AUR#882 Oct 24 Post-Election Economy; Poland’s Elections; Lviv Economic Success; Honorable To Be Ukrainian In Canada; Ditching Tymoshenko

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ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR           
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       
 
POST-ELECTION ECONOMY:
TESTS FOR THE NEW GOVERNMENT
An expert would judge the “quality” of the new executive power by
its ability to prioritize economic challenges, to identify their origin and
nature, and to suggest effective ways of addressing them. [Article One]

                        
ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 882
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor, SigmaBleyzer
WASHINGTON, D.C., WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2007
 
NOTE:  Send the AUR to your colleagues, associates, family and
friends around the world.  You can be part of the program to inform 
the world about Ukraine….its people….its history….its future!
 
INDEX OF ARTICLES  ———-
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

1. POST-ELECTION ECONOMY: TESTS FOR THE NEW GOVERNMENT
Analysis & Commentary: By Igor Burakovsky, Director
Institute for Economic Studies and Political Consultations
ZN, Mirror Weekly # 39 (668), Kyiv, Ukraine Sat, 20-26 Oct 2007
 
THE FIRST GLOBAL FOOD SHORTAGE SINCE THE 1970s
Ukraine is considering export quotas on corn, barley and wheat.
By Jenny Wiggins and Javier Blas in London
Financial Times, London, UK, Wednesday, October 24 2007

3POLAND MUST NOW WIND BACK THE POWER OF THE STATE
Corruption in central Europe is rampant and systemic.
Analysis & Commentary: by Marian Tupy
Financial Times, London, UK, Tuesday, October 23 2007

4POLAND SET FOR STRONGER TIES WITH EUROPE AFTER ELECTION
By Jan Cienski and Stefan Wagstyl in Warsaw
Financial Times, London, UK, Tuesday, October 23 2007

5UKRAINE’S ECONOMICS MINISTER AND DEPUTY US TRADE

REPRESENTATIVE DISCUSS ISSUES OF UKRAINE’S WTO ACCESSION
UKRINFORM, Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, October 20, 2007

6LVIV, UKRAINE: BORDERING ON ECONOMIC SUCCESS
Interview: With Dmitry Aftansas, Lviv Chamber of Commerce
Anna Melnichuk, Business Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Mon, Oct 22, 2007

7UKRAINE/EUROPEAN UNION RELATIONS – FROM THE
VANTAGE POINT OF THE EUROPEAN PRESIDENCY
Presentation: By Joao de Vallera
Ambassador of Portugal to the United States
Ukraine-EU Relations, Roundtable VIII; Ukraine’s Quest for Mature
Nation Statehood; Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
Washington, DC, Tue-Wed, October 16-17, 2007

8EUROPEAN UNION: DRAFTING A GLOBAL PLAYER
If you travel to countries in the European neighborhood such as

Ukraine, Georgia or Egypt, you cannot help but be depressed
about how the EU squanders its power.
Commentary: By Mark Leonard, The Wall Street Journal
New York, New York, Wednesday, October 17, 2007

9“IT IS VERY HONORABLE TO BE UKRAINIAN IN CANADA”
Levko Lukianenko discusses the need to revive the Cossacks,
his new book, and his vision of Ukraine’s future
By Alla Shershen, Special to The Day
The Day Weekly Digest #31, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, Oct 23, 2007

 
10AN UNCONVENTIONAL GENERAL:
THE 100th BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF PETRO HRYHORENKO

By Yurii Shapoval, Professor, Scholar, Author, Historian
The Day Weekly Digest #31, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Oct 23, 2007

11RUSSIA SAYS: DEMOCRACY? NO, LAND OF DISORDER!
Commentary & Analysis: By Peter Dickinson
Business Ukraine magazine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Mon, Oct 22, 2007

12UKRAINE: STEPPING OUT OF STALIN’S LONG SHADOW
Analysis & Commentary: By Peter Dickinson
Business Ukraine magazine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Mon, Oct 15, 2007

13UKRAINE: THE VOTES AFTER THE VOTE
Analysis & Commentary: By John Marone
Kyiv Post Staff Journalist, Kyiv, Ukraine
Eurasian Home, Moscow, Russia, Monday, Oct 22, 2007

142005 OR 2006? TECHNIQUE OF “DITCHING” TYMOSHENKO

IS CENTRAL ISSUE OF UKRAINIAN POLITICS
Commentary & Analysis: By Andrii Okara, Special to The Day
The Day Weekly Digest #31, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, October 23 2007

15BRAVO AND STAY TUNED: PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS 2007
Commentary: By Oksana Bashuk Hepburn
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #882, Article 15
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, October 24, 2007

16PRESIDENT YUSHCHENKO WANTS TO DECLARE 2008 YEAR

A NATIONAL YEAR OF HOLODOMOR REMEMBRANCE
Press Office of the President, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, October 23, 2007

17.  PRESIDENT COMMEMORATES HOLODOMOR VICTIMS
Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, October 23, 2007
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1
 POST-ELECTION ECONOMY: TESTS FOR THE NEW GOVERNMENT
An expert would judge the “quality” of the new executive power by its
ability to prioritize economic challenges, to identify their origin and
nature, and to suggest effective ways of addressing them.

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Igor Burakovsky, Director
Institute for Economic Studies and Political Consultations
ZN, Mirror Weekly # 39 (668), Kyiv, Ukraine Sat, 20-26 October 2007

On 22 September 2007, ZN published an evaluation of election promises
made by Ukraine’s most influential political forces.

The evaluation prepared by the Institute for Economic Studies and Political
Consultations showed that election promises are, in fact, statements of
politicians’ good intentions that offer no mechanisms for their
implementation.

During the election campaign, all political forces sharply criticized one
another for real and imaginary economic lapses, praising their own economic
achievements presumptuously.

Few sensible ideas regarding actual challenges and prospects of Ukraine’s
economic development were found in the piles of mutual recriminations.

The elections are over, and various political forces are busy distributing
powers amongst them, although the time is ripe for discussing Ukraine’s
post-election economy, especially in view of the Coalition Agreement between
the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine-People’s Self-Defence that was
presented on 17 October.
ABILITY TO PRIORITIZE ECONOMIC CHALLENGES
An expert would judge the “quality” of the new executive power by its
ability to prioritize economic challenges, to identify their origin and
nature, and to suggest effective ways of addressing them.

This will determine the success or failure of the new government and
political forces that formed it. This will, eventually, affect the dynamics
of economic growth and national standards of living.

Today, the main focus should be on a limited number of specific tasks,
rather than on strategic objectives set by certain political forces.

After all, it is easy to compile a list of “global” challenges but specific
immediate tasks and their performance will be a test for the new
government’s professionalism since it will be impossible for top officials

to ignore them.
MANAGEMENT INTELLIGENCE TEST
[1] The first test is the management intelligence test. The government will
pass it only if it develops, together with the National Bank, a prudent
anti-inflation policy. The current price rise testifies that inflation poses
a grave economic and social problem.

In order to address it effectively, the Cabinet should identify and analyze
objective and subjective reasons for accelerated inflation in the country,
which will demonstrate whether the government and the National Bank
understand correctly the character and dynamics of processes under way in
the national economy and their dependence on the global economic trends,
whether they are able to grasp the true meaning of the political aspect of
this problem.

It is critical that the Cabinet and National Bank scrutinize their previous
mistakes and weaknesses, and learn their lessons in order to avoid them in
future and improve coordination of anti-inflation efforts.

A successful passing of the test will also hinge on the Government and
national Bank’s ability to design and implement a set of measures to slow
down inflation. It is evident that traditional administrative measures like
limiting trade markups, freezing prices for certain goods and produce, and
market interventions do not work.

An effective anti-inflation action plan should include sophisticated
strategic measures, such as the introduction of inflation targeting, and the
matching of social benefits with the actual capacity of the national
economy.

Urgent measures should include a long overdue improvement of the methodology
for calculating inflation rates, as the one used today fails to reflect the
current reality of the Ukrainian economy.

What does the coalition propose? It defines the transition from “restrictive
monetary methods to predominantly market-driven tools of managing aggregate
demand and supply, as well as first-priority neutralization of non-monetary
inflation factors” as its strategic objective. The definition is too vague
and complicated to give direction for further actions.

By and large, the anti-inflation section of the Coalition Agreement provides
for a lot of correct fundamental tasks, including the need to improve
coordination and cooperation between the Cabinet and National Bank based on
a special memorandum of understanding.

However, it remains unclear what the parties meant while distributing the
CEO positions in the National Bank, Ukreximbank and Oshchadbank (Addendum
#1.5 to Coalition Agreement)? What will be the practical implications of the
NBU governor’s nomination by a certain political force (in this case, by
OUPS)?

What about the NBU independence and autonomy if the NBU governor
becomes a political figure, an appointee of one of the coalition political
forces that form the government?

The same applies to the appointment of Ukreximbank and Oshchadbank CEOs.
What is the agenda behind the political parties’ involvement in selecting
top management for the state-owned banks, given that the state should have a
clear vision of these banks’ role on the market and implement it
accordingly?
POLITICAL MATURITY TEST
[2] The second test is political maturity test. The main task here will be
to solve the public procurement problem. Our state public procurement system
is absolutely inefficient and corrupted. And representatives of different
political forces are interested in preserving it in its present condition.

The system should be radically changed by adopting a qualitatively new law
on public procurement which means infringing upon some particular people’s
interests.

That’s why I consider getting the public procurement sphere into order as a
test of political maturity of the government and the parliament, whose
decisions should be made according to society’s but not to some separate
lobbyists’ interests.
REALISM TEST
[3] One of the most complicated tests is the third test – a realism test.
This test will be based on the attitude of the new government to the social
sphere. At the present moment, the social support system in our country is
practically unreformed.

However, considering today’s inflation, the government should make difficult
decisions regarding actual limits to the raising of social payments, which
will be quite painful for society and will hit the government’s popularity.

Social support matters are widely covered in Coalition Agreement. The most
important points here are: social programs rationalization, implementation
of direct social help, amending the laws according to the state’s financial
liabilities analysis and implementation of medium-term budget planning. I
absolutely agree with all these points.

But will the realization of these tasks become a priority for the
government? When and how will they solve these problems? It is much easier
to promise to raise the payments than to revise the promises and reform the
social support sphere since such reforms are always painful an unpopular.

In my opinion, the country with USD 7637 GDP per head (for comparison – in
EU this index is USD 28213) and with critical level of demographic problems
cannot afford to provide an expensive social support system.

We should definitely conduct a hard and specific-purposed social support
policy. In other words, will the new government be able to tear the vicious
circle of populism notwithstanding the upcoming presidential elections?
RUSSIAN GAS TEST
[4] The traditional challenge for all Ukrainian governments is the gas test
in connection with relations with Russia.

Concerning this matter, the Coalition Agreement is quite terse: “.mutually
beneficial cooperation with Russia, countries of Central Asia, other
suppliers of energy resources based on long term, transparent and gainful
agreements excluding any shadow intermediate”. The idea is clear. Let’s wait
for specific actions, agreements and results.
BUDGETARY PROCESS TEST
[5] The next challenge for the government is the budgetary process, which
can be an economic policy adequacy test. The budgetary process and the
budget will show the government’s priorities in economical policy and its
principal approaches to solving the main economical problem.
LAND MARKET TEST
[6] It is clear that this list is quite long. However, I would like to point
out one more problem, the solving of which will show our government’s skills
at solving complicated economical and socially-sensible questions. It is the
issue of the land market.

The moratorium on farmland sales is expiring this year. What’s next? Will
the new government prolong the moratorium and for what purpose?

Will it try to cancel the moratorium and establish a full-fledged land
market? How will the central body of power build its relations with local
powers concerning land matters? As you see, there are a lot of questions
and all of them are fundamental.

The coalition is intending to establish a land market, to draft and realize
all necessary measures to provide the market’s normal functioning.
POLITICAL RESPONSIBILITY TEST
[7] Finally, I hope that the Ukrainian political elite pass the most
important test – a political responsibility test – successfully. This test
means that the process of important economical decisions making should
be depoliticized.
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LINK:
http://www.mw.ua/2000/2020/60832/

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2.  BREAD AND BUTTER ISSUE: RISING PRICES MAY HERALD
THE FIRST GLOBAL FOOD SHORTAGE SINCE THE 1970s
Ukraine is considering export quotas on corn, barley and wheat.

By Jenny Wiggins and Javier Blas in London
Financial Times, London, UK, Wednesday, October 24 2007

When the United Nations held its annual World Food Day last week to
publicise the plight of the 854m malnourished people around the world, its
warning that there “are still too many hungry people” was a little more
anxious than usual.

Finding food to feed the hungry is becoming an increasingly difficult task
as growing demand for staples such as wheat, corn and rice brings higher
prices. That is leading all nations – rich and poor – to compete for food
supplies.

Food security is not a new concern for countries that have battled political
instability, droughts or wars. But for the first time since the early 1970s,
when there were global food shortages, it is starting to concern more stable
nations as well.

