AUR#874 Oct 2 Election Results Close; Rivals Both Claim Victory; Vote Fraud; Who Saves Ukraine?; Religious Tensions; PM’S Western Makeover

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

Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World       
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor, SigmaBleyzer
Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
Return to Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, October 2, 2007

By Clifford J. Levy, The New York Times
New York, NY, Tuesday, October 2, 2007


By Sebastian Alison and Daryna Krasnolutska in Kiev
Bloomberg News, New York, NY, Tuesday, October 2, 2007

UNIAN News, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, October 1, 2007


Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, October 1, 2007

By Nicholas Wapshott, Staff Reporter of the Sun
New York, New York, Tuesday, October 2, 2007

No one state body demonstrates the pernicious intersection of business,
organised crime and politics that has traditionally haunted Ukraine quite as
damningly as the country’s parliament or Rada.
By Adrian Bloomfield, Telegraph, London, UK, Sat, Sep 29, 2007

Mr Putin’s tormentors are now back with a vengeance.
Telegraph, London, UK, Tuesday, October 2, 2007


In the run-up to Sunday’s elections, Ukraine saw open competition
between sharply differing political parties, a wide spectrum of media
coverage, and little direct state interference.
By Fred Weir, Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
Boston, Massachusetts, Monday, October 1, 2007

Commentary: by Oleh Berezyuk, Head of Kyiv Legal Society
Original article in Ukrainian, translated by Eugene Ivantsov
Ukrayinska Pravda, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Sep 28, 2007

By Roman Olearchyk and Stefan Wagstyl, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Monday, October 1 2007

By Askold Krushelnycky in Kiev, The Independent
London, United Kingdom, Tuesday,  02 October 2007

EIU Politics – News Analysis, The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited
New York, New York, Monday, October 1, 2007

By Stefan Wagstyl and Roman Olearchyk, Financial Times
London, UK, Monday, October 1 2007

Battle lines are drawn between pro-Moscow camp, Kyiv nationalists
Mitch Potter, Europe Bureau, Toronto Star
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Saturday, Sep 29, 2007

By Trevor Royle, Diplomatic Editor
Sunday Herald, Scotland, September 30, 2007

Askold Krushelnycky, Kiev, From The Sunday Times
Times Online, London, UK, Sunday, September 30, 2007

Viktor Yanukovych looks like a man suffering from a deep identity crisis
Adrian Blomfield in Donetsk, Telegraph, London, UK, Sat, Sep 29, 2007

By Clifford J. Levy, The New York Times
New York, New York, Sunday, September 30, 2007

Analysis & Commentary: By Mustafa Nayem, for UP
Original article in Ukrainian, translated by Eugene Ivantsov,
Ukrayinska Pravda, Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, September 29, 2007

Associated Press (AP), Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct 01 2007
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, October 1, 2007
Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC), Kyiv, Ukraine, Sat, Sep 29, 2
Commentary: By Tammy Lynch
The Huffington Post, USA, Saturday, September 29, 2007
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, October 1, 2007
Commentary: By Tammy Lynch
Ukrayinska Pravda, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, September 28, 2007

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, October 2, 2007

KYV – Party Of Regions Wins 34.2%, Tymoshenko Bloc 30.8%, Our Ukraine

People’s Self-Defense Bloc 14.27%, Communist Party 5.37%, Lytvyn Bloc
3.98% With 94% Of Protocols Counted By CEC

According to the latest counts by the Central Election Commission, which has
already processed 94% of voting protocols, the Party of Regions is leading
with 34.2%, the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko has 30.8%, Our Ukraine People’s
Self-Defense Bloc 14.27%, Communist Party 5.37%, and Lytvyn Bloc 3.98%.

Ukrainian News learned this from the CEC report, a copy of which was made
available to Ukrainian News.

The CEC notes that the data presented on the website has been obtained
operatively by way of telephone questioning of district electoral
commissions, the documentation is of informative character and cannot be
used as an official document.

The interim voting results are as follows:

1. Party of Regions                             34.20%     7,304,650 votes
2. Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko              30.80%     6,578,620
3. Our Ukraine-People’s Self Defense   14.27%     3,048,440
4. Communist party                               5.37%     1,147,870
5. Lytvyn Bloc                                      3.98%        850,667
6. Socialist party                                   2.94%        629,592

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the Verkhovna Rada elections were held
on September 30. The parties and blocs with at least 3% of the vote will
enter the parliament.

According to the CEC, the exact number of eligible voters is 37.514 million
(based on the data submitted by the registration groups of the district
election commissions).


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

By Clifford J. Levy, The New York Times
New York, NY, Tuesday, October 2, 2007

KIEV, Ukraine, Oct. 1 – Leaders of the two main political parties in Ukraine
both claimed victory on Monday in crucial parliamentary elections, but the
vote appeared so tight that it could be many days before a new prime
minister takes office.

Supporters of Yulia V. Tymoshenko, the former prime minister who was a
stalwart of the Orange Revolution of 2004, insisted that the final tally
would show that she was the victor. But her chief rival, Prime Minister
Viktor F. Yanukovich, dismissed those statements as premature.

With no convincing winner in Sunday’s contests, the situation remained
relatively unstable, especially given Ukraine’s recent history. Close
elections in the past three years have produced political stalemates,
large-scale demonstrations, extended legal battles, back room maneuvering
and accusations of voter fraud – all of which have left this nation

Officials said late Monday night that with 93 percent of the votes counted,
Mr. Yanukovich’s party had 34 percent and Ms. Tymoshenko’s had 31
percent. But those numbers could fluctuate as polling places finish

Ms. Tymoshenko’s party said she would become prime minister again by
reaching a deal with President Viktor A. Yushchenko’s party, which received
14 percent, rekindling an alliance that was triumphant in the Orange
Revolution, but collapsed in acrimony later on.

But many of the areas that had not yet reported were strongholds for Mr.
Yanukovich, indicating that his percentage might grow. Two or three minor
parties appeared to have a chance of qualifying for Parliament, which could
allow them to influence the choice of prime minister as the two main parties
woo them as partners.

Associates of Ms. Tymoshenko complained Monday about the slow pace of
the count in the areas loyal to Mr. Yanukovich, and they hinted of possible
fraud. President Yushchenko announced that he was ordering an investigation.

Despite the complaints about the count, the elections on Sunday appeared to
have been conducted fairly, competitively and without major problems,
according to foreign observers, making it unusual for a republic of the
former Soviet Union. It also contrasted with the presidential election that
led to the Orange Revolution, which was annulled after observers reported
widespread malfeasance.

The showing of Ms. Tymoshenko was a surprise, in that opinion polls before
the election had her party trailing Mr. Yanukovich’s by as many as 10
percentage points. On Sunday night she declared, “The victory of the
democratic forces is final.”

On Monday, Mr. Yanukovich criticized Ms. Tymoshenko for presuming that
she would be prime minister, saying that she was demonstrating her

“Any statement regarding a victory solely on the basis of exit poll
predictions is irresponsible, unpersuasive and extremely cavalier,” he said.

The third-place showing of Mr. Yushchenko’s party reflected how far his
popularity had slipped since the days of the Orange Revolution, when he won
the presidency over Mr. Yanukovich. Ukraine has stumbled through political
turmoil since, and the public tends to hold Mr. Yushchenko responsible.

Mr. Yanukovich, whose political career was thought to be over after he lost
the presidency in 2004, mounted an unexpected comeback last year with the
help of an American political consultant, Paul J. Manafort. Once considered
a hard-liner who favored close ties with Russia, Mr. Yanukovich has been
campaigning as a reformer who wants to build relations with Europe.

Voter preferences in Ukraine have been largely based on regional divisions,
with Mr. Yanukovich winning support in the Russian-speaking east and south
of the country. Ms. Tymoshenko and Mr. Yushchenko are popular in the
Ukrainian-speaking west.

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

By Sebastian Alison and Daryna Krasnolutska in Kiev
Bloomberg News, New York, NY, Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko warned against vote fraud as late
results from a Sept. 30 parliamentary election showed the winning margin of
his Orange coalition disappearing.

The Orange alliance of former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko’s bloc and
Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party had 45.33 percent of the vote with 93 percent
counted by midnight in Kiev, the Central Election Commission said on its Web

All the other parties with a chance of reaching the 3 percent threshold
needed to enter parliament had a combined 46.25 percent, giving them an
overall majority should they agree to combine forces.

The late swing toward the Party of the Regions of pro- Russian Prime
Minister Viktor Yanukovych and his allies contradicted exit polls after
voting closed.

The move also reversed a trend earlier yesterday that had the pro-western
Orange team, which seeks closer ties with the European Union and NATO,
winning. Yushchenko demanded an investigation into why returns from regions
loyal to Yanukovych were coming in late.

“I demand that the Central Election Commission and the Prosecutor General’s
Office give comprehensive explanations,”

Yushchenko said in a translated speech posted yesterday on his Web site. “I
would like to say clearly to those political forces that hope to get into
parliament through manipulations: Words and actions will not be at variance
and falsifiers will be punished. Do not challenge the law and your own
ECHO OF 2004
Yushchenko’s claim echoed the presidential election in 2004, when Yanukovych
was declared the winner in a poll, which the Constitutional Court said was
rigged after tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets.

Yushchenko was swept to power in the ensuing “Orange Revolution,” and the
two men have been at odds ever since.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the continent’s
main human-rights watchdog, said in a statement yesterday that the latest
election largely met international standards for a free and fair vote.

The election was “mostly in line with international commitments and
standards for democratic elections” and confirmed “an open and competitive
environment” for holding such votes, the statement said. The OSCE deployed
about 710 observers to monitor the election.

Urdur Gunnarsdottir, spokeswoman for the OSCE’s Office for Democratic
Institutions and Human Rights, wouldn’t comment directly on Yushchenko’s

“We will be following the complaints process, but we will not be commenting
on every single move,” she said by telephone from Kiev.
Evhen Poberezhnyi, deputy director of the Ukrainian Voter’s Committee, a
non-governmental organization, said election monitors had not operated

“There are some polling stations in eastern and southern regions of Ukraine
where there are no observers from opposition parties,” he said in a
telephone interview.

Timoshenko, 46, earlier had been confident enough of victory to say she
would meet Yushchenko to discuss a new Cabinet, reuniting the victors of the
2004 Orange Revolution. They didn’t meet yesterday.

Central Election Commission member Mykhaylo Okhendovskiy said the final vote
tallies won’t be announced until today and possibly tomorrow, according to
television channel TV 5.
Former parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn could emerge as a key figure
after the elections, analysts said. At midnight in Kiev, his bloc had 4
percent of the vote.

If he backs Yanukovych, he could put the latter’s Party of the Regions, with
allies the Communist Party and the Socialist Party of Ukraine, just ahead of
the Orange group. If he backs the Yushchenko- Timoshenko alliance, they
should still have a clear majority.

“The Lytvyn bloc could again be the spoiler this year,” said Taras Kuzio,
research associate at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian
Studies at George Washington University. Lytvyn “maintained good relations
with Yushchenko and Yanukovych” and so “could be courted by both.”

The Socialist Party had 2.96 percent of the vote at midnight, just short of
the threshold. With 7 percent of votes uncounted, its total could rise to
give it seats in parliament.

Yanukovych, 57, won elections last year and his administration blocked many
of the president’s policies and stripped him of some powers.

Yanukovych said after polls closed Sept. 30 that his party had been given
“carte blanche” to form the next government.

“We will ask all parties that entered the parliament to start talks with
us,” he said in a television interview. “We will unite all pragmatic forces
that will be able to unite Ukraine and stimulate economic development.”

Still, the president’s party will vote with Timoshenko, said Yuriy Lutsenko,
leader of Our Ukraine. “We reiterate that we are going to team up only with
Timoshenko’s alliance,” he said at a televised press conference.
To contact the reporters on this story: Daryna Krasnolutska in Kiev at ; Sebastian Alison in Kiev via the Moscow
newsroom at
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


UNIAN News, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, October 1, 2007

KYIV – President of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko has ordered law-enforcement
agencies to immediately investigate into the reasons of delaying the
calculation of votes at the early parliamentary election in Ukraine.

According to the President’s address to the Ukrainian nation, forwarded to
UNIAN by the President’s press-office, Victor Yushchenko said:”Ukraine’s
snap parliamentary election has come to an end.

This fact is our common victory. Only half a year ago, a constitutional coup
was being masterminded by the former coalition to usurp power by stifling
and twisting the will of the people”.

“We have protected the right of the people to choose their fate. As head of
state, I appreciate the fact that my position and my confidence in the
achievability of changes was supported by people everywhere”, the
President`s address reads.

According to Victor Yushchenko, the key challenge now is to determine the
final results of the election.  “I am worried by delays in ballot counting
in Ukraine’s eastern and southern regions, especially in the Donetsk,
Lugansk and Odesa regions and in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

This process is apparently being dragged out.

I demand that the Central Election Commission and the Prosecutor General’s
Office give comprehensive explanations. I order law enforcement bodies to
immediately start an investigation into the causes and circumstances of the
delays in the sending of original protocols”, he said.

“I would like to say clearly to those political forces that hope to get into
parliament through manipulations: words and actions will not be at variance
and falsifiers will be punished. Do not challenge the law and your own fate.

“It will be impossible to change the actual choice of the people. I firmly
believe in consolidation and victory of Ukrainian democracy”, reads the
President`s web site.

As of 15.44, CEC received and process the least number of voting protocols
from Crimea (55.78%), Luhansk Oblast (56.82%), Kyiv (57.58%), Sevastopol
(52.40%), Odessa Oblast (66.41%), and Donetsk Oblast (67.39%).

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Send in names and e-mail addresses for the AUR distribution list.
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, October 1, 2007

KYIV – The Central Electoral Commission (CEC) is dissatisfied with the delay
in the counting of votes in the eastern and southern regions of the country
following the September 30 early parliamentary elections. The CEC’s Deputy
Chairman Andrii Mahera announced this at a news briefing.

