AUR#848 May 27 Election Date Set, Three Leaders Sign Joint Statement For Sep 30; Good Intentions?; Constitutional Crisis & Legal Chaos In Ukraine

                 An International Newsletter, The Latest, Up-To-Date
                     In-Depth Ukrainian News, Analysis and Commentary

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

          Joint Statement by the President of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada
          Speaker and the Prime Minister on Urgent Measures Aimed at
          Resolving the Political Crisis Through Early Parliamentary Elections
                                                  (Article One)
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor, SigmaBleyzer

               –——-  INDEX OF ARTICLES  ——–
            Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
   Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
Press Office of President Victor Yushchenko
Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, May 27, 2007 (unofficial translation)

REUTERS, Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday May 27, 2007

By Dario Thuburn, Agence France Presse (AFP)
Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, May 27, 2007


By MARIA DANILOVA, Associated Press Writer (AP)
Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, May 27, 2007

Julian Nundy in Kiev, Bloomberg, New York, NY, Sunday, May 27, 2007

6.                                    “GOOD INTENTIONS?”
                Ukrainian president’s actions may be justified in the long run
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Serhiy Rakhmanin
Zerkalo Nedeli, Kiev, Ukraine, in Russian 26 May 07; p 2
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Saturday, May 26, 2007

7.                           NEW ELECTIONS FOR UKRAINE
COMMENTARY: By Taras Kuzio, The Washington Times
Washington, D.C., Sunday, May 27, 2007
8.                      THE EDGE OF ANARCHY IN UKRAINE
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Tammy Lynch, Senior Fellow
Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ideology & Policy at Boston University
Boston, Massachusetts, Friday, May 25, 2007

COMMENTS: by Judge Bohdan A. Futey
George Washington University, Washington, D.C., May 17, 2007
Dzerkalo Tyzhnia, Kyiv, Ukraine in Ukrainian, Sat, May 26, 2007
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #848, Article 9, in English
Washington, D.C., Sunday, May 27, 2007


Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, May 26, 2007

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Halya Coynash, Ukraine
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #848, Article 11
Washington, D.C., Sunday, May 27, 2007
12.                               THESE NEW HUDDLED MASSES
COMMENTARY: By Chrystia Freeland, U.S. Managing Editor
Financial Times, London, United Kingdom, Friday, May 25, 2007

                  Minister discusses pragmatism in Ukraine’s foreign policy
Mykola Siruk, The Day Weekly Digest #14, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, May 22, 2007

                    Andrei Zagdansky’s new documentary “Orange Winter”
REVIEW: By Bruce Bennett, The New York Sun
New York, NY, Wednesday, May 23, 2007

                             Review of Three Orange Revolution Books
BOOK REVIEW: By Taras Kuzio
Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics,
London, UK, Vol.23, no.2 (June 2007), pp.320-326.

Press Office of President Victor Yushchenko
Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, May 27, 2007 (unofficial translation)

Joint Statement by the President of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada Speaker
and the Prime Minister on Urgent Measures Aimed at Resolving the Political
Crisis Through Early Parliamentary Elections

May 27, 2007

Being fully aware of the responsibility for the country’s social, political
and economic situation, guaranteeing that there will be no escalation of the
political crisis, seeking to immediately resolve it through exceptionally
nonviolent means and dialogue involving leading political forces, guided by
the Constitution of Ukraine and wanting to uphold the nation’s interests and
preserve the country’s unity, the sides have agreed to:

1. ensure that there are no attempts to aggravate the conflict in society
and prevent all possible actions provoking ‘force’ scenarios;

2. hold an early parliamentary election on [Sunday] September 30, 2007;

3. accept that this election will be held in accordance with the President’s
decree based on paragraph 2 of article 82 of the Constitution of Ukraine;

4. hold plenary sessions of the Verkhovna Rada on May 29-30 to adopt and
enact the bills for conducting fair, transparent and democratic elections,

     [a] pass and enact the draft laws worked out by the authorized
     representatives of the President of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers,
     the parliamentary coalition and the parliamentary opposition;
     [b] readopt the laws passed between April 2 and May 29, 2007;
     [c] pass and enact the necessary WTO laws and other legal acts on
     economic issues.

5. ensure that the Cabinet of Ministers and the Central Election Commission
oversee the  implementation of the Law on the State Voting Register;

6. appoint new members of the Central Election Commission on the basis of
the agreements reached by  the authorized representatives of the President
of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers, the parliamentary coalition and the
parliamentary opposition to hold fair, transparent and democratic elections.

7. not to interfere in the work of the judicial branch and law enforcement

President of Ukraine V.A. Yushchenko
Verkhovna Rada Speaker O.O. Moroz
Prime Minister of Ukraine V.F. Yanukovych

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

REUTERS, Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday May 27, 2007

KIEV – Ukraine is to hold a parliamentary election on September 30,
President Viktor Yushchenko said on Sunday after late-night talks forged a
compromise to end weeks of tense confrontation with his prime minister.

Yushchenko, who issued two decrees last month dissolving parliament and
calling a snap election, announced the date after negotiations with his
rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, that extended into the early hours
of the morning.

The pro-Western president, swept to power after defeating Yanukovich in the
aftermath of weeks of “Orange Revolution” street rallies in 2004, said
parliament would this week consider legislation required to hold the poll.

A struggle between Yushchenko and Yanukovich, closer to Moscow in outlook,
over a division of powers had plunged the ex-Soviet state into a prolonged
political crisis.

“We have produced an agreement that in order to resolve the political crisis
an early parliamentary election is to be held on September 30,” Yushchenko

“Ukraine emerges much stronger from this crisis than it was before
April…It is very gratifying for me to see that by this Ukraine is
demonstrating the development of its democracy. This is truly a wonderful

Yanukovich said the agreement reflected a will on all sides to hold an
honest and fair election, respect the law and keep from interfering in the
judicial process.

“I believe the experience we have acquired from this crisis shows that we
have learned certain lessons,” he said.

The president then thanked Yanukovich and Parliament Speaker Oleksander
Moroz for a successful conclusion to the talks and the three joined hands.
                                   TENSE TUG-OF-WAR
Yushchenko and Yanukovich had been in talks since the president issued

the first of his decrees on April 2. The president dissolved the chamber,
accusing Yanukovich of poaching his allies in parliament to expand the
ruling coalition and enable the premier to change the constitution.

Yanukovich initially resisted the dissolution order but later agreed to an
election. They remained at odds over a date, with the president seeking an
election as quickly as possible and the prime minister saying none could be
held before autumn.

Weeks of turmoil boiled over on Friday when the head of state said he was
taking control of the Interior Ministry troops, a move denounced by
Yanukovich as dangerous and unconstitutional.

The president ordered the dispatch of interior troops to Kiev on Saturday,
though most remained blocked outside the city.

Moroz told reporters he still opposed an early election, but was agreed with
the date to pull the country out of crisis.

Yanukovich made a comeback from his defeat in 2004 and was named prime
minister after his Regions Party took first place in the last parliamentary
poll a year ago and the president’s allies proved unable to form a

Recent opinion polls show parties backing the two rivals in a virtual dead
head, each with about 40 percent support.                 -30-

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

By Dario Thuburn, Agence France Presse (AFP)
Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, May 27, 2007

KIEV – Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on Sunday declared a crisis
with Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych “finished” after the two agreed to
hold early parliamentary elections in September.

“The political crisis in Ukraine is finished. We have come to a decision
that represents a compromise,” Yushchenko said at a joint press briefing
with Yanukovych after seven hours of talks between the two leaders in Kiev.
“Early elections will be held on September 30,” Yushchenko said.

Yanukovych signed a joint statement with Yushchenko sealing the deal, which
signals a major step towards resolution of a crisis in this ex-Soviet
republic that has sparked international concern.

“We remember everything, we will draw conclusions. We will do everything

so that this is not repeated, so that there are no more mistakes, no more
emotions,” Yanukovych told reporters.

In the joint statement, published on the website of the president’s office,
the two sides also agreed not to allow the use of force, following recent
wrangling over control of the security services.

The deal hinges on votes due to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday in the
country’s parliament, which is dominated by a Yanukovych-led coalition that
is bitterly opposed to Yushchenko.

“The date is only the beginning of the end of the crisis and the vote in
parliament will be its final point,” Vadim Karasyov, head of the Institute
for Global Strategies in Kiev, told AFP ahead of the agreement.

The stand-off began on April 2, when the pro-Russian Yanukovych defied
orders from his pro-Western rival Yushchenko to dissolve parliament and

hold early elections, calling the move “unconstitutional.”

In recent days, Yushchenko and Yanukovych sparred for control of the
security forces in Ukraine, prompting concern and calls for restraint from
neighbouring Russia, the European Union and the United States.

Yushchenko issued orders on Friday to take control of 30,000 interior
ministry troops away from the government led by Yanukovych, a move

denounced by Yanukovych allies as a “coup attempt.”

The president’s orders came after scuffles broke out on Thursday between
elite interior ministry troops loyal to the prime minister and a
presidential security service outside the prosecutor general’s office in

On Saturday, Yushchenko ordered convoys of interior ministry forces
estimated by officials at some 3,600 men to head to the capital Kiev in
order to guard state buildings and defend public order.

The forces, which were not armed but carried riot gear, were blocked at
checkpoints around the country by police loyal to Yanukovych under
counter-orders from the interior ministry banning troop movements.

“The interior minister has given an order forbidding the movement of
internal troops towards Kiev so that they do not upset public order,”
Kostyantin Stogny, a ministry spokesman, told AFP earlier.

Ukrainian analysts had played down the threat of violent clashes. “Despite
the whole drama of the situation, it doesn’t affect the masses, it’s just a
struggle between elites,” said Karasyov, adding: “We are not headed for a
civil war.”

Earlier on Saturday, the interior ministry reported that hundreds of
interior ministry soldiers had been stopped at traffic police checkpoints on
highways leading to Kiev.

Hundreds of protestors had also rallied outside government buildings in Kiev
in rival demonstrations favouring and opposing the president, as part of
ongoing protests that began last month.

Interior Minister Vasyl Tsushko had appealed for calm, asking “politicians
to be more restrained” and saying: “It’s necessary to calm down. There

won’t be any use of force. We won’t storm anything.”

Control over interior ministry forces was crucial in the Orange Revolution
of 2004, when mass street protests helped bring Yushchenko to the
presidency, overturning a flawed vote initially granted to Yanukovych. -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

By MARIA DANILOVA, Associated Press Writer (AP)
Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, May 27, 2007

KIEV, Ukraine – Ukraine’s feuding president and prime minister agreed early
Sunday to hold an early parliamentary election on Sept. 30, defusing a
crisis that threatened to escalate into violence when the president sent
troops streaming toward the capital.

“We found a decision, which is a compromise,” President Viktor Yushchenko
said after emerging from eight hours of tense talks. “Now we can say that
the political crisis in Ukraine is over.”

Tensions had been growing since April, when Yushchenko ordered the
dissolution of parliament, where Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych leads the
majority coalition. The president claimed the premier and his supporters
were trying to usurp presidential power. Parliament defied the order,
calling it unconstitutional.

The president summoned thousands of troops to Ukraine’s capital Saturday,
but forces loyal to the nation’s prime minister stopped them outside Kiev.

Analysts said Yushchenko’s move was an attempt to pressure Yanukovych to
agree on an early date for new parliamentary elections, rather than a sign
he was preparing for violent confrontation.

In the hours-long talks, Yushchenko had sought new elections as early as
possible, demanding them held first in May, then in June. Yanukovych wanted
them no earlier than the fall.

Yushchenko took control earlier in the week of the 32,000 troops who answer
to the interior minister, a Yanukovych loyalist. A statement on the
presidential Web site said that Yushchenko ordered the troops to Kiev in a
move “necessary to guarantee a calm life for the city, to prevent

The statement did not specify how many troops were sent. Nikolai Mishakin,
their deputy commander, said on Ukrainian television that nearly 3,500 were
prevented from entering Kiev. He promised his troops would not turn back,
but vowed they would not resort to violence since none had firearms.

