use of this knowledge in their expansion
into neighbouring states.

Slawomir Lachowski is the father of mBank’s success in Poland and abroad. By
the end of the year, the bank will begin operating in the Czech Republic and

“Our offer will include current accounts with absolutely no charges, which
the customers in these two countries are not used to. This will be our
secret weapon in the fight for local markets,” says Lachowski.
As for Allegro, it began its expansion into the Czech Republic and Hungary
three years ago, when the local Internet auction markets were strongly
underdeveloped. In the former country, Allegro faced no competition at all,
which enabled its sister-company Aukro to swiftly take over the Czech

“Many were sceptical about our expansion plans and we proved them wrong,”
sums up Michal Klar, director for International Affairs at Allegro group.

While the Czech Republic has already come up with its own Internet auction
portal,, Aukro still retains the leading position on the market.
Similar success was achieved in Hungary, where so far Allegro has managed to
outplay its local rival, Vatera.

Polish companies have also been successful in taking over CEE e-advertising
markets. Such was the case with CR Media-controlled, which six years
ago decided to expand into Lithuania.

“While in the early stage of the operation we were running at a loss, later
the situation began to improve. Eventually, we became the leader of the
local market, with a market share amounting to 50 percent,” says CEO
Krzysztof Golonka, who is also management board member at CR Media.
The next target for domestic e-companies is Ukraine. While Western
businesses are still often discouraged by its economic instability, high
corruption and small consumer base, their Polish counterparts are attracted
by its continued economic growth, weak local competition and prospects for
an Internet boom in the near future.

“Ukraine is like Poland AD 2000. It is a perfect moment for launching
business activity in the country,” explains Golonka. His company, CR

Media, has already initiated steps to expand into Ukraine.

While Gadu-Gadu has similar plans, before it overcomes the problem of the
small number of broadband connections in the country it will have to offer
limited instant messenger services.

Nonetheless, CEO Piotr Pokrzywa expects the investment to pay off after

two to three years, faster than happened in Poland.

Last but not least, Ukraine has also attracted the attention of domestic
e-auction portal Allegro, which has already launched its services in the
country. After only a few months of presence on Ukrainian and Russian
markets, it has gained around 100,000 new users.               -30-

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

Business Wire, Concord Capital, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, May 17, 2007

KYIV – One of Ukraine’s largest sugar producers, Dakor
(, has successfully placed a 20% equity stake among
foreign investors for USD 21 mln, giving it an MCap of USD 100 mln. Almost
half of the placed shares were sold in the form of depositary receipts
issued by the Bank of New York.

Concorde Capital ( acted as exclusive consultant
and book runner for the placement. According to Concorde representatives,
Dakor was placed at higher multiples than similar sugar companies quoted on
international stock exchanges. The placement included a road-show that
stopped in several major European financial centers.

Dakor plans to use the proceeds from the private placement to finance the
modernization of its production facilities, further develop its agricultural
business, and finance working capital. In 2007, Dakor intends to raise its
sugar beet processing capacities and significantly increase its sugar beet

The consolidated net sales of the Dakor group in 2006 came to USD 63.4 mln,
66% of which came from sugar and beet processing by-products. The company’s
EBITDA was USD 15.4 mln in 2006. Dakor also produced over 105 ths mt of
sugar in 2006.

Dakor’s core businesses include raising and processing sugar beets, sugar
and sugar by-product production, in addition to other agricultural
activities and raising livestock.

The company’s four large sugar mills are located in Western Ukraine in the
towns of Dubno, Kremenets, Ostrog and Zolochiv. The company also grows

crops on more than 80 thousand ha of land.

Dakor is one of the most rapidly developing and technologically-equipped
sugar companies in Ukraine, and has continually increased its sugar
production volumes over the last few years.

The company plans to develop its production capacity, and improve sugar beet
production and processing technologies to strengthen its leading position on
the market.

Concorde Capital is a leading investment bank providing a full range of
investment banking services in Ukraine, as well as on Russian and CIS
financial markets.

Concorde Capital’s strategy is to obtain the highest possible value for its
clients using stock market instruments. In the first four months of 2007,
Concorde Capital has attracted over USD 200 mln in investments for leading
Ukrainian companies.                        -30-
Concorde Capital Nick Piazza, Corporate Relations Tel. +380-44-207-5030
Mobile. +380-96-598-1298
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

PAP news agency, Warsaw, in English 1125 gmt 17 May 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Thu, May 17, 2007

KIEV –  The [Ukrainian tycoon] Viktor Pinchuk Foundation supports the
activity of the Aleksander Kwasniewski Foundation owing to the former Polish
president’s role for Ukraine integration with European structures, adviser
to the Ukrainian foundation, Mykyta Poturayev, said Thursday [17 May].