“The CEC is unhappy with the current state of affairs,” Mahera said when
asked whether the CEC shares President Viktor Yuschenko’s concern over

the delay of the vote counts in these regions.

Mahera added that the CEC was doing everything possible to facilitate
acceleration of delivery of voting results from these regions.

“If operational interference from the Central Electoral Commission is
insufficient … regarding the situation in the relevant regions, we will
take collective measures through adoption of resolutions regarding
explanations,” Mahera said.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Yuschenko earlier directed the law
enforcement agencies to investigate the reasons for the delay in the
counting of votes at polling stations in the eastern and southern regions of
the country.

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

By Nicholas Wapshott, Staff Reporter of the Sun
New York, New York, Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The election victory of the pro-Western Orange parties in Ukraine, spelling
the return of a glamorous former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, was
overshadowed last night by a signal from President Putin that he is
unwilling to abandon his hold over the neighboring Russian regime.

Ukraine finds itself on the new ideological fissure line dividing East and
West following the collapse of the Soviet Union and constantly feels the
brooding presence of Russia on its eastern border.

Mr. Putin, who has used Russia’s oil wealth to reignite many of the
anti-Western passions of the Cold War, made clear that when he stands down
as president at the election in March, he is prepared to head the government
of the United Russia Party, a prospect he considers “entirely realistic.”

The hopes of President Yushchenko of Ukraine of settling once and for all
whether his country is to embrace the West wholeheartedly by joining the
World Trade Organization and speeding up its integration into the European
Union remained uncertain, however, despite the ringing endorsement voters
gave to the pro-Western parties, his Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defense Bloc,
which won 15% of the vote, and Mrs. Tymoshenko’s Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko,
gaining 31.91%.

Mr. Yushchenko’s archrival, Viktor Yanukovych, who leads the pro-Russian
Party of Regions, which won 32.45% of the vote, said he could still stitch
together a majority in the Ukrainian Parliament by doing deals with small
parties, including the communists. “We won, and I am convinced that we will
again form a government of national trust and unity,” he said.

The country now faces weeks of political infighting, behind the scenes
machinations, and accusations of vote rigging tested in the courts.

Supporters of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution of 2004, which ousted Mr.
Yanukovych from the presidency after days of street demonstrations in Kiev
amid allegations of widespread voter fraud, were confident that Mr.
Yushchenko would today invite his former partner in power, Ms. Tymoshenko,
to form a coalition government in concert with his own party.

“I believe no one can diminish or deny the victory Ukraine has scored,” Ms.
Tymoshenko said yesterday. “Everything will work out. In a matter of weeks
we will hold our first government news conference.”

The news from Moscow of Mr. Putin’s reluctance to retire gracefully after
eight years in the Kremlin quickly cast a pall over the new wave of optimism
in Ukraine.

Mr. Putin has allowed his name to head the United Russia ticket without
joining its ranks, which under Russia’s proportional representation list
system will guarantee him a seat in Russia’s lower house of Parliament, the

His election as a member of Parliament, however, could be merely a prelude
to his return to power, this time as prime minister. “As far as heading the
government is concerned, this is quite a realistic suggestion, but it is
still too early to think about it,” Mr. Putin told a United Party congress

Earlier this year Mr. Putin explored the possibility of extending his period
as president, which the Russian constitution limits to two four-year terms,
but he appears to have settled on a new gambit.

He may well cede powers from the presidency to the premiership before he
leaves office, therefore setting himself up as the beneficiary of a new
powerful office of the prime minister.

Mr. Putin’s robust approach to the West has helped him maintain high
popularity figures, with 80% approving in recent polls, which in turn makes
him a powerful political force.

United Russia currently holds two-thirds of the seats in the Duma, and with
Mr. Putin as its unofficial leader it can be expected to maintain its
dominating presence after the December elections.

Mr. Putin’s announcement yesterday also offers an explanation for why he
elevated his loyal but weak ally Viktor Zubkov to the premiership last
month. If Mr. Zubkov puts himself forward as Mr. Putin’s preferred
presidential candidate in March, Mr. Putin will retain control of Russia by
having switched roles.

The continuation of Mr. Putin at the top of Russian politics is hardly
welcome in some quarters of Ukraine. He has openly supported Mr. Yanukovych,
whose party support comes from the eastern and southern areas of the
country, inhabited largely by Russian speakers.

Last year Mr. Putin showed his displeasure at events in Ukraine by shutting
off the supply of Russian gas, seen in the West as an indication that Russia
will use all the resources at its disposal to ensure the compliance of its
neighbors, and a warning to the European Union, which is dependent on
Russian gas, that he is prepared to use energy as a weapon in any dispute
with the West.

Ms. Tymoshenko showed little indication that she is prepared to kowtow to
Mr. Putin, conspicuously taking a congratulatory telephone call from one of
Mr. Putin’s enemies, Georgia’s pro-Western president, Mikheil Saakashvili.

As a precaution, however, she was also quick to announce yesterday that as
prime minister she intended to maintain “well-balanced and friendly
relations” with Russia.

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
No one state body demonstrates the pernicious intersection of business,
organised crime and politics that has traditionally haunted Ukraine quite as
damningly as the country’s parliament or Rada.

By Adrian Bloomfield, Telegraph, London, UK, Sat, Sep 29, 2007

It is a cushy job if you can afford it. The benefits are great, the hours
easy, the holidays paid for and, if you don’t feel like working, you can
always send a minion in to the office for you.

When Ukrainians go to the polls tomorrow, they could be forgiven for
assuming that they are voting in a new parliament. In fact, commentators
say, they will merely be choosing members of the country’s most indolent and
expensive club.

In the bitter winter of 2004, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian protestors,
camped in Kiev’s main square, swept to power a new breed of rulers who
vowed to crush corruption and turn the country into a modern European

Three years after the orange revolution, the expectations of its supporters
have withered as political in-fighting, treachery and greed have combined to
keep the country in a state of almost permanent political crisis.

Yet no one state body demonstrates the pernicious intersection of business,
organised crime and politics that has traditionally haunted Ukraine quite as
damningly as the country’s parliament or Rada.

According to estimates, 300 of his 450 deputies are dollar millionaires. Few
of this gilded community are thought to have earned their wealth
legitimately and almost all of them bought their seats.

Ukraine’s rotten boroughs bring with them many perks, including immunity
from prosecution – a status President Viktor Yushchenko says he wants to
abolish – and, more importantly, greater access to lucrative government

This vast swindle is aided by Ukraine’s electoral system. MPs have no
constituencies but are instead selected through closed lists drawn up by
party bosses and their sponsors.

The higher a millionaire wants to be on the list, the more they have to
pay – with guaranteed seats being sold for upwards of £4m last month,
according to sources.

Ukraine’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, estimated to be worth £7.2 billion is
number seven on the list of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of the

While the Region’s party, which has ideological links with Russia, is
considered to be the worst offender even the westernising pro-orange party
are guilty, analysts say.

Former Primer Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s party has given billionaire
Kostyatin Zhevago a guaranteed seat. Some tycoons are said to buy blocks
of seats for their representatives.

Opponents claim that Mr Akhmetov has bought seats for his driver and
bodyguards. So high are the stakes that it is estimated Ukraine’s political
parties have spent £2 billion pounds in campaigning, making the election
among the most expensive in European history.

As a result one of the few surviving legacies of the orange revolution is
being jeopardised. Parliamentary elections last year were regarded as the
fairest in Ukrainian history.

This time around observers expect the fight will be much dirtier. Even when
the poll is over, the shenanigans do not stop. MPs rarely bother to turn up,

sending messengers to cast their votes for them.

“Businessmen have no time to sit in parliament and listen to stupid
debates,” said Yuri Syrotiuk an activist who monitors parliament for the
Ukrainian Open Society Foundation.

Because businessmen only really benefit if their party has a governing
majority, defections are common. 30 MPs in the last parliament crossed the
floor to join the Party of Regions nearly giving Mr Yanukovych a two-thirds
majority, enough to strip the President of his powers and hand Russia
revenge for the humiliation that the orange revolution dealt President
Vladimir Putin.

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
NOTE: Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
Mr Putin’s tormentors are now back with a vengeance.

Telegraph, London, UK, Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Vladimir Putin’s greatest international humiliation was visited on him three
years ago when his placeman for the presidency of the Ukraine, Viktor
Yanukovych, was driven out of office by the Orange Revolution.

Mr Putin’s tormentors are now back with a vengeance. Preliminary results
from Sunday’s parliamentary elections suggest that the opposition leader –
and heroine of the Orange Revolution – Yulia Tymoshenko has triumphed at
the expense of the hapless Mr Yanukovych.

If the result is confirmed, the orange coalition could shortly be back in
control. Mr Putin is unlikely to respond with equanimity to this turn of

When Mrs Tymoshenko was last in power, in 2005, Mr Putin punished
Ukraine by cutting off gas supplies. This was no little local difficulty.

Given that Ukraine is the conduit for most of Europe’s natural gas, it threw
the EU into a panic and caused energy disruption in a number of countries.
It would be foolish not to expect more of the same from Mr Putin,
highlighting once again Europe’s unhealthy reliance on Russian gas.

For the Russian leader is once again flexing his well-toned muscles. He
indicated yesterday that he intends to stand as prime minister when his term
as president ends next March.

From that position he will doubtless appoint a puppet president and continue
to exert precisely the same authority as he does now. He can then return for
a further term as president in 2012 when the relative roles will once again
be reversed.

We should not be surprised at the contempt Mr Putin displays for the
democratic process in Russia. He has already turned the parliament into his
plaything; trampling over the constitution will come as second nature.

Mr Putin is a dangerous man who has for too long been pandered to by a
timid international community.

Is the formidable Mrs Tymoshenko made of sterner stuff? It looks as if we
will soon find out.

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
In the run-up to Sunday’s elections, Ukraine saw open competition
between sharply differing political parties, a wide spectrum of media
coverage, and little direct state interference.

By Fred Weir, Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
Boston, Massachusetts, Monday, October 1, 2007

KIEV – Some grumbled, but most Ukrainians went willingly to the polls
Sunday to take part in a civic exercise that’s become increasingly rare in
most parts of the former Soviet Union – free, open, and truly competitive

Many voters leaving Kiev polling stations expressed frustration with the
political stalemate between the Moscow-friendly “Blue” party of Prime
Minister Viktor Yanukovich and the pro-Western “Orange” parties led by
President Viktor Yushchenko and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko,
which persists despite four elections in the past three years.

But some insisted they’d rather keep casting ballots than see order imposed
upon them from above. “It’s our politicians we’re disillusioned with, not
democracy,” said Lyudmilla Smirnova, a pensioner.

Despite many nagging problems, Ukraine’s fledgling democracy remains a
splash of brightness in a region where the lights are slowly fading out.

With the exception of the three ex-Soviet Baltic states, which became full
members of the European Union in 2004, most republics of the former USSR
have drifted backward in recent years, abandoning experimental democracies
for varying hues of authoritarianism.

“Ukraine is more democratic than most other parts of the former Soviet
Union,” says Vitaly Kulik, director of the independent Civil Society Studies
Center in Kiev. “It’s far more open, and our civil society develops in an
unfettered way. Ukraine’s sorrow is that democracy has turned into a source
of permanent political crisis.”
Russia, the giant neighbor that still exercises great influence over
Ukraine, has turned to a system of “managed democracy” under the intensely
popular President Vladimir Putin, which has produced prosperity and order
but severely circumscribed civil liberties and democratic choices.

“Russia is basically an authoritarian state now, with highly centralized
power and most decisionmaking concentrated in the hands of one man,” says
Masha Lipman, an expert with the Carnegie Center in Moscow. “If we define
democracy as public participation, political competition, and government
accountability, then Russia no longer qualifies as a democracy.”

Next door, Belarus is run as a virtual fiefdom of President Alexander
Lukashenko, who was overwhelmingly elected to a third term last year in what
international observers judged to be rigged polls.

In Central Asia, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are closed dictatorships. Once
regarded as a budding democracy, Kazakhstan adopted constitutional changes
earlier this year that will effectively make its Soviet-era leader Nursultan
Nazarbayev president for life.

The picture looks increasingly clouded for Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, two
countries which – like Ukraine – recently experienced pro-democracy “color

Last week thousands took to the streets of Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, to
protest the arrest of former Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili, a key
opponent of President Mikhail Saakashvili.

“In Georgia, politics increasingly revolve around Saakashvili,” says
Alexander Dergachov, an expert with the independent Institute of Political
and Ethno-Social Studies in Kiev. “Things are even worse in Kyrgyzstan and
Moldova,” another once-hopeful democracy on Ukraine’s flank.
By contrast, experts say, Ukraine’s election campaign saw open competition
between sharply differing political parties, with a wide spectrum of media
coverage and little direct state interference in the process.

“Our elections are free and transparent,” says Alexander Chernenko, a
spokesman for the Committee of Ukrainian Voters, a nongovernmental
monitoring group.

The problems facing Ukraine’s election, he says, are mainly due to poor
organization and ill-defined laws, which leave the process open to abuses,
such as ballot-stuffing by overzealous local officials.

“We have an election commission that can’t seem to function effectively, and
we’ve had many troubles because of badly prepared voters’ lists, and other
procedural problems like that,” says Mr. Chernenko.

And there’s the danger that Ukrainians could become exhausted with free
elections that only seem to reproduce the same political standoff between
Orange and Blue parties.

“It’s like we’ve got permanent elections here, and people are getting tired
of that,” says Anatoly Reshetnikov, who wouldn’t say who he voted for
Sunday. “Maybe we need someone similar to [Russian president] Putin here.
Our leaders just don’t seem to be able to accomplish their duties.”
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

COMMENTARY: by Oleh Berezyuk, Head of Kyiv Legal Society
Original article in Ukrainian, translated by Eugene Ivantsov
Ukrayinska Pravda, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Sep 28, 2007

The election campaign is not over but one can say that the balance of the
political parties and blocs in the Verkhovna Rada will not change

No party or bloc will be able to receive an absolute majority of votes, and
that is why Ukraine will go through the painful process of the coalition and
government formation.

