24.08.10. Lykønskning fra Ukraines udenrigsminister

30.07.10. Crimea's confused identity reflects its troubled past

30.07.10. Rusland forsøger at opkøbe ukrainske virksomheder

30.07.10. "Sultanismens" legitimitetsproblemer

27.07.10. Ukraine vagthavende i NATO Response Force

16.07.10. Ukraines suverænitetserklæring fylder tyve år

15.07.10. Stockholm ruling threatens Naftohaz's future

15.07.10. First 100 days of Viktor Yanukovych explodes six myths

15.07.10. Ukraine: the immobile state

02.07.10. NATO overbevist om, at de ukrainske myndigheder er ivrige efter at samarbejde

02.07.10. Ukraine har fået ny lov om udenrigspolitikkens principper

28.06.10. Ukraines Grundlov fylder fjorten år

21.06.10. Levochkin: Ukraine kommer ikke til at tilbagebetale penge til RosUkrEnergo

20.06.10. Regionernes parti udbygger sit flertal i parlamentet

08.06.10. Ukraines regering håber på visumfrihed med EU fra 2012

31.05.10. Ukraine drops 'unrealistic' plans for NATO membership

29.05.10. President Yanukovych's policies and tendencies

29.05.10. Media expert: Only two TV stations still give viewers fair news coverage

29.05.10. New Democracy Foundation will poll people of Ukraine

29.05.10. Hapless opposition unable to lead nation out of political wilderness

27.05.10. Ukraines optagelse i NATO er ikke realistisk - Janukovytj

11.05.10. Blå-gul symbolik skal afsondre Janukovytj-styret

11.05.10. Europas Journalister: censuren på vej tilbage i Ukraine

10.05.10. Yanukovych, Stalin and the Ukrainian famine

10.05.10. What are the Ukrainians playing at?

10.05.10. Ukraine's extension of Russian base's lease may challenge U.S. goals in region

10.05.10. Ukraine journalists threaten censorship strike

10.05.10. Four Steps to a New Soviet-Russian National Identity for Ukraine

05.05.10. Environmental disaster looms in Ukraine unless urgent steps are taken

05.05.10. Environmental disaster looms in Ukraine unless urgent steps are taken


UN report 30 April -

Immediate action is needed to avert an environmental disaster in western Ukraine where toxic materials from former mines could spread into the area and threaten the health of local communities, according to the report of a joint United Nations-European Union mission of experts.

The final report of the UN-EU mission to the Kalush area of Ukraine describes the situation there as “critical,” according to a press release issued this week by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which manages a joint environment unit with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

“A window of opportunity exists to prevent the existing situation from deteriorating into a disaster,” the press release notes, citing the mission’s report. “Immediate action should be taken to address and remedy the identified problems.”

The mission, conducted last month at the request of Ukrainian authorities, found there was a high probability that an open-cast mine could break through into the Sivka River and thus spread the dangerous organic pollutant hexachlorobenzene (HBC) into the local environment.

Mining in the Kalush area has left the ground unstable and prone to subsidence, with mine tailings dams at risk of bursting as a result of snowmelt and spring floods. Ground and surface water has become highly salinized and contaminated.

The mission members, accompanied by national experts, assessed the stability of the dams and the risks posed by subsidence, and it also conducted sampling at a nearby hazardous waste site to screen for threats to potential local communities.

In addition they assisted emergency management organizations in the region to identify risk reduction measures and other steps to minimize the impact of any environmental disaster on the local population.

The nine-member mission team included experts in emergency management, environmental issues, risk reduction, hydrogeology and tailings dams, and was conducted through the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) system and the European Commission’s Monitoring and Information Centre.

10.05.10. Four Steps to a New Soviet-Russian National Identity for Ukraine

by Taras Kuzio

May 10, 2010

The Viktor Yanukovych administration is undertaking a radical overhaul of Ukraine’s national identity that turns its back not only on the Viktor Yushchenko era but also on two earlier presidents. All three presidents promoted an Ukrainophile national identity that was based on the doyen of Ukrainian historiography, Mykhailo Hrushevsky, president of the 1918 Ukrainian independent state.

President Yanukovych and Minister of Education Dimitri Tabachnyk have outlined policies to re-write school textbooks, in some cases together with Russia. These would be no longer based on the Hrushevsky framework while permitting Soviet-Russian national identity to influence Ukraine’s education system.

The Yanukovych administration is unashamedly moving Ukraine to a neo-Sovietophile and Russophile view of Ukrainian history and national identity. This step will be even more divisive than that pursued by Yushchenko. The shift from a Ukrainian to a Soviet-Russian national identity is reflected in four ways.

Firstly, as Ukraine celebrates the 65th anniversary of World War II, billboards and posters throughout Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities reflect the Viktor Yanukovych administrations shift in Ukraine’s national identity to one more acceptable to Moscow. Parades in four Ukrainian cities will, for the first time, include 1,000 Russian troops.

Tabachnyk has ordered that school textbooks no longer refer to ‘World War II’ but to the Велика Вітчизняна війна. In his view, there were heroes from the Great Patriotic War and ‘collaborators’, within which he includes Ukrainian nationalists.

Secondly, Tabachnyk has returned to Soviet era ideological views of Ukrainian nationalists as Nazi hirelings. Attacks on nationalists returned during the 2002 and 2004 elections as a way of portraying Our Ukraine and Viktor Yushchenko as ‘nationalists’. In the 2004 elections, fake ‘nationalists’ were registered as technical candidates and SS-style street parades were organized in Kyiv who voiced their support for Yushchenko. These views were then given wide media coverage aimed at reducing support for him in Eastern Ukraine.
Today, Ukrainian television, which is under the control of oligarchs and since Yanukovych was elected has returned to self censorship, is again exaggerating the influence and support of the nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party as a way of mobilizing Russian-speakers to remain loyal to the Yanukovych administration. The moderate opposition are largely ignored on Ukrainian television; Yulia Tymoshenko has not been invited to give interviews since the elections.

Thirdly, the rehabilitation of Soviet leader Jozef Stalin whose ideology Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) placed on an equal par with Nazism in a resolution last year. A Stalin bust was unveiled in Zaporizhzhia on May 5 and further busts are planned in Odesa and other Russian-speaking cities. Billboards greeting Stalin went up earlier in Luhansk and Donetsk.

At the PACE a representative from Luxembourg asked President Yanukovych ‘It seems that in Ukraine, a process of heroization of Stalin, and increasingly, a return to the Soviet interpretation of the Second World War, is taking place. Could this trend be supported by your Government too, and particularly by the Minister of Education? What are you doing, Mr. President, to stop this most disturbing process?’.

Yanukovych’s feeble response was to say that there should be a local referendum to see if the city’s inhabitants support a Stalin bust. He could not openly condemn the bust as the Communist Party (KPU), in whose grounds the bust was unveiled, is a member of the Stability and Reforms coalition. The 2006-2007 Anti-Crisis coalition also included the KPU many of whose voters have re-aligned with the Party of Regions.

Party of Regions deputies have defended the Stalin bust by countering that there are statues of the ‘Nazi’ nationalist leader Stepan Bandera in Western Ukraine. This is a false comparison as Western Ukrainians support Bandera monuments whilst Eastern Ukrainians do not support Stalin statues. An April poll found that 57% of Ukrainians opposed the opening of Stalin monuments and only 10% supported this step. Of those opposed this ranged between 76% in Western Ukraine and 57% in Eastern Ukraine.

Fourthly, as in Russia, a rehabilitation of Stalin comes with a downplaying of Stalinist crimes. President Yanukovych said to PACE that the famine was a tragedy for all Soviet peoples, not only Ukrainians, denying that it was a ‘genocide’.

The new Yanukovych position is the same as the old Russian position. It was, ‘like pouring oil on an already simmering fire in Ukraine’s polarized politics’, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs David Kramer wrote in the Kyiv Post (April 28).

On the day of his inauguration the section on www.president.gov.ua established by Yushchenko on the 1933 famine was removed. SBU chairman Valeriy Khoroshovsky closed the agency’s archives department which had released documents on Soviet crimes against Ukrainians and the famine.

The Party of Regions and KPU did not vote for the November 2006 law on the famine which, together with a January 2010 Higher Appeals Court ruling, defines the famine as ‘genocide’ against Ukrainians. Yushchenko condemned Yanukovych’s ‘cynicism’ for infringing both at PACE. The Stability and Reforms coalition plan to overturn the famine law.
This four-step shift to a Soviet-Russian identity has ramifications in both Ukraine’s domestic and foreign policy.

Domestically, a Soviet-Russian national identity undermines Yanukovych’s claim that he will bring stability to Ukraine which was believed in the West which largely welcomed his election. But, as the April 27 riot in the Ukrainian parliament has shown, a radical shift in Ukraine’s national identity towards a Soviet-Russian framework will bring turmoil and conflict while deepening Ukraine’s regional polarization.

Secondly, Ukraine’s foreign policy will be affected by a Soviet-Russian national identity, the Black sea Fleet long-term base agreement until 2042-2047 and further pro-Russian policies. These have not only closed Ukraine’s path to NATO membership but also even EU membership aspirations.

Perception means everything in international affairs and the Yanukovych administration is not perceived in Brussels as ‘European’ but as Eurasian, the ideology behind the Soviet-Russian national identity. This is especially the case as Brussels and Washington eventually come to realize that he will not bring either stability or reforms, the name of the pro-government parliamentary coalition.

10.05.10. Ukraine journalists threaten censorship strike

May 6 2010

Roman Olearchyk in Kyiv

Fifteen leading journalists from a top Ukrainian television channel cried foul on Thursday and threatened to strike over what they described as the resurgence of censorship two months into the presidency of Viktor Yanukovich.

The development sparks fears that after swiftly pulling Kyiv closer to Moscow's orbit in recent weeks, Mr Yanukovich is also trying to instate Kremlin-styled control over media and democracy after bending constitutional rules to consolidate political power.

Alleging reports critical of the country's new president were being kept off air and twisted with positive slants, the journalists at channel 1+1 issued a statement saying: "Censorship is being introduced. Our reports which criticise the current leadership are being pulled off the air. We are at risk of losing our profession, the trust of our citizens and the country in which all of us wants to live."

The statement follows growing complaints made in recent weeks by print and television journalists, as well as criticism from international media watchdogs, and raises fears that democratic gains made by Ukraine after the 2004 Orange Revolution are at risk under the nation's new and Kremlin-friendly president. ...

Complete article:

10.05.10. Ukraine's extension of Russian base's lease may challenge U.S. goals in region

April 28, 2010

Philip P. Pan

MOSCOW -- Ukraine's decision to host a Russian naval base for 25 more years in exchange for cheaper gas, a deal ratified Tuesday despite egg-throwing and a brawl over it in the Ukrainian parliament, does little to alter the immediate military balance in the Black Sea but presents other challenges for U.S. goals in the region.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has played down the significance of the pact, saying it should be seen as part of an effort by Ukraine's new president, Viktor Yanukovych, to improve ties with both Russia and the United States in a "balancing act" that "makes sense to us."

But analysts say the deal could hurt Western efforts to support Ukraine's fitful democratic transition, by allowing it to postpone reforms within its corrupt energy sector and by provoking another round of infighting in the country after years of political instability.

Some also warn that the deal could boost those determined to restore Russia's influence over its neighbors and could complicate NATO plans to use the Black Sea as a base against potential foes in the Middle East and Central Asia. The Pentagon, for example, has considered putting part of its missile shield against Iran on ships in the Black Sea.


The deal gives Ukraine about 30 percent off the prices set in the contract it signed with Moscow last year, after a standoff during which the Kremlin cut gas supplies to Europe. But that contract set prices so high that the newly negotiated discount brings them down only to current market levels, said Edward Chow, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"They gave something -- extending the naval base lease -- in order to get what they were really entitled to from the beginning," he said of the Ukrainians, noting that Russia had already renegotiated contracts with other customers in Europe and given them discounts because of falling demand and prices.

The new agreement, Chow said, is the latest in a series of deals that have benefited powerful industrialists in Ukraine and allowed the country to avoid cleaning up its corrupt gas sector, thought to be a source of funds for politicians. Like those before it, he added, the new deal is so flawed that it is unlikely to endure and could again threaten the supply of gas to Europe.

For example, he said, the pact requires Ukraine to buy more gas in subsequent years, perhaps more than it needs. But it doesn't require Russia to continue using Ukraine's pipelines, a key source of income for Kyiv. The Kremlin plans to build pipelines that circumvent Ukraine.

David J. Kramer, a George W. Bush administration official who is now at the German Marshall Fund, said the deal could "feed some of the worst instincts in Russian psychology" about the former Soviet Union, especially after an uprising in Kyrgyzstan toppled a government opposed by the Kremlin. ...

Complete article:

10.05.10. What are the Ukrainians playing at?

30 Apr 10

Andrew Wilson

Ukrainian MPs often fight in parliament. On 27 April they threw eggs and let off smoke bombs, as opposition MPs accused Ukraine's new President Viktor Yanukovych of selling out the country to Russia for a few pieces of silver.

Ukraine is back to playing the game it knows best: the balancing act between East and West.

Yanukovych initially seemed to be making overtures to the West. His first foreign visit was to Brussels on 1 March, where he made all the right noises. In Washington on 12-13 April Yanukovych helpfully provided Obama with the headlines he needed at an otherwise fruitless non-proliferation summit by agreeing to give up Ukraine's stockpile of enriched uranium.

There were already rumblings in the opposite direction, however. Ukraine's President and Prime Minister have been meeting their Russian counterparts about once a week. Kyiv gave an early signal by abolishing the 'National Centre for Euro-Atlantic Integration' on 3 April, and began a public discussion on repealing the 2003 law that sets Ukraine's pro-European foreign policy direction, and replacing it instead with a law on Ukraine's 'neutral and non-block' status. This was a given, considering that Yanukovych is expected to formally announce that Ukraine was no longer interested in a NATO Membership Action Plan. But practical annual cooperation between Ukraine and NATO is also being drastically scaled back, and there is no sign of a parliamentary vote to allow the until recently traditional joint NATO-Ukraine exercises.

But the deal with Russia that was symbolically announced on 21 April in the Russian-speaking Ukrainian city of Kharkiv was something else. Ukraine dramatically agreed to a 'Guantanamo-style' twenty five year extension on the leasing agreement for Russia's Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, Crimea. It was due to leave in 2017, but it can now stay until 2042. Russia is talking of buying new warships from France, but Ukraine did not seem to have clarified exactly which vessels Russia would have the right to base in Sevastopol.

In return, Ukraine got a 30% cut in the price of Russian gas. Moreover, a series of wide-ranging Russo-Ukrainian joint projects in nuclear energy, electricity, aviation, ports and other sectors were due to be announced on 30 April. Kyiv also agreed to grant undefined freedom of operation to Russian capital in Ukraine - though there was no mention of Ukrainian companies operating in Russia.

All this has prompted wild talk of the West 'losing Ukraine'. It has also provoked some bafflement. As Hillary Clinton said, the West is used to Ukraine playing a 'balancing act' between Russia and the West, adding probably unwisely "that makes sense to us". In fact, the practice of what we have dubbed elsewhere 'collective Titoism' is increasingly widespread throughout Eastern Europe.

But why is Ukraine suddenly playing the game so close to Russia? Even some old hands from the Kuchma era (1994-2005) have said this wouldn't have happened in their day, when Ukraine supposedly played the game with more equidistance.

So what is going on? It is unlikely that the new Ukrainian authorities have abandoned their traditional tactic of playing East against West and trying to extract resources from both sides. Four possible explanations suggest themselves.