He added that this year a successive grant of 400,000 dollars will be
transferred to the Kwasniewski foundation.

“The Viktor Pinchuk Foundation does not finance Kwasniewski as a politician.
It grants support to one of Kwasniewski’s foundations called ‘Amicus
Europae’ that deals with the new policy of European neighbourhood. We treat
it as our investment in the future of Europe,” Poturayev told PAP.

The Ukrainian foundation adviser stressed that Kwasniewski is supported by
the Ukrainian businessman as “Ukraine’s best informal ambassador in the
world” helping Ukraine with his consultations, advice and diplomatic
activity promoting Ukraine.

Poturayev stated that cooperation between the two foundations started last
year and is absolutely transparent and legal. “In 2006 we supported ‘Amicus
Europae’ with 300,000 dollars’ worth of grant and this year it will be
400,000 dollars.

He stressed that the Pinchuk foundation supports other known foundations as
Brookings Institution, Peterson Institute for International Economics and
the Bill Clinton Foundation. portal wrote on Wednesday that the Kwasniewski foundation would

not have money for operations had it not come from Ukrainian multi-millioner

Kwasniewski confirmed that owing to Pinchuk’s donation the foundation could
be organized and cooperates with the foundation of the Ukrainian
businessman.                                             -30-

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

Polish News Bulletin, Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, May 17, 2007

WARSAW – According to news portal, in 2006 Amicus Europae, a
foundation established by former President Aleksander Kwasniewski, accepted
a donation of nearly ZL1m from Viktor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian oligarch and
son-in-law of former Ukrainian head of state Leonid Kuchma.

In total, other benefactors contributed ZL5,000, which shows that the
organisation would not have survived if not for Pinchuk’s generosity. The
Ukrainian entrepreneur and Kwasniewski have been known to co-operate at
various levels for the last few years.

According to Ukrainian commentators, the former president’s foundation
should not have accepted the donation. “Pinchuk is believed to owe his
financial success to his father-in-law, who in Ukraine is considered to be
the epitome of corruption,” says journalist Antin Borkowski.

Commenting on the issue, Kwasniewski said he saw nothing wrong in accepting
the donation. “The aim of our co-operation is to bring Ukraine closer to the
EU,” he explained.                                        -30-
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18.                               POWER GAMES

EDITORIAL, Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, May 16 2007

Vladimir Putin will host Jose Manuel Barroso, Javier Solana and Angela
Merkel at an EU-Russia summit in Samara this weekend. Instead of
breakthroughs, EU diplomats indicated that the meetings are expected to
produce “little in the way of concrete results.”

This summit will be held at a tense time, which some EU officials have
described as the worst for relations with Russia since the Cold War.

Energy will be on the agenda, and Putin will be speaking from a position of
strength: Russia’s recent agreements with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan will
see a significant increase in Moscow’s capacity to virtually monopolize the
delivery of Central Asian oil and gas to Europe.

The Russian president will be emboldened by the flexing of Moscow’s
energy muscle for political reasons by cutting oil supplies to Estonia.

One opinion is that Russia’s recent energy deals with Kazakhstan and
Turkmenistan caught Western Europe by surprise and that the Kremlin may
be effectively thwarting a Euro-Atlantic energy strategy, which includes
pipelines for oil and gas bypassing Russia.

The same day Putin’s announcement was making the headlines, Ukrainian
President Viktor Yushchenko was in Poland rallying support to extend the
Odessa-Brody oil pipeline into Poland.

Yushchenko and the presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Georgia and Azerbaijan
attended a conference intended to boost efforts at diversifying energy
supplies in the region.

Despite their repeated pledges of support for the Odessa-Brody project,
their gathering was overshadowed by news that Russia had succeeded in
strengthening its grip over energy supplies in the region.

It was a major setback for these leaders, who have long called upon Brussels
to take a more active role in helping diversify energy supplies in the

The US has long warned of the dangers inherent in Moscow’s monopolization
of energy supplies in the region.

On May 14, US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman dubbed Russia’s recent
agreements in Central Asia as harmful for Europe.

Now, as many times in the past, the ball is in Brussels’ court. European
leaders should join Ukraine, Poland and other countries in taking a stronger
stance toward Moscow.

Russia must be told clearly that it will face tough bargaining in its
aspirations for improved trade relations in retaliation for human rights
abuses and attempts to monopolize energy in the region.

The EU also needs to bolster relations with energy-rich Central Asian
republics, offering them benefits in return for support of projects that
would diversify, not monopolize, the transit of energy.

The bargaining will be tough, and Moscow, always the supporter of loyal
autocratic regimes, already has the upper hand. The EU is once again late
and shorthanded at the bargaining table.