Obviously, the Party of Regions (PRU) and Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT)
will be the key players.

Our Ukraine – People’s Self Defense is not likely to play an independent
political role and that is why it will be forced to join either the PRU or
the BYuT. All other parties and blocs that have theoretical chances of
entering parliament will have no serious impact on the political processes
in Ukraine.

Now, let’s talk about formation of the coalition and the Cabinet of

Obviously, it will be a very complicated process. Divergence of views and
ambitions of the political leaders who can claim top offices will prevent
them from seeking compromise. That is why, if formed, the parliamentary
coalition and the government are unlikely to normally function.

Given the circumstances, one can only dream of stability in Ukraine.

Besides, early parliamentary election may be declared invalid which will
cause a “stalemate situation”. The Verkhovna Rada of the fifth convocation
is not valid because it has less than two-thirds of its constitutional

It may also happen to a new parliament when one of the main political forces
refuses to accept the election outcome and register its MPs.

That is why it will be impossible to form a coalition and consequently a new
government, as provided by the Constitution. This will cause not only
parliamentary but also government crisis. Under such circumstances, the
president will remain the only legitimate authority.

Taking into account that he is the highest authority in the country and
according to Article 102 of the Constitution, the guarantor of state
sovereignty, territorial integrity and compliance with the Constitution,
human rights and freedoms, he will be forced to assume responsibility for
everything happening in the country by introducing a direct presidential

As the current Constitution mainly causes instability in the country, the
crisis can be resolved only through amendments to the Fundamental Law.

Today, both the authority and the opposition state the necessity to amend
the Constitution. But none of them has yet proposed or at least made public
own draft text of Constitution. The public has never been offered at lest a
new concept of the Fundamental Law.

All this makes conscious and active citizens seek other ways of resolving
the crisis.

Article 5 of the Constitution says that the people of Ukraine are the only
source of power. According to the same article, only the people of Ukraine
are empowered to decide and change the Constitutional order.

That is why it is possible to say that the Constitution adopted by the
Verkhovna Rada in 1996 (and amendments to this Constitution introduced in
2004) is illegitimate because it was not decided by the people at an
all-national referendum.

It does not mean that the current Constitution must be ignored. In the first
place the Constitution is a law, and any law must be observed in Ukraine.

The difference between the Constitution and an ordinary law lies in the fact
that the Constitution has a superior legal effect to all normative and legal
acts. That is why it must be adopted not only by the representative body
like the Verkhovna Rada but also by the people as the only source of power
in the country.

Taking into account that only the people of Ukraine can adopt and amend the
constitutional order, then only the Constitution approved at an all-national
referendum can be considered legitimate. Such Constitution will have a
superior legal effect to all current laws in Ukraine.
Who can initiate the referendum?
As provided by Article 72 of the Constitution, the right to call an
all-national referendum belongs to the Verkhovna Rada and the President. But
taking into account balance of the political forces in Ukraine, it is
doubtful that the Verkhovna Rada will be able to make any fateful decisions.

In such a situation, only the president can do it. He has the necessary
authority and financing to hire the best specialists in the area of the
Constitutional Law. These specialists will work out a new draft Constitution
to be approved at an all-national referendum. This is the best way to
resolve crisis.

If the president takes a passive position, the country needs the political
force which will be able to work out a new draft Constitution and collect
three million signatures in support of a referendum persuading the people
that this text of the Constitution will establish civilized relations
between the branches of power and secure stable development of the country
and the society.

This course of events is possible and successful if initiated and supported
by an honorable and respected Ukrainian citizen.

History is full of such examples. It is the US crisis in 1787. The country
was saved by non-governmental initiative group supported by the most
famous US citizen George Washington.

Without any exaggeration one can claim that the current social and political
crisis jeopardizes territorial integrity and national unity of the country.

In this connection, the question posed by the great Ukrainian poet Taras
Shevchenko “Shall we live to see our Washington with a new and fair law”
remains open.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


By Roman Olearchyk and Stefan Wagstyl, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Monday, October 1 2007

Yulia Tymoshenko established herself more than a decade ago as a force in
Ukrainian politics. With her strong showing in the parliamentary election,
she has emerged as a real alternative for voters tired of the longstanding
wrestling match between President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister
Viktor Yanukovich.

The result gives her a chance to regain the premier’s job, which she briefly
held in 2005, and improves her chances of making a credible bid in the next
presidential campaign in 2009 or 2010. Less certain is whether this
ambitious maverick has learned from the mistakes that cut short previous
stints in power.

Ms Tymoshenko earned a fortune in Ukraine’s less-than-transparent gas
trading business in the mid-1990s but later managed to transform her image
into that of a popular fighter for the poor against the depredations of the

As deputy prime minister in 1999-2000, Ms Tymoshenko reformed the corrupt
electricity sector and planned to do the same in coal and gas.

But she was fired by President Leonid Kuchma and temporarily jailed on
corruption charges dating back to her gas trading days. The charges were
dropped, but Ms Tymoshenko continued to attract controversy.

Her fights with influential businessmen earned her many enemies, not least
in Russia, where she is viewed with deep suspicion for her criticisms that
companies controlling Russia’s gas exports to Ukraine lack transparency.

Ms Tymoshenko made international headlines when she played a big part in
rallying support from street protesters to back Mr Yushchenko in the 2004
Orange revolution. She was rewarded with the role of prime minister.

But within months the pair fell out after bitter arguments over power,
claims of corruption among their associates and over her campaign to reverse
Mr Kuchma’s privatisations.

Ms Tymoshenko’s delicate appearance belies a tough spirit. Coming from a
broken home, she never gives up and models herself on Margaret Thatcher, the
former British prime minister, whom she recently visited. “Women have to
fight more to establish themselves and this makes us stronger,” Ms
Tymoshenko said in a Financial Times interview last month.

Ms Tymoshenko has campaigned on a populist platform, pledging increases in
pensions and handouts and attacks on corruption. In the past she has shown
herself more willing than other leaders to try to deliver on these promises
in government.

But she seems to have realised this extravagant approach can damage
Ukraine’s international reputation as a predictable partner. Since 2005 she has

sought to tone down her radical image, emphasising her support for sound
economic policies and close relations with the European Union.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
If you are receiving more than one copy of the AUR please contact us.

By Askold Krushelnycky in Kiev, The Independent
London, United Kingdom, Tuesday,  02 October 2007

Ukraine appears to have distanced itself further from Russia as early
election results last night showed strong support for the pro-Western
democratic parties.

Almost single-handedly, Julia Tymoshenko, flamboyant heroine of the
so-called Orange Revolution in 2004, inspired an electorate weary of broken
promises and three elections in as many years to go to the polls and back
efforts to solidify their country’s democracy and independence.

With some 90 per cent of the ballots counted, the party of the
Russian-backed Prime Minister, Viktor Yanukovych led with 33 per cent, but
Ms Tymoshenko’s party, with 31.5 per cent, can call on the support of
President Viktor Yushchenko, whose party has won 15 per cent of the vote.

There is a fragile truce currently between Ms Tymoshenko and the President,
who were allies during the popular revolution three years ago but have been
rivals more recently.

Taras Kuzio, a British academic and Ukraine expert, said: “Tymoshenko has
saved the Orange Revolution. Ukraine has got a second chance to finish what
the Orange Revolution started.”

The electoral picture will be completed by two or three small parties, which
will pass the 3 per cent threshold needed to enter parliament. One of those,
the Communists, will side with Mr Yanukovych. The party led by the maverick
Volodymyr Lytvyn will go to the highest bidder, probably the renewed Orange

Meanwhile, Mr Yanukovych said he would hold a 50,000-strong rally in the
centre of the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, yesterday afternoon ,supposedly to
spearhead a campaign to challenge the results of Sunday’s election.

But only 6,000 turned up, most in buses from the Prime Minister’s Donetsk
stronghold in the east. The demonstrators, many of whom admitted they were
being paid the equivalent of $20 (£10) to appear, disappeared after
uninspiring speeches from party leaders.

EU and Western monitors said there had been some infringements in the voting
but mostly the balloting had been conducted fairly and the results should be
recognised as valid.

The election was an attempt to break the cycle of continuous political
turmoil in Ukraine since the Orange Revolution, which brought Mr

Yushchenko to power in January 2005.

His dithering transformed a slim pro-Orange parliamentary majority in
elections last year into a victory for his pro-Moscow arch-rival, Viktor

After parliamentary elections last year, Mr Yushchenko reneged on a
pre-election deal which should have seen Ms Tymoshenko, installed as
premier. As the two quarrelled one of their allies defected, which allowed
Mr Yanukovych to become premier.

Ms Tymoshenko launched a campaign for fresh elections saying that the last
thing most of the Socialist voters had wanted when they cast their ballots
was government by the Party of the Regions, which blends a rapacious
pseudo-capitalism with Goodfellas-style ethics.

Little separates Mr Yushchenko and Ms Tymoshenko ideologically, but his
rejection of Ms Tymoshenko has been perceived as a betrayal by many of his
former supporters. That was reflected in Sunday’s polls and Ms Tymoshenko
is now seen as the standard bearer of democracy in Ukraine.

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

EIU Politics – News Analysis, The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited
New York, New York, Monday, October 1, 2007

Thanks mainly to a stronger than expected showing by the Yuliya Tymoshenko
Bloc, the Orange parties are on course to win a slender majority in Ukraine’s
new parliament.

This does not guarantee that an Orange government will be established, but
in the current circumstances it seems President Viktor Yushchenko has little
option but to name Ms Tymoshenko prime minister.

However, the outgoing government will pursue every legal and political
avenue in an effort to retain power, and there are no guarantees that Ms
Tymoshenko and Mr Yushchenko will do a better job of working together second
time around.

Yuliya Tymoshenko has claimed victory for the “Orange” parties in the
September 30th parliamentary election, and said on October 1st that she
would approach the president, Viktor Yushchenko, to discuss the formation of
a new government.

On the basis of 82.44% of the vote counted, the Central Electoral Commission
(CEC) says that outgoing Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions
(PoR) has 32.8% of the vote, compared with 31.7% for the Yuliya Tymoshenko
Bloc (YTB).

The pro-presidential Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defence is a distant third
with 14.9%. The Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU) has 5.3%, the Lytvyn Bloc
(of former parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn) has 4%
and–surprisingly–Oleksandr Moroz’s Socialist Party has 3.1% and is thus
poised to cross the 3% threshold needed to re-enter parliament. For months,
the odds were against Mr Moroz achieving this.

The final result looks likely to be an extremely close thing, with the
“Orange” parties expected at best to have a majority of only a handful of
seats in the 450-seat chamber. Another PoR-led coalition is looking

To achieve this, Mr Yanukovych would need to form an unwieldy coalition
bringing together the CPU–which is already considered to be a fairly
awkward coalition partner–the Lytvyn Bloc and the Socialists.

Although the Lytvyn Bloc is believed to be funded by a PoR financial backer
and would therefore be more likely to ally with the PoR in
coalition-building, it could in fact go either way if it emerges in the
position of kingmaker.

Given the current arithmetic, a parliament without the Socialists would seem
to rule out a PoR-led majority, absent of a deal between Mr Yanukovych and
long-time rival President Viktor Yushchenko, who is the de facto head of Our
Yanukovych’s response
The PoR will not accept defeat lightly. It resisted the notion of holding an
early election for months, and would find being excluded from government
extremely hard to tolerate. In the last parliament the PoR was very
successful in inducing members of rival parties to defect to its ranks.

This was a key driver of Mr Yushchenko’s decision to dissolve parliament and
it has boosted efforts this time around to establish a binding mandate–so
that MPs cannot defect from the party on whose list they were elected.

The effectiveness of these measures is likely to be tested at some point
during the parliamentary term, and perhaps very soon.
With the final vote likely to be close, the PoR will be tempted to challenge
the election outcome.

Although independent observers have declared that there were no widespread
voting irregularities, the results could be contested in certain
constituencies. If it cannot form a majority, the PoR could also still cling
to the idea of setting up a “grand coalition” between itself and Our
Ukraine-People’s Party.
It is believed that May’s compromise on holding an early election was pushed
by moderate businessmen within Our Ukraine and the PoR who favoured such a
grand coalition, and these businessmen will now feel that they are owed a
debt. For Mr Yushchenko, this is an option that could be presented as
uniting the divided country.

At the same time, it would stand as a betrayal of the Orange Revolution in
the eyes of the electorate. The leaders of Our Ukraine-People’s Party have
made clear that they will not do a deal with Mr Yanukvoych; the president
too, in the run-up to the election, declared that the Orange parties had
patched up their differences and were ready for government.

For Mr Yushchenko to now turn to his old rival, when the Orange parties

are within touching distance of a parliamentary majority, would wreck his
credentials as an Orange politician.

Although Mr Yushchenko has known reservations about appointing Ms

Tymoshenko prime minister again-not least because it would put her in a
strong position to contest the presidential election due in late 2009-her
extremely strong electoral showing means that he would be likely to lose
the “Orange” vote to her anyway if he were to ignore the “people’s will”
and exclude her from government.

There are also positive reasons for Mr Yushchenko to opt for Ms Tymoshenko
as prime minister. The Our Ukraine and YTB party leaderships are now much
closer than in the past, with Our Ukraine leaders such as Petro Poroshenko,
who fought with Ms Tymoshenko in the 2005 “Orange” government, having more
recently taken a back seat.
Ms Tymoshenko’s record as prime minister in 2005 is mixed. On the one hand,
her government made important inroads into the shadow economy and reforming
areas such as the customs administration.