  1. Ukraine has been taken over by slavish Russophiles, in which case the shift is permanent.
  2. Everything in Yanukovych's short-term planning is predicated on cheaper gas, in which case Ukraine will resume its normal balancing game soon enough.
  3. Ukraine is playing a sequential balancing game: first they get all they can from the Russians, then they turn to the West. This particular game could continue indefinitely.
  4. Ukraine has in fact been taken over by an 'energy lobby' that thinks there is still plenty of money to be made in the shadier parts of the local gas business, if necessary in cahoots with the Russians. In this case, however, the world has changed since the gas crisis of January 2009. The world will be paying more attention, and Ukraine's good name as a credible partner would once more be at risk.

The first explanation is the least likely. The new Minister of Education Dmytro Tabachnyk is a notorious Ukrainophobe and Yanukovych has begun back-tracking on the history politics of the Yushchenko era. Answering questions at the Council of Europe on 27 April he declared that the Holodomor (the Stalinist Famine of the early 1930s) was not genocide, as Yushchenko has sought to argue, and in any case starvation was widespread "in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan". This removes a key irritant in relations with Russia, but the new elite cares little about cultural politics - even the Russian-born Prime Minister Mykola Azarov. They still want to protect their own back-yard.

The second theory has much supporting evidence. The gas price cut allowed Azarov to introduce the long-delayed 2010 budget with fewer tough choices. Kyiv hopes this will persuade the IMF to deliver further assistance. The main energy distribution company Naftohaz Ukrainy has been saved from bankruptcy.

But none of these are necessarily good things. Gas was costing Ukraine $330 per 1,000 m3, which is more than many in Western Europe pay. The 30% cut means cheaper gas, not cheap gas. Ukraine does not necessarily need cheap gas anyway. It needs to cut down instead on its vast over-consumption of energy and eliminate the arbitrage that feeds so much corruption. It also needs to face up to some fiscal hard choices, made harder by the 15% fall in GDP in 2009 and by the hand-to-mouth measures and financial wizardry of the Tymoshenko government over the last two years. The 'official' budget deficit is still 5.3% of GDP; but the pension fund is also in massive deficit, and Naftohaz Ukrainy is not the only state corporation that is near bankrupt. The railways are also in big trouble.

The EU would of course like to see Kyiv return to the agenda set out in the gas deals that Ukraine signed but never implemented in 2009. But cheaper gas delays reform. Nevertheless, even with 30% off, Ukraine is still paying a lot for gas. An even bigger cut to the kind of price paid by Belarus (currently $171.50) was initially mooted, but would have made energy sector reform even less likely. So Ukraine will come back to both the IMF and the EU. Both should hold their nerve and play their cards well when it does.

But the fourth possibility will make relations difficult. Corruption is clearly returning to the energy sector. The notorious intermediary company Rosukrenergo may be gone, but Ukraine's rent-seeking energy 'businessmen' have no real business model other than arbitrage profits; and one remaining opportunity for them is the still considerable difference between the prices paid by industrial and household consumers in Ukraine. Another comes from the fact that Turkmen and Russian gas enters Ukraine through the same pipe, but with different transit fees and re-export prices. The Kharkiv agreement mentions a new 'intermediary' company, and deliberately confusing the two types of gas is another way it could make money.

10.05.10. Yanukovych, Stalin and the Ukrainian famine

May 5, 2010

Taras Kuzio  
On May 5, the Communist Party unveiled a bust of Soviet leader and war criminal Josef Stalin in Zaporizhya. A second Stalin bust is rumored to be ready for Odesa. Billboards of Stalin have already gone up in Luhansk.
What is going on in Ukraine?

This is par for the course, to some degree. After all, Kyiv still has a statue to Vladimir Lenin, who created the Soviet secret police and established the gulag long before Stalin. Ukraine still has a Communist Party that is part of the ruling majority with the dominant Party of Regions, which stands for oligarchic capitalists, theoretically the opposite of what the Communists stand for.

But the unveiling of the Zaporizhya bust of Stalin and President Viktor Yanukovych's disregard for public sentiment shows reactionary policies at work. The gradual rehabilitation of Stalin, under way in Russia and Belarus, is now creeping into Ukraine, the former Soviet republic that has done the most to denounce Stalin and his crimes.

Yanukovych has moved away from the admittedly controversial view of the famine as genocide. But he also seeks to downplay the famine. On the day of his Feb. 25 inauguration, the famine section on www.president.gov.ua was removed. State Security Service head Valeriy Khoroshovsky closed the agency's archives, which had released documents from the Soviet KGB and its predecessors outlining totalitarian crimes against Ukrainians.

A 1+1 journalist has also complained about the famine becoming a taboo subject on commercial channels owned by pro-presidential oligarchs. He claimed that new directives that resemble Kuchma era temnyky are being give to television stations.

Stalin's rehabilitation in Ukraine has not gone unnoticed in the West. It will be another nail in the coffin of Ukraine's hopes of being seen as European.

At the Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe (PACE) on April 27, the same day as parliament's ratification of the highly contentious Black Sea Fleet base treaty, a representative from Luxembourg asked Yanukovych: "It seems that in Ukraine, a process of heroization of Stalin, and increasingly, a return to the Soviet interpretation of the Second World War, is taking place."

Minister of Education Dmitri Tabachnyk has already outlined his view that Ukrainian textbooks should return to using Great Patriotic War rather than Second World War.

The Soviet interpretation ignores 1939-1941, when the U.S.S.R. was an ally of the Nazis and that, for Ukrainians, the war broke out in 1939 when Nazi ally Hungary attacked the Transcarpathian Ukrainian Republic and Poland, which was attacked in 1939 by both the Nazis and Stalinists.

Yanukovych's only response to the Stalin rehabilitation has been to call for a local referendum, which has been echoed by his deputy chief of staff, Hanna Herman.

Professor Andrea Graziosi has one of the best and most balanced analyses on this topic. You can read Graziosi's lecture on the topic here. Graziosi shows how Stalin saw the peasantry as the main army of Ukrainian nationalist movement, and reasoned that by killing off the peasantry he takes the air out of nationalist movement he feared.

Yanukovych's views are a complete negation of three previous Ukrainian presidents on the famine question and not only the views of former President Viktor Yushchenko. Kuchma first described the famine as genocide on the 70th anniversary in 2003, when parliamentary hearings were held. A 1998 presidential decree declared the fourth Saturday of each November as National Day of Remembrance of Famine Victims.

What can the opposition do to take Yanukovych and his administration to task on this question? Three steps spring to mind:

Include in future election programs support for banning the Communist Party. Last year the Council of Europe placed Nazi and Soviet crimes on the same footing. Nazi parties are illegal in Austria, Germany and Italy; pass a law making propagation of Nazism and Stalinism illegal. It is illegal to wave Nazi flags and symbols in three European countries; and Launch an information campaign in eastern-southern Ukraine targeting Party of Regions voters who do not agree with the rehabilitation of Stalin. A poll by the Razumkov Ukrainian Center for Economic and Political Studies (www.uceps.com.ua) found that 57 percent of Ukrainians opposed the opening of Stalin monuments and only 10 percent supported this step. Opposition to Stalin monuments is to be found across all age groups, including 52 percent of those aged 60 and over.

A moderate but still pro-Ukrainian viewpoint for Yanukovych would be to accept that the famine was a crime against Ukrainians while distancing himself from the genocide question.

Instead, Yanukovych has moved towards Russia's position of denial of the famine as a crime against Ukraine. In doing so, Yanukovych has turned the clock back two decades to before 1990 when the Communist Party first belatedly criticized the 1933 famine.

The only conclusion one can reach is that a reactionary program is in place to undermine two decades of achievements in Ukrainian nation-building.

Taras Kuzio is a senior fellow in the chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Toronto and editor of the bi-monthly Ukraine Analyst. He can be reached at tkuzio@rogers.com.
European Federation of Journalists, og Den Europæiske Gruppe for International Federation of Journalists er bekymrede over den seneste udvikling i de ukrainske medier med hensyn til censur. Det fremgår af en pressemeddelelse udsendt 11. maj af Kiev Independent Media fagforening.

Denne bekymring skyldes især, at journalister på en af de førende ukrainske private tv-kanaler "1 +1" klaget over pression og censur i forbindelse med, at de den 6. maj blev nægtet muligheden for at dække vigtige nyheder. Nogle regeringskritiske Tv-programmer er blevet frataget sendetid.

Hertil kommer, at journalister på en anden kanal, STB, også har udsendt en erklæring, der fordømte flere tilfælde af censur, hedder det i rapporten.

"Vi har flere åbenlyse tilfælde af censur og pres på journalister fra de førende ukrainske TV-kanaler, der viser, at regeringen i Ukraine forsøger at reducere ytringsfriheden med tilladelse fra ejerne," - sagde formand for European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Arne König.

"Vi er bekymrede over denne udvikling, som kan ophæve de grundlæggende skridt for demokrati, som vi har set i de seneste år. De er blevet delvist gennemført takket være pressefriheden. Men den seneste udvikling viser en begrænsning af  journalisters rettigheder og menneskerettigheder i almindelighed", - understregede han.

I EFJ har man også erfaret, at politikere både fra regeringen og oppositionen under pressekonferencer tvinger journalister til at stille præaftalte spørgsmål - så journalister, der ikke er enige om at gøre det kunne miste enhver mulighed for kontakt med regimet.

Partner i International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) i Ukraine - de uafhængige mediers fagforening - peger også på det faktum, at antallet af aktive uafhængige journalister i medierne er dramatisk reduceret.

"Vi opfordrer myndighederne samt alle ejere af medierne, som støtter eller iværksætte censur, til at overholde standarder for pressefriheden, navnlig som den fastslås i den europæiske menneskerettighedskonvention" - tilføjede Koenig.

EFJ repræsenterer over 250.000 journalister i mere end 30 lande i Europa. Podrobnosti.
Party For Ukraine lancerer kampagne for at sprede den ukrainske nationale attributter.

11.05.10. Blå-gul symbolik skal afsondre Janukovytj-styret

Partiet "For Ukraine" lancerer en kampagne for at udbrede de ukrainske nationale attributter.

Dette blev annonceret tirsdag af partileder Vyacheslav Kyriyenko.

"Vi mener, at den nuværende regering kun er blå og gul i teorien, ikke i praksis. I vejkryds, ved telte og hvor vi kan ellers kan komme til det, vil vi uddele den blå-gule symbolik,  blå og gule bånd, badges og flag til almindelige mennesker, så myndighederne kan se, at ukrainerne er mange, og at de vil minde myndighederne om deres eksistens, "- sagde han.

»Jeg tror, at vi nu skal minde de ukrainske myndigheder om vor eksistens, især da  de (myndighederne) for nylig er begyndt at opføre sig som en besættelsesadministration" - tilføjede han.

Kyrylenko sagde også, at partiet "For Ukraine vil fortsætte med at koordinere med andre oppositionelle kræfter i parlamentet og udenfor.

"Men vi anerkender ikke en strukturering af oppositionen, hvilket indebærer underordning af nogle under andre" - sagde han.

"Dette bør være en koordineret indsats fra oven og ned, hvorefter vi efter en drøftelse af centrale spørgsmål må træffe en fælles beslutning," - tilføjede han.

Men Kyrylenko er overbevist om, at den russiske præsident Dmitri Medvedevs besøg 17. maj i år vil være endnu et påskud for en samling af  oppositionen, fordi der under hans besøg påtænkes undertegnet bilaterale aftaler, som ifølge oppositionen er ødelæggende for Ukraines  interesser. Ukrainska Pravda

Den ukrainske stat er endnu ikke klar til at blive medlem af NATO, sagde Ukraines præsident Viktor Janukovytj.

"Hvis vi taler om optagelse i NATO i dag, er det ikke realistisk for vores land. Ifølge NATOs egne kriterier, bør et medlemsskab støttes af størstedelen af befolkningen," - sagde han i et interview på torsdag i Lviv.

Ifølge præsidenten ser Ukraine NATO som en partner. "Og uden det kan Ukraine heller ikke, fordi Ukraine er et stort land ..." - sagde præsidenten.

Janukovytj sagde, at Ukraine vil fortsætte en åben politik for alliancefrie stater.

Han har igen understreget, at Ukraine aktivt vil deltage i skabelsen af et system af kollektiv sikkerhed i Europa.

Det skal dog sige, at afholdelsen af folkeafstemninger i et ansøgerland til NATO er ikke en forudsætning for Alliancen. Afgørende for integrationen i NATO er  reformer inden for den nationale sikkerhed, retshåndhævelsen og militæret. Det betyder en forøgelse af den civile kontrol med militære strukturer, en stigning i de offentlige udgifter til forsvar og uddannelsesreform, undervisning og uddannelse af militært personel. Desuden kræves det, at kandidatlandene sikrer stabile institutioner, der garanterer demokrati og har en velfungerende markedsøkonomi og evnen til at klare presset fra konkurrencen med markedsøkonomiske midler. Det bør også bemærkes, at det kollektive sikkerhedssystem i Europa endnu ikke findes. EU-lande i flere år ført en diskussion om muligheden af at indføre et sådant system, eftersom de fleste europæiske lande er med i NATO.

Tidligere sagde  Ukraines udenrigsminister Konstantyn Hryshchenko, Ukraine vil opretholde forbindelserne med NATO, men at spørgsmålet om et medlemskab af alliancen ikke er aktuelt. Podrobnosti.

29.05.10. Hapless opposition unable to lead nation out of political wilderness

May 19, 2010

Taras Kuzio

The opposition to President Viktor Yanukovych established a Committee in Defense of Ukraine on May 10 in the Writers Union. It all felt like deja vu -- 1988 all over again, when the Writers Union launched the Ukrainian Popular Movement (Rukh), which pressed for national independence, in the same building.

It was also reminiscent of ex-President Leonid Kuchma's era when the opposition established a Front for National Salvation in February 2001. At that time, Yulia Tymoshenko was briefly imprisoned. Today, the ex-prime minister faces threats from the current authorities to revive corruption charges against her.

Has Ukraine really not moved on since 1988 or 2001?

Following numerous protest waves, the 2004 Orange Revolution and the largely ineffectual presidency of Viktor Yushchenko, Ukrainian society is in trouble. Relations between the country's political class and its citizens are depressed.

Ukrainians did not go to the elections this year with great expectations or enthusiasm, a very different atmosphere to the heady days of the Orange Revolution, which gave the nation hope for justice, change and a different relationship between ruling elites and citizens. All of the main candidates in the 2010 contest had negative ratings. Even the "new faces" -- Sergiy Tigipko, Arseniy Yatseniuk and Anatoliy Hrytsenko -- had negative ratings.

Contrast this with 2004, when Yushchenko had high positive ratings and was seen as a new and clean candidate. Four million fewer Ukrainians voted on Feb. 7 than did so on Dec. 26, 2004.

Although in opposition for much of the last five years, Party of Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych received nearly a half-million fewer votes than he received on Dec. 26, 2004. He won the same 11 oblasts, became the first president to not be elected by 50 percent of voters and won by only 3.5 percentage points. This was hardly an outstanding victory considering the fact that Tymoshenko was an incumbent prime minister during the worst economic-financial crisis in decades.

Ukrainians have taken their revenge on politicians who have betrayed them, such as the Socialist Party, leader Oleksandr Moroz, who took the party from the Orange Revolution coalition to the Party of Regions and Communists in 2006. The Socialists failed to enter parliament in 2007. The same revenge by voters will be most likely taken against Volodymyr Lytvyn in the 2012 elections for betraying the democratic coalition in February.

Ukraine's journalists have immediately begun to protest against a return to censorship since Yanukovych's Feb. 25 inauguration. It took journalists at least a decade under Kuchma to rise up against "temnyky" -- the presidential administration's instructions to television channels on how to cover the news.Opposition is an indispensable component of democracy. However, the rhetoric that emanates from both sides of the political divide suggests neither understands this. After five years of political instability, the opposition forces to government are in a rut. They will not evolve into a powerful force for four reasons:

Ukrainian political leaders never undertake internal audits following election defeats. Party leaders are never replaced. Internal examination and leadership changes are indispensable in rebuilding trust with voters. But this requires both an honest discussion of mistakes and a greater sensitivity to opinion polls and public sensitivities;
Young people, who do not remember the Soviet Union but see elements of that state being rebuilt, are not integrated into the opposition;
Politicians need to outline alternatives, rather than just criticize authorities.
When in opposition, Ukrainian politicians offer weak programs. The Party of Regions returned to power this year with no ready program.