While Moscow continues to strengthen its grip over energy supplies in the
region, Ukraine’s leaders are once again shooting themselves in the foot by
erecting barriers to Western partners’ efforts to boost domestic energy

A pattern is emerging. Ukraine’s government has chosen the path of
long-drawn-out negotiations over cooperation with Western energy companies
that offer investment and know-how, which could help the country reduce its
dependence on foreign imports by boosting domestic hydrocarbon production.

One example of this is the postponement of a Production Sharing Agreement
with US-based Vanco Energy, which won the rights for hydrocarbon exploration
and production in the Black Sea over one year ago.

Vanco was chosen during a tender conducted by the pro-Western government
of Yuriy Yekhanurov. There were questions about the way the tender was
conducted, as bids by major large oil companies were snubbed.

Even so, little has been done since the tender. The government of Viktor
Yanukovych has systematically raised barrier upon barrier with the seeming
intention of sabotaging the project.

Some sources say government officials loyal to Moscow are playing according
to a game plan intended to block Western oil companies in Ukraine, yielding
greater market share to Russian groups.

If so, this is very bad for Ukraine. The presence of Western oil majors
could bring more market economics into Ukraine’s highly corrupt and
politicized energy business. It could also help balance out Moscow’s
influence over energy in the region.                           -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                  Russia appears to have outmaneuvered the United States

COMMENTARY: By Sergei Blagov
Eurasianet, New York, NY, Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Russian officials and experts can barely conceal their glee over the signing
of pacts that give the Kremlin a seemingly unbreakable stranglehold over
Central Asia’s energy resources.

The main deal, forged May 12 in the Turkmen city of Turkmenbashi, would
upgrade the Prikaspiiski natural gas pipeline that skirts the Caspian
shoreline, enabling Russia to virtually corner Turkmenistan’s gas exports.

Western experts generally view the deal to be a disaster for US and European
Union energy plans in the Caspian Basin, in particular the construction of
trans-Caspian pipelines to tap into Central Asia’s oil and gas reserves.

These pipelines would enable Central Asian exporters to circumvent
Russian-controlled routes. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].

After the signing of the preliminary agreement, various Russian media
outlets quoted an unnamed Kremlin official as saying the May 12 trilateral
summit – bringing together Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Turkmen boss
Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov and Kazakhstani President Nursultan
Nazarbayev – had “exceeded expectations.”

In addition to the Prikaspiisky deal, the three states, along with
Uzbekistan, agreed to refurbish two additional natural gas pipelines.

When all the works are completed, Russia stands to almost double its imports
of Central Asian gas to roughly 90 billion cubic meters (bcm), up from the
present level of about 50 bcm.

To demonstrate their commitment to the project, both Turkmenistan and
Kazakhstan agreed to finance construction of their respective portions of
the pipeline without Russian assistance, Russian-language media outlets

Putin on May 14 ordered his Kremlin underlings into action, demanding that
immediate follow-up action be taken. “This work [the May 12 accord] is very
important for our ties with the Central Asian region,” Putin was quoted as
saying at a cabinet meeting.

Specifically, Putin ordered feasibility studies for new ferry and rail links
between Russia and Central Asian states. At the summit, Berdymukhammedov
expressed a keen desire to develop such links.

Many observers in Moscow now believe, with the emergence of the Prikaspiisky
option, the bell is tolling for the US-backed trans-Caspian pipeline (TCP)

The fact that Russia appears to have outmaneuvered the United States in the
contest over Turkmenistan’s resources is no small source of satisfaction
inside Moscow’s Ring Road.

“These results are especially valuable, because they were achieved with a
backdrop of a strong opposition from the West,” said Andrei Kokoshin, who
heads the Russian Duma’s Committee on CIS Affairs.

Russian policy planners make no secret of wanting to use the Prikaspiisky
deal to achieve several immediate objectives; to deliver a coup de grace
against the TCP project; to block the efforts of Russia’s antagonists to
create alternative energy-supply routes that the Kremlin can’t control; and
to place the EU in an energy-supply vice.

A Russian-EU energy summit is scheduled to take place in the Volga River
city of Samara on May 17-18. EU officials have voiced a desire to diversify
the group’s sources of energy. The recent deals, however, would appear to
deprive the EU of negotiating leverage.

The Prikaspiisky pact also appears to have dashed the dreams of several
formerly Communist countries in Central Europe – including Poland, Lithuania
and Ukraine – of breaking their energy dependence on Russia.

Representatives of those states, along with Georgian and Azerbaijani
leaders, gathered for a meeting in Krakow, Poland, on May 11, during which
they discussed ways to gain access to Caspian Basin energy without it having
to cross Russian territory.

