RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE SEEKS TO DESTABILIZE CRIMEA
On September 29 the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) protested against an appeal made by the Russian delegation to the OSCE about the Crimea. “Methods and dirty technology created in the ’90s of the last century are being used to destabilize the situation in the ARK [Autonomous Republic of Crimea] by fomenting separatist movements in the territories of the former USSR... Such actions cannot be regarded as anything other than gross interference in the internal affairs of another state,” the MFA said (www.mfa.gov.ua, September 29).
That Ukrainian-Russian relations are poor and deteriorating is increasingly obvious from mutual accusations, counter-accusations, and insinuations. Russian political technologist Sergei Markov, a Unified Russia deputy, described Ukrainian-Russian relations to all intents and purposes as non-existent (www.pravda.com.ua, September 24).
Even in the area of Soviet history the Ukrainian and Russian sides have diametrically opposite views. The Russian Foreign Ministry gloated over Ukraine’s failure to find support for a resolution at the UN to recognize the 1933 artificial famine as “genocide” conducted against Ukrainians. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry issued a strongly worded rebuttal. Writing in September’s Prospect magazine Arkady Ostrovsky said, “an old fashioned nationalism, in neo-Stalinist costume, has become the most powerful force in Russian society” (www.prospect-magazine.co.uk).
Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko has officially accused Russia of seeking to destabilize the autonomous republic of the Crimea. It is undesirable that “the Russian consulate in Simferopol distributes passports” (EDM, September 15). Meanwhile, Russian politicians, such as Moscow Mayor Yuriy Luzhkov, travel to Ukraine and call for uniting the Crimea to Russia (Fokus, no.38, September 19).
Ohryzko also complained that Russia was attempting to block Ukraine’s entry into NATO by using, among others things, the Crimean card. Russia also disrespected Ukraine’s sovereignty (Fokus, no.38, September 19).
At a well-publicized press conference on September 25, the Security Service (SBU) provided extensive details of attempts by Russian intelligence to hire Ukrainian citizens to participate in conflicts in the Caucasus. The SBU gave details about recent attempts to hire Ukrainians for the August Georgian conflict. In August and September the SBU collected intelligence on many attempts by Russian intelligence to dispatch Ukrainians to the conflict. Ukrainians were offered $200 to $500 per day if they accepted the proposal. Candidates approached by Russian intelligence should have “specific training, including in the field of subversive activity.” Russian intelligence targeted those with existing connections to the Ukrainian military, including reservists (www.mfa.gov.ua, September 29).
The SBU warned Russia that it was carefully observing these approaches and was initiating counter-measures (www.sbu.gov.ua). “Every attempt at recruiting Ukrainian citizens in foreign games will receive a harsh rebuff,” the SBU warned. Russian intelligence had established and supported “extremist organizations” in Tiraspol, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia; but “We will never permit such activity on our territory,” the SBU stated. Following the Georgian-Russian war, Ukraine purchased its first unmanned drone from the Israeli Ministry of Defense (www.pravda.com.ua, August 29).
Senior Russian military officers have alleged that Ukrainians fought on the Georgian side during the August conflict. Such claims about “Ukrainian nationalists” are nothing new. In the first and second Russian interventions into Chechnya in 1995 and 2000, Russian officials and media alleged that numerous “Ukrainian nationalists” were fighting with the Chechens. The allegations revived Soviet ideological tirades against western Ukrainian “bourgeois nationalists.”
The nationalist group most often accused of training recruits for battle against Russia is the extreme right UNA-UNSO (Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian Peoples Self Defense Organization). Russia’s intelligence on Ukrainian nationalists is, in fact, outdated, as the UNA-UNSO disintegrated in the late 1990s into at least three groups.
One wing of UNA-UNSO that remained committed to its nationalist ideology aligned with the radical opposition Yulia Tymoshenko bloc (BYuT) and Socialist Party in the “Kuchmagate” crisis. The radical opposition led the protests by Ukraine Without Kuchma and Arise Ukraine! from 2000 to 2003. UNA-UNSO members also acted as paramilitary stewards during the orange revolution. The UNA-UNSO was accused of organizing the March 2001 riots in Kyiv (in reality, this was apparently a provocation by undercover Interior Ministry personnel to discredit the anti-Kuchma opposition), and 20 senior UNA-UNSO leaders were charged and imprisoned. Following their release, many of the nationalist wing of the UNA-UNSO, such as Andriy Shkil, joined the BYuT. Shkil is still a BYuT deputy.
The other two wings of the UNA-UNSO were co-opted by Russian intelligence. They continue to be available for provocations by Russian intelligence in attempts to portray Ukraine’s orange leaders (like their Georgian rose revolution counterparts) as “anti-Russian extremists.”
The two co-opted former wings of the UNA-UNSO played a highly provocative role in attempts to discredit the opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko in the 2004 presidential elections. Political technologists close to Russia’s presidential administration (i.e., Markov and Gleb Pavlovsky) worked for the candidate supported by Russia, Viktor Yanukovych. They sought to portray Yushchenko as a rabid “anti-Russian, Ukrainian nationalist” to reduce his popularity in Russophone eastern Ukraine (see EDM, June 29 and September 23, 2004, May 13, 2005).
One of the two co-opted UNA-UNSO groups, led by Dmytro Korchynsky, was renamed Bratstvo (Brotherhood). Bratstvo and the Progressive Socialist Party are the only two Ukrainian parties in the Highest Council of the International Eurasian Movement and the Eurasian Youth Movement. Both of these organizations are devoted to the Eurasianist ideologist Aleksandr G. Dugin who has ingratiated himself with the Putin regime (see Andreas Umland’s detailed analysis in www.pravda.com.ua, July 20, 2007).
The SBU has also unveiled Russian intelligence’s attempts to recruit Ukrainians who would “testify” for money that they had undergone “subversive training” in UNA-UNSO bases in western Ukraine with the aim of undertaking “terrorist” attacks alongside Chechens in Russia. Recruited Tatars were also paid to speak on Russian television about the existence of alleged training camps for Islamic terrorists in the Crimea. The aim in both cases, the SBU believes, was to show that Ukraine was a host to training camps for religious and nationalist extremists.
Russia’s accusations are doubly ironic. First, the UNA-UNSO wing with solid nationalist credentials joined the BYuT in 2001-2002. Tymoshenko meanwhile has been accused of “treason” by the presidential secretariat based on an unfounded allegation that she has “done a deal” with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Second, the remainder of the former UNA-UNSO (i.e., Bratstvo) has long worked for Russian intelligence.
14.10.08. Yushchenko fatigue in Washington?
By Roman Kupchinsky
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's working visit to Washington in late September left many observers wondering what, if anything, the visit had accomplished. The apparent purpose of the trip was to seek greater security assurances for Ukraine from the United States and gauge the level of support in Washington for Ukraine's bid for a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP) in December. Few in Washington, however, believe that Ukraine will be granted a MAP in December, even with U.S. support, and that European opposition to Ukraine in NATO will prevail.
Yushchenko's meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush on September 29 revealed that Washington was slowly distancing itself from the Ukrainian president. Prior to the meeting with Yushchenko, Bush met with the President of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus and praised him lavishly: "I'm honored to welcome my friend, the President of Lithuania, here to the Oval. Welcome back, Mr. President. I've come to admire your courage, your straightforwardness, and the job you've done for your country." The photograph on the White House website showed the two men standing together with Adamkus holding Bush's elbow (www.whitehouse.gov, September 29).
The meeting with Yushchenko was depicted in far less intimate trappings with Bush limiting his remarks to praise for Ukraine's democratic turnaround. "I welcome you here to the Oval Office. I admire your steadfast support for democratic values and principles. A lot of Americans have watched with amazement how your country became a democracy. We strongly support your democracy. We look forward to working with you to strengthen that democracy." The photo on the White House website avoided any hints of closeness between the two presidents and showed them sitting in the Oval Office (www.whitehouse.gov, September 29).
In remarks made during the brief press conference afterward, Bush, who has been an active proponent of Ukrainian membership in NATO, acknowledged that they had discussed NATO but avoided any statement in support of Ukraine's ambitions to join the alliance.
Washington, according to sources in the administration, is experiencing fatigue with Yushchenko, but not with Ukraine per se, they stress. The president of Ukraine is widely perceived to be an inept leader, and Washington is hedging its bets on who will become the next president of Ukraine.
The perception of Yushchenko as an ineffective president was reinforced during his meeting with the United States-Ukraine Business Council on September 29. Speaking for nearly one hour, which left little time for questions, Yushchenko dwelt for some time on the political crisis in Kyiv, blamed the Ukrainian parliament of trying to destabilize the country, and accused the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc, the Party of the Regions, and the Communists of being in a "partnership with Moscow." He also described the Black Sea region as an "area of instability," a description that raised some consternation among the representatives of American companies who attended the meeting. One participant noted that this was not the way to encourage potential investors to do business in Ukraine.
In his welcoming remarks, President of the United States-Ukraine Business Council Morgan Williams stressed that for business to continue moving forward in Ukraine, "a stable political and governmental environment is needed. The government also needs to view business as a partner and friend and pass the many reforms needed to bring about a much stronger, pro-business environment in Ukraine." Apparently Yushchenko did not take these words to heart and proceeded to paint Ukraine as being less than stable.