The ideological amorphousness of post-Soviet political parties did not lead to the revival of European-style ideological divisions between left and right. Another factor is the weakness of intellectuals within all political parties. This, in turn, is a reflection of the weakness of political science as a discipline in Ukrainian universities. Well-researched books on current politics are nearly impossible to find in Kyiv's bookstores.

What should be done? Four steps come to mind:

Re-connect with voters: The opposition needs to re-establish trust with voters by encouraging internal debate and external transparency. If they do not, party members, civil society and the media should undertake it for them.

Work with young people. The old Rukh nationalists, who have a well-deserved place in contemporary Ukrainian history, will never be able to mobilize young people. The opposition has to understand that it will never become a powerful and energetic force without integrating young people and youth-oriented non-governmental organizations. The centrality of young people to popular movements was evident in the Ukraine Without Kuchma movement and the 2004 Orange Revolution.

Draw on intermediaries. Ukrainian diaspora groups, such the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, could be used as intermediaries to bring together divided opposition leaders. The launch of the Committee in Defense of Ukraine was ignored by Yushchenko, Vyacheslav Kyrylenko and Yatseniuk who, together with Hrytsenko, did not join the new opposition movement. Disunity permits the authorities to divide and rule.

Inject intellectual input. There are upwards of 30 North American and European political scientists with expertise on Ukraine and the post-communist world. Some of these political experts could be indispensable in providing intellectual gravitas for the opposition, assisting in drawing up alternative programs and organizing Western visits of opposition leaders and youth activists.

The bottom line: The opposition today is far weaker and divided than it was during Kuchma's second term in office, from 1999-2004, in the run-up to the Orange Revolution. There remains much to be done to rebuild Ukraine's opposition. It should be recognized that a strong opposition is essential to the nation to remain a democracy.

29.05.10. New Democracy Foundation will poll people of Ukraine


KYIV, Ukraine, May 13, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- A new non-political Democracy Foundation called 'People First' is being launched today in Ukraine's capital. Its organisers aim to involve the Ukrainian people in shaping the country's future democratic development through a series of national internet and postal referenda.

Ukrainians living in the country and abroad will be encouraged to participate in a series of referenda, the results of which will form the basis of a 'People's Charter.' This document will represent the most comprehensive public consultation of what Ukrainians want from their elected leaders and will be the foundation for dialogue with the president, government, political parties and NGOs.

"Our goal is simple, to ensure that the views and aspirations of the people are reflected in Ukraine's democratic development," said Ivan Matieshin, the President of the People First Foundation. "Democracy is the voice of the people and our programme is designed to give the people a voice that is loud enough to reverberate through the corridors of power not only in Ukraine but right across the world."

The new foundation has no alignment or allegiance to any political party or political doctrine. It is open to all parties and individuals to join. That includes all existing and future parties interested in furthering democracy in Ukraine.

"We will not concern ourselves with party politics and policies," said Viktor Tkachuk, one of the founders of People First, "we will leave that to politicians. Our concern is strengthening democratic principles and encouraging the development of a strong civic society."

People First was founded by Ukrainians concerned about the democratic direction of the country. Currently, it is being financed solely by Ukrainian businessman Ivan Matieshin. However, it will seek additional donors in Ukraine and abroad. It is a transparent organisation and all donations will be publicly recognised on its website along with its accounts.

A nationwide advertising campaign will start in June 2010. Depending upon the initial research results, the first referendum is scheduled for July. The following referenda will take place between autumn 2010 and spring 2011. Data protection software and stringent procedures will ensure that voting is not manipulated and that voters' details are kept secure and private. Three months have been allocated for experts to put together the Charter.

People First wants a truly democratic Ukraine where the will of the people is recognised as the sole source of State Authority.


29.05.10. Media expert: Only two TV stations still give viewers fair news coverage


KYIV, Ukraine -- Channel 5 and TVi remain the strongholds of journalistic integrity amid growing accusations of censorship by government and media owners.

For Ukrainians who want independent and fair TV news coverage, experts say the choices have dwindled to two options: Channel 5 and TVi.

Those are the only remaining channels that Natalia Ligacheva, chief editor of Kyiv-based Telekritika media watchdog, considers as unbiased.

But even their futures as honest purveyors of information are uncertain.

TVi's owner, exiled Russian businessman Konstantin Kagalovsky, claims his channel is being unfairly stripped of frequencies by the State Committee on Television and Radio.

As for Channel 5, speculation is spreading that its owner, millionaire businessman Petro Poroshenko, might sell out soon. Poroshenko could not be reached for comment.

So what about the rest?

One by one, they have fallen victim to the political interests of their owners, state censorship or old-fashioned journalistic self-censorship out of fear of running afoul of President Viktor Yanukovych's administration.

"Certainly, the information airwaves have narrowed for the opposition. Censorship is re-emerging, and the opposition is not getting covered as much," said Oleh Rybachuk, a civic activist who headed Viktor Yushchenko's presidential administration in 2005-2006.

"There are some similarities to what Vladimir Putin did in Russia when he started his seizure of power by first muzzling criticism in the media," Rybachuk said.

Yanukovych's administration denies ordering censorship of news coverage, refuting accusations from a growing number of television journalists.

But if the charges of press-muzzling are true, Ukraine's citizens may be transported back to the decade-long informational black hole of ex-President Leonid Kuchma's era.

In those pre-2004 Orange Revolution days, before Yushchenko came to power, citizens were bombarded daily with Soviet-style propaganda from leading television news programs, mostly controlled by billionaire oligarchs.

Those tycoons, who got wealthy under the insider privatizations orchestrated by the Kuchma administration, backed Yanukovych for president in 2004. And they lost big.

But now their guy is president while many of the wealthiest -- Rinat Akhmetov, Viktor Pinchuk and Igor Kolomoisky among them -- still have control of most news media outlets.

"Now none of the major TV channels' owners are in opposition to authorities," Telekritika's Ligacheva said. "Therefore, if Poroshenko sells Channel 5, and we hear he has been receiving offers, then the opposition will have no channel of its own."

Journalists at the nation's second most watched television channel, 1+1, threatened on May 6 to go on strike if censorship does not stop. A day later, colleagues at the STB television channel joined them in solidarity, issuing a statement of their own with demands for censorship to stop.

Early warning signs came months ago, when Ukraine's State Security Service -- a spy agency that traces its roots to the Soviet KGB and is better known by its SBU acronym -- led an investigation aimed at cancelling frequencies recently issued to TVi.

The channel's journalists and anagement accused SBU chief Valery Khoroshkovsky of foul play, an allegation that he denies. Khororshkovsky's involvement would pose a clear conflict of interest, since he co-owns the nation�s largest TV group, Inter.

TVi's journalists claim that their channel is under pressure as one of the few remaining outlets that prevent pro-Yanukovych forces from monopolizing all television media in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Igor Kolomoisky, the billionaire who owns 1+1 channel, denied that his channel has censored reports or been pressured by Yanukovych's administration. Instead, he pointed the blame at opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister.

Kolomoisky told the Financial Times newspaper that individuals close to Tymoshenko had recently offered to continue paying for positive coverage -- an offer he claims to have rejected.

Viktor Pinchuk, the billionaire son-in-law to ex-president Leonid Kuchma who owns STB, ICTV and Novy Kanal, has thus far not commented on censorship allegations.

But media watchdogs say coverage on his channels is also slanted in favor of Yanukovych's administration.

"The situation with freedom of speech at STB is not as bad as on other channels," said Viktoriya Siumar, head of the International Media Institute in Ukraine, a non-profit organization.

"According to our monitoring, there is much more political bias at the ICTV and Inter channels. Therefore, we expect more TV reporters raising censorship concerns on their channels. And if more journalists voice and resist any censorship attempts, it will be harder for the authorities to curb media freedom."

Speaking to journalists on May 12, Jose Manuel Pinto Texeria, the representative of the European Union in Ukraine, criticized Ukrainian authorities for not breaking up the monopolistic grip of oligarchs over television media.

"We are receiving reports about restrictions of press freedom in Ukraine, but unfortunately, we don't have factual evidence. For me, it has been very unfortunate to see that Ukraine has in the last years not upheld its obligation to set up a public television channel -- which could provide equal access," he said.

Hanna Herman, deputy head of the president's administration, said a new law establishing a public TV channel is in the works now, but no details are available yet. However, she hopes for its speedy approval by parliament. "With God's help, we'll have it approved by September," she said on May 11.

Journalists at 1+1 and STB, however, say that -- since Yanukovych's Feb. 25 inauguration -- station management started restricting their coverage of numerous hot-button topics.

Those included the controversial role of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army during World War II, when the nationalists were accused of Nazi collaborations. Other topics suddenly taboo were the allegedly pro-Russian positions of Education Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk and the Holodomor famine, which claimed the lives of millions of Ukrainians in 1932-1933.

Journalists also said channel management prohibited them from doing stories about high officials' luxurious mansions and lifestyles, and of reporting on how Yanukovych's Party of Regions supporters were being paid for their presence at recent demonstrations.

To back up their claims, the 1+1 reporters cited specific instances of censorship: a story on the approval of the new cabinet was stripped of all criticism, as was a story on the recent agreement to keep the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol until at least 2042.

Less clear is where the alleged censorship orders are coming from.

Some say they are coming from the president's team.

Others say the regulatory State Committee on Television and Radio is the source.

Two weeks before the May 9 Victory Day celebration, a journalist with Lviv's state-run television station received a so-called roznaryadka, a document that spelled out how journalists should cover the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II.

"It has already begun," said Sofia Sadina, whose political talk show airs live on Tuesday evenings. "They are already saying what can and cannot run. These are not the 'temnyky' of Kuchma�s days, but they are very large requests," she said, referring to the formal written instructions from the ex-president's administration detailing how news should be covered.

Yuriy Plaksiuk, head of the State Committee on Television and Radio, denied the charges. "There was a presidential decree and a cabinet's decision on covering the official events connected to the celebration of the Victory Day, but they did not give any recommendation on how to cover, neither were there any forbidden topics. And the committee, generally, does not issue instructions for state TV companies on how to cover the news," Plaksiuk said.

Still others think that the channel's millionaire and billionaire owners are simply seeking to remain in the administration's good graces by curtailing criticism and hard-hitting investigations that exposes corruption and helps Ukrainians hold their public officials accountable.

Much is at stake, since most Ukrainians get their information from television news. Thus far, newspapers and investigative online outlets seem immune from pressure. Zerkalo Nedeli and Ukrayinska Pravda are two examples of institutions known for hard-hitting investigative journalism.

"We now have to figure out how this pressure on the media works," Ligacheva said. "Some of the messages apparently are coming from the presidential administration. In other cases, we see self-censorship by the TV channel owners."

Some journalists, such as Lviv's Sadina, say they are simply ignoring instructions to slant their coverage. "Journalists are saying no," she said. "Journalists are now fighting back."

But Ihor Pochinok, editor and co-owner of the country's largest Ukrainian-language newspaper, Lviv-based Expres, said he expects more conflicts ahead.

"Relations with this government will only get worse," Pochinok said. Once Yanukovych's appointments are in place in the regions, "then close to the fall, we'll see serious conflicts. There will be attempts to stop certain press freedoms."

Journalists and Lviv university students held a two-hour warning strike on May 11 to protest clampdowns on the media. They also wanted to keep pressure on the president to remove the much disliked education minister, Dmytro Tabachnyk, from his post.

"If you listen to the radio, for instance, there is no analysis of the events leading to Victory Day, there is no critical assessment," said Olha Salo, one of the strike organizers. "Right now, we are not protesting. We are giving a warning of what can come."

29.05.10. Canadian Ambassador Derek Fraser: President Yanukovych's policies and tendencies

Presented at the Biennial Conference of the European Community Studies Association-Canada held in Victoria, BC from 29 April to 1 May, 2010.

Derek Fraser
Centre for Global Studies
University of Victoria


It is doubtful that President Yanukovych believes in democracy, or that he is interested in economic reform. To avoid reform of the gas sector, he has signed agreements with Russia which, while giving him a better gas price, constrain Ukrainian freedom of action. The further agreements that Russia is proposing could threaten Ukrainian independence. Regardless of the accords with Russia, Yanukovych does need further credit from the IMF. For this, he has to get his economic house in order. Yanukovych is also interested in free trade with the EU. For this democratic and even more extensive economic reforms are required.  While Ukraine can be infuriating in the persistent gap between its promises and its performance, it is in the West's interests to remain engaged.


During his election campaign, Viktor Yanukovych conveyed divergent messages to the Ukrainians and the West. To Ukrainians, he declared he wanted closer relations with Russia, together with free trade and eventual membership in the EU. He also wanted to see Ukraine join the Moscow-led customs union, the Common Economic Space (CES), provided it was allowed by the WTO. He promised to negotiate a more favourable gas price with Russia. He supported extending the Russian Black Sea Fleet's lease of its base at Sevastopol beyond its expiry date in 2017.

At the same time, Mr. Yanukovych's aides informed The Wall Street Journal that he and his Party of the Regions accepted the democratic rules of the game. Furthermore, the oligarchs around Yanukovych saw that their economic prosperity was linked to a reduction in corruption, the expansion of free market policies, lower taxes, fewer regulations and Ukraine's eventual integration into the EU.

President Yanukovych's foreign policy has so far been largely foreshadowed in his campaign speeches, although it is not at all clear how he can manage the contradiction between his efforts to establish an intimate political and economic relationship with Russia, and his ostensible desire to join the EU. The assurances conveyed in the Wall Street Journal article have so far, however, proved to have little relationship to the practice.

A gap between promise and performance has been common to all Ukrainian administrations, and especially to that of President Yanukovych's former boss, President Kuchma. Playing the East of against the West was also a hallmark of President Kuchma.

Without strong outside pressure, the gap between formal policies and real practices of the Yanukovych administration is likely, on the basis of the first months of his tenure, to be considerable.

The President's statements and initiatives suggest that he has only a limited belief in democracy. Mr. Yanukovych placed little emphasis during the election campaign on democracy or the rule of law, apart from declaring that Ukraine had paid a heavy price for freedom of speech. More recently, the president, who has expressed admiration for the stability of Putin's Russia, has remarked that "the opposition shatters stability," and Ukraine needs "a rigid chain of command." During the presidential election campaign, his Regions Party had the electoral law amended to weaken the safeguards against electoral fraud. Since President Yanukovych's inauguration, the Regions Party has put together a majority by violating the constitutional requirement that majorities must be constructed out of parties, and not out of individuals. This stipulation was intended to prevent a recurrence of Kuchma's practice of using bribes or blackmail to obtain parliamentary support. The administration has since apparently prevailed on the Constitutional Court to approve the way in which the coalition was formed in contradiction of the Court's own decision of 2008.

The government has also violated the constitution by postponing until the fall the local elections that were stipulated for May. Here the President wishes to restore constituencies. They had been abolished to minimize the chances for electoral fraud.

The cabinet Yanukovych has formed, "smells," according to the leading analytical weekly, Zerkalo Nedeli, "of mothballs." It is composed of technocrats from the Kuchma era selected more for their loyalty than for their competence, and more interested in diverting funds, than in reform.

Too many members of the administration have had experience in repressing. The Prime Minister, when head of the Tax Administration, reportedly used his powers against dissidents. Thirteen members of the cabinet were either in the Ukrainian KGB or collaborated with Soviet Security departments. Security officials who had gone into exile so as to escape prosecution following the Orange Revolution, are returning and being reinstated. 

