25.10.07. Politisk uro efter udnævnelsen af nationalistleder til Ukraines helt

23.10.07. Spinkelt flertal ikke nok til en stabil koalition i parlamentet

19.10.07. Janukovytj-regeringen kan fortsætte som forretningsministerium

19.10.07. Tymoshenko og Jusjtjenko enige om fordeling af ministerposterne

10.10.07. Tymoshenko ønsker en hurtig udskiftning af Janukovytj-regeringen

04.10.07. Forhandlinger i gang om alternativ koalition

03.10.07. Hårfint og meget ustabilt flertal til de orange på 2 mandater

01.10.07. Svære forhandlinger i vente mellem Tymoshenko og Jusjtjenko

01.10.07. Stor valgsejr til Julia Tymoshenko og Viktor Jusjtjenkos partier

30.09.07. Ukrainerne går til valg i dag

23.09.07. Valgkommission: Jusjtjenko må ikke føre valgkamp

21.09.07. Dødt løb mellem den blå og den orange blok

18.09.07. Deal casts doubt over Ukraine

18.09.07. Ukraine is to hold elections -- but will they change anything?

18.09.07. Ukraine: Parliament reconvenes, despite four dissolution decrees

02.09.07. Same old box of tricks?


02.09.07. Same old box of tricks?

by Tammy Lynch
As Ukraine's parliamentary campaign reaches its half-way point, there are increasing concerns that some may not want a free and fair election

Attempts to reintroduce undemocratic practices, such as the much-abused home voting privileges of 2004, are threatening to derail Ukraine's fledgling democracy less than three years since the population took to the streets to overturn a rigged presidential election.

In mid-August, several international election monitoring organizations began working in Ukraine in advance of the extraordinary September 30 parliamentary elections. Their timing couldn't have been better. Even as campaign monitors began to deploy in all regions of the country, the Central Election Commission (CEC) issued a series of rulings that both confounded and concerned election specialists. Domestically, the rulings also galvanised the country's opposition against what it labeled "political repression" and "subversion of the democratic process."

The decision that provoked the biggest question was the initial refusal of the CEC to register the candidates of the opposition Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko (BYUT). If upheld, the ruling could have led to the exclusion of the country's largest opposition bloc from the election.

This decision reportedly led to a number of concerned telephone calls from Western diplomats to Ukraine's leaders. European People's Party President Wilfried Martens publicly suggested that the CEC ruling violated "not only the legal system but also the free will of the Ukrainian people." Adrian Severin, the chairman of the EU-Ukraine Interparliamentary Cooperation Committee, warned that election observers "will monitor very carefully whether all political forces are assured equal and fair conditions of participation in the Ukrainian elections."

Three days after the initial decision, Kyiv's Administrative Court satisfied BYUT's claims against the CEC, calling the decision "illegal." The next day, BYUT was registered.

There was little doubt that the court would find in favour of the opposition bloc, given the shaky grounds on which the registration was initially refused. CEC members suggested that BYUT had not met electoral requirements when it included the postal addresses of its candidates on the wrong form. The addresses were submitted on the candidates' biographies, while only their region of residence was placed on their official requests to register.

Bloc leader Yulia Tymoshenko countered that the registration forms were submitted in the same manner as in 2006, when the bloc was easily registered for that year's parliamentary elections. She immediately charged that the decision was purely political and pointed out that no electoral regulation or law exists to govern the way in which addresses are submitted. Indeed, an examination of the CEC's own regulations and forms shows that a concrete postal address is specifically requested on the biographies, but not on the registration forms.

While the swift and unwavering judgment of the court in this matter is encouraging, the CEC's original decision was viewed immediately by many Western officials as a potentially dangerous signal for the fairness of the upcoming election.

The home voting question

The concern of election observers was compounded when, on the same day that BYUT was registered, the CEC voted to allow a home voting procedure similar to that used during the discredited first two rounds of the 2004 presidential elections. That procedure, which was said by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to have been a "major source of electoral fraud" in 2004, allows ballots to be cast in homes with little control and under the watch of potentially biased election workers.

The "home" ballot in Ukraine is intended to be used by disabled voters who are unable to travel to the polling place. In 2004, hundreds of thousands of ballots were found to have been cast at home, with the figure reaching as high as 30% of votes cast in some oblasts. These figures dwarf the percentage of the population with disabilities impeding their ability to travel, according to observers. In fact, in 2004, as home ballot boxes were removed from the polling precincts and kept generally out of view of monitors, it was impossible to know where the ballots inside these ballot boxes came from and who marked them.

In order to deal with this concern, in 2005 Ukraine began requiring medical certificates in order to receive approval for home voting. The CEC's new ruling would eliminate this safeguard. On 22 August, Kyiv's Administrative Court supported an appeal filed by the country's second opposition bloc, Our-Ukraine-People's Self-Defense (OU-PSD), against the CEC decision. BYUT also joined the lawsuit. The court ordered the CEC to require medical certificates, but the CEC promptly appealed the decision. All sides are awaiting the decision of the appeals court. If home voting is conducted as it was in 2004, this could "open the door to significant falsification of votes," according to a newly released pre-election assessment from the US-based National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI).

No to a referendum?

The CEC also halted a plan by BYUT to try to collect enough signatures to hold a referendum on proposed constitutional changes simultaneously with the parliamentary elections. As per procedures for triggering a popular referendum, BYUT filed petitions from several hundred "citizen initiative groups" endorsing the referendum questions and asking to be allowed to begin collecting the required three million signatures in support. The CEC refused their requests, suggesting that the proposed questions could not be the subject of popular votes, according to the Constitution.

In fact, Ukraine's Constitution prohibits referenda questions on territorial change, amnesty of individuals, taxes and the budget. The questions proposed by BYUT -- asking primarily whether judges should be elected or appointed, if parliamentary immunity should be eliminated, if the parliamentary opposition should receive official status, and if the voters prefer a presidential or parliamentary republic -- clearly do not fit within these prohibitions. Therefore, while it is doubtful that a referendum could be organised in time for 30 September, it is unclear why the CEC prohibited the simple attempt to collect signatures.

BYUT has filed yet another court appeal, requesting that the Administrative Court order the CEC to allow signature collection. The number of court appeals filed within such a short time led NDI, in its assessment, to note concern "about future problems in election administration if the CEC and other commissions cannot work collegially." The Institute's delegation, which included former Congressman and House Democratic Caucus Chair Martin Frost and former United Nations Assistant Secretary General Cedric Thornberry, noted that "partisanship might lead to unnecessary obstacles to certifying election results. This would severely undermine Ukrainians" confidence in those results.?