Yushchenko, however, denied that he had sent additional interior troops to
the capital, calling such reports “great stupidity” and “misinformation.”
Yushchenko said he had only ordered 2,000 troops to Kiev to maintain order
during weekend festivities, a move he described as routine.

Kiev residents are celebrating the capital’s anniversary this weekend and a
major soccer game is planned for Sunday.

Several hundred flag-waving supporters of both leaders held competing
rallies in front of the presidential office where Yushchenko and Yanukovych
were meeting. A thin line of police separated the two camps of protesters.

Yanukovych said he, Yushchenko and other senior officials and politicians
who took part in the negotiations agreed that the country cannot be allowed
to slide into violence. “We will do everything so that this doesn’t happen
again,” Yanukovych said.

Yushchenko came to office in 2005 after the popular uprising known as the
Orange Revolution broke out in reaction to Yanukovych being counted as
winner of a fraud-plagued presidential ballot. The Supreme Court annulled
that vote and Yushchenko won a rerun.

Yushchenko was poisoned with dioxin, which badly scarred his face, in the
course of the race, and the mystery of who might have done it, and why, has
never been solved.

He has sought to lead Ukraine into the European Union and NATO but his
agenda has since been complicated by chronic political turmoil, including
fighting among his supporters and the ongoing disputes with Yanukovych,

who wants to preserve the country’s close ties with Moscow.

Yanukovych staged a remarkable political comeback. In last year’s
parliamentary elections, his party won the largest share of seats,
apparently benefiting from wide voter dissatisfaction with the country’s
stalled reforms and internecine political sparring.

On Thursday, Yushchenko fired longtime foe Prosecutor General Svyatoslav
Piskun – a Yanukovych ally – saying Piskun could not serve as the country’s
chief prosecutor while acting as a member of parliament.

Security officers were sent to oust Piskun, but riot police loyal to
Yanukovych immediately moved to protect him, standing guard outside his

“I think these maneuvers with security forces are meant to give the
president a chance to maneuver at talks,” said Vadim Karasyov, head of the
Kiev-based Institute on Global Strategies.                     -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
    Send in names and e-mail addresses for the AUR distribution list.
                             DEFUSING TWO-MONTH CRISIS

Julian Nundy in Kiev, Bloomberg, New York, NY, Sunday, May 27, 2007

KIEV – Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor
Yanukovych set parliamentary elections for Sept. 30, defusing a political
standoff that has lasted almost two months, Yushchenko’s office said.

The two leaders and parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Moroz agreed on the
election date at talks at the presidency in Kiev that ended shortly after 4
a.m. today, the presidency said on its Web site. The agreement showed that
Ukraine has become “an adult democracy,” Yushchenko told reporters.

“Our main concern was to find conditions for elections on a legal basis,”
Unian news service cited Yanukovych as saying. “We have finally come to
that decision.”

In a joint statement, the three politicians said the single-chamber
parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, will meet to approve the election date on
May 29, after the Whitsun weekend.

Yushchenko, 53, ordered the dissolution of parliament, where Yanukovych’s
coalition has a majority, on April 2, starting the crisis that has paralyzed
Ukraine’s institutions.

Yushchenko attempted to dissolve parliament and call new elections after
Yanukovych’s supporters passed a series of measures whittling away
presidential powers. Yanukovych contested the need for a new ballot.

Yesterday, Interior Minister Vasyl Tsushko raised the prospect that force
could be used when he said internal security troops loyal to Yushchenko were
heading for Kiev. Television footage showed police vehicles blocking at
least one road into the Ukrainian capital to head off the threat of force.

Unian said today that, of a potential 35,000 internal security forces, only
2,050 of the lightly armed troops had in fact left their bases to reinforce
the security of public buildings in Kiev.

On May 24, Yushchenko, who has taken personal control of most of Ukraine’s
security apparatus over the past two months, triggered a new phase in the
crisis by firing state Prosecutor- General Svyatoslav Piskun, arguing that
Piskun’s refusal to stand down as a member of parliament broke the law.

Interior Ministry troops loyal to Yanukovych, 56, then prevented the new
acting prosecutor from entering his office, prompting Yushchenko to add the
security troops to the forces under his direct command.

Yushchenko was elected in a re-run of presidential elections ordered by
Ukraine’s Supreme Court in December 2004 after the pro-Russian Yanukovych,
who had won the vote a month earlier, was disqualified on charges of
widespread election fraud.

Yanukovych’s pro-Russian Regions Party is the main component of a governing
coalition that was put together last July after the three parties that made
up the 2004 “Orange Revolution” bloc failed to agree on a new government
following parliamentary elections four months earlier.

Yushchenko, himself a former prime minister and central bank governor, was
disfigured when he was poisoned in September 2004 by what Austrian doctors
who treated him said was a normally lethal dose of dioxin. His poisoners
have not so far been identified.

Moroz’s Socialist Party gave Yanukovych a majority in July by withdrawing
its support for Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party and former Prime Minister
Yulia Timoshenko’s legislative bloc and entering a coalition with

Yanukovych’s support comes mostly from the industrial and Russian-speaking
east of the former Soviet republic of 48 million people. He favors closer
ties with Moscow.

Yushchenko and his allies draw their support from the Ukrainian-speaking
west and center of the country. They seek membership in the European Union
and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.                     -30-

Contact: Julian Nundy in Kiev at
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
6.                             “GOOD INTENTIONS?”
                   Ukrainian president’s actions may be justified in the long run

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Serhiy Rakhmanin
Zerkalo Nedeli, Kiev, Ukraine, in Russian 26 May 07; p 2
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Saturday, May 26, 2007

While Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko clearly overstepped the law in
subordinating the country’s interior troops to his command, his actions may
prove justified in the long term, an influential weekly has opined.

The author said Yushchenko is probably counteracting the threat to national
security which arose when Interior Minister Vasyl Tsushko used the troops to
“storm” the Prosecutor-General’s Office in Kiev.

The author said Yushchenko’s response to summon the National Security and
Defence Council and his decree taking control of the troops appear to be a
move meant to bring order to the situation in the country.

The following is the text of the article by Serhiy Rakhmanin, entitled “Good
intentions?”, published in the Ukrainian newspaper Zerkalo Nedeli in Russian
on 26 May; subheadings have been inserted editorially:
                                 THREATS TO THE STATE
Under conditions of a sharp escalation in the political crisis, Viktor
Yushchenko is quite predictably trying to make maximum use of the abilities
of the National Security and Defence Council [NSDC]. The NSDC has
essentially become the last executive body which is under his control.

Article 3 of the law regulating the activity of this structure reads that
the NSDC’s authorities include “coordinating and carrying out control over
the activity of the executive bodies of power in the sphere of national
security and defence in conditions of military of emergency situations, and
also in crises which threaten Ukraine’s national security”.

There is no doubt the current crisis does in fact contain serious threats to
the security of the state. Such conclusions can be drawn not only from the
rules of formal logic, but in the letter of the “related” law “On the bases
of the security of Ukraine”.

Within a fairly long list of threats to national security given in

Article 7 of this law, the following are noted:
[1] increasing corruption in bodies of state power, organized crime and the
intertwining of business and corruption;
[2] attempts to make use of the activities of military formations and law
enforcement agencies in the interests of individual persons;
[3] violations by state bodies of power and local bodies of self-government
of the constitution and laws of Ukraine, the rights and freedoms of people
and citizens, including during election campaigns, and insufficient control
over adherence to the norms of the constitution and fulfilling the laws of

And so as one can see, as head of the NSDC, the president has reason to
forward the issue of activating the NSDC. Many reasons for this have cropped
up recently.

The following can be placed foremost among them:
[1] statements by the head of the government and a group of MPs on facts

of buying MPs in the Supreme Council [parliament];
[2] information from the acting head of the Security Services of Ukraine
[SBU], giving reason to suspect judges on the Constitutional Court of
[3] similar allegations voiced by a number of influential politicians and
bureaucrats against the leadership of the Prosecutor General’s Office and
representatives of the body of judges;
[4] publications by the presidential secretariat on the possible link
between organized criminal gangs and representatives of the authorities and
also on alleged threats to the lives of state officials;
[5] presidential decrees being ignored by a large number of state bodies
and officials;
[6] illegal use of Berkut [interior police troops] in the conflict at the
Prosecutor-General’s Office.
                                 MINISTER’S MISTAKE
We take it upon ourselves to say that in sending special police units to
Riznytska [the address of the Prosecutor-General’s Office in Kiev, on 24
May], [Interior] Minister [Vasyl] Tsushko crossed the line of what is

That decision not only contradicted common sense, it was dangerous from a
political point of view and inadmissible from the point of view of the law.

Article 11 of the law “On the police” gives employees in the institution –
in fulfilling their professional duties – the right to enter unimpeded at
any time of day onto the territory of any enterprise, institution or
organization. Should they encounter force, they have the right to use
methods envisioned in the law.

The same law obliges a policeman to give aid to MPs in carrying out their
legal activities, if they encounter opposition or a threat to their safety
from the side of those breaking the law.

However, the Prosecutor-General’s Office is a regime site, one containing
secret materials. Access to the site is under special regulation. Using
Berkut, whose function is to fight organized crime, would be justified if
[Prosecutor-General] Svyatoslav Piskun was taken hostage for example.

In a case like that, the appearance of interior ministry troops at the
prosecutors’ offices and even storming the building with special troops
would be considered a fair and legal act. But the offended Mr Piskun freely
and unimpeded left the premises and then returned with a group of support.

Tsushko, who gave the direct and unfounded order, created a dangerous
precedent. Until now, the sides had refrained from using brute force. After
the events of Thursday [24 May], the “hawks” hands are untied.

We do not know for certain what prompted the minister to take part
personally in violating the law – lack of knowledge of the law or a fear
that in 24 hours he would lose his office on Bohomolets Street. Whatever the
case, it is hard to find justification for the step.

This and many other facts and suppositions both directly and obliquely show
that a real threat to the security of the state has arisen. And without
question, that should prompt the NSDC to take immediate and decisive action.

But the question is that the logic of the constitution and legislation
envisions a united power and a joint fight by bodies of the state against
internal and external threats.

What should happen when the threat arises as a result of a conflict between
various institutions of power and if all branches of power are drawn into
the conflict? Is there a purely legal way out of such a situation? It is not
easy to answer that question.

Here we remind ourselves that the situation is made all the more complicated
by the practical paralysis of the Constitutional Court and also by the sides
using various government bodies of power against each other.

Hypothetically, one cannot rule out the possibility that troops in units
legally bound to one and the same institution will not come face to face.

A theoretically possible meeting of Interior Ministry Berkut troops and
Omega internal troops appears not only undesirable, but thankfully, unlikely
for now. But tell me who could predict a practical storm of the
Prosecutor-General’s Office headed personally by Minister Tsushko?

Who could predict the present collapse of legalized illegalities organized
together by the Cabinet of Ministers, parliament, the presidential
secretariat and a myriad of all kinds of courts?

The constitution and legislation envision steps capable of protecting power
from being usurped. But no lawmaker could envision what is going on today.
Two centres of political influence harmoniously accuse each other of
usurping power. There are no legitimate referees recognized by all sides as
able to put things in order.
                       TRYING TO BRING BACK ORDER
What to do? We did not call the NSDC a structure under the president’s
control for nothing. The philosophy of the constitution supposes that this
structure should not be under the influence of any specific branch of power,
state institute or even less under a specific person.

But the same constitution views the NSDC also as a mechanism by virtue of
which the head of state may use his functions as guarantor of the

We shall be bold enough here to suggest this: in conditions in which both
sides believe they are right, but at the same time both freely make use of
laws without being ashamed of showing they are incorrect, the president has
a few more rights. As long as he is the first person in the state and
guarantor of the constitution.

So far, Viktor Yushchenko has not given many reasons to suspect him of
conscientiously fulfilling his functions as guarantor. His behaviour in the
course of the conflict has been far from always inscrutable.

Well, now he has a chance to show how well he understands the constitution.
And how fully he recognizes his responsibility for what is going on.