In consequence, the human rights situation has worsened. The Interior Ministry has closed its Human Rights Section. The President has abolished the National Commission on Freedom of Speech and Information Development. Reporters without Borders and The European Federation of Journalists have noted a deterioration in press freedom. Newspapers and journalists are once again being harassed. Independent television stations are forced to tow the government line and suppress criticism. An opposition rally has been hampered by the cancellation or disruption of bus and train services. Yuliya Tymoshenko has complained that members of her BYUT Party are being hounded by the police. In a continuation of the Kuchma tradition of using the law to harass the opposition, Ms. Tymoshenko, herself, has been placed under investigation for alleged budgetary abuses of her government when she was Prime Minister.

The dedication of the Yanukovych administration to free market reforms looks at this point also to be questionable. Ukraine badly needs economic reform. The 2010 Index of Economic Freedom puts Ukraine in the 163rd place out of 179 countries, well below Russia. The government has announced for the second half of the year an economic reform programme lasting until 2020 with the first measures to be announced in June. Nevertheless, without strong outside pressure, it is doubtful that the government will go far in overcoming the strong vested interests in favour of certain elements of the status quo. The Prime Minister, Nikolai Azarov, while a solid manager, is not considered to be a reformer. The only person in the government who is regarded as pro-reform is, in fact, the Vice Prime Minister for Economic Reform, Serhii Tihipko. He, however, has no minister reporting to him. He also occupied the same position under Kuchma, where he noted for his inability to get anything done. The basic disposition of the government may be reflected in the President's intention of restoring the special economic zones. These zones, which were a source of tax evasion and corruption, were finally abolished on the insistence of the IMF in 2004.

Economic reform cannot be envisaged without a fight against corruption. Like his predecessors, the President has established a committee to fight corruption. Such a fight is badly needed. Transparency International's 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index places Ukraine and Russia, in the 146th place out of 180 countries. He and his colleagues do not, however, come to the fight with clean hands. In an apparent response to the Communist Party's reported demand for its members to have a financial share of the booty, Mr. Yanukovych has appointed a Communist functionary as head of the traditionally corrupt customs service. When the present Prime Minister, Mr. Azarov, headed the Tax Administration, it was regarded as massively corrupt. Twelve of the 29 ministers of the Cabinet have criminal records. A large number of the senior figures in the administration were associated with the company RosUkrEnerho, the middleman in gas shipments from Russia to Ukraine until January 2009. In this position it siphoned off funds for individuals and parties. One of the first actions of Mr. Yanukovych's administration has been to delay until next year the coming into force of a package of anti-corruption measures. The Economics Ministry is now requiring companies bidding on government contracts to purchase from a selected list of companies an "expertise" costing 1-4% of the cost of the contract, allegedly confirming that their prices are at market rates.

The Yanukovych administration is so far enjoying a honeymoon phase, with a high level of popular support. Later, however, it may need opposition backing to achieve its goals. Yanukovych has a weak mandate. He was narrowly elected. The make-up of the cabinet is not likely, if democratic principles are respected, to attract long-term, broadly based popular support. The ministers come only from the Russian-speaking South and East. The Prime Minister and many of the Vice Prime Ministers do not speak Ukrainian.

The cabinet has a reputation for being Russophile, even Sovietophile, and Ukrainophobe. The Vice Prime Minister for Security Affairs, the Minister of Defence, and the Foreign Minister were appointed on the basis of Russian recommendations. The Communist Party, a member of the governing coalition, is erecting busts of Stalin in various parts of the country. The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) no longer responds to requests for information on the Soviet era from its archives. The existence of The National Memory Institute, concerned with past repressions, is under review. The Minister of Education, Dmitry Tabachnik, last year suggested in an article that the Ukrainian-speaking and nationalist Western regions might be separated from the country. His appointment has led to street demonstrations and protests from the two independent universities. President Yanukovych and Dimitry Tabachnik have outlined plans to re-write school textbooks , in some cases together with Russia, apparently so as to reflect a Soviet-Russian national identity.

The opposition is potentially strong. The Orange Revolution has arguably changed Ukraine. The electorate may no longer be so passive. Yanukovych faces in Yuliya Tymoshenko a formidable opponent. She is probably the most intelligent politician in the country. She is well capable of rallying public opinion against questionable policies.

While political calculation would suggest that Yanukovych should work with the opposition, compromise does not come naturally to him. In any case, the initial measures taken by the government, including the agreement extending the lease on the Russian naval base, have sufficiently infuriated the opposition that it is unlikely for the foreseeable future to work with the government on other issues. Unless the two sides can co-operate, Yanukovych may be tempted to adopt more repressive measures.

The adoption of more authoritarian politics will not help the government achieve its aim of free trade with the EU. During President Yanukovych's visit to Brussels in early March, EU officials offered to conclude a free trade agreement in twelve months as a step towards an association agreement. To achieve this goal, the Ukrainian government had to reactivate the IMF Stand-By Arrangement that had been suspended in the fall. The IMF suspended payments because the government of the day had not honoured its pledge to raise gas prices to market rates, and parliament had passed a law raising pensions and the minimum wage by an amount the IMF considered the economy could not support.

The EU made it clear that Ukraine had to continue economic reforms, tackle the judicial system, revise the constitution, improve the electoral system, and combat corruption. In doing so, the government had to work with the opposition.

The EU also insisted that transparency and market conditions had to be adopted in the gas sector, including charging the market rate for gas, which would cause the price to double, so as to bring into force the 2009 Energy Community Treaty. Such reforms would allow Ukraine to receive investments for modernizing the Ukrainian Gas Transit Pipeline from Russia.

In response, President Yanukovych affirmed that his goal was integration with the EU, and adherence to the Energy Community Treaty.

The agreements Ukraine concluded with Russia on 21 March, resulting in a reduction by a third in the price of gas, may, however, be an effort to avoid a serious reform of the gas sector. Ukrainians have, however, argued that raising the price for gas now, would make it harder to bring the public later to accept more painful sacrifices. Nevertheless, Ukraine's initial discussions with the IMF held at the end of March, showed a reluctance to make other changes. Ukraine insisted on maintaining not only the subsidies for gas, but also the increase in pensions.

There are three accords between Russia and Ukraine:

The agreement on gas maintains more or less the existing price mechanisms for Russian gas and the transit of Russian gas to Western markets. It stipulates, however, that Ukraine has to increase its annual purchases by a third. There is, however, no obligation on Russia to maintain its current level of gas shipments through Ukraine to Western Europe.

The Russian lease on its naval base in Sevastopol in the Crimea, which was to expire in 2017, is extended to 2042, with only a slight increase in the existing annual rent. Russia is also allowed to add to its naval forces.

As a separate agreement, the Russian government has agreed to waive until 2019 the export duties up to a certain amount on gas exports, thus reducing the existing gas price for 1000 cubic metres from $330 to $230.

While the agreements will save Ukraine $40 billion up to 2019, they have several disadvantages:

The requirement on Ukraine to increase substantially its purchase of Russian gas will act as a disincentive for Ukraine to become more efficient in its use of gas, and to diversify its supply. Ukraine is one of the most inefficient users of energy in the industrial world. Ukraine's own resources are underdeveloped. It has shale deposits. Besides this, there are other foreign sources of gas available at comparable prices. A cheaper supply of gas, coupled with the possibility of Russian credits for the modernization of the pipeline, will not encourage Ukraine to run its gas sector in accordance with market principles in order to get Western support. Ukraine has had to make a major concession - the extension of the lease on the Russian naval base - in order to obtain a gas price which is about what Western European countries are paying for Russian gas after the transportation cost is removed. There is apparently nothing to prevent Russia from restoring the export tax on the gas. It may therefore use, as it has done with Belarus, this stick for disciplining Ukraine. In any case, the long-term presence of the Russian naval base in the Crimea will give Russia a strong influence on Ukrainian affairs.

The geo-political disadvantages of the three agreements for Ukraine are amplified by  other agreements that Russia has proposed:

The two national gas companies, Gasprom and Naftohaz should merge, thus putting Ukrainian gas prices, the Ukrainian Gas Transit Line, the Ukrainian gas distribution network, and the Ukrainian gas reservoirs under Russian control. This might mean that Ukraine could no longer resist Russian price increases, withstand Russia turning off the tap, or diversify its sources. the Ukrainian electrical and nuclear industries, including reactors, and uranium deposits being jointly managed with Russia. Russian companies and their subsidiaries should be granted immunity under Ukrainian law. Ukrainian courts would have no immunity against Russian judicial investigations and would be obliged to apply without appeal the decisions of Russian courts.


The Ukrainian government's reaction to the latest Russian proposals has been wary. The US and the EU comments on the blossoming friendship between Russia and Ukraine have amounted to stating that it is up to the two sides to decide on the form that their relations will take. It is possible that they are tired of Ukrainian government's seeking to play the East off against the West. They may also not be convinced by what they have seen so far of the Yanukovych government's protestations of democratic convictions and commitment to economic reform. They may even be happy no longer to have the inconvenience of a democratic, but chaotic Ukrainian government knocking at the door of NATO and the EU.

They should, however, be concerned by what they see happening in Ukraine. The agreements that Russia has now proposed would have the effect of limiting Ukraine's effective sovereignty. If they are accepted, they also have the potential to destabilize the country, with consequences reaching beyond Ukraine's borders.

The West has every interest therefore to remain involved in Ukraine. Should Ukraine revert to authoritarianism, it should not surprise us. It is almost a rite of passage for countries evolving towards pluralism. It does not necessarily predict the future. Under President Yushchenko, Ukraine had become, according to Freedom House, completely free, and indeed ahead of Turkey in its rights and freedoms. Although Ukraine has moved closer to Russia, there are still strong economic interests pulling it in the opposite direction: Ukraine strongly needs an understanding with the IMF. It wants free trade with the EU. For this reason, Ukraine rejected, during its initial negotiations with Russia, the idea of joining the Russian-led common market, the Common Economic Space (CES). It is important, therefore, that the IMF, the EU, and the West in general, should resist surrendering to Ukraine fatigue. It still is in our interest to support democracy and economic reform in Ukraine.

31.05.10. Ukraine drops 'unrealistic' plans for NATO membership

New president Viktor Yanukovich says move 'would require us to have the support of the majority of the population'

Ukraine, once a keen suitor of Nato, has abandoned its aim to be a member of the alliance, its new leader said today in a move that should bring relief to many western capitals, as well as Russia.

"Ukraine will continue developing its relations with the alliance, but the question of membership is being removed from the agenda," the foreign minister, Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, was quoted by the Russian state-owned Interfax news agency as saying. "This corresponds to the way things are today," he added in comments to an official meeting on foreign policy.

The country's new president, Viktor Yanukovich, was quoted as saying: "Entry into Nato is not realistic for our country today. Nato conditions would require us to have the support of the majority of the population."

Nato membership was pursued, with the enthusiastic support of the Bush administration and the Labour government in Britain, by the pro-western former president Viktor Yushchenko. This was despite a lack of enthusiasm inside Ukraine and concern by some Nato members.

Ukraine was considered a potential Nato partner along with Georgia. Concern in many Nato countries increased in 2008 when Russia responded with military force to a Georgian attack on South Ossetia, an enclave in Georgia.

At a summit in Bucharest in April 2008, alliance leaders agreed that Ukraine "will become a Nato member" in the future, but added that it was up to the Ukrainian people and their elected leaders to determine the country's path.

Since then, most Nato countries, including the US and Britain, have realised membership of Ukraine and Georgia would provoke conflict, notably with Russia. This month, the Albright report on Nato's new strategic concept made no mention of prospective Ukrainian membership of the alliance.

Interfax quoted Gryshchenko as saying Nato membership did not have the support of the majority of the population and had a "destructive effect" on policy.

Yanukovich came to power in February and has moved the former Soviet republic back closer to Moscow in several policy areas. Last month he reached agreement with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, on extending the lease on the Russian Black Sea fleet base in Sevastopol for 25 years after the current lease expires in 2017. They also reached agreement on gas prices.

A dispute over gas price rises led Russia to cut supplies to Ukraine in 2006 in a move that caused concern across Europe. The gas was switched back on only after Ukraine agreed to pay almost twice the former price. In January 2009, Russia again cut supplies in a row over unpaid fees.

Yanukovich has told Moscow that Ukraine would avoid membership of any military blocs. He has not responded to Medvedev's invitation to join the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation, which groups Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. Gryshchenko suggested Ukraine would continue to take part in military and civil emergency programmes with Nato.

A significant minority of the population of Ukraine are Russians or Russian is their first language. Russian influence is strong in the industrialised east, as well as in Crimea, an autonomous republic on the Black Sea. (The Guardian).

08.06.10. Ukraines regering håber på visumfrihed med EU fra 2012
Fra den 1. januar 2012, kan der indføres visumfri ordning mellem Ukraine og Den Europæiske Union, sagde Ukraines vicepremierminister Borys Kolesnikov i dag i Kharkiv.

"Samtalerne skrider frem, og hvis intet kommer i vejen vil der fra 1. januar 2012 blive indført en visumfri ordning for ukrainere. Dette er meget vigtigt for flyselskaberne. Men problemet er mere politisk, og alt afhænger af forhandlingerne, Ukraine - EU" - sagde Kolesnikov.

Ifølge et udkast til program for økonomiske reformer i Ukraine for 2010-2014, skal der indføres en visumfri ordning mellem Ukraine og EU inden udgangen af 2012. Podrobnosti.

20.06.10. Regionernes parti udbygger sit flertal i parlamentet

Prisen for en overgang til koalitionen i Ukraines parlament er 1,5 millioner dollars pr. person", siger næstformanden i parlamentsgruppen "Folkets selvforsvar", 

Oles Doniy.

Udtalelsen faldt i et interview med avisen "Ukrajina Moloda". "Merkantile interesser betyder mere for alle disse mennesker end ideologi," - sagde Doniy. Han tilføjer, at fraktionen "Folkets selvforsvar" vil blive ved med at "ædes op af rust", og at der ikke er vedtaget nogle sanktioner med "overløberne" - formelt forbliver de medlemmer af "Folkets selvforsvar".

Lederen af fraktionen "NUNS", som "Folkets selvforsvar" er en del af, Mykola Martynenko, bidrager ifølge Doniy rent faktisk til denne "regionalisering".

"Han er som et "skyggemedlem" af koalitionen. Martynenko fortsætter med at være business-partner med Zhvaniya, og naturligvis har de drøftet overgangen af seks "NUNS"-deputerede til koalitionen"- siger Doniy.

Efter hans opfattelse eksisterer gruppen "Folkets selvforsvar" ikke længere. Den skal opløses de jure"- siger Doniy.

Ifølge ham er Regionernes parti gået over til at "rekruttere" nye "overløbere", fordi deres koalitionspartnere i det kommunistiske parti ikke støtter de ændringer til valgloven vedrørende lokalvalg, som Regionernes parti har foreslået.

Disse ændringer, som genindfører et blandet valgsystem, vil bringe RP til magten på alle niveauer og i alle distrikter, forklarer Doniy.

Fredag den 18. juni gik yderligere 6 deputerede fra oppositionen over til pro-Janukovytj koalitionen "stabilitet og reform".

Præsident Viktor Janukovitj har nu et solidt flertal på 257 deputerede i parlamentet. UP.

21.06.10. Levochkin: Ukraine kommer ikke til at tilbagebetale penge til RosUkrEnergo

Ukraine vil ikke tilbagebetale RosUkrEnergo hverken gas eller penge, sagde chefen for præsidentens administration, Sergey Levochkin, under udsendelsen "Black and White" på TVi.

"Ukraines har ikke tænkt sig at tilbagebetale hverken penge eller gas" - sagde han.

"Vi venter på de officielle dokumenter fra Stockholm-domstolen, hvorefter regeringen i Ukraine vil træffe beslutning om yderligere tiltag" - sagde Levochkin.

