04.01.10. IMF lowers loan bar to allow Ukraine to pay for gas

(AFP) – 1 day ago

WASHINGTON — The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday it had eased loan criteria for Ukraine to allow the government to use international reserves to meet its debts, including gas payments.

Ukraine, which has been hammered by the global financial and economic crises, was granted its request for a modification of its 16.4-billion-dollar standby arrangement, the IMF said in a statement.

The IMF said it had agreed to lower the end-December floor of Ukraine's net international reserves by approximately 2.0 billion dollars.

"This important step will enable the Ukrainian authorities to use existing resources to make external payments due -- including gas payments -- within the framework of Ukraine?s program with the fund," the Washington-based institution said.

"It does not involve any new disbursement by the IMF," the fund noted.

The head of Russian gas giant Gazprom said Friday that Ukraine had cut back on purchases of Russian gas since mid-December and appeared to be facing serious cash problems.

"Ukraine is experiencing serious problems with payment," Alexei Miller said on Russia's Vesti channel in comments carried by the Ria-Novosti news agency.

Ukraine has until January 11 to pay for gas, according to Gazprom, which has cut off supplies to the country over unpaid bills repeatedly in the past.

Ukraine has been seeking the next installment of 3.8 billion dollars from its IMF standby loan.

So far the government has received a total of 10.6 billion dollars of the 16.4-billion-dollar credit extended in November 2008 to help Ukraine cope with the global economic crisis.

Acting Finance Minister Igor Umansky a week ago was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying that the IMF had turned down the request for the new installment to be disbursed this year due to concerns over the intense campaigning for a presidential election on January 17.

Umansky led a delegation to appeal for the release of at least half the new credit installment -- or about 2.0 billion dollars -- in talks at the IMF's Washington headquarters this month.

He said negotiations with the fund would continue in January.

Cash-strapped Kiev this month called its financial situation without the IMF loan money "extremely difficult."

Ukraine has been hard hit by the economic crisis after the global slowdown triggered a massive slump in its export-dependent heavy industrial sector.

The IMF loan -- by far Ukraine's biggest source of foreign income in 2009 -- is crucial to help the country overcome the crisis, but the IMF has been exasperated by political infighting and new laws on wages and pensions.

05.01.10. Tymoshenko: Janukovytj planlægger valgsvindel

De seneste beslutninger truffet i Den centrale Valgkommission tyder på, at Viktor Janukovytj planlægger at bruge forskellige mekanismer med henblik på at lave valgsvindel, siger premierminister Julia Tymoshenko. Hendes udtalelse faldt i tirsdags i lufthavnen "Boryspil", lige inden hendes afrejse til Vinnytsa-regionen, oplyser UNIAN.

Som eksempel nævnte Tymoshenko, at Den centrale Valgkommission den 4. januar har besluttet at tillade folk at afgive deres stemme i hjemmet uden videre begrundelse. Tymoshenko havde indbragt Den centrale Valgkommissions beslutning om at give tilladelse til stemmeafgivning i hjemmet uden at der forelægger en lægeerklæring om, at den pågældende ikke er stand til at komme til valgstedet.

"Ved at ignorere domstolens beslutning af den 19. december har det flertal (i Den centrale Valgkommission, red.), som er kontrolleret af, og som jeg er sikker på også bestukket af, Regionernes Parti, igen i strid med rettens kendelse i går kl. 16.00 besluttet at tillade alle, der måtte ønske det, at stemme derhjemme", sagde Tymoshenko. Hun listede navnene op på alle de medlemmer af Den centrale Valgkommission, som havde stemt "for", og sagde, at de næsten alle sammen er medlemmer af Regionernes Parti.

Ifølge Tymoshenko er der også fare for, at Den centrale Valgkommission vedtager en anden beslutning, som muliggør valgsvindel, nemlig tilladelsen til at føre nye vælgere ind i vælgerfortegnelsen umiddelbart på valgstedet på selve afstemningsdagen.

"Denne beslutning fra Den centrale Valgkommissions side har vi fået annulleret ved domstolene. Og jeg vil gerne advare om, at hvis visse medlemmer af Den centrale Valgkommission tager bare ét skridt i retning af at genskabe denne valgsvindelsmekanisme - nemlig registreringen på selve valgstedet af folk, som ikke er i vælgerfortegnelsen - vil vi også gå til domstolene og henlede både ukrainernes og hele verdens opmærksomhed på det", sagde Tymoshenko.

"Og nu vil jeg sige direkte til Janukovytj: Hr. Janukovytj, glem alt om at komme igennem med Deres narrestreger her i Ukraine. De vil få et ordentligt slag over fingrene, som det skete i 2004-2005", - sagde hun. UP.

06.01.10. NATO and Russia are getting closer -- and leaving Ukraine out

December 14, 2009
Ukraine has sought membership in North Atlantic Treaty Organization for more than a decade, turning its back on Moscow to seek closer security ties with the West. But after years of being rebuffed, Ukraine now looks like the unwanted third wheel in the Moscow-NATO relationship. Two weeks ago, NATO told Ukraine that its difficult road to membership was going to get even tougher next year. A day later, at a summit in Brussels, Russia agreed to do more for NATO in Afghanistan.

Left out in the cold, Ukraine might have to turn to Moscow rather than Brussels for military protection, becoming part of the Russia-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) rather than NATO. Indeed, Ukraine's presidential elections next month might well put a decisive end to the country's NATO hopes if a more Russian-oriented leader wins, as now seems likely. It is an amazing shift. Less than two years ago, Russia was threatening to point missiles at Ukraine if it went ahead with NATO membership. But now, the U.S.-led alliance has prioritized ties with the Kremlin, while stringing Ukraine along with promises it might never fulfill. The ultimate result might be an increasingly Russia-dominated Eastern Europe, with the CSTO resembling a modern version of the Soviet-era Warsaw Pact.

"In 1996, when we agreed to give up all our nukes, [NATO] agreed to guarantee our security. But they haven't done that," explains retired Major Gen. Vadim Grechaninov, president of the Atlantic Council of Ukraine, which advises the government on NATO relations. (Before it disarmed, Ukraine had the world's third-largest nuclear arsenal behind Russia and the United States.) "The demands are increasing, but membership isn't getting any closer."

Staying neutral and detached is not really an option for Ukraine. Aside from the permanent defense dilemma of being stuck between two superpowers, Ukraine's economy is in shambles and its military is desperately poor. "Our servicemen now can't actually serve," says Grechaninov, who has been a leading voice in support of NATO membership since the 1990s. "They do a year on guard duty somewhere and then get discharged, because the government has no money to train them for anything else."

Hopes of being taken under NATO's wing have fallen flat, he says, and the meeting in Brussels gave no signs of encouragement. According to a draft of the document discussed at the meeting, NATO will ask Ukraine to carry out ever-tougher reforms in 2010 on the way to membership, even though in 2009, Ukraine was unable to meet some of the most basic targets. "Most high-cost combat training has been canceled or rescheduled for next year," says the document, obtained last month by Foreign Policy. This includes essential military exercises, such as practice jumps for paratroopers.

"We just don't have the internal resources to carry out the reforms [for joining NATO]," says Grigory Perepelitsa, the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry's Institute of Foreign Policy. "Instead we are getting stuck in what was called the Warsaw Pact before, and has now just changed its name to the Tashkent pact," he said, using the unofficial name for the CSTO.

Founded in 2002 in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, the CSTO is Russia's attempt to guard military influence in the former Soviet space, which it still sees as its geopolitical birthright. So far the CSTO includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan -- a motley crew, and not much of a threat to NATO's 28 members, including most of the major military powers in the world. But that hasn't stopped the CSTO from barking, even if it can't yet bite. At its annual summit in Moscow last year, it said it would not stand for NATO's eastward expansion -- a clear reference to Ukraine. "Serious conflict potential is developing close to the CSTO's zone of responsibility," it said in a formal declaration. "The members of the CSTO call on NATO countries to weigh all possible consequences of the alliance's expansion to the east."

Now, the CSTO's expansion to the west seems far more likely, and at the same time, Russia's relations with NATO are flourishing. Coincidence? Probably not. At NATO's Bucharest summit in April of last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to let NATO ship supplies to troops in Afghanistan across Russian territory. It was a pathway the United States desperately needed, as the southern supply corridor through Pakistan was coming under heavy attack. It was also widely seen as a thank-you gift. The day before, NATO had refused to put Ukraine and Georgia on the accelerated Membership Action Plan (MAP), which would have greatly eased their accessions. This allowed Russia to breathe easy about the alliance's eastward growth. 

06.01.10. Eksperter frygter valgfusk pga. regel om afstemning i hjemmet

Den centrale Valgkommission i Ukraines hovedstad Kiev har besluttet at gøre det muligt for borgerne at afgive deres stemme hjemme uden at skulle forevise en lægeerklæring om, at de er ude af stand til at bevæge sig hen til valgstedet. Denne regel kan blive en "sluse for valgsvindel", siger formanden for Ukraines Vælgerkomite, Oleksandr Tjernenko til Deutsche Welle.

Ganske vist indrømmer han, at § 77 i Ukraines "lov om præsidentvalget" gør det muligt for borgerne at stemme derhjemme alene på grundlag af en ansøgning sendt til den lokale valgkommission og uden nogen lægeerklæring eller lignende. Den centrale Valgkommission har sådan set ikke gjort noget galt - fejlen ligger hos parlamentsmedlemmerne, som har gjort valgsvindel mulig ved at vedtage en sådan regel, mener Tjernenko.

"Denne bestemmelse i loven blev brugt i 2004 i forbindelse med valgsvindel, men sådan er loven. Det er ikke Den centrale Valgkommissions kompetence at vedtage nye regler", siger han. Ifølge Tjernenko kan afstemning i hjemmet, hvis reglen bliver misbrugt systematisk, på visse valgsteder gøre det muligt at forfalske op til 10% af stemmerne.

Det skal dog tilføjes, at præsidentvalgloven allerede kræver yderligere dokumentation for, at vælgeren er ude af stand til selv at komme hen til valgstedet. Men det er i dag praktisk talt umuligt at få parlamentet til at ændre loven, mener formanden for vælgerkomiteen.

 Kun en administrativ domstol kan med sin kendelse pålægge Den centrale Valgkommission at ændre proceduren, men domstolen skal tage udgangspunkt i den eksisterende lovgivning, understreger Tjernenko.

Ifølge loven er medlemmerne af de lokale valgkommissioner heller ikke forpligtet til at efterprøve oplysningerne i en ansøgning, der er indgivet af en vælger. Og hvis valgkommissionen beslutter at afvise, at vælgeren kan afgive sin stemme i hjemmet, kan vælgeren klage over afgørelsen, tilføjer Tjernenko.

Som bekendt har præsidentkandidat Julia Tymoshenko allerede sagt, at hun vil klage til domstolene over muligheden for at afgive stemme i hjemmet alene på grundlag af en ansøgning til den lokale valgkommission. Ifølge hende vil Den centrale Valgkommissions beslutning gøre det muligt at fuske med valgresultatet, og at det er tilhængerne af hendes konkurrent, Viktor Janukovytj, der står bag. UP.

06.01.10. Jusjtjenko: Intet værdifællesskab med Tymoshenko

Præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko deler ikke premierminister Julia Tymoshenkos verdenssyn. Det sagde han under et vælgermøde i den vestukrainske by Drohobych, oplyser Interfaks-Ukrajina.

"Jeg kan ikke give hånden til eller stå ved siden af [hende], når der er tale om antistatslige og antinationale interesser", sagde præsidenten. Han understreger, at han respekterer Tymoshenko som enhver anden politiker, men at han ikke deler hendes værdier.

"Jeg respekterer ikke hendes værdier, jeg respekterer ikke hendes verdenssyn, og jeg respekterer ikke hendes ikke-patriotisme. Når hun engang om året tager den ukrainske folkedragt på og tager til Drohobych for at tale med vestukrainsk accent, så er det ikke nok til at blive betegnet som en ukrainsk politiker", sagde præsidenten.

Jusjtjenko understregede, at Ukraine endnu ikke har haft en premierminister, som har skadet landbruget så meget. Præsidenten mindede om, at det statslige ukrainske olie- og gasselskab "Naftohaz Ukrajiny" reelt er på fallittens rand takket være premierministeren, og at følgen heraf kan blive, at Ukraine mister sine gasledninger.

"Om et år vil vi have mistet vores gastransportsystem", sagde Jusjtjenko. Præsidenten kan heller ikke forstå, hvorfor Tymoshenko endnu ikke har udtalt sig om, hvad hun mener om, at den russiske Sortehavsflåde skal forlade ukrainsk territorium i 2017.

"Jeg forstår ikke en sådan premierminister, og jeg forstår ikke en sådan politisk leder", sagde præsidenten. UP.

07.01.10. Ekspert: Tymohenko har gode chancer for at vinde

Julia Tymoshenko og Viktor Janukovytj har lige store chancer for at vinde præsidentvalget. Det sagde generaldirektør for meningsmålingsinstituttet Den ukrainske sociologiske tjeneste (VSS), Mykola Mykhaltjenko, da han i dag præsenterede resultatet af meningsmålingsinstituttets seneste måling.

Viktor Janukovytj og Julia Tymoshenko er sikre på at komme i 2. valgrunde. 28,3% af vælgerne ville stemme på Janukovytj og 22,1% ville stemme på Tymoshenko. Efterfølgende kommer Arsenij Jatsenjuk med 7,9% af stemmerne, Sergij Tigipko med 7,3%, Volodymyr Lytvyn med 5,2% og Viktor Jusjtjenko med 4,4% af stemmerne. 70% af de adspurgte svarede, at de ville stemme.

Mykola Mykhaltjenko understreger, at Julia Tymoshenkos tilslutning i løbet af den seneste måned er steget, mens Viktor Janukovytjs tilslutning er faldet lidt. Afstanden mellem de to spidskandidater mindskes.

Ifølge Mykhaltjenko er første runde af præsidentvalget et mellemstation inden den afgørende 2. runde, hvor kampen om præsidentposten vil blive betydeligt skærpet. "Julia Tymoshenkos vælgerreserver er ifølge vores undersøgelser betydelig større [end Janukovytjs]. Janukovytjs vælgere er i realiteten allerede blevet mobiliseret", siger Mykhaltjenko. "Vores undersøgelser viser, at vælgervandringerne mellem 1. og 2. valgrunde mest vil være til fordel for Tymoshenko".

"Min konklusion er, at de to førende kandidaters chancer for at vinde i dag er næsten lige store", afslutter Mykhaltjenko. Den omtalte meningsmåling er gennemført i perioden 18-25. december 2009. Utro.ua

09.01.10. Domstol godkender kontroversiel regel om afstemning i hjemmet

Den administrative appeldomstol i Kiev har i går fredag taget Den centrale Valgkommissions beslutning om at tillade afstemning i hjemmet og optagelse af vælgerne i vælgerfortegnelsen på selve valgdagen, til følge. Således afviste domstolen klagen fra præsidentkandidaten Julia Tymoshenko, oplyser medlem af Den centrale Valgkommission, Mykhajlo Okhendovskyj.

Julia Tymoshenko havde anmodet retten om at underkende visse dele af Den centrale Valgkommissions instruktion vedrørende afstemning i hjemmet og indskrivning af vælgerne i vælgerfortegnelsen på selve valgdagen.

"Således har domstolen på den ene side bekræftet lovligheden af denne beslutning, og på den anden side har den slået fast, at de beskyldninger, som er blevet fremsat mod Den centrale Valgkommission af den ene af præsidentkandidaterne i sidste uge, er fuldstændig grundløse", konstaterer Okhendovskyj.

Den centrale Valgkommission havde ændret instruktionen vedrørende præciseringen og udformningen af vælgerfortegnelserne. Ændringerne betyder, at en vælger, som ønsker at afgive sin stemme i hjemmet, ikke behøver at dokumentere, at han er ude af stand til selv at komme over til  valgstedet.

Desuden har Den centrale Valgkommission i sin instruktion forklaret, at beslutningen om at optage vælgerne i vælgerfortegnelsen på selve valgdagen kan træffes på et møde i den lokale valgkommission på grundlag af den dokumentation, som kræves ifølge lovgivningen.

Valgkommissionen kan således efter eget skøn beslutte, hvorvidt den vil optage en vælger, som ikke har folkeregisteradresse indenfor det valgdistrikt, som valgstedet dækker.

Tymoshenko mener, at disse regler kan føre til betydelige overtrædelser og direkte valgsvindel på selve valgdagen. UP.

09.01.10. Jusjtjenko giver den nye forfatning skylden for korruption

Forfatningsreformen af 2004 er skyld i, at det ikke lykkedes at opfylde løftet fra 2004-valgkampen om, at "Banditterne skal sendes i fængslet", siger Viktor Jusjtjenko i et interview med Radio Liberty.

"Efter 2004 fik præsidenten frataget retten til at udpege den øverste anklager, indenrigsministeren og dommeren. Disse beføjelser gik i stedet over til parlamentsflertallet, som ledes af premierministeren", siger Jusjtjenko.

"De kræfter, som stod bag denne inkompetente, uansvarlige og uigennemtænkte forfatningsreform (nemlig Kutjma, Moroz og Medvedtjuk), har ført landet til et partidiktatur, med en diktatorisk partileder i spidsen", siger præsidenten. Ifølge Jusjtjenko har Ukraine "bevæget sig væk fra den demokratiske proces - både hvad angår nationens tilblivelse og den politiske tilblivelse".

"Kan et enkelt menneske godkende den udøvende magts system - uafhængigt af, om vi taler om skov, mose, vand eller finanser? Kan man udforme en model, hvor premierministeren godkender et udøvende magtsystem, der skaber korruption?", spørger Jusjtjenko.

"Korruptionen findes i de organer, som kontrollerer finanser, materielle aktiver eller tilladelser. Alle disse udnævnelser ligger hos premierministeren", understreger Jusjtjenko.

"Det er også premierministeren, der udnævner den øverste anklager og indenrigsministeren, som står for ordenshåndhævelsen. Vil denne øverste anklager, som er udpeget af en partisekt med premierministeren i spidsen, kontrollere de myndighedsorganer, som står for korruptionen"", tilføjede præsidenten. UP.

09.01.10. Næsten 37 millioner stemmesedler klar til valget

Trykkeriet "Ukrajina" vil i løbet af lørdagen blive færdigt med at fremstille det nødvendige antal stemmesedler til præsidentvalget den 17. januar, oplyste direktøren for trykkeriet "Ukrajina", Valentyn Muzyka, på en pressekonference i forbindelse med præsentationen af stemmesedlen.

"Vores trykkeri har opfyldt alle sine forpligtelser overfor Den centrale Valgkommission, og Den centrale Valgkommission har opfyldt sine forpligtelser i forhold til forudbetalingen af udgifter forbundet med fremstillingen af stemmesedlerne", sagde han.