Attempts to build alternative routes that avoid Russia will now just be “a
waste of money,” said Igor Pushkarev, a member of Russia’s Federation
Council, referring to the Krakow meeting, which ended early after news of
the Prikaspiisky pact spread.

Other observers were far blunter in their assessment.

A commentary appearing on the website derided Russia’s
opponents in the Caspian Energy game: “The US Department of State tried to
use its twerps from the former Soviet bloc – Poland, Lithuania, and other
political dwarfs – to bring pressure upon Moscow. The key point in the
struggle for energy markets was the Krakow summit. . But the summit failed
in a most disgraceful manner for Russophobes.”

While confident that the Prikaspiiski pact will effectively preclude TCP
from ever becoming a serious threat to Russia’s energy hegemony, most

Moscow officials are reluctant to proclaim a total victory on this front. That’s
because Berdymukhammedov said May 12 that Turkmenistan retained interest in

That Berdymukhammedov made such a clear commitment to deepening energy
cooperation with Russia took many Western observers by surprise.

The Turkmen leader’s position perhaps comes into clearer focus when
considering that just a few days after the announcement of the Prikaspiisky
deal, Berdymukhammedov purged Turkmenistan’s security supremo, Akmurat

The sacking stands to significantly enhance the new president’s domestic
political position. It’s unlikely that Berdymukhammedov would have moved
against such a potent political rival unless he was absolutely sure he had
the political muscle to succeed. It may well be that Putin provided such
assurances of political support.

Russia is also moving assertively to lock up Central Asian oil supplies.
Russia and Kazakhstan have announced an intention to expand the Caspian
Pipeline Consortium route, up from its present capacity of 23 million tons
annually to 40 million tons.

Kazakhstan also agreed to supply up to 17 million tons of oil per year for a
Russian-controlled 280-kilometer pipeline that is envisioned to run from
Bulgaria’s Black Sea port of Burgas to Alexandroupolis in Greece.

Following May 10 talks in Astana, Nazarbayev told reporters that his country
“was absolutely committed to funneling the bulk of our hydrocarbons, if not
all, via Russia’s territory.”

“Last year, we shipped 52.2 million tons of Kazakhstani oil, of which 42
million tons funneled via Russia,” Nazarbayev said.         -30-
Editor’s Note: Sergei Blagov is a Moscow-based specialist in
CIS political affairs.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                           EU suffers stunning setback this week.

Simon Tisdall, The Guardian, London, United Kingdom, Fri, May 18, 2007

European Union efforts to loosen Russia’s energy grip by seeking alternative
supplies from central Asia via the Caucasus suffered a stunning setback this

But even before President Vladimir Putin agreed deals expanding his control
of Kazakhstan’s and Turkmenistan’s gas and oil exports, Europe’s drive to
diversify was running on empty.

Russia supplies about 25% of Europe’s gas and a rising proportion of its
oil. That is increasingly seen as a strategic weakness that could leave the
continent vulnerable to politically motivated energy blackmail.

This was the fate that allegedly befell Ukraine and Belarus last year.
Lithuania is currently under similar pressure after Moscow cut oil

Energy security will figure high on the agenda at today’s EU-Russia summit
in Samara. A key aim is to induce Moscow to sign up to the Energy Charter, a
set of rules covering trade, investment and transportation of oil and gas.
But experts predict the Kremlin will continue to resist the scheme.

Russia is focusing instead on increasing its market dominance from
production through to the point of sale, by expanding its investments in
Europe (while denying European businesses reciprocal access).

The state-controlled energy giant Gazprom now has a stake in 16 of the EU’s
27 countries. And while the EU remains divided on the question of how to
respond, Gazprom is busy maximising its advantage.

“Gazprom already has direct access to end-consumers in three of the biggest
EU gas markets: Italy, Germany and France,” said Katinka Barysch in a study
published by the Centre for European Reform.

“In the UK, it hopes to raise its market share to 10% by the end of the
decade. Not content with controlling pipelines, Gazprom is building power
plants and gas storage facilities in various EU countries.”

Russia’s other main tactic is forging bilateral deals that undermine a
collective pan-European approach. Moscow’s most spectacular success was
agreement with Germany on a Baltic pipeline that is to bypass Poland.

But Mr Putin has also dangled the prospect of individual
supply-and-distribution arrangements with Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and a
host of other energy-hungry EU members.

Moscow’s aggressive, and increasingly successful, attempts to entrench its
dominant position have also undercut political and financial support for
alternative European supply projects that would bypass Russia. One is the
so-called Nabucco pipeline to bring gas from the Caspian. It may not go

Russia’s weekend deals with Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have also raised
possibly terminal doubts about the viability of US- and European-backed
ideas for a central Asia pipeline. Russia’s energy minister, Viktor
Khristenko, dismissed it this week as a “political project” that was
unlikely ever to materialise.