“The whole global picture is flagging up signals that we’re moving out of a
period of abundant food supply into a period in which food is going to be in
much shorter supply,” says Henry Fell, chairman of Britain’s Commercial
Farmers Group.

As agricultural commodities trade at record high levels, causing one food
manufacturer after another to put up prices – Danone, the French dairy
group, this month became the latest to reflect the severity of the cost
increases when it said it would increase prices by 10 per cent – countries
are starting to question whether they can afford to keep feeding themselves.

Wheat and milk prices have surged to all-time highs while those for corn and
soya-beans stand at well above their 1990s averages. Rice and coffee have
jumped to 10-year records and meat prices have risen recently by up to 50
per cent in some countries.

“The world is gradually losing the buffer that it used to have to protect
against big swings [in the market],” says Abdolreza Abbassian, secretary of
the grains trading group at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation.
“There is a sense of panic.”

Some of the price rises are the result of temporary problems, such as
drought in Australia, and diseases, such as blue-ear in Chinese pigs.

But there is a more permanent increase in demand from Asia, as richer
populations in China and India demand more protein, and from the biofuel
industry, which is on course to consume about 30 per cent of the US corn
crop in 2010 – developments that will underpin prices for the medium term.

The FAO estimates that those structural new trends will help to push the
cost of agricultural commodities in the next decade between 20 and 50 per
cent above their last 10-year average.

This is a problem for economies where food represents a significant share of
their imports payments. The International Monetary Fund says higher food
prices are hurting poorer nations in Africa, such as Benin and Niger, as
well as a number of countries in Asia, from Bangladesh to China itself, and
parts of the Middle East.

The difficulties are compounded because the importance of food in overall
consumer spending is negatively correlated with income levels (see chart).

For example, food is more than 60 per cent of the “consumption basket”
measured by economists in sub-Saharan Africa, whereas it is 30 per cent in
China and only 10 per cent in the US, according to the IMF.

For countries that export grains and other commodities, such as the US,
Australia or Canada but also Argentina and Namibia, high prices are
lucrative at a macro-economic level and for the businesses and farmers
involved. But there, too, consumers suffer. In Italy, which imports around
half its durum wheat needs, people took to the streets this summer to
protest at higher pasta, bread and milk prices.

Grain exporting countries have consequently started restricting the amount
of grain they export, postponing sales or imposing in some cases prohibitive
export tariffs to keep their local market well supplied, avoiding
politically damaging food price increases.

In Russia, which faces parliamentary elections in December and where
President Vladimir Putin has said he was “worried about price growth,
especially food prices growth”, the government has introduced export duties
on wheat and barley and is discussing further tariff increases.

Russian food retailers, under pressure from the Kremlin, have meanwhile
agreed to freeze prices on some basic foodstuffs to help cool down
inflation.

Neighbouring Ukraine is considering export quotas on corn, barley and wheat.

At the same time, food importing countries have started to look for ways to
increase their domestic production or build emergency stocks as a buffer
against sharp price increases or shortages.

For example, Pakistan plans to import more wheat than it does normally to
make sure it has enough to feed its population. India has also bought more
than necessary in order to build up its stocks.

The European Union has suspended its “set-aside” rules that bar farmers from
planting cereals on 10 per cent of their land. The rules were designed to
avoid over-production but Brussels is now worried that there will not be
enough cereals to meet demand.

In the US, however, the Department of Agriculture has decided against
allowing land to be released early from the Conservation Reserve Program
that, similarly to the EU’s set-aside, pays farmers not to plant on some of
their arable land.

Analysts and traders say farmers are likely in the 2008 crop season to plant
more wheat at the expense of cotton and, to a lesser extent, corn, barley
and soybeans. This means that, while wheat prices may fall next year, crops
such as cotton and corn might jump in value because of the reduced supplies.

State finances are also being imperilled, as countries that import much of
their food have started to increase subsidies paid to food producers to
compensate for higher costs and scrapped import tariffs.

Akhter Ahmed, a subsidies expert at the International Food Policy Research
Institute, a Washington-based think-tank, says international agricultural
prices are directly linked to the cost of food importing countries’
subsidies. “The recent price increase is going to be a drain for government
budgets,” he warns.

The FAO has forecast that the lower-income “food-deficit” countries will
next year spend more than $28bn (£14bn, Euro20bn) on importing cereals,
double what they spent in 2002.

“The combination of higher export prices and soaring freight rates is
pushing up domestic prices of bread and other basic food in importing
developing countries, which has caused social unrest in parts,” the
organisation said in its latest Crop Prospects and Food Situation report.

Egypt, which experienced the “Bread Intifada” riots in 1977 when the
government raised bread prices, last month said it was increasing the
subsidies it pays to bread producers in the light of ongoing increases in
global wheat prices.

Certainly, there is currently little chance of subsidies being lowered by
many developing countries. Abah Ofon of Standard Chartered Bank says that
for countries such as Morocco, where a large proportion of the population
lives close to or below the poverty line, wheat is a staple part of people’s
diet and therefore “eradicating subsidies is tantamount to political suicide
at this stage”.

In China, the government is providing larger subsidies to farmers to
increase agricultural production, particularly of pork and milk after the
country suffered a price spike this year. Beijing also plans to increase
subsidies to low-income urban residents and student cafeterias while it has
cut soybean import duties in order to keep prices down.

Commodity analysts in part blame the US and Europe for the current price
increases. They say the heavy subsidies placed on agricultural produce by
the American and European governments in recent decades have made investment
in agriculture unprofitable for many other countries because they have found
it hard to compete.

Jeffrey Currie, head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs, says the
relatively low investment in agriculture outside the US and Europe is coming
back to haunt European and US consumers in the form of higher food prices as
global supplies of agricultural produce fall behind demand.

The world’s leading agricultural exporters are the EU (led by France, the
Netherlands, Germany and the UK) and the US, followed by Brazil, Canada
and Australia.

“The US and Europe were exporting agricultural deflation; now they’re
exporting agricultural inflation,” Mr Currie says. The IMF adds that western

countries’ biofuel policies are also behind the current problem.

“One country’s policy to promote biofuels while protecting its farmers could
increase another, likely poorer, country’s import bills for food and pose
additional risks to inflation or growth,” says the institution in its latest
World Economic Outlook.

This impact would be mitigated if the US and the EU reduced barriers to
biofuel imports from developing countries, such as Brazil, where production
is cheaper, more efficient and environmentally less damaging, the IMF adds.

In the near future, demand for agricultural raw materials is likely to
continue rising in world markets as countries that have previously been able
to meet their own food needs start importing more, increasing the global
challenge of feeding populations.

Don Mitchell, an economist at the World Bank, says: “Although China and
India are relatively self-sufficient in food, some economists doubt that
this can continue as incomes rise and [think] that they will need to rely
much more on imports.”

The FAO expects India to import more wheat and China to increase imports
of coarse grains to supply feed to its livestock industry. Both countries
are also expected to increase imports of oils that are used in food production,
such as palm oil.

The World Bank estimates that cereal production will have to rise by nearly
50 per cent and meat output by 85 per cent between 2000 and 2030 to meet
projected global demand.

Developed countries are not immune. In the UK, the Department for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs acknowledged in a December paper that
food security was becoming a “matter of concern”.

Kate Bailey of Chatham House, the London think-tank, says Britain’s food
supply is facing “huge change” due to shifts in global trade patterns.

Policymakers may have to return to thinking about food as a “strategic
asset”, she adds – even in a nation that has not been self-sufficient in
food since the Industrial Revolution.
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3.  POLAND MUST NOW WIND BACK THE POWER OF THE STATE
Corruption in central Europe is rampant and systemic.

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Marian Tupy
Financial Times, London, UK, Tuesday, October 23 2007

The victory of the liberal Civic Platform in Poland’s early elections over
the weekend could mark the beginning of the end for populism in central
Europe.

The governing parties in Poland and Slovakia came to power promising to end
corruption, and the Hungarian opposition, which lost last year’s election by
the narrowest of margins, promises to do the same.

The collapse of Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s Law and Justice party shows that in
addition to better policing and steeper sentences, the fight against
corruption must include the reduction of the size and scope of the state.

Two years ago, when populist parties such as Law and Justice made electoral
advances throughout central Europe, most commentators saw it as a rebuke to
the liberal parties and the market reforms they had implemented. Such
explanations ignored the resentment that people in the region harboured
against their corrupt incumbent political elites.
CORRUPTION IN CENTRAL EUROPE IS RAMPANT
Corruption in central Europe is rampant. According to Transparency
International’s Corruption Perception Index, which measures corruption on a
scale from 0 (highest) to 10 (lowest), Poland slumped from 4.6 in 1998 to
3.4 in 2005. The Czech Republic fell from 4.8 to 4.3, Hungary’s remained at
5 and Slovakia rose from 3.9 to 4.3.

Though all four countries made small improvements in their CPI scores in
2006, they fell far short of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development’s average of 7.2.
Corruption in central Europe persists for two main reasons.
[1] First, despite much economic liberalisation over the past 17 years,
governments continue to spend, on average, more than 40 per cent of the
region’s gross domestic product.

However, unlike in western Europe, where government spending is also high,
parliamentary scrutiny, judicial independence and the strength of civil
society in central Europe remain relatively underdeveloped. Government
procurement programmes lack transparency and are often used as vehicles for
self-enrichment by corrupt officials.

[2] Second, the central European business environment remains overregulated.
The World Bank’s Doing Business report, for example, found that businesses
in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland were more heavily
regulated than businesses in most developed economies, including most
European Union members.

The armies of bureaucrats in central Europe have ample opportunities to
extract bribes from private firms.

The populists in the region, including the Law and Justice party in Poland
and Smer in Slovakia, tapped into the popular feeling of disgust at the
conspicuous spending of the governing elites and their ill-gotten wealth,
and won.
CORRUPTION IN CENTRAL EUROPE IS SYSTEMIC
But corruption in central Europe is systemic – it cannot be eradicated
through better procurement controls, as is currently being attempted.
Instead, corruption has to be tackled by reducing the size and the scope of
the state and with it the opportunities for self-enrichment among the
political elites.
OLEH HAVRYLYSHYN’S BOOK
As Oleh Havrylyshyn, the former deputy finance minister of Ukraine, shows in
his book, “Divergent Paths in Post-Communist Transformation – Capitalism for
All or Capitalism for the Few?,” countries that implemented more radical
economic reforms after the collapse of communism experienced less corruption
than countries that opted for more gradual reforms.

The transition from communism to capitalism was marked by corruption, not
because of too much liberalisation but because of too little. Perhaps that
explains why Estonia, which is the most economically free of all excommunist
countries, also has the highest CPI score.

By contrast, the governing parties in Poland and Slovakia postponed further
economic reforms, thus in effect ensuring that corruption in the region
continues.

A liberal victory in Poland could mark the beginning of the end for central
European populism and, it is to be hoped, a return to a reform agenda in the
region.

Once in power, the Civic Platform should address the source of corruption in
Poland – the overextended state. The same goes for aspiring reformers in the
rest of the region.
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NOTE: Marian Tupy is a policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for
Global Liberty and Prosperity [Washington, D.C.] and author of “The Rise
of Populist Parties in Central Europe: Big Government, Corruption and the
Threat to Liberalism.”
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4.  POLAND SET FOR STRONGER TIES WITH EUROPE
AFTER THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION

By Jan Cienski and Stefan Wagstyl in Warsaw
Financial Times, London, UK, Tuesday, October 23 2007

The liberal Civic Platform party was preparing to form a government in
Poland yesterday after a dramatic poll victory that international leaders
and the local business community predicted would restart much-delayed
economic reform and lead to closer ties in Europe.

With more than 99 per cent of ballots counted from Sunday’s poll, Civic
Platform had 41.4 per cent of the vote, translating into 209 seats in the
460-member parliament. Law and Justice, which had ruled for two turbulent
years under the leadership of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, prime minister, trailed
with 32 per cent of the vote, enough for 166 seats.

Platform leader Donald Tusk, the likely prime minister in the new
government, is expected to begin coalition talks this week with the centrist
Peasants Party, which will have 31 seats.

To gather the 60 per cent of parliamentary votes needed to override vetoes
by President Lech Kaczynski, the prime minister’s twin brother, the new
government will have to rely on votes from the ex-Communist Left and
Democrats.

Poland’s European Union partners expressed hopes for better relations than
under the Kaczynskis’ assertive approach. The European Commission welcomed
the results while Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, hoped for “an easing
in relations” and greater co-operation.

However, ties with Washington could be more tense than under Mr Kaczynski.
Washington is concerned about Mr Tusk’s calls for Poland to withdraw troops
from Iraq and his doubts about the US missile defence shield.

Civic Platform was careful to limit speculation about who would get which
ministerial portfolio, and kept public policy pronouncements to a minimum.

However, Zbigniew Chlebowski, a potential economy minister, talked of
introducing a flat 15 per cent income tax and an energetic privatisation
programme.

Business leaders cautioned that the new government was unlikely to change
economic policy dramatically, but there would be a change in the way the
government was perceived.