Down with the billboards

On the evening of August 18, Yulia Tymoshenko announced that her bloc's billboards had been removed in several areas of Kyiv. She suggested that the advertising company controlling the billboards had come under pressure from Kyiv's mayor, who is allied with Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. Tymoshenko has vowed to work to impeach Mayor Leonid Chernovetsky, and has led numerous blockades of Kyiv City Council meetings. The owner of the advertising agency denied Tymoshenko's charge, and there is no clear evidence of Chernovetsky's involvement. But the agency provided no reason why recently installed advertising suddenly would have been removed in the middle of the night over the objection of the advertiser.

The battle for the east

Tymoshenko's allies suggest that pressure against her bloc may have increased because of her attempt to increase support for BYUT in several eastern regions that have traditionally favoured Yanukovych. These areas include the regions of Dnipropetrovsk, where Tymoshenko was raised; Kirovohrad, where Tymoshenko's numbers have shown increases over the last two elections; Luhansk, which is the home base of a number of highly-placed candidates on the BYUT list; and Kharkiv and Zaporizhya, which boast some of the country's most active student groups.

Tymoshenko also recently signed an agreement to form a coalition government with the Our Ukraine-People's Self-Defense Bloc, should they together achieve a majority in the elections. This agreement could put an end to divisions among former Orange Revolution leaders -- divisions which led to the loss of the majority in 2006. President Viktor Yushchenko is the honorary leader of OU-PSD and has taken an active role in supporting the party's rejuvenation after its third place finish one year ago. Yushchenko has been embroiled in a fierce power struggle with Yanukovych since the latter was able to patch together a parliamentary majority, which then nominated him to the prime minister's chair. Ukraine's parliamentary-presidential government provides significant and sometimes overlapping powers to both the Prime Minister and the President.

Polls indicate that support for the Tymoshenko-Yushchenko tandem currently equals that for a Yanukovych-Communist Party coalition. Should the pro-presidential coalition win, Tymoshenko could well replace Yanukovych as prime minister.

Tymoshenko's removal from the election, then, would not be unwelcome to Yanukovych or his allies. OU-PSD so far seems to have escaped the recent pressure apparently being exerted on BYUT. This is likely because of the bloc's concentration on western areas less contested by the governing coalition, and because of its generally more moderate tone.

However, during the spring, OU-PSD leader Yuriy Lutsenko saw his home and office searched by state security services for reasons that were never adequately explained. The searches came on the heels of an announcement by Lutsenko that he would organize a major demonstration against the government.

BYUT and OU-PSD both have reported worrying break-ins at several of their regional headquarters in recent months. BYUT, in particular, has seen two break-ins in the last several weeks. The office of Kyiv City Council and BYUT election staff member Oleksandr Bryhinets was broken into and a computer stolen and burglars stole documents and digital storage devices from BYUT's local headquarters in Malyniv, Zhitomir.

Both BYUT and OU-PSD also saw their Kharkiv region offices ransacked over the summer. These incidents appear unconnected and neither systemic nor systematic. However, such problems have not been reported by political parties in Ukraine since President Leonid Kuchma left office in January of 2005.

Still cause for optimism

Nevertheless, while the recent actions of certain officials may be worrying, all international observation missions note clearly that Ukraine overall has made impressive strides on its path toward consolidating its nascent democracy. The incidents noted above were all reported in Ukraine's mass media, to which all political blocs have access.

In spite of questionable CEC decisions, all blocs currently have a relatively equal opportunity to campaign. (This equality is tempered, of course, by the "incumbent advantage" provided to both Prime Minister Yanukovych and President Yushchenko.) Unlike during the parliamentary election of 2002 or the presidential campaign of 2004, opposition members are not being pursued by security officials, denied television air time, placed in jail, forced into car accidents, or restricted from traveling to campaign.

In fact, the level of real political competition and contestation meets or exceeds that found in most European countries. Journalists, too, are freer, even if press freedom is sometimes hindered by local officials and the relatively liberated Ukrainian press community continues to question the country's politicians.

The hurdles placed in front of BYUT in the last two weeks stand out because they do not fit within the norm that has developed in Ukraine over the last two years. This, in itself, is worrying. The CEC's overturned decisions underscore the fragility of Ukraine's democracy.

There are five weeks remaining before voters choose the people and parties that will form their next government. Have the problems and irregularities of the last three weeks been a small bump on the road, or is it a sign of real regression? International observers will be watching to see if the country is truly able to conduct an election that meets European standards for freedom and fairness.

Tammy Lynch is a Senior Research Fellow at Boston University's Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ideology & Policy and a regular international commentator on Ukrainian politics.

18.09.07. Ukraine: Parliament reconvenes, despite four dissolution decrees

September 4, 2007
By Jan Maksymiuk

The Verkhovna Rada gathered for a session today, in spite of having been formally disbanded by President Viktor Yushchenko.

Parliament speaker Oleksandr Moroz said he wants parliament to address the issue of stripping parliamentary deputies and senior government officials of their immunity from prosecution and other privileges before preterm elections on September 30.

Yushchenko called today's session illegitimate and politically meaningless, but Moroz assured those present in the session hall that their gathering is fully lawful and constitutional.

According to Moroz, the Ukrainian parliament is constitutionally obliged to open its fall session on the first Tuesday in September.

Moroz also cited another constitutional provision requiring that the legislature remains operational until newly elected lawmakers take their oath of office.

However, Moroz failed to mention the constitutional provision stipulating that the Verkhovna Rada is a full-fledged legislative body only when it has no fewer than 300 deputies.

A Legitimate Session?

It was Moroz himself who, with President Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, struck a political deal in May to disband the Verkhovna Rada and set early elections, following the voluntary resignation of deputies from the pro-presidential Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine.

The subsequent resignation of pro-presidential lawmakers brought the number of deputies in the 450-seat legislature below 300, allowing Yushchenko to issue two decrees, on June 5 and August 1, scheduling early polls for September 30.

[ ... ]

Risk of Chaos

If the session was objectionable from a legal point of view, and without any practical meaning, was it actually worth holding for the ruling coalition?

According to Moroz, it was necessary to open the session within the constitutionally prescribed terms. "We cannot disregard the risk of preplanned chaos in governance, in which, following undesirable election results gained by some participants in the election campaign, the newly elected Verkhovna Rada would not be able to become legitimate," Moroz said.

In this somewhat cryptic manner, Moroz appears to have expressed the fear shared by many observers of the Ukrainian political scene that the September 30 election results could be contested in court by any party dissatisfied with its election performance. They warn that it will be easy to cast doubt on the election results due to procedural mistakes and legal irregularities in the electoral process.