The sum of his functions as head of state, leader of the NSDC,
commander-in-chief and guarantor gives him the moral right to take upon
himself responsibility for the situation and bring the situation under
control, choosing the single correct political-legal decision.
Yushchenko has already taken the first step in bringing the interior troops
under his command and giving them the authority to protect a number of state
sites. By the way, such activities are mentioned in Article 2 of the law on
the interior troops’ authorities.

However, pursuant to Article 6 of the same law “On interior troops of the
Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs”, these troops are subordinate to the
head of the Interior Ministry.

The president did not have the formal right to subordinate them to himself
in his decree, and one which was not even based on a decision by the NSDC.
The decision does not stand up to any legal criticism.

But it can be called intelligent from the political point of view. The
minister of internal affairs had already decided to use force, crudely
violated the law and consciously exacerbated the situation. There is no
guarantee he will not attract the more numerous interior troops (armoured,
by the way) into the conflict.

Besides, according to some accounts, Tsushko intended to place the interior
troops under the command of one of his deputies who belongs to the war
party. Perhaps making active use of interior troops would have led to
irreversible consequences.

In order to avoid such complications, immediate and tough measures were
needed. One of them was the decree on changing the subordination of the
interior troops.

Many may say it is demagoguery to justify violating the letter of the law if
doing so is in complete harmony with the spirit of the constitution. Under
conditions of the unquestionable supremacy of the law, that is impossible.
But let us not jump to conclusions.

A strong-arm phase of the political conflict would unavoidably result in
limitations on and violations of many rights and freedoms enshrined in the
main law.

If the president acted as guarantor of these rights and freedoms and if he
issued the decree on the interior troops with the intention of protecting
the country from these violations, his actions can not only be explained
today, they could possibly be justified tomorrow.

We can only guess what his real intentions are. We can only hope that in
taking personal control of the interior troops as well as having control of
the armed forces, he is not forcing preparations for a violent scenario, but
rather trying to do everything he can to thwart it. And it is exactly that,
apart from everything else, which defines his function as guarantor of the

But in taking upon himself the burden of using laws, Viktor Yushchenko was
obliged to have weighed all the pros and cons and obliged to recognize the
entire measure of responsibility he has taken upon himself. Because a change
in the “share of power” can play either a peacekeeping function or the role
of a serious irritation.
                           THE PRESIDENT’S SECOND STEP
All of the above relates to the president’s second step – increasing the
NSDC to include the governors [chairs of regional administrations]. There is
no legal ground for such a move, but the political reasons are clear.

The NSDC is the only instrument the president has to influence the situation
and the heads of regional administrations are the only mechanism he has to
carry out the decisions of the NSDC in the regions.

We will know very soon how justified Yushchenko’s last move was. We only
have hope left that the president’s intentions are good, that his rivals are
adequate [to the task] and that there is common sense on both sides in this
seemingly unending conflict.                          -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

COMMENTARY: By Taras Kuzio, The Washington Times
Washington, D.C., Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ukraine entered its fifth crisis recently after President Viktor Yushchenko
disbanded parliament and called early elections.

Premier Viktor Yanukovich has used the crisis to portray an alleged new
democratic image by staking out a claim that he is pro-Western and holds
democratic values. Such an image is fundamentally flawed by Ukraine’s
domestic realities.

Mr. Yanukovich has never reconciled himself to his defeat during the hotly
contested 2004 Ukrainian elections. He has never acknowledged his widespread
use of election fraud that the Supreme Court condemned and used to justify
overturning his election.

Indeed, Mr. Yanukovich blocked attempts at punishing his allies who
organized of massive election fraud and the poisoning of his opponent.

In fact, discredited Chairman of the Central Election Commission (CEC)
Sergei Kivalov, intimately involved in organizing election fraud at the
time, was elected to parliament in Mr. Yanukovich’s Party of Regions.

Mr. Yanukovich’s election allies have reinstated Mr. Kivalov as CEC chairman
in what can only be seen as a slap in the face to the millions of Ukrainians
who braved the cold weather to stand on the streets of Kiev during the
Orange Revolution in 2004.

Mr. Yanukovich’s government was formed eight months ago in a coalition
with the Stalinist communists and anti-reform Socialists. His nondemocratic
instincts have repeatedly come to the fore in his penchant to upset the
balance of power put in place by constitutional reforms.

Mr. Yanukovich’s coalition and government have further damaged their claim
to uphold democratic values by refusing to recognize the fundamental basis
of any democracy.

Mr. Yanukovich’s coalition has bribed opposition parliamentarians with the
aim of creating a super-constitutional majority that could ignore
presidential vetoes, and has refused to adopt a law giving rights to the

Ukraine’s constitutional crisis has been brought about by Mr. Yanukovich’s
greed for power and his desire for revenge for his 2004 defeat. Two years
ago, the Council of Europe ruled that the constitutional reforms were
adopted illegally by the Ukrainian parliament.

A recent resolution by the Council concluded that the current crisis is due
to the hasty and incomplete constitutional and political reform of 2004,
under which a number of changes have been introduced to the Constitution of
Ukraine without taking into account the reservations of the Venice
Commission and without holding a comprehensive public debate in the country.

The Council further criticized the government as having ignored repeated
calls on the Ukrainian authorities to address these issues as a matter of
urgency, in order to secure the legitimacy of the constitutional changes of
2004 and their compliance with European standards.

Premier Yanukovich’s Party of Regions paralyzed the constitutional court by
blocking the allocation of judges by parliament. His coalition has refused
to join the president’s constitutional commission to overcome major
shortcomings in the constitutional reforms and instead has sought to change
the constitution toward a full parliamentary republic.

Mr. Yushchenko is not a radical by nature — but he was forced into an
impossible position where he could (1) do nothing and see an authoritarian
parliamentary republic emerge led by Mr. Yanukovich or (2) disband
parliament to re-establish the constitutional balance of power and hold
fresh elections.

New elections remain the only peaceful manner for voters in a democratic
society to express their opinion. As the Council of Europe’s recent
resolution stated, early elections are a normal practice in all democratic
countries of the Council of Europe and as such could be accepted as a key
building block of the political compromise.

The crisis should be resolved by the Ukrainians — without international
mediators. A long-lasting resolution should include early elections and a
compromise that annuls the unconstitutional steps undertaken by Mr.
Yanukovich’s coalition allies. Without these steps, Ukraine will plunge into
another crisis in the near future.

The United States and the trans-Atlantic community should continue to
support strongly Orange democratic values during the current crisis in

Only President Yushchenko and Mr. Tymoshenko, the opposition leader,
remain committed to the values enshrined by the Orange Revolution, and
only they remain Ukraine’s true pro-Western leaders.        -30-
Taras Kuzio is an assistant professorial lecturer at the Institute for
European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, Elliott School of International
Affairs, George Washington University.

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

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Tammy Lynch, Senior Fellow
Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ideology & Policy at Boston University
Boston, Massachusetts, Friday, May 25, 2007

Actions in Ukraine suggest the breakdown of the leadership hierarchy,
bringing the country closer to violent clashes between rival troops then
ever since its independence.   A quick election, free of administrative
interference, appears now the only way to solve this current crisis.

On May 24, 2007, Interior Ministry troops subordinate to the government of
Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych seized control of the offices of the
Prosecutor General.

Troops loyal to Yanukovych and Socialist Interior Minister Vasyl Tsushko
physically broke through a locked outer door and forced their way past
building security guards to the 4th floor. There they smashed through the
door to the Prosecutor’s main office and took control.

The action came hours after the announcement from President Viktor
Yushchenko that he had dismissed Prosecutor General Svyatoslav Piskun.

The constitutionality of the President’s decree is questionable.  However,
all decrees are considered valid in Ukraine until overturned by the court.
Ukraine’s legal system does provide an appeals process, but the Interior
Minister instead chose to rely on his troops.

The actions of the Interior Minister suggest the breakdown of the leadership
hierarchy, and push the country closer to violent clashes between rival
troops than ever previously.

So far, the President has shown restraint, choosing not to use the military
troops at his disposal to remove Interior Ministry troops from the
Prosecutor General’s offices.  It is notable that Interior Ministry troops
were armed only with batons.

The scope of the actions by the Interior Minister are surprising, but not
the actions themselves.  Since taking control of the government (the
President controls the military and foreign policy) in August 2006, Prime
Minister Viktor Yanukovych has ignored, or perhaps supported, clear signals
pointing to the breakdown of law and order in the country.

State tactics used during the regime of discredited former President Leonid
Kuchma returned;

     [1] arbitrary “investigations” of political opponents,
     [2] questionable accounting practicing regarding tax and VAT payments,
     [3] closure of political debate programs on state television,
     [4] pressure on regional media outlets and journalists,
     [5] the use of civil lawsuits against opponents, and
     [6] arbitrary “raids” on small and medium businesses by plain clothes
          groups of men

have caused serious concern for the country’s transition to democracy.

The use of Interior Ministry forces is also concerning since they were
feared during the regime of President Kuchma.  Three Ministry soldiers
confessed last year in court to following an order to kidnap and murder
journalist Georgiy Gongadze.  Tsushko was not involved in the Interior
Ministry or the government at that time.

President Yushchenko’s attempts to dissolve the parliament, beginning on
April 2, in response to these returning tendencies, led to protracted
negotiations to set an election date.

Despite significant electoral support in the East of the country and the
likelihood of winning a plurality of votes in a new election, Yanukovych has
been reluctant to move forward with the idea.

This reluctance may stem primarily from the potential loss of private
revenue streams created by murky energy deals that are said to profit high
ranking members of the government, should Yushchenko’s allies form a new
coalition government following the election.

The revenue streams have in the past reportedly profited not only the allies
of former President Kuchma and Prime Minister Yanukovych, but also the
allies of President Yushchenko.

It is likely these revenue streams that are causing the almost desperate
fight to control the premises of the prosecutor — where files with
significant, compromising material are kept.

It is unlikely that the current situation will escalate into full armed
clashes, given the peaceful nature of most Ukrainians, the deliberate nature
of the president and the fact that both sides have more to lose than to gain
should violence occur.  For the first time, however, its government has
created the possibility that it could.

There is little doubt that Yanukovych and Yushchenko can no longer govern
together.  A quick election, free of administrative interference, appears
now the only way to solve this current crisis.
CONTACT:  Tammy Lynch,

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

COMMENTS: by Judge Bohdan A. Futey
George Washington University, Washington, D.C., May 17, 2007
Dzerkalo Tyzhnia, Kyiv, Ukraine in Ukrainian, Sat, May 26, 2007
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #848, Article 9, in English
Washington, D.C., Sunday, May 27, 2007

About a month ago, a number of us met in this same room to discuss the legal
and political ramifications of the political reform in Ukraine.  Back then,
and even as early as January, I said that there is legal chaos in Ukraine.
Not much has changed in the past few months, and the chaos has in fact

The problems began following the fraudulent presidential run-off election in
2004, which sparked the Orange Revolution.  At that time, the Verkhovna Rada
(Parliament) passed several amendments to the Constitution on December 8,
2004, known as the political reform which became effective January 1, 2006.

Although the political reform resolved the 2004 presidential election
crisis, it was hastily adopted and not thoroughly thought out.  In addition,
because the reform was passed as a package, the Rada deputies were either
unable or unwilling to examine the effect individual provisions would have
on the operation of the government.

This was all evidenced by the considerable confusion surrounding the
formation of the majority coalition and new government following the March
2006 parliamentary election.  In addition, the President’s decree dissolving
Parliament on April 2, 2007 brought Ukraine to an even deeper constitutional

The status of the political reform still remains in question.  In a decision
handed down by the Constitutional Court on October 5, 2005, just prior to
the expiration of the nine year term for most of the Judges, the majority of
the Court stated that any change in the political system of Ukraine should
be submitted to and approved by a national referendum. [1]  No such
referendum was ever put forward.

Many critics of the reform, including myself, [2] believe that the political
reform is a change in the political system because it converts Ukraine from
a Presidential system to a Parliamentary system and is, therefore,
unconstitutional unless submitted to a national referendum, regardless of
any other irregularities.