Having made the PoR’s links with big business and fighting corruption one of
her main platforms in the election, she would therefore be under pressure to
make further progress in these areas if she returns to government (even
though her own party is not without its own big business links).

On the other hand, her vehement anti-oligarchic stance, and in particular,
the scale of reprivatisation that she proposed when last prime minister, led
to a weakening of investor sentiment. She also adopted an interventionist
stance on some economic issues, such as trying to cap domestic petrol

Perhaps most importantly, there was a sharp deterioration in relations with
Russia due to her wish to renegotiate the price at which Ukraine imports gas
from its neighbour.

It is likely that Ms Tymoshenko will have learnt some lessons from her time
as prime minister, but it remains to be seen how far she would tone down her
populist stance a second time round as premier.

Irrespective of what policies an “Orange” government would pursue, the
likelihood that it will only hold a narrow majority, and be faced by a
bitter opposition, could limit its policymaking capability.
If the PoR government is replaced by an “Orange” administration, the
destabilising power struggle that has pitted Mr Yushchenko against the
government for the past year should ease. Nevertheless, the constitutional
shortcomings that fuelled the conflict will remain.

Moreover, the means used to dissolve parliament in order to allow for an
early election–by more than a third of its deputies from the “Orange”
parties resigning their seats–sets a dangerous precedent should the PoR
decide that it wants to force another election.

All of Ukraine’s political forces will need to co-operate if a clearer
constitution, detailing whether Ukraine is a presidential, parliamentary, or
mixed presidential/parliamentary republic, is to be introduced. Such
consensus will remain hard to find, especially as the country’s politicians
begin to position themselves for the presidential election in 2009.

And although the YTB and Our Ukraine will be keenly aware that if they
commit the same mistakes again as in 2005 by descending into infighting, the
presidential aspirations of the two parties’ leaders will prove hard to

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

By Stefan Wagstyl and Roman Olearchyk, Financial Times
London, UK, Monday, October 1 2007

Yulia Tymoshenko, the firebrand opposition leader, and Viktor Yanukovich,
the prime minister, on Monday both claimed victory in Ukraine’s
parliamentary election, leaving the country with the prospect of prolonged
political in-fighting and legal disputes.

Leaders of president Viktor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine/People’s Self Defence
grouping, which came third, seemed ready to try to open coalition talks with
Ms Tymoshenko and recreate the pro-west team that triumphed in the 2004
Orange Revolution.

“I want to greet the president – we have a clear victory,” Ms Tymoshenko
said early on Monday morning.

But with Mr Yanukovich’s Russia-friendly Regions party unlikely to surrender
power without a fight, and some Our Ukraine supporters favouring a renewed
Yushchenko-Yanukovich alliance, it was unclear how and when the negotiations
might end.

“The Orange [forces] rushed to conclusions and are trying to divide the
country with their rushed announcements,” said Mr Yanukovich.

International observers pronounced the election itself as “mostly”
conforming to international standards, but concerns emerged about possible
fraud at the count. Mr Yushchenko ordered the security services to
investigate counting delays in Mr Yanukovich’s stronghold in eastern

The president on Monday threatened stiff punishment for “those political
forces that hope to get into parliament through manipulations”.

Mr Yushchenko, who called the elections early to end the political deadlock
that has gripped Ukraine since 2004, looked to be facing a real struggle to
achieve the stability that most Ukrainian voters want.

With more than 80 per cent of the vote counted, Mr Yanukovich’s Regions
party seemed certain to remain the largest parliamentary grouping, with just
over 33 per cent, a slight increase on last year. With his Communist allies
on about 5 per cent, he is likely to secure the support of 38 per cent of
the popular vote.

Ms Tymoshenko came second with a spectacular gain of more than 9 per cent to
win more than 31 per cent. With Our Ukraine capturing about 14 per cent, the
two Orange parties looked set to secure 45 per cent of the popular vote.

Polling agencies predicted that this would give the Orange team a slim
majority, with perhaps 228 seats in the 450-member parliament.

A fifth party, the Lytvyn bloc, headed by ex-speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn, also
seemed certain to enter parliament, with 4 per cent of the vote.

Other parties looked likely to fail to meet the 3 per cent threshold,
including the Socialists, the big losers, whom voters punished for switching
sides in the last parliament from the Orange coalition to Mr Yanukovich.

With the vote close and the stakes high, the leading parties were all
preparing possible legal challenges, which could create further
uncertainties and hold up coalition negotiations.

Mr Yushchenko and Ms Tymoshenko fought the election jointly, under a
last-minute pact. But the two are divided by the bitter rows fought during
Ms Tymoshenko’s previous term in office in 2005.

There are reports that business people close to Mr Yushchenko and Mr
Yanukovich agreed during the summer that Our Ukraine and the Regions should
form the new coalition and exclude Ms Tymoshenko. But Ms Tymoshenko’s
unexpectedly large electoral gains may make it difficult to implement this

At the very least, Mr Yushchenko will have to show that he is serious in
negotiating with Ms Tymoshenko: a hasty deal with Mr Yanukovich could anger
his party’s voters and damage his prospects of re-election in 2009-10.

Also, Ms Tymoshenko may not be as keen for office as she makes out. It could
make sense for her to see the talks fail, blame Mr Yushchenko, return to
opposition, and keep her powder dry for presidential elections due in 2009
or early 2010.

Andrew Wilson, senior lecturer in Ukrainian studies at University College
London, said a Regions-Our Ukraine coalition was not certain but still the
most likely outcome. “An Orange coalition is possible but requires the
sublimation of personalities [by Mr Yushchenko and Ms Tymoshenko]. They

hate each other’s guts.”

ING, the investment bank, said in a report that while it appeared that an
Orange coalition was possible, “the president’s desire to run for presidency
in January 2010 will tempt him to consider a trade-off with the Party of
Regions with a broad coalition in mind”.

Business people will continue to take comfort from Ukraine’s strong economic
growth and soaring foreign investment. But there are worries that political
uncertainty will delay much-needed reforms, including measures to secure
Ukraine’s long-awaited entry into the World Trade Organisation.

Business people are also concerned that Ms Tymoshenko, who campaigned

with populist promises of higher public spending and attacks on big business,
may – as before – prove a more hostile prime minister than Mr Yanukovich.
But they are ready to wait and see.

Nehad Chowdhury, an analyst at BlueBay Asset Management, a London-based
emerging markets hedge fund, said: “If Tymoshenko becomes PM there will be
considerable onus to prove she can be pragmatic.”

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Battle lines are drawn between pro-Moscow camp, Kyiv nationali

Mitch Potter, Europe Bureau, Toronto Star
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Saturday, Sep 29, 2007

KYIV-Religion may seem well beneath the radar this time around, but
followers of Eastern European politics say a festering spiritual Cold War
remains a significant factor as Ukraine goes to the polls this weekend.

Schisms older than Ukraine itself permeate the country’s multi-confessional
religious jumble, each fault line a legacy of the former empires that once
jockeyed for control of its rich black-soil steppes.

Now, fears of new empire-building run through the dominant Eastern Orthodox
Christian faithful, where the battle lines between pro-Russian loyalists and
Western-leaning Ukrainian nationalists can be found parish by parish.

Though almost identical in terms of liturgy, the two Orthodox streams answer
to decidedly different masters, with the Ukrainian branch of the Russian
Orthodox Church and its more than 9,000 communities under the canonical
authority of leaders in Moscow.

The rival Ukrainian Orthodox Church, by contrast, answers to its own
self-declared Kyiv Patriarchate, a breakaway entity created in June 1992
upon the collapse of the Soviet Union and consisting today of nearly 3,000

Many Moscow church loyalists see the dreaded hand of Western imperialism in
the growth of the Kyiv camp, whose expansion accounts for a corresponding
shrinkage in the power and influence of the Russian Patriarchate. They argue
passionately for Moscow as the natural centre of gravity for Eastern Slavs,
which they characterize as Christian Ukrainians, Russians and Belarussians.

Conversely, many Kyiv church loyalists fear Russian empire-building lies
behind the staunch resistance of the Moscow Patriarchate to allow Ukraine
the spiritual independence to match its political independence.

They point to the tightening bonds between the Russian Orthodox Church and
President Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin as evidence that the dream of Moscow as
“a third Rome” is awakening again.

(The religious revival is based on the concept that Moscow is the successor
to Rome and Constantinople as the last bastion of Christian civilization.)

“Unfortunately, Moscow has not forsaken the idea of `the third Rome’ and
recently these ideas have been activated,” said Father Konstantin Lozinsky,
a scholar loyal to the Kyiv Patriarchate at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Kyiv.

Lozinsky said the natural trajectory of Ukrainian independence suggests that
eventually the church will unite under a framework independent from Moscow.
It is “fear of the inevitable,” he said, that is driving Moscow church
loyalists to extremes.

“The fight for Kyiv has some political underpinnings and levers are being
used,” Lozinsky said. “If the Ukrainian Orthodox unites under one church it
will be the largest Orthodox Church in the world. And that means the dream
of Moscow as a third Rome will fail. When this happens, Moscow will lose
500 years of its history.”

Father Olek Sircee, a Moscow Patriarchate priest from Ukraine’s Ternopil
province, rejected such predictions. For the past two years Sircee has been
encamped at a protest site in the Ukrainian capital with a small band of
like-minded followers who accuse the Kyiv church of forcing him out of his
parish in Ternopil against the wishes of his parishioners.

“We put our faith in God that justice will prevail,” said Sircee. “There is
a natural connection between all Slavic peoples. We must be confident that
this holy land will unite as a Slavic brotherhood under God.”

Such Orthodox tensions are nothing new. But they metastasized three years
ago during the run-up to the Orange revolution, when Ukraine’s religious
camps brazenly abandoned neutrality to take an active role in partisan
politics. For the pro-Moscow camp, presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko
became “the enemy of Orthodoxy.”

The Kyiv camp, meanwhile, found common cause with many Ukrainian Roman
Catholic and Greek Catholic minorities in backing Yushchenko’s Orange
coalition, drawn by the promise of closer ties with Europe – and by
extension, greater distance from Russia.

Now, as Ukraine readies to vote tomorrow in what counts as the fourth
national election in three years, Orange fatigue is biting deep into the
dispirited electorate. Voters once again find themselves choosing among the
very same candidates who failed to deliver the change promised in 2004.

A statement published earlier this month by the Orthodox Choice Association
cautioned voters that an Orange victory will bring reprisals for the
pro-Moscow church.

“The question stands this way,” it read. “Are we to cast our votes in
support of those who will assist the canonical Orthodox church or are we to
vote for those who will destroy it?”

Western diplomats and political analysts in Kyiv say the Orthodox tensions
provide Russia’s leadership with another handy lever over Ukrainian affairs.

“Think of it as spiritual Gazprom,” said one Kyiv-based Western diplomat.
“Just as Ukraine is dependent on Russian gas, which Moscow has shown

can be  switched on or off at will, Ukraine is also susceptible to Russian
church influence.

“Does that extend to actually telling parishioners how they should vote? It
has been known to happen. But the majority of the election problems involve
issues other than religion.”

Kost Bondarenko, chief political analyst with the Horshenin Institute of
Management, places the Orthodox religious schism in the context of all the
other links binding Ukraine to Russia.

Even 16 years after independence, he notes, the dominant language of Kyiv
remains Russian, while Russian television, music and literature flows
freely – and is consumed in enormous volumes – throughout Ukraine.

“All these are levers for Putin’s Russia – the levers of energy, economics,
culture and, yes, religion,” said Bondarenko.

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

By Trevor Royle, Diplomatic Editor
Sunday Herald, Scotland, September 30, 2007

THEN, AS now, the only colour on the streets that mattered was orange.
Then, as now, a beleaguered people were making a stand for their democratic
rights. Then, as now, the forces of repression were only a street or so

Today it’s happening in Rangoon, where saffron-clothed monks have emerged
as their country’s conscience. Three years ago, it was happening in Kiev as
Ukrainians made their dramatic bid to turn the “orange revolution” into a

It’s too early to say which way the “saffron revolution” will go but we all
know where the Ukrainian variety has gone. Since the heady days of 2004 it’s
been pretty much downhill all the way.

Today, the people of Ukraine go to the polls once more in a bid to reclaim
the spirit of the orange revolution, when the Western-leaning parties led by
Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko seemed to be carrying all before
them and everything was for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

They were indeed heady days: orange became the colour of hope while the blue
of Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of Regions was a nasty blast from the past, the
habitation of Moscow’s stool pigeons.

Dirty tricks abounded, violence hovered in the cold winter air and voter
fraud was commonplace. But in spite of those drawbacks the orange revolution
seemed to make sense.

It was a beacon of hope at a time when the world was cynical about the
benefits of regime change and downright hostile to the notion of unilateral
interference in the affairs of other countries.

Unlike the “Prague spring” of 1968 in the depths of the cold war – when the
Czechs tried to embrace democracy only to be crushed by Soviet tanks – it
showed that Moscow was not all-powerful, that it was possible to live by
some other order than the ancient hegemony exercised first by the Russian
empire and then by the Soviet Union.

Ahead lay the promise of free-market reforms and membership of Nato and the
European Union: for the first time in many generations Ukrainians stopped
dreaming and dared to believe that things could be different.

Alas and alack for those of us who believe change is inevitable if people
combine in common cause. The orange revolution proved to be nothing of the
sort. Like so many other breakthroughs it was a dead end. Within months, the
orange coalition was unravelling.

No sooner had Yushchenko achieved his ambition of claiming the presidency
than he fell out with the fiery Tymoshenko and promptly fired her from her
role as prime minister.

Just as a half-decent striker will note any hesitation in a defensive wall,
Yanukovich took advantage of the unexpected lapse and pushed himself back
into power. Suddenly orange had been bested by blue and Ukraine was plunged
into a new and debilitating round of political squabbling.