Thus, if the elections fail to receive official recognition, Moroz may hope for the continued existence of the current legislature, in which his Socialist Party has more than 30 lawmakers.

Current opinion surveys in Ukraine suggest that the September 30 polls may consign the Socialist Party to political oblivion. ...

18.09.07. Ukraine is to hold elections -- but will they change anything?

Taras Kuzio
28 Aug 2007

Ukraine will (again!) hold elections next month. Many of the people I talk to seem to believe that they will not decide much. One wonders what BBC Ukrainian service readers think?

Reaction in Washington to the April decree disbanding parliament was, to say the least, mixed. One group, maybe more pro-orange, said "Finally Yushchenko has shown some determination!".

Another group, maybe one more closely supportive of the grand coalition, saw his decree as unnecessary because the anti-crisis coalition would have never obtained a 300 constitutional majority. And it was a threat to the rule of law and constitution.

This question we can leave for future historians. The more important question today is what will the elections change?

If I were to meet President Yushchenko in person I would ask him only one question: "Did you go on holiday in the first two years of your presidency and then return to find not everything to your satisfaction?" The first two years of the orange president were largely wasted, especially the first year under the old constitution when the president had extensive powers.

The make up of the newly elected parliament will not change that decisively except that there will be four, not five, parties. A priest will have to be called to do a pana khyda over the Socialist Party.

Which brings me to probably the main outcome of this year's elections. They will also decide who will be Ukraine's next president. Will Yushchenko follow Leonid Kravchuk in only serving one term or Leonid Kuchma in serving two?

Indeed, the more moral question is does Yushchenko, after wasting his first two years, deserve to be re-elected for a second term? How do we not know that if he is re-elected he will not again go on an extended holiday break in 2010-2012, as he did in 2005-2006?

Ukraine needs a rishuche president. Of this I have no doubt. In reaching this conclusion I am influenced by my personal preferences (I fully admit that I admire Margaret Thatcher and Nicolas Sarkozy), I know Ukraine's problems and what is required for Ukraine to integrate into Europe. Plus, it is pretty obvious to me which Ukrainian political leader is both rishuche and attractive.

Sarkozy visited the U.S. recently and flew home for an important meeting but then returned to the U.S. to continue his meetings there. That is what I call rishuchist!

That is why I remain suspicious of Yushchenko's motives. Is he only now rishuche because he wants to maintain his hold on to power?

The mandate of an orange president did not just come from the ballot box but also from the one fifth of Ukraine's population who participated in the orange revolution. They gave Yushchenko a mandate for CHANGE. It is the lack of change that has disillusioned many Ukrainians, particularly young people.

Many of the president's proposals look surprisingly similar to Kuchma's in the April 2001 referendum: a bicameral parliament, lifting immunity from deputies and reducing the number of deputies. Party of Regions will never go for a bicameral Rada as this would mean each oblast, regardless of population size, would send the same number of Senators. Ternopil would have equality with Donetsk.

In principle I have no problem in removing parliamentary immunity. But, how will this help overcome Ukraine's general entrenched immunity for all Ukrainian elites (inside and outside parliament) from criminal prosecution?

Senior Ukrainian officials have never gone to jail in Ukraine regardless of whether they had immunity inside the Rada or did not because they were outside parliament. Only 3 senior Ukrainians currently sit in jail -- two in Germany and one in the US. All 3 were foolish to not stay in Ukraine where they could have continued to sit in parliament or run businesses without any legal problems.

After this years elections the same poorly reformed constitution remains in place. Yushchenko and Our Ukraine-Samoborona agree with the three parties in the anti-crisis coalition to not hold a referendum on the constitution on the same day as the elections.

In November 2005 the Constitutional Court ruled that a referendum should be held on the constitutional changes but this was always ignored. Only BYuT upholds the constitutional court's ruling in supporting a constitutional referendum.

Lets remember that the president has been unable to work with two of his three prime ministers. Will he now be able to work with either Yanukovych or Tymoshenko?

A final problem is the often repeated claim that Yushchenko's mandate was weak as his opponent received only 8% fewer votes. This is not a serious argument. Polls in the last years of Kuchma's rule showed that two thirds to three quarters of Ukrainians wanted change. In other words, a portion of Yanukovych voters (maybe what we call floating or soft voters) also desired change.

In reality Yushchenko's mandate was far higher than that for Sarkozy in France who won only 6% more votes than his Socialist rival (53 to 47%). In the U.S. Bush was elected with even more low majorities of only 3% in 2004 (51 to 48%) and with only a 1% victory in 2000 over his Democratic Party challengers (see the funny video here).

Yushchenko therefore had a large mandate for change that he has not implemented. I doubt whether he would do so if re-elected in two years time.

This is also true of Our Ukraine ministers who went into government and now head Our Ukraine-Samoborona. Despite lots of election rhetoric today I do not remember Yuriy Lutsenko adopting radical changes inside the Interior Ministry.

Two policies that he should have adopted immediately should have been to replace the ridiculous name "Militsya" with "Police" and return the Internal Troops to becoming a National Guard, as most of their units were in the 1990s. Countries do not get invited into Europe if they have Militsyas or troops designed to put down their own populations.

I remain doubtful if this year's elections will change Ukraine. The only manner in which the change promised by the orange revolution could be implemented is if an attractive lady is returned as prime minister and Yushchenko supports her policies designed to implement change (rather than obstruct them as he tried to do while he was on holiday in 2005).

If she does not become prime minister again this year then she deserves to replace Yushchenko as president. Yulia gave him his chance when she did not run in 2004 but, as the Americans say, he blew it.

Yulia could become Ukraine's Thatcher or Sarkozy -- Yushchenko will always be a Chirac. Maybe a woman can do what a man could never.

18.09.07. Deal casts doubt over Ukraine

Roman Olearchyk in Kyiv
September 3 2007

Ukraine's wealthiest man, Rinat Akhmetov, has significantly increased his interest in a large electricity generating company through a controversial debt-for-equity transaction that has cast a shadow over Kyiv's ability to privatise state assets transparently.

With snap parliamentary elections just weeks away, the deal has taken on political overtones.

Opposition parties have cried foul, alleging the sale was fixed in favour of a businessman close to Ukraine's premier, Viktor Yanukovich, and have pledged to challenge it.

Foreign investors who had their shares diluted through the deal are also upset.

The deal is not expected to scare off the record amounts of foreign investment flowing into Ukraine in recent years. However, it has left many wondering if Kyiv will improve its record on privatisations and put foreign investors on an equal footing.

Officials representing the state's interest in Dnipro-energo agreed last week to a 52 per cent share capital increase, boosting Mr Akhmetov's interest more than four times to about 40 per cent. The stake has been valued at $400m to $500m.

