AUR#906 Sep 15 What Does Russia Want? How Do We Respond?; Missile Defenseless; U.S. On The Hook

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

Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World       
Mr. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor, SigmaBleyzer
Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
Return to Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
Lecture: by Steven Pifer, Visiting Fellow, The Brookings Institution
Scowcroft Institute Lecture, George Bush School of Government and Public Service
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, Thursday, September 11, 2008
Action Ukraine Report (AUR), Washington, D.C., Monday, September 14, 2008
Opinion: By Denis Corboy, William Courtney, and Kenneth Yalowitz
International Herald Tribune (IHT), Paris, France, Sunday, September 14, 2008
Analysis & Commentary: By Dick Morris, The Hill, Wash, D.C., Mon, Sep 8, 2008
Analysis & Commentary: by Doug Bandow, National Interest, Wash, D.C., Tue, Sep 2, 2008
The United States is on the hook for Ukraine
Analysis & Commentary: By Diane Francis, National Post, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada, Mon, Sep 8, 2008
The Associated Press, Washington, D.C. Friday, Sep 12, 2008
Ukraine desperately needs a new generation of politicians 
Editorial: Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, September 11, 2008  
Reuters, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Saturday, Sep 13, 2008
Op-Ed: by Jan Pieklo, European Voice, Brussels, Belgium, Thursday, September 4, 2008
Op-Ed: By Lubomyr Luciuk, Special to Kyiv Post
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, September 11, 2008
11 LITTLE SOUTH OSSETIA: GREAT OPPORTUNITIES                                                                          
Analysis: by Lada L. Roslycky, Harvard Black Sea Security Program
Cambridge MA, USA Thursday August 21, 2008
Agence France Presse (AFP), Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, Sept 13, 2008
The ruling coalition is near collapse as the president and the prime minister spar over whether to treat Russia as foe or friend.
By Megan K. Stack, Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, CA, Sun, Sep 14, 2008
Editorial: The Irish Times, Dublin, Ireland, Monday, Sep 8, 2008
AFP, Sevastopo, Ukraine, Sunday, 14 September 2008
United Press International (UPI), Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Sept. 12, 2008

“Achieving National Security for Ukraine Through Energy Independence and Diversification”

WHEN: Monday, September 15, 2008, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm (Eastern Time)
WHERE: Rome Auditorium, Rome Building, Johns Hopkins University
1619 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036


Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, August 27, 2008
Olena Honcharenko, Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, July 21, 2008
The Day Weekly Digest, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Genocide caused the death of millions of Ukrainians in 1932-1933 
By Clark Kim, Inside Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Tue, Sep 9, 2008 
Robert Fulford, National Post, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada, Sat, Sep 13, 2008
Chance discovery leads couple to visit relatives in native land, re-establishing
ties and leading them to a new business “All Things Ukrainian.” 
By Lisa O’Donnell, Journal Reporter, Winston-Salem Journal
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Saturday, September 13, 2008