Næstformand i Den centrale Valgkommission, Zhanna Usenko-Tjorna, minder om, at lørdag er sidste frist for fremstillingen af de stemmesedler, som skal bruges på afstemningsdagen den 17. januar. Hun understreger, at trykkeriet fremstiller det antal stemmesedler, som svarer til antallet af registrerede vælgere (de vælgere, som fremgår af vælgerfortegnelserne) samt en reserve på 0,5% af det samlede antal registrerede vælgere. Der vil i alt være fremstillet 36.916.740 stemmesedler. Inden den 14. januar skal samtlige stemmesedler være ude i kredsvalgkommissionerne, som så skal fordele dem ud til valgstederne - distriktsvalgkommissionerne.  UP.

10.01.10. Jusjtjenko advarer om mulig bankerot

Hvis Ukraine fortsætter med at betale for gassen med sine nationale valutareserver, vil landet om halvt år kunne erklæres bankerot, sagde Ukraines præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko i dag i Uman syd for Kiev. Ifølge Jusjtjenko har Ukraine brugt Nationalbankens valutareserver til at betale for den gas, landet forbrugte i december.

Jusjtjenko understregede, at han var nødt til at bede Nationalbankens bestyrelse om at gå med til dette på grund af regeringens uigennemtænkte politik: "Jeg besluttede at henvende mig til Nationalbanken i forbindelse med, at Tymoshenko har opkrævet 3% fra den kommunale sektor og har forpurret gasafregningerne, fordi de midler, som Naftohaz har fået ind på sine konti, er blevet brugt til at betale pensioner, og fordi hun har bragt budgettet på afgrundens rand".

Statsoverhovedet fremhævede, at det er første gang siden uafhængigheden, at Ukraine bruger de nationale valutareserver til at betale for gassen. "Det er første gang i vores historie, at valutareserverne bliver brugt til at betale for gassen - det er en tragedie. I et halvt år vil vi kunne bruge af vores valutareserver, hvorefter man vil kunne erklære landet for bankerot", sagde Jusjtjenko.

Ifølge præsidenten er dette et udtryk for en målrettet politik fra regeringschefens side, som hun realiserer til gengæld for Kremls støtte under den nuværende præsidentvalgkamp. En sådan politik fører ifølge statsoverhovedet til tabet af landets gasledningsnet. "Det er at sælge ud af vores nationale interesser. Jeg er sikker på, at Tymoshenkos klare og velgennemtænkte koloniale politik står bag. Det ses tydeligt", sagde Jusjtjenko til vælgerne i Tjerkasy-regionen. Podrobnosti.

12.01.10. Jusjtjenko læste op af russisk anklageskrift mod Tymoshenko

Det statslige ukrainske olie- og gasselskab, "Naftohaz Ukrajiny" har brugt Ukraines guldreserver til at betale det russiske gasselskab "Gazprom" for december måneds forbrug af gas. Det oplyste præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko på sin afsluttende pressekonference inden valget. "Den seneste betaling, som "Naftohaz" har erlagt for december måneds forbrug af russisk gas, har Nationalbanken efter pålæg fra mig hentet i landets guldreserver", sagde han.

Ifølge præsidenten "er de gasrelationer, som premierminister Julia Tymoshenko har påtvunget os, en katastrofe for vores energisektor". "Hvis vi opkrævede den samme pris for transitten [af russisk gas] som fx Østrig og Slovakiet, så ville "Naftohaz Ukrajiny" sidste år have fået yderligere indtægter for 40 milliarder hryvna (5 mia. dollars)," understregede Jusjtjenko.

"Naftohaz' underskud fører til selskabets fallit - formelt eller uformelt - og herefter kommer Ukraines tab af sit gastransportsystem", sagde præsidenten. "Når jeg hører, at Tymoshenko laver aftale med Rusland, så drejer det sig om, at hun starter med at forhandle med Ruslands øverste anklager, så hun ikke bliver anholdt for de bestikkelser, som hun har betalt i Rusland", tilføjede Jusjtjenko.

Ifølge UP mindede præsidenten de forsamlede journalister om, at der er rejst tiltale mod Julia Tymoshenko for bestikkelse af højtstående embedsmænd i Ruslands forsvarsministerium. Jusjtjenko læste op af et dokument i sagen mod Julia Tymoshenko: "Moskvas garnisondomstols resolution. Retten besluttede, at Tymoshenko tiltales for i september 1996 i byen Dnipropetrovsk at have arrangeret overdragelse af bestikkelser via en mellemmand i Moskva til højtstående personer i  Forsvarsministeriet til gengæld for ulovlige handlinger, eller nærmere bestemt udarbejdelsen af en aftale med tillæg til en samlet sum af 750 millioner dollars, samt en operativ leveringsenhed... til priser langt over de ukrainske og russiske producenters priser," - oplæste præsidenten. Podrobnosti.

15.01.10. Tymoshenko: Janukovytj bliver aldrig Ukraines præsident

Premierminister Julia Tymoshenko mener, at Ukraines suverænitet og demokratiske udvikling vil være truet, hvis Viktor Janukovytj vinder præsidentvalget.

"Hvis Viktor Janukovytj vinder, vil det være uden betydning, hvordan posterne bliver fordelt: det vil være slut med det demokratiske og suveræne Ukraine. Denne person er ikke en trussel mod mig personligt, men mod Ukraine som en suveræn og selvstændig stat. For ham er vores stat fremmed og uforståelig, for han ved ikke, hvad Ukraine er, han sætter ikke pris på Ukraine, det repræsenterer ikke en eneste værdi for ham, og han vil aldrig forsvare Ukraines nationale interesser, fordi de er ham fremmede og ligegyldige", siger Julia Tymoshenko i et interview med avisen "Ekspres", - oplyser Tymoshenkos pressetjeneste.

Ifølge Julia Tymoshenko kan Viktor Janukovytj ganske enkelt ikke beklæde stillingen som statsoverhoved. "Hvordan kan en mand, som aldrig har været i hæren, fordi han på det tidspunkt afsonede sin straf, være øverstkommanderende? Hvordan kan en person med to domme bag sig udnævne dommere og underskrive dekreter vedrørende amnesti?", spørger premierministeren.

Julia Tymoshenko er også overbevist om, at Viktor Janukovytj ikke kan repræsentere Ukraine på værdig vis på den internationale scene. Og tænk, hvis portrætter af ham skal hænge i skolerne som eksempel på efterfølgelse for børnene. Hvis hans portrætter kommer til at hænge på politichefers kontorer. Det vil være en skam for landet. Det kan ikke ske, og jeg vil aldrig tillade det. Janukovytj bliver aldrig Ukraines præsident", siger præsidentkandidat Tymoshenko.

Julia Tymoshenko tilføjede, at hun i en erkendelse af truslen om, at Viktor Janukovytj kommer til magten, har opfordret alle demokratiske kræfter til at forene sig, i det mindste i 2. valgrunde. I den forbindelse ærgrer hun sig over, at "Viktor Jusjtjenko har overladt Ukraine til Janukovytj, og at de i dag fører en fælles kamp imod staten".

Den 4. januar sagde Viktor Jusjtjenko under et besøg i Ternopil regionen, at "Janukovytj aldrig bliver Ukraines præsident". UP.

20.01.10. Resultatet af 1. valgrunde

100% af stemmerne er nu optalt. 35,32% af vælgerne stemte på lederen af Regionernes parti, Viktor Janukovytj, 25,05% stemte på premierminister Julia Tymoshenko, oplyser Den centrale Valgkommission i Kiev.

13,06% stemte på Sergiy Tigipko, 6,96% stemte på Arseniy Jatsenjuk, 5,45% stemte på Viktor Jusjtjenko, 3,55% stemte på kommunistlederen, Petro Symonenko, 2,35% stemte på Volodymyr Lytvyn, 1,43% stemte på Oleg Tjagnibok, 1,2% stemte på Anatolij Grytsenko og 0,41% stemte på Inna Bogoslovska.

20.01.10. Jusjtjenko bliver i ukrainsk politik

Præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko agter at forblive i politik, efter at han er trådt tilbage som præsident, sagde han på et pressemøde i dag.

"Jeg har opfyldt mine demokratiske forpligtelser i embedet som Ukraines præsident", sagde han.

"Men de nationale og statslige forpligtelser giver mig ikke moralsk ret til at forlade Ukraines politiske liv", sagde Jusjtjenko.

Han lovede, at 2. valgrunde af præsidentvalget vil være ligeså demokratisk og gennemskuelig som første runde.

"Som præsident forbliver jeg garant for forfatningens overholdelse og vil gøre alt, for at 2. valgrunde foregår frit, lovligt og demokratisk", sagde han.

Jusjtjenko opfordrede kandidaterne Julia Tymoshenko og Viktor Janukovytj til at være tolerante og velovervejede.

"Jeres opgave er at forbedrede jer til 2. runde på en værdig måde og acceptere valgresultatet med den samme værdighed," sagde Jusjtjenko. UP.

22.01.10. Jusjtjenko siger som i 2001: Jeg træder tilbage med henblik på et comeback

Præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko gentager, at han ikke har tænkt sig at forlade politik. Udtalelsen faldt i forbindelse med markeringen af den ukrainske genforeningsdag den 22. januar. (Årsdagen for sammenlægningen af Den vestukrainske republik og Den ukrainske folkerepublik i 1919).

"Jeg vil gerne gentage: jeg træder tilbage for at komme tilbage. Der er mange historiske eksempler vidner om, at en politiker, som ikke tænker på meningsmålinger og sin stilling, men statens interesser, får et comeback i politik, og det samme gør hans ideer. Jeg vil gerne understrege: de får altid et comeback", - sagde Jusjtjenko til klapsalver.

"Jeg giver ikke op, fordi der ikke er grund til det", - tilføjede han.

Jusjtjenko opfordrede ukrainerne, at "forene sig omkring vores genuine nationale værdier" uafhængigt af valgresultatet".

Som bekendt sagde Jusjtjenko i april 2001 til parlamentet, som lige havde afsat ham: "Jeg træder tilbage for at komme tilbage". UP.

28.01.10. Effect of posthumous award to 20th century nationalist leader Stepan Bandera

Præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko har imødekommet et mangeårigt ønske fra den ukrainske diaspora og ukrainske nationalister ved at udnævne den ukrainske nationalistleder under 2. verdenskrig, Stepan Bandera, til Ukraines helt og dermed sidestille ham med andre personer, som døde for Ukraines frihed og uafhængighed.

President Victor Yushchenko posthumously awarded 20th century nationalist leader Stepan Bandera the nation's highest honor inciting indignation from Russia and pro-Russian politicians.

I think it fair to say that when a person is recognized long after he's dead its mostly the cause and not (just) the individual that receives historical validation. This year Putin recognized Denikin and we all know what that implies. Yushchenko was right to earlier recognize Shukhevych and now Bandera. Their cause is Ukraine's present validity and that recognition should have been bestowed in the first year of Ukraine's independence, not the last month of Yushchenko's presidency. As it is, there's still a whole pantheon of others waiting in the wings.

Lubomyr Markevych
Kyiv, Ukraine



Yushchenko being sued for Bandera's hero title award in Donetsk


Russia lashed out at Ukraine's outgoing president on Jan. 26 for bestowing national hero status on a wartime leader who is vilified in Moscow.

Bandera led Ukrainian nationalist forces that fought against Nazi invaders and Soviet troops in World War Two. He continued to resist Soviet rule well into the 1950s, and was assassinated by a KGB agent in 1959.


The Simon Wiesenthal Center criticized the Ukrainian president's decision to give a posthumous award to a nationalist leader it describes as a Nazi collaborator.

Bandera's grandson, also named Stepan Bandera, accepted the award.
31.01.10. Addressing the top 5 myths about Yulia Tymoshenko

Populist Inform Newsletter
Jan. 26, 2010

Cutting Through the Spin: Don't be Fooled

Analysis of recent media coverage reveals a flood of accusations leveled at Yulia Tymoshenko. While these mostly originate from the pens of the Yanukovych spin-machine, the allegations nevertheless warrant closer scrutiny. What follows are the top 5 Tymoshenko myths.

1. She is a Populist

"Populist" is the most abused word in Ukrainian politics. One Western journalist based in Kyiv told Inform that "populist" is inevitably added to any mention of Ms Tymoshenko when his articles are vetted by the Moscow bureau before being sent to the Western editorial office. In a similar vein, we see "alleged" or "so-called" prefacing "Orange Revolution" in some prestigious Western newspapers. This is an insult to the one in five Ukrainians that took part in the peaceful protests.

In terms of populism, a quick examination of the election billboards from the first round confirm that the most populist claims emanated from Mr Yanukovych. He made a record number of social and economic promises: pledges that can only be realised if he is president and has a majority coalition and government.

Second place in the populist stakes went to President Viktor Yushchenko, whose billboards made bizarre promises. The most populist being, "I will introduce a 20 percent tax on limo's, villas and yachts." In contrast, Ms Tymoshenko's billboards made no outlandish offers.

The ultimate in populism occurred in November last year, when Mr Yanukovych's Party of Regions, and the pro-Yushchenko wing of the Our Ukraine-People's Self-Defence bloc, voted to pass legislation to raise the minimum wage and pensions. Needless to say, the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko (BYuT) voted against it. This 20 percent increase in social spending contravened the IMF's loan conditions. It was recklessly irresponsible and caused the IMF to suspend payment to the government of a $3.8 billion tranche from its stand-by facility.

Raising pensions ahead of a presidential election is nothing new. As prime minister, Mr Yanukovych doubled pensions ahead of the 2004 election. Odd then that Ms Tymoshenko is branded the populist?

In fairness, journalists should apply the term "populist" to all Ukrainian politicians or to none of them. Singling out Ms Tymoshenko is neither warranted nor fair.

2. No difference between them: both Pro-Russian

This common refrain suggests a total lack of understanding of Ukrainian politics. It is as fanciful as saying there is no difference between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin because they both support stable relations between east and west. The reality is that Ms Tymoshenko and Mr Yanukovych hold different world views.

In its simplest form, in the Orange Revolution Ms Tymoshenko supported democracy and opposed election fraud, while Mr Yanukovych was instrumental in perpetrating the fraud. Worst still, he is completely unrepentant. He has never accepted there was fraud and still argues that he was legitimately elected.

On foreign policy, the differences are huge. Valdimir Socor writing in the Jamestown Foundation's Eurasia Monitor summed it up aptly: "Yanukovych's programmatic statements during this campaign differ starkly from Tymoshenko's positions regarding Ukraine-Russia relations and Ukraine's place in Europe. Theirs are two different foreign policies. Yanukovych's stated positions are aligned with Russian policy objectives on some issues of central significance to Ukraine, his prescriptions opposite to those of Tymoshenko." Indeed, Mr Yanukovych is more pro-Russian than even former President Leonid Kuchma. He supports the diplomatic recognition of the independence of the Georgian territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. This puts him in the company of the governments of Nicaragua and Hamas. He will pursue a multi-vector foreign policy. His candidate programme reads, "I believe that ensuring the non-aligned status of Ukraine is the main task of our national foreign policy." He is opposed to membership in, and high levels of cooperation with NATO. In contrast, Ms Tymoshenko supports the EU position in support of Georgian territorial integrity. She favours a public information campaign on NATO membership and continuation of high levels of cooperation under the Partnership for Peace, in place since 1994.

As for EU integration, Mr Yanukovych is lukewarm on the subject and at best passive. In contrast, Ms Tymoshenko is passionately pro-European and a frequent visitor to Brussels. It was her government that finalised WTO membership and will secure this year a deep and comprehensive Free Trade Agreement and is pushing hard for visa free travel. It is her government that has begun the arduous task of aligning Ukrainian institutions with those of Europe.

Ms Tymoshenko's party is active in Europe. In contrast, Mr Yanukovych's Party of Regions has no links with European parties. Instead, it favours a five year old cooperation agreement with the Unified Russia party.

Realistically, can anyone see Mr Yanukovych negotiating Ukraine's European future in Brussels?

3. Tymoshenko is Autocratic

One of the most peculiar allegations is that Ms Tymoshenko is more of an autocrat than Mr Yanukovych. This claim ignores both her history and her policies.

Ms Tymoshenko has always campaigned to strengthen and enshrine in law the rights of the opposition. This includes giving the opposition the chair of many parliamentary committees, so that they can act as a check and balance to those in power.

She has always supported freedom of speech and a free press. Her candidate programme specifically mentions "for journalists to be independent of the government and the politicised money of the oligarchy." It also pledges, "High-quality public television and radio will be created, and all citizens will have access to the Internet."

Furthermore, she champions a referendum so that the people can choose what sort of governmental system they want. Are these the actions of an autocrat?

The Batkivshchyna party Ms Tymoshenko leads is by far the most active Ukrainian party in Europe and an enthusiastic member of the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) -- the continent's largest democratic party. Would the EPP endorse her candidacy so openly in the second round of the 2010 elections if they suspected her of being an autocrat? Of course not.

Perhaps the allegation of autocracy stems from Ms Tymoshenko's stated desire to see the rule of law reign supreme. This is merely an outcry for a clear-cut and predictable rule of law, the lack of which has hampered Ukraine's social, political and economic development.

Currently, the legal system is neither applied uniformly, nor is it paramount. Sadly, bribes can bring about some court decisions in Ukraine and this must stop. So is it autocratic to call for a fair and just legal system?

4. She Mismanaged the Economy

As expected, Mr Yanukovych has blamed the financial and economic crisis on Ms Tymoshenko; after all she was the premier during the financial and economic crisis.

The reality is that Ukraine has a commodities-based economy, dominated by steel and chemicals. When the demand for steel dried up -- much of it driven by China -- Ukraine's economy suffered.

However, the premier has steered Ukraine through the crisis and last week a series of economic indicators proved that the recovery is underway. But even before this, a number of prominent European economists and politicians praised Ms Tymoshenko's crisis management skills. Perhaps it is no small wonder, as despite a hostile presidency and wafer thin parliamentary majority, her government:

- Concluded tough negotiations and finalised entry in to the WTO

- Began repaying to citizens lost soviet era bank deposits; an initiative funded by a well thought out privatisation plan (subsequently blocked by the president)

- Ended the gas dispute with Russia, brokering a 10-year transparent gas deal that initiated a 20 percent discount on gas imported in 2009 and increased transit fee revenues in 2010. Furthermore, all monthly payments to Gazprom were paid in full and on time

- Curbed inflation by coordinating measures nationally and regionally

- Secured a $16.4 billion loan from the IMF

- Prevented the banking system from collapsing with measured bank recapitalisations

- Attracted foreign investment from the EU, Japan, Libya, and Korea to name but a few

- Secured a deep and comprehensive Free Trade Area agreement with the EU

Ms Tymoshenko has detailed a well structured plan to strengthen the economy and make Ukraine a better country in which to do business. But this has been ignored. Last week, it caused Derek Roper of Sheffield to write to the FT: "The implication of someone emotional, extreme and destructive is partly revived in Monday's description of 'fiery' ('Tymoshenko battles back in Ukraine polls,' 18 January). In fact the views set out on her website are sensible, moderate, and rather more pro-western than those of her opponent, [Viktor] Yanukovych."

Finally, Ms Tymoshenko sees Ukraine's future in the EU -- the world's largest trading block -- while maintaining pragmatic relations with Russia. Such an approach should be applauded. It reveals a level of pragmatism that sadly has been absent in Ukraine for the past five years.

5. She Has a Shady Past like Yanukovych

Yulia Tymoshenko remains the most investigated politician in the history of Ukraine. Unlike her rival presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych, her past is open and well documented.