It got worse. Corruption, the cancer of the soul in far too many former
Soviet satellites, has resurfaced, with half of the population complaining
that they have to offer bribes to make sure any public facilities come their

There is also concern that today’s elections have already been tainted by
widespread cheating and poll-rigging and that there’s no way they can be
considered free and fair.

In the eastern Kharkov region, worrying evidence has surfaced to reveal the
names of over 100,000 non-existent voters. If those figures are at all
representative of the rest of the country, jobbery on that scale could have
a decisive effect on an election that does not need to be any tighter.

No-one needs reminding that the vote will go to the wire and that there is
likely to be a division of the spoils with Tymoshenko in the orange corner
and Yanukovich in the blue.

Both will then be left to scrabble together a workable coalition, probably
with Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine Party, but such an arrangement could leave the
president badly exposed, as neither Tymoshenko nor Yanukovich has much time
for him.

Yushchenko is due to fight an election in two years’ time but a hung
parliament could bring the date forward and force another vote on the
poll-weary Ukrainians.

Once again, as happened in 2004, Kiev’s central Maidan Square is awash with
tents and flags as voters camp out in an attempt to recreate the spirit of
change. It looks hopeful, the scene is colourful and invigorating but
there’s also a sense of desperation in the air.

As the Ukrainians have found, and as the people of Burma might soon discover
to their cost, intoxicating colours do not make a revolution. It requires
the steel in the soul displayed by the Buddhist monks.

Burma hovers on the cusp; Ukraine is being given a second chance to get it
right. Somewhere between the two, dreams might just become reality.

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

Askold Krushelnycky, Kiev, From The Sunday Times
Times Online, London, UK, Sunday, September 30, 2007

AS Ukraine prepares to go to the polls today, the squabbling leaders of the
three main parties are in danger of being outshone by the stars of rock and
pop who performed at their rallies.

Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, lead vocalist of Okean Elzy, one of Ukraine’s most
popular bands, has become a figurehead of President Viktor Yushchenko’s
pro-western party.

Verka Serdyuchka, a transvestite who was runner-up in this year’s Eurovision
song contest, has been performing at rallies on behalf of Viktor Yanukovych,
the pro-Moscow prime minister, who has hired Paul Manafort, an American
political consultant, to remake his hard-line image as an anticorruption

Yulia Tymoshenko, the firebrand leader of the third party, who interrupted
her campaign to fly to London to meet her heroine Baroness Thatcher, has
gigs by her British son-in-law Sean Carr, the lead singer of the Death
Valley Screamers. He has a song in the Ukrainian charts.

Politics and rock music have become entwined in the former Soviet republic,
where no big campaign meeting is complete without a concert.

The main contenders have spent millions of pounds hiring bands during an
election in which, for the third time since 2004, the country has the choice
of closer ties to the West or a return to the Russian orbit.

The rock phenomenon has its roots in the orange revolution three years ago
after presidential elections were rigged by Yanukovych’s camp.

The protests went on for weeks in freezing weather and the demonstrators’
spirits were sustained by many of the country’s best known rock, rap and pop

The musicians who exhorted their listeners to support the orange pro-
democracy campaigners led by Yushchenko and Tymoshenko were credited not
only with entertaining the crowds but also with winning over new supporters.

When Ruslana Lyzhychko, the winner of that year’s Eurovision, publicly
declared her support for the orange camp, there was a surge in support.

She went on to run successfully for Yushchenko’s party in parliamentary
elections last year. Although she has since stood down as an MP, she sang at
several election meetings during the latest campaign.

At a rally in the western city of Lviv, Vakarchuk, a rock icon in Ukraine,
played to thousands, including pensioners, children and businessmen. Between
songs, he explained why they should vote for the president’s party. He is
expected to be elected an MP tonight.

The rap band Tartak, veterans of the 2004 revolution, play at Yushchenko’s
rallies. Sashko Polozhynskyi, its frontman, said: “In Britain and the West,
democracy doesn’t need rock bands to defend it. But in Ukraine we are still
striving for true democracy.”

At a meeting last week Tymoshenko showed she has a strong singing voice of
her own. She joined a backing band to perform a pop ballad that was one of
the anthems of the orange revolution.

The race looks close, with one poll predicting that Yanukovych’s party will
get 34-36%, Tymoshenko’s about 24% and Yushchenko’s 10-14%. Yushchenko
and Tymoshenko have pledged to form a coalition after the election and she
stands a strong chance of becoming prime minister again.

[return to index] Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
You are welcome to send us names for the AUR distribution list.
Viktor Yanukovych looks like a man suffering from a deep identity crisis

Adrian Blomfield in Donetsk, Telegraph, London, UK, Sat, Sep 29, 2007

DONETSK, Ukraine – Mr Yanukovych has begun a campaign to convince
Ukrainians that his time in office has taught him the virtues of democracy

Though he hid it well, clasping the hands of voters as he passed along the
crowd with an air of confidant ease, Viktor Yanukovych looks like a man
suffering from a deep identity crisis.

This freshly coiffured hair, the sound system blaring Abba’s Take A Chance
On Me and even the McDonald’s restaurant behind him, all seemed to suggest
that perhaps Ukraine’s prime minister really has evolved into the modern
Western politician he claims to be.

Then the music faded. A band struck up a Soviet war song and aides through
red carnations into the crowd gathered under the vast statue of Lenin that
dominates the main square in Donetsk, the industrial capital of Ukraine’s
pro-Russian East.

The military veterans flanking the prime minister, their blazers resplendent
in Red Army medals, sighed in relief. Mr Yanukovych, Soviet-style, was
amidst them once more.

Three years after his attempt to steal the presidency in the fraudulent
elections that prompted Ukraine’s pro-Western Orange Revolution, Mr
Yanukovych has undergone a makeover as dramatic as the revival of his
political fortunes.

Branded an electoral cheat and a stooge of Russia in 2004, he re-emerged as
prime minister after parliamentary elections last year as voters delivered a
rebuff to the Orange Revolution’s bickering leaders whose squabbling had
plunged Ukraine into political chaos.

Tomorrow Ukraine votes in another parliamentary poll prompted by yet

another political crisis.

Hoping to retain the premiership, Mr Yanukovych has begun a campaign to
convince Ukrainians that his time in office has taught him the virtues of
democracy and media freedom.

Sacking his Russian consultants, he hired Paul Manafort, an American spin
doctor who had advised Bob Dole during the 1996 race for the White House, to
burnish his image.

Under Mr Manafort’s tutelage, the once avowedly pro-Russian prime minister
has undoubtedly changed. He has ditched the bouffant hairstyle favoured by
Soviet apparatchiks, taken to playing tennis with the US ambassador, begun
speaking in Ukrainian rather than Russian and has even pledged to take his
country into the European Union.

Even his past has been spun. Twice convicted as a teenager for armed robbery
and grievous bodily harm, the old Yanukovych had the KGB expunge his
criminal record and refused to discuss it in public.

Today, the new Yanukovych is happy to talk about his past, telling
questioners about growing up in a broken family and spending his childhood
in a hard scrabble east Ukrainian neighbourhood. He was not a criminal, he
insists, but a victim of poverty.

Not all Ukrainians, however, are convinced. For those in the largely
pro-European West, Mr Yanukovych still represents all their greatest fears –
a return to autocracy, to gangster politics and to Russian overlordship.

They remember Mr Yanukovych as a youngster whose prison nickname was “Thug”,
who was captured on tape in 2000 vowing to smash journalists “heads against
the wall”, and whose supporters badly scarred his opponent president Viktor
Yushchenko’s face by poisoning him with dioxin in the run-up to the Orange

His Party of the Regions remains dominated by oligarchs and their cronies
whose wealth was acquired during the bloody mafia battles that dominated its
strongholds in the industrial heartlands of eastern Ukraine, particular in

Yet in eastern Ukraine itself, voters do not like Mr Yanukovych’s attempts
at Western respectability. In a region where distrust of the West runs deep
and notions of democracy are considered alien, many voters suspect that Mr
Yanukovych and his colleagues are far from clean but care little.

For them, Mr Yanukovych represents a safeguard against domination by western
Ukraine, the retention of close links with Russia and the promise that their
financial interests, however paltry, are being looked after by thieves, but
by local thieves.

“Only a thin layer of Ukrainian society wants democracy,” said Vadym
Karasyev, a political analyst. “Many more want a paternalistic government.”

In eastern Ukraine at least, despite his new look, his rhetoric has started
to take on a more familiar tone.  “We can no longer tolerate the West’s
humiliation of Ukraine,” he told the crowd in Donetsk, drawing the biggest
cheer of the day. “We will no longer let them trample over us.”

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

By Clifford J. Levy, The New York Times
New York, New York, Sunday, September 30, 2007

KIEV, Ukraine, Sept. 29 – Once a divisive figure reviled by some here as a
shady reactionary and Kremlin pawn, Prime Minister Viktor F. Yanukovich has
turned into arguably the nation’s most popular politician.

The face of President Viktor A. Yushchenko was projected on a giant screen
at a rally of his party, Our Ukraine, in Kiev on Friday. He dissolved
Parliament in April during a political crisis.

Supporters of Prime Minister Viktor F. Yanukovich at a rally of his Party of
Regions on Friday in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital.
On the eve of critical parliamentary elections, Mr. Yanukovich now calls
himself an anticorruption reformer who wants to move Ukraine closer to the

It is a remarkable transformation for a man who was often portrayed as the
archvillain in the events surrounding this country’s Orange Revolution in
2004, beginning with the dioxin poisoning of his rival for president, Viktor
A. Yushchenko, a mystery that has never been solved.

But Mr. Yanukovich has not done it all on his own. From an anonymous office
off Kiev’s main square, a seasoned American political strategist who was
once a senior aide in Senator Bob Dole’s Republican presidential campaign
has labored for months on a Yanukovich makeover.

Though the strategist, Paul J. Manafort, has sought to remain behind the
scenes, his handiwork has been evident in Mr. Yanukovich’s tightly organized
campaign events, in his pointed speeches and in how he has presented himself
to the world.

Mr. Manafort is by no means the only well-known American strategist lured to
Kiev by the prospect of sizable fees and the chance to shape the course of a
young and tumultuous democracy.

President Yushchenko’s party, Our Ukraine, has received advice from the firm
run by Bill Clinton’s pollster, Stan Greenberg; from Stephen E. Schmidt,
campaign manager for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California; and from Neil
Newhouse, a pollster who worked for Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential
candidate, when he was Massachusetts governor.

Mr. Manafort’s goal is to change people’s opinions in advance of this
Sunday’s voting, many of whom have long memories of Ukraine’s stormy 2004
presidential election.

Mr. Yushchenko suffered scarring on his face from the dioxin poisoning, but
recovered enough to continue the 2004 campaign. He then lost to Mr.
Yanukovich in balloting that was denounced as fraudulent by Western
observers. Protests forced another election, which was won by Mr.

Mr. Yanukovich seemed discredited, his political career in shambles. But
last year, he made a startling comeback in parliamentary elections, aided in
part by Mr. Manafort.

Mr. Yanukovich’s return came at Mr. Yushchenko’s expense. Once the hero of
the Orange Revolution, Mr. Yushchenko has suffered a steep decline in
popularity as the country has lurched through political crises since 2004.

His party is third in polls, after Mr. Yanukovich’s, the Party of Regions,
and that of the former prime minister, Yulia V. Tymoshenko.

Prime Minister Yanukovich still has the bulk of a retired linebacker, but he
has largely shed the coarse mannerisms that he picked up as an ex-convict
turned party boss in the political free-for-all after the Soviet Union’s

On the stump this week, Mr. Yanukovich has repeatedly declared that he is
the only politician who can bring stability to a nation weary of political

“I understand your dreams,” he told supporters at a rally, before echoing a
line from former President Bill Clinton. “I feel your pain, and I share in
your desire to make Ukraine a land of opportunity.” He added, “I want you
to know who I am, not who my opponents try to say that I am.”

Even Mr. Yanukovich’s adversaries acknowledge his success at recasting his
image, though they say he remains at heart a Soviet-style autocrat. And they
contend that he has recently shown flashes of his old ways, recklessly
accusing other parties of planning to commit fraud.

The changes that the American consultants bring to a relatively
unsophisticated political culture can be seen in Mr. Yanukovich’s television
commercials. The party’s advertisements used to feature Mr. Yanukovich
lecturing to the camera, in Communist-era newscast style. Now they have a
buoyant American sensibility, with Mr. Yanukovich strolling through sunny
neighborhoods, surrounded by smiling Ukrainians of all ages.

Both the Yanukovich and Yushchenko camps, fearful of accusations of meddling
by the United States, have sought to keep the American consultants out of
the public eye, often asking them to sign confidentiality agreements. Most
of the consultants would not comment or did not respond to messages.

Mr. Manafort, whose partner, Rick Davis, manages the presidential campaign
of Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, said Thursday that he would
not discuss his advice to Mr. Yanukovich or how much he is being paid. But
Mr. Manafort said he believed that the prime minister was an outstanding
leader who had been badly misunderstood.

“The West has not been willing to move beyond the cold war mentality and to
see this man and the outreach that he has extended,” said Mr. Manafort, 58,
who favors monogrammed dress shirts and has the looks of a network
anchorman. He has worked for candidates around the world, including some,
like the former Philippine president Ferdinand E. Marcos, with unsavory

All three political parties have struggled to engage a public that has grown
jaded and apathetic after three years of political strife, caused in part by
the constitutional structure of the government. The president and whoever
has been prime minister have repeatedly fought over who makes powerful
appointments and other important decisions.

What is more, election fatigue has set in, and geographic divides remain.
Mr. Yanukovich’s base is in the Russian-speaking east of the country, while
Mr. Yushchenko and Ms. Tymoshenko have more support in the
Ukrainian-speaking west.

Mr. Yanukovich was introduced to Mr. Manafort by Rinat Akhmetov, a
Yanukovich supporter and billionaire industrialist who is Ukraine’s richest
man. Mr. Manafort was then advising Mr. Akhmetov on improving the image of
his companies.