Will "Yushchenko fatigue" spread to the EU? On October 6 the Ukrainian president is scheduled to visit the U.K., where he will meet with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary David Miliband and take part in a working lunch with European Bank for Reconstruction and Development President Thomas Mirow (UNIAN news agency, September 29). From there he will proceed to Italy for October 7 and 8.
How European leaders, who have been more reserved toward Yushchenko than Washington, will welcome him remains to be seen. Much hinges on the forthcoming trip of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to Moscow to discuss gas supplies for Ukraine in 2009 with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. It is doubtful, however, that the critical issue of the gas price for Ukraine will be decided, given that the Central Asian suppliers have yet to announce the price they will charge Gazprom for their gas.
If it is true, as some analysts in Kyiv believe, that Yushchenko set unrealistic goals for Tymoshenko in her negotiations with Moscow in order to discredit her afterward, the Europeans will be more spooked than usual about the possibility of another gas disruption in winter. Even the most remote possibility that Ukrainian internal political differences will affect European gas supplies could well condemn Yushchenko to becoming a political nonentity in the eyes of already skeptical Europeans.14.10.08. Holodomor is a genocide maintains developer of the concept of genocide
Reproduced below are excerpts from "Soviet Genocide in the Ukraine", the last chapter of a monumental History of Genocide, written in the 1950's by the Jewish-Polish scholar Raphael Lemkin.
Unfortunately, the monograph has not yet been published and the chapter on Ukraine is known only to a few Lemkin scholars. The whole chapter (12 double-spaced pages) on Ukraine will soon be published in the original English language in the USA and eventually in other languages, in other countries.
Lemkin's text deserves special attention by the Ukrainian community as it commemorates the 75th anniversary of the tragic events.
It should be noted that Lemkin, developed the concept and coined the term "genocide", applies it to the destruction of the Ukrainian nation and not just Ukrainian peasants.
Lemkin speaks of:
a) the decimation of the Ukrainian national elites,
b) destruction of the Orthodox Church,
c) the starvation of the Ukrainian farming population, and
d) its replacement with non-Ukrainian population from the RSFSR as integral components of the same genocidal process.
The only dimension that is missing in Lemkin's excellent analysis is the destruction of the 8,000,000 ethnic Ukrainians living on the eve of the genocide in the Russian Republic (RSFSR).
As Ukraine and the Ukrainian diaspora commemorates, in the coming months of October and November the 75th anniversary of the Genocide against the Ukrainians, it should be inspired by the all-encompassing approach to the analysis of the great Ukrainian catastrophe by the father of the concept of genocide and the man who did most to have it enshrined in the UN Convention of 1948.
Lemkin's perception of the Ukrainian genocide is a solid recommendation to the UN Assembly to finally recognize the Ukrainian tragedy for what it was a case of genocide, the destruction of a nation.
SOVIET GENOCIDE IN UKRAINE
What I want to speak about is perhaps the classic example of Soviet genocide, its longest and broadest experiment in Russification -- the destruction of the Ukrainian nation. [...]
[...] As long as Ukraine retains its national unity, as long as its people continue to think of themselves as Ukrainians and to seek independence, so long Ukraine poses a serious threat to the very heart of Sovietism. It is no wonder that the Communist leaders have attached the greatest importance to the Russification of this independent[-minded] member of their "Union of Republics," have determined to remake it to fit their pattern of one Russian nation. For the Ukrainian is not and has never been, a Russian. His culture, his temperament, his language, his religion -- all are different. [...]
Ukraine is highly susceptible to racial murder by select parts and so the Communist tactics there have not followed the pattern taken by the German attacks against the Jews. The nation is too populous to be exterminated completely with any efficiency. However, its leadership, religious, intellectual, political, its select and determining parts, are quite small and therefore easily eliminated, and so it is upon these groups particularly that the full force of the Soviet axe has fallen, with its familiar tools of mass murder, deportation and forced labor, exile and starvation.
The attack has manifested a systematic pattern, with the whole process repeated again and again to meet fresh outburst of national spirit. The first blow is aimed at the intelligentsia, the national brain, so as to paralyze the rest of the body. [...]
Going along with this attack on the intelligentsia was an offensive against the churches, priests and hierarchy, the "soul" of Ukraine. Between 1926 and 1932, the Ukrainian Orthodox Autocephalous Church, its Metropolitan (Lypkivsky) and 10,000 clergy were liquidated. [...]
The third prong of the Soviet plan was aimed at the farmers, the large mass of independent peasants who are the repository of the tradition, folk lore and music, the national language and literature, the national spirit, of Ukraine. The weapon used against this body is perhaps the most terrible of all -- starvation. Between 1932 and 1933, 5,000,000 Ukrainians starved to death, an inhumanity which the 73rd Congress decried on May 28, 1934. There has been an attempt to dismiss this highpoint of Soviet cruelty as an economic policy connected with the collectivization of the wheatlands, and the elimination of the kulaks, the independent farmers was therefore necessary. The fact is, however, that large-scale farmers in Ukraine were few and far-between. As a Soviet writer Kossior [error: Kosior was party boss of Ukraine -- R.S.] declared in Izvestiia on December 2, 1933, "Ukrainian nationalism is our chief danger," and it was to eliminate that nationalism, to establish the horrifying uniformity of the Soviet state that the Ukrainian peasantry was sacrificed. The method used in this part of the plan was not at all restricted to any particular group. All suffered -- men, women, children. The crop that year was ample to feed the people and livestock of Ukraine, though it had fallen off somewhat from the previous year, a decrease probably due in large measure to the struggle over collectivization. But a famine was necessary for the Soviet[s] and so they got one to order, by plan, through an unusually high grain allotment to the state as taxes. To add to this, thousands of acres of wheat were never harvested, were left to rot in the fields. The rest was sent to government granaries to be stored there until the authorities had decided how to allocate it. Much of this crop, so vital to the lives of the Ukrainian people, ended up as exports for the creation of credits abroad.
In the face of famine on the farms, thousands abandoned the rural areas and moved into the towns to beg [for] food. Caught there and sent back to the country, they abandoned their children in the hope that they at least might survive. In this way, 18,000 children were abandoned in Kharkiv alone. Villages of a thousand had a surviving population of a hundred; in others, half the populace was gone, and deaths in these towns ranged from 20 to 30 per day. Cannibalism became commonplace.
The fourth step in the process consisted in the fragmentation of the Ukrainian people at once by the addition to the Ukraine of foreign peoples and by the dispersion of the Ukrainians throughout Eastern Europe. In this way, ethnic unity would be destroyed and nationalities mixed. [...]
These have been the chief steps in the systematic destruction of the Ukrainian nation. Notably, there have been no attempts at complete annihilation, such as was the method of the German attack on the Jews. And yet, if the Soviet program succeeds completely, if the intelligentsia, the priests and the peasants can be eliminated, Ukraine will be as dead as if every Ukrainian were killed, for it will have lost that part of it which has kept and developed its culture, its beliefs, its common ideas, which have guided it and given it a soul, which, in short, made it a nation rather than a mass of people.
The mass, indiscriminate murders have not, however, been lacking -- they have simply not been integral parts of the plan, but only chance variations. Thousands have been executed, untold thousands have disappeared into the certain death of Siberian labor camps.
[...] This is not simply a case of mass murder. It is a case of genocide, of destruction, not of individuals only, but of a culture and a nation. [...] Soviet national unity is being created, not by any union of ideas and of cultures, but by the complete destruction of all cultures and of all ideas save one -- the Soviet.
14.10.08. Ukraine-Russia tensions rise in Crimea
Los Angeles Times
September 28, 2008
By Megan Stack
The public relations tour came just as the strategically crucial Russian base here finds itself at the epicenter of an escalating political clash.
[...] The Ukrainian president has called the surrounding Crimean Peninsula -- historically a part of Russia and still home to a majority Russian population -- the most dangerous spot in the country because of separatist sentiment.
Russia has responded with icy vows to beef up its military forces in the Black Sea, eagerly showing off to reporters the firepower aboard vessels that were used to blockade Georgia -- and to remind the world of the deep Russian roots in this restive Ukrainian region.
[...] Tensions have been climbing in this sleepy port since the fighting in Georgia brought into sharp focus two clashing interests: Russia's determination to take on a greater role in the former Soviet states, and the Ukrainian government's determination to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The war in Georgia pitted a Western-friendly government against Moscow; meanwhile, Ukraine is painfully divided in loyalties to the West and Russia.
Crimea is Russian-friendly turf. Former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave the peninsula to Ukraine back when the shared flag made the distinction between the two countries relatively unimportant.
Many residents of Crimea say they are Russian first, Ukrainian second. They vehemently oppose Ukraine's bid to join NATO, bristle over anti-Moscow rhetoric from national leaders and say they are embittered by government efforts to infuse Crimea with Ukrainian language and culture.
[...] "All the anti-Ukrainian, pro-Russia blocs are closely tied to the Black Sea Fleet," said Miroslav Mamchak, the snowy-haired chief of a group called the Ukrainian Community of Sevastopol. "They struggle against the Ukrainian language. They support the separatists."
Mamchak is a rare voice of Ukrainian nationalism here. He says that he has received death threats, and that Russian loyalists plastered the town with his picture under the slogan, "I'm a traitor to Russia."