Many Western media articles about Ms Tymoshenko refer to her chairmanship of United Energy Systems in the mid 1990s and call her the "Gas Princess." But they never add that she divorced her business affairs from politics in 1998 when elected to parliament in the opposition Hromada party. This division of business and politics is a concept that is alien to Mr Yanukovych and the oligarchs who dominate his Party of Regions.

As Deputy Prime Minister in the 1999-2001 Yushchenko government, Ms Tymoshenko battled corruption in the energy sector which had earned oligarchs over $4 billion in annual rents. It was a policy that led to her imprisonment on trumped up charges in February 2001.

Following her release from prison (when the court rejected the charges as groundless), Ms Tymoshenko, from 2001-2003, was one of two key leaders in the Ukraine Without Kuchma and Arise Ukraine, anti-Kuchma opposition movements. Her stand against corruption is well documented. In 2005 she instigated the transparent reprivatisation of the Kryvorizhstal Steel Mill which was sold at a transparent televised auction for $4.8 billion, 6 times its original price. Perhaps Ms Tymoshenko's biggest anti-corruption success was to establish direct contractual relationships between Ukraine's Naftohaz Ukrainy and Russia's Gazprom for the supply of natural gas. This involved removing the shady intermediary RosUkrEnergo.

Critics will say that Ms Tymoshenko has businessmen in her bloc. While BYuT does contain some businessmen, they do not run and control the party as they do in the Party of Regions. In that party the oligarchs call all the shots. Mr Yanukovych is merely their technical candidate.

And are we really to expect Mr Yanukovych had no skeletons in his closet after his six year governorship of Donetsk from 1997 to 2002? This was a time when eastern oligarchs amassed huge fortunes. What do we make of his two terms in prison for violent robbery? Perhaps there is a third conviction for rape which some journalists suggest? And how can a man, famed for being a lazy thinker, gain a master�s degree in international law and a doctorate in economics while simultaneously acting as the governor of the Donetsk Oblast.

The Economist summed up Mr Yanukovych perfectly by saying, "He has a thuggish history, including two criminal convictions. And he shows no sign of having the intellectual or political nous a successful president needs." It said of Ms Tymoshenko, "she is a better choice." Journalists should not forget Mr Yanukovych's inner circle. Was not his former Minister for Fuel and Energy, Yuriy Boyko, one of the "godfathers" of RosUkrEnergo? Perhaps this explains Mr Yanukovych's intention to reopen the gas agreement with Russia? Could it be that he seeks to reintroduce corrupt intermediaries? Then there is his former Minister for Finance Mykola Azarov, a man shamelessly linked to large scale VAT fraud. One could go on endlessly about the alleged corruption of Mr Yanukovych's party elite. So are we really to believe he has reformed? If he has, why are the same faces still around him?

Finally, we nearly overlooked the events of the "so called Orange Revolution" of five years ago, and Mr Yanukovych's direct association with the largest electoral fraud in history.

Of course, what is written here will be condemned by Russophobes as Tymoshenko spin. But what has been written can be substantiated unlike the groundless allegations from the Party of Regions PR machine. To borrow a phrase, "The truth is out there."

01.02.10. The Russian factor in Ukraine's 2010 presidential elections

January 14, 2010 09:55 AM Age: 10 days

Taras Kuzio

Russian Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol, Ukraine

The Russian factor in this year's Ukrainian presidential elections is essentially a straw man and far less important key than five years ago. Russian political technologists openly worked for one candidate (Viktor Yanukovych), while Moscow allegedly sought to poison the opposition candidate (Viktor Yushchenko) and President Vladimir Putin visited Kyiv on the eve of the first and second rounds to endorse Yanukovych. Putin congratulated Yanukovych on his "victory" two days after the second round -and one day before the central election commission had released the official results.

Mykhailo Kasianov, now in opposition but then an ally of Putin, described the Orange Revolution, the defeat of Yanukovych and election of Yushchenko as the biggest setback of Putin's presidency (www.glavred.info, January 11).

Russian policy is now less obviously interventionist. It is highly exaggerated by Ukrainian candidates, particularly by the incumbent Yushchenko, who with single digit poll ratings is fighting for his political life. Yushchenko's 2010 election campaign has retreated to Galicia on an anti-Russian, nationalist platform. He repeatedly labels the two front runners Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Party of Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych, who will enter the second round on February 7, as a "Moscow coalition" (Ukrayinska Pravda, January 8).

Yushchenko's anti-Russian platform will likely backfire for three reasons.

Firstly, it has already been attempted by Leonid Kravchuk in the 1994 elections and he lost in the second round by 44 percent to Leonid Kuchma's 52 percent. In the 2010 elections, Yushchenko is not expected to enter the second round. Moreover, Ukrainian opinion polls show that over 80 percent of Ukrainians seek good relations with Russia and do not see any contradiction between Ukraine's integration into Europe and maintaining these ties. Any candidate who campaigns on an anti-Russian platform will consequently weaken their electoral credentials. Finally, Yushchenko's campaign is a regression from patriotism (2004) to nationalism (2010), which has shrunk his electoral appeal to Galicia from that of five years earlier when he swept the west and central Ukraine.

Yushchenko has focused on daily attacks against Tymoshenko, while ignoring Yanukovych (EDM, January 5, 6), with one theme being her allegedly close working relationship with Putin. Yushchenko claimed that President Dmitry Medvedev's appeal represented indirect support for Tymoshenko (Ukrayinska Pravda, January 3). The Unified Russia (UR) party has endorsed Yanukovych as its favored candidate, one reason being that it entered a cooperation agreement with the Party of Regions in 2005. "We believe that the Party of Regions mainly represents Russian-speaking voters in Ukraine who live in the east, south and central regions. These are all people who are sympathetic to Russia and want to see the development of Russian-Ukrainian relations," said UR deputy Konstantin Zatulin (Ukrayinska Pravda, December 25).

Tymoshenko's Fatherland Party has only cooperated with the center-right European People's Party (EPP) group in the European Parliament and is the most active Ukrainian party in Strasbourg-Brussels. Yushchenko's Our Ukraine is also a member of the EPP, but he has been persona non grata since 2008 after EPP leaders repeatedly criticized his attempts at undermining the Tymoshenko government. Tymoshenko -but not Yushchenko- attended the December 7, 2009 EPP meeting in Bonn where she was presented as "the future president of Ukraine" (www.tymoshenko.ua, December 9).

Yushchenko has used the Russian factor against Tymoshenko by raising three issues:

1. Claiming that she would indefinitely extend the Black Sea Fleet base in Sevastopol. Yet, among the main candidates only Yanukovych (EDM, November 3, 2009), Serhiy Tihipko and Communist Party leader Piotr Symonenko have supported this step. In addition, no elected president can unilaterally extend the lease beyond 2017, as this would require a constitutional majority to change the constitution to no longer ban foreign bases.

2. Alleging that Tymoshenko will sell off Ukraine's gas pipelines. In February 2007 Tymoshenko mobilized 430 (out of 450) deputies to vote for legislation that bans every form of transfer of the pipelines. In March 2009 she signed an agreement with the EU to modernize the pipelines that  excluded Russia, provoking protest by Putin. Four candidates have supported a gas consortium with Russia: Yanukovych, Tihipko, Symonenko and Arseniy Yatseniuk (EDM, November 20, 2009).

3. Arguing that Tymoshenko has backtracked from NATO membership, which appears far-fetched as none of the 18 candidates -including Yushchenko- mention NATO in their 2010 programs (EDM, December 15, 2009). NATO membership is on the backburner because support for this step has not increased during Yushchenko's presidency. Yushchenko prioritized blocking Tymoshenko's return to the post of prime minister in 2006 over the one realistic chance of Ukraine obtaining a Membership Action Plan, Ukraine-fatigue grew from 2007 in Europe and the US, while President Barack Obama is not pursuing NATO enlargement to the same extent as the previous administration.

Within the Tymoshenko team there are NATO supporters and Kuchma-era high levels of cooperation with NATO would revive if Tymoshenko was elected. If Yanukovych is elected, NATO membership would drop from the agenda and cooperation will decline compared to the Kuchma era.

The Russian factor diminished after Yushchenko's last pre-election press conference, which transpired as an anti-Tymoshenko speech (www.president, gov.ua, www.pl.com.ua, January 12). Yushchenko revived documents from the criminal case fabricated by Putin and Kuchma against Tymoshenko following the 2000-2001 Kuchmagate scandal to undermine her as an opposition leader. Kuchma was unsuccessful in making such charges stick; nevertheless, Tymoshenko became the only member of the Ukrainian elite who was ever imprisoned (February 2001) (Radio Free Europe, August 15, 2002).

Yushchenko argues that the "Moscow Coalition" (Tymoshenko and Yanukovych) are no different, and is calling on "patriotic Ukrainians" not to vote in the second round. Therefore, the election outcome will hinge on whether "Orange" voters will heed Yushchenko's advice.

Listening to Yushchenko would have the effect of dampening the turnout in western Ukraine and ensuring Yanukovych's election (and possibly Yushchenko becoming prime minister). If they ignore Yushchenko's appeal, Tymoshenko will likely be elected as Ukraine's next president.

01.02.10. Yanukovych, Tymoshenko hold opposite views on Russian gas


January 27, 2010

Pavel Korduban

Both Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and her opponent in the February 7 presidential election runoff, the former Prime Minister Viktor anukovych, have sought Moscow's support for their campaigns. Both are expected to be rather pro-Russian compared to the outgoing pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko, who is perceived in Moscow as a Russophobe.

However, Tymoshenko and Yanukovych hold opposite views on the gas trade with Russia. Yanukovych wants to revise the January 2009 gas contracts with Russia and to set up an international consortium to manage Ukraine's pipelines. Tymoshenko defends the contracts and rejects the consortium.


One concession Yanukovych is ready to make is establishing a consortium with Russia to run Ukraine's gas transit network. Yanukovych announced that if he won the election he would initiate setting up an international consortium to manage Ukraine's gas pipelines. He said this should help increase their throughput capacity. In exchange for the consortium, Ukraine should receive a "just" price for its gas from Russia, Yanukovych said. Gazprom reportedly hailed Yanukovych's initiative, saying that the "Belarusian option" may be applied to Ukraine. Belarus sold 50 percent of its gas transit network to Gazprom in 2006 in exchange for cheap gas. However, discounts for Belarus are only temporary (Kommersant-Ukraine, January 22).

Tymoshenko lambasted Yanukovych for his statements on the consortium. Addressing local officials in Kyiv Region, which is her stronghold, she said that the consortium creation would be tantamount to "stealing the gas pipeline from Ukraine and full liquidation of the transit network."

Tymoshenko said that she would not allow such a consortium, adding that the gas transit network would remain state-owned. She estimated the value of the network at "hundreds of billions of dollars," which was probably an exaggeration. Tymoshenko said that when she replaced Yanukovych as prime minister in 2007, she thwarted his plans to lease Ukraine's gas transit network to Russia (UNIAN, January 23).

Yanukovych also suggested that Ukraine should participate in the Russian Nord Stream and South Stream gas pipeline projects, which are aimed at decreasing Russia's dependence on the Ukrainian transit route.

Yanukovych suggested this could compensate Ukraine for losses from a decrease in gas transit due to the imminent launch of the two pipelines (Ukrainski Novyny, January 20). In this case, Yanukovych apparently lobbies for the interests of his crony, the steel tycoon Rinat Akhmetov whose Khartsyzk Pipe Plant could supply large-diameter pipes for the Russian projects.

Complete article:

01.02.10. Yushchenko transformed Ukraine, Moscow analyst says

January 19, 2010

Paul Goble

Vienna, January 19 -- Even as most Russian commentators are focusing on which of the two remaining candidates will become Ukraine's president, one Moscow analyst is arguing that it is important to recognize that the incumbent leader, Viktor Yushchenko, played a critical role in transforming Ukraine into a very different country than the one it was when he came to power.

Indeed, Konstantin Krylov, argues on the APN.ru portal, Yushchenko's administration, with all its problems, was for Ukraine if not fateful then extremely remarkable. After it, Ukraine became a different place. In reality, during [his much-criticized administration of the country], it actually arose (www.apn.ru/column/article22289.htm).

And because that is so, Krylov continues, Yushchenko's impact will continue to be felt in Ukraine and elsewhere long into the future, even though he failed to attract enough votes even to get into the runoff that will now take place between Viktor Yanukovych, the man he ousted, and Yuliya Timoshenko, the woman with whom he collaborated and then broke.

This impact is especially important for Russians to focus on, the Moscow commentator says, because that country in the eyes of many of them "plays the role of 'the other Russia,' a different variant of our own historical fate which could have happened 'if it hadn't been for Putin.' Some like that; others don't, but all are interested."

At a formal bookkeeping level, Yushchenko was a failure, Krylov says. "Not one promise" which he gave electors in 2005 was he able to keep, and that failure is in no way mitigated even if it is partially explained by the obstacles he faced at home from a fractious political system and abroad from the divide between Moscow and the West.

"Nevertheless," the APN.ru columnist continues, "it must be repeated: Ukraine after Yushchenko has changed. In a radical way, and in the most important: Not one president before Yushchenko did so much for the total Ukrainianization of the country," in ways and at a pace that surprised "even ethnic Ukrainians."

And the Ukrainian president did this -- and this is "the most interesting thing," Krylov says, without "attacking the basic freedoms of [his country's] citizens but even just the reverse expanding them" -- exactly the opposite of what President Vladimir Putin was doing at the same time in the Russian Federation.

Indeed, in comparison with Russia today, Krylov suggests, "Ukraine looks like some kind of flowering garden of liberty and fraternity, an oasis where everything is permitted," thus creating "for the first time over all the post-Soviet period" a sense of "frustration," "resentment," and even "envy" among Russians about one of their neighbors.

The reason for that is easy to identify: "A free and openly national state looks more attractive than a shameful anti-national dictatorship." That does not mean that everything was perfect in Ukraine or even that Yushchenko's regime was itself not based on a certain "falsification."

But if "Putin's Russia is a SUCCESSFUL project, in certain respects very successful," Krylov continues, "it is very UNATTRACTIVE." And consequently while "Yushchenko's Ukraine is not so successful a project, it is on the other hand a much more attractive one, despite all its shortcomings."

The Putin-Medvedev regime will be supported "while they are in power and successful, partially out of fear and partially in the hopes of getting some benefit. But if the system they have constructed suddenly falls apart and the "power vertical" shakes -- no one will defend these monstrous formations," unlike in Ukraine, after Yushchenko's time in power.

Krylov provides two epigraphs to his article, which together underscore his point. The first is the latest update of an old East European anecdote and the second a common by Boris Nemtsov, the longtime Russian liberal politician who served as one of Viktor Yushchenko's advisors.

According to the anecdote, "a dog runs from Ukraine to Russia. The border guard asks -- what are you running from? The dog replies, in Ukraine, there is a crisis, everything is terrible. After a certain time, the dog returns to Ukraine. Why did he do that, the dog is asked. He replies because in Ukraine I can bark."

And according to Nemtsov, "Yushchenko is the Ukrainian Yeltsin. He defended the independence of Ukraine and did everything so that Ukraine could become a free democratic country. Now, [the Ukrainian president] is very unpopular, with many [in Ukraine itself] even cursing him for what he always was trying to do."

01.02.10. Five years on in Kyiv

January 21st 2010

The presidential election shows that the orange revolution is out of puff, no matter who eventually wins

ON DECEMBER 3rd 2004 jubilant crowds flowed into a snowbound Kyiv's Independence Square, waving their orange flags, to celebrate a court decision to annul Ukraine's rigged presidential election two weeks earlier. They cried and they danced -- and the world was gripped by the sight of a sleepy Ukrainian people waking up to defend their freedom.


All that enthusiasm has now turned to fatigue. Ukraine's under-reformed economy teeters on the edge of national bankruptcy, the rule of law is elusive, courts remain corrupt and the parliament resembles a trading platform for business tycoons in which deals are made and seats bought and sold. In April 2005 some 53% of Ukrainians said their country was on the right track. Now 81% believe it is heading in the wrong direction. Ukraine lies 17th from bottom in the latest global index of economic freedom, below Russia and Belarus.

It is to the credit of the voters that the failure of Mr Yushchenko and his team has not discredited the very concept of democracy, as happened in Russia in the 1990s. In the election Mr Yushchenko was unceremoniously booted out, gaining just over 5% of the vote. Viktor Yanukovich, the bad guy in 2004, got 35%, against 25% for Yulia Tymoshenko, the prime minister, who energised the crowds in 2004 but has since fallen out bitterly with Mr Yushchenko. The two front-runners will now face each other in a second round on February 7th.

Ukraine is as divided as ever, with the industrialised, Russian-speaking east and south backing Mr Yanukovich and the centre and west supporting Ms Tymoshenko. The only politician who did well all over the country was Serhiy Tyhypko, a former banker who ran and then quit Mr Yanukovich's campaign in 2004. He fought the best campaign and took 13% of the vote despite, or more likely because of, being absent from politics in the past five years.


On the edge

The roots of Ukraine's ills stretch far beyond Mr Yushchenko's weakness or Ms Tymoshenko's populism. The country lacks a strong elite or any experience of sovereignty. Apart from a brief period just after the Bolshevik Revolution, Ukraine has never been an independent country in modern times. It has spent most of its history under Russian, Polish or Austro-Hungarian rule. Its independence in 1991 only came out of the Soviet Union's collapse. In his book "Unexpected Nation", Andrew Wilson, a historian and analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations, argues that it "arrived as much by accident as design." And as in other parts of the former Soviet Union, independence initially brought neither economic liberalisation nor much change at the top.

In the late Soviet era, aspirations for Ukrainian independence were confined to a group of dissident writers and intellectuals. The popular appeal was weaker than the force of the KGB: as many as half of all political prisoners in the Soviet Union were from Ukraine. When the nationalist movement was allowed to resurface in the late 1980s, it was as much concerned with the revival of Ukrainian culture and language as with democracy or market reforms. Nationalists in effect struck a deal, under which the Communists conceded independence but were allowed to keep their power and assets.

Leonid Kravchuk, the last Communist boss, became Ukraine's first national president in 1991 with no idea how to run an economy. "Ukraine fed the entire Soviet Union, and we thought that if we were on our own we would be rich. Nobody understood the market economy here," he says. By 1993 hyperinflation had set in, and Ukraine suffered one of the sharpest drops in GDP of any country in peacetime. Unlike Russia and Poland, Ukraine did not have liberal economists in charge, but "a shifting kaleidoscope of clans, shadowy business and old nomenklatura interests," says Mr Wilson. America and the West focused on ridding Ukraine of nuclear weapons and paid little attention to the economy. Left to their own devices, politicians built a rent-seeking, corporatist state.

Mr Kuchma, who was elected in 1994, at least managed to stabilise the economy. With Mr Yushchenko, first as head of the central bank and later as prime minister, he launched a currency in 1996 and set about privatisation. But reforms stalled and Ukraine slipped into a semi-authoritarian state. Mr Kuchma then overplayed his hand by trying to anoint Mr Yanukovich as his successor.