“Russia is increasingly setting the agenda for EU-Russia relations while EU
policymakers are struggling,” Ms Barysch said.

Russia is not having it all its own way. EU foreign ministers agreed a
counter-offensive this week to intensify energy and other cooperation with
Black Sea countries, including new neighbours Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova,
Armenia and Azerbaijan. Acting unilaterally, Poland is leading efforts to
build east European links with Caspian Basin energy producers .

All the same, effective EU action to diversify energy supplies faces
particular difficulties that do not trouble Moscow. These include concerns
about good governance and human rights in partner countries.

The political show trial of a former economy minister mounted this week by
the democratically challenged rulers of Azerbaijan, a key producer and
transit route for central Asian gas and oil, has highlighted these
contradictions. Azerbaijan’s 2005 presidential election was blatantly
stolen; it has an appalling human rights record, and the use of torture is
said to be endemic.

But for now at least, all this is largely tolerated in the west – just as
long as Azerbaijan’s feudal oligarchs keep on the “right side” in the
high-stakes energy war with Russia.                          -30-
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By Yuri Zarakhovich, Moscow, Time magazine
New York, NY, Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Russian Orthodox Church was torn in two by revolution and regicide, by
the enmity between communism and capitalism, nearly a century of fulmination
and hatred. That all formally ended on Thursday in Moscow.

Thousands of the Russian Orthodox faithful – including several hundred who
flew in from New York – lined up under heavy rain to get into the Moscow’s
Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

There, they witnessed the restoration of the “Canonical Communion and
Reunification” of the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), which
claims more than 70 million adherents, and the U.S.-based Russian Orthodox
Church Abroad (ROCOR), which is believed to be 1.5 million strong.

Many among the clergy and laity wept at the end of the 86 year-old schism
brought about by the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, and the ensuing murder of
the dethroned Tsar and the forced emigration of hundred thousands Russians
defeated in Civil war.

While the sumptuous ritual was clearly an emotional and pious event, the
reunification has political resonance as well because the Russian Orthodox
Church is increasingly a symbol and projection of Russian nationalism.

Indeed, rather than first give thanks to God in his speech, the head of the
ROC, Patriarch Alexy, paid homage to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Patriarch emphasized that the reunification could happen only because
the ROCOR saw in Putin “a genuine Russian Orthodox human being.” Putin
responded in his speech that the reunification was a major event for the
entire nation.

Nationalism, based on the Orthodox faith, has been emerging as the Putin
regime’s major ideological resource. Thursday’s rite sealed the four-year
long effort by Putin, beginning in September 2003, to have the Moscow
Patriarchate take over its rival American-based cousin and launch a new
globalized Church as his state’s main ideological arm and a vital foreign
policy instrument.

In a February press conference, Putin equated Russia’s “traditional
confessions” to its nuclear shield, both, he said, being “components that
strengthen Russian statehood and create necessary preconditions for internal
and external security of the country.”

Professor Sergei Filatov, a top authority on Russian religious affairs notes
that “traditional confessions” is the state’s shorthand for the Russian
Orthodox Church.

The Church’s assertiveness and presence is growing – with little separation
from the State. The Moscow City Court and the Prosecutor General’s Office
maintain Orthodox chapels on their premises.

Only the Orthodox clergy are entitled to give ecclesiastic guidance to the
military. Some provinces have included Russian Orthodox Culture classes in
school curricula with students doing church chores.

When Orthodox fundamentalists vandalized an art exhibition at the Moscow
Andrei Sakharov Center as “an insult to the main religion of our country,”
the Moscow Court found the Center managers guilty of insulting the faith,
and fined them $3,500 each.

The ROC had an opera, based on a famous fairy tale by the poet Alexander
Pushkin, censored to the point of cutting out the priest, who is the tale’s
main protagonist.

“Of course, we have a separation of State and Church,” Putin said during a
visit to a Russian Orthodox monastery in January 2004. “But in the people’s
soul they’re together.” The resurgence of a Church in open disdain of the
secular Constitution is only likely to exacerbate divisions in a
multi-ethnic and multi-religious Russia.

The ROCOR’s American clergy insist that they retain administrative
independence over their churches even as they recognize the Moscow Patriarch
as their Head. Filatov says that the ROCOR has “about as much [independence]
as Eastern Europe’s ‘people’s democracies’ had in the Soviet block.”

One of the first tests of the new union will be in the Holy Land, where the
ROCOR maintains religious properties – and has had run-ins with
representatives of the Moscow patriarchate in the past.