LECTURE: By Steven Pifer, Visiting Fellow, The Brookings Institution
Scowcroft Institute Lecture, George Bush School of Government and Public Service
Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, Thursday, September 11, 2008
Action Ukraine Report (AUR), Washington, D.C., Monday, September 14, 2008
Seven years ago today, al-Qaeda launched attacks against New York and Washington, and caused a fundamental change in how the United States views threats to its national security.  Just a little over one month ago, Russian tanks rolled into Georgia and reminded us that, while confronting the threat posed by international terrorism, we cannot overlook the more traditional challenges to American security interests.
Today, I propose to address four subjects concerning Russia:  First, what does Russia want from the outside world?  Second, how did the U.S. government reach the point in this key bilateral relationship where it has so few tools to influence Kremlin behavior?  Third, how should we now think about the balance between punishing and engaging Russia?  Fourth, what are the options for the United States to respond?
In the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian people passed through turbulent times.  The 1990s were a grim period:  adjusting to the loss of empire; an economic collapse worse than the Great Depression; and a political system that, while incorporating democratic practices, often appeared chaotic and corrupt.
For many Russians, the nadir came in 1998, when an enfeebled President Boris Yeltsin led an unstable government, economic crisis struck, and the financial system collapsed.  Since then, Russia has experienced a remarkable economic resurgence and demonstrated that assumptions in the 1990s about its long-term weakness were not well-grounded.
Rising prices for natural gas and oil exports fueled the recovery.  By 2008, gross domestic product topped $1.3 trillion, four times the level in 1998.  Russia’s international reserves today total more than $580 billion, and the Kremlin has established stabilization and national wealth funds that exceed $160 billion.  Living standards are rising.  Rightly or wrongly, the Russian population gives much of the credit to Vladimir Putin, who served as president from 2000 to earlier this year, when he became prime minister.
Moscow’s foreign policy has over the past several years adopted an increasingly assertive tone.  To put the Kremlin’s message in a slogan:  Russia is back.  And, given a widely shared belief among Russians that the West took advantage of their weakness in the 1990s, Russia is back with a chip on its shoulder.
Georgia last month experienced just how large that chip is.  This is not to fix all the blame for the August conflict on Russia.  Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili’s decision to send his army into South Ossetia on August 7 was ill-advised.  He should have known that Moscow would not accept a Georgian bid to change the status of South Ossetia by force.  The American narrative on the conflict sometimes overlooks this.
The speed of the Russian military response nonetheless was breathtaking.  It suggests the Russians had planned and prepared to carry out a major combined arms operation in advance.  They were awaiting a pretext.  Saakashvili provided one.  The scale of Russian operations made clear that they were not just about South Ossetia.  Those operations and Moscow’s subsequent decision unilaterally to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states reflected the Russians’ broader unhappiness with Georgia’s pro-Western foreign policy course.  They aimed to send a message not just to Tbilisi, but to other Russian neighbors, Europe and the United States as well.
As we consider the challenge that Russia poses today, it makes sense to ask:  what does Russia want?  Let me offer five suggestions.
FIRST, Russia wants to develop its own political and economic model, free of criticism from the West.  As the Russians struggled in the 1990s to transform their political institutions, they welcomed democracy promotion assistance.  But, for many Russians today, the 1990s experience with democracy evokes bad memories.  They associate democracy not just with chaos and corruption, but with economic uncertainty and the country’s economic collapse.
Thus, when Putin began to roll back the democratic advances of the previous decade, he faced little pushback from a population that first and foremost valued economic security.  Relatively few Russians protested the roll-back, which included eliminating the direct election of regional governors, sharply reducing the independence of the judicial and legislative branches, and bringing the major television networks under Kremlin control.
To be sure, Russians today enjoy more individual liberties than during Soviet times.  But by any objective measure, democracy is significantly weaker than it was ten years ago.  One basic criterion:  is the outcome of elections uncertain?  However flawed the 1996 Russian presidential ballot in which Yeltsin won reelection, there was uncertainty about the outcome.  There was no uncertainty when Putin ran for reelection in 2004, or when Dmitriy Medvedev, Putin’s designated successor, ran for president this spring.
In the early Putin years, Kremlin pundits spoke of “managed democracy.”  More recently, they have talked of “sovereign democracy.”  Its key feature appears to be that it is solely up to Russia to decide its form of government, without Western interference.  The Russians want no lectures, no advice, no criticism about how they structure their internal institutions.  In their current robust economic circumstances, they feel they can ignore any lectures, advice or criticism that the West might offer.
SECOND, Russia wants a sphere of influence in the former Soviet space.  As Russia has regained its strength, it has escalated its expectations regarding its neighbors’ policies and behavior.  Moscow does not seek to recreate the Soviet Union, but it does seek special deference in the former Soviet space to what it defines as its vital interests.  President Medvedev recently cited a sphere of influence – or sphere of “privileged interests” – as one of five key principles underlying Russian foreign policy.
Russia’s stance has become most pointedly evident with regard to how it views the relationships between its neighbors and NATO.  Although the Ukrainian government has sought constructive relations with Moscow in parallel with its pro-European, pro-Euro Atlantic course, the Russians insist the Ukrainians make a choice:  either NATO and Europe, or good relations with Moscow.  Interestingly, the shrillness of Russian rhetoric only increased after NATO leaders at the April Bucharest summit failed to reach consensus on giving Ukraine a NATO membership action plan.
Georgia’s expressed desire to join NATO predates Ukraine’s.  Russia has over the past eight years applied even more intense pressure on Georgia, resorting to trade embargos, energy cut-offs, border closings, the occasional air raid and last month a full-scale military offensive.  The Abkhazian and South Ossetian problems simmered for more than 15 years in large part because the Kremlin chose not to use its influence to resolve them; it instead kept the disputes alive as pressure points to exploit against Georgia.
Russia should have influence with its neighbors, and they with Russia.  The problem is that Russia sees its sphere of influence largely in zero-sum terms:  Moscow regards steps by Ukraine, Georgia or other neighbors to draw closer to Europe and the West, or by Western states or institutions to engage these countries, as a threat to Russian interests.
THIRD, Russia wants a seat when major European or global issues are being decided and to have its views accommodated.  Moscow insists on this regardless of whether or not it can bring something to the table to facilitate resolution of the problem. 
Russia regularly has a seat when major issues are discussed, but Moscow has not always been a helpful participant.  On how to deal with Kosovo’s desire for independence, Russia rejected the proposal advanced by the United Nations point-man.  In the subsequent EU-U.S.-Russian mediation attempt, the Russians put forward no new or creative ideas but instead slavishly backed Serbia’s refusal to concede independence.
Long a participant in the Middle East quartet, Moscow’s embrace of Hamas last year did little to facilitate the thorny effort to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians.  Moscow stands today the most important player in the effort to persuade Iran to desist from its effort to acquire nuclear weapons.  The Russians certainly do not want a nuclear-armed Iran.  But Russia’s broad geopolitical and economic interests with the Iranians mean that Russian diplomats spend as much time watering down proposals for UN sanctions against Iran as they do pressuring Tehran to end its nuclear enrichment effort.
So Russia sits at the table, even if it does not always exercise influence to promote solutions.  Russian leaders assert that no world problem can be resolved without their participation; simply being there appears important to Moscow, something seen as part of Russia’s due as a recovered great power.
 Russia does not seek isolation and wants better relations with Europe and the United States, but on its terms.  Autarky makes little sense for the Kremlin.  Integration has spurred Russian economic growth.  Medvedev recognizes this and talks about integrating fully into the global economy and a greater Europe.  The Russians would like better relations with the West, but they insist that that be on Russia’s terms.  This appears to include recognition of a Russian sphere of influence in the former Soviet space.
Just two weeks ago, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made this point explicitly.  He said the United States and the West must choose between support for Georgia and good relations with Russia.  The Kremlin feels its energy exports to Europe give it leverage to insist on its terms.  Western Europe receives 20-30 percent of the natural gas that it uses each year from Russia or from Central Asia via pipelines that transit Russia.  This dependence emboldens the Kremlin. 
 Russia wants freedom for its major economic entities to take part in global commercial and investment markets.  This is smart for the Russian economy, as Russian companies derive significant profits from overseas operations and access to foreign capital markets.  A major goal of Russian foreign policy is to support the penetration of large companies, such as Gazprom, into global markets. 
The Kremlin decries efforts to limit or scrutinize the activities of Russian companies, for example, European questions regarding potential Gazprom investments in pipelines or energy distribution firms.  At the same time, the Russian government carefully scrutinizes and, in some cases, limits or thwarts parallel attempts to invest in Russia.
Russia’s assertive course has left the United States struggling for ideas on how to respond.  This was painfully evident in August, as reports came in of Russian tanks moving into South Ossetia and then into undisputed Georgian territory.  Administration officials looked for ways to influence the Kremlin but found that the thin state of the U.S.-Russia relationship yielded few useful levers.  Bilateral relations had deteriorated to the point where there was little cooperation that the U.S. government could threaten to halt that the Russians cared much about.
U.S.-Russian relations have declined markedly since May 2002, when Putin hosted President George Bush to a summit meeting in Moscow.  The two leaders signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty and issued joint statements outlining broad areas for cooperation, from economics and energy to missile defense and people-to-people contacts.  Officials on both sides spoke of a qualitative change in the relationship, one that would move increasingly to partnership and, on some issues, alliance.  But that meeting proved the high point of Bush-Putin summitry; thereafter, it was all downhill.
Washington and Moscow share responsibility for the downturn, but the effects are now being felt more acutely on the Potomac.  More so than any other bilateral relationship, U.S.-Russian relations require focused attention and guidance from the top.  After 2002, however, the two presidents became distracted with other issues.  Bush focused on Iraq; his administration did not see Russia as all that relevant for its key policy goals.  For his part, Putin focused on increasing the Kremlin’s hold on key domestic power levers.
As presidential attention turned elsewhere, the National Security Council and its Kremlin counterpart failed to press their bureaucracies to implement presidential commitments.  For example, neither the Pentagon nor the Russian Ministry of Defense showed much interest in missile defense cooperation in 2002-2003, regardless of what the presidents said. 
Despite promises to Putin, the White House failed to move to persuade Congress to graduate Russia from the Jackson-Vanik amendment.  Despite the presidential launch of a commercial energy dialogue, the Russians showed little interest in allowing American companies to invest in developing Russian energy and realize the dialogue’s potential.
One other problem on the American side complicated management of U.S.-Russia relations.  While bureaucratic in nature, it had strategic ramifications.  Many of the key questions in U.S.-Russian relations – bilateral issues, strategic arms control, missile defense, Iran and NATO enlargement – have been handled by different interagency groups. 
In each group, American officials understandably sought positions to maximize U.S. interests.  But the system lacked a mechanism to review the overall U.S.-Russia relationship.  If one truly sought to change the relationship qualitatively and build partnership relations, one could not “win” on every issue with Moscow.  Allowing the Russians a couple of “wins” was a necessary investment for a new relationship, an investment that the Bush administration proved unready to make.
Drift turned to clear decline in 2004, as the extent of Russia’s democratic roll-back became clear.  The Rose and Orange revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine caused new anxieties within the Kremlin, which regarded those events not as manifestations of democratic unrest but as U.S.-organized special operations to hem Russia in.  At the same time, the more assertive Russian stance in the region raised alarm in Washington.
Difficult problems thereafter piled up, with no resolution, including:  Iran’s nuclear effort, U.S. missile defense deployments in Europe, the fate of strategic arms control, Kosovo’s status, NATO outreach, and the adapted treaty on conventional forces in Europe.  The result of this deteriorating relationship hit home when the Georgia crisis erupted: concern about the relationship with the United States did not give the Kremlin any reason for pause before it sent its forces into South Ossetia and Georgia, and with a military response clearly not in the cards, the U.S. government could threaten little that had serious impact on Russian decision-makers.
Washington and the West now face the challenge of shaping a response in light of Russia’s August actions.  Some suggest punishment and isolating Moscow.  Proposed measures include halting ongoing diplomatic discussions, booting Russia out of the G-8, and blocking Russian entry into the World Trade Organization and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  Others suggest a boycott of the 2014 Olympic Games, scheduled to be held in Sochi, which just happens to border Abkhazia.
The logic behind such suggestions is understandable.  By its military action against Georgia and unilateral attempt to redraw post-Soviet borders, Russia has egregiously violated international rules.  If the international community does not respond, it runs the risk that Moscow will conclude it can take such actions in the future without penalty. 
On the other hand, does isolating Moscow offer the wisest course?  Some areas of cooperation, such as controlling nuclear materials, make sense even if relations are at a low point.  Getting Russia into the World Trade Organization and OECD would encourage Russia to play by the rules of institutions that have served the United States and the West well.  Likewise, participation in the G-8 creates incentives for more cooperative Russian approaches to problems on the G-8 agenda.
Threats to exclude Russia may well be useful, because the Kremlin cares.  Secretary Condoleezza Rice’s convening of teleconferences among the G-7 foreign ministers sent a useful reminder to Moscow that the G-8 format is not sacrosanct.  Actually excluding Russia on a permanent basis, however, could undermine U.S. and Western interests as well as punish Moscow.
We also need to be careful about a spiral of tit-for-tat exchanges.  The Kremlin has some serious cards to play:  the Russians could withhold oil from the global market, tamp down gas flows to Europe, use their veto more actively in the UN Security Council, or dump the U.S. treasury notes that they hold.
Crafting a policy response to Russia requires a deft balance.  It is important to make clear to the Kremlin the unacceptability of its assertion of a sphere of influence that denies its neighbors the freedom to choose their own foreign policy course.  Moreover, it is unwise to let Moscow conclude that its pressure tactics have succeeded at little or no cost.
At the same time, the West retains an interest in Russian cooperation on numerous issues.  The West likewise has an interest in seeing Russia become a stakeholder in the existing international order.  That requires, of course, that Russia accept and play by international norms and rules.
We should want Russia to choose integration and cooperation over self-isolation.  And, just as it was a mistake in the 1990s to assume long-term Russian weakness, we should not now overestimate Moscow’s strength.  In the coming years, Russia faces significant vulnerabilities:  overdependence on energy exports, lack of a diversified economy, fragile infrastructure, abysmal demographics.  Russia may come to see integration in its interest.
Despite the current chill with Moscow, Washington and the administration that takes office in January 2009 will have an interest in exploring whether U.S.-Russian relations could be put on a more solid footing. 
FIRST, securing Russian help in controlling nuclear materials, pressuring Iran not to acquire nuclear arms, and countering international terrorism is in the U.S. interest.  While we may be thoroughly and rightly unhappy with Russian behavior in Georgia, it makes no sense to ignore these vital interests.
SECOND, the greater the interest that Moscow has in the bilateral relationship, the greater the leverage Washington has with Moscow.  Building areas of cooperation not only advances specific U.S. policy goals, but it can give Washington things to threaten should Moscow misbehave – or better yet give reasons that dissuade Moscow from misbehaving in the first place.  We should seek to have more levers than was the case in August.
THIRD, institutions such as the World Trade Organization and NATO-Russia Council can advance U.S. goals.  Provided that Russia is prepared to accept the norms of those institutions, the United States has every reason to be inclusive.  Having Russia at the table in a cooperative frame of mind is vastly preferable to a self-isolated, truculent Russia that tries to undermine those institutions or create alternatives.
Finding the combination of carrots and sticks to influence Moscow to adopt the right course poses a challenge and will require a subtle, nuanced approach.  Washington, unfortunately, does not do subtlety and nuance well, normally preferring to operate in black and white.  A number of options are on the table for punishing Russia, including:  ratcheting down bilateral ties; threatening exclusion from key international institutions; and calling into question the Sochi Olympics.  Russian oligarchs, who enjoy traveling in the West and keep much of their money here, may offer another pressure point.
At the same time, the incoming administration should consider ways to give a new substance and tenor to bilateral relations.  The next president can develop options to advance specific U.S. national interests and, by broadening the relationship, secure greater influence with Moscow.
FIRST, revive the nuclear arms reduction process.  The Bush administration signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty in 2002 and then essentially shut down nuclear arms control.  The 2002 treaty allows the United States and Russia each to deploy 2200 strategic nuclear warheads.  Those levels exceed deterrent requirements and make no sense today. 
Moreover, America’s impressive conventional force advantages give it every incentive to deemphasize nuclear weapons.  The United States could ensure its security at a level of 1000 strategic warheads.  An American offer to reduce to such a limit, accompanied by ancillary limits on missiles and bombers, would find resonance in Moscow.  The Russians have an aging nuclear force and would welcome lower numbers.
Such an offer would be good not just for reducing the nuclear threat to the United States.  It could exert a positive impact on the broader bilateral relationship.  The Russians value a nuclear arms dialogue with Washington in part because such a dialogue acknowledges Russia’s standing as a nuclear superpower.  Washington should take advantage of this.
In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan skillfully made nuclear arms reductions a central element of a broader agenda with the Soviet Union.  Reagan and Secretary George Shultz recognized that the Kremlin’s interest in arms control created diplomatic space and opportunities to press other questions such as human rights.  Their strategy succeeded:  as Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signed a treaty banning medium-range missiles, parallel discussions won exit permission for Soviet dissidents and secured more helpful Soviet approaches on issues such as the Middle East peace process.
Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton also gave arms control a special place in their dealings with Gorbachev and Yeltsin.  Arms control progress contributed to more positive relations, greater confidence and a better atmosphere.  All this helped advance other U.S. interests:  Russia went along with German reunification, withdrew its military from Central Europe and the Baltics, lent diplomatic support during the 1990-91 Persian Gulf crisis, and cooperated in ending the Bosnia conflict, including deploying Russian peacekeeping troops under U.S. command alongside NATO forces.
Trying to link strategic arms cuts directly to Russian concessions on specific questions would fail.  But the next administration should be able to employ deft diplomacy and a restored nuclear arms dialogue to give the broader relationship a badly needed boost, create a more positive atmosphere, and carve out space to make progress on other issues.
consider dealing seriously on missile defense.  The Bush administration has pressed forward with its plan to deploy a missile defense radar and interceptors in the Czech Republic and Poland.  It has doggedly resisted any Moscow proposal that would affect that deployment plan.
The Russians object sharply.  This results in part from their unhappiness at seeing new U.S. military infrastructure appear closer to their borders.  Moscow, moreover, does not accept that the missile defense system is oriented against an Iranian threat, given the cost and the fact that Iran does not yet have a missile capable of reaching the United States or Europe.  Concern about breakout potential further fuels Russian suspicions – ten missile interceptors today, but how many later on?
The next administration should consider adjusting the pace of missile defense deployment in Central Europe.  The Defense Department budget indicates that it will take two years to construct the radar and missile interceptor sites.  The intelligence community should be asked to estimate when Iran might produce a missile capable of reaching the United States or most of Europe.  If the answer is, say, 2014, the president could offer to delay the start of construction at the radar and interceptor sites until 2012.
He could offer further delays if the Iranian missile program were slowed.  This would create incentives for the Russians, who have far more influence in Tehran than we do, to press the Iranians to abandon their long-range missile program.  While the odds of success might be low, such an offer at least would defuse the missile defense issue with Moscow by making clear that the system is aimed against an Iranian threat.
THIRD, promote NATO-Russia cooperation.  In the aftermath of the Russian-Georgian conflict, NATO-Russia relations are at a standstill.  If they can be moved from their current impasse, it would be useful to explore with allies the possibility of a more productive NATO-Russia relationship.  Transnational dangers such as international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction threaten NATO members and Russia equally, and there exists potential for greater cooperation in these areas.
NATO might also offer to make more concrete the assurances that the Alliance gave Russia in 1997 regarding restraint on the deployment of NATO forces on the territory of new member states.  Such cooperation and greater transparency regarding Alliance intentions hopefully would alter Russian attitudes toward NATO. 
The desire of Ukraine and Georgia to draw closer to NATO and have membership action plans (or MAPs) provokes particular concern in Moscow.  That concern made some NATO leaders reluctant to grant Ukraine and Georgia MAPs in April.  They may be more reluctant now.  NATO should ask itself, however, whether yielding to Russian pressure tactics would be wise. 
A Russia that sees success in such tactics will not be an easy country with which to deal.  Moreover, is NATO prepared to accept that Moscow can veto the foreign policy choices of its neighbors?  Is the Alliance prepared to see those countries permanently fenced off from Europe and the Euro Atlantic community?
A key question is whether Russia can get past its phobia regarding NATO.  The Alliance has changed radically over the past 20 years.  For example, the number of American troops in NATO Europe is a fifth of what it was.  NATO missions have changed as well; the Alliance no longer focuses on deterring a Soviet threat; it instead concentrates on Balkan peacekeeping, coalition operations in Afghanistan and counter-proliferation.
Despite this, changing Russian attitudes will be difficult.  Moscow feels aggrieved by NATO actions over the past 15 years.  Some official American comments during the negotiations on German reunification in 1990 implied no enlargement of NATO once Germany was united.  While the U.S. missile defense planned for Central Europe is aimed at Iran, not Russia, and the establishment of U.S. military headquarters in Bulgaria and Romania was driven by Middle East requirements, not Russia, Moscow sees things differently.  Moscow sees U.S. flags going up on the territory of new NATO member states, ever closer to Russian borders.  We need to understand this better in Washington. 
The primary motivation for NATO enlargement has not been anti-Russian but to foster a more stable and secure Europe.  The Russians do not understand it that way.  Bilateral and multilateral dialogues might develop ways to allay some Russian concerns.  Russia’s neighbors, such as Ukraine, would gain greater freedom of maneuver in their own relations with NATO if NATO-Russian relations improved.
FOURTH, broaden economic relations.  Broadening trade and investment links would facilitate the access of American companies to a $1.3 trillion economy with a growing and more prosperous middle class.  It would also add economic ballast that could cushion the overall relationship against unpredictable swings caused by political differences.
Anemic U.S.-Russian commercial relations fall well below their potential.  In 2007, two-way trade totaled $27 billion.  Russia represented just the thirtieth largest market for U.S. exports.  These numbers create little incentive for Moscow (or Washington) to adopt more measured stances when differences arise.
Consider the U.S.-Chinese relationship by contrast.  Two-way trade between the United States and China totaled almost $387 billion in 2007.  U.S. exports were more than $65 billion, making China America’s third largest export market.  This is real money, which factors into the calculations of political leaders as they manage the overall relationship.
One particular U.S.-Russian issue is the fate of the peaceful nuclear cooperation – or 123 – agreement.  In practical terms, the Russian-Georgian conflict killed that agreement for the current Congressional term, and the administration withdrew it.  At some point, reconsideration will make sense. 
FIRST, a 123 agreement would let U.S. companies engage in civil nuclear cooperation with Russia as their European competitors do.
SECOND, the Russian atomic energy agency, RosAtom, wants to store nuclear waste from third-country reactors, an activity that it sees as worth tens of billions of dollars in a world where most prefer not to have nuclear waste in their backyard.  Much of the waste would come from U.S.-origin nuclear fuel, provided under agreements by which the U.S. government must approve where the waste gets stored. 
The 123 agreement would create a framework; Washington would then have to approve each decision to ship nuclear waste to RosAtom for storage.  This means leverage:  the U.S. government would gain the ability to turn off a significant revenue-earner for a Russian state business.
Russia has felt some serious economic consequences over Georgia.  No government imposed them; the market did.  By one estimate, the Russian stock market has lost $290 billion in value since August 7.  During the same period, the ruble saw its biggest monthly decline against the dollar in nine years.  And $20-25 billion in capital flowed out of Russia during the last three weeks of August.  These are numbers that the Kremlin may find hard to ignore.  They result from Russia’s integration into the global economy.
In diplomacy, style can matter as much as substance.  The next president will need to engage his Russian counterpart to define the future of U.S.-Russian relations.  He should return to the Reagan, Bush 41 and Clinton models for talking with Russian leaders.
Summits between Reagan and Gorbachev, George H. W. Bush and Gorbachev, and Clinton and Yeltsin allowed plenty of time for presidential discussions.  Summits typically included two or three working sessions, each of which could range in length from 90 minutes to three hours.  This ensured that the presidents had the time to address not only the burning problems of the day but the broad range of questions on the agenda.
By contrast, while George Bush and Putin met far more frequently than their predecessors – almost 30 times by one count – their meetings usually were short.  Time limitations invariably meant that some problems received at best cursory review.  A personal relationship between the two presidents that was by all appearances extremely warm did little to arrest the downslide in U.S.-Russian relations. 
The next president also should want to have in place a national security mechanism that ensures follow-through on presidential agreements.  Moreover, building a successful U.S.-Russian relationship, one in which cooperative issues increasingly outnumber problem areas and in which Russian help can be secured on questions of key interest, requires letting Moscow sometimes “win.” 
The National Security Council needs to counteract stove-piping with an effective mechanism for taking an overall look at issues on the U.S.-Russia agenda, setting priorities, and identifying possible trade-offs.  Investing to build a long-term, cooperative relationship will require that Washington on occasion scale back some goals to accommodate solutions of interest to Moscow.
One final point:  the next president will have to work closely with Europe to forge a common Western position.  This is no simple task.  The European Union comprises 27 countries, while NATO numbers 26, with two others invited to join.  It often takes time for Europe to find its voice.  But Europe has levers that the United States lacks to affect Russian behavior.  As frustrating as it sometimes can be to coordinate with Europe, a common Western stance will have much greater resonance in Moscow than a tougher but unilateral Washington policy.
U.S. and Western relations with a more assertive Russia have entered a new and more difficult stage.  Striking the right balance between engaging Russia, sanctioning its bad behavior, and steering Moscow toward acceptance of international norms and rules will pose a challenge for Western policymakers.  Our policy must be firm and principled, but it also should aim to move Russia back toward a path of cooperation and integration, in which Russia is an accepted international actor rather than a self-isolated renegade, a Russia that is more a partner than a problem.
Can we get there?  That remains to be seen.  It will depend in part on some decisions beyond our control, in the Kremlin.  But the West faced a similar challenge in dealing with Moscow between 1949 and 1989, and it met that challenge with great success.  What we need now is a similar combination of determination, skill and patience.
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: Steven Pifer is a visiting fellow with the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution and a senior adviser (non-resident) with the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). A retired Foreign Service officer, his more than 25 years with the State Department focused on U.S. relations with the former Soviet Union and Europe, as well as on arms control and security issues. 
His assignments included deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (2001–2004), ambassador to Ukraine (1998–2000), and special assistant to the president and National Security Council senior director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia (1996–1997). 
Ambassador Pifer also served at the U.S. embassies in Warsaw, Moscow and London, as well as with the U.S. delegation to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces negotiations in Geneva.  He holds a B.A. in economics from Stanford University, where he later spent a year as a visiting scholar at Stanford’s Institute for International Studies.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  He also serves as a senior advisor to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC).
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
OPINION: By Denis Corboy, William Courtney, and Kenneth Yalowitz
International Herald Tribune (IHT), Paris, France, Sunday, September 14, 2008