The orange revolution was not aimed personally at Mr Yanukovich but against the idea of transferring power like this. It was also a revolution against a kleptocratic system that held the country back, bullied opponents and had journalists killed. The Ukrainian middle class, tired of muddling through, trusted Mr Yushchenko to smash that system. But the "first real Ukrainian president", as Mr Yushchenko called himself, was too backward-looking.

Instead of governing, he tried to boost national consciousness by promoting the Ukrainian language and trying to revise history. This did little for the Russian-speaking east, not to mention Crimea, which still has not been fully integrated into Ukraine (and which includes Sebastopol, host to Russia's Black Sea Fleet until its lease runs out in 2017). Mr Yushchenko objected to Russia's version of history, but he too was ideological. He insisted on calling the famine of 1932-33, a deliberate and horrendous extermination of peasants by Stalin, an act of genocide, when it affected the entire Soviet Union.

He said little of the dark pages in Ukraine's own history, including collaboration with Nazi Germany and the role of the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police in administering the Holocaust. For instance, in Ivano Frankivsk, where some 100,000 Jews were killed, the authorities have put up a monument to 27 Ukrainian insurgents who were killed by the Nazis, but not even a plaque on the site of Jewish mass graves. Anti-Semitism is no longer rampant, but it is partly a failure to teach history that allows Nadia Mateiko, an art student in Kolomiya, to say of Ms Tymoshenko: "I don't want this Jew to be the president of my country. It is not their land." (Ms Tymoshenko is not even Jewish.)

History is of little comfort to poor people in western Ukraine, where remittances from illegal workers abroad are often a main source of income. Five years after the orange revolution, hopes for a dynamic and modern Ukraine remain just that. Some may now be invested in Mr Tyhypko, who refuses to back either front-runner. Ukrainians have to pick one of two familiar faces: Mr Yanukovich or Ms Tymoshenko. It is like a choice "between the plague and AIDS", says Yulia Mostovaya, editor of Zerkalo Nedeli.

Mr Yanukovich has the flesh and blood of the clan system. Born into a poor working-class family in Donetsk, a coal-mining centre, he lost his parents early. By the age of 20 he had two convictions for violent crime. In the late 1990s he became governor of Donetsk and befriended Rinat Akhmetov, now Ukraine's richest steel magnate. When the orange revolution began, Mr Yanukovich and his supporters brought in nasty-looking toughs from Donetsk to balance the orange crowd.

In the 2004 election Mr Yanukovich had the backing of Russia's then president, Vladimir Putin, who rushed to congratulate him. ...

Yet his "pro-Russian candidate" label is misleading. He represents the Russian-speaking east, but has done little to advance Russia's interests, instead jealously guarding those of such tycoons as Mr Akhmetov. What Mr Akhmetov wants is a politically and economically stable Ukraine. Yet some of Mr Yanukovich's team do not inspire confidence. They include a former finance minister, Mykola Azarov, architect of the repressive tax inspectorate, as well as the creators of the opaque gas-trading scheme with Russia. Mr Yanukovich wants to renegotiate today's gas agreement, which excludes shady intermediaries.

The gas princess

Even so, many businessmen worry more about the populist Ms Tymoshenko. In her early days she was known as the "gas princess", having made money as boss of United Energy System, a gas intermediary that won lucrative contracts from Pavlo Lazarenko, a former prime minister who partly owned the company and was arrested and jailed in America in 1999 for money-laundering and fraud. But Ms Tymoshenko was not implicated and, as deputy prime minister in 1999, she used her knowledge to clean up the energy business. (For her pains, she was even put in prison for a few months.)

In 2004 her charisma and energy electrified the orange revolution, but as prime minister in 2005 she revealed a worrying populism, trying to regulate meat and petrol prices and advocating state control of the commanding heights of the economy. She also rattled some oligarchs by reversing the dodgy privatisation of a vast steel factory and reselling it for six times as much. But when she was fired, the orange coalition fell apart.

Two years later, she came back as prime minister and managed to scrap RosUkrEnergo, the biggest and shadiest of the country's gas intermediaries. But her government made little progress with other reforms. For this she blamed Mr Yushchenko, who vetoed many of her decisions. She then managed the feat of winning an IMF bail-out without fulfilling the fund's demands to raise gas prices and cut public spending.

Viktor Pynzenyk, who resigned as finance minister last year after failing to stop a deliberately unrealistic budget, says that "the IMF money was not the cure but the hair of the dog." In 2009, when the economy shrank by 15%, budgeted spending rose by 35%, he says. "The crisis gave us a chance to reform the economy and we wasted it." Yet, by juggling figures and budgets, Ms Tymoshenko has managed to sustain much of her political support.

There are at least two reasons why she may win on February 7th despite lagging behind in the opinion polls. First, she is a much cleverer and more appealing politician than the inarticulate and slow-thinking Mr Yanukovich. ("Her profession is to speak and to lie beautifully and I can't do it like her," Mr Yanukovich admits.) Second, she seems more desperate for power than Mr Yanukovich, who enjoys hunting and tennis as much as politics. "Tymoshenko's priority is to be in power at any cost. Principles are secondary," says Mr Pynzenyk.


She has certainly found a common language with Mr Putin, now Russia's prime minister, who has said he could work with her. Her final three-hour long televised press conference before the election had a Putinesque tone. It is not hard to imagine her doing dodgy deals with Mr Putin in exchange for Russian help to keep her in power. Nor does she have many scruples about her allies. One is said to be Viktor Medvedchuk, Mr Kuchma's notorious chief of staff, who is accused of harassing the media and bullying businessmen. Mr Medvedchuk, who asked Mr Putin to be a godfather to his child, is a welcome guest in the Kremlin.


Ukraine's economy has been kept afloat by IMF money. But late last year the IMF suspended its programme because of ballooning public spending. Ukraine's budget deficit stands at 12% of GDP and the country has no real way of financing it. Ukraine's sovereign international debt is manageable, but its domestic obligations are not. Mr Pynzynek estimates that, by the spring, Ukraine will run out of cash to pay pensions and salaries. This may at last force squabbling politicians to act.

The winner on February 7th will need to raise heavily subsidised gas prices and cut public spending with a vengeance. He or she must trim red tape and hope that Ukrainian business pulls the country out of its hole. Ukraine may be tempted to ask Russia for help -- and Russia may be tempted to grant it in order to secure more influence. After 18 years of independence the biggest threat to Ukraine is its inability to govern itself. The election is tight, and the country can ill afford another deadlock.

Complete article:

01.02.10. Viktor Yushchenko's legacy for Ukraine? Smiling people

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/world_agenda/article6992465.eceJanuary 18, 2010

Tony Halpin in Kyiv

It is difficult to assess his [Viktor Yushchenko's] legacy at this stage but a credit must be given to his support for historical truths about Ukraine and the nation.

Jonathan Burns



Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine's outgoing president, has tasted a heavy defeat at the polls. But despite his humiliating rejection by all but 6 per cent of the electorate, history should judge him kindly.

For all the political and economic turbulence of the past five years, Ukraine has been transformed under his presidency from just another ugly post-Soviet basket case into a country with real hopes of success as a democratic civil society.

One has only to compare political life in neighbouring Belarus and Russia to the vibrancy of the contest in Ukraine to see the effect the Orange Revolution has had.


Vigorous debates were available on every television channel, while street billboards were a riot of posters from competing candidates.

Mr Yushchenko and his former Orange ally Yuliya Tymoshenko, the Prime Minister, did not use the infamous "administrative resources" so often wheeled out in Russia to rig results.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the first round of voting was the absence of any serious complaints from candidates about ballot-rigging, given the massive fraud that prompted the Orange revolt in 2004.


Which is why Ukraine matters and why the West has a big stake in the outcome of this election. The Kremlin keenly portrays its neighbour to domestic audiences as being in a state of constant chaos since the revolution because it fears the example of a thriving open society on Russia's border. A Ukraine that works is a direct challenge to the former KGB spooks and shadowy apparatchiks who control politics in Moscow.


In short, they see that Ukrainians have a stake in their society and can influence its future, and that this affects the public mood. The average Russian has no such opportunity and feels a sense of sullen resentment towards the authorities that leaves the Kremlin constantly fearful of political upheaval.

This election will determine whether the Ukrainian experiment continues or starts to degrade. It is tempting for the United States and the European Union collectively to wring their hands at the bickering that soured the Orange dream but Mr Yushchenko has left a legacy worth defending and they should be far more vigorous in saying so.

Complete article:

02.02.2010. Ukrainsk sikkerhedspoliti anholder russiske spioner

På en pressekonference tidligere på dagen oplyste den ukrainske sikkerhedstjenestes chef, Valentyn Nalyvajtjenko, at SBU har anholdt fem russiske sikkerhedsofficerer, som forsøgte at skaffes sig militære hemmeligheder, oplyser UNIAN.

Ifølge SBU-chefen har SBU anholdt en officer fra FSB "på fersk gerning" i forbindelse med, at han var i gang med at betale en ukrainsk statsborger 2000 dollars for oplysninger, der rummede statshemmeligheder.

Mødet med agenten foregik 14 km fra den ukrainske grænse. Tre officerer fra FSB samt en militærperson fra den russiske garnison i Transdniestr overværede aktionen fra en anden bil.

Under gennemgangen af bilen fandt SBU-medarbejderne spionageredskaber som diktofoner, en kuglepen med et indbygget videokamera, en USB-nøgle kamoufleret som en nøglering indeholdende bl.a. agentinstrukser, en notebook og to tusinde dollars.

Ifølge Nalyvajtjenko er et af beviserne på, at aktionen blev gennemført af FSB-officerer, at en af mobiltelefonernes hukommelse indeholdt en fotokopi af et hemmeligt regelsæt for FSB's agentvirksomhed.

Det viser sig, at den russiske sikkerhedsofficer var ankommet fra Moskva for selv at lede efterretningsoperationen. Alle de anholdte russiske officerer var ankommet til Ukraine via Transdniestr.

Det er fastslået, at de russiske officerer for nogle måneder siden havde anholdt en ukrainsk statsborger i Transdniestr, havde kørt ham til en militærbase og under trusler på livet havde tvunget ham til at samarbejde.

SBU har rejst sigtelse mod den ledende russiske officer for "spionage", og en distriktsdomstol i Kiev har valgt at varetægtsfængsle ham indtil videre. De øvrige anholdte russere er blevet sendt ud af landet med et indrejseforbud af fem års varighed.

SBU har underrettet FSB og Ruslands ambassade i Ukraine om episoden.

Den russiske sikkerhedstjeneste FSB bekræfter ifølge nyhedsbureauet Interfaks-Ukrajina, at dens medarbejdere er blevet anholdt på ukrainsk territorium. Ifølge FSB er de russiske aktioner en reaktion på stigningen i de ukrainske sikkerhedsstyrkers hvervningsarbejde i forhold til russiske borgere.

Den omtalte episode skyldes, at den ukrainske statsborger Rusland Pylypenko, der af FSB er kendt for at være medarbejder ved det ukrainske forsvarsministeriums efterretningstjeneste, siden 2006 aktivt har arbejdet på at skade det russiske forsvars interesser, hedder det i FSB. Hans ulovlige handlinger er blevet afdækket og dokumenteret af FSB, oplyser tjenesten.

Den 29. oktober 2009 blev Pylypenko anholdt i Tiraspol i Transdniestr-republikken på en russisk militærbase i færd med at udføre spionagevirksomhed, oplyser tjenesten. Under anholdelsen af Pylypenko fandt og konfiskerede man et digitalkamera med elektroniske kopier af hemmeligstemplede og "tophemmelige" dokumenter, hvis indhold var en russisk militærhemmelighed.  

"Den ukrainske statsborger erkendte forholdet og sagde, at han var parat til at fremlægge informationer om andre efterretningsaktioner og agentvirksomhed rettet mod Rusland", oplyser FSB.

Senere foreslog Pylypenko FSB-medarbejderen at mødes den 27. januar "med henblik på overdragelse af informationer om umiddelbare trusler mod russiske militærobjekter i Transdniestr".

I FSB understregede man, at FSB er ved at undersøge episoden og undrer sig over, at "SBU's ledelse har haft travlt med at offentliggøre episoden, eftersom det almindelige er, at sådanne situationer bliver klaret efterretningstjenesterne imellem". UP.

04.02.10. Jusjtjenko underskriver valglov foreslået af Janukovytjs parti

Præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko har underskrevet en lovændring til præsidentvalgloven, oplyser hans pressetjeneste.

I onsdags vedtog parlamentet en ændring i valgloven udarbejdet af medlem af Regionernes parti, Oleksandr Lavrynovytj.

Ændringerne betyder, at en valgkommission er beslutningsdygtig og bl.a. kan godkende afstemningsresultatet i valgkredsen, hvis et simpelt flertal af de tilforordnede er fremmødt, hvor kravet tidligere var, at mindst 2/3 af valgdistriktets tilforordnede skulle være tilstede for at være beslutningsdygtige. UP.

06.02.10. Tymoshenko klager til OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

Repeat voting on presidential elections in Ukraine will be held on February 7, 2010. Meanwhile, the broad basis for the distortion of voters will are being prepared yet again, with active participation of some parliamentary members of Ukraine, of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine factions, some members of the Central Election Committee, members of district election commissions, trying to use heads of city, district and regional councils in this process.

Therefore, in order to obtain control over the district and territorial election commissions, the member of the Parliament of Ukraine, the Party of Regions representative, the Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine O.V. Lavrynovich introduced to the Parliament the draft Law of Ukraine "On amending the Law of Ukraine" On the elections of the President of Ukraine " (concerning the organization of the electoral commissions job) № 6004 from 27.01.2010. An extraordinary plenary session of the Parliament was initiated by the Party of Regions for the immediate consideration of this bill. And it was passed by the Parliament in the first reading on January 28, 2010.

The major provisions of law № 6004 as follows:

- abolition of existing provision of the Law of Ukraine "On the elections of the President of Ukraine ", which contains a requirement for the competence of election commissions meetings in case of presence of not less than 2 / 3 of already formed composition. One of the fundamental principles of the electoral commission is being withdrawn from the Law - the principle of collegiality. The conditions are being created in which meetings of election commissions will be legally competent providing presence of any number of its composition members - 1 / 16, 1 / 14, 1 / 5, 1 / 3 etc;

- the principle of dual-appointment of members of district and territorial election commissions is being initiated. Consequently, if submissions of candidacies for membership in the election commissions have not been filed in fixed amount then the obligation to submit candidacies for membership in the district and territorial election commissions is blamed on the heads of city, district and regional councils. The constitutional right of citizens of Ukraine to be elected on equal and fair elections is being ignored; the equal rights and opportunities for participation in the electoral process of candidates to the post of President of Ukraine warranted by law are being neglected as well.

Moreover, the fourth part of Article 3 of the Law of Ukraine "On the presidential elections in Ukraine" prohibits strongly the intervention of local authorities in the electoral process.

Continuing its anticonstitutional purposes, the Party of Regions have initiated an extraordinary session of the Parliament on February 3, 2010, in between the first and second round of presidential elections in Ukraine, in order to implement their intentions in the law. The initiators of the extraordinary session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in violation of established parliamentary procedures demand consideration of the draft law of Ukraine "On amending the Law of Ukraine" On the elections of the President of Ukraine "(concerning the organization of the electoral commissions job) № 6004 on February 3, 2010 regarding of which the fixed term to make entities of legislative initiative of comments and suggestions to the draft law for the second reading has not expired yet.

Member of the Central Election Committee M.V. Ohendovskiy (elected by the quota of the Party of Regions) has introduced a project before the Committee on "Clarification on some issues, the organization of county and precinct election commissions during the preparation and carrying out re-vote presidential election in Ukraine on February 7, 2010, counting of votes at polling stations tabulation in the territorial constituencies. This draft opens up district election commission is practically unlimited possibilities of artificial adjustments necessary majority in the local election commissions.

It creates nine additional grounds for early termination of members of district election commissions’ powers, which are not covered by the current Law of Ukraine "On the elections of the President of Ukraine". The adoption of such explanation will artificially deprive the authority of individual members of local election commissions which will demonstrate integrity and strictly carry out the requirements of the electoral legislation of Ukraine. It could be possible before and on the day of elections.

In view of the majority existing in the Central Election Committee, which is controlled by the Party of Regions, the mentioned draft regulation may eventually become an instruction for early termination of authority of not controlled members of the circuit election committees. It is worth mentioning that according to Ukrainian legislation the regulations of the Central Election Committee are obligatory for all lower level election committees.

There are numerous episodes of forcing the members of circuit election committees into falsifying the minutes of hearings and the resolutions of such committees as well as disrupting the hearings of election committees for the purpose of using this facts for early termination of authority of members of the district and circuit election committees.

For instance, the head of the district election committee No 48 (Donetsk region, the city of Kramatorsk) A. Nesvitaev, abused his authority and forced the secretary of the circuit election committee O. Rachkayskene into signing a minutes of the committee hearing at 12 p.m., which in fact did not take place. Because of the falsified minutes of the district committee № 48 the hearings of 91 election committees were disrupted. The mentioned events are being examined by the enforcement bodies.

For example, L.E.Zagorodnya was appointed the Head of the District Election Commission No. 3 (the Autonomous Republic of Crimea) without her written consent to enter into the composition of the Commission. In such case the meeting of the commission shall be lead by the Head who is elected at the meeting from its composition. But the present members of the District Election Commission No. 3 refused to conduct the vote for the candidate of the Head, they will not be taking part in the meeting of the commission till the appointment of the new Head of the Commission. Because of such acts the functioning of the District Election Commission No. 3 is stopped. One of the results of such blocking is the independent approval by the members of the Commission – representatives of the candidate for the presidency of Ukraine V.F.Yanukovich – of the electoral register from the supervisory authority in charge of the State Electoral Register not at the meeting of the commission as required according to the Law of Ukraine “On Election of the President of Ukraine”

I have to state that the abovementioned steps are the evidence of the falsification that is being prepared to be held in Ukraine during the presidential election.

I am convinced that events happening around the elections of the President of Ukraine shall not being concealed from the attention of the international public. I ask you to take into consideration that only a hard-line attitude of the international public and supervisors can prevent Ukraine from returning to the election process of the criminal standards of 2004. I am convinced that by our joint actions we will be able to prevent the violation of the civic rights and to ensure the holding of elections of the President of Ukraine on February 7, 2010 to be fair, visible and democratic.

06.02.10. Russia backs Yanukovych in Ukraine's elections

Taras Kuzio

Russia's media coverage of Ukraine's 2010 elections has always considered it to be a two-horse race between Viktor Yanukovych and Yulia Tymoshenko. In the first phase of the election campaign (October-November 2009) the Russian media did not have a preference but by the second phase Russia's media and ruling Unified Russia party strongly endorsed Yanukovych (Rossiya 1, NTV, October 19, 24, 27, November 12, 16, 22).

Russia's endorsement of Yanukovych is reflected in Russian public opinion. A poll by the Russian Public Opinion Foundation found that 53% of Russians believe that Yanukovych will be elected Ukraine's next president and only 14% believe that Tymoshenko will triumph (Kyiv Post, January 28). 47% of Russians believe that relations with Ukraine will improve if Yanukovych is elected while only 8% believe the same about Tymoshenko.