[ .. ]

Opposition politicians, with an eye on the snap parliamentary elections at the end of September, have said the deal illustrates how Mr Yanukovich's government kowtows to the interests of allied business tycoons. Mr Akhmetov is an influential member of Mr Yanukovich's Regions party.

"We see how this government is working in tandem with business," said Yulia Tymoshenko, a former prime minister and leader of the opposition Byut bloc, which trails closely behind Regions with 25 to 30 per cent of voter support.

[. ..]

The Dniproenergo transaction is the latest in a string of controversial privatisation tenders through which domestic and Russian businessmen have grabbed prized assets at fire-sale prices.

Ms Tymoshenko's bloc warned that the government might tender prized assets to allies through rushed sales during the political campaign before being swept out of power.

[. ..]

Ms Tymoshenko said her party would seek to reverse bogus sales as she did during her brief 2005 tenure as premier following the Orange Revolution, when her government reversed the sale of Ukraine's flagship steel mill, Kryvorizhstal, sold controversially in 2004 during Mr Yanukovich's first tenure as premier.

Mr Akhmetov and a partner bought the Kryvorizhstal mill for $800m in a tender process that excluded foreign bidders. It was resold in 2005 to Mittal Steel for $4.8bn.

21.09.07. Dødt løb mellem den blå og den orange blok

Godt en uge før ukrainerne skal vælge et nyt parlament viser en dugfrisk meningsmåling fra Centret for sociologisk forskning "Sociopolis"  www.spr.org.ua i Kyiv, at den tidligere parlamentsformand Volodymyr Lytvyns midterblok "Blok Lytvyna" bliver tungen på vægtskålen i et parlament, hvor hverken den blå eller den orange blok opnår et klart flertal. Socialisterne, som har været tungen på vægtskålen i det sidste halvandet år, står til at ryge ud af parlamentet. Meningsmålingen bygger på følgende spørgsmålet stillet til et repræsentativt udsnit af den ukrainske befolkning i dagene 1.-10. september 2007:

Hvilket parti vil du stemme på? (i procent)

Parti/Blok     Ca. antal pladser
Regionernes parti 32,5% "Blå" blok - 37,3% 216
Kommunisterne 4,8%    
Vores Ukraine - Folkets Selvforsvar 13,6% "Orange" blok - 36,5% 211
Julia Tymoshenkos Blok 22,9%    
Lytvyns Blok 3,6% Lytvyns blok - 3,6% 23
Socialisterne 0,8%    
    I alt pladser 450

Samtidig blev vælgerne spurgt om deres tillid til politikerne og deres syn på Ukraines internationale rolle. Her følger resultaterne af denne rundspørge:

Hvilken af disse politikere har du tillid til ? (i procent)

N. Vitrenko – 8.7
V. Lytvyn – 15.8
Yu. Lutsenko – 20.3
O. Moroz – 7.7
P. Symonenko – 14.7
L. Suprun – 3.4
Y. Tymosjenko – 29.7
V. Janukovytsj – 33.3
Anden politiker – 2.6
Fandt det svært at svare – 8.9
Ingen af dem - 16.5

Hvilken af disse politikere ville du gerne have som Ukraines statsminister?  (i procent)

N. Vitrenko – 1.0
V. Lytvyn – 3.9
Yu. Lutsenko – 4.3
O. Moroz – 0.9
P. Symonenko – 2.4
L. Suprun – 0.5
Y. Tymosjenko – 24.1
V. Janukovytsj – 31.7
Anden politiker – 1.2
Fandt det vanskelligt at svare – 20.7
Ingen af de dem – 9.4

Støtter du ideen at Ukraine skal forblive neutralt og ikke være medlem af nogen militær blok?  (i procent)

Ja – 62.5
Nej – 16.1
Vanskeligt at svare – 21.4

Er du enig med at en stor opmærksomhed skal lægges på Ukraines tilslutning til EU? (i procent)

Ja – 44.7
Nej – 26.1
Vanskeligt at svare – 29.1


23.09.07. Jusjtjenko må ikke føre valgkamp

Ukraines centrale valgkommission har besluttet at forbyde præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko at deltage i valgkampen til støtte for blokken "Vores Ukraine-Folkets Selvforvar" og har pålagt præsidenten at afholde sig fra at føre valgkamp op til parlamentsvalget.

Den centrale valgkommission traf beslutningen natten til lørdag på baggrund af en klage fra Det socialistiske parti.

Valgkommissionen mener, at Jusjtjenkos deltagelse i valgkampen i form af offentlige opfordringer til at stemme for blokken "Vores Ukraine-Folkets Selvforvar" er en lovovertrædelse samt en krænkelse af borgernes valgrettigheder og af de legitime interesser, som de involverede parter har i valget. Desuden mener valgkommissionen, at præsidentens agitation er uforenelig med hans status som statens overhoved.

Derudover har valgkommissionen pålagt Jusjtjenko at afholde sig fra valgkampsagitation under valgkampen. "Interfaks-Ukrajina".

30.09.07. Ukrainerne går til valg i dag

30. sep. 2007 00.54 Udland Opdat.: 30. sep. 2007 01.16

I dag går ukrainerne til valgurnerne for  femte gang i løbet af kun tre år 

De 37 millioner vælgere skal sammensætte et nyt parlament, som de fleste håber kan bringe landet ud et halvt års politisk lammelse.

Men de færreste tror, at valget giver et klart flertal til partierne omkring den reform- og vestvenlige præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko eller til den prorussiske og mindre reformvenlige premierminister Viktor Janukovitj.

Magtkampen op i en spids
De to fløje er nogenlunde lige store. Under valgkampen er uenigheden spidset til i en sådan grad, at et kompromis hen over midten synes umulig.

Parlamentsvalget blev udskrevet, efter at præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko og premierminister Viktor Janukovitj i måneder havde bekriget hinanden og forsøgt at begrænse hinandens magtbeføjelser.

Magtkampen gik op i en spids kort efter nytår, og lammede helt det politiske liv frem til begyndelsen af april, hvor Jusjtjenko opløste parlamentet og udskrev nyvalg.

Blå mod orange
Premierminister Viktor Janukovitj leder Regionernes Parti, og har i et år ledet en regeringskoalition, kaldet de blå, bestående af hans eget parti, Socialistpartiet og Kommunistpartiet. Koalitionen overlever næppe valget søndag, da både Socialistpartiet og kommunisterne ser ud til at ryge ud. Regionernes Parti ventes at få mellem 30 og 38 procent.

Over for den blå alliance står en koalition af orange partier, som støtter præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko. Han ses som mere reformvenlig og liberal med et ønske om at gøre Ukraine mere demokratisk og føre landet ind i EU og NATO.