Som bekendt, afsagde Stockholms Internationale Voldgiftsdomstol den 8. juni en dom ifølge hvilken det statslige ukrainske gasselskab Naftohaz pålægges at tilbagebetale mellemhandlerselskabet RosUkrEnergo 11 milliarder kubikmeter gas og for at give det 1.100 millioner kubikmeter gas som kompensation.

Desuden pålagde domstolen Naftogaz at betale RosUkrEnergo 197 millioner dollars for misligholdelse af kontrakten.

Ukraines sikkerhedstjeneste SBU har rejst sigtelse for at forårsage tab for staten Ukraine i forbindelse med beslutningen i Stockholms voldgiftsdomstol. På listen over de indkaldte vidner var alle tidligere medlemmer af bestyrelsen i Naftogaz.

I en kommentar til denne sag sagde Levochkin: "Dette er ikke en undersøgelse rettet mod det tidligere styre, men mod embedsmænd, som har truffet konkrete beslutninger, der førte til, at vi nu har tabt sagen."

"Nu vil der blive leveret gas fra Ukraine, og så ved jeg ikke, om der i voldgiftsdomstolens dom er nogen sanktioner mod Ukraine. Det er ekstra penge, som vi som et resultat af denne afgørelse, bliver nødt til at aflevere til dette selskab, "- sagde han.

"Det vil være et direkte økonomisk tab, fordi vi er nødt til at følge denne afgørelse - det er statens ansvar, selvom nogle af de tidligere tjenestemænd godt kunne finde på ikke at gøre det. Beslutninger truffet af internationale voldgiftsretter er staten direkte ansvarlig for at rette sig efter" - sagde lederen af administrationen.

"Hvis vi skal betale disse penge tilbage som følge af en beslutning truffet af en eller anden person i Ukraine, bør vedkommende sidde i fængsel. Det synes jeg er OK" - sagde Levochkin. UP.

28.06.10. Ukraines Grundlov fylder fjorten år

Da Ukraines Parlament ”Rada” den 28. juni 1996 vedtog Ukraines Grundlov, skete det som led i en tidskrævende og kompliceret udvikling, som dog uden tvivl kan betegnes som et af de mest afgørende og identitetsskabende øjeblikke i landets historie. 

Grundlovens ikrafttræden blev en vigtig milepæl i udviklingen af en nation, og et retssystem samt opbygningen af et solidt politisk og socialt fundament.   

Ukraines Grundlov indtager hermed en prominent placering som et af landets vigtigste politiske og juridiske dokumenter. Den består af love og juridiske normer, som danner grundlaget for væsentlige politiske, sociale og kulturelle relationer. ”Mennesket, dets liv, helbred, ære og sikkerhed udgør den højeste sociale værdi i Ukraine” – står det skrevet i Ukraines Grundlov.  

Ukraines nuværende Grundlov er både en opsummering af de grundlæggende statsdannelsesprocesser men også en vejviser for landet i dets stræben efter at blive en demokratisk og europæisk stat.   

Vedtagelsen af en Grundlov har befæstet retsgrundlaget for det uafhængige Ukraine, dets suverænitet og territoriale integritet. Forfatningen er formuleret med udgangspunkt i vort folks historiske erfaring og rummer generelle normer og betingelser, som er kendetegnende for de fleste europæiske stater. Dette bidrager til styrkelsen af Ukraines autoritet på den internationale scene og anerkendelsen af Ukraine som en ægte europæisk og demokratisk stat.        

I forbindelse med vedtagelsen af Forfatningen i 1996 sørgede Ukraines parlament for at formulere dokumentet i overensstemmelse med Europarådets krav. Ukraine har været Europarådsmedlem siden 1995.  

Vedtagelsen af Ukraines Forfatning blev anerkendt som den vigtigste begivenhed i 1996 inden for europæisk forfatningsret. Venedig-kommissionen, som Ukraine havde et tæt samarbejde med under udarbejdelsen af dokumentet, havde rost Ukraines nye forfatning. ”Forfatningen styrker den udøvende magt.., og opretter et ”checks and balances” system, hvilket umuliggør en tilbagevenden til en autoritær styreform. Retsstatsprincipperne er klart afspejlet i Forfatningen. Oprettelsen af lokalt selvstyre samt Forfatningsdomstolens vigtige rolle bidrager til forankringen af demokratisk kultur i Ukraine”, hed det i Venedig-kommissionens konklusion.

Den 1.januar 2006 trådte der en række forfatningsændringer i kraft, som parlamentet havde vedtaget i december 2004. Omfordelingen af beføjelserne mellem Ukraines Præsident, premierminister og parlament skulle fremme den fortsatte gennemførelse af demokratiske reformer på alle sociale og politiske niveauer.    

Forfatningens demokratiske normer fastslår, at formålet med landets udenrigspolitik er at sikre Ukraines nationale interesser og sikkerhed gennem fortsættelsen af et fredeligt og bilateralt samarbejde med det internationale samfund. Ukraines udenrigspolitik har til formål at opretholde freden og sikkerheden i verden og hviler på principper som ligeberettigelse, suverænitetslighed, ikke-indblanding i andre landes internpolitiske anliggender, anerkendelse af den territoriale integritet samt eksisterende grænsers ukrænkelighed.  

Med udgangspunkt i Ukraines Grundlovs bestemmelser og med udgangspunkt i de verdenspolitiske realiteter fører Ukraine en ansvarlig og afbalanceret udenrigspolitik, hvis prioritet er integration i den europæiske politiske, juridiske og økonomiske sfære med henblik på at blive et fuldgyldigt medlem af EU. Samtidigt forsøger Ukraine på det bilaterale plan at opretholde de gode relationer til Rusland, USA og andre strategiske partnere med henblik på at styrke primært den økonomiske side af udenrigspolitikken. Ukraines udenrigspolitik fokuserer særligt på menneskerettigheder, ukrainske borgere og virksomheder i udlandet samt samarbejde indenfor disse områder med andre lande og inden for rammerne af internationale organisationer.

Virkeliggørelsen af disse opgaver kan gøre det muligt for Ukraine at indtage en velfortjent plads blandt verdens udviklede lande og sikre velfærd og velstand for alle vort lands indbyggere.


UKRAINES AMBASSADE I DANMARK  E-mail: embassy.ua@mail.tele.dk

Det ukrainske parlament vedtog i dag en ny lov om grundlaget for landets indenrigs-og udenrigspolitik.

259 deputerede stemte for loven, som præsident Janukovytj havde fremsat i parlamentet.

Blandt de vigtigste principper i dokumentet er Ukraines deltagelse i det europæiske og regionale kollektive sikkerhedssystemer, medlemskab af Den Europæiske Union og opretholdelsen af et godt naboskab og strategisk partnerskab med Rusland, andre SNG-lande og samt andre stater.

Et tidligere afsnit om Ukraines medlemskab af NATO er blevet fjernet fra teksten. Dette forårsagede et ramaskrig i oppositionen.

Hvad "sprogspørgsmålet" angår, hedder det i loven: "Der sikres en udvikling og brug af det ukrainske sprog som statsligt sprog i alle sfærer af det offentlige liv i hele Ukraine, og der sikres en fri udvikling, anvendelse og beskyttelse af russisk og andre nationale mindretalssprog i Ukraine.

Oppositionen insisterede på, at det ukrainske sprog blev omtalt som det eneste statslige sprog.

Fraktionsleder for "Vores Ukraine", Vyacheslav Kirilenko, beskyldte koalitionen for vanhelligelse af den demokratiske proces.

"I salen er der omkring 50 medlemmer af koalitionen. Men når de stemmer, viser tavlen, at de er 250! Af de 420 oppositionnelle ændringsforslag, er der ikke taget højde for et eneste. Salen er en ren vanhelligelse af den demokratiske proces "- sagde Kyrylenko.

Han sagde, at hans gruppe ikke ville deltage i denne "farce". UP.

NATO mener, at Ukraine ikke har opgivet at samarbejde med alliancen efter magtskiftet i landet. Det sagde NATOs vicegeneralsekretær Jean-François Bureau i dag i Kiev.

"NATO har det indtryk, at de ændringer, der opstod ( efter præsidentvalget i Ukraine ), ikke vil tilsidesætte ønsket om at fortsætte samarbejdet. Så ønsket om fortsat samarbejde fra ukrainsk side er stærkere end de ændringer, som nu finder sted , "- sagde han.

Jean Bureau bemærkede også, at møderne mellem medlemmer af den ukrainske regering og repræsentanter for NATO tyder på, at Ukraine har til formål at bevare "det niveau af samarbejde , der eksisterede før og eksisterer i dag."

Han understregede, at der fortsat er et samarbejde mellem Ukraine og Alliancen inden for videnskab.

Ifølge ham er der ifølge det årlige program for samarbejde mellem Ukraine og NATO alene i år planlagt 300 fælles arrangementer.

"Vi vil gennemføre et program for samarbejde, som var planlagt i forskellige aspekter i alle sfærer og dimensioner "- sagde han. Podrobnosti.


15.07.10. Ukraine: the immobile state

Taras Kuzio

The analysis of Ukraine's prospects following the two-round presidential election of January-February 2010 seems often to veer between pessimistic predictions of national disintegration and optimistic scenarios about successful integration. The articles of Ethan S Burger (19 February 2010) and Adrian Karatnycky (5 March 2010) are representative examples of either position. This article argues that a more realistic view would see Ukraine continuing to exist in the short-to-medium term as an immobile state - but that until Ukraine's politicians seek national integration, political instability will continue and real reform will be indefinitely postponed.

In the era of Leonid Kuchma's presidency (July 1994-January 2005) that culminated in the "orange revolution", Ukraine was often depicted as a country that sought in the post-communist era to do little more than unambitiously "muddle along". Today, approaching six years since the political convulsion that ended Kuchma's rule and propelled a new set of politicians into the frontline, there are fears that Ukraine will regress to semi-authoritarianism, see its sovereignty diminish as relations with Russia deepen, and move from political instability to violent political conflict. These fears may be overplayed, but their very existence suggests that Ukraine's political future seems to be a permanently open question that invites outlandish answers.

A state of flux

Amid a degree of fluidity in the post-election climate, some things are clear. Ukraine will not become a failed state, as Russian experts in wishful thinking predicted in the period of Viktor Yushchenko's presidency (2005-10) (see "The Ukrainian-Russian Cultural Conflict" [Eurasia Daily Monitor, 6 May 2009]).

The country's state institutions remain in place and, although devoid of public trust, remain sufficiently strong to maintain administration. Ukraine is also be unlikely to sink into civil war and inter-ethnic conflict; ethnic or religious hatreds do not run deep in the country. At the same time, the continued monopolisation of power under Viktor Yanukovych, the president elected in 2010, could have serious consequences if left unchecked (see Alexander J Motyl, ""The Prorizna Street rebellion", 23 March 2010).

But it is important to ground such assessments on actual knowledge of the country. Here, Ethan S Burger's description of western Ukraine as "New Russia" and statement that Yushchenko finished fourth in the 2010 elections (he finished fifth) do not inspire confidence. More generally, Burger's citation of negative views of Yulia Tymoshenko as a factor in her defeat fails to put this in the context of Ukrainians overall disillusion with politicians. For example, a survey by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (Ifes) in November 2009 found widespread low levels of public trust, including in "new faces" such as Arseniy Yatseniuk and Sergei Tigipko; the highest negative verdict was Viktor Yushchenko's 83%, while all other politicians scored 50%-69% on this measure. It is inevitable that by then Ukrainians would also view Tymoshenko critically; she was after all the first presidential candidate who was also an incumbent prime minister during the worst recession for seven decades.

Burger writes that Yushchenko sought closer ties to the west to "produce a vibrant economy"; but the deeper motive was that (like politicians elsewhere in east-central Europe and the three Baltic states) he supported the view that Ukraine should "return to Europe" and escape the Soviet-turned-Russian sphere of influence. The choice was therefore more ideological than one of pragmatic economics.

Moreover, Burger's view that "Ukraine has not completely solved its nationality problem" suggests a highly rarefied view of national identity (one matched by Adrian Karatnycky's forecast that linguistic and cultural cleavages "will be overcome in time"). Italy achieved national unity and independence in the 1860s but it still has deep regional divisions; polls show that over half of Italians think they are not a "single people", and 15% would even support the division of their country (see "Centrifugal forces", Economist, 13 May 2010). Such examples could be multiplied.

Such nationality questions are very rarely "resolved", but tend rather to remain contested and in a state of flux. The Ukrainian case highlights the importance of nationality as a factor in post-Soviet political and economic transitions, one that did not exist in democratisation's "third wave" in Latin America and was less prominent in its "fourth wave" in the former communist world. In any case, nationality and inherited political cultures often make getting the politics right more difficult; here, Ukraine's moderate nation-building policies since 1990 have ameliorated the threat of ethnic violence where the potential was greatest, in the Crimea.

A want of stability

In this respect, the result of Ukraine's presidential election of 2010 represents a shift, for it brought to power regional elites opposed to the nationality policies that had been implemented over these two decades. The appointment of a Sovietophile as education minister (Dmytro Tabachnyk) reflects the shift; so does President Yanukovych's more Russophile stance on issues that are sensitive to Ukrainian nationalists (such as the famine of 1933, the Ukrainian language, and the Black Sea naval base in Sevastopol).

The change was signalled before the election. Yanukovich's Party of Regions as well as the Communist Party did not vote for the law in November 2006 that recognised the Soviet politics of the Ukrainian famine; on the very day of Yanukovich's inauguration (25 February 2010), the section on the famine on the presidential website was removed. Yanukovch's election programmes in 2004 and 2010, and the Party of Regions's in 2006 and 2007, called for Russian to become a second state language. The Ukrainian and Russian presidents signed a deal on 22 April 2010 involving a trade-off between the purchase of Russian gas and extending the lease of Russia's Black Sea fleet that led to a riot in the Kyiv parliament.

These developments raise doubts over Adrian Karatnycky's optimism over Yanukovych's election and its impact on Ukrainian stability (see "Re-Introducing Viktor Yanukovych", Wall Street Journal, 8 February 2010). Karatnycky writes that the last five years have "allowed time for the political transformation of Mr. Yanukovych and his Party of Regions" in three areas, including the way that "the oligarchs around Mr. Yanukovych became economically transparent" and "now see their future prosperity integrally linked to a reduction in corruption". But during the Yushchenko era the Party of Regions always voted against legislation to combat corruption, and a 2007 report (co-authored by Karatnycky) highlighted the Party of Regions as one disinterested in combating corruption (see Jan Neutze & Adrian Karatnycky, Corruption, Democracy and Investment in Ukraine [Atlantic Council of the United States, October 2007]).

Karatnycky believes that "the new president and the government he will try to bring into office will likely represent a broad-based mix of longtime Regions party officials, and competent financial and economic technocrats and market reformers - including some from the former Yushchenko team". The odds of a broad-based coalition are reinforced by the modesty of Mr. Yanukovych's victory, clear-cut though it was. Indeed, Yanukovych won by only 3%, was the first president to not win 50% of the vote and the first to be elected by a minority of Ukraine's regions (eleven out of twenty-seven).

The government of prime minister Nikolai Azarov is not broad-based but is composed largely of discredited retreads from the Leonid Kuchma period and other Sovietophiles, whose average age is 55 (the prime minister himself is 62). The Kyiv-based Penta Center for Political Studies finds that eight out of twenty-nine cabinet ministers were born in the city of Donetsk or its region, and three more started their professional career there. This is also the first government in modern Ukrainian history without a single woman (and is led by a figure whose attitudes to women prompt some to describe him as a "neanderthal").

Karatnycky writes that Yanukovych and the Party of Regions "have accustomed themselves and found success in the democratic rules of the game". This must be measured against the fact that Ukraine's constitutional court was pressured to rule in favour of an illegitimate parliamentary coalition that has only 220 deputies (where a minimum of 226 are required) to include defectors from opposition factions; and that the constitution's ban on foreign bases (an article providing for a "temporary" twenty-year base from 1997-2017 excepted) was violated by the thirty-year extension in the new Black Sea treaty. Yanukovych's platform focused on the need for Ukraine to avoid Nato membership and to become a "non-bloc" state; but non-bloc states do not permit foreign military bases on their soil.