News about Georgia has focused on the war with Russia, its disproportionate action and Western aid to help Georgia recover. The time has come to begin reflecting on the conflict and draw lessons for the future, including for European and U.S. policy. The determined negotiating of President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has set the stage for a key, positive Western role.

Without doubt the United States and European Union will help rebuild Georgia. Sustained support, however, will depend on reforms and new directions. This reality is obscured in the heady rush to aid Georgia and cajole Russia to pull back. But political honeymoons can be brief.

Already calls are heard in Georgia for investigations, and EU foreign ministers have rightly called for an international inquiry. Western publics tend to believe that, despite Russian provocation and subsequent aggression, impetuous action by Georgia compounded tragedy. Georgia has an interest in building Western confidence.

Transparency in governance is essential to allay Western concern. Georgia has made great strides toward democracy, before and especially after the 2003 Rose revolution when peaceful demonstrations toppled a lethargic government. Nonetheless, Georgia today faces severe challenges. These include the lingering impact of questionable elections even after the Rose revolution, a lop-sided, compliant Parliament, and declining influence of independent NGOs.

The out-of-character crackdown on peaceful opposition demonstrators last November sent a shock wave through the West about arrogance and abuse of power in Tbilisi. To rebuild Western confidence, the government must reverse course. It should foster an open and critical dialogue with the people of Georgia and their elected representatives. The current crisis should not be used as an excuse to limit debate.

The government ought to work with the opposition to build consensus about channels for dialogue and policy debate. Calls for vaguely defined councils and charters engender concern in the West when they create divisions rather than consensus. While the printed press is reasonably free, there is an urgent need to re-establish an independent TV channel not subject to government control.

Georgia needs an independent, 9/11-style commission. It should assess the conditions which made war more likely, Georgia’s conduct during the conflict, and the immediate aftermath, including allegations on both sides of ethnic cleansing.

Commission members must be widely respected in Georgia and come from various political persuasions and institutions. Ideally, the commission should be chaired by a respected international figure. At this point Georgia needs an examination more than a “Patriot Act,” which might cause the West to doubt the leadership’s commitment to allowing alternative voices to be heard.

EU foreign ministers have agreed unanimously that an international inquiry is needed into what led to the war. As Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany has pointed out, the results should influence future Western relations with Georgia and Russia. Both countries ought to grant full access for the inquiry. A comprehensive, balanced examination will do much to avert misplaced suspicion and create a climate for a stronger Western role.

The scope of the inquiry, however, ought to go beyond the origins of the war to encompass as well what the West could have done to mitigate risks. Did it err in not acting on signals earlier in the year of an impending conflict? Or in the 1990s should the West have offered to augment Russian peacekeeping troops in Abkhazia and South Ossetia?

Finally, Europe and the U.S. will gain added confidence from open debate in Georgia about its future policies, and a commitment to accelerate reform as the best way to strengthen the country. This will bolster Georgia’s position and unity in addressing the critical challenge of dealing with Russia.

Developing a dialogue will be not be easy in light of authoritarian and revanchist trends there, but many Georgians live in Russia and it is a huge, natural export market. Balanced assessments and policies will do much to help Europe and the U.S. mobilize support for a strong and sustained role in Georgia. This will advance its security and prosperity and foster its ties to the EU and NATO.

NOTE: Denis Corboy is director of the Caucasus Policy Institute at the University of London and a former European Commission ambassador to Georgia. William Courtney and Kenneth Yalowitz are former U.S. ambassadors to Georgia. 

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

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Dick Morris, The Hill, Washington, D.C., Mon, Sep 8, 2008
As we watched Russian tanks and planes attack yet another small neighbor, the world had to be reminded of Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan, three other countries that had to watch their freedom crushed beneath tank treads. The blatant, outrageous and long-planned invasion of Georgia should make it clear to the United States and Europe that there is an urgent need to pre-empt further Russian expansionism by spreading the NATO umbrella more widely.

In Eastern Europe, Ukraine is the name of the game. With close to 50 million people, it is, by far, more populous and important than any other former Soviet republic or satellite. Russia, with a population of 142 million and dropping, needs to take over Ukraine to reassert itself as a global power. Moscow is terrified that Ukraine will become part of the West.

That’s why Russian operatives poisoned democracy advocate Viktor Yushchenko, now the president of Ukraine, permanently scarring his face and almost killing him, and why Moscow refuses to extradite the agent responsible for the attack. And it is why the Kremlin tried to engineer the election of a pro-Russian puppet by cutting off gas supplies to Ukraine and then tripling the price it charged.
The Ukrainians have voted again and again for democracy and ties to the West. Putin has tried repeatedly to force the nation back into the Russian orbit.

The clear implication of the invasion of Georgia is that Russia cannot be trusted to live in peace with its neighbors. The impetus to imperial conquest predated and has outlasted communism. As Henry Kissinger argues, Russia must either be expanding or contracting. With so many divergent and often hostile nationalities inside and around Russia, the momentum of conquest is the only way to avoid an inertia that leads to decomposition.

Ukraine wants to enter NATO, but our European allies, led by Germany, are so dependent on Russian gas that they are reluctant to antagonize the bear. Until now, the case for expanding NATO’s protection to Ukraine has been hypothetical, based on fear of Russian intentions. But by breaking the civilized rules of national conduct, Russia has demonstrated the folly of leaving smaller democracies exposed on its border.

Some — initially including Barack Obama — treated the Russian invasion as a border war for which both sides were responsible. The Democratic candidate called for mutual restraint; only after two days had elapsed did he label the Russian actions as “aggression.”

Others have sought to blame Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili for the war because he sent troops into South Ossetia, long a part of Georgia that the Russians have egged on to seek its independence. The breakaway province is an example of Moscow’s oft-used strategy of encouraging emigration to other countries so as to use the new demographics to justify a takeover.

Of course, NATO cannot extend its protection to every nation in Europe. It is, in the final analysis, a military alliance and it must be certain that it can back its guarantees with adequate might. The location of Georgia makes this difficult to assure. But Ukraine, located right next to NATO members Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania, can and must be defended by NATO.

Russia is rapidly losing its population. It has the lowest birth rate in Europe and loses half a million people every year. Its GDP is only $1.7 trillion, a tenth of the Euro Zone’s. It is only through energy reserves that Russia is able to project its influence. And Russia must realize that the West’s likely movement away from oil and toward alternative fuels may make the energy card obsolete in the future.

It is only through blunt, blatant military force that Russia can expand and trouble its neighbors. And if the U.S. and NATO stand up to it, Russia will back down. And Ukraine is where we must make a stand.

NOTE: Dick Morris is a former Clinton adviser and now a Fox News contributor. He and his wife Eileen McGann are the co-authors of the best-selling new book Fleeced. His website is