Jusjtjenko var Orangerevolutionens helt og står stadig i spidsen for partiet Vort Ukraine.  Vort Ukraine, der har sin højborg i den vestlige del af landet, står til mellem 10 og 15 procent af stemmerne.

Den orange koalition omfatter også tidligere premierminister Julia Timosjenko og partiet, som er opkaldt efter hende - Blok Timosjenko.

Hun er uden konkurrence Ukraines mest farverige og mest polariserende politiker. På valgmøder tryllebinder hun tilhængere, mens modstandere raser mod hende.

Hendes vigtigste budskab er kamp mod korruption, bedre sociale forhold og bekæmpelse af rige oligarker. Blok Timosjenko stor til mellem 20 og 30 procent af stemmerne og har sin højborg i det midterste Ukraine omkring hovedstaden Kijev.

01.10.07. Stor valgsejr til Julia Tymoshenko og Viktor Jusjtjenkos partier

De landsdækkende ukrainske exit polls tyder på, at de orange partier - Julia Tymoshenkos blok og "Vores Ukraine - Folkets selvforsvar" generobrer flertallet i det ukrainske parlament med Julis Tymoshenko som den sandsynlige nye premierminister. Gasprinsessen, som hun også kaldes har siden valget i 2002 femdoblet sin tilslutning og leverer også denne gang et overraskende godt valgresultat med over 31% af stemmerne - kun få procentpoint efter "Regionernes parti". Nedenfor bringes valgresultatet ifølge gennemsnittet af de landsdækkende ukrainske exit-polls.

Regionernes Parti - 35%

Julia Tymoshenkos Blok - 32%

Vores Ukraine - Folkets Selvforsvar - 14%

Kommunistpartiet - 5%

Lytvyns Blok - 4%

Inge af de øvrige partier kommer over spærregrænsen. Dog er Socialistpartiet tættest på med 2,5% af stemmerne. Resultatet af exit-pollsene giver følgende fordeling af pladserne i det ukrainske parlament:

Regionernes Parti - 174 pladser

Julia Tymoshenkos Blok - 160 pladser

Vores Ukraine - Folkets Selvforsvar - 71 pladser

Kommunistpartiet - 25 pladser

Lytvyns Blok - 20 pladser


Parti/Blok     Ca. antal pladser
Regionernes parti 35% "Blå" blok - 40% 199
Kommunisterne 5%    
Vores Ukraine - Folkets Selvforsvar 14% "Orange" blok - 46% 231
Julia Tymoshenkos Blok 32%    
Lytvyns Blok 4% Lytvyns blok - 4% 20
    I alt 450

01.10.07. Svære forhandlinger i vente mellem Tymoshenko og Jusjtjenko

Den politiske ledelse i blokken "Vores Ukraine - Folkets Selvforsvar" har udpeget Vjatjeslav Kyrylenko til at være leder af forhandlingerne om skabelsen af en demokratisk koalition med Julia Tymoshenkos blok. Vjatjeslav Kyrylenko var nr. to på blokken "Vores Ukraine - Folkets Selvforsvar"s stemmeseddel efter lederen af blokken, Jurij Lutsenko. Lutsenko har udtalt sig meget positivt om Julia Tymoshenko som premierminister.  Kyrylenko er kendt for at have en mere skeptisk holdning til Tymoshenko - en holdning, der er kendetegnende for kredsen omkring præsident Jusjtjenko.

Udnævnelsen af Kyrylenko er derfor et signal om, at der er svære og langstrakte forhandlinger i vente mellem den sejrrige Julia Tymoshenko og Jusjtjenkos allierede.

På mødet besluttede den politiske ledelse i blokken "Vores Ukraine - Folkets Selvforsvar" desuden at foreslå Julia Tymoshenkos blok at afholde et fællesmøde for de to partiers politiske ledelse, oplyser pressetjenesten.

Medlemmer af ledelsen gav udtryk for bekymring over tilbageholdelsen af valgresultaterne i Ukraines sydlige og østlige regioner, og netop i Donetsk, Luhansk, Odesa og Den autonome republik Krim.

På mødet blev man også enige om at tage initiativ til at nedsætte en fælles arbejdsgruppe med Julia Tymoshenkos Blok omkring beskyttelsen af de ukrainske borgeres viljesytring under det ekstraordinære parlamentsvalg den 30. september 2007. UP.

03.10.07. Hårfint og meget ustabilt flertal til "de orange" på 2 mandater

Med 100% af stemmerne talt op ser det ukrainske valgresultat omsat i mandatfordelingen i det nye parlament således ud:

Parti/Blok     Antal mandater
Regionernes parti 34,37%   175
Kommunisterne 5,39%   27
Vores Ukraine - Folkets Selvforsvar 14,15%   72
Julia Tymoshenkos Blok 30,71%   156
Lytvyns Blok 3,96% Lytvyns blok - 3,96% 20
    I alt 450
    "Blå" blok - 39,76% 202. 222 med Lytvyns blok
    "Orange" blok - 44,86% 228

Pengene har de senere år fået en stadig større indflydelse i ukrainsk politik. I det forudgående parlament nåede op til 30 parlamentsmedlemmer af skifte fraktion, inden præsidenten opløste parlamentet. Det lykkedes aldrig det afgående parlament at vedtage en lov om det bundne mandat, som ville gøre det strafbart for et parlamentsmedlem at skifte til et andet parti end det, han blev valgt for. På den baggrund synes et flertal på 2 mandater at være alt for spinkelt til at danne et stabilt flertal. I det afgående parlament var Julia Tymoshenkos fraktion den, som afgav flest overløbere til Regionernes parti. Intet tyder på, at dette ikke også vil ske i det nye parlament. Det, som kan sikre Tymoshenko og Jusjtjenko et nogenlunde stabilt flertal, er hvis de allierer sig med Volodymyr Lytvyns lille midterparti. Men Lytvyns betingelse for en alliance vil være posten som parlamentsformand.

04.10.07. Forhandlinger i gang om alternativ koalition

Repræsentanter for Regionernes parti, Lytvyns blok og Kommunistpartiet er gået i gang med forhandlinger om et parlamentsflertal, oplyser en kilde i Regionernes partis pressetjeneste overfor hjemmesiden Liga. Ifølge kilden deltager følgende personer i mødet: lederen af Lytvyns blok Volodymyr Lytvyn, næstformand i kommunistpartiet Adam Martynjuk, samt de to prominente medlemmer af Regionernes parti Borys Kolesnykov. Desuden er socialisten Jaroslav Mendus med i konsultationerne. Efter konsultationerne forventes det, at mødedeltagerne vil møde pressen.