In the first phase of the campaign, the Russian media remained neutral towards Tymoshenko but also mocked her because of her alleged obsession with her image. The gender bias was evident when the Russian media mocked her tendency to pick on what it considered trivial matters that presumably are only of interest to women (with men presumably taking care of more "substantial issues").

Gender has not been discussed as an issue in Ukraine's media in the election campaign and therefore it is unclear to what degree gender plays a role in antagonism towards Tymoshenko. But, it would be unwise to downplay gender as a factor in the male-dominated post-Soviet environment where Tymoshenko is a completely unique female politician.

During the flu crisis and gas negotiations with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin the Russian media changed its mocking tone of Tymoshenko towards one who is pragmatic in seeking to work with Russia on the energy question, a welcome development in Moscow and Brussels after two gas winter crises in 2006 and 2009. Channel One (November 22) described her as a breakthrough in Russia-Ukrainian energy relations and Putin's relationship with Tymoshenko as a step forward compared to that of President Yushchenko.

The visual hatred that Moscow had of Yushchenko is disingenuous in that it seeks to ignore the fact that Tymoshenko was a key player in the 2004 Orange Revolution that Moscow sought to halt. Tymoshenko supports many Maidan principles and values in the 2010 elections and has used the support of rock stars to revive the image of the 2004 Maidan where music and carnival sustained protestors for 17 days in wintry weather.

The Russian media always portrayed Yanukovych as "pro-Russian". The Party of Regions that he leads has a cooperation agreement going back to 2005 with the Unified Russia party. Yanukovych attended the Unified Russian party congress on November 21 where he reiterated a common campaign pledge that only he could restore good relations between Ukraine and Russia. Leonid Kuchma campaigned on the same platform in 1994 but Kuchma was always far less pro-Russian than is Yanukovych on many issues.

The Russian media depict Yanukovych in an authoritative light giving prominence to his well staged campaign meetings around Ukraine where large crowds greet him. The Russian media have tended to give greater authority to Yanukovych's policy proposals than to Tymoshenko's.

Yanukovych has been presented as the front runner and the likely new president, as reflected in Russian polls. While giving preference to him, the Russian media and Unified Russia party's endorsement has been more constrained compared to 2004 when Putin twice visited Ukraine to give his public support to Yanukovych and Russian political technologists worked in Yanukovych's election campaign.

In the second phase of the election campaign the Russian media moved towards a far more favorable endorsement of Yanukovych, Moscow's favorite who is seen as the most "pro-Russian" candidate. Moscow sees Yanukovych as espousing policies that are favoable to Moscow, such as supporting the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and Ukraine's membership of the CIS Collective Security Treaty and Single Economic Space Customs (Yedyna Ekonomichnyi Prostir) Union. Tymoshenko, on the other hand, was increasingly portrayed in negative terms or simply ignored by the Russian media.

Yanukovych emerged as the favorite candidate on the eve of round one on the state Rossiya 1 channel where he was featured in 11 of the 13 reports and shown speaking in 10 programs. In all cases he was identified as the frontrunner and likely victor. This move to endorse Yanukovych was paralleled by growing portrayal of the Party of Regions as a positive political force and Yanukovych as a decisive leader who would "take the situation in hand and bring order to the country" (Rossiya 1, December 30).

These reports also showed lengthy clips of Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kiril's July 2009 visit to Ukraine where he was escorted by Yanukovych who was blessed by the Patriarch for his support for the Russian Orthodox Church. Yanukovych does not support the autocephaly of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church unlike three preceding Ukrainian presidents, Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko.

Russian media painted a glowing picture of Yanukovych's support for President Dmitri Medvedev's proposal for a new European security architecture and Ukraine's membership of the Single Economic Space Customs Union. The media also endorsed Yanukovych as better placed to implement pro-Russian policies on saying no to Ukraine's membership of NATO, making the Black Sea Fleet base in Sevastopol permanent, establishing a Russian-dominated gas consortium, returning the corrupt RosUkrEnergo gas intermediary and making Russian a state language -- all policies that would not be implemented by Tymoshenko but would by Yanukovych and are favorable to Russian interests (Rossiya 1, January 10, 12).

The Russian media largely ignored Tymoshenko during the last phase of the first round campaign focusing instead on Yanukovych and Serhiy Tihipko who were portrayed in a more favorable light. Tymoshenko was also contrast with them by her support for the 2004 Orange Revolution when Yanukovych and Tihipko were one anti-Yushchenko-orange team (Rossiya 1, NTV, January 10, 12).

In the run up to the first round the Russian media portrayed Yanukovych and Tihipko as the "pro-Russian" candidates who were most favorable to Russian interests -- not Tymoshenko. Tymoshenko was either ignored or mocked with the only favorable coverage of her in the Russian media being her pragmatism on energy relations.

Yanukovych, in contrast to Tymoshenko, is seen by Moscow as somebody who would be a better partner for Russia and more reliable while Tymoshenko is viewed as "unpredictable" and contaminated by the Orange Revolution (Rossiya 1, January 21). The "Judge for Yourself" talk show on Rossiya 1, attended by Russian and Ukrainian politicians and experts, quoted Vyacheslav Nikonov supporting Yanuovych because, as he said, "There are certain preferences, I think. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that the Unified Russia party has been enjoying closer cooperation with the Party of Regions" and therefore cooperation with its leader would be more straightforward.

This was because, Nikonov reiterated, "They (Yanukovych-Putin) have the same mind-set. They are capable of reaching agreements. There is readiness to resolve the issue of status of the Russian language, for instance". In addition, Nikonov claimed, Yanukovych has close ties to big business which is close to Russia. Other Russian politicians emphasized Yanukovych's support for Russian to become a second state language.

Tymoshenko was described on the program as likely to follow Viktor Yushchenko and become a "puppet of the West". Moscow does not like Tymoshenko because she is opposed to Russian becoming a state language and they consider her to be at heart anti-Russian, as seen in her "anti-Russian" 2007 Foreign Affairs journal article entitled "Containing Russia". Unified Russia party member and Kremlin political technologist Sergei Markov said, "there is a threat that Yuliya Tymoshenko would not express people's will but become a marionette of the external forces that use Ukraine as a tool to do harm to Russia".

At the end of the "Judge for Yourself" talk show its host, Maksim Shevchenko, said he hoped that Ukrainians would elect a president, "who will make Ukraine maximally friendly and close to Russia", a clear reference to support for Yanukovych who would be a loyal pro-Russian puppet. In contrast, Tymoshenko is not seen by the Russian media and politicians as somebody who would do Moscow's bidding.

This preceding anlysis undermines Yushchenko's ridiculous claim that Tymoshenko and Yanukovych are the same "Moscow projects" and therefore voters should not vote for either of them in round 2. If West Ukrainian voters listen to Yushchenko's argument Yanukovych will be elected. Yushchenko's non-intellectual and disingenuous argument about two Moscow projects is not proven by the facts which show the Russian media, politicians and public opinion supporting Yanukovych because he is more pro-Russian than even Kuchma was.

Yushchenko's Yuliaphobia shows the degree to which his entire presidency has elevated personal issues above policies and Ukraine's national interests.

07.02.10. Resultater af Exit-Polls: Vinderen får under 50% af de afgivne stemmer

Exit-Poll Den nationale exit-poll Inter-SOCIS ICTV Shuster Studio Research and Branding
Viktor Janukovytj 48,5% 49,6% 49,3% 48,7% 50,26%
Julia Tymoshenko 45,7% 44,5% 45,3% 45,6% 44,02%
"Mod alle" 5,6% 5,9% 5,4% 5,7% 5,53%

08.02.10. Det officielle resultat meget tæt på Exit-Poll

Den officielle optælling. 99% af stemmerne optalt:
Viktor Janukovytj 48,95%
Julia Tymoshenko 45,47%
"Mod alle" 4,36%

Hvis tallene holder, vil det være det første præsidentvalg i Ukraine, hvor vinderen har fået under 50% af de afgivne stemmer. Valgdeltagelsen er på 69.07%.

08.02.10. Ukraines vælgerkomite godkender valget

Ukraines vælgerkomite (KVU) har ikke fundet en kritisk masse af overtrædelser, som vil kunne forvanske resultatet af stemmeafgivningen ved præsidentvalget, hedder det i en pressemeddelelse fra KVU.

KVU konstaterer, at valget 2. runde fandt sted i en mere "vanskelig og anspændt situation" i sammenligning med 1. runde.

"Valgprocessen var kendetegnet ved et højt konfliktniveau i valgkommissionernes arbejde, diskutable og modstridende beslutninger fra den Centrale valgkommission og domstolene, bevidste provokationer fra valgstabenes side rettet mod at forpurre valgprocessen eller trække offentliggørelsen af valgresultatet ud", hedder det i meddelelsen.

På den anden side har KVU ikke konstateret massive og systematiske eksempler på valgsvindel, som kunne have ændret eller forvansket borgernes stemmeafgivelse.

Ifølge KVU har det mest omfattende nye fænomen været brug af teknologier, som tog sigte på en mobilisering af sine egne vælgere - som fx organiseringen af en massiv transport af vælgere hen til valgstedet, indførelsen af vælgere i vælgerfortegnelse efter en beslutning truffet på stedet af de lokale valgkommissioner, forsøg fra tilforordnedes side på at stemme for andre personer.

"Men disse teknologier er blevet brugt i forskellige regioner af begge kandidaters valgstabe, hvilket den meget ens valgdeltagelse i vest og i øst vidner om", mener man i KVU.

Som følge af sine iagttagelser opfordrer KVU partierne og valgstabene til at afholde sig fra pres på medlemmer af kommissioner og dommere og "afstå fra at bruge destruktive scenarier for at øve indflydelse på valgresultatet".

Desuden opfordrer KVU parlamentet til at forbedre valgloven. UP.

10.02.10. Den regionale fordeling af stemmerne ved præsidentvalget

Region Tymoshenko Janukovytj Imod alle I alt
Krim 17.32% 78.25% 3.23% 99.91%
Vinnytsa 71.10% 24.26% 3.32% 100%
Volyn 81.85% 14.01% 3.11% 100%
Dnipropetrovsk 29.13% 62.70% 6.75% 100%
Donetsk 6.45% 90.44% 2.26% 100%
Zhytomyr 57.50% 36.70% 4.53% 100%
Zakarpatska 51.66% 41.55% 4.46% 100%
Zaporizka 22.22% 71.50% 5.07% 100%
Ivano-Frankivsk 88.89% 7.02% 2.84% 100%
Kiev-regionen 69.71% 23.61% 5.10% 100%
Kirovohrad 54.66% 39.61% 4.46% 100%
Luhansk 7.72% 88.96% 2.34% 100%
Lviv 86.20% 8.60% 4.15% 100%
Mykolayiv 22.95% 71.53% 4.30% 100%
Odessa 19.52% 74.14% 4.61% 100%
Poltava 54.20% 38.99% 5.75% 100%
Rivne 76.24% 18.91% 3.65% 100%
Sumska 62.89% 30.40% 5.33% 100%
Ternopil 88.39% 7.92% 2.83% 100%
Kharkiv 22.43% 71.35% 5.12% 100%
Kherson 33.73% 59.98% 5.04% 100%
Khmelnytska 69.74% 24.94% 3.84% 100%
Tjerkasy 65.37% 28.84% 4.48% 100%
Tjernivtsi 66.47% 27.64% 4.11% 100%
Tjernihiv 63.63% 30.95% 4.22% 100%
Kiev by 65.34% 25.72% 8.05% 100%
Sevastopol by 10.38% 84.35% 4.35% 100%
Oversøisk valgkreds 60.57% 33.96% 4.54% 100%

10.02.10. Janukovytj i CNN-interview: Jeg er ikke Kremls håndlanger

Se interviewet her:


12.02.10. Barack Obama lykønskede Janukovytj med valgsejren

USA's præsident, Barack Obama, har ønsket Viktor Janukovytj tillykke med sejren ved præsidentvalget i Ukraine.

Regionernes Partis pressetjeneste oplyser, at Obama under en telefonsamtale med Janukovytj "gav udtryk for en positiv vurdering af udviklingen af demokratiet i Ukraine, hvilket er blevet bekræftet i forbindelse med afholdelsen af præsidentvalget".

"Janukovytj takkede for lykønskningen og understregede, at partnerskabsrelationerne mellem USA og Ukraine vil udvikle sig dynamisk på grundlag af tillid og gensidig respekt", understreger partiet. UP.

14.02.10. Tymoshenkos folk regner med, at Janukovytj erklæres som vinder

Julia Tymoshenkos nærmeste rådgivere er overbevist om, at Den centrale valgkommission i Kiev vil erklære Viktor Janukovytj som vinder af præsidentvalget. "Som ekspert i det pågældende tilfælde er det min prognose, at Den centrale valgkommission efter al sandsynlighed erklærer Janukovytj som valgt til præsidentposten, på trods af alle de klager, som Julia Tymoshenkos Blok har indgivet, og uanset, at der vil blive rejst sager ved domstolene osv.", siger parlamentsmedlem for BJuT Serhij Vlasenko til Radio Liberty.

"Vi er i besiddelse af operativ information, som bekræfter valgsvindel på de valgsteder, som det er lykkedes os at "afdække". Omfanget af denne svindel nærmer sig de 15% af stemmerne for Janukovytj", siger Vlasenko.

Han oplyser, at det er lykkedes BJuT at gennemføre omtælling på 7 valgsteder på Krim.

"Dér har vi gennemført omtællinger og har konstateret, at da vi åbnede pakkerne med de stemmesedler, som var tilskrevet Janukovytj, viste 8 til 15% af disse stemmesedler at være enten "for Tymoshenko", "imod alle" eller ugyldige. Der var altså tale om en direkte forfalskning af stemmerne", siger han.

"I henhold til gældende lovgivning bliver hele afstemningen på et valgsted erklæret ugyldigt, såfremt der er konstateret over 10% stemmefusk", siger Vlasenko.

"Personligt er jeg overbevist om, at hvis man laver en korrekt omtælling af de stemmer, som Ukraines borgere har afgivet, uden de forvanskninger af deres viljesytring, som har fundet sted, vil Julia Tymoshenko være vinder af præsidentvalget", siger parlamentsmedlemmet. UP.

14.02.10. Den centrale valgkommission: ingen væsentlige afvigelser efter omtælling

Den centrale valgkommission har foretaget omtælling af 102 valgsteder efter stemmeafgivningen den 7. februar, oplyste medlem af valgkommissionen Tetyana Lukash i forbindelse med behandlingen af klager fra partiet "Batkivsjtjyna". Ifølge Lukash, som repræsenterer Regionernes Parti i valgkommissionen, fandt man frem til afvigelser i forhold til valgresultatet på kun 14 af de 102 indklagede valgsteder. UP.

14.02.10. Den centrale valgkommission har udråbt Janukovytj som vinder

Viktor Janukovytj er vinder af præsidentvalget i Ukraine. Han fik 12.481.266 stemmer svarende til 48,95%. Tymoshenko fik 11.593.357 vælgere svrende til 45,47% af de afgivne stemmer. 4, 36% stemte imod alle.

Den centrale valgkommission blev færdig med at protokollere valgresultatet i dag kl. 15.50 lokal tid. Protokollen blev underskrevet af samtlige medlemmer af Den centrale valgkommission med undtagelse af repræsentanterne for Julia Tymoshenkos Blok i valgkommissionen - Mahera, Usenko-Tjorna, Zhydenko, Shvets og Sheludko, som i forbindelse med underskrivelsen af protokollen afgav dissens.

"Denne protokol danner grundlag for at udråbe valgresultatet", sagde formanden for Den centrale valgkommission, Volodymyr Shapoval.

"Resultatet af 2. valgrunde af præsidentvalget er, at Viktor Janukovytj har fået de fleste stemmer. Den centrale valgkommission erklærer hermed Viktor Janukovytj som valgt til præsident for Ukraine", sagde Shapoval.

Ifølge loven behøver resultatet af præsidentvalget ikke offentliggøres i pressen for at træde i kraft.

Der kan fra nu af gå op til 30 dage, inden Janukovytj bliver taget i ed som Ukraines næste  præsident. UP.

15.02.10. Tymoshenko indklager valgresultat for den øverste administrative domstol

Julia Tymoshenko vil i morgen, den 16. februar indklage den centrale valgkommissions officielle valgresultat for Den øverste administrative domstol i Kiev. Tymoshenko har bedt domstolen om at underkende valgkommissionens beslutning om at konstatere valget som gyldigt og offentliggøre valgresultatet samt at nedlægge forbund mod at offentliggøre valgresultatet i de officielle trykte medier. Desuden har Tymoshenko bedt om at få retsmødet gjort åbent for offentligheden, ligesom det skete i 2004, da Højesteret behandlede en klage over valgsvindel i 2. runde. Der kan gå op til 30 dage fra datoen for offentliggørelsen af det officielle valgresultat til indsættelsen af den nye præsident. Kanal 5.

Præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko har opfordret Den øverste administrative domstol til at sikre en juridisk korrekt og hurtig behandling af klagen over valgresultatet.

Det sagde han under et møde med formanden for Den øverste administrative domstol, Oleksandr Pasenyuk, oplyser præsidentens pressetjeneste.

"Jeg vil gerne sikre en legitim magtoverdragelse til en legitim præsident", understregede Jusjtjenko.

Under mødet oplyste Jusjtjenko, at en af præsidentkandidaterne, nemlig Julia Tymoshenko, havde henvendt sig til ham med oplysninger om, at der efter hendes mening er blevet begået alvorlige overtrædelser af lovgivningen i forbindelse med præsidentvalgets afholdelse.

Derfor agter Tymoshenko at indbringe valgresultatet for Den øverste administrative domstol, oplyser præsidentens pressetjeneste. UP.

16.02.10. Parlamentet har besluttet, hvornår den nye præsident skal indsættes i embedet

Ukraines parlament har besluttet, at indsættelsen af Ukraines nye præsident finder sted den 25. februar.

238 deputerede stemte for denne resolution, heraf 172 fra Regionernes Parti, 1 fra Julia Tymoshenkos Blok, 15 fra "Vort Ukraine", 27 fra KPU, 20 fra Lytvyns Blok og 3 løsgængere.

Med resolutionen er der blevet ændret i parlamentets kalender, idet den 25. februar bliver en mødedag med mødestart kl. 10.00.

"Den 25. februar kl. 10 skal der afholdes et højtideligt møde i anledning af den nye præsidents edsaflæggelse", hedder det i resolutionen. Parlamentsformand Volodymyr Lytvyn er ophavsmand til resolutionen.

Inden afstemningen sagde BJuT's fraktionsleder: "Vi mener, at det er forkert at fastsætte en indsættelsesdato, inden den øverste domstol har afsagt sin endelige kendelse".

I søndags erklærede Den centrale valgkommission Viktor Janukovytj som vinder af præsidentvalget.

Samtidig har hans modstander Julia Tymoshenko indbragt valgkommissionens beslutning for Den øverste administrative domstol i Kiev. UP.

18.02.10. Ny lov lægger pres på koalitionen

Regionernes Parti insisterer på, at koalitionen er ophørt med at eksistere, fordi en ny lov om parlamentets forretningsorden er trådt i kraft.