“I think the most important thing is a return to dialogue,” said Henryka
Bochniarz, head of the Polish Private Employers Confederation.
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Additional reporting by FT -correspondents in Luxembourg, Berlin and Kiev
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1e6a6316-8103-11dc-9f14-0000779fd2ac.html

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5.  UKRAINE’S ECONOMICS MINISTER AND DEPUTY US TRADE

REPRESENTATIVE DISCUSS ISSUES OF UKRAINE’S WTO ACCESSION

UKRINFORM, Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, October 20, 2007
 
KYIV – Economics Minister Anatoliy Kinakh and Deputy US Trade
Representative John K. Veroneau discussed some shorter-term priorities
of Ukraine’s economic policy, specifically Ukraine’s accession to the
World Trade Organization.

The Ukrainian delegation led by Mr. Kinakh is taking part in the annual
meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in
Washington, DC, UKRINFORM’s correspondent in the USA reported.

The meeting of the two officials also focussed on measures to improve the
investment climate in Ukraine. Mr. Veroneau noted that the US will continue
to support Ukraine’s WTO bid.

Within the framework of the delegation’s visit to the USA to last until
October 23, Mr. Kinakh is expected to meet with the WB’s Executive Director
Herman Weifels and its Vice President Shigeo Katsu. The discussions will
focus on Ukraine’s accession to the WTO and integration into the European
Union.

As UKRINFORM reported earlier, Ukraine has completed negotiations with all
the members of the WTO working party except Kyrghyzstan, and signed 49
protocols on mutual access to the goods of services markets.

Kyrghyzstan demands that Ukraine pay the former USSR debt to the tune of USD
27 M and lower customs duties on meat and sugar. The working party’s report
on Ukraine’s accession will be presented in Geneva after October 24.

Deputy Economics Minister Valeriy Pyatnytskyi forecasted that Ukraine may
join the WTO before January 1, 2008, the organization’s 60th anniversary.
The same opinion was aired by President Yushchenko during his visit to
Portugal early this week. “We must join the WTO in the near future. I hope
it happens this year,” the head of state said.

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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================      
6.  LVIV, UKRAINE: BORDERING ON ECONOMIC SUCCESS
Lviv is an ancient city with a history as a crossroads of international
trade. Can it keep pace with the global economy of the new millennium?

INTERVIEW: With Dmitry Aftansas, Lviv Chamber of Commerce
By Anna Melnichuk, Business Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Mon, Oct 22, 2007

 Lviv’s Chamber of Commerce is the oldest in Ukraine, founded over a
hundred and fifty years ago by decree of Franz Joseph, the emperor of
Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The Lviv Trade and Industrial Chamber was established in 1850, together with
similar chambers in Krakow, Prague, Vienna, Budapest and other regional
capitals of the Habsburg domains.

Today it is at the fore of a burgeoning Lviv business community looking to
expand on EU cross-border trade and benefit from the investment boost
provided by preparations for the Euro 2012 football championships.

We recently met Dmitry Aftanas of the Lviv Chamber of Commerce for an
outline of the region’s business and economic perspectives.
OVERVIEW OF LVIV COMMERCE
Like the rest of Ukraine, Lviv is witnessing a construction boom, and this
is one of the main areas of international economic activity in the region.

“Tourism and recreation are very important for us, and the region has huge
potential,” Aftanas says. “Lviv in particular has everything it needs to be
a tourism centre, while Truskavets and the Carpathian mountains have
recreational potential.”

Other focuses include the timber industry and the agricultural sphere.
“Large numbers of international investors are currently renting land in Lviv
region for agricultural use. One example is the German companies which
are growing rapeseed for use in bio fuel production.”

The political instability of the past three years has not managed to slow
down the growth of regional commerce and like many business-oriented
Ukrainians, Aftanas is an advocate of staying out of politics as much as
possible.

“Our 290 members are all company directors and they all have their own
personal political orientations. Our region has a traditionally more
positive attitude towards Orange forces because they favour closer ties with
the West. It’s very natural for a population that has always felt close to
Europe and feels almost as much at home in Poland as in Lviv.”

However, Aftanas appreciates the need for dialogue with the government to
improve the business environment, and sees judiciary reform as the most
pressing concern facing the country.

“This country needs to redress the problems with the court system as a
priority. In general the reform process should be geared towards the
liberalisation of the economic sphere.

We need more economic freedoms. Small and medium-sized businesses are
developing, but they still face a lot of obstacles. A new, more liberal tax
code should be adopted to present more opportunities to local business.”

Beyond the political transformation the country is going through, Ukrainian
businesses are also excited about the opportunities presented by the Euro
2012 football championships.

Aftanas sees the tournament as a once in a lifetime chance to radically
improve Lviv in every way from its infrastructure to its ties with the
region’s European neighbours.

“Euro 2012 is the kind of chance for Lviv and the whole Ukraine which will
not be repeated for decades. At the moment preparations remain stuck at the
theoretical level, with the search for sponsors ongoing and plans being
drawn up, but I am confident the work will proceed at good pace.

The planned new stadium will be built by 2010, and Lviv will also see huge
road reconstruction to resolve our growing transport problems.

“Everyone knows that we also don’t have nearly enough quality hotels, but
this is the chance to radically update our entire infrastructure and there
is a general consensus among the authorities at every level that this chance
must be seized. We have a special department in the city administration
working to prepare Lviv for Euro 2012.

The team is young and already experienced. I know them and think they will
cope well with the challenges they face because they have different
mentality and different approach compared to older generations. They do
not engage in time-consuming meditation, but try to solve everything very
quickly.”
RELYING ON FOREIGN EXPERTISE
Budgeting estimates for Lviv’s role in Euro 2012 vary significantly, with
anything from USD 4 billion to USD 9 billion stated as the likely overall
cost of preparations.

Aftanas confirms that the current situation remains unclear owing to
legislative inconsistencies and pending government decisions, and says that
the biggest infrastructure projects will likely be handled by foreign
companies with the requisite expertise.

“At the moment 50% of investment needed is expected from the state budget
and 50% should come from private investors. Our local authorities are
working to offer tax breaks, while the Cabinet of Ministers is considering a
decree the will keep more regional taxes here in Lviv deductions to the
state budget and remain them here.

Regardless of legislative changes the biggest individual projects such as
the planned new stadium have not so far involved Ukrainian companies.”

“I think that local investors will be contractors and subcontractors and
will do some work because there is quite simply a lot of work to do. People
seem to think that there are a huge number of cafes and restaurants in Lviv,
but given the number of tourists we are expecting we will need to increase
the amount of leisure facilities three- or four-fold.

Our guests will be interested in more than football, and in theory at least
Lviv has more than enough to entertain them. I have recently been impressed
by our museums myself.”
LVIV AS INTERNATIONAL TRANSPORT HUB
The reconstruction of Lviv airport may well prove to be the biggest single
long-term result of Euro 2012, and is also likely to be handled by
international companies.

Lviv has huge potential as a regional air travel hub, because Kyiv is too
far away and people from all western Ukraine already come to Lviv to fly to
Europe.

“The prospects for Lviv airport are good,’ says Aftanas. “Talks are
currently underway to link the existing airport with the neighbouring
military base, which would make it possible to receive the largest
categories of plane for long distance flights. Turning Lviv into an
international hub airport is actually a long term project that has been
under consideration for years.

At present Lviv-based travellers often fly to Warsaw or Vienna for transit.
We recently received a delegation from the neighbouring Polish town of
Zheshiv which is in 200 kilometres from Lviv. They already have airport
much smaller than Lviv’s but offer flights to London, Dublin, New York and
Chicago.

If Lviv fails to grasp the air travel potential it currently has, everything
will be shifted to Krakow or Zheshiv. We have already received offers to
initiate flights from budget airlines,” he confirms.

Even after the excitement of Euro 2012 has subsided, Aftanas says he will
remain upbeat about the long-term prospects for Lviv region. “Here it is
quite possible to start any sort of manufacturing process from scratch.
There are already plenty of manufacturing facilities and land available not
far from the border.

We are regularly being asked to find land within a 30-50 kilometre radius of
Lviv because in the city itself land and real estate are getting more and
more expensive.

We already have a group of people who have up-to-date databases of available
potential plots and who accompany investors as they search for the right
spot, helping them to build relationships with the local authorities and
develop contacts.”

Aftanas also sees a bright future for Lviv as a host for regional trade
fairs and conferences, with its ancient European heritage and geographical
location both making it an obvious choice for such events.

“Lviv could be promoted as an exhibition centre because it is about 500
kilometres to the nearest exhibition centres in Kyiv and Poznan. There is
simply nothing closer. The first big trade fair is expected to open here in
the beginning of December this year.

We may not have heavy industry like in the east of Ukraine, and many of our
more well-known production plants, like the legendary Lviv Bus Factory, are
currently operating at a fraction of capacity. But while this is not
immediately encouraging, it represents room for growth. Assembly plants
for household goods can be quickly established in Lviv.

Many locals have left Lviv to find work elsewhere in Europe but I think we
still have the potential labour force to power an increase in the
manufacturing industry. Lviv is a big student centre and we receive
thousands of applications from graduates every year, so it is clear that we
have serious intellectual potential as well.”
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LINK:  http://www.businessukraine.com.ua/bordering-on-economic-success
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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
7.  UKRAINE/EUROPEAN UNION RELATIONS – FROM THE
VANTAGE POINT OF THE EUROPEAN PRESIDENCY

PRESENTATION: By Joao de Vallera
Ambassador of Portugal to the United States
Ukraine-EU Relations, Roundtable VIII; Ukraine’s Quest for Mature
Nation Statehood; Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
Washington, DC, Tue-Wed, October 16-17, 2007

Published by Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #982, Article 7
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, October 24, 2007

1. I would like to thank the organizers of the “Ukraine’s Quest for Mature
Nation Statehood Roundtable Series”, and namely the Center for US-Ukrainian
Relations, for having invited me to participate in the eighth edition of
this timely and commendable initiative.

I will try to focus my presentation on three main topics: [1] the Portuguese
Presidency program and calendar, as far as the development of EU/Ukraine
relations is concerned; [2] our views about the New European Neighborhood
Policy; and [3] a few remarks – some of them presented on a more personal
basis – about the EU´s present situation and Ukraine’s European perspective.

Before that, allow me to briefly approach the narrower Portuguese/Ukrainian
bilateral universe, which has moved ahead in the last decade through
unprecedented and unexpected paths.

Who would be shrewd enough to foresee, not many years ago, that tens of
thousands of Ukrainian citizens would find in my country, where they were
welcomed, where they easily integrated and whose language they swiftly
learned, a second, in many cases a definitive home?

We have spread around the World, and we like to see ourselves as good agents
of integration, but we were more used to be visitors than to host permanent
guests, and Eastern Europe, to say the least, was not exactly in the core of
the international networks of relationships we created in the course of our
History.

That two countries in the extreme geographical boundaries of Europe, with
scarce contacts, were able to build in a short period a strong and friendly
relationship, boosted by spontaneous movements of citizens, tells a lot

about the new Europe we are living in and about the potential it still hides.

2.The 18 months common program established by the German, Portuguese and
Slovenian presidencies states that emphasis must be put on implementing the
European Union/Ukraine Action Plan, making full use of the European
Neighborhood Policy Instrument; and that, in this context, negotiations on a
new Enhanced Agreement should be completed.

More generally, it indicates that the European Union will thus present an
attractive and broad offer for cooperation with its neighbors, including
intensifying cooperation within specific sectors by concluding sectorial
agreements.

Up to now the present semester has been conditioned by the Ukrainian
political situation and namely by the preparation of the anticipated
elections.

Progress on EU/Ukraine bilateral relations was nevertheless possible, and we
expect that a swift formation of the new Government – making it possible to
definitely overcome the recent political crisis and paving the way to a
serious constitutional reform – will allow us to find a renewed dynamism
before the end of the year.

Substantial further progress would be much welcomed, be it on the manifold
implementation of the Action Plan, including
[1] reinforced cooperation in key areas like energy security and efficiency,
     environment and climate change, justice and border cooperation;
[2] on the negotiation of the Enhanced Agreement, designed to bring our
     relations to a new qualitative level (the fourth round of negotiations
     is taking place in this very moment, a fifth being expected until the end
    of the year;
[3] or on Ukraine’s accession to the WTO, a pre-condition to launch
     negotiations on a deep and comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.

The Presidency is ready to correspond to any new development that
contributes to the strengthening of EU/Ukraine relations; and expects that
the Ukrainian authorities take full advantage of the considerable increase
in financial assistance that was decided by the EU last March to support the
reform process and the implementation of the Action Plan

The EU/Ukraine Summit that took place just a month ago, two weeks before

the elections, proved to be a good opportunity to take stock of recent
advancements in different areas, to provide guidance to future work and to
reaffirm important common commitments and goals.