Den 3. oktober opfordrede præsident Jusjtjenko de partier, som opnåede flertal i parlamentet, til at indlede forhandlinger om dannelsen af et parlamentsflertal og en regering. Kommunistlederen Petro Symonenko har udtalt, at et flertal mellem hans parti, Regionernes parti og Lytvyns Blok er muligt, forudsat nogle af medlemmerne af Julia Tymoshenkos blok og Vores Ukraine skifter side, hvilket var meget udbredt i det afgående parlament. UP.

10.10.07. Tymoshenko ønsker en hurtig udskiftning af Janukovytj-regeringen

Julia Tymoshenkos blok insisterer på at få fremskyndet åbningen af det nyvalgte parlament og dannelsen af et demokratisk flertal og regering, meddelte partiets næstformand Oleksandr Turtjynov på et pressemøde onsdag.

Ifølge Turtjynov er hovedårsagen, at Janukovytj-regeringens fortsatte embedsførelse er farlig for staten.

Næstformanden mindede om, at de demokratiske kræfter er parate til at offentliggøre dannelsen af et flertal efter offentliggørelsen af det officielle valgresultat og mente, at BjUTs og Vores Ukraines politiske modstandere "ikke har noget belæg for at anfægte valgresultatet".

"Derfor er der efter den 15. al mulig grund til at indkalde en arbejdsgruppe som skal forberede den første arbejdsdag i den 6. Verkhovna Rada", sagde han.

Ifølge Turtjynov kan åbningen også finde sted inden den 30. oktober, eftersom "alle de spørgsmål, som arbejdsgruppen har kompetence til at behandle, kan blive afklaret i løbet af mindre end en uge".

Han gav også udtryk for et håb om, at de politiske partnere støtter hans partis forslag. Samtidig oplyste Turtjynov om, at de demokratiske kræfter ikke har fået noget svar fra Volodymyr Lytvyns Blok vedrørende deres forespørgsel om et samarbejde. Men han mindede om, at de demokratiske kræfter har stemmer nok til at danne et flertal også uden hjælp fra Lytvyns Blok.

"Vores ærede kollegaer har modtaget et forslag: og vi vil ikke begynde at overbevise dem, hvis de ikke vil", påpegede han.

"Vi vil ikke iværksætte nogen auktioner (i forhold til antallet af foreslåede poster), i den nærmeste fremtid vil vi have et regeringsprogram, og hvis der er nogle som ønsker at hjælpe os med at realisere det, så skal de være velkomne, og vi vil tage godt imod dem", sagde han. Han tilføjede, at regeringsprogrammets arbejdstitel vil være "Det ukrainske gennembrud: ikke for politikere, men for mennesker".

Turtjynov tilføjer, at der ikke er nogen, som vil tale om kvoter, indtil der foreligger en henvendelse fra Lytvyns blok om, at de slutter sig til koalitionen. UP.

19.10.07. Tymoshenko og Jusjtjenko enige om fordeling af ministerposterne

Julia Tymoshenkos Blok og Viktor Jusjtjenkos støtteparti "Vores Ukraine - Folkets selvforsvar" har officielt meddelt, at de har delt ministerposterne imellem sig som led i en kommende regeringskoalition. Nu mangler kun den afstemning i det nyvalgte parlament, som skal gøre Julia Tymoshenko til premierminister.

Nedenfor ses den fordeling af posterne, som Julia Tymoshenko lederen af Vores Ukraine Vjatjeslav Kyrylenko offentliggjorde i onsdags. Ifølge aftalen får Julia Tymoshenkos blok regeringens økonomiske og energipolitiske sektor, mens "Vores Ukraine - Folkets selvforsvar" får ansvaret for den humanitære sektor og de såkaldte magtministerier. UP

Julia Tymoshenkos blok

Vores Ukraine - Folkets selvforsvar

Ukraines 1. vice-premierminister Ukraines vice-premierminister
Ukraines vice-premierminister Ukraines vice-premierminister med ansvar for humanitære anliggender
Ukraines landbrugsminister Minister for regional udvikling, byggeri og arkitektur

- Statskomiteen for Ukraines statslige pris indenfor arkitektur

Ukraines miljøminister

- Ukraines skov- og naturstyrelse

- Ukraines farvandsstyrelse

- Statskomiteen for Ukraines jordressourcer

Ukraines indenrigsministerium
- Ukraines statslige komite for etniske mindretal og migration
Ukraines økonomiminister

- Ukraines statskomite for statens materielle reserver

- Ukraines statskomite for teknisk regulering og forbrugerpolitik

- Ukraines statslige komite for erhvervs- og reguleringspolitik

Ukraines udenrigsminister
Ukraines brændstof- og energiminister
- Ukraines olie og naturgasselskab "Naftohaz Ukrajiny"
- Statskomiteen for kerneregulering
- Den statslige komite "Enerhoatom"
Ukraines kultur- og turismeminister
Ukraines kulindustriminister Ukraines minister for ekstraordinære situationer og for beskyttelse af befolkningen mod eftervirkningerne af Tjornobyl katastrofen
Ukraines arbejds-og socialminister
- Ukraines pensionsfond
Ukraines forsvarsminister
Ukraines industriminister
- Ukraines nationale rumagentur
Ukraines videnskabs- og undervisningsminister
- Ukraines komite for statslige priser indenfor videnskab og teknik
Ukraines transport- og kommunikationsminister
- Ukraines vejdirektorat
- Ukraines statslige direktorat for flysikkerhed
- Den statslige administration for Ukraines jernbanetransport
Ukraines sundhedsminister
Ukraines finansminister
- Ukraines kontrol- og revisionsstyrelse
- Ukraines rentekammer
- Ukraines toldvæsen
- Ukraines skattevæsen
- Ukraines finanstilsyn
Ukraines minister for familie- ungdom og sport
  Ukraines justitsminister
- Ukraines statslige arkivkomite
- Ukraines domstolsstyrelse
- Ukraines kriminalforsorg

Øvrige statslige organer

Ukraines statslige ejendomsfond Ukraines monopoltilsyn
Statskomiteen for regulering af Ukraines finansmarked Ukraines statslige Tv- og radiokomite
Statskomiteen for værdipapirer og fondsmarkedet Ukraines slots- og ejendomsstyrelse
Ukraines statistiske komite Statskomiteen for Ukraines eksportkontrol
Den nationale komite for regulering af elektricitet Den nationale komite med ansvar for kommunikationsregulering

Statslige banker

"Ukreksportimportbank" A/S Ukraines nationalbank
"Ukraines sparekasse" A/S

19.10.07. Janukovytj-regeringen kan fortsætte som forretningsministerium

Parlamentsmedlem for Regionernes parti Taras Tjornovil vil ikke udelukke, at den nyvalgte 6. Verkhovna Rada (Ukraines parlament) kan arbejde uden en koalition. Dette synspunkt formulerede politikeren på et seminar med titlen "Julia Tymoshenkos tilbagevenden til regeringen: realiteter og prognoser", oplyser internetavisen Obkom medhenvisning til Ukrajinski Novyny.