Karatnycky's view that Yanukovych would return Ukraine to the kind of balanced, multi-vector foreign policy pursued in the Kuchma era was premised on the assumption that if elected he would not implement his election programme. This was always unlikely. Yanukovich's programme was far more pro-Russian than Kuchma's had ever been (see Vladimir Socor, "Yanukovych Consistently Russia-Leaning in Ukraine's Presidential Election" [Eurasia Daily Monitor, 22 January 2010]). Today, Ukraine's foreign policy has moved away from the national consensus of three previous presidents who sought Ukraine's integration into Nato and the European Union (see "Ukraine's Foreign Policy Turns East" [Eurasia Daily Monitor, 23 April 2010]).

It is thus unsurprising to see the prediction that Ukraine would achieve "political stability and economic policy consensus" and thereby "move further toward fulfilling the promises of the Orange Revolution than the fractious rule of Yushchenko-Tymoshenko ever did" proving to be incorrect. The overturning of two decades of national consensus by Viktor Yanukovych and Nikolai Azarov confounds the optimistic expectation of an emergent national consensus on "key questions of national unity and sovereignty". Rather, the election of Viktor Yanukovych confirms the deep persistence of a neo-Soviet political culture inherited from Ukraine's past. The mindsets, policies and mannerisms of the Yanukovych team cast severe doubt on Adrian Karatnycky's claim that ...(in) the last twenty years, Soviet identity and regionalism have withered in Ukraine's East, Centre, and West".

A political dimension

Ukraine is routinely depicted as being divided linguistically between Russophones and Ukrainophones. In reality the differences lie in the realm of competing political cultures.

There are linguistic divisions in Ukraine but they are superimposed upon competing political cultures, with neo-Soviet political culture more prevalent in Russophone eastern-Soviet Ukraine. The surveys of national identity in Ukraine have always shown that Soviet identity is strongest in the Donbas (Donetsk and Luhansk regions) and the Crimea - which are also the Party of Regions's strongholds.

The Ukrainian Centre for Economic and Political Studies has surveyed Ukrainian, Soviet, and Russian national identities in Ukraine. Donetsk had the highest Soviet identity of all Ukraine's regions, with 37.1% of the region identifying their "cultural traditions" as Soviet (25.8% chose Ukrainian, and 22.5% Russian); the Crimea was a close second, with 32.2% declaring a Soviet identity (with 30% Russian, and 19% Ukrainian). In western Ukraine, the Soviet figure was 5.9% in Chernivtsi and 0.3-1.5% in Galicia.

Such affinities are reflected in the fact that Donetsk and Luhansk have 430 streets named after Vladimir Lenin, and sixty-seven carrying the name of the local separatist and Donbas communist leader Fedor Artem (including one in central Donetsk). These have continued to remain in place despite the condemnation of communism under Viktor Yushchenko and his presidential decree ordering the removal of all communist symbols (see "Viktor Yanukovych's First 100 Days: Back to the Past, but What's the Rush?" [Demokratizatsiya, 18/2, Spring 2010).

The differences have a political dimension. Donetsk and Crimea have the highest rates of "negative voting"; that is, voters prefer to vote against than for a candidate or a party/bloc. The average number of negative voters across Ukraine is 28% of those who vote; the lowest figure is in western Ukraine (12.2%) and the highest in the Donbas and Crimea (42.8%). In Crimea alone, 73% are negative voters; the targets are "nationalists", "American lackeys", and "orange" political forces.

The Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU) and the Party of Regions each contribute to the continued influence of neo-Soviet political culture. The KPU's vote has declined from 20% in 2002 to less than 5% in subsequent elections, in great part because many of its former supporters switched their allegiance to the Party of Regions. The KPU has twice entered governments dominated by the Party of Regions, in 2006-07 and since March 2010. This situation is notably different from the 1990s, when Leonid Kuchma fought the KPU during Ukraine's transition to a market economy (defeating then KPU leader Piotr Symonenko in the 1999 elections, for example).

A capital issue

More broadly, Ukraine cannot be neatly divided into two linguistic groups because the situation on the ground is far more complicated. More accurate surveys show a three-sided pattern: Russophones, Ukrainophones, and people who use both languages interchangably. The last group is particularly prevalent in central Ukraine, also the battleground fought over by western and eastern Ukrainian political leaders. In 1994 Kuchma won the presidency by winning eastern-southern and central Ukraine; in 2004, Viktor Yushchenko won the presidential elections by victory in western and central Ukraine.

Ukraine's capital city, Kyiv, is a Russian-speaking city where 90% of children are schooled in Ukrainian. The city supported the orange protests, without which the revolution would have never been successful. In the 2004 elections, 78% voted for Yushchenko in Kyiv (and 82% in the Kyiv oblast); in the 2010 elections, the equivalent figures for Yulia Tymoshenko were 65% and 70%.

At the same time, a mix of public apathy, low turnouts and divisions in the democratic opposition have allowed the corrupt and eccentric Leonid Chernovetsky to become Kyiv's mayor (see Clifford J Levy, "Is the Mayor Fit for Office. No Sure Answer", New York Times, 14 August 2009). Chernovetsky backed Yanukovych in the 2010 elections out of fear that a Tymoshenko victory would lead to criminal charges against him. A draft law seeks to remove the right of Kyivites to elect their mayor - and effectively hand this to the state president - by combining the position with that of the head of the state administration in the city.

A permanent question

It is one thing to say that Ukrainians' attachment to the territorial borders of their country is inherited from the seventy-year history of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. It is another to argue, as does Adrian Karatnycky, that Ukrainians are nationally integrated. Donetsk and Lviv have little in common culturally or politically, while western Ukrainians and Crimeans have diametrically opposite viewpoints on practically every issue. These divisions are not fundamentally linguistic, although language is a factor, but rest on different political cultures, mindsets and world views.

In a mature democracy such profound regional divisions could be dealt with politically - as they have been in Canada, Britain, Belgium and Spain (with the European Union also available to play a moderating role in three of these cases). Ukraine's politicians are still new to the game of democracy, while the EU has been a bystander in Ukraine and has failed to provide the country with a membership perspective. The effects are felt in Ukraine's political and civic culture (see Ivan Krastev, "Ukraine's Easy Work", World Affairs Journal, 15 February 2010).

In these circumstances Ukraine is likely neither to disintegrate nor quickly to develop a common national identity. The latter would require new politicians of a different calibre and the moderating and disciplining effect of the prospect of EU membership. That cannot happen soon enough; for current policies will deepen Ukraine's divisions, ensure further political instability, and distract Ukraine from addressing its fundamental problems. Ukraine deserves better than to remain an immobile and dysfunctional state. But until a new generation of politicians can resolve the issue of national integration, that melancholy situation seems all that is on offer.

15.07.10. First 100 days of Viktor Yanukovych explodes six myths

Taras Kuzio

Viktor Yanukovych was elected on February 7 and inaugurated as Ukraine's fourth president on February 25.

June 5 marks his first 100 days in office. Yanukovych won the 2010 Ukrainian presidential elections by the lowest margin in Ukrainian history (3.5 percent, compared to the traditional 8 to 16 percent) and is the first president to be elected with less than fifty percent of the vote.

He won the same number of regions (ten out of 27) but with fewer votes than he received in December 2004, despite four out of five years in opposition and a severe financial and economic crisis.

Yanukovych's weak electoral victory has not prevented him from launching a counter revolution in domestic and foreign affairs that overturns the work of Ukraine's first three presidents.

The two main counter revolutionary projects are the move from a Ukrainophile to a Russian-neo Soviet national identity (EDM, May 10). Ukraine has moved 180 degrees from Yushchenko's pro-Western single vector to a pro-Russian single vector foreign policy.

As leader of the Party of Regions, Yanukovych promised to pursue three policies after his election.

First, forming a government composed of "professionals" and implementing a reform program, building political stability, and taking steps towards national integration.

During Yanukovych's first 100 days in office none of these three policies have emerged. The government is led by former Kuchma era officials mainly in their late 50's or early 60's and therefore their careers began in the Leonid Brezhnev "era of stagnation."

No reform program has been put forward. Political instability is far more likely as a consequence of the counter revolution underway.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's regional divide has deepened, not improved, itself an outcome of these policies. Yanukovych's election was accompanied by six myths that fell apart after the counter revolution was unfurled. Unfortunately, these served to disorientate Western policymakers and analysts during his first 100 days in office:

1. Yanukovych was more likely to bring stability than Yulia Tymoshenko. Yanukovych's counter revolution in Ukraine's national identity and foreign policies may introduce greater instability in the country (Oleksandr Paliy, Ukrayinska Pravda, May 28).

2. Yanukovych learnt the lessons of election fraud in 2004 and recast himself as a democrat. This claim never quite stood up to scrutiny as Yanukovych did not accept the 2004 election results, arguing that there was no fraud involved and claimed that he was the object of a planned "US-backed conspiracy" (Orange Revolution). His views on 2004 only hardened over the past five years as no criminal charges were ever instituted against the organizers of the fraud.

The spring 2009 congress that launched Yanukovych's candidacy was "respectable and modern," Ukrayinska Pravda (April 25) reported. The April 23 congress that passed the leadership back to Prime Minister, Nikolai Azarov (the Party of Regions first leader in 2001-2003) was a "party congress from the Soviet era" with the leadership question taking place "according to the best canons of a CPSU congress" (Ukrayinska Pravda, April 25, 2010).

3. Tymoshenko, not Yanukovych, if elected would become the main threat to Ukrainian democracy. The first 100 days of the Yanukovych presidency has shown that his authoritarian tendencies were always greater.

He was governor of Donetsk from 1997-2002 during which it became Ukraine's only region with a similar political culture to Russia denoted by one party holding a monopoly of power.

The constitution has been repeatedly infringed and parliament has been sidelined when the Stability and Reforms coalition was established and the Black Sea Fleet basing agreement was extended.

Media censorship has re-appeared leading to the formation of the Stop Censorship! NGO, with 500 journalists amongst its members from throughout Ukraine (http://www.telekritika.ua/news/2010-05-22/53128).

Opposition leaders are being subjected to politically inspired criminal charges (http://www.telekritika.ua/media-continent/monitoring/medialiteracy/2010 -05-28/53250).

Protests have grown against police brutality following the death of a Kyiv student in police custody and police brutality against protestors in Lviv and Kharkiv (Ukrayinska Pravda, May 31, June 3).

4. Yanukovych's pro-Russian program was dismissed as unlikely to be implemented if he were to be elected. Yanukovych would become a "Kuchma-2," pragmatic, working with centrists and national democrats, and return Ukraine to a multi-vector foreign policy.

This myth misconstrued Yanukovych and the Party of Regions as "pragmatists" when they had evolved in the post-Kuchma era into an ideological political force that defended and represented the Eastern Slavic, Russophone and neo-Soviet political culture of Eastern-Southern Ukraine.

Yanukovych and the Party of Regions receive support from ex-communist voters and have twice entered coalitions with the communist party. In the Crimean parliament, the Party of Regions has formed coalitions with Russian nationalists and the national-Bolshevik Progressive Socialists (EDM, March 2).

5. Russia equally supported Tymoshenko and Yanukovych; a view echoed repeatedly by President Yushchenko. As EDM (January 22, 29) highlighted, Russia gave its backing to Yanukovych, a factor evident since his election. Since 2005, the Party of Regions has a partnership with the Unified Russia party led by Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin. Fatherland, the party that Tymoshenko leads, is the most active Ukrainian party in the European parliament and a member of its European People's Party group.

The Party of Regions is not a member of any European parliamentary group. 6. The oligarchs are ready to become taxpaying, bona fide businessmen and support tackling corruption.

This view, echoed by Western analysts such as Anders Aslund and Adrian Karatnycky (Kyiv Post, April 14, May 27), has proven to be unfounded.

The oligarchs are interested in subsidized gas, which the gas lobby that controls Ukraine's foreign policy and the Yanukovych administration has provided (EDM, March 18). US-style "robber barons," with which Ukraine's oligarchs are often compared, only became bona fide businessmen when they were forced by the state; they did not do so of their own volition.

Ukraine's oligarchs are comfortable with the country's partial reform equilibrium and an unreformed energy sector. Big business seeks to ingratiate itself with the new authorities and oligarchs are a threat to Ukrainian democracy as they control television where censorship is being re-imposed.

Yanukovych's first 100 days in office has not fulfilled his election promise of reforms, stability and national integration.

Meanwhile, he has introduced policies (such as on Sevastopol) that were not included in his election campaign.

15.07.10. Stockholm ruling threatens Naftohaz's future

Inform Newsletter
June 15, 2010

Ukraine's state gas company, Naftohaz Ukrainy, is facing more uncertainty. This follows the Stockholm Court of Arbitration ruling in favour of the return of 11 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas to RosUkrEnergo (RUE), the intermediary company eliminated by the previous government from contracts to supply Russian and Central Asian gas to Ukraine. An additional 1.1 bcm of gas is to be returned as the terms of the contract were broken.

The surprise ruling gives RUE -- which is co-owned by Ukrainian tycoons Dmytro Firtash and Ivan Fursin and Russia's Gazprom -- a right to claim back 11 bcm gas worth $2.6 billion which the previous government transferred to Naftohaz's balance in 2009. Analysts are concerned that as Dmytro Firtash helped to bankroll President Viktor Yanukovych's election victory, he might now resume a pre-eminent position of power in Ukraine's gas sector.

Sergey Tigipko, Deputy Prime Minister, stated that there was no money in the state budget to pay for the gas. It is also unlikely that Naftohaz could pay off the debt by raising more money on international markets due to the dire state of its finances.

In the end, "some sort of compromise will have to be reached," an unnamed western energy observer told Inform. "As Naftohaz is unable to pay, Mr Firtash might demand a part of its assets," he added.

Zerkalo Nedeli, Ukraine's influential weekly, wondered how RUE will manage to utilise the 11 bcm even if it manages to lay its hands on the gas. It is unlikely it will be able to sell it to Europe as Gazprom will not share its quota with Mr Firtash. Therefore, the gas is likely to go to Ukraine's chemical industry. Not surprisingly, Mr Firtash is pulling strings to appoint managers loyal to him in Ukraine's regional gas distribution companies in order to buy gas from the company.

"You have to ask yourself how it appeared in the first place, or why, when President Yanukovych was prime minister the first time (under President Leonid Kuchma), Ukraine lost its access to direct gas supplies from Central Asia," energy analyst Mykhailo Gonchar said.

Yuriy Boyko, Ukraine's Fuel and Energy Minister, said that Ukraine will appeal against the decision. "As regards to the current situation, there will be no crazy turnover of resources at the expense of consumers and national interests," said Mr Boyko. More rulings are expected this summer that could overturn the present outcome.

Mr Boyko, who appears to be playing the role of "poacher turned gamekeeper" is a close associate of Mr Firtash and often referred to as the "Godfather of RosUkrEnergo." The situation is further clouded by two more officials, from the Firtash-owned chemical group Ostchem, who chair departments in Naftohaz. It is an open question if they relinquished their business interests before taking their posts.

What Now for gas reforms and Naftohaz?

In the light of the Stockholm ruling, it is hard to see what will happen to the gas market reforms the IMF is insisting on, which include third-party access to gas pipelines and the restructuring of Naftohaz by separating its extraction and transportation arms. Mr Tigipko and Irina Akimova, an economic adviser and aide to the president, spoke in favour of the reforms. But it is unclear if the government will adopt measures that run contrary to Mr Firtash's interests.