Black Sea Fleet officials deny any political tampering. But many Ukrainians worry that Moscow is stealthily working to stir up separatist sentiment. There have been reports that Russia has quietly begun to grant passports to some residents; Russian officials say it's not true.
Powerful Moscow Mayor Yuri M. Luzhkov, who has been banned from Ukraine for his rhetoric on Crimea, has said the region "doesn't belong" to Ukraine.
[...] Many people here complain about the mandatory teaching of the Ukrainian language in schools and its use in the media and for government paperwork. Pro-Russia leaders also accuse the Ukrainian government of slowly moving people into the region from other parts of the country and installing pro-Kyiv leaders in the city government.
Despite the fleet's warm ties with the locals, politicians in Kyiv have made it plain that the Russian navy could be asked to leave after its lease expires in 2017.
[...] "Nothing prevents us from building up our forces here in Ukrainian territory," said Rear Adm. Andrei Baranov, the fleet's deputy chief of staff. "The fleet will be renovated. . . . New ships will be arriving here."
On the grounds of St. Nicholas the Sanctifier Church, the bones of an estimated 60,000 Russian fighters, casualties of the Crimean War in the 19th century and World War II, lie in a vast, quiet cemetery that rolls downhill toward the sea. On the steps of the sanctuary, priests spoke of their emotional ties to generations of sailors and of their unwillingness to hoist a Ukrainian flag.
In a scene that seemed cut from tsarist times, Russian navy officials and Orthodox priests sat at a long table, knocking back shots of vodka and proclaiming emotional toasts.
"The West shuddered 150 years ago when Russia showed its sword, and the Black Sea turned red with blood," said Igor Bebin, a pink-robed priest who rose to his feet, vodka glass held high.
"That was the supreme truth. And the truth is that now, for the first time, the sword of Russia is shining again. Be afraid of the sword."
The Russians cheered, and took a deep drink.
18.10.08. Domstolene inddraget i spil om valgdato
Domstolene i Ukraine er trukket ind i et slagsmål om datoen for parlamentsvalget. Kort tid efter, at præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko havde udskrevet nyvalg til afholdelse den 7. december, appellerede Julia Tymoshenkos Blok præsident Jusjtjenkos dekret om nyvalg og fik den 11. oktober medhold ved Den administrative kredsdomstol i Kiev. Tre dage senere nedlagde præsident Jusjtjenko kredsdomstolen og erstattede den med to domstole: Den centrale kredsdomstol og kredsdomstolen på venstre bred. Den 17. oktober besluttede Den centrale kredsdomstol at genetablere gyldigheden af præsidentens dekret om afholdelsen af nyvalg den 7. december.
Efter Den administrative kredsdomstol i Kiev havde stoppet præsidentens dekret, blev der på præsidentens initiativ endvidere indledt en efterforskning af den dommer, der stod bag afgørelsen. Denne efterforskning blev i første omgang bragt til ophør af distriktsretten i Kievs Petjersk-distrikt, som er den civilretlige instans i det centrale distrikt i hovedstaden, hvor præsidentens administration blandt andet er beliggende. Præsidentens modtræk kom prompte, da han den 16. oktober fyrede retspræsidenten for distriktsretten og erstattede hende med en mere loyal dommer. Men dagen efter besluttede Det øverste Dommerkollegium at annullere præsidentens beslutning og genindsætte retspræsidenten i hendes embede. Julia Tymoshenkos Blok havde appelleret denne beslutning til den administrative kredsdomstol i Kiev, men blev afvist af præsidentens administration, fordi præsidenten med sit dekret havde nedlagt den pågældende domstol. Nu kom altså Det øverste Dommerkollegium deres kollega til undsætning og undsagde præsidenten.
Slagsmålet mellem præsident Jusjtjenko og de formelt set uafhængige domstole fortsætter.
21.10.08. Jusjtjenko har fastsat en ny valgdato
Ukraines præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko har genindkaldt det opløste parlament og udsat valget til den 14. december. For 14 dage siden opløste Jusjtjenko ellers parlamentet og udskrev nyvalg til den 7. december, men han har siden måttet erkende, at hverken partierne eller den centrale valgkommission var i stand til at opfylde de frister, der kræves overholdt for at valget kan blive afholdt den 7. december. Jusjtjenko opfordrer nu de politiske partier til at vedtage de love, der er nødvendige for at der i finansloven kan afsættes det fornødne beløb til parlamentsvalgets afholdelse den 14. december. De politiske intriger fortsætter, og det vil ikke overraske nogen, hvis valget bliver udsat yderligere.
MOSCOW -- Aid for Ukraine's staggering economy may be endangered by the country's continuing political instability.
Like Iceland and Hungary, Ukraine is seeking aid from the International Monetary Fund to counter the global financial crisis. But Ukraine, its economy reeling from falling steel prices, is also struggling with political problems.
The infighting threatens an emergency loan from the monetary fund. The fund is seeking assurances from the cabinet that next year's budget will be balanced, but President Viktor A. Yushchenko issued a decree this month dissolving Parliament and, with it, the cabinet.
That decree, which would lead to elections on Dec. 7, is being contested by the president's opponents in Parliament. So until the decree's validity is decided in the courts, it is unclear whether the current cabinet holds power. The prime minister, Yulia V. Tymoshenko, says it does, while the president's office says it does not.
In the interim, a delegation from the monetary fund has been meeting with representatives of the prime minister and the president. The fund is offering a loan of as much as $15 billion to shore up the country's finances as foreign investors flee.
Ms. Tymoshenko, who met with the delegation on Friday, expressed support for the loan. But if the president's order to dissolve Parliament is upheld, she said, the cabinet will lack the authority to negotiate with the fund.
In that case, negotiations will be delayed until a new Parliament is formed after the elections. After previous elections, coalition-building in Ukraine has taken months.
"Alarm bells aren't ringing yet," Sergei Teriokhin, a former minister of the economy and member of Parliament in Ms. Tymoshenko's bloc, said in a telephone interview. But if the contested status of the cabinet is not resolved, he said, the monetary fund will not know whom to meet with. "It is necessary that somebody in the country make guarantees on the budget policy of next year."
Mr. Yushchenko and Ms. Tymoshenko have alternately collaborated and competed since they rallied crowds together on Independence Square in Kiev during the protests known as the Orange Revolution in 2004. Most recently, his Our Ukraine bloc was in a coalition with Ms. Tymoshenko's, an arrangement that gave her the prime minister's post. But the two split after the Russian invasion of Georgia in August. Mr. Yushchenko accused Ms. Tymoshenko of muting her criticism of the Russian military action to please the Kremlin.
The political turmoil has coincided with a steep economic decline. On Friday, the international agency Fitch Ratings downgraded Ukraine's sovereign debt rating and issued a negative outlook for the country. A Ukrainian shipping company, Industrial Carriers, has gone bankrupt. The government has frozen rail tariffs for steel companies, and as foreign investment dries up, speculators are betting on a decline in the national currency.
In response, Ukraine plans to nationalize some commercial banks, which have liquidity problems, a member of Parliament told the monetary fund's delegation on Friday.
Hungary, which has struggled to cope with the effects of the financial crisis, also received a vote of no confidence on Friday when Fitch cut its rating to negative from stable. Hungary's large debt, much of it in foreign currencies, has made the country particularly vulnerable to the current external shocks.
The government scaled back its growth estimates for 2009 to just 1.2 percent from 3 percent. Hungary has lined up support from the European Central Bank and the monetary fund in an effort to reassure credit and currency markets.
Nicholas Kulish contributed reporting from Budapest.
24.10.08. Yushchenko's big mistake
Ukraine could have easily avoided a second pre-term election in two years. Zerkalo Nedeli's editor Yulia Mostovaya recently explained the reason why the president was so insistent on an election rather than a new coalition: "It is the only sure way to get rid of Yulia Tymoshenko as prime minister. Frankly speaking, that is what all the fuss is really about."
For the president, removing his former Orange Revolution ally from office is more important than responding to the global economic and financial tsunami that will hit Ukraine. It is more important than NATO membership (for which political stability is paramount). Last, but not least, the objective ignores Tymoshenko's popularity (which is six times that of the president's) and the lack of public support for a third election in three years.
The conflict between Tymoshenko and Victor Yushchenko is not ideological. It has nothing to do with different attitudes to the Georgian crisis and is not because of her alleged "treason." Yushchenko has, of late, frothed at the mouth in his dislike for her and, in the process, has dragged Ukraine's image to a low level. The president's attacks on Tymoshenko inside and especially outside Ukraine have, in Mostovaya's eyes, "not spared our self esteem, dignity and international reputation."
A larger Orange coalition could have easily been established during the 30-day deadline permitted by the Constitution. It would have had 248 deputies and therefore possessed a stable majority. All deputies in the Tymoshenko and Volodymyr Lytvyn blocs had signed up to the larger coalition, as had 34 out of 72 Our Ukraine-Peoples Self Defense (OU-PSD) deputies. The remaining OU-PSD 38 deputies had been cajoled, bribed or both to stay away. Only 39 (out of 72) deputies had initially voted for OU-PSD to withdraw from the Orange coalition on Sept. 3, a slim majority of two obtained after intense lobbying and threats.