Tjornovil påpegede, at forfatningen forbyder præsidenten at opløse Verkhovna Rada i et helt år efter et ekstraordinært parlamentsvalg.

"Derfor kan der opstå en situation, hvor Verkhovna Rada vil arbejde et helt år uden en koalition, selvom der er et flertal", sagde Tjornvil. Ifølge Tjornovil vil regeringen med Viktor Janukovytj i givet fald fortsætte sit arbejde, bare som forretningsministerium

Tjornovil mener, at en sådan situation ikke ligefrem vil være til fordel for landet, når man tænker på den manglende stabilitet.

Politikeren opfordrede Julia Tymoshenkos blok og "Vores Ukraine - Folkets selvforsvar" til at prøve at realisere deres koalition, og, såfremt det mislykkes, gå i gang med at diskutere en stor koalition med deltagelse af Regionernes parti.

Som tidligere oplyst har Tjornovil udtalt, at hans politiske parti fra midten af november vil indlede forhandlinger om en koalition mellem Regionernes parti og "Vores Ukraine - Folkets selvforsvar".

Den 15. oktober indgik Julia Tymoshenkos blok og "Vores Ukraine - Folkets selvforsvar" en aftale om at danne en koalition i det nye parlament. UP.

23.10.07. Spinkelt flertal ikke nok til en stabil koalition i parlamentet

#33 (380), 8 October 2007
A publication of the International Centre for Policy Studies
ICPS newsletter

The Orange camp can now put
together a coalition
Based on the results at this time, BYT and
NU–NS can put together a coalition without
even including other partners. With only 228
seats in the Rada, however, ICPS analysts say
that this will not be enough to ensure that
the coalition can work steadily. Most likely
it will need to invite a third party to join,
which could be the Lytvyn bloc, with its 20
seats. In such a situation, the coalition will
have 248 votes.
Still, including the Lytvyn Bloc carries a
number of risks as well as benefits. For one
thing, the two main parties will have to
give up their previous agreement to split
Government and other posts right down the
middle, something that is actually written
into the latest agreement between BYT and
NU–NS. For another, there are doubts about
where the loyalties of the Lytvyn Bloc lie.
ICPS analysts still consider it unlikely that a
broad coalition will be established between
Nasha Ukraina–Narodna Samooborona and
the Party of the Regions immediately after
the election. NU–NS will not be a stable
coalition party for PR. Moreover, both part
of the NU–NS bloc itself, such as Ukrainiska
Pravnytsia, Narodna Samooborona and parts
of the Nasha Ukraina party have completely
distanced themselves from such an option.
It follows that, for the President himself,
such a coalition would have the effect of
undermining support in the Rada: he would
find himself opposed by both BYT and part
of his own faction. Moreover, a coalition
between NU–NS and PR would still not
guarantee the President support from PR for
his initiatives in the Rada.
The formation of a broad coalition will
also reduce support for the President among
Orange voters. The chances that Viktor
Yushchenko will make it into the presidential
run-off in 2009 will grow even worse.
And finally, a coalition with the Party of the
Regions is no guarantee that PR will not
nominate its own candidate in the 2009

This means that the most likely coalition
immediately after this election will be an
Orange one, with BYT and NU–NS, which
is what the pro-presidential electorate
expects. Some changes in this coalition
will be possible only in the medium term,
if a change in the political situation
provides the main players room for political
The possibility of another
political crisis remains
The formation of an Orange coalition
should, in the short term, ease some of
the antagonism in relations between
the President and Premier that was
characteristic under the recent Yanukovych
Government. Still, for an end to be made to
this crisis, the newly formed coalition will
have to engage first of all in entrenching
institutions that can guarantee that
politicians play by the rules from now
on. This firstly means reforming the
Constitutional Court and the judiciary.
Secondly, it means bringing the Law on
the Cabinet of Ministers in line with the
Constitution, adopting the Regulation
for the Cabinet of Ministers as a Bill of
Law, and amending the Budget Code. The
Cabinet also needs to return the President’s
Constitutional rights, which have been
taken from him in this Law. In addition, it’s
extremely important to regulate relations
within the Rada itself, as well as to give the
opposition proper powers by either passing
a separate law or adopting the Law on the
Verkhovna Rada Regulation.
These measures lay the foundation for the
Cabinet of Ministers and the President to act
on the basis of a similar interpretation of the
Constitution and for the legitimacy of any
decisions they make to be beyond question.
And this activity should become part of the
new coalition’s agenda. Otherwise, say ICPS
analysts, the impression that the crisis is
over will be short-lived. Without institutional
change, the crisis will not be healed.

The Orange forces don’t have a unified agenda
regarding state policy and are not united by
common political goals especially in terms
of the 2009 Presidential election. Views on
public administration, the goals of economic
policy, and, more important, on who leads,
differ in the Orange camp. Moreover, Viktor
Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko make no
bones about their ambitions to run in the
next Presidential race.

Both international and Ukrainian observers agree that the snap election
to the Verkhovna Rada took place fairly, openly and democratically.
Moreover, the election campaign itself took place in an atmosphere
of relative calm, the government organized the electoral process in a
transparent manner and ensured that all participants had an equal chance
to access the mass media, to campaign, and to register their candidates.
But the formulation of unspoken rules, such as what can or cannot be done
in putting together a coalition, underscored the urgent need for an
independent judiciary, including the Constitutional Court, without which
the regulation of any disputes over the Constitution will remain impossible.
All of this is key to entrenching democracy in Ukraine, say ICPS analysts

This means that, after the emotional
euphoria of the joint victory dissipates,
the fierce competition within the coalition
will continue—for the right to make
strategic decisions and for leadership.
The President will want the Government to
carry out his agenda, and NU–NS supports
him in this, while Yulia Tymoshenko will
insist on her own goals. If democratic
institutions are not strong enough, this
cohabitation could end in the break-up
of the coalition, and possibly even new
elections. In any case, without democratic
institutions, the weakness of the coalition
will equate the weakness of the state.
Reforms will have to wait