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

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: by Doug Bandow, National Interest, Wash, D.C., Tue, Sep 2, 2008
The crisis over Georgia has abated, but its ramifications will only increase. People across Europe are worrying, What of Ukraine? At this moment the denuclearization of Ukraine looks like a shortsighted nod to foreign-policy correctness, putting mostly theoretical nonproliferation concerns ahead of very real international security interests.
When the Soviet Union broke up, thousands of nuclear weapons remained in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus (as well as Russia, of course). Ukraine ended up as the world’s third-largest nuclear power, with 1,240 nuclear warheads on 130 SS-19s and 46 SS-24s, 564 bomber-mounted cruise missiles and about 3,000 tactical nuclear weapons.
Although the codes were controlled by Russia, the systems could be hacked and the weapons retargeted. One of America’s principal foreign policy goals became disarming these inadvertent nuclear-weapons states.
The objective was valid, but there were countervailing foreign-policy interests. As has just been made clear—the Soviet break-up, a sudden response to the USSR’s worsening internal political crisis—did not necessarily result in final boundaries.
Which means that the events of 1989, though truly glorious in terms of human liberty, sowed the seeds of future conflict, such as between Russia and Georgia. Unfortunately, the importance of assuring stability and security throughout the former Soviet empire received little consideration.
With a strong push from both Washington and Moscow, removal of nuclear weapons from Belarus and Kazakhstan proceeded with minimal controversy.
The case of Ukraine, the largest Soviet secessionist state, was more complicated. The new nation had a population of 52 million and tore a huge hole in not just the Soviet Union but also in what had been imperial Russia. Although yearning for independence long permeated western Ukraine, ethnic Russians, who make up about 20 percent of the total population, predominate in the south and east.
Moreover, the Crimea—in which 58 percent of the people are ethnic Russians, and many retain Russian passports—only became part of Ukraine in 1954, a then-meaningless geopolitical gift from Ukrainian Nikita Khrushchev, who succeeded Joseph Stalin as the USSR’s Communist Party General Secretary.
When the Soviet Union broke up, Russians and many Crimeans believed that Crimea should revert to Russia. Indeed, in 1993 the Russian parliament approved a resolution to reclaim Sevastopol, and the two countries bickered bitterly over disposition of the Black Sea Fleet, most of which went to Russia.
Despite their general euphoria at escaping Soviet control, some Ukrainians perceived clouds on the horizon. And they believed that their unexpected nuclear force could act as a source of national pride and military security. The denuclearization process stretched out more than two years as first Ukraine’s president temporized and then the parliament, or Rada, resisted.
Thus, the Clinton administration had to apply substantial diplomatic pressure—even refusing a Ukrainian request to send President Clinton to Kiev to meet with Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk—and offer substantial economic inducements to get Kiev to yield its arsenal and send the nuclear material back to Russia.
Even after Ukraine’s government signed on the dotted line, nationalists opposed the plan in the Rada. They loudly voiced their fears about future threats from Moscow and demanded security guarantees. They received an invitation from America to participate in the Partnership for Peace and an association with NATO, in addition to an offer to mediate security disputes with Russia.
The Clinton administration celebrated its success. It eased negotiations with Moscow to implement the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which resulted in dramatic cuts in the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals. But there were dissident American voices as well. For instance, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago argued for preserving a Ukrainian nuclear deterrent, leaving Kiev with sufficient force to deter a revanchist Russia. He wrote in Foreign Affairs,
it is imperative to maintain peace between Russia and Ukraine. That means ensuring that the Russians, who have a history of bad relations with Ukraine, do not move to reconquer it. Ukraine cannot defend itself against a nuclear-armed Russia with conventional weapons, and no state, including the United States, is going to extend to it a meaningful security guarantee. Ukrainian nuclear weapons are the only reliable deterrent to Russian aggression.
No doubt, there were reasons many people slept easier after Ukraine yielded its nuclear missiles. Although there has been no state failure in Ukraine, the disputed 2004 elections resulted in at least a temporary regime crisis. And the dysfunctional Yuschenko/ Timoshenko tandem has created political instability.
Yet while Kiev seems to have institutionalized black political comedy, there is no reason to believe that a small arsenal of nuclear weapons would have been compromised. All other things being equal, it is better that Ukraine does not have an atomic capability, but all other things are not equal.
Today Ukraine faces a resurgent Russia and the bear is in an ugly mood. While an attempt at outright annexation seems unlikely—Ukraine would be far less digestible than tiny Georgia—the potential for conflict is growing. Agitation by Russian nationalists, including Moscow’s mayor Yuri Luzhkov, about the Crimea, which is connected to Ukraine only by a narrow causeway, grows louder as Ukraine’s president Viktor Yushchenko says there will be no extension of the lease for the Russian navy’s base in Sevastopol, which runs out in 2017.
Moreover, in the midst of Russia’s war with Georgia, he signed a decree curbing Russian naval missions out of Sevastopol. Moscow insisted on its treaty rights and Kiev gave way. The Ukrainian government had no power to enforce its threat, but the squabble further embittered relations. President Yushchenko subsequently declared that Ukraine would increase rent on the base’s land facilities.
More ominously, many ethnic Russians living in Crimea express their support for returning to Russia. Some of them organized protests against Ukrainian-NATO naval maneuvers in July. One Crimean told Reuters that, “The fleet is a protection against everything—including NATO.” Moscow recently promised to deal “shattering blows” against anyone who threatened the Russian-speaking community.
Ukrainians have taken notice. Student leader Oleg Yatsenko warned that, “These people are separatists. They want to do the same thing here that was done in Georgia.” Oleksandr Suchko of the Kiev-based Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation worried: “If the West swallows the pill and forgives Russia the Georgian war, the invasion of ‘peacekeeping tanks’ into Ukraine will be just a matter of time.” President Yushchenko warns that, “What has happened [in Georgia] is a threat to everyone, not just for one country. Any nation could be next, any country.”
Moreover, a split has developed within Kiev over relations with Russia. Although Yulia Timoshenko played the role of pro-Western firebrand in 2004, as prime minister she has become the reasonable moderate towards Russia. Her staff reportedly contains officials with access to the Kremlin and she appears to have become the government leader with whom Moscow can do business.
President Yuschenko’s deputy Chief of Staff, Andriy Kyslynskyi, charged that she “systematically works in the interests of the Russian side” and that her actions “show signs of high treason and political corruption.”
With Yuschenko—at a dismal seven percent in the polls—and Timoshenko headed towards a bitter presidential contest next year, relations with Russia, an important issue for the country’s Russian-language speakers, may become an electoral wild card. One office worker in Kiev told the New York Times: “We’re next. Sooner or later our president is going to say or do something that goes too far, and then it will start.”
Ukraine might survive these challenges unscathed. But it is vulnerable to Russian intimidation primarily because Moscow could apply disproportionate military force if it desired. Ukraine’s internal demographics and politics make it less stable, but its vulnerability to outside pressure largely stems from its military weakness vis-à-vis Russia.
All of this would make for interesting political theater if the United States and Europe were not involved. But Washington has invested heavily in the Yuschenko government, just like the Saakashvili government. The United States aided the supposed pro-West reform team of Yuschenko and Timoshenko during the 2004 election campaign and has advanced Ukraine for NATO membership.
The politically active Ukrainian diaspora in America is heavily weighted towards nationalists who despise Moscow. The Europeans also backed Yushchenko in the disputed election and have provided financial aid and economic ties since then.
Vice President Dick Cheney is preparing to visit the region, and last week his national security adviser declared, “The overriding priority, especially in Baku, Tbilisi, and Kiev, will be the same: a clear and simple message that the United States has a deep and abiding interest in the well-being and security in this part of the world.” British Foreign Secretary David Milibrand recently visited, proclaiming that his trip was “intended to send a simple message. We have not forgotten our commitments to you. Nor shall we do so.”
But the West has been remarkably short with meaningful assistance. The EU won’t even commit to bringing in Ukraine, something to which Moscow has voiced no objection. Thus, it should come as no surprise that President Yuschenko wants more than words from Washington and Brussels.
To celebrate his country’s 17th anniversary of independence on August 24, he ordered, against the wishes of the prime minister, a military parade, rather like the old Soviet military displays through Red Square. He joined the leaders of the Baltic nations and Poland in a “show of solidarity” with Georgia. He offered to give the United States and Europe access to Ukraine’s missile warning systems—which is the old Soviet system.
Most importantly, he avidly supports Ukrainian NATO membership. He explained in the Washington Post: “This conflict has proved once again that the best means of ensuring the national security of Ukraine and other countries is to participate in the collective security system of free democratic nations, exemplified today by NATO.”
That might be the best option for Ukraine, but it certainly isn’t a good policy for the United States or Europe. Of course, some Americans talk about rushing Kiev into the alliance as if doing so were no more significant than rushing a college fraternity.
National Review demanded that the first step in response to Russia “must be for the U.S. to agree with its NATO allies to confirm an offer of NATO membership for both Georgia and Ukraine,” perhaps at an emergency NATO summit. At least some NATO advocates understand that NATO remains a military alliance.
Clinton’s political strategist, Dick Morris, and Eileen McGann say that Ukraine “can and must be defended by NATO.” Yet going to war with Russia—which in this case means peering into the nuclear abyss—over Ukraine is little more palatable than doing so for Georgia.
Moreover, NATO membership isn’t even an effective guarantor for Kiev. Just joining the alliance won’t ensure that the other members will be prepared to confront Moscow militarily in a crisis. The likelihood of German, French, Italian, and British legions suiting up to rescue Kiev in a territorial squabble with Russia is low at best.
America’s willingness would be little greater, especially if the other major NATO members opted out. Ukraine wants a real security guarantee, but it is not likely to be forthcoming from NATO even if membership is offered.
But imagine if Ukraine had kept a few of its Soviet-era nuclear weapons and missiles. Talk of Russian pressure, let alone attack, would disappear.
The nuclear force would not have to have been large. For instance, the 46 SS-24s, which Ukraine’s President Kravchuk once suggested keeping, each held 10 warheads.
Every missile could include warheads targeted on Moscow and St. Petersburg, with the other eight warheads randomly covering other large cities. Even if only one survived a preventive Russian attack, it would be capable of inflicting massive destruction on Russia. A few hundred tactical nuclear weapons would be capable of devastating any conventional forces used in a Russian attack.
Ukraine would be more secure, without having to hope for rescue from the West. The United States and Europeans would not find themselves pushed to defend a country with no intrinsic security value to them. They would not be contemplating a policy of confrontation with a nuclear-armed power.
There obviously would be downsides to Kiev’s possession of a nuclear arsenal, and the past cannot be reclaimed. But there is a lesson to be learned for the future: idealistic policies adopted in haste might actually make the world a more dangerous place. If America and Europe eventually find themselves at war in Ukraine, they are likely to rue the day that the final Ukrainian nuclear warhead was sent back to Russia at Washington’s behest.

NOTE: Doug Bandow is the Bastiat Scholar in Free Enterprise, Competitive Enterprise Institute; Vice President for Policy, Citizen Outreach; Robert A. Taft Fellow, American Conservative Defense Alliance and the Cobden Fellow in International Economics, Institute for Policy Innovation. He is a former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan and the author of several books, including “Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire” (Xulon).

Column:; Blogs:;;
Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire:


[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC):
Promoting U.S.-Ukraine business relations & investment since 1995.

The United States is on the hook for Ukraine
National Post, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada, Monday, September 8, 2008
Last week as McCain made his speech to the Republican faithful, Vice President Dick Cheney visited Ukraine and unconditionally pledged America’s support against any attempt by Moscow to corrupt, much less invade, that giant. This is hardly popular stuff in a war-embattled America where billions are spent each month in an unnecessary occupation of Iraq.
But another entanglement may loom. The United States (under Clinton) signed an iron-clad agreement in 1994 with Ukraine, Britain (under John Major) and Russia (Boris Yeltsin). The Ukrainians back then got these three to guarantee its sovereignty as the quid pro quo for Ukraine’s agreement to dismantle and hand over its entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and missiles to Russia.
In essence, Washington is guarantor to Ukraine’s sovereignty, unlike Georgia’s, which was punished by Russia for an incursion, invaded temporarily and two of its breakaway provinces acquired.
Cheney’s visit was important given concerns that Moscow-style shenanigans are underway in Crimea, a Ukrainian province with a large Russian population and some oil. Separatism is being seeded there among Russian ethnics as was the case with Georgia’s two breakaway provinces.
Canadian lawyer Bob Onyschuk of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP advised Ukraine at the time of the landmark agreement in 1994. (He is shown here on the right and is also a founder of the Canadian-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce board of which I’m a director.)
“I was closely involved as an advisor and this was the first thing [former Ukrainian President Leonid] Kuchma did after the elections in 1994,” said Onyschuk, who established the world’s first law office in Kiev shortly after Ukraine declared its independence in 1991.

“Ukraine, as the 3rd largest nuclear power in the world, came out of the Soviet Union and had ICBM missiles and big SS24s, the most deadly of the Soviet arsenal of weapons and they were all aimed at Europe’s capital cities and other targets,” he said. “The debate among Ukrainians, after 1991, was whether Ukraine should give them up or what else they would want to do with them.”

But immediately after independence in 1991, Ukraine took the precautionary action of changing the “codes” to these missiles so that none of the western capitals were targeted.
Even so, the debate lingered amid fears that the nuclear weapons – and Ukraine’s large standing army – were needed as a last line of defense should Russia ever before aggressive again.
“That’s why we kept them. Kuchma brokered a deal with the US, UK and got Russia to go along with it. The deal was we will unilaterally disarm ourselves, give all the nuclear weapons back to Russia but the only basis upon which we were doing that is if we got guarantees from the three major nuclear powers – Russia, U.S. and Great Britain,” he said. “We were only worried about Russia.”
“The fact that the agreement has the signatures of four presidents, including UK’s John Major, Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin and Kuchma – was good enough.
Ukraine knew that if Russia didn’t keep up its part of the bargain, which they knew they might not after Yeltsin left because they never keep their word to anything, that they would have the backstop of the U.S. and Britain. That was and is what Ukraine relies on,” he said.
Cheney’s visit underscored Washington’s commitment as guarantor to the agreement and the Vice President said so.


Onyschuk said that this agreement is also written, and should, protect Ukraine from the kind of economic, energy and political harassment that Moscow has undertaken in recent years. This has included stopping the flow of gas, to exacting high payments and to electoral fraud which sparked the Orange Revolution.
“Russia can’t even pressure Ukraine economically and Ukraine should play this card,” added Onyschuk. The slippage in Russia into a KGB-controlled nation-state is worrisome to all its neighbors. “Brandishing this agreement is one thing but what will the Russians do? Will they honor their word?
The agreement welcomes Ukraine into the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a non-nuclear-weapon state. It was signed in Budapest on December 5, 1994 and here are some excerpts:
1. the three guarantors “reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, to respect the Independence and Sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.”
2, “reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defense”
3. “reaffirm their commitment to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind.”