In 1997, for example, Yasser Arafat forcibly turned over the only Christian
church in Hebron, run by the ROCOR, to the ROC. (That church includes the
site where the Bible says Abraham met three angels.)

The American-based Church still controls St. Mary Magdalene, with its seven
gilded onion domes and Muscovite facade, one of the most prominent churches
in Jerusalem because of its commanding spot on the slopes of the Mount of
Olives above the garden of Gethsemane.

The ROCOR also has a convent on the summit of the Mount of Olives, a
monastery in the Judaean desert founded by a hermit in the third century,
and one chapel in Jericho and another on the Jordan river. The Reunification
deal says that the administration of these properties will not change. But
some observers remain skeptical.

With a reunited Russian Orthodox Church, Putin is pushing Russia’s dominance
in the global Orthodox movement, the traditional Orthodox leadership is
vested in the Patriarch of Constantinople, in a first among equals style
rather than the dominant Papal regime of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Orthodox communion includes churches in Greece, Cyprus, Ukraine,
Belarus and various Balkan states as well as Georgia, Armenia and Moldova.

Historically, the Russian Orthodox Church has always pressed its
pre-eminence among these nations and is likely to do so again.

Putin’s new unified Church will also further expand in the U.S. and Western
Europe as it tries to use the ROCOR’s network and congregation to become
as much an arm of Russian nationalist politics as well as Russian
piety.                                               -30-
With Reporting by Andrew Lee Butters/Jerusalem,8599,1622544,00.html?xid=rss-world
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


Interfax, Tallinn, Estonia, Wednesday, May 16, 2007

TALLINN – By relocating a monument to Soviet soldiers from the center of
Tallinn to a military cemetery, the Estonian government meant to seek to
prevent the country from “sliding” back into Russia’s control, Estonian
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip has said.

“Our desire was to prevent Estonia from gradually, step by step, sliding
back into Russia’s control, as was envisioned by the Sovietization plan, and
the Bronze Soldier (the monument) problem was chosen as one of the ways to
do this,” Ansip said in an article published in the newspaper Postimees on

“Even if many local ethnic Russians really view the Bronze Soldier as a
symbol of respect for and memory of the soldiers who died in the right
battle, no one can deny that the monument on Tonismagi Square had been
turned into a place that was being used to show contempt and opposition to
the Estonian state,” the prime minister said.

It was unlikely that May 9, 2007, would have passed without incidents, Ansip
said. “We had no illusions that the celebrations on Tonismagi on May 9 would
proceed in joy, under the accompaniment of concertinas.

Both Estonian and Russian radicals were preparing for large-scale
provocations, and Moscow was also doing so,” he said.

“The Kremlin launched a massive anti-Estonian campaign not on April 26 but
more than half a year ago. They expressed their position through threats,”
Ansip said.

“Before April 26, Russia did not take our state seriously. It thought we
would in any case give in to its demands and that it has the right to seize
or ‘liberate’ us,” he said.

Now, “following the European Union’s, NATO’s, and the Estonian republic’s
determined response, the situation has changed radically,” Ansip said. “We
do not want to quarrel with Russia. We want to maintain good and neighborly
relations,” he said.

“As a precondition for neighborly relations, Moscow will have to accept the
independence of Estonia and other neighboring states sooner or later,” he

Riots broke out in Tallinn on April 26-28 in response to the Estonian
government’s decision to rebury the remains of Soviet soldiers from a
military common grave and relocate the Soldier-Liberator Monument from
downtown Tallinn to a military cemetery.

Estonians of Russian ethnicity viewed the actions as an insult to the memory
of the fallen soldiers. The riots occurred in Tallinn and several cities in the

Estonian northeast, where there is a large ethnic Russian diaspora.    -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
               OF THE GREAT FAMINE OF 1932-33 (HOLODOMOR

Remarks by the Permanent Representative of Ukraine,
H.E. Mr. Yuriy Sergeyev at the third informal thematic debate

of the 61″ UNGA session on Civilization and the Challenge for
Peace: Obstacles and Opportunities
United Nations, New York, NY, Thu-Fri, 10-11 May 2007
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #844, Article 23
Washington, D.C., Friday, May 18, 2007


On behalf of my delegation I would like to emphasize the high importance

and relevance of today’s thematic debate.
It is symbolic that we undertake these debates on multiculturalism and
respect for diversity on the eve of the World Day of Cultural Diversity for
Dialog and Development.

It reminds us that our Organization has elaborated necessary instruments,
one of which is the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. What is
needed is to respect them and to implement them in the most effective way.

I would like to continue on the theme raised by reverend frond Bakkeving as
to the importance of the issue of cultural diversity in modern society. I
became more convinced in that after the World Summit on Peace and

Tolerance held in Kyiv (my capital) on 25 April 2007.