The current situation does not bode well
for reforms for a number of reasons. Firstly,
reforms cannot be undertaken because
they simply have not been planned. Other
than Constitutional reform and reform of
the judiciary, no other reforms were under
discussion during the election campaign.
For instance, despite all the promises to
increase pensions offered by all political
parties across the board, not one party
discussed the continuation of pension
reform. In addition, none of the reforms
of the branches of power can take place
without an effective civil service. Its
absence is the biggest problem of a
democratic society facing Ukraine today.
Yet every last party in Ukraine has kept
mum about reforming public

Secondly, the approach of a Presidential
election means there is a relatively small
window of opportunity for the Rada to
undertake effective work. The election
will take place in December 2009, but the
campaign will de facto begin a year earlier.
These are political realities that will remove
any desire on the part of politicians to
undertake reforms because the benefits are
likely to be long-term, while voters will feel
the impact of unpopular decisions almost

Thirdly, steady economic growth that looks
set to continue for the next several years
removes any economic incentive for a
Government to undertake reforms.
Foreign policy will not change
The results of this election are unlikely
to have much of an impact on Ukraine’s
foreign policy. The coming to office of the
Tymoshenko Government will not mean that
Ukraine turns its back on Russia or swiftly
becomes a member of NATO. Despite many
demands from her partners in the future
coalition, Ms. Tymoshenko did not ever
outline her position on NATO during the
campaign and is unlikely to make any radical
changes to foreign policy, especially if this
leads to serious confrontation in relations
with Russia and sudden changes in the price
of gas.

In future, a change of Government will have
ever less impact on Ukraine’s foreign policy.
In the past, the fierce confrontation between
Russia and the West in political debate
in Ukraine were driven by the fact that
Ukraine was choosing not only its foreign
policy vector, but also its model for internal
development. With the democratization of
its political system, this conflict between
Russia and the West in Ukraine’s foreign
policy has been removed. Today, there is
consensus among all the country’s main
parties about the need for Ukraine to
integrate into the EU and to maintain good
relations with its northern neighbor. The
issue of NATO membership has become much
more controversial, but every Government
that makes this its goal has to deal with
public opinion. 􀂄

25.10.07. Politisk uro efter udnævnelsen af nationalistleder til Ukraines helt

By Pavel Korduban
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
President Viktor Yushchenko’s recent efforts to commemorate World War II nationalist fighters have provoked a wave of pro-Russian and leftist extremism in Ukraine. Radical leftists disrupted commemorations of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) across Ukraine on October 14, and the Russian radical nationalist organization Eurasian Youth Union (ESM) claimed responsibility for vandalizing national symbols on Ukraine’s highest mountain.

On October 12 Yushchenko posthumously proclaimed Roman Shukhevych, the UPA commander in the 1940s, a Hero of Ukraine, and two days later he decreed that the 65th anniversary of the UPA should be commemorated. On October 14, a monument was unveiled in the western town of Lviv to one of the main ideologists of 20th century Ukrainian nationalism, Stepan Bandera.

The leftist and pro-Russian forces have made it clear that they will not put up with “the president’s attempts to impose pro-fascist, neo-Nazi policy on society,” as one of the leaders of the Communist Party (CPU), Oleksandr Holub, put it. The CPU issued a statement saying that Yushchenko had “voiced support at the state level for an ideology that was condemned internationally and by the Nuremberg trial.” [Note information in the sidebar about the UPA in the Nurnberg verdict.]

The UPA has always been respected in western Ukraine, which the Soviet Union annexed from Poland in 1939, as freedom fighters. Official historiography maintains that the UPA fought both the Nazis and the Red Army. Most right-of-center parties, the far-right groups, and President Yushchenko share this point of view. Pro-Russian parties and leftists, most of whom are nostalgic for the Soviet past, say that the UPA collaborated with the Nazis, so it does not deserve commemoration. This negative view of the UPA dominates in the Russian-speaking regions, and it is apparently shared by the majority of the Party of Regions of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

UPA veterans and several thousand supporters of the far-right parties Freedom, the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists, and the Ukrainian National Assembly organized a march in Kyiv on October 14 to commemorate the UPA. They were confronted by supporters of the CPU and the radical left Progressive Socialist Party, who behaved aggressively. Police prevented scuffles between supporters of the rival camps, briefly detaining 24 of them. Similar events happened in several other cities across Ukraine, including the second biggest city, Kharkiv. In the Crimean capital of Simferopol, where pro-Russian and leftist radicals by far outnumber the nationalists, police had to work especially hard to prevent serious confrontations.

Yushchenko’s calls for UPA commemoration were largely ignored by the local authorities beyond western Ukraine. “Not everybody would understand this. We have to first conduct serious explanatory work,” said the governor of the central Ukrainian Poltava Region, Valery Asadchev, who is a member of Yushchenko’s team. The council of Ukraine’s easternmost region, Luhansk, voted 73–2 to approve an appeal for Yushchenko to revoke his decree on proclaiming Shukhevych a hero. Luhansk voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Party of Regions in the September 30 parliamentary election.

On October 18, the ESM, a Russian radical youth group, said that its activists had demolished Ukrainian national symbols that had been erected on Ukraine’s highest mountain, the Hoverla. The mountain, located in western Ukraine, is a symbol by itself. Yushchenko, when he was opposition leader, would ascend it ceremoniously each year accompanied by crowds of his political supporters. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) confirmed that the ESM’s activists had vandalized the symbols but said that the ESM had exaggerated the damage. The SBU said that this was committed by three young men, two of whom had arrived from Russia for the purpose.

One of the leaders of the ESM, Pavel Zarifullin, commenting on the SBU’s statement, said the three young men in question reside in western Ukraine, rather than Russia. Zarifullin mocked the SBU, saying that it only pretended to have full information on the ESM activists in question. The Ukrainian version of the Russian daily Kommersant quoted the ESM’s main ideologist, Aleksandr Dugin, as saying that the “action on the Hoverla” had been prompted by Yushchenko’s commemoration of Shukhevych. Dugin and Zarifullin were declared personae non gratae in Ukraine in 2006 for their participation in anti-NATO and anti-U.S. protests in Crimea.

Ukraine’s main parties displayed very different reactions to the incident on the Hoverla. Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine–People’s Self-Defense condemned it as “a criminal act committed by anti-Ukrainian forces.” Yushchenko’s allies from the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc urged immediate reaction from the Prosecutor-General’s Office. The Party of Regions kept silent. The CPU’s Holub said that the Hoverla incident was Ukrainian society’s “emotional” reaction to Yushchenko’s “neo-Nazi policy.”

(Interfax-Ukraine, October 14; Korrespondent.net, October 14, 19, 20; kpu.net.ua, October 19; UNIAN, October 19, 20; Kommersant-Ukraine, October 22)