"Ifølge forretningsordenen har man en koalition, når koalitionsaftalen er underskrevet af  226 deputerede. I to år har vi nu haft en situation, hvor vi reelt ikke har haft en koalition. Dette kan ikke fortsætte", sagde blandt andre talsmanden for partiet Oleksandr Jefremov.

Parlamentsformand, Volodymyr Lytvyn, har bedt repræsentanterne for koalitionen i parlamentet inden 10 dage at dokumentere, at koalitionen eksisterer, sagde han onsdag i parlamentet, da Regionernes Parti havde krævet, at han officielt meddelte, at "koalitionen er ophørt med at eksistere".

"Jeg vil gerne bede koalitionen om at fremlægge alle de papirer, som godtgør dens eksistens. Hvor lang tid skal de bruge? Jeg vil tro, at vi kan henvise til forretningsordenens § 65, hvoraf det fremgår, at såfremt en fraktion forlader koalitionen, har den 10 dage til enten at tilbagekalde sin beslutning eller lade den blive ved magt", sagde Lytvyn.

"Jeg vil gerne have, at alle disse dokumenter bliver afleveret til parlamentsformanden eller forretningsordensudvalget... Hvis de ønskede dokumenter ikke forelægger inden den fastsatte tidsfrist, har vi en ny realitet, som vi skal tale om, nemlig, at vi har brug for at danne en ny koalition", tilføjede han.

Lytvyn tilføjede, at man bør strække sig langt for at forhindre en opløsning af parlamentet.

"Jeg ser helst ikke, at vi i dag begynder de tredive dages nedtælling med alle de konsekvenser, som følger deraf. Vi skal tænke på, hvordan vi får organiseret arbejdet. Hvis I har den nødvendige dokumentation, så lad os se den. Hvis ikke, må vi forholde os til det", sagde han.

"Jeg mener, at vi bør gøre alt for at sikre, at parlamentet fungerer, og at der ikke er nogen, der benytter sig af retten til at opløse det. Med den nuværende valglovgivning vil der ikke ske nogen ændringer [efter et nyvalg]. De samme personer vil komme ind i parlamentet, men statskassen vil være blevet noget fattigere", tilføjede Lytvyn.

Han slog fast, at der indtil videre er en koalition bestående af BJuT, NUNS og Lytvyns Blok.

"Vi har haft flere diskussioner om, hvorvidt koalitionen eksisterer eller ej. Og I kender min holdning: Hvis I kan komme med 226 underskrifter, så har vi en anden koalition. Men indtil videre har vi den nuværende koalition", fastslog Lytvyn. UP.

18.02.10. Mange uregelmæssigheder i forbindelse med præsidentvalget (eng.)

February 17, 2010

Taras Kuzio

Ukraine’s January-February 2010 presidential elections did not experience the same degree of mass falsification as in October-November 2004. Were that to have been the case international observers from the OSCE and Council of Europe would have undoubtedly found evidence of election fraud.

To conclude that there was no election fraud would be at the same time also mistaken.  In an election which was extremely close, such as this years presidential election, where every vote counted, even minimum election fraud would be important in swinging the vote in one way or another.

Those who undertook election fraud five years ago were never punished. In September 2005 after President dismissed the Yulia Tymoshenko government he signed a treasonous memorandum with Yanukovych that betrayed the Maidan.  In return for Party of Regions votes to confirm Yuriy Yekhanurov as Prime Minister, Yushchenko gave an amnesty to the organisers and facilitators of election fraud.

This was particularly the case with the organisers – then President Leonid Kuchma (who had a constitutional obligation to ensure free and fair elections), then Prime Minister and candidate Viktor Yanukovych, Serhiy Tihipko (who ran Yanukovych’s election campaign), the head of the shadow campaign Andriy Kluyev, and the head of the presidential administration Viktor Medvedchuk. Foreign citizens from Russia, working with Kluyev and in the Russian Club, were also heavily involved in election fraud and two assassination attempts against Viktor Yushchenko.

Yanukovych argued throughout the 2010  election campaign that there had been no election fraud in 2004 and he claimed that ‘proof’ of this assertion could be found in the fact that there had been no criminal charges against him or his campaign team. Yanukovych has continued to argue that he was legally elected and that the 3 December 2004 Supreme Court decision to annul the second round results and hold a re-run of them was ‘illegal’.

It is therefore the height of hypocrisy to argue that Yulia Tymoshenko should quickly recognise the election results in the interests of Ukraine’s democracy. Five years on, Yanukovych  has still not recognised the 2004 election results! Should not the 2004 election results be recognised by Yanukovych first before those just held?

As Vadym Karasyov said, ‘Yanukovych did the same thing after 2004, by never acknowledging accusations that he took part in widespread fraud’ (Kyiv Post, 11 February).

After Yushchenko was elected in what the OSCE and Council of Europe described as a free and fair election on 26 December 2004, Yanukovych continued to issue legal challenges in the courts. Only after these challenges were exhausted and rejected could Yushchenko be inaugurated on 23 January 2005.

So, again Yanukovych. Be patient. You had your turn to legally challenge Yushchenko’s election in 2004. Why cannot Tymoshenko also legally challenge your election. As Tymoshenko argued, ‘Not going to the courts today would mean leaving Ukraine to criminals without a fight’.

As Committee of Voters head Oleksandr Cherneko said, compared to 2004 there was less election fraud but it was nevertheless higher than in the 2006 and 2007 parliamentary elections  


This is especially the case in the light of the fact that those involved in election fraud in the 2004 Yanukovych campaign  were again involved in reduced amounts of fraud this year. Yushchenko’s lack of political will and his unwillingness  to prosecute the organisers of election fraud in 2004  led directly to their ability to undertake more refined election fraud this year.

As Committee of Voters head Oleksandr Cherneko said,  compared to 2004 there was less election fraud but it was nevertheless higher than in the 2006 and 2007 parliamentary elections (Kyiv Post, 11 February).

In the 2004 elections  the Yanukovych campaign massively abused state administrative resources to pressure those who receive a salary from the authorities to vote for the authorities candidate. This year, such brazen tactics of fraud were not used; instead, in Western and Central Ukraine state and local employees of the state were pressured to stay at home.

In the 2010 elections there is evidence of the continued practice from 2004 of the Party of Regions transporting voters to polling stations. This constitutes a form of pressure on voters to vote in the ‘right’ way for the ‘correct’ candidate – Yanukovych.

The transportation led to an artificial increase in the turnout in Eastern Ukraine. Furthermore, intensive campaigning on the day of elections is in violation of the law.

The aim was to reduce the turnout in areas of Ukraine where Tymoshenko is popular. The most dramatic example of such refined election fraud tactics took place in Zakarpattia, a region controlled by Viktor Baloga who worked for the Yanukovych election campaign. In both rounds of the elections turnout was suspiciously the same – 56% - one of the lowest in Ukraine (see my blog from Uzhorod at http://blogs.pravda.com.ua/authors/kuzyo/4b6bb5f197f28/).

In the first round Yanukovych came first in Zakarpattia, the only region in Western Ukraine. This in of itself should have led election observers to question the election results in that region.

Further low turnout in Western Ukraine was facilitated by Yushchenko who did not honour his constitutional duty to remain objective between candidates. Not only did he sign election law changes only 3 days before the second round. He more importantly called upon voters to vote against both candidates and indirectly therefore  assisted the Yanukovych campaign by encouraging ‘orange’ voters to stay at home.

As The Economist (8 February) wrote: ‘Mr Yanukovich gained mightily from Mr Yushchenko who failed to deliver on any of his election promises and developed an almost irrational hatred of Ms Tymoshenko. Mr Yushchenko won just over 5% in the first round of presidential elections on January 17th and called on his supporters in western Ukraine to vote against both candidates. It is this 4% of Ukrainian votes that probably deprived Ms Tymoshenko of victory’.

A second factor to take into account is that free and fair elections are impossible to hold in areas of Ukraine where the Party of Regions has total control of the local administration. This refers to Donetsk, Luhansk and the Crimea – three Party of Regions strongholds.

A third factor is the inadequacy of Ukraine’s voter lists. The difference between the number of voters on the Derzhavnyi Reestr vybortsiv is 35, 997, 686 while the number of voting slips sent out for the second round was 36, 291.369.  This represents a discrepancy of nearly 300,000 voter slips.  Voters added illegally to the list of voters eligible to vote on 7 February were particularly high in the Crimean autonomous republic, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk oblasts.

Six further examples of election fraud included:

·      A high number of ballots cast for Tymoshenko that were damaged and therefore invalidated.

·      Damaged ballots were added in favour of Viktor Yanukovych in Southern and Eastern Ukraine.

·      Local government authorities in Donetsk and Luhansk drew up parallel lists of voters enabling voters to vote twice.

·      Voting by election commissioners or other voters for other persons not present at the polling station.

·      Numerous violations in the PEC protocols submitted to the DECs and violations of requirements on the corrections in the PEC protocols.

·      As in 2004, a suspiciously high number of voters who voted from home (more then 1 million), many of whom did not have permission to do so. There was a high incidence of home voting based on applications written in the same handwriting.

18.02.10. Jusjtjenkos manglende støtte til Tymoshenko afgørende (eng.)

Taras Kuzio

The two major myths promoted by President Viktor Yushchenko in Ukraine's 2010 presidential elections were that there was no difference in policies between the two main candidates, Viktor Yanukovych and Yulia Tymoshenko, and that both were "pro-Russian" candidates. These myths helped defeat Tymoshenko by 3% in an election where every vote counted.

Eight pieces of evidence point to the Yushchenko-Yanukovych alliance that facilitated Yanukovych's election.

Firstly, a total lack of criticism of Yanukovych by Yushchenko preceding the elections (Ukrayinska Pravda, February 10). Yushchenko never criticized Yanukovych's pro-Russian policies in energy (i.e. gas consortium, return to non-market, subsidized prices, revival of corrupt RosUkrEnergo), Russian as a state language, extension of the Black Sea Fleet base beyond 2017, opposition to a NATO Membership Action Plan, and the Party of Regions alliance with Russian extremist nationalists in Odesa and the Crimea. Yushchenko and the presidential secretariat threw daily abuse at Tymoshenko, accused her of "treason" and vetoed a record number of government policies.

Secondly, a draft agreement was leaked in December by a staff member of the presidential secretariat that revealed plans for a Yushchenko-Yanukovych alliance (UNIAN, December 25, 2009) (See EDM, January 5, 6). The Ukrainian discussed the issue of Yushchenko becoming prime minister under President Yanukovych (www.comments.com.ua, December 4, 2009).

In the event of a NUNS-Regions grand coalition being formed Yushchenko loyalist Yuriy Yekhanurov could be instead offered the position of Prime Minister (Ukrayinska Pravda, 8-10). Prime Minister and Our Ukraine leader Yekhanurov led negotiations with the Party of Regions after the March 2006 elections for a grand coalition that fell through. Yekhanurov was the head of the State Property Fund in the 1990s and the oligarchs are his "children".

Thirdly, the Party of Regions and the Our Ukraine-Peoples Self Defence (NUNS) faction, together with the Communists and Volodymyr Lytvyn bloc, sought to remove pro-Tymoshenko Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko. The vote was supported by NUNS deputy Petro Yushchenko.

Fourthly, between rounds one and two Yushchenko vetoed the cabinet's December 16, 2009 decree appointing General Hennady Moskal as Crimea's police chief (UNIAN, February 2). Moskal, who is a deputy in the pro-Lutsenko Peoples Self Defence group in NUNS, was praised for halting election fraud in favour of Yanukovych in round one.

"The Party of Regions, who are thick as thieves with Yushchenko, control administrative resources on the peninsular", Moskal said (www.zik.com.ua, February 11). The Tymoshenko campaign found evidence of fraud in the Crimea in round two (www.vybory.tymoshenko.ua, February 10).

Fifthly, between rounds one and two Yushchenko removed Kharkiv and Dniproptrovsk governors who had expressed support for Tymoshenko and had refused to provide administrative resources for Yanukovych's campaign. Yushchenko also removed six Ambassadors where there had been few votes for Yushchenko in round one (Ukrayinska Pravda, February 10). The Tymoshenko campaign called for the cancellation of the elections in Dnipropetrovsk where they had found evidence of fraud (www.vybory.tymoshenko.ua, February 10).

Sixthly, only five days before the second round the Party of Regions, the pro-Yanukovych wing of NUNS and the Communists voted through changes to the election law. President Yushchenko quickly signed the law into effect, ignoring a plea to veto it by the Committee of Voters (www.cvu.org.ua, February 4), independent experts, and Tymoshenko (Ukrayinska Pravda, 3-4).

The changes were widely condemned because they changed electoral rules in the middle of the elections. If the changes were deemed so important they should have been demanded by Yushchenko prior to round one. Yushchenko's actions proved that he had forged alliance with Yanukovych, Kyiv expert Volodymyr Fesenko said (www.politdumka.kiev.ua, February 4).

What was left of Yushchenko's reputation, in Ukraine and abroad, was effectively destroyed by his support for the electoral law changes because they undermined his role as the constitutional guarantor of free elections and his election campaign slogan of having brought democracy to Ukraine, Kyiv expert Ihor Zhdanov said (www.politdumka.kiev.ua, February 4). Oleksandr Tretiakov, a long timer ally, resigned from the Our Ukraine party that Yushchenko is honorary chairman of.

Seventh, and most controversially, between rounds one and two Yushchenko signed two decrees giving hero status to Organization of Ukrainian Nationalist leader Stepan Bandera and to honor members of different Ukrainian national liberation movements in the twentieth century (www.president.gov.ua, January 28). The decrees, immediately condemned by Russia, helped to additionally mobilize pro-Yanukovych voters in Eastern and Southern Ukraine. Professor Myroslav Popovych claimed the decrees "disorientated" Eastern-Southern Ukrainian voters and mobilized them against the "orange" candidate, Tymoshenko (Ukrayinsky Tyzhden, January 29-February 4).

The timing of the two decrees was suspicious as they were not issued prior to round one, when they could have given Yushchenko additional nationalist votes taking them away from Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok. The decrees could have been issued at any time in his presidency, as he had undertaken with an October 2007 decree giving hero status to Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) leader Roman Shukhevych (see EDM, October 23, 2007)? A decree in honor of Sich Sharpshooters, a Ukrainian unit in the Austrian army in World War I, was issued on January 6 before round one.

Eighth, Yuriy Shukhevych, son of the UPA commander, led a campaign in Lviv with other nationalist leaders in support of Yushchenko's call to vote against both candidates in round two. Evidence was provided by Tymoshenko in an appearance on Inter television (February 5) that these appeals were published in Lviv newspapers with financial assistance from the Yanukovych campaign.

Anti-semitic leaflets appeared in Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk (witnessed by this author) calling on voters to "Don't vote for that Jew", a reference to Tymoshenko's alleged father's ethnicity (the leaflet is reproduced by www.rferl, February 3).

The supreme irony of Ukraine's 2010 election campaign is that the nationalist candidate, Yushchenko, long vilified by Russia, facilitated the election of the pro-Russian candidate, Yanukovych, Moscow's favorite in the Ukrainian elections (see EDM, January 22, 27, 29).

Yushchenko, brought to power by the 2004 Orange Revolution, effectively destroyed the Orange Revolution himself. The Revolution, long the personal object of hate of former President Vladimir Putin who saw it as one of his personal policy failures, was buried by the very person (Yushchenko) whom Putin so despised.

No better final epitaph could have been better written for Yushchenko.

18.02.10. Ikke noget flertal i Vores Ukraine for at forlade Tymoshenko-koalitionen

Der er ikke noget flertal i fraktionen "Vores Ukraine" (også kaldet NUNS) for at forlade koalitionen med Julia Tymoshenkos Blok og Lytvyns Blok, oplyser medlem af "Vores Ukraine"s fraktion Anatolij Hrytsenko til tv-stationen TVi.

I en kommentar til parlamentsformand Volodymyr Lytvyns krav om, at koalitionen har 10 dage til bevise sin eksistens, siger Hrytsenko: "Loven om parlamentets forretningsorden trådte i kraft den 17. februar og har ikke tilbagevirkende kraft, og derfor har Lytvyn ingen ret til at kræve beviser eller underskrifter".

Ifølge Hrytsenko er det eneste, der kan ødelægge den nuværende koalition, hvis en af de fraktioner, som indgår i koalitionen, forlader den.

"Premierminister Tymoshenko siger, at BJuT's fraktion ikke har tænkt sig at forlade koalitionen. NUNS har også truffet en lignende beslutning", siger Hrytsenko.

Ifølge Hrytsenko er det Janukovytjs fejl efter valget - hans første tale på russisk, hans første interview til de udenlandske medier om emner, som splitter landet (Sortehavsflåden, gaskonsortiet, NATO, det russiske sprogs status) - der har skræmt de dele af NUNS, som i teorien godt kunne indgå en alliance med Regionernes Parti, fra at gå ind i en ny koalition.

"Den politiske situation i dag er i en blindgyde. Man har en  nyvalgt præsident, en gammel koalition, premierminister og regering. Derfor er det desværre umuligt at løse denne situation uden konflikter", mener Hrytsenko. Janukovytj kan godt prøve at arbejde videre sammen med Tymoshenko, men der kommer ikke noget godt ud af det".

Loven om parlamentets forretningsorden, der trådte i kraft den 17. februar, kræver, at de fraktioner, som har indgået en flertalskoalitionsaftale, udover selve aftalen også skal fremlægge en liste med underskrifter fra alle de parlamentsmedlemmer, som indgår i koalitionen, dvs. mindst 226 medlemmer. Podrobnosti.

Ukraines præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko har i en telefonsamtale lykønsket Viktor Janukovytj med et legitimt valg til posten som statsoverhoved., oplyser den ukrainske præsidents pressetjeneste lørdag.

Jusjtjenko udtrykte håb om, at Janukovytj vil gøre, hvad der står i hans magt for at opfylde sin vigtigste mission på posten som præsident - at konsolidere Ukraine. Han er sikker på, at der nu er mulighed for at opfylde tesen "øst og vest er sammen".

Jusjtjenko opfordrede Janukovytj til som præsident at "forfægte den ukrainske interesse og forsvare den demokratiske tradition".

Viktor Jusjtjenko har allerede underskrevet et dekret om gennemførelsen af aktiviteter i forbindelse med indsættelsen af den nyvalgte præsident.

Efter planen finder indsættelsen af den nye præsident sted den 25. februar. UP.

20.02.10. Tymoshenko trækker sine klager over valget tilbage

Den øverste forvaltningsdomstol i Ukraine har efter anmodning fra Yulia Tymoshenko trukket kravet om appel af resultatet af præsidentvalget tilbage, siger særlige rapportør om sagen efter mere end fem timers ophold i den afgående værelse.

Den øverste forvaltningsdomstol mener ikke, at de påståede forhold er b levet dokumenteret og afviser beskyldningen om, at retten ikke vil undersøge sagen objektivt og grundigt. Navnlig minder retten om, at den har krævet Den centrale valgkommissions protokol af valgresultaterne, samt optegnelser fra alle 225 kredsvalgkommissioner. Derudover indkaldte retten som vidner de fire medlemmer af Den centrale valgkommission, der havde underskrevet protokollen om resultatet af valget med en særskilt udtalelse.