The political reform and its aftermath have created legal chaos and
constitutional crisis, thus forcing the current political confrontation.  In
addition, the Council of Europe criticized the reform and considers it void
ab initio and the Venice Commission called the reform a step backwards for

Most recently, on December 8, 2006, at an international forum “Law and
Democracy For Ukraine”, held in Kyiv, a leading group of Ukrainian lawyers
and legal scholars adopted a resolution condemning the political reform and
questioning its legality. [3]

President Yushchenko has filed a number of cases with the Constitutional
Court in order to settle on what powers remain with the President and which
have now been transferred to the Cabinet of Ministers.  Yushchenko has asked
the Court to determine the legality of the Law on the Cabinet of Ministers
and to resolve the issue of who has the authority to appoint regional

The Cabinet of Ministers has similarly filed petitions on these topics.  The
Constitutional Court, however, is overwhelmed with cases at this point and
its docket is overcrowded.

It is, therefore, difficult to know when it will be able to open and hear
these cases.  In the mean time, while the bickering between the President
and the Cabinet of Ministers continues and is escalating, the chaos

All of these issues came to a head on April 2 when the President signed a
decree to dissolve parliament, which he re-issued on April 26 with a new
date for elections.  Both decrees are currently before the Constitutional
Court for consideration.

After the political reform came into effect and Yanukovych was elected Prime
Minister following the March 2006 elections, President Yushchenko had three
options open to him to resolve constitutional issues.

Soon after the elections, Yushchenko called for a roundtable discussion with
the Parliamentary leaders in order to reach an agreement on the ultimate
intention of the political reform in order to determine its proper meaning.

This seemed at least possible at the beginning of the Rada’s term when the
heads of the leading parties, including Yanukovych, held discussions with
the President and signed the declaration of national unity “in order to bind
president and government to a common platform setting out coherent and
realizable goals in line with the aspirations of the Ukrainian people.” [4]

Yanukovych and the Cabinet of Ministers, however, did not abide by the
declaration of national unity and instead repeatedly attempted to usurp the
President’s power.  These actions as well as Yanukovych’s underhanded
efforts to recruit deputies away from their political factions in
contravention of the constitution, made a political solution to the
constitutional issues impossible.

The next alternative open to the President, and one he actively pursued, was
appealing to the Constitutional Court.  First the Court would have had to
consider whether the law preventing the reform from being reviewed by the
Constitutional Court, as adopted by the Rada on August 4, 2006, is

This issue is currently before the Court, but, as with a number of other
matters, the Court has not begun any sort of deliberations on the issues.

Because the Court seems to be at a standstill, it is not in a position to
review and determine the constitutionality of the political reform.[5]  Nor
has the court begun reviewing the constitutionality of the laws passed on
the Cabinet of Ministers decreasing the power of the President.

With the Constitutional Court dragging its feet, this option was no longer
viable for Yushchenko because it is clear that the Court could not or would
not present the swift resolution necessary to resolve the growing crisis.

Yushchenko’s final option was to allow the people to decide, so he issued a
decree dismissing the Rada early, before its five year term expired.
Because of Yanukovych’s and the Cabinet of Ministers’ actions and the
Constitutional Court’s inability to render a decision on the extremely
pressing constitutional issues, this practically became the President’s only

Yushchenko was faced with a Cabinet of Minister passing laws that vastly
diminished the President’s powers and Yanukovych threatening to gain a
supermajority of 300 votes in the Rada (which would allow him to override
presidential vetoes), both  accomplished by unconstitutional means.

Particularly troubling was Yanukovych creating a supermajority in the Rada
by recruiting individual deputies from other factions because Article 83(6)
of the constitution specifically states that a coalition may only be formed
by joining political parties or blocs.

Quite simply, it appeared that the Cabinet’s and Rada’s aims were to curtail
the powers of the Presidency and change or ignore the Constitution when it
was not to their liking.

Therefore, Yushchenko chose to, as he said in an open letter to the
Ukrainian people, “call[] on the nation to make a responsible, conscious and
fair choice which will help end political arguments and open a new stage for
Ukraine” [6] through new elections.

Yushchenko also stated in his open letter that Yanukovych’s attempts to
expand the parliamentary coalition “is a revision of the will of the
 nation.” [7]

Before the political reform came into effect, reforming the judiciary was a
top priority for President Yushchenko.  During his inaugural address on
January 23, 2005, Yushchenko issued a mandate that Ukraine must establish an
independent judiciary and a civil society based on the rule of law.

Parliament thwarted these goals quickly, however, when it refused to swear
in the President’s and the Council of Judges’ Constitutional Court
appointees and avoided electing its share of justices. [8]  This left the
Constitutional Court without a quorum for ten months, and rendered it unable
to consider the constitutionality of the rest of the political reform before
January 1, 2006, the reform’s effective date.

On March 22, 2006, just days before the Parliamentary elections, the
National Committee to Strengthen Democracy and the Rule of Law in Ukraine
adopted a new Concept Paper for the judiciary in Ukraine. [9]

Yushchenko, however, has been unable to pursue any of his ideas for
reforming the judiciary or implement any of the suggestions contained in the
Concept paper because since the political reform took effect more than a
year ago, he has had to deal with one political or legal crisis after

Following the March 2006 parliamentary elections, it at least appeared
possible that the various factions could work together to pursue certain
goals that were generally in the national interest.  This quickly started to
unravel, however, because with every step forward, there seemed to be two
steps back.

From a legal standpoint, this was particularly obvious because immediately
after finally electing its justices and swearing in the President’s and
Council of Judges’ nominees, Parliament unconstitutionally limited the
Constitutional Court’s jurisdiction.

On August 4, 2006, Parliament passed a bill prohibiting the Constitutional
Court from deciding on the amendments to the Constitution passed as part of
the political reform.  President Yushchenko, for one reason or another,
signed the bill into law the same day.

This is clearly an attempt to prohibit the Constitutional Court from
considering the constitutionality of the political reform now that a quorum
exists.  This law is obviously unconstitutional itself. [10]  As I said over
a year ago “it is inconceivable that reforms of such magnitude would be
“immune” from constitutional scrutiny.” [11]

I am surprised that in order to solve the political crisis, the leadership
chose to reverse the progress of a rule of law system by passing this

Many had hoped that there would be at least forty five deputies to challenge
the law as well as the political reform, but, although the Constitutional
Court is currently deliberating on the law, no petition has been filed
challenging the political reform in its totality.[12]

Although the law is currently “preventing” the judges of the Constitutional
Court from considering the political reform, this is not the only barrier to
the Constitutional Court playing its proper role in the current
constitutional crisis.

Instead of deciding on the issues, the judges seem to be avoiding taking
action right now and are waiting for the political situation to clear up
before making any moves.

This is an enormous mistake on their part because it marginalizes the role
of the entire judiciary in Ukraine, where the rule of law and democracy are
just barely holding on at this point.  Judicial independence is desperately
needed right now, and the judges must start performing their jobs.

Judicial independence does not mean the judges do as they choose, of course,
but do as they must in accordance with the Constitution and laws of the
country.  This all will depend largely on the conscience and courage of the
judges themselves.

Currently, the public has a low opinion of the Ukrainian courts.[13]  This
is only exacerbated by the fact that no one in the government is respecting
the judiciary.  This, however, is a symptom of the fact that the judiciary
is not stepping forward in this time of crisis.  Judges will not be
respected until they respect themselves.

There are two aspects in which judges must be independent.

[1] First, they must be honest-brokers, in that they are independent from

and neutral among the parties that appear before them.  Judges must decide
matters before them impartially, on the basis of the facts and the law,
without any restrictions, improper influences, inducements, or threats,
direct or indirect, from any party or institution or for any reason.

A judge’s moral commitment to this form of independence eliminates
favoritism and corruption from the nation’s judicial system.  If judges fail
in this duty the public will lose confidence in the basic equity of its
society, generating cynicism, anger and instability.

[2] Second, the judiciary, and hence each individual judge, must act as

co-equal and independent of the other branches of government.  Judges
are independent in this sense if they are not beholden to any other branch
of government or political party.  Right now, however, the Executive [14]
and Legislative branches are attempting to influence the judiciary.

This is dangerous because it is vital that courts have jurisdiction and the
power to restrain the legislature or executive by declaring laws and
official acts unconstitutional when they abridge the rights of citizens.
Further, for judicial independence to have practical effect, the courts’
interpretation must be accepted and enforced by the legislative and
executive branches of government.

As there cannot be a market economy without private ownership of property,
there cannot be a system based on the rule of law without judicial

In addition, the judiciary needs to have its own constituency, primarily the
legal profession and strong bar associations.  These will be responsible to
expose unethical practices of the judges, and/or coercive tactics upon
judges and enlist the press on their side.

In the United States the major defenders or critics of the judiciary are
members of the legal profession themselves (ABA), law school professors, as
well as the media.  It would be refreshing and welcome news if professors of
law schools in Ukraine would start to speak out, as well as the association
of lawyers, jurists, the Ukrainian Bar Association, and hopefully the World
Congress of Ukrainian Jurists.

What is needed is to strengthen the checks and balances – not control over
the judiciary by the executive.  Provide adequate salaries for judges,
insuring appropriate funding and assistance for the courts, prompt
publication and availability for judicial decisions, transparency in
decision making, enforcement of judicial decisions are ways to eliminate
corruption among the judiciary.

Nevertheless, greater access of citizens to judges should not mean or
indicate ex parte communications behind closed doors.  This practice should
be eliminated completely.  Furthermore, in order to ensure that individuals
selected to serve on the bench are qualified, it may be beneficial to
consider employing a system of uniform testing similar to that used in

The ABA-CEELI evaluated the Ukrainian judiciary and issued a report finding
that it did not meet the standards necessary for a democratic nation
following the rule of law.

This report, the Judicial Reform Index for Ukraine, assesses how the
conditions related to judicial reform and judicial independence in Ukraine
correlate with fundamental international standards in this area.

The judiciary is analyzed through a prism of 30 factors covering areas such
as judicial qualification and education, judicial powers, financial
resources, structural safeguards, accountability and transparency, and
efficiency of the judicial system.  Unfortunately, the results illustrate
that Ukraine scored positively only on four of these factors.

On the other hand, 15 factors received a negative correlation, including
most factors related to lack of independence in the judicial decision-making
and external interference in other aspects of the work of the judiciary,
dire financial conditions of the courts, and lack of transparency of court
proceedings and documents.[15]

There are any number of questions facing Ukraine’s government that could be
resolved by a strong, independent judiciary.  For example, the imperative
mandate and the election of deputies are very pressing issues because of
Yushchenko’s dissolution of Parliament.

The imperative mandate is articulated in Article 81 of the constitution
which states that a deputy must remain in his or her party in order to
retain his or her seat in parliament.

The constitutionality of this has been debated, but, there is an argument
that the people vote for the parties and their programs but not individuals.
Therefore, even if a deputy is terminated for leaving a party, it is the
will of the people that the party governs in the way it sees fit.

In addition, there is a safety valve available to the deputies because the
law does state that a deputy can vote his or her conscience even if it is
not in line with the party’s vote.

The imperative mandate, however, is not uncontroversial.  Some have argued
that it may contravene democratic principles and is not totally in line with
European standards as laid out by the Council of Europe.

In addition, critics point to Article 81 of the constitution that compels
the deputies to serve the needs of their parties over those of the Ukrainian
people, which conflicts with the deputies’ oath under Article 79. [16]

Each deputy swears to “provide for the good of the Ukrainian people” and to
carry out his or her “duties in the interest of all compatriots.”

Those who oppose the imperative mandate have also expressed concern that
there may be a situation where a deputy does not believe that serving his or
her party’s needs is in the interest of the people, but could lose his or
her seat in the Rada for leaving the party.

This is yet another issue that should be considered by the Constitutional
Court and is need of a decisive action in light of the upcoming elections.

When, and if, Ukrainians go to the polls again this year to elect new
deputies, many of the issues faced in the last election will still exist.
As of now, only the first five names on a party list are available to voters
when they go to vote, known as a closed list.