The president and his secretariat blocked the formation of the enlarged Orange coalition. They controlled up to 50 percent of OU-PSD deputies. Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, head of the faction and leader of one of its nine parties, the pro-presidential Peoples Union-Our Ukraine, became a willing stooge of the president's strategy.
The day before the president disbanded parliament, he met with the OU-PSD faction. Instead of initiating a dialogue in an attempt to save the Orange coalition at all costs, the president, according to those present, gave a 20-minute monologue on how a coalition with the Tymoshenko bloc was impossible. He then got up and left the room.
Yushchenko refused to permit a vote to be held, as some deputies called for, to see where majority sentiment lay. Yushchenko insulted those deputies who supported a new Orange coalition as being without "parents and ancestors."
Under the 2006 Constitution, the only manner in which Tymoshenko can be removed is by the creation of a new coalition. The previous 1996-2005 Constitution gave the president the right to dismiss the government, which he used in September 2005, when he removed Tymoshenko. This is a step that divided the Orange forces for the next 18 months.
Yushchenko could also have supported an alternative coalition, rather than pre-term elections, but that would have forced an untenable alliance with the Party of Regions.
What then is the president's strategy?
Incredibly, he has been convinced that five pro-Yushchenko forces (Peoples Union-Our Ukraine, Viktor Baloha's United Center, Kyiv Mayor Leonid Chernovetskiy's bloc, and the new Arseniy Yatseniuk and Raisa Bohatyriova parties) will succeed in obtaining 5 percent each, thereby together obtaining a similar result to Our Ukraine in 2002, when it won 24 percent. Yushchenko has agreed to include his name on the Peoples Union-Our Ukraine bloc, hoping to repeat his 2002 victory when Our Ukraine came first.
This strategy assumes that a sizeable number of pro-Yushchenko deputies will want to establish a grand coalition with the Party of Regions. Yushchenko will demand that the grand coalition support his technocratic candidate for prime minister, Defense Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov or parliamentary speaker Yatsenyuk, and Yushchenko's candidacy in the January 2010 presidential elections.
There are two paradoxes. Firstly, Yushchenko has pushed for pre-term elections "so long and hard, he is the least of all prepared for it," Mostovaya believes. Pro-presidential forces are a motley crew. Secondly, the strategy's assumption that five political forces would each win 5 percent is whistling in the wind. Two of the five are not even created. The strategy of entering a grand coalition relies on double standards, treats Ukrainians as idiots and is full of contradictions. In aligning with the Regions, Yushchenko's re-election bid would destroy his support in western and central Ukraine. Also, it assumes that the Regions can cajole its voters to back Yushchenko, somebody they have always detested.
Thirdly, the strategy assumes pro-presidential political forces will retain their 2006 and 2007 result of 14 percent or improve them to 25 percent in a pre-term election.
Fourthly, it assumes that all pro-presidential forces will support a grand coalition. Kyrylenko, who heads the party of which the president is honorary chairman, repeatedly stated that his political force would never join a coalition with the Regions. Meanwhile, Yushchenko supports such a coalition.
Fifthly, the strategy fails to take into account that the only two political forces that are likely to improve their support are the Tymoshenko bloc and the Party of Regions, that could then establish their own coalitions and marginalize the president. The most dangerous threat could come from the Party of Regions joining the Lytvyn bloc and the Communists to create another "anti-crisis" coalition with Yanukovych as prime minister. In the disbanded parliament, these three forces are only four deputies short of a coalition (222), a handicap that could be easily overcome if any of the three improve their performance in pre-term elections.
The president's strategy will undermine Ukraine's ability to weather the global economic and financial crisis, and derail Ukraine's path to NATO. It will fail and backfire. The president's preference for elections over compromise will finish any ambitions that Yushchenko has for a second term.
Tymoshenko was the key to Yushchenko's victory in the Orange Revolution. It is now too late for him to reach this conclusion, one that most in Ukraine have long understood.
Complete article: http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/op_ed/30374
October 23, 2008
On October 23, 2008 the European Parliament has recognised the Ukrainian famine of 1930s as crime against humanity.
In a resolution on the commemoration of the Holodomor, the artificial famine in Ukraine in 1932-1933, MEPs describe it as "an appalling crime against the Ukrainian people, and against humanity".
According to the resolution, the Holodomor famine of 1932-1933, which caused the deaths of millions of Ukrainians, "was cynically and cruelly planned by Stalin`s regime in order to force through the Soviet Union`s policy of collectivisation of agriculture against the will of the rural population in Ukraine".
MEPs believe that "recalling crimes against humanity in European history should help to prevent similar crimes in the future" and they stress that "European integration has been based on a readiness to come to terms with the 20th century`s tragic history and that this reconciliation with a difficult history does not denote any sense of collective guilt, but forms a stable basis for the construction of a common European future founded on common values".
The resolution therefore makes a "declaration to the people of Ukraine and in particular to the remaining survivors of the Holodomor and the families and relatives of the victims".
It "recognises the Holodomor (the artificial famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine) as an appalling crime against the Ukrainian people, and against humanity".
The text then "strongly condemns these acts, directed against the Ukrainian peasantry, and marked by mass annihilation and violations of human rights and freedoms".
It also "expresses its sympathy with the Ukrainian people, which suffered this tragedy, and pays its respects to those who died as a consequence of the artificial famine of 1932-1933".
Lastly, the resolution "calls on the countries which emerged following the break-up of the Soviet Union to open up their archives on the Holodomor in Ukraine of 1932-1933 to comprehensive scrutiny so that all the causes and consequences can be revealed and fully investigated".24.10.08. Ukrainian civil-military relations come under strain
October 21, 2008
Like the political crisis in the spring of 2007, the crisis unfolding
since September has placed great strains on law enforcement agencies (see EDM, June 1, 2007). On April 2, 2007, and now again on October 8, the president disbanded parliament.
In the spring of 2007 the Interior Ministry was controlled by the Viktor Yanukovych government and Anti-Crisis coalition. Interior Minister (MVS) and Socialist Vasyl Tsushko authorized the intervention of the MVS special forces (the Berkut) to defend the prosecutor removed by the president, and they clashed physically with the presidential guard (Directorate on State Protection [UDO]).
Under the Yulia Tymoshenko government, the MVS is controlled by Yuriy Lutsenko who, although he headed the pro-presidential Our Ukraine-Peoples Self Defense (OU-PSD) bloc in the September 2007 pre-term elections, has broken ranks with President Viktor Yushchenko and aligned himself with Tymoshenko. Lutsenko has called on "democratic forces" to rally round Tymoshenko in the December 7 pre-term elections.
Conflict between the MVS and the president in the current crisis pits one wing of the disintegrated orange coalition against the other. MVS special forces (Berkut, Tytan, and Grifon) have been dispatched to guard state institutions. In 2007 and today the president has drawn on two law enforcement units he directly controls: the Security Service (SBU) and UDO, which guards senior officials and is analogous to the U.S. Secret Service. UDO was part of the KGB in the USSR but was separated in 1992 when the SBU was established.
The SBU's anti-terrorist unit Alpha and UDO were ordered by Yushchenko to guard the Constitutional Court, other courts, and Central Election Commission (CVK). The courts and CVK are at the center of a battle of will between Tymoshenko and Yushchenko on the legitimacy of pre-term elections. Yulia Tymoshenko bloc (BYuT) deputies have condemned Alpha and UDO for blocking their entrance into the CVK.
MVS Minister Lutsenko protested that Ukrainian legislation only permitted the MVS to guard courts, not the UDO. The UDO's stationing at the administrative court is an infringement of the law and "in actual fact a provocation," Lutsenko stated (www.pravda.com.ua, October 15).
"The MVS, responsible for security and order on territories belonging to courts, today finds itself in a difficult situation, when the head of state using other force structures attempts to apply pressure on courts reviewing the legality of presidential decrees on the dissolution of parliament," Lutsenko publicly complained. The situation is "unprecedented and shameful for Ukraine," he added (www.pravda.com.ua, October 14). Alpha and UDO units were stationed at the courts and the CVK illegally and without any coordination with the MVS, Lutsenko said.
Other security forces could be dragged in, as they were in the spring of 2007, when the president unilaterally issued a decree placing MVS Internal Troops under his command and bringing its commander into the National Security and Defense Council.
The president's misuse of law enforcement agencies, especially the MVS Internal Troops, has turned a majority of parliamentarians away from his proposals for security reform. His proposed Draft law 1317 outlining a reestablishment of a National Guard based on MVS Internal Troops was overwhelmingly rejected by parliament (www.rada.gov.ua, January 11).
Anatoliy Hrytsenko, head of the parliamentary committee on national security and defense, led the way in opposing the creation of a National Guard. Hrytsenko had been a loyal pro-Yushchenko Defense Minister and committed to military reforms and cleaning out the armed forces until his replacement in December 2007.
Hrytsenko, a member of the pro-presidential OU-PSD, was backed by the BYuT and the opposition in his opposition to the creation of a National Guard under the sole control of the president. Ukraine had a National Guard from 1991 to 1999 that was established on the basis of Soviet Internal Troops, and during its nine year history it was under dual presidential-parliamentary control.