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

The Associated Press, Washington, D.C. Friday, Sep 12, 2008
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A senior U.S. diplomat said Friday the United States would back Ukraine in case of a territorial dispute but Ukraine’s defense minister said his country’s role as the main natural gas conduit to Europe makes a conflict with Russia unlikely.
The recent Russia-Georgia war has aroused concerns in Europe and ex-Soviet republics such as Ukraine about Moscow’s regional ambitions. The Kremlin has watched warily in recent years as Ukraine and other former republics have sought closer Western ties, and Moscow vehemently objects to their joining NATO.
Although Russian leaders insist they recognize Ukraine’s borders, some nationalist politicians have suggested that Russia should regain control of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, a jewel of the Russian empire and home to a key Russian naval base.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried pledged Friday that the United States would back Ukraine in a territorial dispute. “The United States, and I daresay Europe as well, support Ukraine’s independence, its freedom, its democracy, its right to chose its own future,” Fried told reporters after a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart.
“Our support for Ukraine has only increased as the result of pressure and will only increase if there is pressure from other places,” Fried said. “I hope that no one puts Ukraine’s territorial integrity into question.”
Fried’s remarks echo comments made last week by Vice President Dick Cheney. During a visit to the ex-Soviet Republic, Cheney said the U.S. has “a deep and abiding interest” in the country’s “well-being and security.”
However, Ukraine’s defense minister said during a visit to Denmark Friday that a war with Moscow was unlikely because Ukraine is such an important link in Europe’s energy supply.
Asked about a potential military conflict with Russia, Yuri Yekhanurov said he didn’t “believe something like this might happen in the future.” A conflict would “have an influence on not only Ukraine but the whole world,” Yekhanurov said, noting that 80 percent of the natural gas exported to Europe passes through Ukraine.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Ukraine desperately needs a new generation of politicians 
Editorial: Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, September 11, 2008  
A new breed of younger politicians needs to be brought up in the political ranks to bring fresh ideas and constructive work in Ukrainian politics. Ukraine desperately needs a new generation of politicians to rejuvenate, and bring fresh ideas and constructive work to its paralyzing politics.
The relentless political bickering by parties and politicians that dominate is evident not only in parliament, but on a handful of talk shows that air on Ukrainian television. Politicians from each party can be seen each week on these shows accusing each other of everything from theft of state assets to treason to poisoning presidential candidate Victor Yushchenko to…
For those who have long tuned out of these nauseating antics, we will spare you the rest of the accusations, but offer a breath of fresh air in watching Spokusa Vladoyu (which translates into Temptation of Political Power). The show kicked off this month on Ukraine’s First National state television channel.
Unlike other popular political talk shows which have turned into mouthpieces for manipulating politicians, this one gives novices – young Ukrainians trying to break into politics, some still students – a chance to debate on key issues. Still true to their hearts and ideals, they not only offer a breath of fresh air, but hope that the power-hungry political elite in the country will soon be replaced by a new generation.
They don’t have much experience yet and aren’t positioned as rivals sitting on different sides of the aisle in parliament. But the two young men and women on the show this past Tuesday were well-versed in critical issues grappling the country. They did a remarkable job defending their positions compared to those currently in power. Most importantly, they offered solid, practical solutions to the country’s deep problems.
In these challenging times, when East and West are more at odds, Ukraine is stuck in the middle along a geopolitical fault line. Yet this cool-headed youth offered pragmatic solutions on what direction Ukraine should take and how it should carefully, constructively and patriotically deal with a bullying northern neighbor, as well as ineffective Western partners that are indifferent to Ukraine’s importance, viewing it as a pawn in a bigger game.
The Spokusa Vladoyu show helps demonstrate that the time has come for a new political elite to take over. The country’s upcoming generation should be given more air time to gain experience and demonstrate its ability to take charge. We applaud the First National channel for giving them such an opportunity.
Rising up in politics will be a challenge. We urge the new generation not to sit on the sidelines grumbling, but seize the moment. Democracy is more than just voting. It is about active participation in politics. Taking office at regional councils in smaller cities is a good place for many to start. Ukrainian voters deserve more than they have been getting with the Victor vs. Victor and Yulia show.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
NOTE: Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.

Reuters, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Saturday, Sep 13, 2008
OTTAWA – NATO’s hesitation at its April summit to integrate Georgia and Ukraine into the alliance only emboldened Russia to invade Georgia last month, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in an interview published today.

”I think if we had taken a stronger position on the membership of these countries, we would not have had the Russian aggression,” he told the National Post newspaper.

”I think that showing weakness or hesitation encourages this type of behavior on the part of Russia.” Harper expressed respect for Russia but said whether or not countries join NATO was a decision between the alliance and that country. ”Russia does not have a right to dictate decisions outside its own borders,” the Conservative prime minister said.

Canada and the United States had been among those at the Bucharest summit in April advocating offering a membership action plan to Ukraine and Georgia, but they met opposition led by Germany and France.

In the end the NATO summit promised the two countries they could join in the future but the timing was left indefinite.  Russia sent forces into Georgia in August after repelling an attempt by Tbilisi to retake the breakaway, pro-Russian South Ossetia region.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


OP-ED: by Jan Pieklo, European Voice, Brussels, Belgium, Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sevastopol, the naval base from which the Russian Black Sea Fleet sailed to help crush Georgia, is in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, placed under
Ukrainian jurisdiction by Nikita Khrushchev in February 1954. Russia’s lease on the port is due to run out in 2017. Will it respect the deadline? The auguries are unpromising.

After hostilities broke out in Georgia, Ukraine’s President Victor Yushchenko – a close ally of Georgia’s Mikhail Saakashvili – required the Russian fleet to give 72 hours’ notice of any ship movements in or out of the port. The order was ignored.

Ukraine’s foreign minister then demanded that “Russia should start, without delay, to make preparations for the withdrawal of its fleet in 2017”. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev responded that he was prepared to negotiate, but Kyiv would not be allowed to dictate terms.

This ominous tug-of-war takes place against the background of what looks like a terminal falling-out between President Yushchenko and his arch-rival
Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, princess of the 2004 Orange Revolution.

The president’s aides publicly accuse her of making a treasonable secret deal with Russia in return for Kremlin backing in next year’s presidential election, and of promising to drop support for Georgia and to postpone Ukraine’s plans to join NATO.

According to Yushchenko’s staff, some US $1 billion dollars has been put aside by the Kremlin to implement “the Yulia Tymoshenko project”.

Ukrainian authorities are also investigating claims that Russia is distributing passports to the citizens of Sevastopol, the same tactic used in the newly-independent (at least according to Russia) Georgian enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, where Russia claimed the right to “defend our citizens”.

One scenario being discussed in the feverish, rumour-filled Ukrainian capital is for Russia at some point to call for a regional referendum on secession from Ukraine.

This may take some manipulating: in the 1991 referendum on Ukrainian independence 54.2 % in Crimea were for it, and in Sevastopol itself, 57.1 %. But installing a pro-Russian leadership under FSB control would no doubt help to improve these figures. Later, the leaders of a breakaway Crimea may feel the need for a show of Russian military solidarity.

As the smoke from Georgia clears, the future status of the Crimea, and of Ukraine – the historical Kiyevan Rus whose loss Russia has never really accepted – is set to test the mettle of the EU, and of the next US administration.

The debacle in Georgia and its worrying implications can in part be laid at the door of wishful thinking on the part of the outgoing US president. But he can hardly be blamed for the weak, disunited, and on occasion frankly unserious tactics adopted by the EU 27 towards Russia and its confetti of empire.

Divisions over energy supplies and pipelines, notably the separate deal between Germany and Russia, have laid bare the EU’s vulnerability and lack
of leverage.

Recognising past mistakes, and how much is at stake, should not be a cause for paralysis but for leadership, however belated. It is conceivable, just, that the Georgian imbroglio will prove the catalyst for the strong, united Europe which has been needed for so long.

NOTE: The writer is Director of the Kyiv and Warsaw-based Polish-Ukrainian Cooperation Foundation PAUCI.

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

OP-ED: By Lubomyr Luciuk, Special to Kyiv Post
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, September 11, 2008

Despite my genuine sympathy for the many innocent Georgians now falling victim to resurgent Russian revanchism, the gutting of Gori was long overdue.

For it is a cursed site and not so much because it’s where Iosif Dzhugashvili – better known by his pseudonym of Stalin – was born on Dec. 21, 1879, as for its post-Soviet transgressions.

Inexplicably, the government of Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili and Gori’s city fathers permitted it to remain a center for the whitewashing of
Stalin’s brutal legacy, allowing for the veneration of the greatest mass-murderer in 20th Century Europe.

Not only did its Stalin Square frame what is, quite probably, the last original Stalin statue standing in Europe, but even the hovel in which he first stole breath was enshrined in a colonnaded building, part of a museum complex that once attracted thousands.

The most recent tourists were Russian soldiers, who began infiltrating Gori around Aug. 13, although they have since decamped.

Just before they rolled in, the shrine’s intrepid director, a Stalin apologist named Robert Maglakelidze, spirited various unique artifacts away to safety, including the dictator’s military greatcoat, boots, pen, glasses, a used shaving brush, an open pack of cigarettes with 10 left untouched inside, and even one of his trademark pipes.

Now secured in the Tbilisi state museum, these items will be repatriated and put back on display when the museum re-opens, which is scheduled to happen
today. Remarkably, given the firestorm Gori sustained under air and artillery bombardment and its subsequent looting by Ossetian irregulars, the Stalin museum was left unscathed, albeit dustier for all the shelling nearby.

It seems Georgia’s violators knew where they were going and what they were shelling.

Some troopers even erected a sign outside the city announcing: “J Stalin’s Home Country – Gori,” which begs the question – why would combat soldiers
pause to do that? Was it out of admiration? That might seem preposterous, but it’s not if one reads Sarah Mendelson and Theodore Gerber’s article “Failing the Stalin Test,” published in the January-February 2006 issue of the prestigious journal, Foreign Affairs.

Their extensive survey research confirmed how “a majority of young Russians … do not view Stalin – a man responsible for millions of deaths and

enormous suffering – with the revulsion he deserves.”

They began their commentary with a provocative statement: “Imagine that a scientific survey revealed that most Germans under 30 today viewed Hitler
with ambivalence and that a majority thought he had done more good than bad. Imagine that about 20 percent said they would vote for him if he ran for
president tomorrow. Now try to envision the horrified international response that would follow.”

Yet, when their results were revealed, no significant outcry was heard. The crimes of communism, as personified by “Uncle Joe,” just do not excite us as
much as Adolf’s evildoing.

Only a month or so before Georgia’s dismemberment, other interesting, if preliminary, poll results were released.

Sponsored by the state-funded Rossiya TV channel, online respondents identified the most popular Russian. A commanding majority selected Stalin,
even though his father was Ossetian and his mother Georgian. Meanwhile his “comrade” Lenin scored a distant third.

Stalin’s rehabilitation, which began around the centenary of his birth in 1979, is yet again being promoted from the Kremlin, as plans for incorporating South Ossetia and Abkhazia into the Russian Federation were announced, international protests be damned.

How these minorities will fare inside a Russian-dominated imperium, whose masters have never shown any patience for regional autonomy or human
rights – just go ask the Chechens – remains to be seen.

Of course, there are Georgians who know what Stalin was. They are not nostalgic for an imagined past when they were supposedly much better off under Moscow’s rule. These Georgians appreciate that their culture and historical experience give them a right, and good reason, to want to reconnect with the Western civilization of which they are part.

Their way back to where they, and for that matter, Ukraine, also belongs, can come only through membership in the European Union and NATO. Lado Vardzelashvili, the Georgian governor whose office overlooks Stalin’s monument, gets that.

Pointing out that both Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev “think exactly the same way as Stalin,” he tried to cut a deal with the Russian general
commanding troops around Gori, asking that they take the Stalin statue with them and “never come back.”

His offer was not accepted. That’s a pity.

Europe’s last statue of Stalin would be far more appropriately located in today’s Moscow than in tomorrow’s Gori.

NOTE: Lubomyr Luciuk is a professor of political geography at The Royal Military College of Canada. This article is reprinted with the author’s
permission and was originally published in the Kingston Whig-Standard in Ontario, Canada.


[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC)
Promoting U.S.-Ukraine business & investment relations since 1995. 