EU, US and independent observers supported Ms Tymoshenko in questioning Mr Firtash's role in the Ukraine-Russian gas trade. Some observers suggest that the Stockholm ruling might reopen the door to RUE as a middleman. Others indicate that restoring the status quo will not bring any dividends to Russia and Gazprom, which, together with the Tymoshenko government, demonstrated their commitment to more transparency to EU consumers by scrapping the intermediary in 2009.

Any weakening of Naftohaz may make the Russian proposal to merge it with Gazprom more acceptable to the cash-strapped Yanukovych-Azarov administration. "Such a move would signal the end of Ukraine's energy independence," said Leader of the Opposition Yulia Tymoshenko, "for whoever controls the gas valves, controls Ukraine."


16.07.10. Ukraines suverænitetserklæring fylder tyve år


Pressemeddelelse fra Ukraines ambassade i Danmark


Den 16. juli 1990 vedtog Ukraines parlament ”Rada” Ukraines suverænitetserklæring og åbnede dermed et nyt kapitel i landets historie – kapitlet om udviklingen af Ukraine som en selvstændig og uafhængig stat. Suverænitetserklæringen, som var en af de første beslutninger truffet i Ukraines Parlament, rummede politiske, juridiske, sociale, økonomiske og kulturelle aspekter og tanker. Den indeholdt bestemmelsen om Ukraines ret til statsdannelse. Samtidigt med, at suveræniteten blev udråbt til en nødvendig forudsætning for Ukraines fremtidige udvikling, indeholdt dokumentet generelle bestemmelser om politiske, økonomiske og sociale målsætninger samt langsigtede mål for Ukraine som en selvstændig stat.


Suverænitetserklæringen fastslog, at Ukraine som en suveræn stat skulle dannes inden for de eksisterende landegrænser, og at det var vigtigt for nationen at gennemgå statsdannelsesprocessen. Derudover fastslog dokumentet, at Ukraines borgere havde ret til at udnytte og råde over nationale ressourcer og skatte, og at alle nationaliteter bosat i Ukraine havde ret til frit at udvikle deres nationale og kulturelle potentiale.   


I næste måned fejrer Ukraine 19-årsdagen for sin uafhængighed. Den 24.august 1991 proklamerede Ukraines parlament landets uafhængighed og realiserede dermed nationens ønske om selvstændighed og frihed. Ved en folkeafstemning i december samme år støttede en stor del af vælgerne parlamentets beslutning. 


Det var Ukraines suverænitetserklæring, der gav startskuddet til udviklingen af Ukraines udenrigspolitik. Suverænitetserklæringens afsnit om Ukraines rolle i internationale forhold beskrev de principper og prioriteter, som Ukraines udenrigspolitik skulle holde sig til for at kunne blive en stærk aktør på den internationale arena og derved bidrage til fredsskabelsen og opretholdelsen af den internationale sikkerhed. Derudover erklærede Ukraine, at landet ville bestræbe sig på at blive til en neutral stat, som ikke deltog i krigshandlinger og holdt sig til tre principper: atomvåben måtte ikke tages i brug, atomvåben måtte ikke fremstilles, atomvåben måtte ikke erhverves.


Disse hovedprincipper efterleves stadigvæk og fungerer som vejvisere for landets udenrigspolitik. Igennem årene har disse principper betydet, at Ukraine er blevet internationalt anerkendt. I dag er vores uafhængige og suveræne stat anerkendt af 167 lande. Ydermere er Ukraine blevet en ligeværdig del af indflydelsesrige, internationale og regionale organisationer.


Efterfølgeren til Ukraines statslige suverænitetserklæring blev ”Loven om indenrigspolitiske og udenrigspolitiske principper” vedtaget den 1. juli 2010. Loven formulerer vigtige principper og prioriteringer indenfor indenrigs – og udenrigspolitikken samt tilpasser principperne den internationale og indenrigspolitiske virkelighed.


Den udenrigspolitiske del af loven er formuleret ud fra målsætningen om, at Ukraine skal udvikle til en demokratisk og europæisk stat. Landets integration i den politiske, økonomiske og juridiske sfære med efterfølgende optagelse i EU er et af nøgleprincipperne i Ukraines udenrigspolitik.


På sikkerhedsområdet forudsætter loven gennemførelsen af en alliancefri politik, som på nuværende tidspunkt afspejler landets indenrigspolitiske og internationale virkelighed samt interesser. 


Samtidigt understreger loven vigtigheden af Ukraines deltagelse og bidrag til udviklingen af den europæiske sikkerhedsstrategi, fortsat samarbejde med NATO og andre militær-politiske blokke, som deler fælles interesser.


Disse bestræbelser er opstået ud fra en række grundlæggende europæiske målsætninger og værdier. Udbygningen af civilsamfundet, demokratiske institutioner samt understøttelsen af menneskerettigheder er Ukraines vigtige prioriteringer.



Ukraine gør for første gang tjeneste som vagthavende i NATO Response Force ( NRF ) 15. rotation. I denne forbindelse sendte den øverstkommanderende for de allierede styrker i Europa Gemma Stavridis sin ukrainske modpart et takkebrev, meddeler Ukraines mission ved NATO i Bruxelles til "Interfax-Ukraine".

Det er især værd at bemærke, at Ukraine er det første partnerland, der har bidraget med at stille sine styrker og midler til rådighed som vagthavende i NATO Response Force. "Det vellykkede samarbejde mellem NATO og Ukraine, der tager sigte på at forberede en særskilt enhed for stråling, kemiske og biologiske beskyttelse (NBC) til at udføre sine opgaver som en del af en multinational taskforce, er et enestående eksempel på  samarbejde inden for rammerne af bilaterale militære samarbejde," vurderer Stavridis.

Rapporten konstaterer, at NATO Response Force 15. rotation, herunder den ukrainske enhed, er fuldt certificeret og har afsluttet forberedelserne til vagttjeneste for perioden fra juli til december i år.

"Den øverstkommanderende for de allierede styrker i Europa anerkender og værdsætter, hvor vigtig Ukraines indsats er for at sikre dette vigtige bidrag til NATO Response Force 15. rotation, samt bestræbelserne på yderligere udvikling og transformation af den nationale kapacitet indenfor stråling, kemiske og biologiske forsvar"- hedder det i brevet.

Mekanismen omkring inddragelsen af de ukrainske enheder, hvis det er nødvendigt , vil ske i overensstemmelse med national lovgivning i Ukraine.

Som bekendt bekræftede Ukraine i maj 2010, at det er parat til at deltage i NATO Response Force indtil udgangen af 2010.

Strukturen i NATO Response Force - en teknisk avanceret sammensat militærstyrke under forhøjet beredskab - omfatter dele af landstyrker, luftvåben, flåde og særlige aktions- styrker, som NATO  hurtigt kan indsætte der, hvor der er behov.

I dag træder loven om "Grundlag for indenrigs-og udenrigspolitik" i kraft. Loven blev vedtaget af Verkhovna Rada 1. juli 2010 på initiativ af Viktor Janukovytj. Loven betyder, at Ukraine de facto har givet afkald på bestræbelserne på at blive medlem af NATO. Podrobnosti.

30.07.10. "Sultanismens" legitimitetsproblemer

Cicero Foundation Great Debate Paper, July 2010

Alexander J. Motyl
Professor of Political Science
Rutgers University, Newark


Ukraine formally left the “Orange” era defined by Viktor Yushchenko’s disappointing five years in office on February 7, 2010, the day Viktor Yanukovych was elected president. Within a few months, Yanukovych’s Ukraine also turned its back on democracy. The new president quickly accumulated more power than even the authoritarian President Leonid Kuchma, whose abuses helped spark the 2004 Orange Revolution. As Ukrainians began referring to Yanukovych as a “bulldozer,” his confidantes privately spoke of him as “the leader.” One of his acolytes, a governor, even went so far as to say that “Power comes from God, and we should discard our political preferences and work to sustain it.” Notwithstanding such invocations of the divine right of kings, Yanukovych’s hyper-centralized and personalistic — or “sultanistic” — regime is, in reality, brittle, ineffective, and unstable and could, as a result of its inability to cope with economic crisis, produce his downfall.

Yanukovych’s power grab

It took Yanukovych a few weeks to dismantle Ukraine’s democracy. He placed himself at the center of a hub-like power structure, prompting his first vice prime minister to remark “that all the country’s leaders should work in one direction, that determined by the President.” Yanukovych made all the key decisions, made all the key appointments, and headed all the key agencies — from the Committee on Economic Reform to the Humanitarian Council that is concerned with culture to the committee dealing with Ukraine’s preparations for the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) soccer championship, scheduled to be held in four Ukrainian cities in 2012.

Most of Yanukovych’s appointees were political clients from Ukraine’s highly Sovietized rust-belt, the Donbas. Yanukovych acted as their patron, doling out favors, providing access to power and privilege, and supervising their work in a paternalistic fashion. His chief of staff, Serhii Lyovochkin, aptly characterized Yanukovych’s relationship to his underlings in the following manner: “President Viktor Yanukovych places very tall demands on absolutely all power holders working for him… If someone does not measure up for whatever reasons, then the conclusions drawn about him will be very severe.” In addition, Yanukovych took control of the legislature while neutralizing the judiciary, empowered the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Security Service (SBU), marginalized the opposition, and constricted freedom of the press and assembly. He defined democracy as “order” and warned “citizens who disturb public order” that “the militia will in advance protect [them] from un-pleasantries.”

Just why Yanukovych decided on such a shockingly swift authoritarian take-over can only be guessed at. Some Ukrainians said that, as a typical Soviet-era politician who cut his teeth in the rough and tumble politics of the Donbas, he was simply being true to his political nature. Others pointed to his two prison sentences, which he served for hooliganism as a teenager, and suggest that he was and remains a thug.

Still others argued that Yanukovych’s Party of Regions primarily consists of former Communist Party members and voters and that radicalism and authoritarianism are deeply lodged in their mentality and political culture. His supporters suggested that Yanukovych was merely responding to the chaos he inherited from the Yushchenko years.

The Brittleness of Sultanism

Whatever the correct interpretation or interpretations, Yanukovych had effectively enthroned himself as the Sultan of Ukraine—a pater familias writ large, a ruler who delegates little, decides much, and runs his family with the force of his personality (and, as is reliably rumored in Yanukovych’s case, with the force of his own fists).

Despite the appearance of solidity, sultanism Yanukovych-style is actually quite brittle for two general and three specifically Ukrainian reasons.

First, such a personalistic regime, with one lord presiding over servile clients, is the antithesis of an institutionalized modern state. Sultanism may work in a medieval feudal polity with a primitive peasant economy and an illiterate society, but it is incompatible with a modern economy and globalized society that can be governed only with flexible and effective institutions. In particular, sultanistic regimes are inevitably corrupt, both because resources flow toward the center of power and because patron-client relations can be sustained only by providing clients with access to wealth. Just how corrupt the Yanukovych regime is may be gleaned from opposition democrat Oles Donii’s claim that he was promised $1 million in advance and $20,000 monthly for joining the pro-government coalition in the parliament.

Second, personalistic regimes are ineffective and inefficient, because vassals are generally unwilling to employ individual initiative without the patron’s approval. As decisions are moved up the hierarchy, sooner or later the decision-making capacity of the sultan becomes overloaded. Moreover, because clients compete with one another for the patron’s favor, they tend to compartmentalize, refuse to cooperate, sabotage one another’s initiatives, and refrain from providing the patron with accurate information—thereby both straining and undermining his capacity to make good decisions.

Third, Ukraine’s inefficient government apparatus cannot serve as the basis of an effective sultanistic government. Yanukovych may attempt to crack the whip and beat the bloated bureaucracy into shape, but he will fail, inasmuch as he cannot solve the problem his own regime promotes and sustains. His vassals and clients will temporarily adjust their behavior, point fingers at their bureaucratic enemies, and extol the Sultan, but the system itself will not change. Nor does Yanukovych have the strong army or secret police that a modernizing sultan would require. Ukraine’s armed forces are underfunded, demoralized, and ineffective, and the secret police — whose head, a media mogul with vast interests in television, is especially prone to public relations blunders — has lost many of its best and brightest to biznes or organized crime.

Fourth, Yanukovych might be able to rule effectively on his own if he were a philosopher king. Instead, his embarrassing proclivity to get facts wrong may be reflective of a deeper inability to think complexly and see the big picture. He has confused the famous Russian poet Anna Akhmatova with his billionaire backer Rinat Akhmetov, the Jewish writer Isaac Babel with the German socialist August Bebel, Slovenia with Slovakia, and genocide with the genetic fund. Yanukovych has called the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov a Ukrainian poet and the Helsinki Treaty the Stockholm Treaty and has placed Israel within Europe. Yanukovych’s best-known gaffe was to have misspelled “proFFessor” back in 2004 — a mistake that is doubly embarrassing inasmuch as he claims to have two higher degrees, a Master of International Law and a Doctorate of Economic Sciences (the latter from some unnamed institution of higher learning). Yanukovych somehow managed to acquire both degrees and write a dissertation while serving as full-time deputy governor and governor of Donetsk province, which with 4.5 million people is Ukraine’s largest.

Finally, while a sultan may be despised, he dare not ever appear silly — and Yanukovych has already become an object of derision. The Orange Revolution and the five years of the Yushchenko presidency empowered the Ukrainian population, endowing it with a self-confidence that it lacked before 2004 and consolidating a vigorous civil society consisting of professionals, intellectuals, students, and businesspeople who ridicule Yanukovych’s sultanistic aspirations. Symptomatic of Yanukovych’s legitimacy problem was his embarrassing encounter with a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Kyiv on a stormy Victory Day, on May 17. As he and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev paid their respects to the millions of Ukrainians who had died in World War II, a gust of wind blew the wreath onto Yanukovych’s head at just the moment he was bowing before it. The flustered president attempted to regain his dignity, but his clumsy efforts to do so — and his subsequent attempts to quash video coverage of the incident — only accentuated his ridiculous appearance and became the stuff of widespread jokes on the Internet
(see http://kotyhoroshko.livejournal.com/446778.html).

The Instability of Sultanism

Because sultanistic regimes are inefficient, ineffective, and corrupt, they tend to be concerned above all with preserving their own prerogatives. There is no reason to think that the Donbas-based cronies who man the Yanukovych system will be able or willing to sacrifice their well-being to vague notions of macroeconomic stability and structural reform, especially if reform undermines the bases of their power and privilege. Radical economic reform is especially unlikely, as the hyper-centralized structure of the government and Yanukovych’s own limitations militate against smart policy making. Moreover, Yanukovych lacks both the legitimacy that painful economic reform requires and the coercive resources that an authoritarian imposition of economic pain entails.

Instead, grandiose reform plans will continue to be announced and corruption will be denounced, but little actual change will take place. Big capital- and laborintensive projects — new roads, new bridges, new atomic energy stations, new stadiums, and the like — will help modernize Ukraine’s Soviet-era infrastructure, but, like the “gigantomania” of the Soviet era, they will not make the economy market based, efficient, and rational. By the same token, some officials caught taking egregiously large bribes may be punished, but bribe-taking and corruption as a systemic phenomenon will remain as long as sultanism remains.

A draft law “On the Conflict of Interests in the Activity of Public Servants” nicely
illustrates the Yanukovych regime’s inability to see that it, and not individual
bureaucrats, is the problem. According to the proposed draft, public servants would be obligated to inform their superiors of their colleagues’ conflicts of interest.

Inasmuch as every single Ukrainian public servant — starting with Yanukovych
himself — has enormous conflicts of interest, the law will either lead to a whirlwind of denunciations or to an embarrassed silence. In either case, the bureaucracy will become more ineffective, conflicts of interest will remain in place, and the regime will triumphantly proclaim that it is actively combating corruption and promoting economic rationality.

The problem facing Yanukovych, however, is that genuine economic reform really is imperative and declarations of intent will, over time, look increasingly hollow.