President Leonid Kuchma abolished the National Guard because he did not fully control it, as Yushchenko hoped to do in bill 1317. Abolishing the National Guard in 1999 meant that its units returned to the MVS.
Under the 1996 presidential constitution the MVS came under the control of the president who controlled the government. Under the 2006 parliamentary constitution the MVS comes under the control of parliament through its control of the government.
Yushchenko argued logically that all militarized groups (as opposed to police units) should be under the Commander-in-Chief, but it is ironic that not even orange political forces trusted Yushchenko enough to support the draft National Guard bill that would have put MVS Internal Troops in a National Guard under the presidents control.
MVS Internal Troops have twice moved on Kyiv but were turned back on both occasions. On November 28, 2004, they were sent to suppress the Orange Revolution; and in June 2007 MVS Internal Troop units moved to support the president. MVS Internal Troops have been brought into Kyiv during the current crisis to support UDO units, MVS Minister Lutsenko complained.
Discontent with Yushchenko's misuse of law enforcement agencies also explains support within parliament for the transfer of the SBU from presidential (as in the 1996 and 2006 constitutions) to joint parliamentary-government control. This was the substance of bill 3086 on the SBU adopted on September 2 with the support of all factions of parliament except the pro-presidential wing of the OU-PSD.
The SBU has been described by the Tymoshenko bloc as an instrument used for political purposes by the president to deal with his opponents (www.byut.com.ua, October 15). This view gained ground in August when the SBU requested the prosecutor's office to open a criminal investigation into Tymoshenko's alleged "treason," which it refused to do, arguing that there was insufficient evidence in the 350-page document compiled by the presidential secretariat. The SBU was also tasked with investigating her involvement in a bizarre assassination plot against presidential secretariat head Viktor Baloga. The SBU opened an investigation into corruption among BYuT deputies in late 2007 and this month accused them of laundering money through, and conspiring to bring down, Prominvestbank.
Dragging law enforcement forces into political battles, be it by Yanukovych in 2007 or Tymoshenko today, does not bode well for improved civil-military relations in Ukraine.29.10.08. Parlamentet og præsidenten samarbejder om finanskrisen
Ukraines parlament har i forbindelse med 1. behandlingen onsdag den 29. oktober vedtaget præsidentens krisepakke, som indeholder såvel regeringens som de øvrige partiers forslag til, hvordan man kommer ud af den finansielle krise, som har ramt Ukraine og blandt andet har medført, at den ukrainske valutas værdi er faldet med 1/3.
248 deputerede stemte for lovforslaget, herunder 156 medlemmer af Julia Tymoshenkos Blok, 72 medlemmer af Vores Ukraine, 18 medlemmer af Lytvyns blok og 2 medlemmer af Regionernes parti.
Forslaget skal til 2. behandling i morgen, torsdag, den 30. oktober.
Lovforslaget går blandt ud på oprettelsen af en stabiliseringsfond ved hjælp af de 16,5 mia. dollars, som IMF har stillet Ukraine i udsigt, en forøgelse af borgernes opsparingsgarantifond, tiltag, som skal støtte banksektoren og landbruget, samt en fastfrysning af stigningen i overførselsindkomsterne i 2 år, bortset fra den automatiske kompensation af prisstigninger.
Regionernes Parti og Julia Tymoshenkos Blok i Ukraines parlament er i gang med et slagsmål om kontrollen med den stabiliseringsfond på 40 milliarder UAH (ca. 6,5 mia. dollars), som er en del af den krisepakke, som parlamentet er ved at 2. behandle, og som er en betingelse for, at Den internationale Valutafond vil yde Ukraine et lån på 16,5 mia. dollars.
Under 2. behandlingen af antikrisepakken foreslog parlamentets skatte- og afgiftsudvalg, som ledes af BJuT-medlemmet Serhij Terjokhin, at man støttede regeringens ændringsforslag, ifølge hvilket det er regeringen, der skal bestemme, hvad fondens midler skal bruges til.
Regionernes Parti krævede imidlertid, at kontrollen med stabiliseringsfonden fortsat skulle ligge hos parlamentets udvalg. Hverken regeringens eller Regionernes Partis ændringsforslag til krisepakken blev vedtaget.
Herefter foreslog parlamentsformand Arsenij Jatsenjuk, at man gik tilbage til regeringens 2. ændringsforslag og stemte om den samtidig med en afstemning om ændringsforslaget fra Regionernes Serhij Kljujev, som ville bevare parlamentets kontrol med stabiliseringsfonden.
Det kom til en skarp ordveksling mellem parlamentsformanden og udvalgsformand Serhij Terjokhin.
Ifølge lederen af kommunistpartiets fraktion, Petro Symonenko, er der reelt tale om, at de to største finanspolitiske grupperinger (BJuT og Regionernes Parti) kæmper for at få kontrollen med stabiliseringsfondens mange penge overført til en af deres respektive banker. UP.31.10.08. Parlamentet har vedtaget krisepakke
Ukraines parlament vedtog præsidentens krisepakke i den 2. og afsluttende behandling fredag den 31. oktober. Pakken indeholder såvel regeringens som de øvrige partiers forslag til, hvordan man kommer ud af den finansielle krise, som har ramt Ukraine og blandt andet har medført, at den ukrainske valutas værdi er faldet med 1/3. Dermed er der banet vej for, at Den internationale valutafond kan yde Ukraine et lån på 16,5 mia. dollars til stabiliseringen af landets finanssektor.
243 deputerede stemte for lovforslaget, herunder 154 medlemmer af Julia Tymoshenkos Blok, 69 medlemmer af Vores Ukraine og 20 medlemmer af Lytvyns blok.
Lovforslaget går blandt ud på oprettelsen af en stabiliseringsfond bl.a. ved hjælp af de 16,5 mia. dollars, som IMF har stillet Ukraine i udsigt, en forøgelse af borgernes opsparingsgarantifond, tiltag, som skal støtte banksektoren og landbruget, samt en fastfrysning af stigningen i overførselsindkomsterne i 2 år, bortset fra den automatiske kompensation af prisstigninger.
Derimod mangler parlamentet stadig at få vedtaget den tillægsbevilling til finansloven, som præsidenten har anmodet om for at finansiere det nyvalg til parlamentet, som præsidenten foreløbig har dekreteret til afholdelse den 14. december. I næste uge skal parlamentsmedlemmerne arbejde ude i valgkredsene, og derfor forventes tillægsbevillingen tidligst vedtaget den 10. november.
Præsident Jusjtjenko beskylder en række parlamentsmedlemmer for at holde hånden over kriminelle bander, som står for indsmugling af illegale varepartier til Ukraine. På et møde i Det nationale sikkerheds- og forsvarsråd den 31. oktober sagde Jusjtjenko, at visse folkevalgte medlemmer af landets lovgivende forsamling er medlemmer af navngivne bander. Præsidenten ville ikke afsløre navnene på de personer, der er tale om, fordi der endnu ikke er rejst sigtelse mod dem endsige domfældelse, men han anmodede den øverste anklagemyndighed og sikkerhedstjenesten om at sikre, at de mistænke bliver retsforfulgt . Den fungerende leder af Ukraines sikkerhedstjeneste SBU, V. Nalyvajtjenko, bekræftede præsidentens oplysninger og tilføjede, at de omtalte parlamentsmedlemmer er medlemmer af parlamentets udvalg til bekæmpelse af den organiserede økonomiske kriminalitet og korruption. Parlamentets vice-formand, Mykola Tomenko fra BJuT udtaler, at parlamentet nok vil kunne samle et flertal for at ophæve de pågældendes immunitet, såfremt anklagerne fremkommer med den fornødne dokumentation. 5. kanal.
By Ron Popeski
KIEV, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko abandoned plans on Wednesday to hold an early parliamentary election this year and said officials should focus on coping with the effects of the global financial crisis.
Data showing industrial output plunged 19.8 percent year on year in October raised the prospect of a recession just one week after the International Monetary Fund finalised a $16.5 billion loan to bolster the country's financial and banking systems.
[ ... ] Politics remained in an uproar.
Yushchenko acknowledged that the election he called for December after the collapse of an "orange" governing coalition would not now take place.
Parliament dismissed its chairman, a longstanding ally of the president, all but paralysing the chamber.
[ ... ] The speaker's departure deals a blow to both the president and the premier. It further weakens any remaining influence pro-Western "orange" politicians have on key institutions and leaves parliament unable to work until a successor is elected.
Most analysts' attention was focused on the dramatic industrial output figures. The sharpest falls were recorded in coke production and oil refining at 43.9 percent, and metal output, down 35.6 percent.
Redundancies have already been announced in key industries and large sections of steel mills and other plants stand idle as world demand sinks.
Zsolt Papp, chief economist at KBC Investment, said the figures suggested Ukrainian officials were still not fully aware of the severity of the crisis.
"If this (output) number becomes the established trend, then questions will arise whether the $16.5 billion package will be actually enough," he said. "The data put the whole Ukrainian situation in a completely different light."
Goldman Sachs deplored the drop as "shocking" and said it was one the first pieces of hard evidence of a global slowdown in October.
"It immediately casts doubt on the assumptions underlying the
recently agreed IMF programme of 6.0 percent growth in 2008 and
minus 3.0 percent in 2009," it said in a note.