Borys V. Kolesnikov, Mr. Yanukovich’s campaign manager, said the party hired
Mr. Manafort after identifying organizational and other problems in the 2004
elections, in which it was advised by Russian strategists. “Americans for a
long time have conducted elections, for a long time,” Mr. Kolesnikov said.

To undercut Mr. Yanukovich’s more polished campaign, his opponents have
charged that oligarchs like Mr. Akhmetov are simply buying a better

“They are just packaging him in a new cover and educating him in some
techniques to use,” said Hryhoriy Nemyria, a Tymoshenko adviser. “It’s the
same Soviet and post-Soviet political culture.”

Mr. Manafort said such criticism was unfair, and he emphasized that his
vision for Ukraine extended far beyond Sunday.

“I am not here just for the election,” he said. “I am trying to play a
constructive role in developing a democracy. I am helping to build a
political party.”

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

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: by Mustafa Nayem, for UP
Original article in Ukrainian, translated by Eugene Ivantsov,
Ukrayinska Pravda, Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ukrayinska Pravda found sufficient evidence that the US spin doctors headed
by Paul Manafort were not just advisors but Rinat Akhmetov’s agents
affecting the work of the Party of Regions (PRU) campaign headquarters and
personally Viktor Yanukovych.

The main achievement of the US spin doctors was a maximal approximation of
the party’s popularity with Viktor Yanukovych’s ratings. It was because of
the PM’s popularity that the independent and integral political party brand
was formed.

Now Americans pursue more strategic goals. The Party of Regions understands
that it will not be able to receive 51% of seat in parliament. Thus, they do
everything possible to prevent any political force from receiving 150 seats
that could disable the Verkhovna Rada.

Several days ago mass media spread information that the Party of Regions top
management fired chief American advisor Paul Manafort due to the decrease of
the party ratings by 5-7%.

There was no official confirmation of this fact. Moreover, in the evening on
the same day when mass media spread such rumors, Paul Manafort and his
closest ally Phillip Griffin were peacefully walking in the building of the
PRU campaign headquarters. In several months it will be their third year of
work in Ukraine.

A group of American political technologists appeared in Ukraine long before
the parliamentary election campaign in 2006. According to our sources, in
mid-2005, Rinat Akhmetov, being in exile, had a number of meetings with
several American consultants, including Paul Manafort.

They mostly talked about providing some services to the SCM Holdings to
prepare and place the company’s shares in Western stock markets. The version
that from the very beginning the Americans were invited to serve the SCM has
almost become official. Even Rinat Akhmetov sticks to it.

“In 2005, the SCM was facing the following task: we needed to develop a
corporate communications strategy. To complete this task, the company
invited several consultants, including Mr. Manafort.

In addition, we also invited a group of consultants that included the
world-class company Burson-Marstellar and the European company MMD,”
– Mr. Akhmetov told us during his interview with Ukrains’ka pravda.

Though some sources from within the Party of Regions insist that Paul
Manafort first visited Donetsk at the beginning of December 2004 – between
the second and third rounds of the presidential election.

“From the very beginning Paul Manafort was invited to the election, to be
precise, for the third round. But because there were only two weeks left,
Paul stated that it was impossible to influence the campaign in any way.

According to Rinat Akhmetov, “one of the American law firms” advised him
to use Paul Manafort’s services. But according to one of the theories, the
American was backed up by Russian businessman Oleh Derypaska.

Mr. Manafort is linked to several companies that provide services of
lobbying and political consultations. He is also a co-founder of “Davis,
Manafort & Freeman, Inc.,”Davis, Manafort & Stone,” and “Black, Manafort,
Stone & Kelly”.

According to our sources, SCM Holdings signed a contract with “Black,
Manafort, Stone & Kelly”, which mainly specializes in economic lobbying.

In business circles the company is also known as an exclusive consultant of
“Phillip Morris”. Mr. Manafort dealt with the Party of Regions in the name
of the other company – “Davis, Manafort & Freeman, Inc.” Nevertheless, it is
unknown whether this company signed any direct contract with the Party or
only worked through its representatives.

Mr. Manafort and his partners gained popularity after their active
participation in political campaigns in Third World countries in the first
half of 1980s. The companies and the specialists that now work with Victor
Yanukovych previously consulted the governments of Kenya, Somali, Angola
(UNITA movement headed by Jonas Savimbi), Nigeria and Congo.

Mr. Manafort, the head of the consultation group of Victor Yanukovych and
the Party of Regions, is also believed to be the head of the successful
campaign for Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1981.

In order to conduct the campaign, Marcos, disturbed by the growing
international isolation of the Philippines, revoked the military condition
of the state and announced a general election.

Later the election was called, by the Western press, “one of the dirtiest in
the history of the Philippines.” “There was all-out knavery, the threatening
of voters, the falsification of voters’ lists, and very questionable vote
counting,”- the press wrote then.

“Paul Manafort started his career in the team of America’s 38th President,
the Republican Gerald Ford. Mr. Ford was known for being the only president
in the history of the United States that became the head of the state as a
result of a scandal, not an election. Occupying the position of
Vice-President, in 1974 he solemnly entered the Oval Office after his
predecessor Richard Nixon was forced to resign over the famous Watergate

After 1974, Mr. Manafort’s name could be found among the staff of almost all
forthcoming Republican presidents, including Ronald Reagan (1980, 1984) and
George Bush Sr (1988).

“This fellow is a business card of the Republican Party. He opens doors in
Washington and to the Bush people,” – Charles Lewis wrote about Manafort in
his book The Buying of the President 2004.

“Today, for the first time in a half century, the Republican Party controls
all government. You only need a GOP- passe-partout [GOP stands for Grand
Old Party – the unofficial name of the Republican Party]. And Manafort is
the guy you need!”

To be honest, the only time Paul Manafort acted as a main top-strategist of
an election campaign and not as a member of the staff, his client, the
candidate for the president of the United States, Bob Dole got knocked down.
In 1996, he was defeated by Bill Clinton. Later Bob Dole was seriously
criticized by the Republicans for the lack of a clear platform during the

Today Mr. Akhmetov does not deny that he himself initiated a cooperation
between the Party of Regions and Paul Manafort and his colleagues.

“The only services that were paid by my company were the services Mr.
Manafort provided to the SCM,” the richest Ukrainian insists and adds: “The
SCM did not pay for any political services, provided by Mr. Manafort to the
Party of Regions.”

Anton Pryhorods’kyi, Akhmetov’s business partner and one of the closest
friends of the Premier, claims that the services of the Americans were paid
“exclusively from the Party’s budget.”

However, the full information about the costs of the services provided by
the Americans remains undisclosed – the MPs speak about the amount of 2 to
20 million dollars for the whole campaign. To compare, in the United States
similar information about the cost of PR services or for political lobbying
is available for access.

When Americans first came to assist in the election campaign, it was not
easy for the entourage of Yanukovych and Akhmetov, as their interests

On July 3, 2005, Yanukovych announced the appointment of MP Vasyl Khara
as a Chief of Election Staff. Mr. Khara represented the old nomenklatura of
“Regionals” that was loyal to the leader of the Party. Just then Akhmetov
was actively negotiating with “Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly.”

At the end of summer 2005 Victor Yanukovych for the first time was
introduced to Paul Manafort and his colleagues in Karlovy Vary [Czech
Republic]. At that time there were some rumors in the Party that Rinat
Akhmetov and his followers rose in opposition against the Party’s
cooperation with radical Russian political technologists, such as Hlib

In 2005 Yanukovych himself understood that he needed a qualitatively new
strategy for the new parliamentary election. However, Akhmetov’s suggestion
to hire American companies was treated as direct encroachment on the Party’s

Nevertheless, the change of political technology was formally agreed. The
only task left was to introduce Paul Manafort and his team to the Head
Management of the Election Staff. At this point Vasyl Khara all of a sudden
opposed the new strategists.

Up to March 2006 they were consulting the Party of Regions staff and
personally Viktor Yanukovych getting them ready for the parliamentary
election which turned out historic for the PRU.

After the election campaign the US spin doctors partially left the PRU
campaign headquarters.

According to information obtained by Ukrayinska Pravda, the PRU top
management represented by Rinat Akhmetov and his close friend Boris
Kolesnikov signed another agreement with Paul Manafort’s team in the end
of February.

Americans had to re-structure the party and renew its image both in Ukraine
and abroad.

Obviously, as a result of this operation the customer Rinat Akhmetov had to
considerably intensify his influence on the party.

Presidential decree to dissolve parliament simply accelerated this process.
Rinat Akhmetov has been trying to achieve it during several years. But
eventually, it happened during several days.

During the election campaign the PRU lived through a small revolution as a
result of which Andriy Klyuev and Viktor Yanukovych’s entourage was
suspended from power in the party.

Moreover, making up the party election list, Mr. Akhmetov laid foundations
of his future influence in the PRU parliamentary faction.

With Boris Kolesnikov’s coming to the PRU election staff the role of the US
advisors has changed.

If in 2006 Paul Manafort and his team had to prove efficiency of each step,
now they have a carte blanche in strategic planning. At this stage, all relationship

nuances between the PRU leaders became obvious.

Now, the US advisors promote not only Yanukovych’s image on a blue-and-
white background but a political brand with its symbolism and stylistic.

Current campaign of the blue-and-white has been largely impersonal. There
was no Yanukovych in TV ads. Only the last ads contained Mr. Yanukovych’s
Ukrayinska Pravda managed to receive copies of the PRU internal documents
and resolutions issued by the US spin doctors.

Two reports of Paul Manafort’s team contain information on the action plan
for the last two weeks of the election campaign.

Both documents were translated from English. That is why some proposals and
nuances of the American team remain unclear.

On September 8, 2007 the US advisors worked out a very detailed document
with the “Main conclusions of Gallup Polls regarding the political situation
in Ukraine.”

The report was worked out for the following three men in the PRU: Rinat
Akhmetov, Boris Kolesnikov and the Prime Minister.
(Copy of Document….to see the document to the link below)
The US spin doctors analyzed legacy of the Orange Revolution. The results
must have pleased the PRU: according to Gallup Polls, 60% of
Ukrainian-speaking and 80% of the Russian-speaking population think that the
revolution has failed.

As such, the number of voters who believe that the Orange leaders will be
ever able to cooperate is decreasing. Only 24% respondents believe in the
‘Orange unity’.

This was the main thesis proclaimed in the recent political ads of the
Donetsk-based party.

There is a large section dedicated to a special public opinion survey.
People were asked questions about the three political leaders: Viktor
Yushchenko, Yulia Tymoshenko and Viktor Yanukovych.
(Copy of Documents….to see the document to the link below)
Thus, according to the document, 35% of the population sympathizes with
President Yushchenko, 42% supports Yulia Tymoshenko while the PM
received the highest popularity rating – 49%.

At that, Mr. Yushchenko’s rating tends to decrease with the coming election
at the rate of 6% every two weeks. Tymoshenko and Yanukovych’s rating
decrease by 1% every two weeks.

The report says that Mrs. Tymoshenko has successfully separated herself from
President Yushchenko having formed her own public image different from the
president’s one.

Tymoshenko’s popularity among supporters of Our Ukraine is higher than Mr.
Yushchenko’s popularity among the BYuT followers.
(Copy of Document….to see the document to the link below)
Section “Conclusions and Strategic Recommendations” is the most interesting
part of the document.

The PRU staff is worried over unification of the ‘orange voters around the
BYuT’ which, according to Paul Manafort’s team, is an additional difficulty
for the PRU.

“Our message that the Orange cannot collaborate is less effective at this
stage, because voters start perceiving Mrs. Tymoshenko apart from the Orange
Revolution,” says the report.

In the end, Paul Manafort suggests:

1. Change the election messages. Instead of the Orange leaders, Mrs.
Tymoshenko must become the target. It is a typical race of the two leaders.
That is why the election campaign must be organized accordingly.

2. To neutralize Mrs. Tymoshenko’s success our campaign must follow strict
discipline of messages. We must constantly state 3-5 negative traits of Mrs.
Tymoshenko and her political force.

3. It is necessary to work out and implement messages targeted at
anti-Russian policy in target regions. Paul Manafort gives even more precise
instructions to Boris Kolesnikov.

The report dated September 13 on “buying air-time on TV in the end of an
election campaign” reminds Mr. Kolesnikov that the party needs to produce
and broadcast the following political ads:

1. “Anti-Tymoshenko ad” enumerating all her failures. It is emphasized that
the Orange are incapable of working together.

2. Interviewing people in the streets. People complain of the poor life
under the Orange government.

3. Referendum ad.

In general, having read this document one may think that the PRU is more
interested in dispersing the Orange votes than in increase of own

At that, it is stated that increase of the BYuT supporters who became
disappointed in Our Ukraine must alert the PRU.

According to Ukrayinska Pravda sources, the main goal of the Party of
Regions is to prevent the BYuT from receiving 150 seats in the Verkhovna

Obviously, the PRU is afraid that the BYuT may refer to the successful
experience of disabling the Verkhovna Rada through resignation of 150 MPs.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Please contact us if you no longer wish to receive the AUR    


Associated Press (AP), Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct 01 2007

KYIV (AP) – An observer mission from the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe said Monday, Oct. 1 that Ukraine’s parliamentary
elections were conducted in an “open and competitive environment.”

“Despite difficult circumstances, these elections were conducted in a
positive and professional manner,” said Tone Tingsgaard, the vice president
of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. “It is now the turn of the political
forces to deliver.”

The observer mission’s view of Sunday’s vote is potentially important to the
country’s political stability because a favorable assessment could undermine
disappointed parties’ potential to argue that the election results were

President Viktor Yushchenko called the early vote to end a standoff with
Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. Incomplete results indicate the parties of
Yushchenko and one-time ally Yulia Tymoshenko together have enough seats to
form a governing majority if they can overcome their differences and form a

The OSCE conducted the observation mission jointly with the European
Parliament and the parliamentary assemblies of the Council of Europe and
NATO. In all, nearly 770 observers took part.