It would be preferable for all the names on a party list, known as an open
list, to be available to voters so that they can make a more educated
choice.  This would certainly present certain administrative headaches, but
it would bring Ukraine more in line with European democratic principles.

Finally, it is apparent that something needs to be done to clarify

and strengthen the Constitution. 
[1] One option is for the Constitutional Court to consider the political
reform and decide which amendments are constitutional and which need
to be changed, or even strike the entire political reform.

As I said earlier, however, this seems unlikely because the Constitutional
Court is unwilling or unable to proceed because of the political climate.

[2] Another option would be for the President and Parliament to agree to
eliminate the political reform, return to the original constitution, and
work together to amend the constitution properly.  The final option is to
start from scratch and completely re-write the constitution.

The second option is the most desirable because the constitution, as it was
originally adopted, was widely praised for its protections of human rights,
including commendations from the Council of Europe and the Venice

It seems to me that the fault of the original constitution lay more with the
lack of implementation of its provisions and not with the concepts expressed
in the text itself.

The question remains whether democracy will survive in Ukraine.  Ideally,
the Constitutional Court would perform its duties faithfully and without
outside influence, solve the constitutional and legal crisis, and the other
branches of the government would respect and adhere to any decisions of the
Constitutional Court.

We are far from an ideal situation, however, and, although I have hope that
the rule of law will persevere in Ukraine, it at least appears that the
leadership on all sides has attempted to exert political pressure on the
judiciary[17] that may threaten the country’s democratic future. [18]

Furthermore, the current political crisis has ruined many of Ukraine’s
governmental institutions, including the Constitutional Court.

Unfortunately, I have to concur with the many critics that have stated that
the Constitutional Court has been discredited and that the legal and
constitutional systems are being destroyed.[19]

At this point, I cannot honestly and truthfully say that any decision by the
Constitutional Court pertaining to the current political and legal crisis
will be reasonable and objective.  Major changes will need to be made,
therefore, in order for the crisis to be resolved and for democracy to take
hold in Ukraine.

In order for democracy and the rule of law to continue the Constitution and
the checks and balances contained therein must remain in full effect.

Ukraine continues to sink deeper into legal chaos and democracy is in
serious danger in Ukraine right now.  It will take a great deal of work and
mutual respect between every branch of government, in order for Ukraine to
remain democratic.

[On May 4, President Yushchenko and Prime Minster Yanukovych met to discuss
early elections.  They agreed to definitely hold early elections in
accordance with the President’s decree but left the details to a working
group.  Although a specific date has not yet been set, there are reports
that elections will be held before October 2007.]
Bohdan A. Futey is a Judge on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in
Washington, DC, appointed by President Ronald Reagan in May 1987. 

Judge Futey has been active in various Rule of Law and Democratization
Programs in Ukraine since 1991.  He served as an advisor to the Working
Group on Ukraine’s Constitution, adopted June 28, 1996.
[1] People’s Authority to Amend Constitution, decision by the Constitutional
Court, October 5, 2005.
[2] Bohdan A. Futey, “Crisis in the Constitutional Court of Ukraine:  A
Court Without Judges?” August 18, 2005.
[3] Program of International Forum “Law and Democracy For Ukraine”, Kyiv,
Ukraine, December 8, 2006.
[4] Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine’s Crisis Need A Firm Response, Financial
Times, April 4, 2007.
[5] Under Article 150 of the Constitution, the President or no less than
forty-five Rada deputies may file an appeal with the Constitutional Court.
[6] President Dissolves Parliament, Official Website of President of
[7] Id.
[8] Article 46 of the Law on the Constitutional Court provides that the
initiation of proceedings on a constitutional appeal or constitutional
petition shall be approved by either the Constitutional Court itself or the
Collegia of Judges of the Constitutional Court (Collegia), which is
established especially for this purpose by Article 47.  The provisions
governing the initiation of proceedings provide, in pertinent part, that
either of the above-mentioned entities may vote in favor or against
exercising jurisdiction over the case.  Under Article 50 of the law, a
meeting of the Constitutional Court pertaining to acceptance of a case is
considered valid, i.e., a quorum exists, if no fewer than eleven judges
participate in the meeting.  In order to initiate proceedings on a case, at
least six of the eleven judges must vote in favor of such a decision.
[9] In my opinion, this Concept is a valiant effort to strengthen some
aspects of court proceedings and guarantee citizens access to the courts,
but as a whole it seems to me that it fails to address the problem of
reforming the judiciary in-depth, and provides for additional ways to
exercise control over the judiciary.  Furthermore, it may be in conflict
with the Constitution as enacted on June 28, 1996, it violates the principal
of separation of powers (Article 6), and the rule of law commitment (Article
8).  The idea of having government inspectors for the judiciary is not an
encouraging practice (guarantee) for judicial independence.  Inspectors
looking over judge’s shoulders certainly will not allow the judges to act
freely.  Also, it fails to address many aspects of the present law on the
judiciary and it undertakes to provide solutions that are not very
democratic.  It barely touches on aspects of education at law schools and
the role of legal/professional organizations (like the American Bar
Association in the US).
[10] The law violates Article 8 of the Constitution, in my opinion, which
guarantees individuals the right to appeal issues of constitutional rights
and freedoms, and Article 147, which gives the Constitutional Court
jurisdiction over all “issues of conformity of laws” with the Constitution.
This law is also unconstitutional because it abridges the Rada deputies’
right to bring an appeal challenging the political reform in violation of
Article 150.  Even if the Rada would have attempted to pass the law as a
constitutional amendment, such an amendment would not have passed muster
under Article 157, which prohibits the constitution from being amended in
such a way that it takes away rights of the people.
[11] Futey, “Crisis in the Constitutional Court”
[12] Yulia Tymoshenko has stated that her bloc would challenge the reform in
the Constitutional Court.
[13] Many feel that judges can not be trusted.  For example, judges accused
of improprieties continue to hear cases because there is no mechanism for
them to step down or be suspended from their duties.  Judges need to be free
from suspicions of corruption in order to maintain public confidence,
therefore, a procedure should be put in place for judges to cease hearing
cases if while they are under investigation.
[14] Recently, President Yushchenko dismissed three members of the
Constitutional Court, even though it may be questionable whether he has such
powers under the Constitution.  Under Article 106(22) of the Constitution,
the President may appoint and dismiss six or one-third of the judges of the
Constitutional Court.  A judge may be dismissed if he or she violates the
oath office under Article 126(5).  The President’s right to dismiss
Constitutional Court judges has not yet been tested.  (As for the oath for
all the judges of the Constitutional Court before the Rada, I do not believe
it is constitutional because it violates principles of the separation of
powers.)  Nevertheless, on May 16, Chief Judge Dombrovsky resigned his post
of Chief Judge of the Constitutional Court and was replaced by one of the
judges dismissed by the President.  The President’s Secretariat subsequently
issued a statement that any decisions made by the Constitutional Court with
the participation of the judges fired by the President will not be
[15] Both Ukraine’s judges and journalists concur with these finding and
believe that the judiciary should be reformed.  For example, 84% of
journalists surveyed and 77% of judges believe that reform should be a top
priority.  See Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, The Baseline
Survey of Ukraine Rule of Law Project, March 2007; USAID Ukraine Rule of Law
Project, ‘Judicial Reform and Journalism’ Presentation of the Result of the
Sociological Survey of Journalists; March 2007.
[16] Article 79 reads: “I swear allegiance to Ukraine. I commit myself with
all my deeds to protect the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, to
provide for the good of the Motherland and for the welfare of the Ukrainian
people. I swear to abide by the Constitution of Ukraine and the laws of
Ukraine, to carry out my duties in the interests of all compatriots.”
[17] Members of the Rada have made threats against judges of Pechersk
Regional Court that they will be dismissed for declaring that the attempt to
bring back the old 2004 CEC membership was illegal.  In addition, on May 8,
some Rada deputies introduced a bill attempting to dismiss five judges of
the Constitutional Court.
[18] On April 10, 2007 Justice Petro Stesyuk stated during a press
conference that five members of the Constitutional Court feel that they are
under political pressure to resolve this case without procedural safeguards
and that they “threaten to affect an independent conduct by the Court of its
constitutional duties, democracy in Ukraine and constitutional rights and
freedoms of citizens.”  Open Letter from Justices Lilak, Kampo, Stetsyuk,
Shyshkin, and Machuzhak to the Ukrainian people, President of Ukraine, Rada
deputies, and Judges of Ukraine, April 10, 2007.  On May 10, Chief Judge
Dombrovsky, made another statement condemning the dismissal of the Judges by
Yushchenko and expressing that various persons are trying to influence the
judges.  It is, therefore, questionable whether the Constitutional Court
will be able to act at all.  The Constitutional Court may also choose not to
decide on this case if it finds that the effectiveness of the decree is a
political question.  See Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186 (1962).
[19] See Volodomyr Fecenko, Interview with BBC, May 17, 2007; Havrysh
Considers Court Unconstitutional, Ukrayinska Pravda, May 15, 2007.
Furthermore, Mykola Onishchuk, the head of the Ukrainian Lawyer’s Union
stated that the Constitutional Court must be dismissed.  See Ukrayinska
Pravda, May 17, 2008.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, May 26, 2007
KYIV – National Security and Defense Council Secretary Ivan Pliusch sees
the main cause of the escalation of the political crisis in the disinclination of
the Cabinet of Ministers for a dialogue with President Viktor Yuschenko.
Ukrainian News learned this from the press service of the President.

He said all problems could be resolved with an open and honest dialogue
between the branches of power.

However, according to Pliusch, the approaches of the President and the
Cabinet of Ministers to the issue are radically different.

“Nobody can blame the President with the avoiding the dialogue and with
unlawful demands concerning the relations between the bodies of power.
However, the Cabinet of Ministers shows insularity, incapability or
unwillingness to keep a word, barriers for the realization of rights of
common people,” Pliusch said.

He said the coalition demonstrated what kind of a country the coalition
intended to build by its actions at the Prosecutor General’s Office.

“If President Viktor Yuschenko had not issued the decree dissolving the
parliament, the law would be completely replaced by [the code of
criminals],” Pliusch said.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the Security Service of Ukraine is
investigating two criminal cases following the seizure of the building of
the Prosecutor General’s Office and the power abuse by officers of the
Ministry of Interior Affairs.

On May 24, the coalition MPs used force to remove officers of the State
Guard Department from the Prosecutor General’s Office after the dismissal

of Prosecutor General Sviatoslav Piskun.                    -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                                     SMELLING OF ROSES

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Halya Coynash, Ukraine
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #848, Article 11
Washington, D.C., Sunday, May 27, 2007

One of the sad things about democracy in a consumer society is how
fundamental principles turn into, at best, advertising slogans, at worst,
glossy packaging for questionable goods, or, in this case, people.

An article published recently in the Wall Street Journal (In Ukraine, a
Friend of Russia Stages Sweeping Political Makeover, by Marc Champion)
painted a picture of Viktor Yanukovych as the ultimate Ukrainian phoenix, a
political success story extraordinaire.

It was presented as the leap from presidential candidate whose rigged ballot
box “success” may have convinced Putin, but left the Ukrainian people cold
(quite literally) to Prime Minister espousing democratic values.

One might humbly suggest that a lion’s share of the credit can be taken by
Manafort and his mates – the American PR specialists who took over from
thoroughly discredited Russian political technologists.

A lot could be said on this subject. Suffice it to say that the reality in
Ukraine makes the packaging presented in the above-mentioned article ask a
question or two about the newspaper’s source of information.

For almost two months now, Yanukovych and his Verkhovna Rada coalition

have been fighting hard. If you read their statements, they have been defending
democracy, stability and the rule of law in Ukraine.

When the price is high, however, it is wise to look beyond the shiny

Yanukovych & Co. are fighting against early democratic elections. I stress
the word democratic for two reasons.

[1] One is that the methods used by the coalition to gain new members and
their attempts to thus achieve a constitutional majority able to overturn
Presidential vetoes and introduce changes to the Constitution had precious
little to do with democracy.

They certainly flew in the face of the wishes expressed by Ukrainian voters
only one year ago.