Complete article: http://www.forexyard.com/reuters/popup_reuters.php?action=2008-11-12T145932Z_01_LC298797_RTRIDST_0_UKRAINE-WRAPUP-1-TV-PIX
Ukraine has secured a big loan from the IMF in order to stabilize its finances amid the global crisis. To qualify for the loan, parties in parliament agreed to set aside their differences and pass stabilization laws proposed by President Viktor Yushchenko. Thanks to this, Ukraine managed to stabilize its currency, the hryvnya (UAH). The government also persuaded the owners of two problem banks, Prominvestbank and Nadra, to sell them. Both may fall under Russian control.
[ ... ] Prominvestbank's stabilization was one of the IMF's conditions, and the government promptly moved to rescue the bank. Yushchenko instructed the NBU and Tymoshenko to change its ownership or to nationalize it. Tymoshenko was apparently in favor of nationalization, but the NBU found the buyers. Slav AG, an Austrian-registered company controlled by the Klyuyev brothers, parliamentary deputies from the pro-Russian Party of Regions, acquired 68 percent of Prominvestbank shares from the Matvienko family for an undisclosed sum. The Klyuyevs pledged to invest UAH4.5 billion ($770 million) in the bank. They will also have to pay back a UAH5-billion ($862 million) stabilization loan that the NBU issued to Prominvestbank in early October (Kommersant-Ukraine, November 12).
The Klyuyevs do not have that much money so they will have to take out loans to recapitalize Prominvestbank. One of the brothers, Serhy Klyuyev, denied the rumors that the bank had been bought for a third party. He said several banks were ready to help Prominvestbank with loans (Delo, November 12). Ekonomicheskie Izvestia, a Kyiv-based business weekly, however, reported on November 12 that the Klyuyevs would re-sell Prominvestbank to Russiaâ's Sberbank.
Apart from the Klyuyevs, several Russian banks and Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash were interested in Prominvestbank (Kommersant-Ukraine, November 12). Firtash eventually managed to buy another ailing financial institution, Nadra, which is Ukraine's seventh largest bank, reportedly for $200 million. Nadra faced difficulties in repaying $230 million in foreign debts, and the NBU persuaded its owners to sell the bank (Kommersant-Ukraine, November 10). Firtash is linked to Russia's Gazprom. RosUkrEnergo, a joint venture set up by Gazprom and Firtash, was the monopoly supplier of Russian gas to Ukraine until recently.
e-POSHTA November 12, 2008 / 12 lystopada 2008
November 3, 2008
In a television debate on 2 November on Channel 5 Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko called for a second time in two weeks for the President to support the renewal of a broader orange coalition of the Tymoshenko bloc (BYuT), Our Ukraine-Peoples Self Defence (OU-PSD) and the Volodymyr Lytvyn bloc that would have a comfortable majority of 248 deputies. If a coalition was created pre-term elections, planned for 14 December but likely to be postponed until late January or February, would become unnecessary. Tymoshenko believes that, "if there is good will on the part of the President a coalition can be created tomorrow".
The former orange coalition has voted together in support of the Presidents Anti-Crisis package and the IMF loan in the last week of November. The Party of Regions and Communist Party did not vote for these two issues. But, the former orange coalition remains divided over voting for the provision of financial resources for pre-term elections which has only received backing from the Party of Regions and the pro-presidential half of OU-PSD giving it insufficient votes to be adopted.
On the basis of the vote by the former orange coalition Tymoshenko expressed guarded optimism that the orange coalition could be revived. The Prime Minister said, "On the basis of those factions who voted this is a good signal that the democratic coalition can be revived and parliament can function a lot more effectively than it could in the previous few months". In a television on 19 October the Prime Minister said it would be 'reckless' to hold pre-term elections during a global crisis. She suggested instead that a government of national unity be formed while the crisis remained a threat. "Such a coalition should act until such time as the threat of financial and economic collapse is removed from our country and the world at large. After that, you can have any elections you like".
In the Channel 5 debate on 2 November, Tymoshenko said that she would be willing to, "fulfill all of the demands made by the President. I am ready to sit at a table for negotiations". Asked if Tymoshenko would be willing to give up any presidential ambitions she replied, "All serious proposals put forward by the President will be taken on board, accepted so that we can move ahead". Tymoshenko believes that a new coalition is being blocked by the half of OU-PSD controlled by the President. A parliamentary faction needs a simple majority vote to join a coalition which in the case of OU-PSD would require 37 (out of 72) deputies. Approximately 30 deputies reportedly support Tymoshenko's call for a new coalition.
Tymoshenko's and Yushchenko's strategies are both baffling, but for different reasons. Opinion polls and Ukraine's history show that Tymoshenko could resign herself to Yushchenko's demand for pre-term elections that would most likely push her replacing the position of Prime Minister with head of the opposition. Ukraine's history shows that head of the opposition does not ruin your electoral odds. In the 1994 and 2004 elections the head of the opposition (Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko respectively) succeeded in winning the presidency. BYuT, then in opposition, also increased their support in the 2006 elections to 23 percent more than three times more than BYuT received in 2002. Most political leaders would prefer to be in opposition, rather than heading a government, during a severe crisis that require unpopular policies that could negatively affect their popularity. Every opinion poll has also shown that BYuT is likely to again increase its position in parliament in pre-term elections. Polls show that with support increasing to maybe 35 percent, BYuT could have the same number or a larger number of seats than the Party of Regions. Tymoshenko therefore - unlike the President - has nothing to fear from pre-term elections.
Tymoshenko's implied offer to not run in the presidential elections is also baffling because it will open the door to a victory by Viktor Yanukovych. Only Tymoshenko can defeat Yanukovych in a second round presidential contest. Poll show that Yushchenko would lose to Yanukovych. Two polls in October gave Yanukovych and Tymoshenko roughly equal support in a second round of between 31-33 percent in one poll and 37-39 in another. In a second round contest between Yanukovych and Yushcenko, Yanukovych would win by 44 to 15 percent or 36 to 13 percent.
In addition, 72 percent of Ukrainians believe that Yushcenko should not stand in the presidential elections. Meanwhile, a striking 82 percent have no confidence in the President.
Postponing or canceling pre-term elections would save the orange coalition. Going for pre-term elections would permanently destroy any unity in orange forces. Tymoshenko's and Yushchenko's strategies are different but only one seeks to preserve unity forged during the orange revolution.Eurasia Daily Monitor -- Volume 5, Issue 215
By Taras Kuzio
The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) is targeting the president's former Orange ally, the Yulia Tymoshenko bloc (BYuT), as part of a strategy to undermine Tymoshenko's popularity ahead of the January 2010 presidential elections. The campaign uses methods similar to those used by former President Leonid Kuchma.
The concerted campaign aims at smearing the BYuT, Tymoshenko, and pro-Tymoshenko defectors from the erstwhile supporters of the president Our Ukraine-Peoples Self Defense (OU-PSD) with accusations of “corruption” and other abuses of office. The biased nature of the campaign is similar to those in the Kuchma era insofar as the campaign ignores loyal political forces (pro-regime centrist parties and oligarchs under Kuchma and the pro-Yushchenko wing of OU-PSD) and potential coalition allies (the Communist Party under Kuchma, Party of Regions under Yushchenko).
There are four facets to the campaign. Firstly, the presidential secretariat compiled a 350-page dossier of accusations of “treason” against Tymoshenko and presented it to the prosecutor’s office in August. The SBU spent from July to September investigating the accusations. Two days after the secretariat presented its “evidence,” the prosecutor’s office announced that it had found no “concrete criminal infringements of the law” by the government and that the dossier included nothing that could be used to launch criminal charges against Tymoshenko (Ukrayinska Pravda, November 6).
Secondly, they are besmirching the prime minister’s reputation by linking Tymoshenko’s position as CEO of United Energy Systems in the mid-1990s to then-Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko. Yushchenko and Kuchma are trying to have Lazarenko extradited from the United States where he is serving a jail term on money laundering charges, after seeking political asylum there in 1999.
Thirdly, the secretariat is challenging the citizenship of naturalized Ukrainians, such as Davyd Zhvania, a businessman who provided funding for the Pora (Its Time) youth NGO and Orange Revolution protests in 2004 and the Peoples Self Defense Party in 2007. Zhvania is a deputy in the PSD wing of OU-PSD, which has de facto aligned itself with the BYuT in the inter-orange quarrels. Zhvania became a Ukrainian citizen in 1999 after renouncing his Georgian citizenship. The prosecutor’s office and courts rebuffed the presidential secretariat’s challenge that the citizenship had been received “illegally” and that he had kept his Georgian citizenship, although Ukraine does not recognize dual citizenship.
Pro-Yushchenko oligarch Igor Kolomoysky, CEO of the Pryvat group, openly admitted in an interview that he had Israeli and Ukrainian citizenship but has not been investigated (www.pravda.com.ua, March 28 and 31). Party of Regions deputy Yukhym Zvyahilsky, who fled to Israel in November 1994 but returned to Ukraine in March 1997, also has dual Israeli-Ukrainian citizenship.
Finally, BYuT and PSD deputies have been accused of “corruption.” The president has claimed that the deputies were involved in contraband in collusion with “organized crime.” Significantly, the SBU’s investigation is only targeting deputies from BYuT and the pro-Tymoshenko wing of OU-PSD.