The reciprocal wish to further deepen the relations was complemented by

an open and pragmatic discussion on a number of concrete topics,
[1] including visa issuing procedure(within the framework of the recently
     concluded agreement on visa facilitation and readmission),
[2] progress on the rule of law, the reform of the judiciary and the fight
     against corruption, as a necessary means to keep improving the
     business and investment climate,
[3] energy cooperation, [4] trade, [5] nuclear safety and,
[6[ in the framework of the revised Action Plan on Justice, Freedom and
     Security, the reinforcement of cooperation with Europol and Frontex.

Continued close cooperation  in the realm of foreign and security policy,
particularly on regional stability and crisis management, was most welcome.

A special reference was made to the increasing convergence of the two sides
on regional and international issues, with an 85% alignment of Ukraine with
EU foreign policy positions. Ukraine’s role in EU-led crisis management
operations was highly praised.

Three documents were approved: [1] a Joint Statement, [2] a joint progress
report on the negotiation of the New Enhanced Agreement and a [3] joint
progress report on the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding

on energy cooperation.

All these documents are available and I am not going to get into details
which will certainly be mentioned by the European Commission on Roundtable
Focus Session VI.

Despite the unavoidable political limitations, it was a positive Summit,
unfolded in a good and constructive atmosphere.

The simple fact that it took place, the decision not to postpone it, were a
significant gesture of trust in the Ukrainian capacity to move beyond the
present difficulties as well as in its resolve to pursue the European way.

A measure of this trust – and of the high expectations regarding the future
Ukrainian political framework – is visible in the last sentence of the Joint
Statement, where we can read that the EU leaders welcomed Ukraine’s European
choice and emphasized that further internal reforms and the introduction of
European standards would bring Ukraine closer to the EU.

3. Ukraine’s relations with the EU are framed within the New European
Neighborhood Policy, which is now in the center of the EU’s external
relations’ priorities and, with a budget of 12 billion for the financial
perspectives period of 2007/2013, benefited from a 32% increase as compared
with the previous cycle of  2000/2006.

But not only the financial coverage changed: its instruments were reviewed
to allow more ambition and more flexibility, in an effort that specifically
aims at reinforcing as much as possible the relations of the EU with its
neighbors and at avoiding the emergence of a new dividing line between the
EU and its outer perimeter.

The NENP plays a major part in the European project of peace, development
and stability, which is of a common strategic interest for the EU and its
neighbors, in this sense representing more than a simple EU’s external
policy instrument.

Another important characteristic of the NENP can be summarized as follows:
it gives substance to a process which is distinct from enlargement, an
accession perspective not being for the moment on the agenda for those
countries, but which at the same time remains silent as far as the future
nature of the relations of each of those same countries with the EU is
concerned.

It is then conceived as neither an antechamber for membership, nor a barrier
to future accessions. Flexibility means, on the other hand, that the process
is opened to different degrees of ambition – and of internal preparedness –
displayed by its various beneficiaries in the way they figure out their
relationship with the EU.

The global character of the European Neighborhood Policy is another
significant element that deserves to be underlined.

This means that no political distinction ought to be made between its two
wide regional components, East and South, both being the object of the same
EU wish to support and develop far reaching cooperation relations and to
pursue more ambitious forms of integration with its neighbors.

In this context, any purposeful differentiation within this policy is
something to be searched not through a distinctive approach to the two
regions, but as the (a posteriori) result of the implementation of the
principle of flexibility, exclusively available on a national, and non
regional, basis.

The access to deeper forms of integration is thus offered to all neighboring
States, in accordance with their ambition, capacity and own merits.

Ukraine has an open and broad space to occupy in its relation with the EU,
and technical and financial assistance to help developments in this
direction.

Reforms are in any case, before any other considerations, beneficial to
Ukraine, with the added advantage of creating an objective capital of trust
and sustained purpose that might prove to be an invaluable asset in an
unpredictable future.

4.The dialectic connection between enlargement and deepening of the EU
system has been at the core of European developments in the two last
decades, nourished a never ending internal debate and has caused thousands
of pages to be darkened by some of the more enlightened spirits that chose
the EU as a well deserving subject of devotion.

What I would like to say at this stage can be summarized in the following
telegraphic statements:

a) the relation between enlargement and deepening is a dynamic, less linear
and more complex reality than it is usually broadcast;

b) the two terms of the dichotomy are by definition, from a static point of
view, contradictory, in the sense that the integration of inevitable new
elements of heterogeneity theoretically multiply the range of interests,
reduce the areas of consensus, complicate the decision making process and
contribute to a sense of dilution of what was defined as a common purpose,
wherever it existed before;

c) that said, it is not true that enlargements were followed by a weakening
of the global system; on the contrary, they provoked compensation movements
of adaptation that many times moved the integration process forward, with a
pace and degree of ambition that might not have been possible in the
previous situation.

This was very clear, for example, in the years that followed the accession
of Portugal and Spain, with the powerful and strategically minded boost
provided by the Maastricht Treaty and the introduction of the multi-annual
financial perspectives;

d) the very toynbeean concept of challenge and response having marked its
presence, it is also true that the nature and dimension of the challenge was
not equivalent in the different moments of enlargement, and that the
capacity of response displayed by the EU was also variable.

It would be interesting, in this perspective, to compare what were the
changes that really lead to further integration in the mentioned Treaty of
Maastricht, on the one hand, and on Treaties like the Nice Treaty or the
Reform Treaty to be approved, on the other hand ;

e) the succession of different political leaders in the national landscapes
and the changing – even if sometimes blurred – perception of public opinion
in some Member States on the state of European affairs brought new elements
of reflection that went beyond the conventional wisdom about European
realities and priorities and which cannot be reduced to the phenomena we
commonly call the “enlargement or institutional fatigue”; these are concerns
that in democracy we cannot just put aside;

f) the European Union will find its way to progress, while avoiding the
risks of becoming a victim of its own success; it would be a mistake to
overestimate its capacities as a mere geo-strategic power engine, as it
would be wrong and unfair to consider that its geo-strategic capabilities
and virtues are limited to the enlargement process;

g)  the period of doubt and uncertainty that followed the rejection of the
Constitutional Treaty is being overcome, and the conclusion of the Reform
Treaty process – whose political approval in a few days time will be pursued
by the Portuguese Presidency as a matter of absolute priority – is crucial
to allow the inauguration of a new cycle of European assertiveness, namely
in the external sphere, which will hopefully open the way to new
developments;

h) time, as usual, is of the essence ; and we shall see, in a few years
time, where we all stand ; meanwhile, and whatever the present perspectives
appear to be, we should for our common benefit take full advantage of the
many opportunities offered to further the integration between the EU and
Ukraine.
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========================================================
8.  EUROPEAN UNION: DRAFTING A GLOBAL PLAYER
If you travel to countries in the European neighborhood such as
Ukraine, Georgia or Egypt, you cannot help but be depressed
about how the EU squanders its power.

COMMENTARY: By Mark Leonard, The Wall Street Journal
New York, New York, Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Unless something goes badly wrong, European Union leaders will agree a new
treaty at this week’s summit in Lisbon. Unlike the doomed Constitution of
2005, which aimed to supersede all earlier agreements with a grandiose
state-building exercise, this will be just another amending treaty shorn of
the trappings of statehood.

And yet, the euroskeptic media in Britain have whipped up an emotional
debate by spreading myths: that Britain would lose its seat at the United
Nations; that an EU foreign minister would take over British foreign policy;
that British embassies would be replaced by EU embassies; in short, that
this treaty would create a superstate.

In reality, the new text will be a fairly modest affair — far from the
unrealistic aspirations of the Constitution’s author, Valéry Giscard
d’Estaing, or the irrational fears of British europhobes. But the new treaty
will make the EU work better, endowing it with greater efficiency, democracy
and power in the world.

The treaty tries to streamline the EU’s ramshackle institutions — designed
originally only for the six founding member states — in order to support a
political grouping of now 27 countries. The new “double-majority voting”
formula gives EU decisions greater legitimacy as they’d have to be passed by
a majority of states that also represent a majority of citizens.

The treaty will give the EU more continuity by replacing the “rotating
presidency” with a president chosen by national governments for two and a
half years.

It reduces the size of the European Commission to 15 from the current 27 so
that it can work more effectively as the EU enlarges. And it extends
qualified majority voting to new areas like energy policy and humanitarian
aid. These are all rather minor changes.

The new treaty also tries to calm the fears of those who see European
integration as a one-way street from which there is no escape. For the first
time, there is a provision that enables member states to withdraw from the
EU.

More importantly, the treaty also gives national parliaments a greater say
in EU policies. If one-third of national parliaments object to a Commission
proposal, it will be sent back to Brussels for review (the “yellow card”).

If a majority of national parliaments oppose a Commission proposal — and
national governments or members of the European Parliament agree — then it
can be struck down (the “orange card”).

The treaty also extends the powers of MEPs to areas national governments
used to keep to themselves, such as the Common Agricultural Policy. For all
those who want to see CAP reform, this will be good news as they’ll have
many MEPs on their side.

The most compelling reason for supporting the reform treaty is the fact that
it could help the EU become a more effective power in the world. The EU has
the resources to be a real global player.

It is the largest single market in the world, it is involved in over half of
the world’s trade, and it has over 50,000 peacekeepers deployed from Bosnia
to Beirut and an even larger army of diplomats and aid workers. But despite
all of this latent power, the EU punches way below its weight.

When its member states disagree, as over Iraq, the EU cannot hope to be
credible. But even when the governments do agree to pursue a common foreign
policy, the EU’s fragmented institutional machinery often prevents it from
delivering in an effective and timely manner.

The big problem is that EU institutions and member states often fail to
coordinate their various policies and instruments — including trade, aid,
defense, policing and diplomacy — in the pursuit of common objectives.

If you travel to countries in the European neighborhood such as Ukraine,
Georgia or Egypt, you cannot help but be depressed about how the EU
squanders its power. In Cairo, human-rights activists are so struck by the
lack of urgency of European democracy promotion that they have called it
“project 3000.”

The new treaty could start to turn things around by beefing up the role of
the “High Representative for External Affairs” who would also become a vice
president of the European Commission.

This person would chair meetings of European foreign ministers and be
supported by an “External Action Service,” largely made up of existing
Commission personnel in overseas offices with some diplomats seconded from
member states.

As a result, foreign governments, such as the one in Cairo, would no longer
be able to play different EU institutions off against each other.

They will have to negotiate with one single contact point who will have much
more leeway to scrutinize their human- and political-rights records and, if
necessary, adjust the terms of their access to the European market and the
EU’s ?1 billion aid budget.

In many countries, though, less attention is being paid to the substance of
the treaty than to what percentage of the text is similar to the
Constitution. This numerical analysis is largely meaningless. The phrase “I
want to kill your father,” for example, contains over 85% of the words of
its opposite, “I don’t want to kill your father.”

In any case, Britain, which is most obsessed with these linguistic games,
has negotiated so many “red lines,” or derogations and opt-outs, that it
will be signing a different text than everyone else.

Even treaty skeptics should celebrate the fact that Europe’s leaders are
finally closing a deal. The EU has spent more than two years in the throes
of a political breakdown.

The crisis was not brought about by the loss of the Constitution as such,
but rather the loss of confidence that came with it. This became an excuse
for inaction and navel gazing.

The most dramatic signal of the EU’s loss of nerve is the foot-dragging over
one of its biggest policy successes: enlargement. The current debate focuses
exclusively on the costs, ignoring the economic benefits, such as that the
thriving export markets in Eastern Europe have helped boost the economies in
the old member states.

And there is very little discussion about the damage our wavering commitment
to enlargement is doing to the reform momentum in Turkey and the Balkans.

In the past, widening and deepening have always gone hand-in-hand. The new
treaty will put a stop to the interminable institutional debate that has
been distracting EU leaders for more than two decades now.

Once the treaty is wrapped up, they can return to what should be their core
vocation: spreading stability and prosperity around the European continent.
———————————————————————————————
Mr. Leonard is executive director of the European Council on Foreign
Relations, a pan-European think-tank launched this month.
——————————————————————————————–
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119257141800761081.html
———————————————————————————————–
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9.  “IT IS VERY HONORABLE TO BE UKRAINIAN IN CANADA”
Levko Lukianenko discusses the need to revive the Cossacks,
his new book, and his vision of Ukraine’s future

By Alla SHERSHEN, Special to The Day
The Day Weekly Digest, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Oct 23, 2007

On Oct. 14 Ukraine marked the Day of Ukrainian Cossacks, the feast of the
Holy Protection of the Virgin Mary, and the 65th anniversary of the
Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).

On this occasion we talked to Levko LUKIANENKO, a legendary Ukrainian
dissident, founder of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, member of the Ukrainian
parliament, and the author of many books. Now in his 80s, he is extremely
open to the mass media and members of the public.

[The  Day] You served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of
Ukraine to Canada. How does the Ukrainian Diaspora celebrate UPA
anniversaries?

[Levko Lukianenko] “The Day of the UPA is very widely marked in Canada,
because the political emigration that came there after the Second World War
is very active. The Day of the UPA is a great day for them.