Analysis: by Lada L. Roslycky, Harvard Black Sea Security Program
Cambridge MA, USA Thursday August 21, 2008
As news of another war sped through the fiber optic wires all over the world, decision-making presidents were entertained by Olympic Games in distant Beijing.  What would the Olympian gods have done peering down upon the benighted mortals unable to envision the beauty and peace of democracy?
Perhaps Zeus would have thrown a lightening bolt upon those who carry the guilt of Ares. Lacking wisdom to avoid war, they succumb to the delightful roar of its battle, the spilling of red human blood and the acquisition of power.
What would leaders with wisdom do in this situation? In a perfect world Russia would get off of foreign territory and mind its own. Georgia would pack away its arms, head to the tables and negotiate with its South Ossetian people. The South Ossetians would take this opportunity to embrace their ancient language and culture; allowing it to flourish in a peaceful, democratic and genuine manner. Genuine, un-manipulated Ossetian separatism would demand that Russia and Georgia give up both, North and South Ossetia and allowing them to reunite as a nation-state.
Unfortunately, wisdom is lacking and many decision-makers do not fit the mold of the proverbial “reasonable man”. Rather, they are infected with the geopolitical virus obsessing about the perception of their power. Men are compelled to choose sides, parties, colors and often the perceived “lesser of two evils”. This is what has happened here. States chose to realize their independence and sovereignty.
They chose to behave like grown-ups making their own decisions about whom to align, play and sleep with. By becoming self-aware, Ukraine, Moldova, Azerbaijan, together with Georgia, have entered adult statehood. Unfortunately, this self-awareness is perceived as unacceptable to Russia. It would rather rule over than cooperate with nations.
What is happening in Georgia is not unique. It can and may happen in other former Soviet States. For many years, since their independence, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova and Azerbaijan have been struggling with Russian-backed separatism. Their populations are ready for freedom which is supposed to be guaranteed by sovereign independence.
Sovereignty. The word has become a cynical joke to international lawyers and laymen with a critical eye. Its violation has been witnessed in so many wars including Former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq. However, a pivotal difference here is that the violation of Georgia’s sovereignty occurred in complete absence of consent or support from any international institution except, perhaps, the institution of silence. This violation of sovereignty can be likened to rape in which silence is perceived by Russia as acquiescence; by Georgia as a lack of allied care or support requiring the ultimate form of defense.
For years, little of substance has been said about the Black Sea Region’s frozen conflicts. Nevertheless, the war in Georgia should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying even the slightest attention to developments there. The Russian Federation has become proficient at playing the game of strategic separatism on the territory of weak states. 
It should be no surprise that Russia is not listening to anyone in its drive to control these weak, but independent states. It should be no surprise that it will be satisfied only when they do what it wants.  What is going to be a surprise is how this situation is going to end. Could there however, be a surprise in how this ends?
The consequences of this war are not limited to Georgia and Russia. It should not be perceived as an isolated matter in which credible UN approved peace keepers are promoting peace and stability. Rather, it is a geopolitical labor pain in the birth of the new Eurasian heartland. At stake lies the freedom and prosperity of millions of people, energy security, and democratic freedom in the Black Sea Region, the Trans-Atlantic Alliance, European freedom, and American reputation. It would be shameful if the West were to remain ambivalent.
The war between Georgia and Russia is a direct challenge to (what some have already stopped calling) “the West”. Now more than ever, the European Union, the United States and the Trans-Atlantic community as embodied in NATO, are in a position to operate jointly and severally toward rebuilding their reputations. They must reestablish themselves as reliable, democratic states which honor the rule of law they so adamantly promote. While others focus on cataloguing the destabilizing damage, I choose to focus on the opportunities here.
First and foremost it is an opportunity for all the orchestrated separatism in the Black Sea region to cease. By invading Georgia, the neutrality of the Commonwealth of Independent States Peacekeeping missions (100 percent Russian manned) on other territories of the Former Soviet States has been discredited. It is no secret that the Russian peacekeepers do not satisfy UN standards. Those who did not see the conflict of interest in the past may now recognize that Russia is in fact, and in deed, a participant in these conflicts, not an unbiased mediator.
It is an opportunity for the advancement of international law. International law is the bases of any new world order based on international cooperation. The juridical infrastructure to handle situations such as these has been in place for many years. The International Law Commission’s Articles on State Responsibility provide guidance. The Russians have argued that they were obliged to invade Georgia.
They have also asserted their constitutional obligation to protect Russian citizens, wherever they may be in this world. This notwithstanding, there is nothing in the current situation that would fall under Article 22 (Articles on State Responsibility) and be interpreted as circumstances precluding wrongfulness regarding the invasion of Georgia.
Provisions of internal law (even the constitution) cannot be used to justify internationally wrongful acts. Furthermore, the premeditation of Russia’s violations of international law is depicted in the facts that it has been handing out Russian passports to foreign citizens living in areas of its strategic interest (including Sevastopol – Ukraine and Transdniestria – Moldova). Already in 2003, then Georgian President Shevardnadze identified this activity as a reason to refusing the extension of CIS peacekeeping mandate, regarding it as “a violation of the ethics of interstate relations”.
It is an opportunity for reputation saving.  In recent years, the reputations of all of the players involved have been severely tarnished.
This is an opportunity for UN Security Council to show that the controversial veto right does not veto effective and honest cooperation. The EU’s willingness to send peace keepers on the condition of UN approval is a good test.
Russia can have the most to gain by backing off, withdrawing its troops and demonstrating to the international community that it is a responsible state respectful of international institutions and human rights. It could demonstrate that it can be a dependable partner. It could dispel the perceptions that its intentions with energy and gas are imperialist and not open to international investment or fair competition.
It could make itself attractive, by gaining respect through honorable behavior, not obedience through fear. It could agree to United Nations, EU or even NATO peacekeepers and demonstrate its political maturity countering its criminalized reputation.
The US has lost much of its moral high ground because of what are widely perceived as unjust wars being pursued in the name of democracy and the war on international terrorism. By imposing sanctions America can show nations in transition that it truly does value their support, their struggle for peace and democracy. This is an opportunity for America to show that it genuinely supports democracy, particularly the sovereignty of its key allies.
By supporting the peace process and the deployment of an international peacekeeping mission, America would demonstrate that it is still willing and able to assist Europe with its security concerns. It is an opportunity to repair the Trans-Atlantic link by using international law and good EU relations to create a framework plan for a coordinated response to similar assaults in the future.
The EU can show the world that, despite recent rough weather with the United States, it has learned from its past mistakes and is willing to cooperate towards peace with its oldest and most faithful democratic ally. The EU can become more unified and realize that energy security and energy diversification are faces of one coin.  By coordinating a peacekeeping mission, the EU can stand united for security and defense and show that the European Neighborhood Program is not just another sham.
The neighbors concerned form the only alternate energy corridor from an otherwise severe dependency problem on monopolized energy. After suffering internal blows to its own constitution and being treated like an energy junky it too can show that it is not too weak or afraid to support the democratic and security interests of its European neighbors.
The Newly Independent States in the Black Sea Region can use this opportunity to show that in the face of adversity their governments are capable of standing united. They can put aside all the ceaseless internal “colored-revolution bickering” and realize that their responsibility – first and foremost – is to their young states and to their people. Internationally they can support one another in the maintenance of their sovereignty and in their reach for democracy. It is an opportunity for strengthening national unity and regional solidarity.
NATO has the opportunity to show that it is everything it claims to be. It can show that it is a united transatlantic organization based on the foundations of peace and international stability. NATO can adjust Russia’s perception of it as a threat and demonstrate it as an institution that cooperates for international peace and stability.
It can show that its promises to its partners are not empty by acting as a unified political security organization whose transformation has delivered a new NATO willing and able to cooperate with its members and partners in all security sectors.
This war highlights how fragile states are when all of their energy eggs are in one basket. It is an opportunity for securing diversified energy supply and competition. NATO could consider its role in energy security to protect the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline line upon which the security of states and individuals depend.
This war is an opportunity to evolve away from Realpolitik. It offers a unique opportunity for peace. It is an opportunity for the internationalization of a new style of international relations based on international cooperation, not aggression and fear.
The Black Sea Region used to be called Pontos Azeinos (the dark or somber sea). It has also been called Pontus Euxinus (the welcoming sea). What it will become depends upon the perception of opportunities and the wisdom of our leaders.
The gods are watching.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Receiving more than one copy of the AUR please contact us.

Agence France Presse (AFP), Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, Sept 13, 2008
KIEV – Ukraine accused Russia on Saturday of seeking to destabilise the ex-Soviet state, dismissing the idea it was in Moscow’s special zone of interest and describing Kiev’s EU and NATO ambitions as “irreversible.”
Ukrainian leaders are concerned that its mainly Russian-populated autonomous region of Crimea may fall under Moscow’s influence in the same way as Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
“Russia’s attempts to destabilise the situation in Ukraine… will not work,” a statement from the Ukrainian foreign ministry said. “Continuing with such a policy will eventually undermine the Russian Federation’s position of being a good partner in the world,” it said.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ogryzko said last week that Russia was moving to expand its influence in Crimea by giving out Russian passports.
Russia employed this policy extensively in the Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, both now recognised as independent states by Moscow.
Russia condemned Thursday the “unfriendly” stance of Ukraine over the war in Georgia and its treatment of ethnic Russians, fuelling tensions in what is feared could be the region’s next flashpoint.
Ukraine on Saturday rejected those accusations and criticised Russia for making statements it described as “biased” and “far from reality”. “Ukraine has been an independent state for 17 years and in no way will it be included into the sphere of ‘exclusive interests’ of any country,” the foreign ministry statement said. “Ukraine’s choice to joining EU and NATO is irreversible,” it added.
Moscow strongly opposes Kiev’s attempts to join the European bloc and the military alliance. Western analysts say Russia’s five-day war with Georgia last month was a reminder from Moscow that it wants ex-Soviet nations on its borders, especially Ukraine, to remain in Russia’s orbit.
People in the southeast of Ukraine are mainly Russian-speaking, while those in the northwest predominantly speak Ukrainian and are more oriented towards integration with the West.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko sees entry into the EU and NATO as key to anchoring it to Europe and has stepped up his campaign after Russia sent troops into Georgia last month.
Yushchenko last month earned Russia’s wrath by imposing restrictions on the Russian navy — Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based at Sevastopol on Ukraine’s Crimean coast.
Bitter in-fighting between Ukraine’s Western-oriented president and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, sharpened by divisions over ties with Russia, has done little to advance the cause of EU membership.
Relations between Yushchenko and his one-time ally have badly deteriorated, with the presidency accusing Tymoshenko of “high treason” for allegedly siding with Moscow over the Georgia conflict.
Tymoshenko hinted Monday for the first time she might form a new government coalition with the same pro-Moscow opposition she had challenged alongside Yushchenko in 2004 street protests known as the Orange Revolution.
The pro-Western coalition broke apart on September 3, with differences exacerbated by strains over Russia’s conflict with Georgia whose president Mikheil Saakashvili is a close ally of Yushchenko.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
The ruling coalition is near collapse as the president and the prime minister spar over whether to treat Russia as foe or friend.

By Megan K. Stack, Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, CA, Sun, Sep 14, 2008
KIEV, UKRAINE — They are at each other’s throats again, this country’s political lions: the president whose face is pocked from the poison that didn’t quite kill him four years ago, and the prime minister with the golden braid who once fought alongside him in the name of democracy.

The president’s office now calls Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko a traitor who refuses to speak out against Moscow. She shoots back that President Viktor Yushchenko is a loose cannon who has antagonized Russia to the point of endangering Ukraine.

The war in Georgia is over. But the war over the war in Georgia rages unabated in Ukraine, the former Soviet state that, like Georgia, has drawn the wrath of Moscow by building ties with the West. The collapse of this country’s ruling coalition is widely expected to become official this week, the final gasp of a threadbare alliance that has barely hung together in recent months.

The delicate balance was upended by a widening dispute over how to respond to a newly aggressive Russia. The political turmoil is, in part, early jockeying between Tymoshenko and Yushchenko for the 2010 presidential election, but it is also a clash over the existential angst that bedevils this country, where identity is stretched awkwardly between Russia and the West.

The war between Russia and Georgia has brought a sense of crisis and anxiety to the region. Fattened on oil and gas riches, Moscow has made it plain that it intends to exert power on neighbors formerly part of the Soviet Union, that it feels justified in demanding “privileged interests,” as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev explained last month.

More than anyplace else, that means Ukraine, bonded to Moscow by deep, ancient imperial and cultural ties. To the fury of Moscow, Ukraine has emerged as a close ally of the United States, its leaders berating Russia as they lobby for membership in the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. But many Ukrainians continue to feel a strong affection and loyalty toward Russia.

Today, instead of pulling together and steeling for geopolitical maneuvers, the leaders of Ukraine are mired in internecine squabbles over what kind of country it should be and which loyalties it should foster. Like nothing else since the fall of the Soviet Union, the war in Georgia has laid bare Ukraine’s weaknesses.

When Russia sent warplanes, tank columns and thousands of soldiers into Georgia last month, Yushchenko, long an outspoken critic of Moscow, was outraged. He flew to Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, to stand in solidarity with the Caucasus nation’s president and imposed restrictions on Russia’s Black Sea fleet, based in Ukraine under a long-standing agreement.

Tymoshenko, in contrast, drew attention with her silence. The prime minister dispatched an envoy to Tbilisi and sent humanitarian aid. But there was no condemnation of Russia.

The president’s office accused her of “high treason and political corruption” and hinted it would open a criminal case against her. “I think she struck a deal with the Kremlin. . . ,” said Roman Zvarych, a lawmaker from Yushchenko’s party. “You can’t have a prime minister of a country be silent when your sovereign territory is being used as a base to attack your ally.”

Last week, Tymoshenko was abruptly summoned by the prosecutor general for questioning in the near-fatal dioxin poisoning of Yushchenko in 2004. The inquiry is nothing but a political ploy, her followers say.