One of the accused is deputy head of the PSD Gennadiy Moskal, who is deputy head of the parliamentary committee to combat organized crime and corruption. It is unlikely a coincidence that Moskal submitted a request on October 21 to the prosecutor’s office to investigate how the biggest castle in Central-Eastern Europe in Mukachevo, an important symbol in Hungarian history, was transferred until 2056 to Vysokyi Zamok, a small private company owned by family members of the presidential secretary Viktor Baloha (Zerkalo Nedeli/Tyzhnia, October 18).
A BYuT statement rejected accusations made by the SBU as merely part of a campaign to “blacken whomever Yushchenko sees as his main enemy—the government, its head and team” (www.byut.com.ua, November 6). The BYuT warned that acting SBU chairman Valentyn Nalyvaichenko would face consequences for “the privatization of the SBU on behalf of certain private persons, the degradation and discrediting of the Security Service, and its transformation into a directorate of the presidential secretariat for black PR” (www.byut.com.ua, November 6).
As Ukraine approaches the fourth anniversary of the Orange Revolution on November 21 and the pros and cons of what has changed for the better are being analyzed, one area that remains negative is civil-military relations (see EDM October 21). One important element of this is the continued practice, inherited from the Kuchma era, of the politicizing of the SBU.
The decline and growth of the SBU’s politicization are related to how the president is faring in the opinion polls. It always increases and becomes most acute when the president feels under threat from his domestic opponents.
In the Kuchma era the SBU became politicized during his second term following the November 2000 “Kuchmagate” scandal and climaxed during the 2004 elections. Under Yushchenko the SBU’s re-politicization, after a short respite following the Orange Revolution, increased quickly starting in the middle of his first term.
The SBU’s re-politicization has taken place for three reasons. First was the appointment of Deputy SBU chairman Valentyn Nalyvaichenko as acting chairman after parliament refused to support his candidacy which was proposed, as per the constitution, by the president. Nalyvaichenko has seemingly agreed to act as the head of a politicized SBU, unlike SBU chairman Ihor Smeshko who acquitted himself in a positive manner during the Orange Revolution.
Rumors that Nalyvaichenko was to be replaced because of his unpopularity in parliament were leaked by an SBU officer to the newspaper 24 (November 6). The position was offered to a Party of Regions deputy who turned it down. Nalyvaichenko is reportedly to be transferred to the presidential secretariat or National Security and Defense Council.
Secondly, the president’s approval ratings collapsed in 2006 from a very high point in his first year in office. They recovered briefly in 2007 and then collapsed again in 2008 to below 5 percent. A recent poll showed that the lack of confidence in the president among Ukrainians has gone up from an already high 56 percent in January to a staggering 82 percent in October (www.pravda.com.ua, October 27).
Thirdly, it is not coincidental that the SBU’s re-politicization has taken place during the last two years under acting chairman Nalyvaichenko, while the presidential secretariat is headed by Viktor Baloha. Baloha’s aggressive “in your face” defense of the president has drawn on the SBU to battle the president’s opponents.
The SBU’s re-politicization has brought no real benefits to Yushchenko in terms of improved public support or greater security. If anything, the opposite has occurred as can be seen by the willingness of the BYuT to vote with the Party of Regions on September 2 to change the law on the SBU to make it accountable to parliament as well as to the president.
International Holodomor Awareness Week
November 16 - 23, 2008
Ukraine Remembers - The World Acknowledges! On the 75th anniversary of the
Famine Genocide in Ukraine 1932-33
Seventy five years have passed since famine raged through Ukraine eradicating the lives of millions of children, women and men from one of the world's most bountiful lands.
Holodomor - one of the most heinous crimes in the history of mankind, was the result of a deliberate political strategy masterminded by Stalin and his totalitarian communist regime. By sheer magnitude, losses during the Holodomor surpassed those of the Ukrainian nation during the Second World War. Ukrainians worldwide continue to suffer the consequences of this merciless act.
The International Coordinating Committee, Ukrainian World Congress is launching the first International Holodomor Awareness Week on November 16-23. The goal is to annually unite Ukrainians and non-Ukrainians alike in remembering the victims and raising awareness of this tragedy.
In cooperation with the secretariat of the President of Ukraine, Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, the International Coordinating Committee developed initiatives dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor of 1932-33 guided by the motto «Ukraine remembers - the World Acknowledges.»
Throughout the year Ukrainians successfully engaged politicians, researchers, journalists and citizens in a discussion of this often forgotten genocide. The International Remembrance Flame successfully toured 34 countries ending its journey in Ukraine beginning November 1. The Holodomor was recognized as an act of genocide by 13 countries. In Ukraine, the Security Service (SBU) opened its archives and published a list of perpetrators of this crime; a National Memorial Book will include a registry of Holodomor victims and testimonies of survivors; a memorial complex and museum is being erected in the capital city of Kyiv.
There is, however, a great deal of work still to be done. We must continue working with our ministries of education to ensure that all students learn about the Holodomor. We have a moral obligation to ensure that the personal stories of our survivors are documented and preserved for future generations. Internationally, the United Nations must recognize the Holodomor as an act of genocide.
Let us remember together
On Saturday, November 22,(or in days around this date) in solidarity with Ukraine, honour the memory of the victims with a moment of silence and light a candle of remembrance in your home.
Participate in memorial services which will take place in your local churches
Participate in events organized by your local community This is the bare minimum which we, as Ukrainians should do not only for the millions of victims, but more importantly, for our descendants who must always remember the Holodomor and heighten the international community's sensitivity to the reoccurrence of similar tragedies.
Let's reveal the truth about the Holodomor to the world!
On behalf of the ICC UWC
Eurasia Daily Monitor
November 26, 2008 -- Volume 5, Issue 227
Ukraine's relations with Russia have deteriorated to their lowest level in two decades, with Zerkalo Nedeli (November 22) stating that the Russian authorities and society have never been as negatively disposed toward Ukraine as now, even during the Orange Revolution. The deterioration has taken place not only in the traditional areas of energy (with another gas war looming), the Black Sea Fleet, NATO membership, and the status of the Russian language, but also in attitudes toward the past.
The latest deterioration in relations came during the week in which Ukraine held official commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the artificial famine in 1933. Russian President Vladimir Medvedev refused to attend the commemoration, which was attended by 44 delegations, including four EU leaders.
Medvedev's refusal was condemned by President Viktor Yushchenko and the Ukrainian intelligentsia in a protest statement (www.korrespondent.com.ua, November 20). Ukraine's Ambassador to Russia and Foreign Minister of the Party of Regions Kostyantyn Hryshchenko expressed widespread disappointment over Russia's refusal to denounce even the Stalinist crimes and famine that took place on Russia's own territory. "Until this topic was raised by Ukraine, nobody in Russia or other post-Soviet republics raised it," Hryshchenko said (www.pravda.com.ua, November 19).
On October 26 Russia's RTR television network broadcast a report that distorted the famine and Yushchenko's publicizing of it. The program alleged that the famine issue was dreamed up in the 1980s by Cold war Warriors, such as U.S. President Ronald Reagan, and implemented by their supporters, such as Katia Chumachenko (now the Ukrainian First Lady). The purpose, RTR alleged, was to sow enmity between Ukrainians and Russians. Ukraine's campaign to call attention to the famine has "become deeply politicized" and the genocide concept "is based on narrow nationalism," Russian political technologist Sergei Markov claimed. "The SBU was giving a falsified interpretation and making a subjective analysis of real documents," Markov said (www.pravda.com.ua, November 17, 22).
Ukrainian authorities have faced two difficulties in raising the issue of the famine.
First, although 13 countries -- including six post-communist states, Canada, and Australia -- have supported Yushchenko's call for the famine to be defined as "genocide," most countries still remain reluctant to use this definition. The 17th session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the European Parliament voted in July and October, respectively, to recognize the Ukrainian famine; but both refrained from describing it as "genocide."The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on September 23 to commemorate the famine but used the word "genocide" carefully, citing the U.S. Commission on the Ukraine Famine, formed on December 13, 1985. The U.S. resolution pointed to the October 13, 2006, Public Law 109-340 that authorized Ukraine, "to establish a memorial on Federal land in the District of Columbia to honor the victims of the Ukrainian famine-genocide of 1932-1933."
Russian officials gloated over the lack of support from the UN General Assembly in September, when Yushchenko outlined Ukraine's case for the body to acknowledge the famine as genocide. Yushchenko described the famine as a genocide accompanied by the "total elimination of the national elite, public leadership, and priesthood" (www.president.gov.ua, September 23).
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs argued that the UN was "not the venue for pushing through biased and distorted views of historical events" (www.mid.ru, September 24). Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN Vitaliy Churkin said that the October 23 statement on the famine by Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) did not contain a grain of truth. It was a "unique diplomatic document" that "contradicts the real state of affairs."
Ukraine's MFA had condemned Russia's UN delegation for using "pressure and blackmail" to stop the famine from being discussed at the UN (www.pravda.com.ua, October 29). Ukraine's (MFA) had earlier condemned Russia's unwillingness to support Ukraine's condemnation of the famine, pointing to November 2003 when Russia had supported a UN resolution on the "70th anniversary of the Ukrainian tragedy" and two years later when Russia backed a UNESCO resolution "commemorating victims of the great famine [Holodomor] in Ukraine in 1932 and 1933" (www.mfa.gov.ua, September 29).