Organized by the World Congress of Christians, Jews and Muslims together
with the Global Foundation for Democracy, the summit has gathered the
prominent religious leaders from Christian, Islamic and Jewish communities
of the world.

After having listening to the Chief Rabbi of Israel Yona Metzger, ex-Prime
Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, spiritual leaders from Orthodox Church
of my region, Islamic theologists from the Gulf countries I recognized that
we have more in common than what makes us different as to basic principles
of our religions.

But what we are to continue to learn is the nature of inter-religious and
cultural intolerance and conflict in multicultural society, in order to
elaborate Effective mechanisms aimed at increasing our understanding of
multiculturalism and respect for diversity.

Madam Moderator,

The United Nations has been built on a solemn pledge by its Member States

to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights and in the dignity and worth of
the human being.

That pledge can hardly be fulfilled if we fail to Remember and to
acknowledge – sometimes it takes courage to do – the tragic events; of the
past, vast violations of human rights and mass suffering of people.

It is important to remember the past in order to learn from it and to avoid
repeating it. We must use that knowledge to strengthen the effectiveness of
the rule of law and to enhance the respect for human rights and| fundamental
freedoms in the world.

It is none the less important to properly recognize the crimes against
humanity and to honor the memory of their victims for the sake of improving
trust and understanding among the peoples so that new generations could move
forward in harmony and good dialog.

Ukraine calls upon the United Nations as the collective voice of the
international community to contribute to the commemoration of the 75th
anniversary of the Great Famine of 1932-33 (Holodomor), among other things,
by adopting a relevant document.

We do not intend to establish responsibility of my state for the acts
committed on the territory of Ukraine in 1932-33. We clearly emphasize that
policies and acts of the then totalitarian regime should be blamed for the
man-made famine.

Thank you for your attention.                          -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
         In 1944, the Soviet authorities deported about 190,000 Crimean Tatars.

TV 5 Kanal, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1000 gmt 17 May 07
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Thursday, May 17, 2007

KIEV – [Presenter] The victims of a mass deportation of local residents are
being commemorated in Crimea. In 1944, the Soviet authorities deported about
190,000 Crimean Tatars.

This morning, the autonomy’s top officials, representatives of the Majlis
[Crimean Tatar assembly] and of the president [Viktor Yushchenko] laid
flowers at a monument to deportation victims.

Events were held near an obelisk in Lenin Boulevard and near a memorial
bearing the names of countries to which Crimeans were deported – Kazakhstan,
Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, among others.

Later today, the autonomy’s leaders will attend a mournful meeting at the
Ukrainian Music Theatre. In the evening, genocide victims will be
commemorated in Simferopol’s central square. Locals will light candles and
put them [on the pavement] to form an outline of Crimea’s map.

[Crimean parliament speaker Anatoliy Hrytsenko, talking to camera, in
Russian] I think this day should serve as a warning to those who are trying
to incite ethnic strife not only in Crimea but also in other republics,
including former Soviet republics. I think this day should be a day of
tolerance towards each other. [Video shows officials laying wreaths at a
monument.]                                      -30-

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

By William D. O’Dell, The Hazen Star,
Hazen, North Dakota, April 26, 2007, page 12A

When most people say they are Germans from Russia, they have probably
never been to the area in Russia from which their ancestors emigrated. For
one mother and her son, that will change in a few months when they tour
Borodino, Ukraine.

Tyrone Hamby, 54, is no stranger to international travel as he has been
working in Afghanistan for the last two years as a security consultant.

After 22 years in the military intelligence in the U.S. Army and 11 years in
retirement, Tyrone decided to get back into the fray by using his expertise
to help bring the Afghanis military “out of the Dark Ages” as the United
States helps rebuild the country.

Tyrone’s mother, Lillian, will soon see where her parents lived before
emigrating from the motherland of the Soviet Union in the country now
known as Ukraine.

Stationed in Kabul since July 2005, Tyrone made one trip to Ukraine about
this time last year. At the time, Tyrone had been invited to Kiev by a
friend who worked for the same contracting company but had been stationed
in Kiev.

While on the vacation he was smitten by the city and the area; however, he
was even more smitten by Marina, a professor of English at the University of

Since that time, Marina and Tyrone have become engaged. As they talked
long distance throughout this last year, the subject came up about bringing
Tyrone’s mother, Lillian, over to Ukraine to see the homeland of her

Lillian, 72, is the youngest of 16 children of Johann and Elizabeth Menge
who emigrated from the Ukraine town of Borodino.

Her oldest brother Karl died in 2000 at the age 92 and was born in a town
called Borodino in 1908. One of her other siblings was born in the Ukraine;
however, the rest of her family was born in the United States.