Ukraine is still mired in the transition from socialism to capitalism. Moreover, the
global financial crisis has savaged the country. In 2009, Gross Domestic Product fell by 15.1 percent, while industry contracted by 26.6 percent, construction by 45.9 percent, exports by 25.6 percent, and imports by 38.6.

The consumer price index rose by 12.3 percent. Unemployment remained low, under 5 percent, but only because employers lowered wages or reduced the work week in order to forestall lay-offs. Unsurprisingly, the government’s own finances are a mess, with a ballooning deficit — currently estimated at $21 billion or 16 percent of GDP — and debt and a desperate need for IMF funding. According to the SigmaBleyzer Investment Group, “a high fiscal deficit in 2010 and rising sovereign debt increase worries over government solvency and represent the major risk to financial stability over the medium-term.”

If Yanukovych follows his sultanistic instincts and does nothing to fix the economy, Ukraine will eventually face default and mass discontent among his working class constituency in the industrially decrepit south-east, which will be hardest hit by continued economic deterioration. If, on the other hand, Yanukovych miraculously confounds expectations and embarks on serious reforms that address imbalances in energy prices and pensions, the entire population, including his Donbas constituency, will suffer and popular unrest, possibly including strikes, is equally certain. The prospect of growing instability will do little to attract foreign investors, while declining legitimacy, growing incompetence, and tub thumping will fail to modernize Ukraine’s industry, agriculture, and education.

In sum, the best-case scenario for Yanukovych is lack of reform and declining legitimacy and effectiveness. The worst-case scenario is an increasingly angry and immiserated population consisting of national democrats who reject sultanism and workers who refuse to tighten their belts while the fat cats prosper. Unless Yanukovych abandons sultanism and incorporates the national-democratic opposition in a reformist government of national unity, a second Orange Revolution, but this time including Yanukovych supporters, will become increasingly likely.

The Sultan’s End?

If sultanism remains in place, Yanukovych’s downfall could come in 2012. By then, his sultanistic ambitions will have become abundantly clear, even to those Ukrainians who are still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and his inability or unwillingness to reform the economy and improve living standards will also be equally manifest. Because Yanukovych claims to run the country single-handedly, he will be blamed for all its problems. Over time, his proclivity to make blunders will appear, not as the endearing quality of a local boy-made-good, but as the glaring weakness of a leader incapable of delegating authority. Yanukovych currently enjoys some 50-60 percent trust levels, but those numbers could easily plummet and, like Yushchenko’s, even fall to below 5 percent.

Meanwhile, civil society, the independent media, and the political opposition will still be alive, if not quite well, in 2012. After a few years of persecution and harassment, Ukrainian national democrats will be angry, focused, and more united, while the Orange-era incompetence of opposition politicians will be a distant memory. An energized opposition could take advantage of the 2012 parliamentary elections to mobilize the angry populace against the regime. When that happens, fissures are likely to open up in the Yanukovych regime, as some of his lukewarm supporters concerned with political survival defect to the opposition. Finally, Ukraine will be cohosting the UEFA soccer championship and will, as a result, be overrun by foreign tourists and journalists, who will provide regime opponents with both a window of opportunity and a bullhorn.

The result could be a “perfect storm.” Disillusioned and angry at a time of electoral mobilization, average Ukrainians could join forces with existing and defecting elites and, with political repression relaxed due to foreign scrutiny, make demands that the regime will be unable to repress or resist. If “people power” is asserted peacefully, Russia will be unable to intervene and Ukraine will likely resume its interrupted democratic transition. If the regime employs violence against the opposition or if Russia peremptorily intervenes, Ukraine could fragment or become a second Kyrgyzstan. Whatever the outcome, Ukraine’s citizens, exhausted by five years of government instability during the Yushchenko years, are unlikely to find respite anytime soon. European and American policy makers, meanwhile, would do well to consider how they might forestall the second scenario — which would be disastrous for European stability and security — well before the onset of 2012.

© Alexander J. Motyl, 2010
All rights reserved
The Cicero Foundation is an independent pro-Atlantic and pro-EU think tank

30.07.10. Rusland forsøger at opkøbe ukrainske virksomheder

EURASIA DAILY MONITOR, July 26, 2010—Volume 7, Issue 143

Taras Kuzio

The description of Belarusian President, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, as “pro-Russian” has side-stepped the fact that he is a Soviet Belarusian nationalist which developed after 2002, when he rejected the then Russian President, Vladimir Putin’s, offer to unite both countries. One factor behind Lukashenka’s Soviet Belarusian nationalism is his unwillingness to open up the Belarusian economy to Russian economic take-over. Moscow’s exasperation with Lukashenka partly rests on his economic protectionism in relation to Russia, which closely resembles that of Latin American left-wing nationalism vis-à-vis the US (EDM, July 12). Hence, it is not surprising that Lukashenka has developed close ties with left-wing, anti-American populist Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez.

The election of Viktor Yanukovych brought to power in Ukraine a team with similar pro-Russian sentiments and Soviet nostalgia as that found in Belarus – but with one major difference. Ukraine, unlike Belarus, has undergone a transition to a market economy and the majority of its GDP is produced by the private sector. Russian investment in Ukraine, and the takeover of strategic sectors of its economy, is therefore more likely than in Belarus. Ironically therefore, Lukashenka looks more like a nationalist than does Yanukovych (“Why Is Moscow so Nervous About the Warming Trend in Georgia-Belarus Relations?” www.jamestown.org/blog, July 20). Economic protectionism (nationalism) has its supporters in the Yanukovych team, but is directed against Western rather than Russian investors, as the latter are seen as more benign. This is assisted by the inter-mixing of Russian, Ukrainian and former Soviet capital through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from Cyprus and the Virgin Islands, two of the biggest sources of FDI in Ukraine.

When the Yulia Tymoshenko government nationalized and re-privatized the Kryvorizhstal plant to a Western investor, Yanukovych and the Party of Regions criticized the sale on economic protectionist grounds with the plant remaining under Ukrainian control (www.kmu.gov.ua, October 24, 2005). Kryvoriozhstal was privatized in July 2004 by the oligarchs, Renat Akhmetov and Viktor Pinchuk, for $800 million and re-sold in October 2005 for $4.8 billion to Mittal Steel.

On June 8, Putin had dinner with Yanukovych in Istanbul and told him about his irritation with Akhmetov for causing difficulties with Russian companies trying to buy metallurgical businesses in Ukraine (Interfax-Ukraine, June 8). Putin pressured Yanukovych to reduce Akhmetov’s influence within the Party of Regions. Such a step would put Yanukovych and Akhmetov on a collision course as the latter is the wealthiest person in Ukraine, closely linked to the Donetsk clan since its incarnation as the Party of Regions in 2001, and hugely popular in that city. Akhmetov is a major benefactor for the Shakhtiar soccer team and financed the construction of its new stadium opened in July 2008 at a cost of $250 million.

Akhmetov blocked the sale of the Mariupol MMK Ilyich steel plant, one of Ukraine’s top three steel producers, to a secretive group of Russian investors backed financially by Russia’s state-owned Vnesheconombank, chaired by Putin. Akhmetov’s Metinvest agreed to take a 75 percent stake in the plant and invest $2 billion in return for a merger of the two steel producers (Kyiv Post, July 8; EDM, September 28, 2007).

Prime Minister, Nikolai Azarov, stated: “The government is on the side of the working collective and will not allow a raider takeover of one of Ukraine’s flagship metallurgical enterprises,” (Ukrayinska Pravda, June 18). Russian investors Alexander Katunin and Troika Dialog Russian investment bank, had earlier taken control of the Industrial Union of Donbas (ISD) group, one of Ukraine’s top three steel producers. Zaporizhstal, another large Ukrainian steel producer, is also likely to fall under Russian control. Such a lack of transparency was also evident in Russia’s acquisition of Luhanskteplovoz, one of the world’s largest producers of rail locomotives. Deputy Prime Minister, Sergei Tigipko, complained about the lack of transparency in the sale and the loss of 200 million hryvnia ($25.3 million) (Interfax-Ukraine, July 9).

Russia controls MTC (formerly UMC) and a controlling share in Kyiv Star, Ukraine’s two biggest mobile phone operators, which have led to warnings about the threat to national security if Russia gains access to Ukraine’s mobile phone network. Russia is also prioritizing Ukraine’s nuclear energy sector. Ukrainian economic expert, Andriy Kolpakov, sees Russian economic expansion into Ukraine in four waves.

The first, metallurgical, was almost fully achieved except for one take-over being blocked by Akhmetov. The second is beginning in machine building, with the first attempted take-over in Mykolayiv. The third will be into the banking sector (Hazeta po-Ukrainski, July 15). The final stage would witness a push to take over large areas of Ukrainian land. Russia is not only seeking to acquire Ukrainian blue chip industries in a non-transparent manner, but also land. Moscow will move into food processing at the end of this year and within 2-3 years Russian capital will enter the land market if a moratorium on land privatization is lifted, Kolpakov believes.

First Deputy Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Iryna Akimova, has called for the removal of the moratorium on land privatization (UNIAN, July 23). The government will propose a law on land sales by the end of 2010. The Communist and Volodymyr Lytvyn bloc (which includes the renamed Agrarian Party) factions within the ruling Reforms and Stability coalition, who together provide 47 deputies, are opposed to land privatization. Yet, with defections from the opposition, the coalition has grown to 265 and the government could eventually have sufficient deputies to initiate legislation to privatize land. A high level source told Jamestown that Putin wants his people within the Yanukovych administration to accelerate legislation to enable the privatization of agricultural land in Ukraine. The same source said Putin has offered to make available $6 billion to Russian businesses to purchase huge tracts of Ukrainian land.

Russian take-overs are non-transparent and unlikely to bring new investment and capital. Their purpose is geopolitical and to remove competitors rather than the profit motive. Akhmetov and Ukrainian oligarchs who supported Yanukovych’s election have been side-lined from the Yanukovych administration, which is controlled by the gas lobby and pro-Russian ideological wing of the Party of Regions who provide it with a link to former communist voters. The weak influence of the oligarchs, long associated with pragmatism, makes Ukraine’s foreign policy less pro-European as the energy and ideological lobbies increase the influence of the eastern vector. This makes Yanukovych’s foreign policy more pro-Russian and explains why a return to Leonid Kuchma’s multi-vector approach so far has failed to occur.

30.07.10. Crimea's confused identity reflects its troubled past

Kyiv Post
26 July 2010

Lubomyr Luciuk

I did not expect the call of a muezzin in Simferopol. Not that hearing the chosen being invited to their devotions troubles me. I appreciate this caution against allowing the commerce of daily life to distract one from giving thanks to God. Yet other residents of this Crimean city find the five-times-daily summoning of Muslims to prayer, the adhan, worrisome. It reminds them that ownership of this peninsula is contested. They forget one thing -- it always has been.

Nearly the size of Belgium, Crimea historically was a bridgehead connecting the empires of the Eurasian steppes with those of the Black and Meditteranean basins. Invaders have come and gone -- ancient Greeks and Scythians, Rome's legions, then Goths, Huns, Khazars, Byzantines, various Turkic nomads, Venetians, Genoese, Ottoman Turks and, finally, Tsarist Russia's armies, conquering in 1783.

That gateway role is reflected in Crimea's history. In 988 in Chersones, now part of Sevastopol, Kyiv's Prince Volodymyr converted to Christianity, then that faith was diffused among the East Slavs. Today the region's vistas are pleasant -- vineyards covering gently rolling hills and wide valleys -- but this very same terrain witnessed the Ukrainian Cossacks of the Zaparozhian Sich fight marauding Tatars and resist Ottoman encroachment. And Alfred, Lord Tennyson's "The Charge of the Light Brigade" immortalized the disaster that befell another band of cavalry near Balaclava, in 1854. Heroically interpreted by Errol Flynn in his 1936 film of the same name this Hollywood version of that Crimean War battle left at least one young boy begging his mother to take him to their local public library, to read that paean in its entirety -- the first time I sought out poetry.

In 1919-1920 this headland became a bastion for the anti-Bolshevik White Army of General Denikin, a point d'appui for foreign military interventions unsuccessfully deployed against Lenin's regime. Crimea was next overrun by the Nazis, in 1942, then suffered cultural genocide in May 1944 when the Soviets returned and deported the Tatars because of their supposed disloyalty during the German occupation. Stalin is said to have contemplated a similar treatment for Ukrainians, a deed left undone only because there were too many of them. And at Yalta Eastern Europe's postwar fate was sealed in February 1945 when Josef Stalin, Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt met in the Livadia Palace to carve out the "spheres of influence" that shaped Europe's geopolitics for another half century.

Soviet Ukraine acquired Crimea in 1954 after Nikita Khrushchev transferred the property's legal title from the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, a gift marking 300 years of allegedly fraternal relations between these two distinct nations. It was a hollow gesture as Crimea remained in the U.S.S.R. and no one then envisioned the Soviet empire's collapse or an independent Ukraine. As for the Tatars, permitted to trickle back from Central Asian exile only at the end of the Soviet period, they began returning in greater numbers after 1991 when Ukraine's government tried to redress the historical injustice they had endured, even though that crime was of Moscow's making, not Kyiv's.

Still Crimean society remains Russified, retarded by a relic Soviet mentality akin to the one most of Ukraine's eastern marches wallow in, an ignorance fueling Ukraine's current drift away from Europe. So Lenin statues stand prominent in Simferopol, Sevastopol, and Yalta. Asking why, I was told: "We were allowed to dump Communism but had to keep Lenin." They have not really rid themselves of either.

Making matters worse are revanchists campaigning to bag Crimea for "Mother Russia." Dozens of billboards proclaim Crimea's future prosperity lies in reunification, a blatantly secessionist placarding not being countered by Kyiv. The very few posters heralding Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych as Crimea's hope, and Ukraine's, are in Russian only. Perhaps the president's propagandists have their countries confused.

Will Crimea's status remain uncertain? Maybe there's an answer in what I found in a madras, an Islamic school, in Bakhchisaray. There I saw a mullah instructing a small group of children, young boys and girls learning the Koran together. I asked in Ukrainian if I might take their photograph. When the Turkish teacher replied that he spoke no Russian one of his pupils, a girl, aged 11, began translating -- in perfect Ukrainian. Aware of her Crimean Tatar heritage and Islamic faith she also proudly identified herself as a Ukrainian. If more of her fellow citizens did likewise Ukraine might still make it back to Europe.

Lubomyr Luciuk teaches political geography at the Royal Military College of Canada.


24.08.10. Lykønskning fra Ukraines udenrigsminister



24. AUGUST 2010

Lykønskning til ukrainere og Ukraines venner i udlandet i anledning af Ukraines uafhængighedsdag

Kære venner

I ønskes hjertelig tillykke med 19-årsdagen for Ukraines uafhængighed!

Denne dato (den 24. august) er for altid blevet en del af vor stats historie som den dato, ukrainernes århundreder lange ønske om national genfødsel, åndelig frihed og social, økonomisk og kulturel udvikling blev lovgivningsmæssigt befæstet.

Med taknemmelighed og respekt mindes vi på denne dag, at de ukrainske samfund i hele verden gennem årtier aktivt forsvarede den ukrainske stats uafhængighed. Den suveræne og demokratiske ukrainske helhedsstats opståen er uden tvivl blandt andet et resultat af jeres bestræbelser og målrettede og vedvarende indsats båret af en urokkelig tro.

I anledning af den store statslige fest ønsker jeg alle jer, kære venner et stærkt helbred, lykke og velstand.

Lad den utrættelige kreative energi inspirere jer til nye og gode handlinger i Ukraines og verdensukrainskhedens navn.

Jeg tror oprigtigt på, at der også fremover vil herske gensidig forståelse og støtte til et succesrigt samarbejde mellem de ukrainske diplomater og diasporaen. Et samarbejde målrettet mod at forsvare Ukraines nationale interesser på den internationale arena.


Tillykke med denne højtidelige dato, Kostyantyn Gryshenko, udenrigsminister