“They hold conferences and gatherings, at which former UPA warriors wearing
their military uniforms talk about the war and the battles in which they
fought. The Ukrainian Diaspora in Canada has erected a very splendid
monument to an UPA warrior.

It is a large vertical four or five-meter-square slab on which a soldier
wearing a mazepynka stands. The inscription ‘UPA’ is next to the sculpture,
but it is not very noticeable, because the emphasis is on the handsome and
slender warrior.

“Before Ukraine became independent, the Ukrainian Diaspora did not simply
celebrate; it continued to fight. They appealed to embassies, the Canadian
authorities, and the United Nations, and organized demonstrations near the
Soviet Embassy.

“Later they created the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN), headed by
Yaroslav Stetsko, the former head of Bandera’s government.
HONORABLE TO BE UKRAINIAN IN CANADA
“It is very honorable to be Ukrainian in Canada. People talk about having
Ukrainian parentage at the drop of a hat. They say this proudly in English
because many descendents of Ukrainians don’t know the language. Ukrainians
have proved themselves in Canada.

“For example, you do not need police in those city blocks where Ukrainians
live, and their character traits, like diligence and honesty, have won them
respect among the Anglo-Saxons.”

[The  Day] The National Brotherhood of the OUN and UPA has been a member
of the European Confederation of Veterans of World War II since 1995, but
their status as war veterans has not been recognized in Ukraine.

Do you think the newly-elected parliament will have enough political will
and patriotism to grant UPA soldiers such a status?
NEVER HAD A PATRIOTIC RADA
[Levko Lukianenko] “The president is inclined to solve this problem in a
patriotic manner, but he did not do this before because the Verkhovna Rada
was unpatriotic, to put it mildly. We are in the 17th year of independence
and we have never had a patriotic Verkhovna Rada.

“I think the newly-elected parliament will do this, because for the first
time we have a situation where the democratic side in parliament has four or
six votes more than the anti-Ukrainian side. This is a serious factor and
therefore patriotic measures can be implemented.”

[The  Day] In one of your books you wrote that you are of Cossack ancestry.
Do you know who your ancestors were and under whose command they fought?

[Levko Lukianenko] “I don’t know my family history that far back, but there
was a company in the Chernihiv regiment in Horodnia raion of Chernihiv
oblast, where I come from.

“According to legend, our village of Khrypivka was founded by a Cossack
named Khrypaty in the 17th century. There were nameplates on the sides of
the wooden houses saying ‘Cossack Nykyfor Skoibida’ or ‘middle class citizen
Ivan Petrenko.’

“In our village we had Cossacks, serfs, and bourgeois. I come from a long
line of Cossacks on both my father and mother’s side. Their parents and
grandparents had to perform the corvee (unpaid labor) for a landowner. My
mother’s maiden name is Skoibida.

“If there was a Cossack named Nykyfor Skoibida, it was registered in the
church books and everyone knew about this. Over one-third of the population
of our village was Cossack, so lower middle class people and peasants were
in the minority.

“I can proudly add that in the Verkhovna Rada (I can’t remember whether it
was the second or third convocation), 12 of us members of parliament went to
St. Sophia Cathedral, where Patriarch Volodymyr reinstated us in the Cossack
register during a solemn ceremony. Now I can consider myself a real
 Cossack.”

[The  Day] There are nearly 30 Cossack organizations in Ukraine. To which
do you belong?

[Levko Lukianenko] “I consider myself a member of the Zaporozhian Sich
Cossacks, led by Hetman Volodymyr Homeniuk. But this membership is very
conditional.

“I am dissatisfied with the organizational state of the Cossacks because
some Cossack organizations were created by Russian chauvinists and they
are contemptuous of the Ukrainian language.

“All those Cossacks should be sorted out, but I did not have time for this
when I was in parliament, and at the moment I am not involved in this. But
the very idea of the Cossacks’ revival is positive, and I am pleased that
these things are being done.

“I know that a draft law has been prepared, containing conditions that
Cossacks will have to meet, which will be adopted by the Verkhovna Rada.
LOVE UKRAINE, SPEAK UKRAINIAN
“At the very least they have to love Ukraine, speak Ukrainian, defend it,
maintain Ukrainian customs and traditions, and fight for a Ukrainian Ukraine
and the renewal of our spiritual values.

“If a Cossack does not do this, he will be expelled from the organization.
We need such a purge now because there are many organizations that do not
love Ukraine.”

[The  Day] Do contemporary Cossacks fulfill the patriotic and educational
function vis-a-vis society and youth in particular, which they have taken
upon themselves?
CLEANSE UKRAINE OF IMPERIAL SYMBOLS
[Levko Lukianenko] “Not as much as I would like. For example, they have not
managed to cleanse Ukraine of the imperial symbols that defame our nation.

“But Cossacks managed to successfully oppose the unveiling of the monument
to Russian Tsarina Catherine II. They stopped this anti-Ukrainian action,
and kudos to them for this.”

[The  Day] You did not run in the elections this time to the Verkhovna Rada
and are writing a book. What is your book about?
NEW BOOK ABOUT MY IMPRISONMENT
[Levko Lukianenko] “The book will be about my imprisonment, prison, and
the concentration camp, how we lived there, what we thought and did.”

[The  Day] You wrote in one of your books that you always wanted to travel.
What countries have you visited since you were released?

[Levko Lukianenko] “Before my imprisonment I served in the army in Austria
and traveled to Hungary and Germany. In the Soviet Union I visited only
Azerbaijan and Georgia. Later I was in Siberia for so long that now I don’t
want to go anywhere.

“If I traveled somewhere abroad as a member of parliament, I did so out of
sheer necessity. I did not have any special bent for traveling because I
missed Ukraine very much. I wanted to stay at home. But because of my
ambassadorial obligations I lived in Canada, and later I went on a business
trip to the US.

“When I was the president of the Ukrainian branch of the World League for
Freedom of Democracy, I visited Taiwan. When I was the head of the
Ukrainian Helsinki Group, I spent two months as a member of the political
intelligence unit in Belgium, France, and Germany. On one occasion I visited
Austria.”

[The  Day] Have you visited the places of your imprisonment since your
release?

[Levko Lukianenko] “I visited Kuchino, the museum of the prison where I was
held. The museum was organized by Russian dissidents with whom I was
imprisoned. Now I maintain relations with some Russians, but for the most
part – with Ukrainians.”
WHEN WILL UKRAINE FINALLY BECOME UKRAINIAN?
[The  Day] When will Ukraine finally become Ukrainian?

[Levko Lukianenko] “Russian colonial servitude has crippled us, we are a
sick nation. This will not happen very soon, but I don’t think the process
will be as long as Moses led the Jews from Egypt through the desert for
40 years, until the older generation that had lived in slavery died. I think
this process will be quicker.”
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LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/190109/

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10.  AN UNCONVENTIONAL GENERAL: THE
100th BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF PETRO HRYHORENKO
A monument was erected in Symferopil. If you have a chance,
please lay some flowers there. Petro Hryhorenko deserves this.

By Yurii Shapoval, Professor, Scholar, Author, Historian
The Day Weekly Digest, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I don’t think that someone else’s life can be an example for others.

Everyone carves out their own path. If what I have recounted can serve as
food for thought for anyone, I will believe that my work was not in vain,”
General Petro Hryhorenko wrote in his memoirs.

Today, many years later, it is very clear that he did not work in vain, and
his life is a lesson to all those for whom truth and decency are not
abstract notions.

Petro Hryhorenko was born on Oct. 16, 1907, in the village of Borysivka,
today: Prymorske district) in Zaporizhia oblast. His mother died when he
was three years old, and he attended a secondary school in Nohaisk. In the
spring of 1918 Petro and his brother Ivan tried to enlist in the
Red Guard in Berdiansk by pretending to be older.

But their father quickly tracked them down. He told Ivan, who was just 15,
“You are too young, but you’ll have plenty enough wars to fight in.”
These words could also apply to Petro, who later enrolled in the Civil
Engineering Faculty of the Kharkiv Technical Institute.

At this time an event occurred, which led Hryhorenko to a gradual
understanding of the true nature of the system that proclaimed itself the most

humane and righteous order In the summer of 1930 Hryhorenko the student
was a member of  a group of representatives sent by the Central Committee
of the Communist Party of Ukraine to bring in the crops.

They were briefed by the party’s General Secretary Stanislav Kosior.
The future human rights champion remembered that briefing all his life.

“The peasant has devised a new tactic,” Kosior sermonized. “He is refusing
to gather the harvest. He wants to destroy the grain in order to strangle the
Soviet power with the bony hand of famine. But the enemy is mistaken.

We ourselves will force him to know what famine is. Your task is to thwart
the kulak tactics of hindering the harvest campaign. Everything must be gathered
right down to the last seed of grain and immediately delivered to the state.”

Kosior’s speech made a horrible impression on Hryhorenko. This is probably
why he never became a Komsomol or party activist. Instead, he opted for
a military career. What led him to make this decision was a commission that
came to the institute to recruit students to the Leningrad-based Military
and Technical Academy. Incidentally, a Gypsy woman had once prophesied

that Hryhorenko would become a military man. The prophecy came true.

Hryhorenko became a cadet at the Military Engineering Faculty in 1931.
Later, this faculty formed the nucleus of the Moscow Military Engineering
College from which Hryhorenko graduated in 1934.

He was left at the college to pursue advanced military studies. He showed
character and persuaded none other than Deputy People’s Commissar of

Defense Mikhail Tukhachevsky to appoint him chief of staff of the separate
engineering battalion of the 4th Rifles Corps. He believed that you should
practice what you learn.

Tukhachevsky appreciated Hryhorenko’s resolute position, and when he was
about to leave the famous general’s office, Tukhachevsky stopped him and
said, “Remember that the uniform you are wearing and all that is connected

to it is for life.”

The point here is that graduates of the fortifications faculty where
Hryhorenko had just completed his studies were usually commissioned as

defense construction officers, but Tukhachevsky issued an unusual
appointment to Hryhorenko.

Hryhorenko took up full-time studies again in 1937 at the Moscow-based
General Staff Academy. One day in early 1938 he had a visit from his brother

Ivan, who one day earlier had been released from the NKVD detention center in
Zaporizhia.

There he saw a great number of “enemies of the people,” who were kept in
terrible conditions and beaten into confessing crimes they had never
committed.

 
Ivan had not been interrogated: at the investigator’s demand, he only wrote
an autobiography and comments about his bosses and subordinates.

Ivan was aware that this was an object lesson – ‘this is what awaits you if
you refuse to cooperate with the NKVD.’ So he boarded a train and went to
see his brother in Moscow. The brothers decided to send each other weekly
letters in the form of special abbreviations, a kind of code.

Ivan went home, but Petro decided to seek the truth, believe it or not, from
Andrei Vyshinsky, the Prosecutor-General of the USSR. He succeeded in
gaining an audience with “Jaguarovich” (Vyshinsky’s nickname based on his

patronymic Yanuarievich). Hryhorenko told him about his brother Ivan’s plight.

“Now I know,” Hryhorenko reminisced later, “what kind of person he was; what
a horrible role he played in the Stalinist terror. But I must admit frankly
that at the time I was overwhelmed by the importance of this person.”

Unbelievably, this “important person” helped. A Moscow commission came to
Zaporizhia, the investigators who had resorted to tortures were dismissed,
and the prisoners whom Ivan had met began to be released. “I was glad and
finally ‘convinced’ that the party was going to put an end to this mayhem,”
Hryhorenko recalled.

He could not guess that his intercession coincided with the advent to power
of Lavrenty Beria, who began to “cleanse” the NKVD of those who worked
in a “dirty” fashion.

Hryhorenko’s wife, who had seen his correspondence with his brother, wanted
to report him to the authorities. Since they had been corresponding with the
aid of specially truncated words, she decided that it was some kind of code
and set off to the Lubianka early one morning to inform on her
husband’s “espionage.”

Hearing her leave the apartment, Hryhorenko stopped her with great
difficulty and said that it was not a spy code but a message from his brother
describing what he had lived through.

His wife began to cry and asked him to forgive her. “I did not condemn her,”
Hryhorenko would later write in his memoirs. “Naturally, I did not rush to
denounce my relative to the NKVD, but the party had made Pavlik Morozov into
an iconic figure. Therefore, I was not a full-fledged communist. My wife
proved to be stronger.” They divorced soon after, and Hryhorenko married

Zinaida Yegorova.

Hryhorenko fought in the battle of Khalkhin-Gol in 1939. He commanded an
infantry division and was twice wounded. At the beginning of the war he
assessed the situation “incorrectly,” i.e., realistically.

This was duly recorded and throughout the war he remained in the rank of
lieutenant-colonel, although he held the position of general. He was not
promoted to general until early February 1945. Nevertheless, he would
eventually be reminded of his “incorrect” utterances. During the war
Hryhorenko met Leonid Brezhnev.

They did not exactly like each other, perhaps because Hryhorenko quickly
saw through the future General Secretary.

In 1945 Hryhorenko began teaching at the Frunze Military Academy. An
incident that took place at this time became a turning point in his life.