"Motiverne til tilbagekaldelsen af påstanden er ubegrundede," - siger  retten i sin afgørelse. Rettens afgørelse er endelig og  kan ikke appelleres.

Efter dette blev mødet i den øverste forvaltningsdomstol i anledning af premierminister Yulia Tymoshenko søgsmål mod den centrale valgkommission erklæret for afsluttet.

Tidligere i dag  sagde Tymoshenko under retsmødet, at hun frafalder søgsmålet mod Den centrale valgkommission over valgresultatet.

Timosjenko sagde, at hun har fremlagt overbevisende dokumentation for uregelmæssigheder i valget, men at retten har afvist den skriftlige dokumentation, og at indkalde vidner.

Premierministeren bemærkede, at hun ikke vil appellere til Højesteret. Podrobnosti.

01.03.10. Parlamentet tager onsdag stilling til mistillidsvotum mod regeringen

Ukraines parlament skal på onsdag den 3. marts tage stilling til et mistillidsvotum mod regeringen fremsat af Regionernes Parti. Det meddelte parlamentsformand Volodymyr Lytvyn i dag.

"Lederne af samtlige fraktioner bakkede op om, at vi på onsdag tager stilling et mistillidsvotum mod regeringen", sagde Lytvyn. Han vil sende et brev herom til regeringens hovedkvarter.

Tidligere i dag havde Julia Tymoshenko krævet, at tillidsafstemningen fandt sted i morgen, den 2. marts. Regionernes parti insisterede dog på at udskyde behandlingen til den 3. marts.

Den 24. februar fik parlamentsmedlemmerne Oleksandr Lavrynovytj, Oleksandr Jefremov og Olena Lukash fra Regionernes parti omregistreret lovforslag N6098 "Om regeringens ansvarlighed", til at gælde et mistillidsvotum mod regeringen.

Ifølge ukrainsk lovgivning kan regeringen få immunitet mod mistillidsafstemninger i et halvt år, hvis parlamentet ikke kan samle flertal for at afsætte regeringen. Et mistillidsvotum til regeringen kan kun sættes til afstemning én gang pr. session. Podrobnosti.

Formanden for Rådet for Den Europæiske Union, Herman Van Rompuy, understregede behovet for samarbejde mellem alle politiske kræfter i Ukraine for landets politiske stabilitet.

På en pressekonference efter det bilaterale møde med præsident Viktor Yanukovych i Bruxelles sagde Van Rompuy, at EU-medlemmerne stadig er loyale over for yderligere støtte Ukraine.

Når vi taler om den associeringsaftale, som Kiev og Bruxelles fører forhandlinger om, bemærkede han, "vil den bringe Ukraine tættere på EU som en politisk og økonomisk plan."

Parterne enedes om at fremskynde forhandlingerne om aftalen og underskrive det inden længe.

Formanden for EU-Rådet noterede sig også betydningen af Ukraines relationer med Rusland.

Desuden vil Ukraine og EU ifølge Van Rompuy vurdere deres relationer på det topmøde, som vil blive afholdt senere.

Han sagde, at parterne under mødet kom ind på spørgsmålet om reformer, herunder behovet for fornyet samarbejde med Den Internationale Valutafond.

Til gengæld sagde Ukraines præsident Viktor Yanukovych efter sit møde med EU-formandskabet, at Ukraines udenrigspolitik ikke vil undergå radikale ændringer, men vil blive mere pragmatisk.

"Vore prioriteter er integration i Den Europæiske Union, genoptagelse af venlige og gode naboskabsforbindelser med Rusland, bygning af nabovenlige relationer med andre lande - naboer og strategisk partnerskab med USA," - sagde han i en pressemeddelelse.

Endvidere nævnte Janukovitj samarbejde med IMF og andre internationale finansielle institutioner blandt de udenrigspolitiske prioriteter.

Ukraines præsident bemærkede, at Ukraine udenlandske og indenlandske politiske prioriteringer har til formål at sikre politisk stabilitet, hvilket igen vil forbedre levestandarden for ukrainere. Podrobnosti.

03.03.10 Julia Tymoshenkos regering afsat

Ukraines parlament, Verkhovna Rada, har i dag vedtaget et mistillidsvotum mod Julia Tymoshenkos regering. 243 deputerede stemte for resolutionen, heraf 172 fra Regionernes parti, 7 fra Julia Tymoshenkos Blok, 15 fra Vores Ukraine, 27 fra kommunisterne, 19 fra Lytvyns Blok og 3 løsgængere.

Resolutionsforslaget var blevet fremsat af næstformand i Regionernes Partis fraktion, Oleksandr Jefremov.

I sin tale i parlamentet i dag sagde Julia Tymoshenko, at hun agtede at gå i opposition, ligeså snart parlamentet havde vedtaget mistillidsvotumet.

"Hvis regeringen i dag bliver afsat, vil vores regering omgående forlade regeringskontorerne, mens vores politiske parti vil gå i opposition, hvor det vil arbejde målrettet på at danne et forenet demokratisk team", sagde hun. Podrobnosti.

04.03.10. Parlamentet vedtager kontroversiel koalitionsdannelsesprocedure

Ukraines parlament har i førstebehandlingen vedtaget ændringer af regler, der gør det muligt at danne en flertalskoalition ved hjælp af individuelle parlamentsmedlemmer. 229 deputerede stemte for ændringsforlag til § 61 i parlamentets reglement. Hvis lovforslaget bliver vedtaget og træder i kraft efter præsident Janukovytjs forventede underskrift, så betyder det, at et parlamentsmedlem kan være medlem af flertalskoalitionen på individuel basis. Ifølge flere eksperter vil dette være i strid med forfatningen og forfatningsdomstolens kendelse fra september 2008.

2. behandlingen vil ske efter en hasteprocedure, dvs. måske allerede i morgen.

Lovforslaget fastslår, at "en koalition af deputeretfraktioner i parlamentet - er en sammenslutning af fraktioner af folkedeputerede, som udgør et flertal i parlamentet og er dannet som følge af et parlamentsvalg og på grundlag af afstemte politiske holdninger og principper, der er fastsat ved forfatningen og reglementet.

Koalitionen dannes inden for en måned efter det første møde i Verkhovna Rada efter et valg, eller senest en måned efter, at den foregående koalition er ophørt med at eksistere.

Manden bag lovforslaget, medlem af Regionernes parti Valerij Bondyk, siger, at ændringerne i reglementet "er små".

"I må forstå, at hvis der er nedlagt en mine i forfatningen, så er det vores opgave at uskadeliggøre den. Det er rigtigt, at parlamentet udgøres af fraktioner... Mener De ikke, at mindretallets rettigheder også bør garanteres, det mener jeg", sagde Bondyk.

Samtidig erklærede repræsentanter for Julia Tymoshenkos Blok og Vores Ukraine, at lovændringerne er forfatningsstridige, fordi det ifølge forfatningen er fraktionerne i parlamentet, der danner en flertalskoalition.

I september 2008 afgjorde Ukraines forfatningsdomstol, at en koalition af deputeretfraktioner er en sammenslutning af parlamentets fraktioner om tæller mindst 226 deputerede (simpelt flertal). UP, Podrobnosti.

Ukraines parlament, Verkhovna Rada, vedtog under andenbehandlingen og som helhed lovforslaget om ændringer af de forordninger, der gør det muligt at danne en koalitionsregering, ikke blot på grundlag af parlamentariske fraktioner, men også på grundlag af enkelte deputerede. "For" stemte 235 deputerede. Nu kan Regionernes parti, kommunisterne og Lytvyn blok samt enkelte deputerede fra Vores Ukraine og BJuT lovligt kan danne en koalitionsregering i Verkhovna Rada.

Den nye lov om reglementet definerer en koalition af parlamentariske grupperinger som "en sammenslutning af deputeretfraktioner og folkedeputerede, som rummer flertallet af Verkhovna Radas forfatningsmæssige sammensætning i medfør af valgresultatet og baseret på aftalte politiske holdninger og principper i Ukraines forfatning og dette reglement."

Ifølge dokumentet er en liste over parlamentsmedlemmer med deres personlige underskrifter en del af koalitionsaftalen.

Under afstemningen om lovforslaget opstod der klammeri mellem Vores Ukraines Roman Zvarych og næstkommanderende i "Regionernes parti" Olexander Yefremov.

"Jeg foreslår, at vi ganske enkelt indfører den juridiske term "forræder". Vælgerne er ligeglade med, hvem der deltager i koalitionen. De vil gerne have at vide, hvem der har forrådt deres interesser. Lister over dem, der er imod sin fraktions og sine vælgeres vilje, er trådt ind i koalitionen, bør offentliggøres" - sagde Roman Zvarych.

"Vi har nøje gennemgået Deres forslag i udvalget. Taget i betragtning af, at De i hele valgkampen præsenterede ikke Vores Ukraine (som Zvarych er valgt ind i parlamentet for), men BJuT, må Deres forslag åbenbart bygge på noget baggrundsviden! Men vi ville nødig stemple folk, herunder Dem! - svarede Oleksandr Yefremov.

"Dette er det eneste argument, og det er rent personligt" - begyndte Zvarych at retfærdiggøre sig selv. Podrobnosti.

Præsident Viktor Janukovitj står for bevarelsen af ukrainsk som landets eneste statslige sprog. Det sagde han i Cherkasy regionen i forbindelse med festlighederne i anledning af årsdagen for digteren Taras Shevchenkos fødsel.

"Ukraine vil fortsætte med at udvikle det ukrainske sprog som det eneste officielle sprog" - sagde han.

Samtidig understregede han behovet for udvikling og andre sprog i Ukraine.

I september 2009 sagde Janukovytj, at han agter at søge anerkendelse af det russiske sprog som det andet statslige sprog i tilfælde af hans sejr ved præsidentvalget. Podrobnosti.

11.03.10. Azarov ny premierminister

Parlamentet i Kiev har valgt Mykola Azarov til posten som premierminister. Denne beslutning blev støttet af 242 deputerede.

Parlamentsformanden lod ikke afstemningsresultaterne offentliggøre på afstemningstavlen, som det ellers er kotyme. Formanden for præsidentens protokol overrakte en buket røde roser til Azarov fra Viktor Yanukovych.

Herefter blev resolutionen om afskedigelsen af premierminister Tymoshenko sat til afstemning. 237 deputerede stemte for resolutionen.

Parlamentsmedlemmerne stemte også for en afsættelse af hendes regering med 238 deputerede "for". UP.

11.03.10. Ukraines nye regering

Ukraines parlament har med 240 stemmer for godkendt Ukraines nye regering med følgende sammensætning:

Andrej Klyuyev - 1. vice-premierminister

Boris Kolesnikov - Vice-Premierminister med ansvaret for Euro-2012

Vladimir Seminozhenko - Vice-Premierminister med ansvaret for humanitære anliggender

Volodymyr Sivkovych - Vice-Premierminister med ansvar for sikkerhedsstyrkerne

Victor Slauta - vicepremierminister

Sergei Tigipko - vicepremierminister med ansvar for økonomi

Viktor Tikhonov - vicepremierminister

Victor Boyko - miljøminister

Yuri Boyko - Minister for energi og brændstof

Kostyantyn Yefimenko - Minister for transport og kommunikation

Dmitry Kolesnikov - Minister for Industripolitik

Michael Kulinyaka - minister for kultur og turisme

Alexander Lavrinovich - justitsminister

Zinovy Mitnick - sundhedsminister

Anatoly Mogilev - indenrigsminister

Basil Nadraga - Arbejds- og socialminister

Alexander Popov - Minister of Housing and municipality

Michael Prisazhnyuka - Minister of Agrarian Policy

Ravvil Safiullin - minister for ungdom og sport

Dmitry Tabachnik - Undervisningsminister

Anatoliy Tolstoukhov - minister uden porteføjle

Vasyl Tsushko - Økonomiminister

Theodore Yaroshenko - finansminister

Vladimir Yatsuba - minister for regional udvikling

Yuri Yaschenko - Minister of kulindustrien

Nestor Shufrych - minister af nødsituationer

Verkhovna Rada i Ukraine har udpeget Konstantin Gryshchenko som udenrigsminister, og Mykhajlo Yezhel som forsvarsminister. I en afgørelse 229 deputerede stemte for de 371 registreret i hallen.

Tidligere foreslog den nye premierminister Mykola Azarov Nomineringer medlemmer af regeringen.

Mykola Azarov blev godkendt som premierminister.

For beslutningen om torsdag stemte 242 deputerede.

Formanden for Verkhovna Rada i Ukraine Vladimir Litvin bebudede dannelsen af en koalition for stabilitet og reformer. Koalitionen omfatter 235 deputerede.


16.03.10. Letter to the President of the European Parliament from Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists re Hero of Ukraine Bandera

March 9, 2010

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), the organization headed at one time by Stepan Bandera.

No doubt by now, you have received ample correspondence criticizing Poland's action in the European Parliament: the introduction of a resolution (# 20) depicting the Ukrainian nation and those who strived for its independence as Nazi collaborators and fascists. The resolution also called on the new administration in Ukraine to rescind the honor afforded to Stepan Bandera as a Hero of Ukraine.

The resolution and its implications are libelous, and we are presently examining what action can be taken.

Apart from being another example of disinformation and propaganda, which has been disproven by international commissions and trials such as Canada's Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals presided over by Justice Jules Deschenes, the Nuremberg Trials and others, you nevertheless persist at continuing to initiate tensions and international disharmony at the highest level, when in fact your role is to do the opposite.

While this is an emotional issue, it is of utmost importance that facts and not fiction be the basis of our discussions.

Your calling on Ukraine's new administration to rescind the decree of a former President, a President whom you hosted, respected and worked with to integrate Ukraine into the European community, is totally disrespectful to all concerned, especially to those who laid down their lives for Ukraine in battle, to Stepan Bandera and his family, and generally to Ukrainians in Ukraine and in the Diaspora . But most importantly, you have entered a realm of discussion that puts into question freedom fighters who aspired to independence throughout the world. In your homeland of Poland, there are many who aspired for a free Poland.

Recently, positive Ukrainian-Polish-Jewish relations have developed at the highest level. This is most important as we strive for a world that is harmonious, a world that recognizes history based on facts and not Soviet propaganda, a world which condemns atrocities and crimes against humanity, such as Stalin's policies which saw millions perish in the Famine Genocide of 1932-33 in Ukraine, called the Holodomor. The international community agrees that we can only have a better future when we understand our past and never allow the same mistakes to be repeated. Commentary must be based on historical facts. Our qualm is that your resolution lacks in this regard. The struggles of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and the efforts of Bandera are now well-documented. The archives of the Security Service of Ukraine are now open and accessible. Your resolution perpetuates the disinformation and propaganda which in the past did not allow the world to know the truth, leaving the world with a tainted perspective. We believe you have been caught up in a pro-Russian propaganda attempt, carried out through the hands of others. This can be proved or disproved by you answering a simple question: Who initiated the discussion which led to proposing this resolution and in what situation did this conversation arise ?

Recent efforts to discredit General Roman Shukhevych, commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) were again proven to be false when representatives of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the National Institute of Memory travelled to Israel and provided pertinent archival documents to Yad Vashem. Yad Vashem, Director Tom Lapid indicated there was no dossier on Shukhevych in Israel's archives, yet many allegations had been made. (Links to Yad Vashem's acknowledgment of no dossier is listed below . Two years have passed and still no evidence, only innuendo.

Secondly, Petro Symonenko, Head of Ukraine's Communist Party has been ordered by the Courts in Kyiv, Ukraine to apologise to Shukhevych's family for his slanderous, unfounded lies about Shukhevych. He was ordered to do this from the floor of Ukraine's Verchovna Rada. Moysey (Moses) Fishbeyn an influential and renowned Ukrainian poet and translator of Jewish origin reported this recently. There are similar situations relating to Stepan Bandera, disinformation, fabricated stories which have been disproven, yet being perpetuated.

It would have been prudent for the European Parliament to avoid making the same mistake by obtaining official archival information from Ukrainian officials, before making such unsubstantiated claims.

Your call on the new administration in Ukraine has now caused a divide in some political circles, but it must be stressed that support for rescinding the decree is not widely supported. Regional governments in Ukraine have passed motions condemning any such move. Grass-roots activity in many regions of Ukraine opposes both your resolution and the comments made by President Viktor Yanukovych in this regard.

The newly elected President vowed to be a President for all Ukrainians. He cannot discount the millions of Ukrainians who recognize that the efforts of Bandera and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army led to the eventual liberation of Ukraine. The 1991 Proclamation of Independence was the result of many generations of Ukrainians, over a long period of time, striving to achieve the same goal. They deserve recognition, and Mr. Yanukovych, as President, must keep true to his election mantra of governing on behalf of all Ukrainians. Your resolution only complicates this issue. Many in the Ukrainian media have condemned your intrusion into the internal affairs of a sovereign Ukrainian state.

The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, as part of its role, devotes a great deal of time to education, history and archival matters. Fact and not fiction, information and not disinformation, accuracy and not propaganda are standards we aspire to. We would encourage the leadership of the European Parliament to adhere to the same principles and standards. We are arranging for materials and information to be sent to all members of the European Parliament. A biography and other information on Stepan Bandera are attached to this letter for your perusal.

We are calling on our communities internationally to contact the many members of the European Parliament to provide them with background information. President Yanukovych, during an international media conference indicated he would not be a puppet of the Russian Federation's leadership. We have now called upon him to show that he is neither a puppet of the Russian Federation nor of the European Parliament.

As we explore our legal options regarding this slanderous resolution, we are providing you and your fellow members of parliament with factual information. We call on you to revisit this matter in parliament, and call for a vote to rescind this resolution. This will be an act of good will, an act in line with international and European standards.

It is in the interest of some to perpetuate the anti-Ukraine hysteria , to discredit Ukraine, to historically paint a picture of hate, Nazi collaboration and racism. This pro-Soviet propaganda machine did not stop in 1991 following Ukraine's independence. It continues today. One only needs to follow the anti-Ukrainian venom unleashed by the propaganda machine of the Russian Federation during the commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor. Similar pressures, as the one made on you in the matter of OUN-UPA and Bandera, were being made by the Russian Federation on the highest levels of government worldwide, aimed at discrediting the Holodomor. This is called, "Pulling the levers while being the silent partner." The discrediting of Shukhevych, Bandera and OUN-UPA is part of the same process.

In conclusion I provide an interesting piece of writing in relation to the various attempts by Russia to discredit a hero - Pope Pius XII --

Persecuting a Pope
Then again, if a story that broke in 2007 is to be believed, maybe it doesn't. That year, the highest-ranking communist intelligence officer to ever defect to the West, Ion Mihail Pacepa, claimed that the attack on Pius was no accident -- it was Soviet agitprop. He revealed, wrote John Follain in the Sunday Times of London, "that he was involved in the operation code-named Seat12, a Kremlin scheme launched in 1960 to portray Pius XII 'as a cold-hearted Nazi sympathiser.' The result, according to Pacepa, was the 1963 play The Deputy, by Rolf Hochhuth." Oh, I should add that the motto of this Cold War plot was "Dead men cannot defend themselves." No, they can't -- but men with dead souls can attack very well. The point is that the communists viewed the Catholic Church as a major (if not the main) impediment to their aims. Also remember that, as Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov pointed out years ago, 85 percent of the KGB's resources were devoted not to intrigue but to subversion, efforts at, as he put it, "demoralization." That is, efforts such as the attack on Pius.