For their part, they say the president has gone too far in criticizing Moscow. Not only has he whipped up tensions to a dangerous height, they say, but he also has alienated those Ukrainians who have ethnic and cultural ties to Russia and who are leery of invoking its wrath. That view seems to be gaining credibility. Yushchenko’s approval ratings are in the single digits, analysts from all camps say.

“Support for [Georgian President Mikheil] Saakashvili by Yushchenko angered Russia and woke up that bear that’s been sleeping for a long time,” said Hanna Herman, a lawmaker with the Moscow-friendly Party of Regions. “Now, Ukraine has the worst relations with Russia in the history of its independence.”

Today’s Kiev, the capital, is a battle-hardened place long drained of the pro-democracy, anti-Russia fervor of the 2004 Orange Revolution, which swept Yushchenko and Tymoshenko to power. The onetime tent city of Independence Square is a clot of black-clad youth, locked into clinging embraces, drinking cheap beer and bellowing rock songs.

Kiev hums with politics: local politics, politics for their own sake, games for stakes of power and cash. Everybody has a press aide. Even the press aides seem to have press aides. All of them want to talk to the media, unless they are plotting some new, subtle subterfuge, then they stay silent.

You get the sense sometimes that in this city, Russia and the West have been carved down to shadows of themselves, to symbols wielded like weapons in the ceaseless churn of gladiator-style matches: invoked for their associations, for the blocs of voters they move, and later discarded for the same reasons.

Many analysts here believe Ukrainian politics are drifting closer to Moscow’s sway, as evidenced by the prime minister’s reticence about criticizing Russia and the enduring popularity of the pro-Moscow politician Viktor Yanukovich, a former prime minister whose Party of Regions holds the most parliamentary votes and who is widely seen as the third contender in the presidential election.

Some analysts are convinced that Moscow engineered the current crisis to send Yushchenko into oblivion and forestall Ukraine from joining NATO or moving closer to Europe.

“All of these changes, Russia had a hand in it . . . to bring people who are loyal to power,” said Vadim Karasyov, director of the Institute of Global Strategies, a Kiev think tank. “There’s no need for them to adopt the tactics we saw in Georgia. In Ukraine, they can use soft power and slowly adapt Ukraine to their liking.”

Karasyov, who is seen as close to the president, contends that Russia is on a gradual campaign to reestablish control over Ukraine. “This is all about changing Ukraine’s foreign policy and international identity,” he said. “Everything else is just a consequence.” []

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

Editorial: The Irish Times, Dublin, Ireland, Monday, Sep 8, 2008
PULLED APART by its historical ties with Russia and its government’s ambition to join the European Union and Nato, Ukraine is in a precarious position following Moscow’s military intervention in Georgia. Warnings of further Kremlin destabilisation of the Black Sea region have focused on Ukraine’s mostly ethnic-Russian Crimea peninsula, where Russian and Ukrainian nationalists have clashed in the key port of Sevastopol, home to one of Moscow’s most powerful naval fleets.
But the danger perceived by the United States and European Union, and the potential opportunity perhaps seen by an increasingly assertive Kremlin, has fostered anything but unity among Ukraine’s pro-western leaders. As Washington and Brussels were trying to forge a united front against Moscow, following its recognition of the rebel Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Ukraine’s president and prime minister were re-igniting their bitter feud.
Only months after the 2004 Orange Revolution propelled them to power and ousted pro-Moscow presidential candidate, Viktor Yanukovich, pro-western leaders Yulia Tymoshenko and Viktor Yushchenko were fighting each other, instead of implementing vital reforms.
Mr Yushchenko sacked Ms Tymoshenko from the post of prime minister in 2005, but reinstated her last year, after her party’s powerful showing in a general election – but it took only weeks for cracks in their relationship to reappear.
Now, Mr Yushchenko claims his erstwhile ally is trying to oust him with the help of Mr Yanukovich and his Kremlin-backed cohorts, while Ms Tymoshenko accuses the president of blocking vital privatisation and anti-corruption legislation. Both pro-western leaders believe the other is trying to undermine them ahead of the 2010 presidential elections.
The usually strident Ms Tymoshenko, who has locked horns with Russia regularly over its controversial gas supply deal with Ukraine, has soft peddled on the Georgian conflict in an apparent attempt to woo Moscow and the millions of eastern Ukrainians who feel more affinity for Moscow than Kiev.
Those residents of major industrial cities like Donetsk, Kharkiv and Odessa – as well and the often strident Russian nationalists of Crimea – must be won over if Ms Tymoshenko is to call herself a truly national Ukrainian leader, and to neutralise the power of Mr Yanukovich.
But in pursuing their protracted power struggle, Ms Tymoshenko and Mr Yushchenko risk damaging Ukraine’s efforts to join the EU and Nato, and could encourage hawks in Moscow to try to destabilise the already restive Crimea. Visiting Kiev last week, US vice president Dick Cheney urged Ukraine’s leaders to unite against the “threat of tyranny, economic blackmail and military invasion”.
His imprecations had no immediate effect in Kiev, however, and president and prime minister continue to trade allegations as tomorrow’s EU-Ukraine summit hove into view. In-fighting at the top has scuppered any chances Ukraine had of receiving a fast-track invitation to join the EU or Nato. It must not be allowed to leave Crimea – or vital energy supplies to western Europe – vulnerable to Russian interference.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

AFP, Sevastopo, Ukraine, Sunday, 14 September 2008
SEVASTOPO – It’s the nightmare of any foreign policy expert on the former Soviet Union and the long-cherished dream of many local inhabitants of this picturesque corner of the Black Sea coast.
And, to some, the prospect of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula joining Russia now appears a little more plausible following Moscow’s war with Georgia last month and its recognition of two Georgian separatist provinces.
“We’re living in the dream that the Crimea can become Russian again,” said Angelina Mamonchikova, a local activist in Sevastopol, the Soviet-era port in southern Ukraine at the heart of the irredentist quest.
“We have to believe it, otherwise we’d go mad,” said Mamonchikova, whose nails are painted blue, white and red — the colours of the Russian flag — and who took part in a protest this month against the arrival of a US ship.
While the sight of 100 people chanting “Yankee, Go Home!” on the quay at Sevastopol hardly seems noteworthy, many locals share the anti-Western and pro-Russian views of protesters who often take to the streets.
The Crimea was originally taken over by Russia in the 18th century and then formally handed over to Soviet Ukraine in 1954 by then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev at a time when internal Soviet borders hardly mattered.
Fifty-eighty percent of the Crimea’s inhabitants say in surveys that they have a Russian background, compared with 25 percent Ukrainian and 13 percent Crimean Tatars.
The Kremlin’s justification of military action in Georgia as a way to defend Russian citizens and its subsequent recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia have given hope to Russian-speakers in the Crimea, many of whom hold Russian passports.
“A lot of people are rubbing their hands with glee,” said Olexander Formanchuk, a Ukrainian political analyst, while European officials fret that Ukraine could be the next target for intervention by Russia.
Many local residents are also disillusioned with the chaotic political scene in the Ukrainian capital Kiev and the pro-Western government’s desire to join the NATO military alliance, a bid fiercely opposed by Russia.
“What good has Ukraine done for us? Nothing!” said Vadim, a taxi driver in Sevastopol. “On my son’s report card it says “ethnic minority language’. Who do they think they are? It’s they who are the minority here!”
A law enforcement official in Simferopol, a city of some 300,000 people, the biggest in the Crimea, told AFP on condition of anonymity: “The authorities are not doing anything for the Crimea, they couldn’t care less.”
But the prospect of a genuine separatist movement appears far-fetched, observers said. Radicals are weakly represented at local assemblies and pro-Moscow rallies rarely draw more than a few hundred people.
The presence of a large minority of Tatars, an ethnic group that was expelled from the Crimea in Soviet times, also lessens the chances of a Georgia-type scenario because of their strong opposition to Moscow.
Assertions by Ukrainian officials that there has been a “massive” increase in the number of Russian passports being given to residents of the Crimea have also been denied as a “provocation” by Russian officials.
Some local residents are also more practical about joining Russia. “So we break off the Crimea and then what do we do? How are Russians going to deliver supplies and all the rest?” said Vladimir Sukhomlinov, a businessman in Sevastopol, referring to the Crimea’s lack of a land border with Russia.
That’s little reassurance for Galina Gorbunova, an elderly woman selling guided tours on the quay at Sevastopol. “Of course we’re scared there could be a war,” Gorbunova said.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

United Press International (UPI), Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Sept. 12, 2008

KIEV, Ukraine – The Odessa-Brody oil pipeline shows the value of Central Europe as an energy supplier to the region and a deterrent to Russian energy
aims, officials said.

In an interview with the Azeri Press Agency Friday, Ukrainian Deputy Energy Minister Burzu Aliyev said the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline serves as a major
rival to Russian aggression in the regional energy market. “The main goal of the Odessa-Brody pipeline is to dispose of Russian monopoly,” he said.

The Odessa-Brody pipeline currently runs in the reverse direction, eastward toward Russia. Aliyev said Kiev told the Russian oil pipeline firm Transneft
the direction will shift to its intended direction Nov. 1.

“Russian oil is transported from Odessa to Brody currently, and we intend to transport the oil from Odessa to Brody as it is considered in the project,” the deputy minister said. He blamed a lack of production at Ukrainian refineries for creating artificial market conditions, leaving the sector unprofitable.

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
“Achieving National Security for Ukraine Through Energy Independence and Diversification,”

WHEN: Monday, September 15, 2008, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm (Eastern Time)
WHERE: Rome Auditorium, Rome Building, Johns Hopkins University
1619 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036
(walking distance from the Dupont Circle Metro station, red line)
The Washington Group (TWG), in conjunction with the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (USUF), the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), and the Ukrainian American Environmental Association (UAEA), is hosting a panel of speakers on Monday, September 15 at 6:30 p.m. who will discuss options for Ukraine to become energy independent, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, fossil fuels, and nuclear power. 
Ukraine presently relies on natural gas, oil, and nuclear fuel imported from Russia for more than half of its energy needs – a situation that poses serious risks to Ukraine’s national security, as evidenced by the current conflict between Russia and Georgia. The Russian-Georgian conflict underscores Need for Ukraine to slash reliance on import of Russian energy.
The panelists will address the theme “Achieving National Security for Ukraine Through Energy Independence and Diversification,” explore sustainable energy options for Ukraine, and discuss how to raise public awareness on the energy issues facing Ukraine today. 
A question and answer session as well as a reception will follow. The event is being simultaneously webcast – see below for information on how to register for webcast.
1. Dr. William S. Woodward,  Vice President – Holtec International: Nuclear Energy (pro).
2. Michael Mariotte,  Executive Director – Nuclear Information and Resource Service: Nuclear Energy (con).
3. Edward Chow,  Senior Fellow – Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Energy Program: Fossil Fuels (oil, gas, and coal). 
4. Brian Castelli,  Chief Operating Officer – Alliance to Save Energy: Energy Efficiency.
5. Ken Bossong,  Co-Director – Ukrainian-American Environmental Association: Renewable Energy (solar, wind, geothermal, biomass/biofuels, water power). 
MODERATOR: Andrew Bihun, Global Trade Development, TWG, USUBC Senior Advisor
WHEN: Monday, September 15, 2008, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm (Eastern Time)
WHERE: Rome Auditorium, Rome Building, Johns Hopkins University
1619 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036
(walking distance from the Dupont Circle Metro station, red line)
To register for the free-of-charge live video webcast, please go to:
Due to limited space, those planning to attend in person are encouraged – but not required – to RSVP.  Please contact Andriy Blokhin at or 202-297-2484.
The Washington Group (TWG); U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (USUF); U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC); Ukrainian American Environmental Association (UAEA)
[return to index] Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Welcome to send us names for the AUR distribution list.
Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, August 27, 2008

KYIV – McDonald’s Ukraine Ltd opens first fast-food restaurant in Poltava which is a center of famous Ukrainian halushkas. Construction of the restaurant is worth USD 1 million.

According to the press-service of the Poltava City Council, the city authorities approved the act of the state commission on putting into operation

McDonalds’ fast-food restaurant with summer site and parking area.

McDonald’s Ukraine Ltd plans to increase the number of its restaurants in Ukraine fourfold up to 240. In 2008 the company will open its new

establishments in Kyiv, Poltava, Kharkiv, Simferopol and Zhytomyr. At present there are 60 McDonald’s establishments in 17 Ukrainian cities. [McDonald’s Ukraine was established by business interests and investments from Vienna, Austria.]
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Olena Honcharenko, Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, July 21, 2008
KYIV – President Viktor Yuschenko handed over to Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel lists of Germans who died of starvation in 1932-33 in Ukraine
[Holodomor].  He announced this at a joint press-conference with Merkel.
“I handed over to madam Merkel lists of those people who in 1932-33 died from starvation in those German settlements, which were situated in eastern part of Ukraine,” Yuschenko said.  President hopes, that Merkel will hand over this data to relatives and close people of those perished.
As Ukrainian News earlier reported, on July 3 Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) recognized the Holodomor famine of 1932-33 in Ukraine.  Between three million and seven million people died in the 1932 — 1933 famine in Ukraine, according to various estimates.  Moreover, according to several historians, there were famines in Ukraine in the 1921 — 1923 and 1946 — 1947 periods.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

The Day Weekly Digest, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, July 8, 2008

KYIV – The 17th session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA) passed a resolution on the Holodomor of 1932-1933 in Ukraine last Sunday in Astana.