[2] Secondly, Yanukovych had not long before that stated in an interview
that the next “President” might be voted in by the Verkhovna Rada.

Psychologically understandable – the man felt aggrieved that the people didn’t
choose him, and parliamentarians were proving far more malleable.  It is
possible that Manafort and mates understood the flawed wrapping in this
case, and Yanukovych backtracked a day or two later.

The American PR experts are, however, fighting against the odds. If we take
just a few examples:

At an emergency session of the Verkhovna Rada following the President’s
Decree dissolving parliament, not only did the (dissolved!) Verkhovna Rada
contravene the Constitution by refusing to comply with the President’s
Decree, but they also reinstated the old makeup of the Central Election
Commission under their good friend and now Party of the Regions colleague

in parliament Kivalov.

He, should anyone have forgotten, approved the election “victory” of
Yanukovych, later overturned by the Supreme Court.

A lot of the 2004 “techniques” were reinstated, incidentally, including the
“mass rallies” of supposedly enraged coalition supporters.

These included children taken from schools to take part in the rallies on
Maidan, and whole coach or trainloads of “supporters”, paid to be the bodies
on these mass stunts.

The cries from various members of the coalition to have the President
impeached at least remain within a legal framework which cannot be said of
many of the hysterical outbursts heard from that quarter over the last two

                       ATTEMPTS TO FRIGHTEN PEOPLE
Particularly disturbing have been the attempts to frighten people and
exacerbate the situation by speaking of armed forces in Kyiv, plans to
arrest members of the coalition, etc.  Disturbing because they show that the
Deputies involved are guided by anything but the needs of their voters and
of Ukraine.

The events of the last two days have demonstrated clearly how very much
these people are prepared to sacrifice for their own aims. A grotesque
spectacle with potentially catastrophic results was played out yesterday (24
May) in Kyiv following the dismissal by the President of the Prosecutor
General Sviatoslav Piskun.

The President’s justification was that Piskun had remained a National
Deputy, thus contravening the Constitution and leading to a clear conflict
of interests.  The political background and argumentation can and doubtless
will be argued.  Any such arguments cannot possibly justify the events which

These involved the Minister of Internal Affairs personally arriving with
members of a specially trained unit (Berkut) at the Prosecutor General’s
Office and helping Piskun force his way into his former offices.

This monstrous distortion of the role of the law enforcement agencies
committed by those entrusted with our safety was then repeated in the

Yanukovych and his coalition cronies have learned nothing about democracy.
They have unfortunately failed to understand that the Ukrainian people are
not simply, as Yanukovych stated in 2004, “kozly” [stupid idiots – a term
used by criminals] who get in our way”.

They must be made to learn – peacefully, via the ballot box, and this time,
let’s hope, once and for all.                               -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

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

COMMENTARY: By Chrystia Freeland, U.S. Managing Editor
Financial Times, London, United Kingdom, Friday, May 25, 2007

It was a coincidence, but an appropriate one, that last weekend’s annual
Ukrainian street festival in New York’s East Village began the day after
Senate negotiators announced an ungainly compromise on immigration.

Attacked by critics on the right as being too soft, and by critics on the
left as being too harsh, the proposed legislation is an apt representation
of America’s broader ambivalence towards immigration.

One of the sore points was embodied by the Ukrainian dancers and food
vendors who took over East 7th Street the next day.

Although they didn’t exactly arrive on the Mayflower, by New York standards,
Ukrainians have been in the neighbourhood a long time they celebrated their
first Ukrainian rite liturgy on Avenue C in 1890. And ethnic street fairs of
all stripes are a ubiquitous feature of Gotham life.

Even so, in America as a whole, the exuberant celebration of non-Anglo
culture, community and language that they represent is sometimes viewed

with hostility.

I spotted a snarling example at Washington’s Reagan National Airport the
other day a souvenir T-shirt on sale whose logo read: “Welcome to America:
Now Speak English.”

Samuel Huntington voices the more genteel version of this anxiety in Who Are
We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity.

The Harvard professor warns that immigration is now tearing America apart:
“The persistent inflow of Hispanic immigrants threatens to divide the United
States into two people, two cultures, two languages.”

In Immigrants Your Country Needs Them, a spirited counterpoint published
last year, Philippe LeGrain challenges many of Prof Huntington’s arguments.

He points to statistics showing that Latino immigrants, like those who came
before them, do learn English: by the third generation 78 per cent speak
predominantly English and 22 per cent are bilingual.

He also cites research by Daniel Griswold of the Cato Institute, a
think-tank, showing that what may seem like immigrant waves of unprecedented
force are actually smaller, relative to the existing population, than the
great inflows of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which so profoundly
shaped America.

Thus, according to Griswold, approximately 1.5 Mexican immigrants (both
legal and illegal) per 1,000 US residents now enter the country each year.

But in the 1840s and 1850s, the US absorbed an annual average of 3.6 Irish
immigrants per 1,000. Between 1901 and 1910 Russian, Italian and
Austro-Hungarians all arrived at a swifter pace than the Mexicans today.

So, partly, we are suffering from the usual historical amnesia. But
globalisation and technology have also changed the nature of the immigrant
experience, sometimes in ways that can be unsettling for the native-born.

Mobile phones, the internet and cheap air travel mean that immigration no
longer requires the near-absolute severing of ties with the home country
that it did in the days of Ellis Island.

Consider June Arunga, a Kenyan filmmaker born in 1981, who now lives in New
York. Arunga says she and other Kenyans benefit from new ways of staying in
touch with home: “The cell phone has changed everything. Your grandmother,
who basically lives in the Middle Ages in the countryside now you can call
her from New York It is almost like the person is not so far away.”

Cheap flights matter, too. Where once Kenyans could afford to visit their
homeland every 10 years, now, she says, many go back annually.

This continuous connection is the stuff of nightmare for some critics of
immigration. But at a time when even the ebullient Bush lieutenant Karen
Hughes is struggling at the State Department to burnish America’s tattered
reputation abroad, these shuttling immigrants may be their new land’s best

“Even though there is disagreement about US foreign policy, the feedback
people get from their relatives is that I went there and I made something of
myself,” Arunga says. “It makes non-Americans love America.”

And what about the community ties immigrants may hold on to back in America?
For Arunga, they are mostly about personal well-being, the new American’s
equivalent of yoga or the Chicken Soup for the Soul books: “Everyone from
time to time takes comfort in listening to their own music, eating their own
food, telling their own jokes.”

That has certainly been my own experience. Living in a wonderful but foreign
city, it is fortifying to be able to slip into familiar Ukrainian community
rituals, and to be welcomed from the first sentence my daughters speak in

Nowadays, with fresh waves of smart, tough, young Ukrainians coming west,
remaining Ukrainian has an additional benefit. We worry a lot about ethnic
ghettos, but, in my experience of America in this age of growing income
inequality, the more powerful dividing lines are economic. The Ukrainian
community, for me, is a rare place that erases them.

These latest Ukrainian-Americans are part of a new twist on cultural
identity that I have started to observe in the parks of New York.

As I play with my girls in Ukrainian, young children who are talking to
their own parents in English occasionally approach us with fond interest.
They turn out to be the charges of Ukrainian babysitters. Could this be a
new category of hyphenated Americans ethnicity via nanny?        -30-
NOTE: Chrystia Freeland is the FT’s US managing editor; More columns at
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
         Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
                Minister discusses pragmatism in Ukraine’s foreign policy

Mykola Siruk, The Day Weekly Digest #14, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, May 22, 2007

Arsenii Yatseniuk has been Ukraine’s foreign minister for more than two
months. Ukrainians would naturally like to know about the style, intentions,
and logic behind the actions of their country’s topmost diplomat, all the
more so as this is the first time that the foreign ministry is headed by a
person who has never been a career diplomat.

Yatseniuk partly showed his cards when he spoke with some print journalists.
He noted that he is not inclined to alter Ukraine’s foreign policy and is
generally very skeptical about the necessity of introducing any radical

He emphasized, however, that as foreign minister he will be trying to impart
more realism and pragmatism to Ukraine’s aspirations to integrate with such
organizations as the EU.

“Rose-colored glasses are absolutely out of place in this connection. First
and foremost, we should tell the people that there will be no European Union
either today or tomorrow. Early EU membership is very doubtful.

Even if Ukraine brilliantly fulfills the Partnership and Cooperation
Agreement with the EU and carries out all the reforms very quickly, EU
enlargement will still be a problem,” the minister admitted.
The minister reminded his listeners that the European Union has quite a few
problems to deal with, so Ukraine is not exactly a priority issue for

On the other hand, there are numerous objections concerning Ukraine,
including its political maturity, which is indispensable for joining any
kind of union.

Secondly, there is a long list of unresolved problems with our neighbors,
including the Russian Federation. “The EU does not need a country that has a
‘vague’ relationship with Russia,” Yatseniuk said. Thirdly, there is a
problem of national unity.

Another important factor is that reforms should not be a purely declarative
issue. “We must say clearly what kind of state we want to build. Are we
building a classic market-economy country or a market-economy country with
some elements of socialism?” he noted.

The minister is thoroughly convinced that you do not promote Ukraine’s
integration and bilateral relations through bureaucratic announcements.
Above all, it is people – in our case, young people – who are envoys of

Therefore, this requires the right educational programs and free movement.
This is in fact what the minister was doing on his visits to the EU, the US,
and Canada, where he asked the leaders of those countries to update
educational exchange programs with Ukraine.
Ukraine’s foreign minister believes that our country should build its
relations with Russia on the principles of pragmatism and mutual advantage.
At the same time he opposes Ukrainian-Russian diplomatic relations being
formed on the pages of newspapers.

“The whole cartload of current Ukrainian-Russian problems must be resolved
in closed rooms. What we will be saying to each other in those closed rooms
is a different question. What matters for Ukraine is the result. We don’t
need spin today,” Yatseniuk emphasized.

Ukraine would also not like to be a tool in someone else’s hands as far as
Ukrainian-Russian relations are concerned. “We are worthy of pursuing our
own policy toward Russia because there is interdependence in our relations
with Russia.

And it cannot be said that Russia has a decisive impact on Ukraine. This may
have been the case 20 or 10 years ago,” the foreign minister said.

Broaching the resolution of problems that exist in Ukrainian-Russian
relations, Yatseniuk offered his own approach to solving them.

[1] First, Ukrainian-Russian relations should reject any kind of radicalism.
[2] Second, there is a great degree of convergence, and even more
interdependence between the two countries.
[3] Third, economic interests must prevail over political declarations.
[4] Fourth, relations should be clearly spelled out in legal terms and be
based on appropriate treaties and laws.

According to the minister, Kyiv should now enter into negotiations with
Russia about signing 17 agreements pursuant to the 1997 Comprehensive
Treaty. To a large extent this will help clarify certain clauses in this

Yatseniuk also stressed that Ukrainian-Russian bilateral relations will
uphold the principle of reciprocity. “We will be supporting their ethnic
minorities in exchange for them supporting Ukrainians in Russia,” he noted.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is well aware that Ukraine cannot play its
own geopolitical game and stand on a par with the US, Russia, and the EU.
Nevertheless, Yatseniuk thinks that our country can be a second-line player
and should therefore orient itself toward countries of comparable size.

In his opinion, GUAM is not a bad option in principle. Ukraine would like
very much to be heard in big-time politics via this regional organization.
But the problem is to fill GUAM with a concrete economic component.

“If GUAM were to take a common stand on a number of foreign political
issues, have true economic interdependence and an impact on other related
markets, this organization would be a player too,” said Yatseniuk. He thinks
that Ukraine should focus its attention on some countries in the East,
Africa, and Latin America, which are risky but attractive at the same time.

“These are markets that we can enter. Moreover, these are countries that
need political support not only from the G8 but also from countries like
Ukraine. We are very carefully considering the question of cooperating with
these countries,” the minister said.
                              THE TRANSIT TRUMP CARD
It is too early to say that the doctrine of economy-based foreign relations,
revived by Yatseniuk, is bearing fruit. At the same time sources in
Ukraine’s foreign ministry sources do not think that we suffered a defeat at the
Cracow summit.