The same modus operandi can now be proven in relation to discrediting Ukraine and Ukraine's history.

We are seeking to meet with you as soon as possible at a location of your choice to discuss this situation. We look forward to a meaningful discussion and speedy resolution of this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Stefan Romaniw
Head of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists
cc President of Ukraine Viktor Yanykovych

16.03.10. The old Kuchma-boys have returned

Taras Kuzio

Leonid Kuchma (woops Nikolai Azarov) has returned to power in Ukraine. Five things are certain with the formation of an unconstitutional coalition and government.

The first is that the president was only in his job a few weeks before he began infringing the constitution by postponing local elections and changing parliamentary rules so that deputies could join a coalition.

The real coalition has only 219 deputies from three factions with the remainder defectors and independents. These, such as Taras Chornovil and Inna Boguslovska, have no moral right to be still in parliament as it was the party in a proportional system -- not them as individuals -- who won the votes in the 2007 elections.

The second is that political stability, about which Yanukovych has set his heart on, is not likely to appear. This would have only been possible if a coalition had been established by the Party of Regions and Our Ukraine.

A grand coalition would have entailed Yanukovych compromising on his radical pro-Russian policies and dropping his revisionist platform, as well as giving the position of Prime Minister to Arseniy Yatseniuk. Yanukovych wanted to take neither of these steps and instead created a neo-Kuchmaite, Party of Regions-Communist coalition and government with "reformer" Sergei Tigipko as mere window dressing.

The third is that the government has no reformist credentials and will deepen Ukraine's stagnation leading to further regression from European integration. The choice of cabinet ministers is a telling sign that the old boys have returned. Dmytro Tabachnyk as Minister of Education brings on the threat of a direct attack on Ukraine's nation-building project. This is the same person who wrote last year that "Galicians have virtually nothing to do with the people of Great Ukraine, mentally, confessionally, linguistically or politically. We have different enemies and different allies. Furthermore, our allies, and even brothers are their enemies, and their "heroes" (Bandera, Shukhevych) are for us murderers, traitors and accomplices of Hitler's executioners" Tabachnyk wrote in Izvestia in Ukraine (23 September 2009).

The Party of Regions gas lobby have also returned which means that the mass corruption of the Yushchenko era, when RosUkrEnergo was in place, will return.

The fourth is that pre-term elections are inevitable for two reasons. The first being that Yulia Tymoshenko will never agree to remain outside parliament until the next elections in 2012. This is what Yanukovych is counting on as he fears Tymoshenko heading the opposition inside parliament.

Ukraine is in legal no-mans land. The largest party in opposition in a democracy is the one to normally establish a shadow cabinet which in Ukraine is the Tymoshenko bloc (BYuT). But, Tymoshenko is not a deputy and it will be impossible to head a shadow opposition cabinet from outside parliament.

Yatseniuk has therefore stated his objective of establishing a shadow cabinet. Ukraine will therefore have two oppositions: a radical one led by Tymoshenko and "constructive" opposition led by Yatseniuk.

The second point is that the Constitutional Court will inevitably find that Yanukovych and his counter-revolutionaries have infringed article 83 of the constitution and ignored a 2009 Constitutional Court ruling that only factions can establish coalitions. The coalition and government will be therefore officially unconstitutional.

The Communists, Lytvyn bloc and Our Ukraine are all afraid of pre-term elections as they will not enter parliament. The Our Ukraine vote would go to Arseniy Yatseniuk and to Tymoshenko.

Viktor Baloga's United Centre and Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine will not enter the new parliament and its good riddance to both of them.

Yatseniuk supports new elections as he would receive his own faction with opinion polls giving him 8% (approximately 35 deputies). Yatseniuk came 4th in the first round of the elections and received 7%.

BYuT would receive about the same result as in 2007 (31%). In the first round of presidential elections Tymosenko received 25% which represents her hard core vote in support of BYuT. Her 45% second round vote included additional negative voters against Yanukovych. A 25% voter base can be easily increased in an election campaign.

The Party of Regions is ambivalent about pre-term elections but would maybe receive less than in 2007 (34%), if Sergei Tigipko takes votes from them. Tigipko received 13% in the first round and came 3rd.

Finally, of the two so-called "new faces" in Ukrainian politics Arseniy Yatseniuk has come out far better than Tigipko. Tigipko can no longer be taken seriously by voters after he first condemned in the strongest of terms the manner in which the coalition was unconstitutional formed, describing it as "political raiderstvo" (raiding), and then agreed to join it as a deputy prime minister. With a 13% vote under his belt Tigipko could have waited out this one and come back as prime minister. Instead he opted to join an unconstitutional government under Azarov.

Yatseniuk deserves credit for not agreeing to join the government and instead going into opposition. Of the two "new faces" in Ukrainian politics, Tigipko and Yatseniuk, he is the only one that has morals and principles. Of course, Tigipko merely confirmed the fraud he always was as he was never a "new face", having been in Ukrainian politics since 1998, and had never explained how he was a reformer when he headed the 2004 Yanukovych election campaign that was the dirtiest in Ukrainian history.

His posturing as "Ukraine's Rambo" during the election campaign was amusing; after all, had he not been the one who fled Ukraine after the 2004 second round? I have watched all the Rambo movies and don't recall Rambo ever retreating from a battle.

March 11, 2010

16.03.10. Yanukovych’s radical march to Moscow

Taras Kuzio

Taras Kuzio writes: This article is, therefore, a reminder for those optimists and wishful thinkers about that for which Yanukovych stands. Western media and diplomats routinely dismissed the notion that, upon his election, Viktor Yanukovych would implement domestic and foreign policies that were far more pro-Russian than Leonid Kuchma’s in the 1994 election. Wishful thinking led many to argue that Ukrainian politicians say one thing during election campaigns and then do another after them.

It was as though Westerners hoped that Yanukovych would continue to cheat his voters. The period since his Feb. 25 inauguration shows he is set to become a revisionist Ukrainian president, breaking with the domestic and foreign policies put in place under Ukraine’s first three presidents.

Yanukovych has stuck to the ideological tenets of his pro-Russian election platform. This article is, therefore, a reminder for those optimists and wishful thinkers about what Yanukovych stands for.

An important point for Western governments and international institutions to take into account is the deep level of duplicity in Yanukovych’s homo sovieticus mindset. He has, and will continue to, change his mind on numerous occasions, will flip flop on policies. This was clearly seen through his attitude towards NATO (see below).


Yanukovych will no longer prioritize nation-building. This will include a neglect of historical memory, such as the 1933 artificial famine. The Party of Regions and Communist Party did not vote for a November 2006 law on the famine. Russia will also welcome Yanukovych’s more critical treatment of Ukrainian nationalist heroes and has promised to rescind Victor Yushchenko’s Jan. 22 decree honoring Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists leader Stepan Bandera. Yanukovych could go so far as to undertake a revision of history school textbooks, especially if a Communist or Dmytro Tabachnyk is appointed education minister or vice premier in charge of pedagogy, a step that was undertaken by Alexander Lukashenko after he was first elected in Belarus in 1994.

Yanukovych, unlike three previous presidents, does not support an autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In summer 2009, Yanukovych accompanied Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill around Ukraine and the patriarch blessed him ahead of his inauguration in parliament on Feb. 25. Yanukovych did not invite Ukrainian Orthodox or Greek Catholic churches to the inauguration. Yanukovych supports Russian as a second state language which, if implemented, would mean Ukraine would follow the path undertaken by Belarus and Kyrgyzstan.


Changing the Black Sea Fleet base in Sevastopol, where it is “temporarily” stationed until 2017, into a permanent naval base. Changing Sevastopol into a permanent base would require a change in Ukraine’s Constitution for which Yanukovych would be unable to find 300 votes in parliament. The Ukrainian constitution bans foreign military bases. Making Sevastopol into a permanent Russian base would de facto transfer sovereignty over the port to Russia and destabilize the situation on the peninsula. The move would contradict Yanukovych’s election platform calling for Ukraine to be a non-bloc, neutral state. If Russia can have a military base on Ukrainian territory then why not the U.S., NATO or anybody else?

CIS customs union

Joining the CIS single economic customs union with Kazakhstan, Russia, and Belarus. These three countries are not members of the World Trade Organization, complicating Ukraine’s attempt to join a customs union. Yanukovych has said Ukraine can join the customs union after the three existing members join the WTO. A second problem is that Ukraine is negotiating a free trade zone with the European Union.


Revival of an idea of Ukraine’s gas pipelines that transport 80 percent of Russian gas becoming part of a consortium with other nations. Although Russia would not obtain more than 50 percent ownership, Moscow could obtain a commanding control through adding its share with a Western European consortium partner such as Germany. Yanukovych’s aim is to return to subsidized gas for which he is willing to give Russia a share of the pipelines, an aim that has overtures of Belarus, where Russia obtained control of 50 percent of its pipelines. Yanukovych has stated his desire to therefore renegotiate Yulia Tymoshenko government’s gas contract which envisaged a move to market prices by 2011. Yanukovych will have to overturn a February law banning the lease, rent or selling of the pipelines for which 430 deputies voted, including the Party of Regions.

A return to the use of an opaque gas intermediary between Ukraine and Russia, such as RosUkrEnergo, which was part of the gas contracts between 2006-2009, but removed by the Tymoshenko government. The newly appointed head of the presidential administration, Serhiy Levochkin, is a business partner of RosUkrEnergo and represents the gas lobby in the Party of Regions. His appointment signals the influence of RosUkrEnergo co-owner Dmytro Firtash, who has staked out his claim to a share of any gas consortium in exchange for RosUkrEnergo gas unilaterally confiscated by Naftogaz Ukraine and Gazprom.

Russian security

Yanukovych has supported President Dmitri Medvedev’s proposals for a European security treaty that is an alternative to NATO and the goal of removing the U.S. from Europe. Yanukovych believes that Sevastopol as a permanent Russian naval base could be a part of such a treaty. The European Union and NATO have not warmed to Medvedev’s proposals.


Yanukovych has a more pro-Russian stance inside the Commonwealth of Independent States. He believes that the GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova) regional group is irrelevant, an organization that Leonid Kuchma established in 1997 to group together like-minded pro-Western countries to balance against Russia in the CIS and to support their territorial integrities (three GUAM members had frozen conflicts). The Party of Regions has distanced itself from Kuchma’s support for Georgia and adopted a completely pro-Russian line on the 2008war.


The Party of Regions initiated support for Ukraine to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia with a resolution to this effect being adopted in the Crimean parliament but failing in the national. The Party of Regions broke with the policy of Ukraine’s three former presidents of supporting the territorial status quo of all countries, including Georgia’s territorial integrity. Yanukovych’s move away from Ukraine’s long-held position towards that of Russia’s showed to what degree Yanukovych is far more pro-Russian than Kuchma had been, who strongly backed Georgia’s, Azerbaijan’s and Moldova’s territorial integrity. Ukraine understood under Kuchma that defense of Georgia’s territorial integrity was indirectly also the defense of Ukraine’s. If South Ossetia and Abkhazia could be independent, then why not the Crimea and if Ukraine can recognize South Ossetia’s independence then why cannot Georgia recognize the Crimea’s?

National security

Yanukovych and senior Party of Regions officials differ from all three previous presidents in being unable to see Russia as a potential threat to Ukraine’s national security and territorial integrity. Kuchma had professional advisers running the National Security and Defense Council such as Volodymyr Horbulin and Yevhen Marchuk who have continued to be critics of Russia’s more assertive behavior in the post-Soviet space. No such advisers exist in the Yanukovych administration.


Yanukovych supported Kuchma’s request for a NATO Membership Action Plan in 2002 and 2004 in Prague and Istanbul. Kuchma and the Yanukovych government sent the third largest military contingent to Iraq in 2003 as a “sweetener” to improve Ukraine’s relations with the United States. In 2003, parliament voted for legislation on national security, supported by the Party of Regions, outlining Ukraine’s goal of NATO membership. A government strategy to 2015 released in 2004, outlined Ukraine’s objective of receiving a MAP in 2006 and NATO membership in 2008.

While Ukrainian troops were in Iraq and Ukraine’s president and government sought NATO membership, the Yanukovych 2004 election campaign unfurled an unprecedented anti-American and anti-NATO campaign against Yushchenko. This was a sign of Yanukovych’s pending flip flop after Kuchma left office.

Divested of Kuchma, Yanukovych switched to a staunchly pro-Russian position after Yushchenko was elected. In 2006 and 2009, the Party of Regions and its Russian nationalist allies disrupted joint military exercises in the Crimea under NATO’s Partnership for Peace program. Yanukovych, as prime minister, told NATO in September 2006 that Ukraine had no interest in a Membership Action Plan, which scuttled such a possibility two months later in Riga.

NATO membership, which was a central aspect of Ukrainian foreign policy until 2004, will no longer be a foreign policy goal of Yanukovych. Yanukovych’s first foreign visit to Brussels in March 2010 included the EU but not NATO. It is doubtful that Yanukovych will continue with the high level of Ukraine’s cooperation with NATO that existed under Kuchma and Yushchenko since January 1994.

European Union

Yanukovych continues to use the same rhetoric as all Ukrainian presidents in support of EU membership. But it remains unclear if he would support the democratic and free-market changes that would spur integration, such as reducing corruption and improving the rule of law. Critics of EU enlargement in Brussels will welcome Yanukovych’s election because it will reduce pressure upon the EU to offer Ukraine membership.

Taras Kuzio is a senior fellow in the chair of Ukrainian studies at the University of Toronto and adjunct research professor in the Institute for European and Russian Studies at Carleton University, Ottawa. He edits Ukraine Analyst. He can be reached at tkuzio@rogers.com

16.03.10. Brussels ready to work with Yanukovych for Ukraine

Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 43
March 4, 2010

Vladimir Socor

Ukraine's newly elected President, Viktor Yanukovych, chose Brussels as his first destination for a working visit abroad. Inaugurated on February 25, Yanukovych held talks with European Union leaders on March 1, ahead of a March 5 visit to Moscow. This chosen sequence, as well as the tenor of Yanukovych's remarks in Brussels, contrasted with his pronounced tilt toward Russia, by which he had mobilized his electoral base in the recent presidential campaign.

Unsurprisingly, Yanukovych shifted toward a more even-handed posture between Russia and the West in the post-election period. He moved more promptly than might have been expected of him, apparently in response to EU leaders' broad overtures to Ukraine through him as the new president. These overtures apparently reflect intentions in Brussels to compete patiently with Russia for Ukraine's future (even if the EU finds it unpalatable to acknowledge the reality of competition). During this visit, EU leaders as well as Yanukovych decided to avoid (at least in public) those issues on which Yanukovych had promised major concessions to Moscow during the electoral campaign.

The presidents of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, EU Council Herman van Rompuy, and the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek respectively, held out to Yanukovych clear prospects for an EU-Ukraine association agreement, as well as a deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA) and a visa-free travel agreement. The DCFTA would broaden the access of Ukrainian products to the European market and would encourage European investments in Ukraine. As key parts of a possible Ukraine-EU association agreement, the DCFTA and visa-free travel agreements could be signed by 2011, conditional on Ukraine�s performance on internal reforms (Interfax-Ukraine, March 1, 2).

The EU leaders have already agreed to draw up a road map toward visa-free travel with Ukraine this year. The commission is also prepared to disburse 500 million Euros in assistance funds, if Ukraine meets the International Monetary Fund's macroeconomic reform criteria to qualify for such assistance.

Brussels has now opened, for the first time, the prospect of Ukraine's eventual accession to the EU. According to Barroso, "If the process [of Ukrainian reforms] advances, we see Ukraine's future very clearly as a European future, and Ukraine in the European integration process: Ukraine's possible accession to the EU has always been on the agenda," Barroso was cited as saying at the joint briefing with Yanukovych (Interfax-Ukraine, March 1).

This statement entails a degree of positive reinterpretation of earlier EU positions. In fact, Brussels had traditionally stopped short of giving Kyiv the much-desired political signal that Ukraine's eventual accession figured on the EU's agenda. In their turn, Ukrainian leaders (particularly Viktor Yushchenko, the now-departed president) often solicited such political signals from the EU, to incentivize Ukrainian reforms. In the event, incentives as well as reforms fell short. The EU's Eastern Partnership program, launched in 2009 following a Swedish-Polish initiative, is starting to overcome this impasse by accelerating the negotiations toward an association agreement, and opening the prospect of ultimate membership contingent on performance.

Yanukovych in Brussels listed the foreign-policy priorities of his presidency as: "Integration with the European Union, resumption of friendly and good-neighborly relations with Russia, development of relations with other neighboring countries, and strategic partnership with the United States" -- in that order. He singled out the "key priority, European integration" for involving foreign policy and internal reform strategy in equal measure. Alluding to east-west political fault lines in Ukraine, Yanukovych (the eastern candidate repositioning as president) defined European integration as a unifying factor for Ukrainian society (UNIAN, March 1).

At a minimum, such remarks demonstrate that Yanukovych has learned to talk the talk, before walking the walk of reforms. His acknowledgments that European integration involves external and internal policy in equal measure and that it can unify society, echo almost verbatim the statements of Moldova's former President, Vladimir Voronin, another "eastern"-leaning politician repositioned as European from 2004 onward, with moderately encouraging results.

The European Parliament marked Yanukovych's inauguration with a resolution underscoring that Ukraine is a European country that can, by adhering to principles of freedom and democracy, apply for EU membership in the future (EDM, March 3). The resolution demonstrates that the European Parliament (now with substantially enlarged powers under the Lisbon treaty) will work with this president for Ukraine's future. Significantly, European Parliament members who had earlier invested high hopes in the Orange project are ready to work with Yanukovych after the final Orange collapse.

Yanukovych told Brussels that he would adhere to the March 2009 agreement with the EU on modernizing Ukraine's gas transit system (EUObserver, March 1). The outgoing government under Yulia Tymoshenko had entered into that agreement. By contrast, Yanukovych campaigned on a promise to include Russia's Gazprom in a consortium to operate Ukraine's system. He seemed noncommittal about this issue while in Brussels.

Regarding NATO, Yanukovych merely stated that he would continue the existing programs, without expanding these, at least for the time being (UNIAN, March 1). That current level, however, compares unfavorably with the pre-Orange years.

Russia's shadow did not loom over Yanukovych's Brussels visit. The EU takes the position that the resumption of Ukrainian-Russian partner relations (as Yanukovych formulates this goal) is also in the EU's interest. Yanukovych welcomes this thesis because it does not require Ukraine to make stark choices between Moscow and Brussels.

Such flexibility, however, will only be sustainable if Russia does not make excessive demands on Ukraine (or Kyiv does not offer pre-emptive concessions to Moscow, as Yanukovych signaled from electoral calculations during the campaign). If Moscow does, however, start posing major demands, the new Ukrainian president and his Party of Regions will need to make some stark choices; and the EU will need to support European choices in Kyiv.

30.03.10. Old guard return to run Ukrane's security forces

Taras Kuzio