“That was the most terrible moment of my life, but it was also the time
of my triumph,” he wrote in his reminiscences. On Sept. 7, 1961, the
birthday of his son Andrii, Hryhorenko was supposed to speak at the

Communist Party conference in Moscow’s Leninsky district, to which he
was sent as a delegate by the academy’s party organization.

The conference was discussing the draft of a new party program that called
for building communism in the USSR within 20 years. It could have been a
run-of-the-mill speech followed by general applause and some proposals.

But the speaker proved to be an unconventional general. Hryhorenko began to
criticize Nikita Khrushchev’s policies and warned his listeners about his
nascent cult of personality, declaring that the party was rife with
careerism, lack of principles, and other negative manifestations that were

being hushed up.

The conference delegates unanimously condemned Hryhorenko’s speech
(clearly, on the party bosses’ instructions).

What was to be done with the maverick general? Initially, it was decided
to send him far away from Moscow. In early January 1962 Hryhorenko was
transferred to the Far East as the chief of operations of a field army staff
in Ussuriisk.

Hryhorenko would not have been a military man if he had not struck back:
on Nov. 7, 1963, he founded the Union for the Struggle to Revive Leninism,
which began circulating leaflets. The organization was uncovered, and in
1964 Hryhorenko was stripped of his rank, decorations, and pension, and then
arrested. On Aug 14 he was taken to a special psychiatric hospital in Leningrad.

This was still the Khrushchev era. But in October 1964 Khrushchev was
removed from his post as first secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU.

He was replaced by Brezhnev whom fate had brought together with Hryhorenko
during the war On April 14, 1965, a military tribunal ruled to discontinue forced
medical treatment.

When Brezhnev was shown the documents about Hryhorenko’s release, “dear
Leonid Illich” asked where the ex-general was. Informed that he had already
been discharged from the hospital, Brezhnev said, “You shouldn’t have
hurried.” Hryhorenko would soon find himself in a durka (psychiatric hospital)

again.

Meanwhile, released from the hospital, the former general began to work as a
cargo handler. During this time he became acquainted with such Russian and
Ukrainian human rights activists as Henrikh Altunian, Leonid Pliushch,
Mykola Rudenko, Viacheslav Chornovil, Nina Strokata, and others.

An important page in his life story is the struggle for the rights of the
Crimean Tatars, which the latter have never forgotten This was the reason
behind Hryhorenko’s arrest in 1969. He had once met the Russian writer
Aleksei Kosterin, who drew his attention to this people’s tragedy.

On April 29, 1969, Yurii Andropov, the head of the KGB, sent a special
letter to the CC CPSU with a plan to establish a network of psychiatric

hospitals to be used for protecting the existing state and social order.

Interestingly, that was the day that Hryhorenko gave the samizdat network
his open letter to Andropov The letter described in detail what the KGB was
really doing: persecuting democratically- minded people, opening
correspondence, carrying out covert and open searches of the homes of

those who were critical of the government, tapping telephones, spreading
slander about specific people via the press and the party propaganda system,
organizing special provocations, and framing people who opposed the
authorities.

Hryhorenko illustrated all this with concrete examples and through his own
example showed the cost of surveillance in Soviet rubles.

On May 2, 1969, Hryhorenko was arrested in Tashkent, where he was

supposed to appear as a public defender at the trial of the leaders of the
Crimean Tatar movement He was re-arrested on May 7.

There were interrogations again, and an expert examination in Moscow
pronounced him mentally ill. On Feb. 27, 1970, Hryhorenko was sent to a

special psychiatric hospital. Professor Andrei Sakharov, the father of the
Soviet hydrogen bomb, began his human rights struggle in 1969 by coming
to the defense of General Hryhorenko.

In 1971 the psychiatrist Semen Gluzman, who was working in Zhytomyr oblast,
carried out an independent examination of the Hryhorenko case and proved
that the psychiatric treatment methods applied to him were unlawful.

He obtained all the necessary documents from Moscow-based dissidents and
wrote a conclusion (as Semen Fishelevych told me, he was not fully aware of
the likely consequences of these actions). The consequences became clear
very soon: Gluzman was arrested that year and sentenced to a seven-year

term in a prison camp and three years of internal exile.

Hryhorenko was released on June 26, 1974. He left notes about his 6.5-year
incarceration in a psychiatric hospital. The human rights champion wrote,
“The idea of special psychiatric hospitals is not bad in itself, but when it
comes to the specific way it is being implemented in this country, there is
nothing more criminal and antihuman.”

The trouble is that this field was entirely taken out of public control and
handed over to hand-picked apparatchiks.

Doctors were carefully selected to work in psychiatric clinics: medical
skill played no role whatsoever; what mattered was the ability to obey

and conceal one’s medical ego.

Hryhorenko’s memoirs, entitled You Can Only See Rats Underground, were
published in 1981 in New York and reprinted in the USSR in 1990.

The title is evocative because such figures as Hryhorenko resisted the
attempts of the KGB and the entire Soviet regime to drive the human rights
movement underground and tried to express their views openly and legally,
as though they were living in a truly democratic society, where “one
breathes so freely.”

This assumed special importance after the USSR signed the Helsinki

Accords in August 1975. Earlier, the USSR had abstained when the UN
was voting for the Human Rights Charter.

But when the Kremlin signed the Charter, a different politico-legal reality
was created because it was about recognizing human rights, basic freedoms,
and the right to know these rights and duties and act in compliance with
them.

One of the results of this was the growth of a dissident movement in the
USSR: in May 1976 Sakharov’s comrade-in-arms, Professor Yurii Orlov,

founded a Moscow civic group to monitor compliance with the Helsinki
Accords, followed in November 1976 by the founding of a Ukrainian group
and later, its Lithuanian, Georgian, and Armenian counterparts. Hryhorenko
was the co-founder of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group.

The members of these groups behaved as if they lived in a free country, and
the main method of their struggle was adherence to the ostensibly democratic
Constitution of the Soviet Union, the General Declaration of Human Rights,
and the Helsinki Accords.

In 1977 Hryhorenko was taken ill. Together with his wife and son Oleh,
he was allowed to travel to the US for medical treatment. He was stripped
of Soviet citizenship three months after his departure. Hryhorenko died
in the US in February 1987 and is buried in Bound Brook, New Jersey, at St.
Andrew’s Ukrainian Cemetery.

As Tukhachevsky had once predicted, Hryhorenko remained a military man:
he was reinstated (posthumously) in the rank of major-general in 1993 by
a decree of Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

A monument to the unconventional general was erected in Symferopil. If you
have a chance, please lay some flowers there. Petro Hryhorenko deserves
this.
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LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/190115/
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11.  RUSSIA SAYS: DEMOCRACY? NO, LAND OF DISORDER!

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: By Peter Dickinson
Business Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, October 22, 2007

Russia is approaching what everyone expects will be yet another stage-
managed farce of an election. Does that mean Russians are envious of
Ukraine’s democratic breakthrough? Not at all, or at least the majority
would never admit to it.

The assorted democratic watchdogs and acronymed agencies of the
international community gave Ukraine’s recent parliamentary elections a
resounding thumbs up, making it the third straight national vote in as
many years to be assessed as both free and fair by global scrutineers.

The success of this democratic revolution has gone virtually unnoticed in
Russia, where the popular perception of Ukraine is of a chaotic country
permanently on the verge of the next political crisis with a population
deeply disillusioned by the democratic process.

It is hardly surprising that the state-controlled Russian press should wish
to present such an impression, given the rather obvious threat Ukrainian
democracy poses to existing vertical power structures and Putin’s regime.

The motto adopted by the post-Yeltsin generation of Russian political
thinkers that democracy is somehow “not for us” is clearly debunked by

developments in Ukraine, and this is something which must be countered
at all costs.
FREE AND UNFREE, ORDER AND DISORDER
As a result of this need to portray Ukraine’s progress in the most
unattractive light possible Russia’s propaganda outlets have adopted a
wholly pessimistic approach to the Ukrainian question.

Instead of acknowledging the benefits of Ukraine’s burgeoning civil society,
free media and lively political debate, Moscow commentators have focused
almost exclusively on the elements of conflict that this process inevitably
throws up.

They never seem to tire of reporting on the hardships of Russian
nationalists in Crimea and the Donbass, while reveling in coverage of Ukraine’s

struggle to come to terms with the divisions created by the Soviet past.

Whereas the European liberal democratic tradition attaches primary
importance to the level of personal freedoms in any given society, the current

official Russian attitude is the product of a mindset that tends to view
everything in terms of order and disorder.

We have seen this position employed wholesale by Ukraine’s own Russian-
leaning Party of Regions during the past three years of electioneering,
with their refreshingly honest “Hope is good, but stability is better”
campaign slogans.

Such attitudes effectively relegate trivialities like human rights
and press freedoms to near irrelevance and instead fit neatly into the old,
Soviet worldview of how a country should be run.
DEMOCRACY – WHO NEEDS IT?
Any government that attempted to move from pseudo-democracy towards a
more authoritarian form of rule would be forced to adopt similar measures.
What is perhaps more troubling is the lack of street level opposition to
this state dictated anti-democratic dogma.

Unfortunately today’s Russia is not fertile ground for plausible public
opinion surveys and I have admittedly not had the chance to question large
numbers of ordinary Russians, but nevertheless the majority of those who I
have spoken to in recent weeks seem to hold very much to the official party
line and go out of their way to remain unimpressed by Ukraine’s emerging
democracy.

There is a visible defensiveness among many of these middle class Russians
when discussing western perceptions of Putin’s style of government.

This reticence is often combined with a certain cockiness brought on by
the self-esteem that petro-dollars have pumped back into the formerly
crestfallen citizens of the ex-superpower.

After years of humiliating poverty and collapse, they sense that Russia is
again strong and this seems to be more than enough to counter more trivial
issues such as human rights or personal freedoms.

The Russians I have met recently talk almost exclusively about the country’s
booming economy and the renewed sense of national pride the current regime
has managed to instill via its policy of rattling rusty old Cold War sabres at
the West.

As they agree with virtually everything Putin is doing, why should they
worry that the few existing avenues of opposition have been bricked up?
TIME FOR EU RECOGNITION
This kind of thinking makes the success of Ukraine’s bloodless democratic
revolution all the more remarkable, and emphasises the cultural gulf that
is opening between the two formerly intertwined nations.

It would be helpful if this gulf was acknowledged by the EU in the shape of
more concerted efforts to bring Ukraine into the fold.

With each free election there remain fewer and fewer reasons not to do so,
while the old argument about not interfering in Russia’s sphere of influence
appears to be slowly but surely collapsing into the void that separates the
two country’s attitudes towards democracy.
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LINK: http://www.businessukraine.com.ua/new-democracy-no-land-of

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12.  UKRAINE: STEPPING OUT OF STALIN’S LONG SHADOW

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Peter Dickinson
Business Ukraine magazine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct 15, 2007

Russia and Ukraine were once considered almost indivisible by many, but
the two countries are increasingly distancing themselves from one another.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in attitudes towards the atrocities of
the Stalin era

Since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 few of its former constituent
republics have mourned its passing, but for many years much of the
Ukrainian population shared a similar nostalgia for lost empire that remains
widespread throughout Russia.

This was reflected in an ambiguous governmental approach to confronting the
airbrushed horrors of Soviet rule, generally characterised by a flat refusal
to discuss the issues involved, with those who sought to force discussion
were accused of reopening old wounds or siding with old Cold War enemies.

However, since the Orange Revolution official Ukrainian attitudes to the
Soviet era have taken a dramatic turn away from denial and towards
confronting the ghosts of the old empire.

In doing so Ukraine is following the example set by many of its former
Soviet neighbours, who since 1991 have also adopted a new, nationalised
approach to the past that is highly critical of Soviet rule and designed to
isolate Russia ideologically and pave the way for European integration.
YUSHCHENKO FACING UP TO THE PAST
President Yushchenko has made open discussion of Soviet atrocities one of
his policy priorities, and since coming to power in 2005 he has
reinvigorated a process to address the injustices of Communist rule somewhat
half-heartedly begun under his predecessor Leonid Kuchma.

Yushchenko has championed the cause of a museum dedicated to the Soviet
Occupation of Ukraine, attempted to rehabilitate Second World-War Ukrainian
Insurgent Army veterans and led memorial services at the sites of previously
unmarked mass graves outside Kyiv housing the remains of NKVD victims.

However, the cornerstone of this national policy has been events focusing on
the commemoration of the Holodomor, an engineered famine in 1932-33 that
saw the agricultural wealth of Ukraine requisitioned at gunpoint as part of
Stalin’s plans to force the peasantry onto collective farms.

Millions died of starvation as a result, but for decades the Soviet
authorities down-played the tragedy and claimed it was a natural disaster.

This November will witness the start of a year of memorial events around the
world timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary and designed to attract
international attention to the Holodomor, with Kyiv playing a central role.