At the time there was a summit taking place in Turkmenistan, where the
presidents of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan signed a declaration to
build a gas pipeline across Russia.

A source claims that Ukraine managed to have the words “transit space”
included in the Cracow Declaration. The Ukrainian foreign ministry also
believes that the Cracow summit was a success because it triggered such a
reaction in some countries that their leaders rushed to the Polish city.

The foreign ministry is actively pursuing the policy of transit space,
capitalizing on Ukraine’s monopoly on transit. Kyiv will thus try to dictate
its own rules until a single energy space, one that would include the EU, is

“We should be the promoters of this venture because 80 percent of gas is
being exported to Europe through our pipelines. With all due respect for
consumers, we still have a transit system of our own. Not to use this
opportunity today means losing all our chances tomorrow,” the ministry
source said.
                                 AT A LOSS FOR WORDS
All countries know that domestic policy influences foreign policy. Ukraine
is no exception, and the new foreign minister is perfectly aware of this. As
he confessed, his mission in the past two months has been to travel around
the world explaining that what is going on in Ukraine is normal.

“But I will say frankly that I began to feel at a loss for words. It is
impossible to have a stable and easy-to-grasp foreign policy if things are
in disarray inside the country. What is going on inside cannot be an
unending story. We have brawled a little, become somewhat democratic, but
now it’s time to reach a common denominator.

In the short term there are no negative consequences. But there will surely
be questions to Ukraine in the medium term. It’s OK if this lasts for a
month or two, but if the conflict drags on, nobody will take us seriously,”
the minister emphasized.
                      A WHIFF OF SMOLENSKAIA SQUARE
Yatseniuk believes that in the 15 years of independence the foreign ministry
has failed to become an absolutely normal, healthy, and full- fledged
ministry of independent Ukraine. “There is still a whiff coming from
Smolenskaia Square (Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Ed.),” he said.

The Ukrainian foreign minister thinks the world has changed radically over
the past 10 years. “But we are still living by the standards of the old,
understaffed ministry that is unable to perform the required functions.

For the ministry to be European, we should clean up the ‘stables.’ The
ministry needs funds to pay salaries, offset capital expenses, increase and
reformat the network,” Yatseniuk noted.                     -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                Andrei Zagdansky’s new documentary “Orange Winter”

REVIEW: By Bruce Bennett, The New York Sun
New York, NY, Wednesday, May 23, 2007

RE:  Andrei Zagdansky’s Documentary “ORANGE WINTER”

On November 21, 2004, Ukrainian citizens went to the polls to cast their
ballots in a run-off election for a new president, a right they had only
enjoyed for eight years since their nation’s constitution came into being.
Ukraine has a long history of political upheaval and conflict dating back to
the tsars.

True to historical form, the 2004 campaign had been both a close one and a
dirty one. Challenger Viktor Yushchenko, a former prime minister and leader
of the Our Ukraine Party, had suffered a near fatal dose of dioxin

This was not only barbaric it was ironic – Mr. Yuschenko’s followers rallied
behind bright orange banners, and stateside Dioxin is known as Agent Orange.

His opponent, the incumbent Viktor Yanukovych, was long rumored to have ties
to organized crime, and Orange Party loyalists naturally assumed that Mr.
Yanukovych’s followers had something to do with the chemical assassination

In Andrei Zagdansky’s new documentary “Orange Winter,” which opens today
at the Pioneer Theater, the events that followed the run-off election were
even more bizarre.

“Power, the people, chance or fate, providence – the interplay of these
forces is what makes history,” the film’s narrator says. Mr. Zagdansky
shuffles a deck of images and footage showing history being made fast – both
in the halls of government and in the street. And while he misdeals a few of
his cards here and there, “Orange Winter” is a candid and exciting
nonfiction account of a fascinating contemporary popular struggle.

The election that had forced the run-off had been roundly criticized for
favoring the sitting government. It hadn’t helped the credibility of Mr.
Yanukovych’s candidacy that goon squads, believed to be plain-clothes
members of his government’s “Special Purpose Police Unit,” harassed
Orange Party campaigners and voters on numerous occasions.

Ukrainian citizens and international election monitors cast a dubious eye on
the November 21 vote count as well. Exit polls indicated that Mr. Yushchenko
was the winner by a small but legal margin.

So when state-run television declared Mr. Yanukovych the winner, the native
population of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev (a city split between Russian
and Ukrainian speakers and loyalists) took to the streets.

In Mr. Zagdansky’s footage, thousands of protestors pour into Maidan
Nezalezhnosti, Kiev’s central Independence Square, as the government
declares the election over.

But even as TV newsreaders urge the people to go back to work and get on
with their lives, a simultaneous onscreen sign language translator,
discreetly wearing an orange scarf on her wrist, contradicts the official

“I find it very distressing that I’ve had to translate falsehoods,” she
tells sign language fluent viewers from her box on the lower right corner of
their TV screens. “I won’t do that anymore. I don’t know if we will see each
other again.”

Days go by and the mass protest becomes a tent city. Sympathetic retailers
put orange sweaters on sale. Sporting goods stores sell out of fishing rods,
the most practical hardware with which to hold up and control massive orange
banners springing up all over the Maidan.

Mr. Zagdansky’s camera captures an ad hoc community’s growth and life with
an eye for both egalitarian gesture and a pretty face.

The homeless get fed. Blond girls smile. An expressionless member of the
Special Purpose Police in riot gear works his way down a row of his
comrades, brushing the snow off of their body armor and helmets as he goes.
Couples make-out and marry. Christmas arrives and orange Christmas trees go

Mr. Zagdansky also adds a performance of Mussorgsky’s opera ” Boris
Gudonov” and clips from Aleksandr Dovzhenko’s brilliant 1930 Ukraine-set
Soviet propaganda film “Earth” to the mix.

Though the music and images are lovely, the metaphoric point they make is a
simple one. As the real news events build to their January 2005 conclusion,
both opera and film excerpts pale in intensity alongside what actually

Mr. Zagdansky’s timeline is occasionally less sure-footed than it could be,
and his narrator, the print journalist Matthew Gurewitsch (sounding like a
cross between Ben Stein and Mr. Rodgers), fails to sustain a connection with
the images he describes and the words he reads.

But “Orange Winter” is nevertheless inspiring, and a viewer’s patience with
a filmmaker eagerly trying to fit two months that shook Ukraine into 72
minutes will be rewarded.

Through June 3 (155 E. 3rd St., between avenues A and B, 212-591-0434).

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                             Review of Three Orange Revolution Books

BOOK REVIEW: By Taras Kuzio
Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics
London, UK, Vol.23, no.2 (June 2007), pp.320-326.

Anders Aslund and Michael McFaul eds., Revolution in Orange. The Origins of
Ukraine’s Democratic Breakthrough  (Washington DC; Carnegie Endowment,

Askold Krushelnycky, An Orange Revolution. A Personal Journey Through
Ukrainian History (London: Harvill Secker, 2006). ISBN 978 0436 206 234

Andrew Wilson, Ukraine’s Orange Revolution (New Haven, CT: Yale University

There has been a flood of books published in Ukraine, coupled with a large
number of photo albums, following the Orange Revolution. In the
English-speaking West, only three books have appeared, two of which are
authored and a third an edited collection. All three books are reviewed

The Orange Revolution took place following the second round of the 2004
Ukrainian presidential elections.[i] These elections proved to be the
dirtiest in Ukraine’s twelve year history with two assassination attempts
against the pro-reform candidate, Viktor Yushchenko.

Ukraine’s Orange Revolution has often been placed within a comparative
context of earlier democratic or people power revolutions in Serbia (2000)
and Georgian Rose Revolution (2003) and a year later in Lebanon (Cedar
Revolution) and, more controversially, in Kyrgyzstan (Tulip Revolution).[ii]
Other central European specialists argue that Croatia and Slovakia in 1997
and 1998 were the first to experience democratic, people-power

The Carnegie volume is, perhaps surprising, considering the attention the
Orange Revolution received in Washington DC, the only one published on the
subject by a Washington-based think tank.

The two editors, Anders Aslund and Michael McFaul, fulfill an excellent task
of bringing together leading specialists on contemporary Ukraine who closely
followed the 2004 Ukrainian presidential elections and Orange Revolution.

The edited collection includes chapters by Aslund on President Leonid
Kuchma’s relationship with the oligarchs, former Freedom House adviser
Adrian Karatnycky on earlier elections and political parties, National Endowment
for Democracy Nadia Diuk on civil society and my own chapter on developments
within Ukrainian society that led to the basis for a democratic revolution.

Other chapters are written by scholars from the region. The youth NGO Pora
(Its Time) is surveyed by the head of the Bratislava office of the German
Marshall Fund of the USA (GMFUS), Pavol Demes, in a co-authored article with
the GMFUS Bratislava office Program Officer Joerg Forbrig.

The GMFUS was one of a number of Western think tanks and foundations who
provided assistance to Pora, a crucial NGO in the mobilization of young
Ukrainians during the 2004 elections and Orange Revolution. Youth NGO’s,
such as Serbia’s OTPOR (Resistance) and Georgia’s Kmara (Resistance),
played a key role in all democratic revolutions in post-communist

Another chapter deals with the importance of the media environment during
the 2004 elections and Orange Revolution. Olena Prytula is one of the two
founders of the highly popular and influential Ukrayinska Pravda (Ukrainian
Truth) web-based newspaper (

Ukrayinska Pravda rose to international prominence in November 2000 when its
other co-founder, Heorhiy Gongadze, was found decapitated near Kyiv. The
ensuing scandal, known as Kuchmagate, undermined President Kuchma,
facilitated the rise of Yushchenko as a political oppositionist and paved
the way for the Orange Revolution four years later.

As Prytula points out, independent media played a crucial role in
facilitating the Orange Revolution. As a semi-authoritarian regime, Ukraine
still had a limited independent media base which is not the case in fully
authoritarian regimes such as Russia, Belarus and Uzbekistan.

Two television channels, Channels 5 and Era, funded by dissident businessmen
who backed Yushchenko, played a disproportionate role to their size. The
internet was also influential as a source of information, discussion and
blog’s and communication. Prytula suggests that the Orange Revolution should
be considered the world’s first “internet revolution”.

Two other chapters by Ukrainian and Russian authors survey the influence and
role of the West and Russia in the 2004 elections and Orange Revolution.
Russia played a disproportionate role through a heavy handed intervention in
support of the regime’s candidate, Viktor Yanukovych.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Ukraine twice during the first and
second rounds of the elections to give his public support to Yanukovych
while Russian “political technologists” played a central role in all manner
of dirty tricks.

Although the Orange Revolution was seen in Russia as a “US-backed
 conspiracy”, the reality, as presented by Oleksandr Sushko and Olena
Prytsayko, is that the West played a more benign role. US and West European
foundations did provide assistance to NGO’s, but this assistance was not
exclusive to Ukraine and was not directed towards creating the basis for a
democratic revolution.

The US behind the scenes and the EU in a more direct capacity played a
central role in facilitating a pacted transition through the political
crisis that engulfed Ukraine during the Orange Revolution.

The final chapter by McFaul places the Serbian, Georgian, Ukrainian and, to
a lesser extent, the Kyrgyz democratic revolutions within a comparative
context. McFaul points to seven factors that are common to these democratic

These include a competitive (i.e. semi) authoritarian regime, unpopular
leaders, organized oppositions, independent electoral monitoring
capabilities, independent media, an active civil society capable of
mobilizing large numbers of people and divisions within the security
forces.[v] Krushelnycky’s book is written for the popular market; hence,
it does not have an index.

The author has a long and distinguished career writing on contemporary
Ukraine, Soviet and post-Soviet affairs. A third of the book (Chapters 1-4)
is a short and informative survey of Ukrainian history in the pre-Soviet and
Soviet era’s.

Chapter 5 gives a good overview of the “Rotten Guys” who ruled Ukraine from
1991-2004, Presidents Leonid Kravchuk and Leonid Kuchma. Chapter 6 covers
the important Kuchmagate scandal in 2000-2001 when Gongadze was kidnapped
and subsequently murdered.