A statement from the mission said the vote was conducted “mostly in line
with international commitments and standards for democratic elections and
confirm an open and competitive environment for the conduct of election

It noted that voters had a diverse choice of candidates and parties and that
freedoms of assembly and expression were respected.

“However, recent amendments to the election law adopted as a part of a
compromise to end the political crisis, impacted negatively on the election
process,” the statement said.

The count was assessed positively, though procedures were not always
strictly adhered to, it said.

Adrian Severin, the head of the European Parliament delegation, stressed the
need for all politicians in Ukraine to respect the election results and
“form a stable government which would respect the pre-electoral consensus
for power-sharing between the coalition and opposition and thereby to start
realizing an ambitious national reform agenda.”

FOOTNOTE:  It is interesting that organizations hurry to make conclusions
about the election and do not wait and see what happens during the first
36 hours after the polls close. This is the time period in which much of the
voter fraud in the past has taken place. 
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

National Democratic Institute (NDI)
Kyiv, Ukraine, Kyiv, October 1, 2007

KYIV – This preliminary statement is offered by the international election
observer delegation organized by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) to
Ukraine.s September 30, 2007, parliamentary election.

The delegation was led by: Abner Mikva, former member of the United States
Congress, White House Counsel and Chief Judge of a U.S. Court of Appeal;
Alexander Longolius, former President Pro Tem of the Berlin House of
Representatives; and Patrick Merloe, NDI Senior Associate and Director of
Electoral Programs.

The delegation included present and former parliamentarians, former
ambassadors, country specialists, civic leaders and human rights and
election experts from Canada, Georgia, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Turkey,
United Kingdom and United States.

Through this delegation, NDI joins in expressing the international
community.s interest in, and support for, a democratic electoral process in
Ukraine, and in offering an accurate and impartial assessment of the
character of the election process to date.

The delegation conducted its activities in accordance with Ukrainian law and
the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, which
has been endorsed by 32 intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations.

The Institute does not seek to interfere in the electoral process and
recognizes that it is the Ukrainian people who will ultimately determine the
credibility and meaning of the outcome.

The delegation worked in cooperation with Ukrainian nonpartisan election
monitoring organizations and with international election observer missions
organized by the OSCE/ODIHR, the European Network of Election Monitoring
Organizations (ENEMO) and the International Republican Institute (IRI).

It also drew upon the work of NDI.s August 2007 pre-election delegation and
the long-term analysis of NDI.s Ukraine-based staff.

The delegation wishes to emphasize that at this point NDI does not intend to
render a conclusive assessment of the process, given that the tabulation of
results is not complete and that any electoral challenges and complaints
will require monitoring through their completion.
Ukraine.s pre-term parliamentary election has been both competitive and
problematic. Though there were significant shortcomings, the election in
many ways met international principles for democratic elections.

The political crisis that has gripped the country since at least 2004
precipitated the early election, and the crisis may be extended if the
political competitors try inappropriately to make the courts an extension of
their political battlefield.

The challenge for Ukraine.s leaders is to move beyond winner-take-all
politics of confrontation and engage constructively to address people.s
aspirations for democracy and better lives.

Popular frustrations have grown as the expectations set by the promises of
2004 remain largely unmet, though this frustration could become a positive
force for renewed progress.

Whether Ukraine.s leaders move to bring the election to a clear and credible
result or seek to undermine electoral legitimacy in favor of elite political
deals will have a substantial impact on public confidence in these leaders
and the resulting government.

The tabulation of results is presently ongoing, and the possibilities for
pursuing genuine judicial redress, as well as artificially extending
political competition through the courts, remains to be determined in

It is this delegation.s hope that the country.s political leaders will
choose to reinforce electoral integrity and respect for the people.s will
expressed freely at the ballot box.

The apparent narrowing of differences among some of the major political
competitors expressed through their campaign messages and discussions
with the delegation could indicate more fertile ground for a governing
parliamentary majority to engage with the opposition in the period ahead.

The delegation encourages such constructive political engagement. Should
this be the case, the potentials for the benefits of democratic governance
in Ukraine could be better realized. NDI stands prepared to assist those
working toward that end.

The following are among the positive factors that indicate progress in
Ukraine.s electoral environment. Encompassing these features is an
environment of reduced tension that indicates a popular desire for normal

political competition.

[1] Voters turned out in large numbers throughout the country, exceeding the
legal requirement for a valid election.
[2] As in 2006, intimidation of voters did not play as visible or apparently
prominent a role as in the 2004 and earlier elections.
[3] Across Ukraine.s approximately 34,000 polling places, thousands of
electoral officials, political party/bloc agents, domestic nonpartisan
election observers and media representatives worked diligently and for long
hours on election day in pursuit of civic responsibilities, with
representatives of different parties and blocs largely cooperating
in respect for the law.
[4] Political parties and blocs conducted robust campaigns throughout the
country without significant hindrances, and party agents from different
forces were present in almost all polling stations observed.
[5] Journalists and media publishers were not subjected to censorship or
violence, and the media presented a spectrum of political thought . although
media ownership is not transparent, and electronic state media are not yet
transformed to public broadcasting.

[6] The electoral contestants had access to the mass media through legally
mandated time and printed space in state controlled media; multi-candidate/
party debates were broadcast on a number of TV channels, and media
access was available through paid political advertisements, though in
some instances paid advertisements were disguised as news reports and

[7] Voters appeared to generally understand the choices presented to them
at the ballot box by the political parties and blocs.

However, electoral choices were largely presented based on personalities
and regional concerns, rather than on differences in political platforms or
positions, even though there was more discussion of issues than in past

[8] Women participated in the election process in large numbers . although
small numbers of women appeared in the top ten positions on the parties.
lists of candidates for parliament.

[9] All major political parties and blocs, as well as the Central Election
Commission (CEC), invited and warmly welcomed international election
observers and recognized the role of domestic nonpartisan monitors; this
demonstrated openness.

Nonetheless, some aspects of Ukraine.s electoral process have been
problematic and fell short of meeting requirements for genuine democratic

A number of the problems were caused or exacerbated by the short time
provided (60 days) to organize this parliamentary election, and some
resulted from lack of competence concerning electoral tasks and appropriate

However, serious problems resulted not just from a lack of competence or
even a lack of political will but from a desire to undermine electoral
integrity in order to seek political goals.

Among the problematic features of Ukraine.s electoral processes are the

[1] The generally acceptable legal framework for the 2006 parliamentary
election that was deemed to meet international commitments was modified

in ways that represented a setback for electoral integrity – concerning election
administration and potentials for disenfranchisement and illegal voting.

[2] The Central Election Commission (CEC).s composition was politicized by
inclusion only of parliamentary parties and thus polarized into an 8-7 split
(majority and opposition, respectively).

[3] While such party representation on commissions is not inherently unfair,
the level of polarization has undermined the credibility of the CEC.

[4] Other levels of election administration also were highly politicized,
and polarization has in some cases hindered the work of district and precinct
election commissions (DECs and PECs), particularly in the pre-election

[5] Absentee voting was eliminated, thus potentially disenfranchising large
numbers of university students, especially those in their first academic
year, and people working away from home.

[6] Border authorities were required to make lists of Ukrainian citizens who
had left the country and not registered as returned by 72 hours before
election day. These lists were to be forwarded to DEC.s to be sorted and
passed to the PECs.

Individuals who appeared on the border authority list were to be struck from
the voter list and prohibited from voting even if they appeared at their
polling stations.

This requirement disenfranchised some otherwise eligible voters who were in
the country on election day. The border authority list contained the names
of over 500,000 people, and although it is not possible to know how exactly
many people may have been disenfranchised.

NDI and other credible observers reported uneven application of the
regulation, and even on election day rulings by various DECs and PECs
caused confusion.

[7] The provisions for using mobile voting (i.e., officials taking a mobile
ballot box to the homes or other locations of incapacitated voters and
allowing them to vote in those locations) were revised from 2006 to allow
persons to request this service when they are temporarily incapacitated,
without written documentation of a disability (e.g., a doctor.s note).

Although few problems were witnessed concerning mobile voting in this
election, this expanded availability of a process that was greatly abused in
the 2004 fraudulent elections and was restricted in the 2004 re-run and 2006

[8] The voter lists had significant problems in their development.
Requirements to merge several government databases with information
pertinent to voter eligibility into the voter list database encountered
incompatible data formats, which prevented proper merging of data. Up to 11
million entries had to be manually reentered, creating large scale problems
in the voter lists.

Those include double and multiple entries and non-entries of valid voters,
problems with dates of birth and other issues.

In some cases, on the other hand, the 2006 voter lists were not updated or
merged with other databases, which created problems of non-entry of persons
who turned 18 since 2006, moved or changed surnames.

These problems with the voter lists created possibilities for

disenfranchisement and opportunities for illegal voting.

[9] The brief period during which voters could check the voter list and make
claims for correction of their personal information was not well publicized
by electoral authorities, the parties or the media.

As a result, voters did not have an adequate opportunity for to correct the
lists before election day. This also caused a probable degree of

[10] Measures, such as going to a court on election day and seeking a ruling
to permit voting, were limited in this election.

[11] The courts failed to issue rulings on a number of important electoral
matters, which further complicated the electoral environment.

[12] Incidents of vote buying took place, including so-called carousel
voting, where pre-marked ballots are placed in a ballot box by a voter who

brings his/her unmarked ballot to the briber in exchange for money.

[13] There was confusion about procedures for vote counting and reporting
results to DECs.

[14] The use of state resources for electoral advantage, including
campaigning by government officials on state time and using state facilities to
campaign, was raised by some political forces as a major problem in the
electoral process.

There seem to be multifold problems and few means for voters to seek
effective remedies in Ukraine.s electoral landscape.

The exact magnitude and impact of such practices, and rumors about them, is
difficult to ascertain. The attitude of political parties and blocs toward
these problems and how to address them is crucial to public confidence in
the election.

Electoral contestants all postured in the pre-election period by pushing the
possibilities for these problems to the fore in a seeming attempt to
undermine legitimacy of the election should they not like the electoral
result. Deliberately creating doubt among the electorate as a political tool
is in itself troubling.

The threat by each major political force to take large numbers of electoral
challenges before the courts represents a potential attempt to shift the
electoral decisions from the voters to the courts.

If this results in protracted litigation and contradictory or confusing
judicial rulings, the public.s confidence in governance will be further

Substituting such a battle in place of honoring the people.s choice at the
ballot box would be a major setback for democratic progress and for the
authority of government.

NDI will continue to monitor electoral developments in Ukraine and will
issue further statements if appropriate, including a final report on the
election process.
In the spirit of international cooperation, the delegation respectfully
offers the following recommendations for the immediate post election-day
period. Longer term recommendations will be offered in NDI.s final report.
To the political parties and blocs:
[1] Continue to reinforce to party activists the need to remain calm, not to
resort to violence and respect the political rights of citizens, including
political competitors.

[2] Gather and analyze information concerning potential electoral violations
and pursue redress only in good faith by lodging complaints and challenges
before electoral authorities and the courts that are based on the law and
adequate facts.

[3] Accept credible electoral results and refrain from improperly using
courts to cast doubts on the election process.
To the election authorities:
[1] Proceed with tabulation of results with maximum transparency at DECs and
at the CEC, including immediately posting precinct-by-precinct results in
addition to aggregated unofficial results and making PEC and DEC available
protocols for inspection as consolidated official results are determined.

[2] Conduct complaint reviews transparently, in accordance with procedure
and with political impartiality and equality of the law.

[3] Provide maximum access to domestic and international election observers
and the media throughout all remaining phases of the election process.

[4] Preserve all sensitive electoral materials for potential legal challenges.
To the courts:
[1] Resolve transparently all election related complaints in a timely manner
in accordance with equality before the law and provision of effective
To the media:
[1] Cover accurately immediate post-election day developments, including
electoral complaints and challenges, in a manner consistent with
professional media ethics.

[2] Provide accurate and balanced coverage of negotiations on the formation
of a governing coalition.

[3] Refrain from practices such as disguising paid political advertising as
news or editorial reports.
To law enforcement authorities:
[1] Respect civil and political rights, while maintaining peace and order in
the post election period, and provide equal protection of the law to all
irrespective of political opinion.

[2] Pursue vigorously those responsible for fraudulent electoral activity,
while respecting due process of law and the need to establish accountability
for criminal acts.
To domestic and international election observers:
[1] Provide accurate and impartial analysis and reports on immediate
post-election day developments, including on electoral complaints and
challenge processes.

[2] Call for full accountability of anyone who committed electoral fraud
and/or violated the political rights of voters and those seeking elected

[3] Monitor developments and advocate for appropriate actions concerning
observer recommendations for improving the electoral and political
To the international community:
[1] Provide assistance and support for those working to advance political
and governmental accountability in the electoral context and enhanced

democratic governance.
An accurate and complete assessment of any election must take into account
all aspects of the process, and no election can be viewed in isolation from
the political context in which it takes place.

Among the factors that must be considered are:
[1] the legal framework for the elections set by the constitution, electoral
and related laws;
[2] the ability of citizens to seek and receive sufficient and accurate
information upon which to make political choices;
[3] the ability of political competitors to organize and reach out to
citizens in order to win their support; the conduct of the mass media in
providing coverage of parties, candidates and issues;
[4] the freedom that citizens and political competitors have to engage in
the political and electoral process without fear of intimidation, violence
or retribution for their choices;
[5] the conduct of the voter registration process and integrity of the voter
[6] the voting, counting, results tabulation, transmission and announcement
[7] and the handling of election complaints and installation to office of
those duly elected.

This statement is based on the NDI international election observer
delegation.s assessment of all of these elements.