[1] “pays tribute to the innocent lives of millions of Ukrainians who perished during the Holodomor of 1932 and 1933 as a result of the mass starvation brought about by the cruel deliberate actions and policies of totalitarian Stalinist regime”,
[2]  “welcomes the recognition of the Holodomor in the United Nations, by the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organization and by the national parliaments of a number of the OSCE participating States,”
[3] “endorses the Joint Statement of 31 OSCE participating States on the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor of 1932-1933 in Ukraine, delivered at the 15th Meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council,” the resolution says in particular. Besides, OSCE PA
[4] “supports the initiative of Ukraine to reveal the full truth of this tragedy of Ukrainian people, in particular, through raising public awareness of the Holodomor at international and national levels, organizing the commemorations of the Holodomor as well as academic, expert and civil events aimed at discussing this issue.”  OSCE PA
[5] “invites the parliamentarians of the OSCE Member States to participate in the events, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor of 1932-1933 in Ukraine” and “strongly encourages all parliaments to adopt acts regarding recognition of the Holodomor.”
Stanislav KULCHYTSKY , Deputy Director, Institute of the History of Ukraine (National Academy of Sciences):
“For the world community to recognize the 1932-1933 Holodomor as genocide, we should cooperate more with unbiased foreign historians. As it has already been reported, the book Why Was He Destroying Us? Stalin and the Holodomor in Ukraine of The Day Library series was recently launched in Bucharest.
Speaking at this ceremony, member of the Rumanian Academy of Sciences Florin Constantinium noted that it is strange that the polemics, which has lasted for 20 years now since the publication of Robert Conquest’s Harvest of Sorrow , is inadequately based on the findings of Ukrainian historians.
As is known, in this polemics the Ukrainian side does not deny the fact of an all-USSR famine in 1932-1933, but it speaks about something entirely different – the Holodomor in Ukraine, and it has enough facts to differentiate between the two phenomena. As for the attitude of Russia to this subject, we should react to the way it treats this ticklish question by way of third countries’ mediation.”
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Please contact us if you do not wish to receive the AUR.

Genocide caused the death of millions of Ukrainians in 1932-1933 
By Clark Kim, Inside Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Tuesday, September 9, 2008 

The Holodomor, an event during the early 1930s in the Ukraine where millions died of famine, will now be recognized on the fourth Friday of November in all Toronto public schools starting this year.  The motion by Ward 12 (Willowdale) Trustee Mari Rutka to honour those who died during the Holodomor was unanimously approved at the last Toronto District School Board meeting in late August.

Several countries, including Canada, recognized the Holodomor as an act of genocide caused by the Soviet regime under Joseph Stalin to “systematically destroy the Ukrainian people’s aspirations for a free and independent Ukraine, and subsequently caused the death of millions of Ukrainians in 1932 and 1933.”
“A lot of people don’t know about it,” said Rutka, noting the old Soviet government had suppressed the information until recently. “At least five million died as a result of Stalin’s policy.”
But recognizing the Holodomor at the TDSB is just the first step, Rutka said, acknowledging the Ukrainian-Canadian community in Toronto for bringing the Holodomor to the attention of the school board.
“In order to support that (motion), there will be another motion to the programs committee this month to develop resource materials for teachers so they can discuss this issue with their students,” she said.
Eugene Yakovtich, chair of the famine genocide committee with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Toronto Branch, said he hoped the school board will vote to see the Holodomor in the history curriculum as early as next school year.
“It’s a significant part of history in the last 100 years,” said Yakovitch, adding more documentation of the Holodomor is being revealed since Ukraine declared independence from the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s. “This could be a lesson from history.”
The motion to include the Holodomor into the public school board’s curriculum will be brought forward to the program and school services committee
Wednesday, Sept. 10.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Robert Fulford, National Post, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada, Saturday, September 13, 2008
The 12,000 people who live in the western Ukrainian town of Buchach are mostly Ukrainians. Probably, they consider that fact both unremarkable and altogether proper, but for many centuries Buchach was partly Ukrainian and partly not. Many Poles also lived there. Early in the 20th century, Jews made up half the population.

Lee Strasberg, a great teacher of actors in America, was born there in 1901; and Simon Wiesenthal, the famous pursuer of war criminals, in 1908. In the 1930s, thousands of Jews still lived in Buchach.

It was Polish territory until 1939, when the Soviets (following their agreement with Germany) annexed it as part of their Ukrainian republic. The Poles, made unwelcome, soon left. Then the Germans came and most Jews were murdered by Nazis and their Ukrainian collaborators.

Today in Buchach you can easily find evidence of the Polish community; there’s a Roman Catholic church that they built, which is well maintained. But it’s hard to see any sign of the Jews. Evidence of their presence seems to be carefully eradicated.

The Great Synagogue, for instance, was torn down in 1950 because the locals decided it was no longer needed. The site became an open market, with no indication of what it replaced. The study house for scholars, next to the synagogue, came down in 2001, replaced by a shopping centre.

The study house has a place in literary history as a crucial setting for the novels of S.Y. Agnon, a Jew who was born in Buchach, settled in Palestine in 1909, and won the 1966 Nobel Prize for literature. In the town’s little museum, several glass cases hold books by Agnon, most of them donated by visiting Israelis in 2001, but there’s nothing to explain why he’s part of Buchach’s past.

In 2003, the municipality renamed the street where he lived Agnon Street but the marble plaque identifying his home was stolen soon after it was installed. A notice in a wooden frame replaced it but doesn’t mention that he was Jewish or wrote in Hebrew.

Buchach, like many other Ukrainian towns, practices a kind of reverse archaeology. It obliterates the civilization of the past rather than uncovering it. That’s the point of an unsettling and highly revealing book, “Erased: Vanishing Traces of Jewish Galicia in Present-Day Ukraine” (Princeton University Press), by Omer Bartov, an Israeli-born, Oxford-educated historian who now teaches at Brown University in Providence, R.I.

Bartov has a special interest in Buchach. That was his mother’s town, until she left for Palestine with her family in 1935. Bartov sees its monocultural character as typical of the region. He describes in detail 20 towns and cities in western Ukraine where the pattern repeats itself again and again. The local people, while devoted to their nation’s history, have developed an amnesia about their one-time Jewish neighbours.

Bartov writes about this phenomenon with an understated emotion, fact piled upon fact, until his evidence becomes overwhelming.

In 2002, Jonathan Safran Foer placed his first novel, “Everything is Illuminated”, in the same district. Searching for his family’s history, he discovered no trace of it. Instead he imagined a surrealistic narrative about his grandfather’s long-ago village.

These empty spaces in history have become a major subject for Bartov. He’s now writing a book entirely devoted to Buchach, a biography of the town and its residents from the 14th century to the end of its multi-ethnic tradition in the 1940s. He wants to understand what transformed a community based on co-
operation into a community of genocide. In this process, he’s found himself rethinking the nature of the Holocaust.

The killing of the Jews in the towns of western Ukraine (about 500,000 died there) was not, he points out, a neatly organized undertaking, directed from far away. It was “a vast wave of brutal, intimate, and endlessly bloody massacres.”

Hannah Arendt’s famous phrase, “the banality of evil,” doesn’t describe this case. There was nothing abstract, distant or bureaucratic about it: “Far from meaningless violence, these were often quite meaningful actions, from which many profited politically and economically.”

There are Ukrainians today who refuse to take part in consigning the local Jews to oblivion, just as (Bartov notes) there were Ukrainians who risked everything to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Here and there, an outspoken academic urges recognition of Jewish-Ukrainian history and a Holocaust centre in Kiev has for several years been educating Ukrainian teachers about the killing of the Jews. But in Bartov’s account, the silence is close to deafening and the reasons for it are painfully obvious.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC):
Promoting Ukraine and U.S.-Ukraine business investments since 1995.
Chance discovery leads couple to visit relatives in native land,

re-establishing ties and leading them to a business “All Things Ukrainian,” 
By Lisa O’Donnell, Journal Reporter, Winston-Salem Journal
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Saturday, September 13, 2008
CLEMMONS – Last month, two contestants on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance? performed what was billed as a traditional Russian dance in folk costumes. Except it wasn’t really a Russian dance. It was a traditional Ukrainian dance called a hopak, and they were wearing distinctive Ukrainian folk costumes.
Word of the blunder made its way to Susan Washinsky of Clemmons, who hopped on her computer and alerted members of the Ukrainian Association of North Carolina to the mistake. She requested that they write to the executive producer of the show expressing their disappointment. As the association’s action-item coordinator, Washinsky monitors how Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, is portrayed in the media.
One of the most common mistakes is calling the country “The Ukraine.” When the country split from the Soviet Union in 1991, it dropped the article before its name. When a writer or broadcaster adds the article, they can expect a letter from Washinsky. “Ukrainians don’t even have the article ‘the’ in their language,” she said.
It’s a particularly sensitive issue with Ukrainians, who are trying to reclaim their identity after 70 years of Soviet rule, said her husband, John Washinsky.
“For so long, Ukrainians were denied so many things,” he said. “They were not allowed to practice their traditions and their art forms.”
The Washinskys are dedicated to preserving Ukrainian culture. John Washinsky grew up in western Pennsylvania hearing stories about Ukraine from his maternal grandfather, who immigrated to the United States around 1910.
One day in the early 1990s, while searching through his grandfather’s attic, he and Susan came across a bundle of letters from Ukrainian relatives he had never met. The last letter was dated 1968.
The Washinskys aren’t entirely sure why the correspondences stopped, but they said they believe that local Communist leaders had a role in disrupting communication between the families. A letter from or to the United States was sure to raise a red flag.
The letters piqued the Washinskys’ curiosity and, with the help of a Ukrainian friend from Greensboro, they wrote a letter and mailed it to the return address on the envelope.
Within a few months, they heard back from a cousin. Subsequent letters and e-mails with the cousin and other relatives followed. And in 1997, the Washinskys, with their son, Michael, flew to Ukraine to meet their relatives, who live in a village near Poland. “It’s hard to put into words, to think that we are now connecting after 80 years,” Susan Washinsky said.
The Washinskys fell in love with Ukrainian culture. Upon returning from Ukraine, the Washinskys started All Things Ukrainian, a Web-based business that sells handmade Ukrainian arts and such crafts as decorated eggs, stained glass, black lacquered boxes and paintings of religious icons.
The idea for the business was hatched while sitting around the table with their Ukrainian relatives. The relatives buy local art and ship it to the Washinskys.
A few times each year, a box of goods arrives at their house. “There’s a certain smell to the embroidery and the varnish. When a box arrives, you feel like Ukraine is here today,” John Washinsky said.
Oleh Wolowyna, the president of the Ukrainian Association of North Carolina, said that as far as he knows, the Washinskys’ business is the only one in the Southeast that specializes in Ukrainian crafts. “It’s a really important way for people to get acquainted with Ukrainian culture,” he said.
Susan Washinsky runs the business. She is a language lover and learned to speak Ukrainian. They travel to international festivals around the Southeast and set up booths to promote their business and Ukrainian culture. They are also active in the Ukrainian Association of North Carolina, which has 120 families, most of whom live in the Triangle.
One of the association’s main goals for this year is to promote awareness about the 75th anniversary of a famine that killed between 3 million and 6 million Ukrainians. Ukrainians refer to it as the Holodomor, which means extermination by hunger.
According to information from the Ukrainian Studies Fund at Harvard University, the famine was engineered by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to crush Ukrainian resistance to forced collectivization. Little was known about the famine because news of it was suppressed by the Soviets.
The Ukrainian government is pressing other countries to label the famine a genocide as a way to raise awareness about other engineered famines in the world. As part of this effort, Susan Washinsky will be putting together some material that will be on display at the Clemmons Public Library in December.
[Lisa O’Donnell can be reached at 727-7420 or at]
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
A Free, Private, Not-For-Profit, Independent, Public Service Newsletter

With major support from The Bleyzer Foundation, Kyiv, Ukraine
Articles are Distributed For Information, Research, Education, Academic,
Discussion and Personal Purposes Only. Additional Readers are Welcome.
TO BE ADDED: If you would like to read the ACTION UKRAINE REPORT- AUR, several times a month, please send your name, country of residence, and e-mail contact information to Information about your occupation and your interest in Ukraine is also appreciated.
TO BE REMOVED: Please contact us immediately by e-mail at If you are receiving more than one copy please let us know so this can be corrected. 
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Director, Government Affairs
Washington Office, SigmaBleyzer, The Bleyzer Foundation
Emerging Markets Private Equity Investment Group;
President, U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC);
Founder & Trustee, “Holodomor: Through The Eyes Of Ukrainian Artists”
1701 K Street, NW, Suite 903, Washington, D.C. 20006
Tel: 202 437 4707; Fax 202 223 1224

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s