Plans are in place to begin construction of a memorial park and museum close
to the Lavra, and last week Kyiv’s Mohyla Academy released a commemorative
book on the Holodomor to be issued to all Ukraine’s diplomatic missions
abroad in order to encourage more foreign governments to recognise it as
genocide.

Moving memorial ceremonies are now held annually on the last weekend of
November, and have become one of the central events on the Ukrainian
calendar.

The world’s imagination has been captured by the iconic scenes of Kyiv’s
central squares covered in coloured lamps to signify the millions of
victims, and earlier this year President Yushchenko called on world leaders
to recognise the genocide in time for the 75th anniversary.

In the wake of the emotional memorial services last autumn, Ukraine’s
parliament itself voted to recognise the Holodomor as an act of genocide
against the Ukrainian people, breaking with the long-held policy of avoiding
official declarations condemning the Soviet past for fear of offending
Russia.
THE GEOPOLITICS OF GENOCIDE
Ukraine’s actions are in line with developments elsewhere in the former
USSR, where recent years have witnessed battles over a Soviet statue in
Tallinn, legislation equating Communist with Nazi symbols elsewhere in the
Baltics and the opening of a host of Soviet Occupation museums.

Most former Soviet republics have made some attempt to reassess their
treatment under Communist rule, and as they seek greater integration into
European structures this policy is one way of demonstrating commitment to
established European traditions of human rights and the rule of law while
emphasising emancipation from Moscow.

Russian officials have reacted with a mixture of defensiveness and disgust
to this new-found openness and were vocal in their condemnation of the
Ukrainian parliament’s Holodomor genocide vote, which they labeled as
nationalism.

This reticence is understandable given the moral low ground Russia occupies
as the self-appointed successor state to the Soviet empire.

Facing a barrage of condemnation from their former junior partners, Kremlin
officials have tried to bluff and bluster without ever acknowledging
responsibility for Soviet-era atrocities or issuing any outright denials.

Russia’s ambassador to Ukraine Viktor Chernomyrdin has stated that as Stalin
was Georgian, all complaints should be addressed to Georgia, while other
officials have attempted to emphasise the collective nature of Soviet
suffering in order to undermine the victim status felt in the smaller
republics.
NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF?
More worrying than this silence on Soviet crimes is the recent trend towards
actively rehabilitating the great dictator himself. Former Soviet leader
Mikhail Gorbachev spoke out last week on the subject at a low key Russian
conference to mark seventy years since the start of Stalin’s Great Terror.

“We must squeeze Stalinism out of ourselves, not by single drops but by the
bucketful. There are those who are now saying that Stalin’s rule was a
golden age, and that Brezhnev’s neo-Stalinism was a continuation of the
golden age,” he commented.

Gorbachev’s warning comes at a time when attitudes to the Soviet dictator
across Russia appear to be changing. A recent survey by the Yuri Levada
centre found that 54% of young Russians believe that Stalin did more good
than bad, while a TV documentary series screened on Russian TV earlier this
year attracted the ire of human rights groups for portraying Stalin in a
sympathetic light.

At the centre of the Stalinist revisionism is Vladimir Putin, whose brand of
paranoid patriotism has managed to mobilise a Russian population fed up with
their perceived humiliation at the hands of the triumphalist West while
longing for a return to their former superpower status.

The Russian president has never openly praised Stalin, but he is often
quoted discussing the need to return a sense of national pride to Russians
and has tried to downplay the atrocities of Stalin’s regime by contrasting
them favourably with Nazi crimes and American actions in Japan and Vietnam.

Putin was recently quoted as saying: “We must not allow others to impose a
feeling of guilt on us,” in response to teaching programmes about the
millions who perished under Stalinism and he was also behind a new school
textbook that barely mentions the Gulag or the mass graves but instead
refers to Stalin blandly as “the most successful leader of the USSR.”

Officials at the Russian NGO Memorial, set up to honour the memory of the
millions of Soviet citizens murdered by the regime, have also sounded the
alarm, claiming that a systematic attempt is being made to change historical
perceptions in favour of Stalin.

“A massive campaign to revise the collective memory is underway. We are
plunging Russia’s younger generation into half-lies. In the end we will
produce ready-made cynics,” said Memorial’s Irina Scherbakova.

Such attempts to rehabilitate Comrade Stalin on a national level may now
only be possible in Russia itself, but regions of Ukraine where Soviet
nostalgia and loyalties run deep often seem stuck in the distorted world of
Soviet propaganda, where the democrats are enemies and civil society is seen
as a fifth column doing the West’s bidding.

A sense of resentment at the demonising of former Soviet idols by outsiders
has led, among other things, to the creation of a museum for the victims of
American imperialism in Crimea, which founders stated was in direct response
to the parliamentary vote on the Holodomor.

It also led to a bizarre and troubling ad campaign launched this March to
encourage Donetsk citizens to pay their gas bills.

Alongside the slogan: “Comrades! This isn’t a film – this is real life!
Those who don’t pay their gas bills will be punished!” billboards featured a
giant image of Stalin standing in front of what appeared to be a
concentration camp fence.

Mercifully these insensitive posters were quickly removed after numerous
complaints from local human rights groups, but the fact that they were
erected at all demonstrates that not everyone in Ukraine is ready yet to
step out from Stalin’s long shadow.
—————————————————————————————–
http://www.businessukraine.com.ua/stepping-out-of-stalin-s-shadow

———————————————————————————————–
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
========================================================
13.  UKRAINE: THE VOTES AFTER THE VOTE

Analysis & Commentary: By John Marone
Kyiv Post Staff Journalist, Kyiv, Ukraine
Eurasian Home, Moscow, Russia, Monday, Oct 22, 2007

Ukraine held general elections on September 30, but power sharing in the
country remains to be decided in subsequent voting devoid of public
participation and full of backroom intrigue.

For a second time in a row, Ukraine has pulled off an internationally
accepted demonstration of the people’s will, with rank and file citizens
putting an end to a crippling stand off between their two highest executive
leaders.

Now the battle between Orange President Viktor Yushchenko and Blue Prime
Minister Viktor Yanukovych has again taken a back seat to infighting among
Orange parties tasked with forming the parliament’s next coalition.

Opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, who helped Yushchenko withstand
Yanukovych’s fraud-filled bid for the presidency during the country’s 2004
Orange Revolution, only to be fired by Yushchenko as his first premier in
2005, is ready to return to head the government in recognition of her bloc’s
stunning performance on September 30.

But the toughest voting is still ahead for Ms. Yulia, a fiery populist whose
ratings have steadily increased over the years in direct relation to the
fear of her opponents and her ‘allies’.

Tymoshenko’s BYuT bloc signed a coalition agreement with President
Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine-People’s Self Defense [OUPSD] bloc last week.

Orange supporters who had helplessly watched Viktor Yanukovych return as
premier following the 2006 parliamentary elections due to Orange infighting
were relieved.

This time, the president’s party promised to bloc with BYuT; last time, Mr.
Yushchenko and company were accused of offering a coalition deal to
Yanukovych’s Regions faction.

This time, the Orange parties don’t need the Socialists or a third faction
to form a coalition; last time, it was the Socialists who defected to the
Regions’ coalition effort.

Yet despite calls from every Western leader and his brother for the prompt
formation of a Ukrainian government, the process has stalled.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Kramer summed it up best
during a statement made on October 16 in Washington.

“Many, many months over the past few years have been spent on elections,
campaigning and government formation. It is time to get down to business and
focus on governing. It is time to get on with it.”

The Orange Revolution brought hope that Ukraine would move closer to
Europe, introducing liberal reforms, but Yushchenko’s lack of leadership
first, in 2005, allowed the Orange coalition to fall apart and then, in 2006, the
enemy Blue camp to usurp presidential authority.

And just like last year, the obstacles to getting the country back on track,
to unblocking reform bills, appear to be coming from Yushchenko.

The head of the president’s Secretariat, Viktor Baloga, announced last week
that the new coalition’s program is “a direct assault on the exclusive
prerogatives of the president.”

Baloga meant a BYuT initiative to halt army conscription next year rather
than in 2010, as envisioned by Yushchenko. BYuT’s populist campaign promise,
indeed, needs a lot of explaining, but surely this is no reason to hold up
the formation of a government.

In addition, Yushchenko did a pretty good job of letting Yanukovych assault
his presidential prerogatives leading up to the last election without the
help of BYuT. Yanukovych fired Yushchenko’s pro-Western foreign minister
and unilaterally put the brakes on NATO integration, while the president
could only protest.

Opposition to the still unconfirmed Orange coalition has also come from the
coalition members themselves – at least a few deputies who seem to be
directed by Tymoshenko’s Orange enemies.

Lightweight parliamentary newcomer Vladislav Kaskiv announced last week
that, “we have serious doubts about supporting the package of draft laws
that have supposedly been agreed between BYuT and OUPSD.”

Considering that the Orange coalition has yet to be confirmed and holds only
a three-deputy majority against a powerful and disciplined Regions in
opposition, maybe Mr. Kaskiv should have kept his doubts out of the media.

Leading up to the vote to confirm Tymoshenko as premier will be a vote to
reverse legislation passed under Yanukovych to limit Yushchenko’s
presidential powers.

It was Yushchenko who laid the groundwork for his own demise by approving
controversial constitutional reforms in late 2004. Now, the president wants
the ally he let down on at least two earlier occasions to give him back his
power.

But the two Orange leaders apparently don’t trust each other, which is why
all sorts of undemocratic tricks are in play, such as secret and package
voting.

There is also the vote for the speaker position, which BYuT has promised to
OUPSD. However, this may be little comfort to the president, as his party is
increasingly filled with young professional politicians who realize the
danger of again betraying Orange voters and thus are unlikely to stick too
close to the president.

The September 30 elections demonstrated similar shifts in loyalty among
Orange voters, twice as many of whom supported Tymoshenko over
Yushchenko.

Unlike the president, BYuT and most OUPSD deputies are vowing daring
reforms such as cleaning up Ukraine’s shady energy sector and finally
introducing an Orange prosecutor-general. The president’s middle-of-the-road
approach looks wan and even frustrating by comparison.

The vote count after September 30 was slow enough, taking several days in
some regions; and the coalition announcement has still to be finalized.

More recently, the country’s infamously corrupt courts have been running
interference. The Supreme Administrative Court is currently reviewing suits
filed by mostly fringe parties that didn’t get past the three-percent
barrier.

Judicial review looks “democratic” enough on the outside, but anyone
familiar with Ukraine’s courts can see through the delay tactic.

And this time, one cannot blame Yanukovych’s Regions party or their
Communist allies for stifling democracy. They fought a more or less fair
election campaign and look set to go into the opposition, where they will
likely be no less dangerous.

Whatever its democratic shortcomings, Regions is disciplined and largely
united, making their Orange opponents look hypocritical and divisive by
comparison.

Considering the slim majority held by the Orange and the confirmation votes
that they still have to overcome, Regions is expected to have a heyday
‘inducing’ their Orange opponents to break ranks.

The elections are over, and the Orange look set to take back full control of
executive power in Ukraine.

If they believe in even half of the democratic policy goals they advocated
during the election campaign, it shouldn’t matter how Yushchenko and BYuT
divide up the pie. If they don’t, they don’t deserve the presidency or the
government.
———————————————————————————————
http://www.eurasianhome.org/xml/t/opinion.xml?lang=en&nic=opinion&pid=892
———————————————————————————————–
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
14.  2005 OR 2006? TECHNIQUE OF “DITCHING” TYMOSHENKO

IS CENTRAL ISSUE OF UKRAINIAN POLITICS

COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS: By Andrii Okara, Special to The Day
The Day Weekly Digest #31, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, October 23 2007

This is the third time in a row that the key question of the Ukrainian
post-election political process and inter-clan intrigues is how to get
rid of Yulia Tymoshenko, just like in 2005 and 2006. How can she be
squeezed out of the government system and kept from occupying the
prime minister’s post?

Personally, I only have the foggiest notion of what industrial, financial,
energy-related, international, humanitarian, military, and social policies
the Tymoshenko cabinet will be pursuing. (Nor can I imagine any policies
of a cabinet headed by other people.)

First of all, you cannot wade into the same river twice: it is not a good
idea to judge Prime Minister Tymoshenko 2007 by comparing her to Prime
Minister Tymoshenko of 2005 or Deputy Prime Minister Tymoshenko of 2000
because people tend to change, some for the better and some for the worse.

Second, wise people learn from their own mistakes, other people’s mistakes,
imaginary mistakes, and hypothetical ones. People who are not wise not only
make their own mistakes but also repeat other people’s mistakes.

Third, advanced people try to grow and develop, while non-advanced ones
do not: they degrade and become hidebound – spiritually, intellectually,
and physically.

Fourth, the political process resembles the Brownian movement of particles
and is dependent on such a large number of contradictory factors and
oblique conditions that sometimes it is impossible to predict even the
general direction of certain processes.

Therefore, one can only make a tentative and hypothetical assessment of
the direction and strategy of a Tymoshenko-led Cabinet of Ministers in
2007 on the basis of her statements (changing the gas-supply pattern by
disbanding RosUkrEnergo, nationalizing dubiously privatized businesses,
such as the Luhansk Diesel Locomotive Plant, abolishing the military
draft on Jan. 1, 2008, etc.) and the BYuT program called Ukrainian
Breakthrough.