The Kuchmagate scandal provoked a mobilization of civil society and youth to
go on to win the 2002 and 2004 elections. The chapter is named “Beheaded”
alluding to the only book on the Gongadze murder, either in Ukraine or the

Chapter 7 discusses the rise of Yushchenko from loyal government servant to
opposition leader. Until 2001, Yushchenko was Chairman of the National Bank
and Prime Minister. After being ousted from government he created the Our
Ukraine bloc of liberal and center-right political parties which came first
in the 2002 elections with 24 per cent of the vote. Two years later he won
the presidential elections with 52 per cent

Krushelnycky deals with the 2004 elections and Orange Revolution in the last
150 pages in Chapters 8-12. Here, the author provides an excellent account
of the dirty campaign unleashed by the authorities and their Russian
“political technologists”, the attempted poisoning of Yushchenko, widespread
election fraud, mobilization of millions of Ukrainians in protest and the
various ways that the crisis was defused.

Krushelnycky’s final chapter is less a full expose of the post-Orange
Revolution era than an Epilogue. Aslund and McFaul decided to not deal with
the post-Orange Revolution situation, and, in my view, rightly so.

Events after the Orange Revolution are a moving target and too close to the
present. A convenient cut off point is the election of Yushchenko and his
inauguration as President from 26 December 2004-23 January 2005.

Both Krushelnycky and Andrew Wilson published their books in 2005 and
therefore could only have covered a short period of the post-Orange
Revolution era. Krushelnycky’s final chapter (Epilogue) is already imbued
with foreboding that events are not proceeding as optimistically as what was
thought would take place when millions of Ukrainians supported the Orange
Revolution. Wilson submitted his book earlier than Krushelnycky to Yale
University Press and his book is full of optimism that today seems out of

Krushelnycky is already concerned that Kuchma and other senior officials may
have been given immunity as the price to avoid bloodshed during the Orange
Revolution. No documents prove such a deal was ever made and no officials
have publicly confirmed it, including President Yushchenko. Yet, subsequent
events seem to confirm this.

Wilson’s book is a scholarly study of the Orange Revolution. Its only small
fault lies in occasional lapses into using phrases, language and humor that
would be more appropriate in a book written for the popular market. Yale
University Press also made a strategically poor choice of including a quote
on the dust jacket from British maverick scholar Anatol  Lieven, a Senior
Fellow at the Washington-based New Atlantic Foundation.

Lieven has always been a staunch critic of the Orange Revolution, other
democratic revolutions in post-communist states and US promotion of
democracy in Eurasia.[vii] The summer 2006 Ukraine crisis was welcomed by
Lieven with unrestrained and gloated glee.[viii]

Wilson’s book is not a light read as it is full of facts, names and places
that will be difficult for the non-specialist to follow. Nevertheless, it
represents an in-depth study of the events leading up to the 2004 elections
and the Orange Revolution. Chapter 1 is short and lays out the election
fraud that led to the Orange Revolution.

Chapter 2 gives a good analysis of the main players in the Ukrainian elites
who backed the two main candidates, Yushchenko and Yanukovych. Chapter
3 is a short history of Ukraine which seems to be out of place. Readers
interested in the Orange Revolution, if they are indeed interested in
seventeen century Cossacks, can find historical works on this elsewhere.

Chapter 4 investigates the Kuchmagate crisis and the 2002 elections as the
precursor events to the 2004 elections and Orange Revolution. Wilson
describes the Kuchmagate crisis and the 2002 elections as “two dress
rehearsals” for 2004. Without the murder of Gongadze and subsequent protests
there would have been no Orange Revolution. With no Revolution, Yushchenko
would not have been elected President.

Chapters 5-7 provides the main study of the 2004 elections and subsequent
Orange Revolution. As Wilson points out, “there were too many players on
their side, too many crooks with too many plans, and they ultimately ended
up working against one another” (p.79).

It was never clear that Kuchma really was 100 per cent behind Yanukovych’s
election campaign and he told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he was a
“bandit”. “It is also true that Kuchma himself seems never to have quite
liked or trusted Yanukovych”, Wilson says (p.80).

Leaked documents, cited by Wilson, revealed that one presidential strategy
was to pit western against eastern Ukraine leading to civil conflict that
then created the environment for the authorities to cancel the elections. In
new elections to be held in 2005, Kuchma could stand again based on the
Constitutional Court ruling that he was in his “first” term.

Although western press reports exaggerated fears of a civil war (I myself
debated this with a CNN presenter convinced that Ukraine was ready to lapse
into civil war), Wilson rightly points out that, “Ukraine was never ‘on the
brink of civil war'” (p.145).

Chapter 8 lays out an optimistic setting for the “Aftermath” of the
post-Orange Revolution environment. Chapters 9 and 10 give the international
implications of the aftermath of the Orange Revolution and an optimistic
prognosis that democratic revolutions will continue to engulf other regions
of Eurasia.

Only a year has passed since all three books were published. Yet, the
optimism that pervades Wilson and the more sober optimism in Krushelnycky
are now difficult to read following the tumultuous developments that have
engulfed post-Orange Revolution Ukraine.

Krushelnycky is flabbergasted that Yushchenko signed a memorandum with
Yanukovych in September 2005 to obtain parliamentary support for his Prime
Ministerial  candidate to replace Tymoshenko One wonders what the author
would be thinking following the return of Yanukovych to head the government
in July 2006!?

By summer-fall 2006, Ukraine’s Orange Revolution was at a crossroads where
Ukraine could continue to muddle forward in reforms and integration into the
Euro-Atlantic community. Or, it could stagnate into a “Kuchma-Lite” type

Writing in early 2005, Wilson is optimistic about Yushchenko as a moral,
“charismatic” (p.153) leader ready to implement a clean up of the system and
introduce a wide range of reforms. By the summer of 2006, Yushchenko was
widely seen inside and outside Ukraine as a weak leader with no strategy who
has been unable to introduce a decisive break with the practices and
political culture of the Kuchma era. The good will earned by the holding of
free and fair elections in March 2006 was lost following the failure of the
Orange coalition to create a parliamentary majority and government because
of personal divisions.

Wilson’s prediction that the Orange coalition would sweep to power in the
2006 elections has failed to materialize as the coalition was dissolved by
President Yushchenko who removed the Tymoshenko government in September
2005. As Wilson writes, “given her popularity, the president would be
foolish to allow her so easily into opposition” (p.173). But, he did and her
bloc defeated his own Our Ukraine in the 2006 elections.

The defeated candidate’s Party of Regions came first with 32 per cent.
Wilson did note that revolutionary coalitions always eventually break up
into their ideological components, but no one could have predicted that this
would happen so soon only eight months following Yushchenko’s rise to power.

Wilson predicted that several members of the organizers of election fraud
“would – or should – end up in jail” (p.157). In fact, not a single senior
Ukrainian official has been charged and all of them have returned to
government and parliament. The only senior Ukrainian official to have been
charged was former Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, but this was by the US –
not by Ukraine.[ix]

All three books provide excellent studies of the Orange Revolution and its
legacies. Krushelnycky is right  to point out that it was not Yushchenko and
Tymoshenko alone who made the Orange Revolution but “millions of
Ukrainians who did that by displaying their will in such a magnificent way”

Less than two years into his five year term, President Yushchenko has
seemingly forgotten the role played by the reported one in five of
Ukrainians who protested locally or in Kyiv during the Orange Revolution.
[i]  See the only three articles published on the Orange Revolution: Lucan
Way, ‘Kuchma’s Failed Authoritarianism’, Journal of Democracy, vol.16, no.2
(April 2005), pp.131-145, Taras Kuzio, ‘Ukraine’s Orange Revolution. The
Opposition’s Road to Success’, Journal of Democracy, vol.16, no.2 (April
2005), pp.117-130 and ‘Kuchma to Yushchenko: Ukraine’s 2004 Elections and
“Orange Revolution’, Problems of Post-Communism, vol.52, no.2 (March-April
2005), pp.29-44.
[ii] See my Guest Edited special issue of Communist and Post-Communist
Studies (vol.39, no.3, September 2006) on ‘Democratic Revolutions in
Post-Communist States’.
[iii] This argument is developed in Valerie J.Bunce and Sharon L.Wolchik,
‘International diffusion and postcommunist electoral revolutions’, Communist
and Post-Communist Studies (vol.39, no.3, September 2006), pp.283-304.
[iv] See my comparative study of Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine in ‘Civil
Society, Youth and Societal Mobilization  in Democratic Revolutions’,
Communist and Post-Communist Studies, vol.39, no.3 (September 2006),
[v] A revised version of this chapter can be found at Michael McFaul,
‘Transitions from PostCommunism’, Journal of Democracy, vol.16, no.3 (July
2005), pp.5-19.
[vi] JV Koshiw, Beheaded. The killing of a journalist (Reading: Artemia
Press, 2003). The book has also been published in Ukraine and Russian in
Ukrainian and Russian respectively. Koshiw is a Woodrow Wilson Center
Fellow in 2006-2007.
[vii] A. Lieven, “Where Have all the Revolutions Gone?”, International
Herald and Tribune, 29 October 2005 and “The West’s Ukraine Illusion”,
International Herald and Tribune, 8 January 2006.
[viii] A.Lieven, “Failure of Orange Revolution is Historic Opportunity”,
Financial Times, 24 July 2006.
[ix] T.Kuzio, ‘Only the US tries and convicts’, Kyiv Post, 7 September 2006.
 nt: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 9:04 AM
Taras Kuzio, Visiting  Professor, Institute for European, Russian and
Eurasian Studies, Elliott School of International Affairs, George
Washington University. Washington,,
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

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

    Please contact us if you no longer wish to receive the AUR.    
       You are welcome to send us names for the AUR distribution list.
   If you are missing some issues of the AUR please let us know.
     A Free, Private, Not-For-Profit, Independent, Public Service Newsletter
                With major support from The Bleyzer Foundation
      Articles are Distributed For Information, Research, Education
                Academic, Discussion and Personal Purposes Only
                                  Additional readers are welcome.
                              Action Ukraine Report (AUR)
               Holodomor Art and Graphics Collection & Exhibitions
          “Working to Secure & Enhance Ukraine’s Democratic Future”
1.  THE BLEYZER FOUNDATION, Dr. Edilberto Segura,
Chairman; Victor Gekker, Executive Director, Kyiv, Ukraine;
              Additional supporting sponsors for the Action Ukraine
                          Program will be listed later this week.
If you would like to read the ACTION UKRAINE REPORT- AUR,
around three times a week, please send your name, country of residence,
and e-mail contact information to Information about
your occupation and your interest in Ukraine is also appreciated.
If you do not wish to read the ACTION UKRAINE REPORT please
contact us immediately by e-mail to  If you are
receiving more than one copy please let us know so this can be corrected. 
If you do not receive a copy of the AUR it is probably because of a
SPAM OR BULK MAIL BLOCKER maintained by your server or by
yourself on your computer. Spam and bulk mail blockers are set in very
arbitrary and impersonal ways and block out e-mails because of words
found in many news stories or the way the subject line is organized or
the header or who know what.
Spam blockers also sometimes reject the AUR for other arbitrary reasons
we have not been able to identify. If you do not receive some of the AUR
numbers please let us know and we will send you the missing issues. Please
make sure the spam blocker used by your server and also the one on your
personal computer, if you use a spam blocker, is set properly to receive
the Action Ukraine Report (AUR).

We are also having serious problems with hotmail, yahoo and MSN e-mail
systems not delivering the AUR and other such newsletters. If you have an
e-mail address other than the three above it is better to use that one for the

                          PUBLISHER AND EDITOR – AUR
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Director, Government Affairs
Washington Office, SigmaBleyzer, The Bleyzer Foundation

Emerging Markets Private Equity Investment Group;
President, U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, Washington;
Founder & Trustee, Holodomor Exhibition & Education Collection
P.O. Box 2607, Washington, D.C. 20013, Tel: 202 437 4707;
       Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.
return to index [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s