“I thought it was a perfect opportunity,” he said about his mother going
over since she is in good health. He added it would be relatively easy for
him to meet her by flying up from Afghanistan.

Tyrone explained that he wanted his mother to be able to see where her
parents had been born and lived before emigrating.
He added that in western North Dakota of those people who claim German
from Russia heritage, about 80-90 percent of those people’s parents or
grandparents actually emigrated from Ukraine, which split from the Soviet
Union in 1991.

This photo of Johann and Elizabeth Menge with their first child Carl was
taken in Ukraine prior to the family’s immigration.

“A vast majority of the people who claim that heritage have no idea where
their heritage comes from,” Tyrone said. He added that most Germans from
Russia migrated from the Bessarabia region in Ukraine.

Tyrone, a history buff with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, explained
that in the late 1700s and early 1800s when Catherine the Great was the
Empress of Russia, the Russian monarchy started to develop a homesteading

Catherine was trying to develop the large areas of Russia that were
unpopulated and to increase the economic viability of Russia.

As part of the enticement to immigrate to the modern Ukraine region, the
immigrants could keep their own language, communities and religion, which
was predominately Lutheran.

However, as with the homesteading that occurred in the Midwest in the last
two centuries, the major enticement was the free land.

Additionally, Catherine promised that any immigrant would be exempt from
military service for 100 years. But after that 100 years, the big thing that
pushed the immigrants out of the Ukraine was the military service.

From the 1890s to right before World War I in about 1910, there was a mass
migration out of the Bessarabia area with many Germans from Russia moving to
the moving to the upper Midwest.

Part of the reason that most Germans from Russia immigrated to the upper
Midwest was that the terrain and weather was almost identical to the area of
Ukraine where the came from with prairies, high winds, cropland and extremes
in temperatures.

Many of the people who migrated wanted to go to the United States; however,
there were many who got on ships and wherever they landed, they landed.

Some of those other countries where they landed included Brazil, Argentina
and other parts of South America. And as with immigrating to Russia, the big
draw at the turn of the century was the free land.

“Essentially the German heritage was erased from that part of the world,”
Tyrone said about the effects of the mass migration out of the Bessarabia.

He added that those who stayed had their lands expropriated by the Communist
regime toward the end of World War I. “In order to survive you become part
of the commune, anyone who resisted, they were simply eliminated.”

Tyrone explained that the German army was welcomed into the Ukraine during
World War II. He said that newsreels showed the Ukrainians throwing flowers
to the Germans, because they thought they were being liberated from the
Communist and Stalin regime. When the German Armies left, anyone of

German heritage that remained left with them.

“So it’s not an opportunity to visit any relatives. It’s just a chance to
see where her parents were from,” Tyrone said about Lillian’s visit to
Borodino. He explained that his family has always known what town they

were from.

“Of the remaining family members, she’s probably the only one capable of
going and accomplishing this,” he added. Tyrone explained that she will be
the only one of the 16 Menge children who would be able to do most of the
walking that will be involved.

“This comes at a time when she needs to be doing other things in her life,”
Tyrone said about his mother. “I think the more activities and things she
can be involved with that’s different than her normal routine is good for
mental health.”

Tyrone, along with his fiancée, has been working on the planning since
January. He added that this would be a trip of firsts from meeting Marina to
traveling to Europe.

While he is excited that his mother will be able to see Ukraine, he made
sure that Lillian had a traveling companion, Lillian’s niece, to help her
through the customs process going out of and coming back into the United

“I would find it difficult knowing you have to go through in custom,” he
said. “It’s really a nightmare trying to get back into the United States …
it won’t be any easier but it will be less stressful for her.”

Additionally, Tyrone explained that it is very expensive to buy anything in
Europe since the American dollar is down against the Euro. That will pose a
problem since many things are now restricted or banned in international

Tyrone said that he has learned over a number of trips back an forth from
the United States that any kind of medication or toothpaste or any other
type of toiletries should be checked in your luggage.

He said that if it’s on your carry-on it’s liable to be confiscated and you
will be embarrassed for trying to put them in your carry-on.

Lillian and her niece will fly out of Minneapolis in June to Kiev through
Amsterdam. They will spend a few days touring Kiev and will then take the
train south to Odessa for a day.

At that point, they will rent a car and drive about two hours to Borodino
where her parents came from. They will spend a day there and then take the
train back.

Tyrone added that the other good thing about going to Borodino and Kiev
will be that they have a built-in tour guide with his fiancée.          -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

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Washington Office, SigmaBleyzer, The Bleyzer Foundation

Emerging Markets Private Equity Investment Group;
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