But when a very large number of male heavyweights with diametrically
opposing political views have been wracking their brains for almost
three years on how to bar one lone fragile lady from power, this is
truly perplexing.

One has to conclude that “the Tymoshenko threat” is the main generator
of the current Ukrainian political process.

There are two well-tested techniques against her. The first one is
the “2005 technique”: she was appointed prime minister in February 2005
but with limited powers, and she held this post only briefly.

A few months later, after a series of economic crises (sparked by gas,
sugar, and meat problems), and after Oleksandr Zinchenko’s exposure of
the “dear friends.” the president dismissed her from office.

According to the “2006 technique,” Tymoshenko’s premiership was
forestalled by the refusal of Our Ukraine to form a coalition with the BYuT
and by backroom deals between Yushchenko and Yanukovych.

Tymoshenko is perfectly aware of the threats she will be facing if she
occupies the “politically loaded” prime minister’s chair: take Ukraine’s one
billion dollar debt to Gazprom, which cropped up right after the elections.

One of her strategies (Plan B) is to remain behind in the opposition and
bravely contest the next presidential elections scheduled for early 2010
according to the Constitution of Ukraine, but which may take place sooner
in the conditions of Ukrainian “Brownian” politics.

Meanwhile, the latest Verkhovna Rada elections showed that Tymoshenko
knows far better than others how to achieve ambitious goals, even though
Ukrainian politics has a Bermuda Triangle of its own, Yushchenko-Tymoshenko-
Yanukovych, which keeps each of these three leaders from gaining all the
power: the alliances of two against the third are unstable and save the
Ukrainian political system from the winner-takes-all scenario.

But whether this is good or bad is a subject that has nothing to do with
political science.

Therefore, the principal question of Ukrainian politics today is under
which scenario will Tymoshenko be ditched – the 2005 scenario (she will
become prime minister, only to be “pushed out” and “jilted” soon after as a
result of a number of crises) or the 2006 one (she will not be prime
minister and will have to go into the opposition, and the prime ministership

will be nominated by a “broad-based” coalition).

The NU-NS and Viktor Yushchenko are taking a dim view of the idea promoted
by certain ideologues in the president’s entourage that Ukraine can and must
be united by means of a consensus between the different regional clans and
oligarchies.

This may work in some countries, but the formula of Ukraine’s current
unity, “Donetsk oligarchs + Kyiv oligarchs and bureaucrats,” and the
political setup of this alliance in the shape of a “broad-based” coalition
is ineffective and immoral.

The Ukrainian political process has undergone major changes in the past
few years. Since the days of Machiavelli people have believed that politics
is a priori immoral, if not extra-moral.

But the significant events that took place in Ukraine in 2004 and 2006
showed that this is not so in reality and that moments of truth do occur
in politics. And what Oleksandr Moroz did on midsummer’s eve in 2006 led
to his fiasco in the latest elections and complete political downfall.

The 2004 Orange Revolution showed that Ukrainian politics generally exists
in a morally engaged field. This is one reason to be proud of our country.

Should Our Ukraine fail to meet its commitments under its February
agreements with the BYuT, it will experience the same fate as the socialists
suffered: most Ukrainian voters do not forgive betrayals and defections.

Yes, the political forces that will trespass moral lines may gain some
temporary advantages, but what happened to Moroz is a case in point: now
you win your 30 silver pieces (or 30 million dollars) but tomorrow you will
lose everything – above all, your good name and political reputation.

So in response to the logic of the president’s entourage and the Party of
Regions, which envisions two patterns of “ditching” Tymoshenko, she herself
may opt for “elephant logic” (to run headlong first for the prime minister’s
office and then for the presidency, overcoming resistance and carefully-
orchestrated crises) and “panther logic,” i.e., jumping into the
presidential chair as an opposition leader.

But the most unpredictable thing in current Ukrainian politics is the
balance of threats to Yushchenko and the likelihood of a snap presidential
election.

The only question to which Tymoshenko, Yushchenko, Akhmetov, and others
have no answer is: where can one find the many highly-skilled, efficient,
professional, and uncorrupt managers needed to fill the executive branch of
power – under Tymoshenko’s leadership or somebody else’s? This is
Ukraine’s problem in general, not just of individual politicians.

An experienced staff usually consists of people from the past who
nevertheless know how the administrative mechanism works. Many of today’s
ministers have deliberately muddled things up in their ministries so that
their successors will not be able to clear them up and will sink into the mire of
a crisis.

So we are facing the age-old problem of Ukrainian politics – a short seat
for bench-warmers. But where will we get new players who are young and
skilled?
———————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/190101/
———————————————————————————————–
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
15.  BRAVO AND STAY TUNED: PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS 2007

COMMENTARY: By Oksana Bashuk Hepburn
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #882, Article 15
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Two days before the election, Russia’s Ambassador to Ukraine Victor
Chornomyrdyn stated that energy prices to Ukraine this winter will depend on
who wins the election.  Two days after the Orange forces won, Russia’s
Gasprom declared that Ukraine has a 1.3 billion dollar energy debt.

Former Prime Minister Yanukhovych and the Minister of Energy, the
incompetent Yurij Boyko – both from the losing Party of Regions-headed for
Moscow while the President of Ukraine, Victor Yushchenko muddied the
political waters by calling for a united government comprising the top three
parties, a ploy that prevented the Orange forces from forming the government
following the March 2006 parliamentary elections.

Things looked like the political shenanigans following that election might
be in the works again.  Not any longer.  On October 16, the President called
on the Orange forces to form a government.  Bravo.
So who are the winners and losers of the September 30 elections?
Despite attaining the highest number of votes, the biggest loser is the
ruling Party of Regions: it failed to hold power.  Only 34 % of Ukrainian
voters backed it.  The other big loser is Olezander Moroz.  His Socialists
failed to pass the 3% barrier required to sit in parliament.  No surprise
here.

After the March 2006 elections Moroz abandoned the Orange forces to join
Yanukhovych.  Now, he is being punished.  One attractive Kyiv voter summed
up the prevailing attitude of voters: “Anyone, but Moroz.”

The under-performance of the two key pro-Russia parties prevents them from
taking power in parliament.  Bad news for them, and for Russia’s President
Vladymyr Putin.  His designs to control Ukraine as part of a re-emerging new
Russian empire are well known.

In secret discussions with Mr. Yanukhovych, just weeks before the election,
he promises that he will continue as Prime Minister regardless of the will
of the people.

Then, came the Ambassador’s threats, and the pilgrimage of the sitting duck
ministers to Moscow.  What will be his moves to protect Russia’s interests
in light of the Orange victory?

Undeniably the big winner is BYuT, Yulia Tymoshenko’s Block, pulling in over
30% of the votes.  Her political staying power and momentum are impressive.

Twice dismissed by President Victor Yuschenko as the Prime Minister, she

has put personal animosities aside to cobble, again and again, an Orange
coalition knowing full well that without a united presence the pro-West
forces are doomed.  The voters have rewarded her with growing support in
the last three elections.

Additionally, this time she made inroads beyond the historically pro-West
regions of Ukraine winning handsomely in central and parts of south-eastern
Ukraine.

She deserves to form the new Orange government and become the Prime Minister
again.  The people have given her their support to govern the country her
way, but will she be allowed?

There are two other winners.  Although small in percentage of votes taken,
the Communist party, dismissed by some as yesterday’s phenomenon, has

nearly doubled its electoral support to nearly 5%.

Its gain is a testimonial to the poverty in the rural areas, the national
high unemployment, and the low pensions -all a big issue in Ukraine.
Allegedly funded by Ukraine’s richest oligarch Renat Akhmetov who funds the
Party of Regions as well, the Communists will join the Regions to form the
opposition.

A big winner in the small category, and someone to watch, is the phenix-like
resurrection of Volodymyr Lytvyn.  Parliament’s Speaker under President
Kuchma, he returns after a two year political absence.   His Block obtained
near 4%. It was expected that he would support the Regions.

However, his political ambitions seem long term.  Given Ms. Tymoshenko’s
standing,  he might lead towards the Orange or stay independent – a new
phenomenon in Ukraine’s politics – supporting issues with popular appeal,
regardless of party sponsorship.

What about Nasha Ukraina-Natsional’na Samo Oborona (NUNS) whose

honorary head is President Yushchenko?  Are they winners or losers?

Although they placed third after BYuT and the Regions receiving nearly 15%
of the vote the NUNS, in particular the Our Ukraine faction, cannot be
counted as a winner.

The force that brought millions to contest and win the fraudulent
presidential elections has lost support because of its inability to deal
with Russia’s meddling in Ukraine’s affairs, the capitulation to Russia’s
grab of the energy sector, and failure to deal with corruption.

It formed a loose union, in time for the elections, with young Yurij
Lutsenko, a high-profile freedom fighter and Orange Revolution figure. His
NSO gave Our Ukraine a boost.

Immediately following the election results he made a public statement
supporting Tymoshenko.  Nasha Ukrajina took its time.  Such decisive acts
are the stuff of great political leaders: watch him.

Above all, it was the people who emerged as the greatest winners in the
elections.  They made their choice switching loyalties in order to reward
those who espouse their values rather than those whose net value has grown
at the people’s expense.  They created the winners and losers and elected
for themselves a new government.

All seems as it should be in Ukraine now.  Yulia Tymoshenko and the NUNS’s
Orange alliance will form the government.  The opposition will comprise the
Regions and the Communists.  Even without Volodymyr Lytvyn the Orange

power has the numbers.  But, they also had them in March 2006 and lost.

True, but with each election the political sophistication of both the
electorate and politicians in Ukraine is mounting.   It’s politics are still
somewhat of a crap shoot and backs needs to be watched.  But, for now, the
people’s choice has prevailed.

What about Ambassador Chernomyrdyn’s statement?  It is odd that he was
neither reprimanded by the President Victor Yuschenko nor asked to withdraw
his remarks.

Nor were there calls for the Ambassador to leave the country as a persona
non grata, a likely move in other democratic countries especially given his
long standing record of meddling in Ukraine’s politics on behalf of Russia.

Will this happen?  Stay tuned.
———————————————————————————————–
Oksana Bashuk Hepburn is the President of U*CAN Ukraine Canada

Relations Inc., a consulting firm, and a commentator.  She is writing a
novel dealing with Ukrainian and diaspora politics.
———————————————————————————————–
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
16.  PRESIDENT YUSHCHENKO WANTS TO DECLARE 2008 YEAR
A NATIONAL YEAR OF HOLODOMOR REMEMBRANCE

Press Office of the President, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, October 23, 2007

KHARKIV – The year 2008 should be declared as a national year of Holodomor
remembrance, President Victor Yushchenko said during the second meeting of
the Holodomor Commemoration Coordinating Council in Kharkiv on Tuesday.

Yushchenko said he was going to propose a bill criminalizing the denial of
the Holocaust and Holodomor, instructing Ukraine’s central and local
authorities to hold events on 24 November 2007 to honor the victims of the
Soviet-era famine and mark its 75th anniversary.

Ukrainians all around the world will again light candles to pay tribute to
the victims of the 1932-1933 Great Famine and political repressions, he
added.

Yushchenko urged church leaders to join the memorial events and said it
was important to erect Holodomor monuments in all regions hit by the famine,
expressing hopes such a monument will soon be unveiled in Kharkiv.

He reiterated his request to the country’s officials to inventory archives,
study eyewitness accounts and compile a National Memory Book and then
criticized the Education Ministry for failing to raise Holodomor awareness.

“I hope the Education Ministry will understand that this subject is very
important for shaping outlooks of the young,” he said, calling on artists
to create more works about that tragedy and pledging to support their
initiatives.
———————————————————————————————
LINK: http://www.president.gov.ua/en/news/data/1_20070.html
———————————————————————————————–

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
17.  PRESIDENT COMMEMORATES HOLODOMOR VICTIMS

UKRINFORM, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, October 23, 2007

 
KHARKIV – President Viktor Yushchenko, who is on a visit to the
Kharkiv region, laid flowers at the monument to 1932- 1933 Holodomor
victims in the village of Pokotylivka.

Viktor Yushchenko stressed that historical truth should be restored

about all the hungers, Ukraine has survived, the president believes that
the right estimation of the event will test whether Ukraine will be
confirmed as a nation.

The president also stressed that a memory about this awful event from the
past should be kept in memory of every citizen and should be remembered

in  every village.

Viktor Yushchenko urged Ukrainians not to be indifferent to the event ahead
of the 75th anniversary of Holodomor.

According to some data, the Holodomor’s death toll is 7 to 10 million
Ukrainians, four millions of whom were children. The Day of memory of

Holodomor Victims is marked annually on the fourth Saturday of November.
The 1932 to 1933 Holodomor has been declared the genocide against the
Ukrainian nation by 11 countries.
———————————————————————————————–
[return to index] Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
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