NDI is a nonprofit organization working to strengthen and expand democracy
worldwide. Calling on a global network of volunteer experts, NDI provides
practical assistance to civic and political leaders advancing democratic
values, practices, and institutions.

NDI has conducted over 100 impartial pre-election, election-day, and
post-election observation delegations around the globe.

NDI observation efforts for the September 30, 2007, parliamentary election
included a pre-election assessment mission that visited Ukraine from August
14 to 20, 2007. NDI.s programs in Ukraine are funded by a grant from the
U.S. Agency for International Development.

The delegation held meetings in Kyiv with: representatives from the Party of
Regions (PoR), Our Ukraine – People.s Self Defense bloc (OU – PSD), and the
Bloc of Yuliya Tymoshenko (BYT); the Socialist Party (SPU); People.s Party
(Bloc of Lytvyn); the Central Election Commission; representatives of the
news media; civic leaders, including leaders of OPORA and the Committee of
Voters of Ukraine (CVU); international experts working on election and rule
of law programs, the heads of other international election observation
missions, including the International Republican Institute (IRI), OSCE/ODIHR
and the European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO); as
well as members of the international diplomatic community who are concerned
with supporting a democratic election process in Ukraine.

Delegates divided into teams and were deployed around the country for
meetings with governmental, electoral, political and civic leaders in their
respective localities. On election day, the teams observed the voting,
counting and tabulation processes in polling stations (precinct election

commissions (PECs) and district election commissions (DECs). Delegates
then reconvened in Kyiv to debrief and develop this statement. The delegation
expresses its gratitude to all with whom it met.
FOOTNOTE:  It is interesting that organizations hurry to make conclusions
about the election and do not wait and see what happens during the first
36 hours after the polls close. This is the time period in which much of the
voter fraud in the past has taken place. 
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, October 1, 2007

KYIV – Observers from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress have reported

many serious problems during the Verkhovna Rada elections. Chief observer
of the organization Ron Chyczij announced this at a press conference.

‘An attempt has been made to make these elections more transparent to meet
serious standards,’ he said. However, it should not distract attention from
the numerous problems during the elections, Chyczij added.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress said the voters lists were unsatisfactory.
The observers also concluded that the Central Election Commission’s
performance was not transparent enough and some of its members were under
political pressure to some extent.

Many citizens could not cast their votes because of the new rules concerning
the travels abroad.

‘Most recommendations that we are going to suggest today have been already
made by our group in the past,’ Chyczij continued. He said these elections seem

a bit better than the 2006 vote but, in general, there are problems that must be

The use of administrative resource and abolition of absentee ballots, as a
result of which many voters were unable to vote, were a problem, the
observers said.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress is recommending Ukraine creating a national
register of voters, punishing those who obstruct observers, conducting a
voter awareness campaign, and replacing the CEC with a different structure
able to work more independently.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Polish observers think the September 30
elections were in line with democratic standards.

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

Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC), Kyiv, Ukraine, Sat, Sep 29, 2007

KYIV – On September 28, 2007 four Canadian International Election Observers

were intimidated and threatened with charges in the south eastern town of
Mariupil in Donetsk, Ukraine at the District Election Commission (DEC) No.
48 for allegedly “interfering with the election process”.

Head of Mission, Orysia Sushko, President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress
(UCC) says: “We have thoroughly investigated the incident and are completely
satisfied that the observers were justified in the manner that they carried
out their responsibilities as international observers.

“This is the fifth election in Ukraine in which UCC observers have
participated. We certainly have the knowledge and experience to provide
effective observers and have done so consistently. This situation was no

Chief Observer of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (Canada Ukraine
Foundation) Mission Ron Chyczij affirms: “Contrary to the claims of certain
parties and their presentation of the situation on local television, the
observers did not contravene any laws of Ukraine.

“In fact, it was their sole aim to ensure that elections laws were being
adhered to by all parties standing for election, which they executed in a
professional manner.”

“This particular incident originated when the four Canadian Observers
decided to investigate the fact that approximately 13,000 duplicate voters
remained on voter lists overseen by this particular DEC – a situation that
the Commission Members refused to address.

“In my opinion it was this set of facts and not the conduct of our Canadian
Observers that precipitated a plan to distract or prevent our Observers from
performing their duties.”

The detailed report of the incident will follow this release.

For further information please contact:
Ostap Skrypnyk, Executive Director
Orysia Sushko, Head of Mission
Ukrainian Canadian Congress
Telephone in Kyiv: (044) 235-3757; Tel: (204) 942-4627;

Cell: 8067-344-5772; Fax: (204)947-3882
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

COMMENTARY: By Tammy Lynch
The Huffington Post, USA, Saturday, September 29, 2007

In 2004, the world was captivated by the sight of up to one million
Ukrainians demanding freedom in what would become known as the “Orange

Almost three years later, the country has become an example of the
difficulties faced by corrupt, authoritarian states as they transition to
democracy and the rule of law. Its troubles should provide lessons to those
who would suggest democracy can be created quickly from outside.

On Sunday, Ukrainians will go to the polls for the third time since the
Orange Revolution in their latest step toward creating a government that can
free the country from corruption and the Soviet legacy.

Progress following the heady days of the revolution has been slow, with
reforms stalled and political infighting the predominant sport.

In this latest election, voters will again decide between the agenda of
President Viktor Yushchenko — the man for whom so many stood up in 2004 –
and that of his defeated former presidential opponent Viktor Yanukovych.

In essence, they again will choose whether the country will strive for the
goals expressed during the Orange Revolution, or whether the “old guard”
will take charge. In a Ukraine disappointed in the work of their leaders
since 2004, the result of the vote is too close to call.

Yushchenko remains committed to EU, NATO and WTO membership for his

country, which is one of the world’s top weapons exporters and top producers
of steel, and is the largest gas transit country from Russia to Europe.
Yanukovych has shown little real enthusiasm for Western integration.

Following the revolution, Yushchenko was unable to consolidate power and
could not accomplish many promised reforms. In frustration, he fired his
popular first prime minister and former revolution ally, Yulia Tymoshenko.

In a move he now calls “a mistake,” he then turned to his former opponent
Yanukovych, who was approved as prime minister in the name of “unity.”
Because the president and prime minister do not agree on basic issues of
reform, the country has since been mired in political stagnation.

Instead of conducting meaningful debate, the parliament, where Yanukovych
held a slim majority, became a battleground. The president, who was unable
to enact legislation, reunited with Tymoshenko and dissolved the parliament
elected just one year ago. Campaigning began anew, and the cycle began

Given all of this, after a “revolution,” shouldn’t we expect more? Well,
maybe not.

While the Orange Revolution was a time of great hope, nearly 70 years of
Soviet rule and 15 more of creeping authoritarianism and corruption left
Ukraine with few traditions of transparent governance, rule of law, or open

Despite a new understanding of the potential power of protest, and a
boldness on the part of many journalists, the lack of these basic Western
traditions continues to handicap reform.

Ukraine’s political leaders grew up during the Soviet Union. They studied
Lenin, Marx and Stalin. What they know about governing a “democracy” they’ve
learned on the job.

It seems that changing the foundations on which a country functions takes
more than a few years – and more than a little trial and error. “Democracy,”
in fact, is not inherently understood.

Still, despite these continuing problems, today’s Ukraine is not the Ukraine
that existed prior to the Orange Revolution. Then, the country was ruled by
fear. Journalists and opposition politicians disappeared. And the people
felt helpless. Now, there is freedom and hope.

And there is the possibility to change things through the ballot box, based
on a new, vibrant political pluralism. The country should be proud it has
come so far, and that many of its leaders continue to push further.

But in the last weeks of the campaign, worrying signs have emerged, with
charges of election fraud steadily increasing. Only Yushchenko and
Tymoshenko have said they will accept the results of the election.

Yanukovych, whose party has seen a small drop in support, has said he is
prepared to “bring people to the streets.”

Tymoshenko’s support for an examination of what she calls the corrupt
activities of current government officials could provide added incentive to
the authorities to remain in power using inappropriate means.

It is clear, however, that should either side resort to non-peaceful,
non-democratic methods during or after the election, progress already made
could be lost, and Ukraine’s relationships with its Western allies

The response of Ukraine’s political leaders during and following Sunday’s
election, will demonstrate how far the country has come on the road to
democracy – and how far it has to go.
Tammy Lynch is a Senior Research Fellow at Boston University’s Institute for
the Study of Conflict, Ideology & Policy. Her work in Ukraine is also
supported by the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, October 1, 2007

KYIV – The United States of America urges Ukraine to accelerate formation

of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Ukrainian News learned this from the
press service of the US Embassy to Ukraine.

‘We call on all political parties to move quickly to form a government that
reflects the will of Ukrainian voters,’ the press service refers to the US
Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor as saying.

The OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights observer
mission preliminary assessment reports that the elections were held in
accordance with international standards in the atmosphere of openness and
competitiveness and these preliminary conclusions are in line with the
evaluations of the observers from the Embassy.

The USA are waiting for the announcement of the final results of elections
to the Verkhovna Rada and hope that it will occur shortly.

It is also noted that the USA is ready to cooperate with whatever government
is formed as long as it reflects Ukraine’s democratic choice.  As Ukrainian
News earlier reported, the Verkhovna Rada elections were held on September
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

COMMENTARY: By Tammy Lynch

Ukrayinska Pravda, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, September 28, 2007

It seems that every year in Ukraine, there is a new “crossroads.”  The
latest happens this weekend, as voters cast their ballots in the
parliamentary election.  As usual, the election and the campaign that has
preceded it provide opportunities for both hope and worry.

 During the last two weeks of the campaign, all major parties have slung
charges of attempts to commit election fraud at each other.  The most vocal
and coordinated pursuit of this topic has come from the Party of Regions.

During two press conferences, party leaders expounded on their fears of
“massive falsification” throughout the country, even as their leader Prime
Minister Viktor Yanukovych pounded on the topic on the campaign trail.

At their press conferences, The Party of Regions stated that their primary
fear is of proxy voting by relatives of Western Ukrainians who may not be in
the country to vote themselves.

The party also suggested that election commissioners representing the
opposition Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko (BYUT) and Our Ukraine-People’s Self
Defense (OU-PSD) would examine voter lists, determine who had not voted and
cast the ballots themselves.

At a press conference on Thursday, Regions’ Yuri Miroshnychenko suggested
that this was a system first used in 2006.  He claimed that higher than
average voter turnout in the West of the country proved proxy voting had
occurred then, since “so many people are absent” working abroad.

The PoR points to figures released by the Interior Ministry stating 3.3
million voters in the country are working abroad – with 2/3 officially
registered in Western oblasts traditionally supportive of BYUT and OU-PSD.

The claims of the Party of Regions must be closely examined on election-day,
and election observers confirm they will pay particular attention to this

However, despite specifically monitoring this issue, no election monitoring
organization in 2006 uncovered a problem with proxy voting that would have
affected the final results.

Moreover, suggesting that proxy voting is proven by turnout is highly
questionable.  First, even though turnout was 5-8 percent higher in Western
Ukraine than the average, perhaps it would have been even higher had fewer
Ukrainians been abroad.

Also, it could be suggested that Eastern-most regions are also havens for
proxy voting, since their turnout was far higher than the country average in
2006 and since a significant number of Eastern Ukrainians work across the
border in Russia.  (PoR contends that, since Ukrainians working in Russia
may use a domestic passport to travel, it is impossible to use this passport
to vote on their behalf.)

The 3.3 million voters living abroad figure is difficult to prove.  Elena
Lukash, chief PoR legal counsel, noted that the Border Control service had
“failed to meet its obligation” to keep track of Ukrainians crossing in and
out of the country.  “Such data wasn’t provided,” she said.

Therefore, it is possible, that (1) the data originally was incomplete, and
(2) the data has not been updated appropriately since first collected in

The Cabinet, supported by PoR, has suggested that citizens who were not
proven to have returned to Ukraine should be expunged from the voter rolls.

Doing so would undoubtedly disenfranchise a significant number of
Ukrainians, who may have returned from abroad recently without having their
data updated, or even who may return the day before or the day of the

While it is commendable to attempt to clean the voter rolls, doing it based
on admittedly incomplete data is not in the interest of either the country
or the party.

PoR also has suggested that precinct election commissioners from BYUT and
OU-PSD will refuse to sign election protocols, thus invalidating the

However, BYUT and OU-PSD commissioners are in the minority, as all parties
represented in parliament are represented on each commission.  The election
law requires only a quorum and that the majority of commissioners sign the

Of most concern is PoR’s contention that commissions are understaffed and
under-trained.  This is well documented and could become problematic both on
election-day and during vote counting.

PoR is also right to point out that President Viktor Yushchenko has inserted
himself into the campaign, which may undermine his ability to claim that his
administrative appointees are neutral.

BYUT has dismissed PoR’s claims of fraud as “absurd.”  In turn, BYUT is
accusing the Prime Minister’s party of inserting “dead souls” on voter lists
in order to allow voting on behalf of these people.

The Security Service of Ukraine, which is loyal to the President, also has
transferred criminal charges to the Prosecutor-General against officials in
Kharkhiv Oblast for 54,000 duplicate names found on voter lists.

However, no group has provided to journalists copies of documents they say
prove falsification. Without documentation, then, this cacophony of
falsification charges leads to confusion and cynicism.

In order to move forward domestically and internationally, Ukraine must do
its best to conduct an election that is free and fair.  If fraud is alleged
by any group, it must be documented clearly and succinctly by independent
observers and journalists.  Only in this way can Ukraine demonstrate its
commitment to democratic governance.
Tammy Lynch is a Senior Research Fellow at Boston University’s Institute

for the Study of Conflict, Ideology & Policy, and her work in Ukraine is
also supported by the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute.
[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.
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. 
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;
1701 K Street, NW, Suite 903, Washington, D.C. 20006
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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s