Second, the number of victims continues to be debated. Yushchenko always uses the figure of 10 million deaths, making it "one of the greatest humanitarian catastrophes in the world" (www.pravda.com.ua, November 20). Yushchenko included the famine with Russification and deportations to Siberia as part of a package of repressions aimed at destroying "our culture, our identity, and our strivings to be an independent country" (www.pravda.com.ua, November 20).
Ukrainian and Western academic studies give lower estimates of 2.6 to 5.2 million deaths with most citing between 3 and 3.5 million. Added to this should be the one million Ukrainians who died in the Kuban region of the northern Caucasus, which destroyed Ukrainian identity in the area.
The "10 million" figure is, in fact, the demographic loss rather than the death toll and ignores the calculations of Ukraine's foremost scholar in the field, Stanislav Kulchytsky, who arrived at an estimate of 3,238,000 deaths (see John Paul Himka in The Kyiv Post, May 15). The overwhelming majority of the famine victims were Ukrainians (despite Chernomyrdin's protestations), as the famine devastated the countryside. Russians and other non-Ukrainian ethnic groups populated the urban centers.
The famine has become another of the many issues contributing to poor Ukrainian-Russian relations. On May 15, 2003, the Ukrainian Parliament issued a strong condemnation of the famine as being directed against Ukrainians and called for international recognition of the Holodomor. Although the issue has been raised by all three Ukrainian presidents, Yushchenko alone has been accused by the Russians of nationalism for raising the issue of the famine. The fact that Russia is fiercely antagonistic to the famine issue today, in contrast to five years ago, says more about the speed of Stalin's rehabilitation in Russia than it does about Ukraine. Yushchenko's call to Medvedev jointly to "condemn Stalinist crimes and the totalitarian Soviet Union" will never happen while Putinism continues to rejuvenate Stalinism.http://unian.net/eng/news/news-286438.html
[...] On November 20 Kommersant Daily reported that Medvedev and Miller threatened to charge Ukraine $400 per 1,000 cubic meters for gas beginning in January 2009 if Naftohaz Ukrainy, the Ukrainian state-owned energy company, did not repay an alleged $2.4 billion debt to Gazprom.
[...] The day after Medvedev's announcement, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko demanded that Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's government pay this debt within five days. Yushchenko linked the price of gas to the price that Russia pays for its lease for keeping the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol. [...]
Yushchenko did not miss this opportunity once again to mix domestic politics with the continuing gas-price conflict by accusing his opponent, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, of responsibility for the debt (although he was the only Ukrainian official to make such an accusation). "You are to take personal blame for this," Yushchenko angrily stated, adding that the Cabinet of Ministers' lack of professionalism in gas procurement was leading to the "colonization of the state" (Kommersant, November 22).
Tymoshenko, who was visiting Sweden, responded to Yushchenko's charges by stating that the alleged sum was not a Ukrainian state debt to Gazprom but was, in fact, owed by the shady Swiss middleman company, RosUkrEnergo (Kommersant, November 22).
[...] Soon after Tymoshenko's rebuttal, Naftohaz Ukrainy issued its own statement: "The Company underlines the fact that it has no debt to OAO Gazprom and calls on politicians and experts to stop speculating about this question. Naftohaz's debt to RosUkrEnergo for gas used in 2008 is $1.267 billion" (Kommersant, November 22).
The Ukrainian weekly Zerkalo Tyzhnia, however, reported on November 22 that sources in Naftohaz said that the company's debt to RUE was in the order of $2.25 billion, which included late payment penalties of $250 million.
[...] The confusion in this opaque scheme stems from the fact that RUE is 50 percent owned by Gazprom. Alexander Medvedev, the deputy head of Gazprom and head of Gazpromexport, is also a member of the RUE coordination committee, so Medvedev in fact winds up selling and buying to and from himself.
Since coming to power, Yulia Tymoshenko has been determined to cut RUE out of the Central Asian gas supply chain and sign normal long-term, take or pay contracts directly with Gazprom. At her meeting with Vladimir Putin in October, an agreement was signed that held out the prospect for such a normalization of economic relations. The key passage of the agreement reads: "The Parties acknowledge that the efficiency of the transition to direct relations in gas shipment depends on the settlement of the debt to Gazprom OJSC for natural gas supplied to Ukrainian consumers" (Ukrayinska Pravda, October 4).
[...] The current price for storing gas in Ukraine is $6.68 for 1,000 cubic meters. In Germany the cost is $82.50. Two-thirds of the gas stored in these underground caverns, however, belongs to Naftohaz. If the Ukrainian government were to raise its storage tariff to half the German level, the financial impact on the state-owned company would be crushing.
As January 2009 rapidly approaches, Gazprom's European
customers will be closely monitoring developments on the
Ukrainian-Russian gas front. The January 2006 cutoff of gas
to Ukraine, in which RUE played a critical role, had a
greater impact on European customers than on Ukraine. The
possibility of having a highly suspect scheme, allegedly
linked to organized crime, maintain such a powerful hold on
gas supplies to Europe should be of concern to European
Complete article: http://unian.net/eng/news/news-286438.html
Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 5 Issue:
December 16, 2008
By Taras Kuzio
On December 9 it was announced that a larger orange coalition had been agreed upon in Ukraine. It was formally registered on December 16. The news came as a surprise, as it had been widely assumed that Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's bloc (BYuT) was close to reaching a coalition deal with its arch enemy, the Party of Regions (PRU). Although unpalatable three months ago when Ukraine's political crisis began after the orange coalition collapsed, BYuT described the move as a short-term "coalition of national unity." The BYuT, pointing to other countries rallying around to defend their national interests, considered it a marriage of convenience to cope with the global financial crisis.
The stumbling block for the formation of the coalition of national unity was Regions' insistence on support for constitutional reforms that would transform Ukraine into a full-blown parliamentary republic. Regions, as in 2003 and 2004, when it supported the same reforms with other pro-Kuchma forces, supports the election of the president by parliament, because they fear defeat in the forthcoming presidential elections. In 2004 they lost to Viktor Yushchenko, and they are afraid they will lose to Tymoshenko in December 2009.
The BYuT does not support the election of the president by parliament. The consensus is to maintain the 2006 constitutional reforms that transformed Ukraine into a semi-parliamentary republic. Yushchenko is in a minority in backing a return to the presidential constitution.
The larger orange coalition is the third attempt to establish an orange alliance following Viktor Yushchenko's election in January 2005. The first lasted nine months and collapsed in September of that year, after the president dismissed the prime minister, as he was still able to under the 1996 constitution.
The second orange coalition lasted 11 months, from November 2007 to September 2008. It disintegrated after the president's faction, Our Ukraine-Peoples Self Defense (OU-PSD), withdrew on September 3.
The weak components of the three orange coalitions were first, Yushchenko's antipathy toward Tymoshenko, which overrides other considerations; and secondly, deep internal divisions within the OU-PSD (Korrespondent, December 6, Fokus, December 12). Our Ukraine has always been undecided, like the president, about whether to establish an orange coalition with the BYuT or a grand coalition with the PRU.
These deep divisions were evident in September and again this month. Four months ago the OU-PSD voted by a bare majority (39 of 72 deputies) to withdraw from the orange coalition. This month it voted to join a larger orange coalition with the BYuT and the centrist Volodymyr Lytvyn bloc by a similarly slim majority of 37 deputies (the list is re-published in Zerkalo Nedeli/Tyzhnia, December 13-19).
Lytvyn's election as speaker was only made possible by the 27-member Communist Party faction, which supported the vote (www.pravda.com.ua, December 9-10). Only 40 of the 72 OU-PSD deputies supported his election. The larger orange coalition cannot remain stable if it has to rely on the votes of the Communists, who would never support many of the anti-crisis measures that Ukraine is being forced to adopt as part of the IMF stand-by loan negotiated in October.
Of the nine parties in the OU-PSD, five did not support the OU-PSD's withdrawal in September, and this month six supported joining the larger orange coalition. It is interesting how many of the deputies have fallen out with Yushchenko. Only 30 of the 72 OU-PSD deputies attended a meeting with the president on December 15.
The president does not favor the larger orange coalition and holds out hope for a technocratic government (www.president.gov.ua, December 15); but this is unrealistic in a parliamentary democracy, as the position of prime minister will always go to the leader of a political party.
After much criticism from abroad and within Ukraine, Yushchenko has decided not to hold early elections. Dealing with the global crisis is now the priority. Early elections would have been the only way to remove Tymoshenko, even though this was a dangerous tactic, since the president's planned "Viktor Yushchenko bloc" only has about 3 to 4 percent support. Dealing with the economic crisis will be impossible if parliament remains unstable and the president continues to attempt to undermine the new coalition.
This domestic instability continues to give Russia opportunities to destabilize Ukraine. According to information given to The Jamestown Foundation, Russian intelligence hacked into the presidential secretariat during the invasion of Georgia creating a sense of paranoia among the president's staff. An analytical wing was compromised and its staff, after being accused of "working for Russia," was released.
Russia has also returned to the old KGB dezynformatsiya tactics. Stories were planted in the provincial Ukrainian media that the coalition was created "with the support of Moscow." These stories were then reprinted by the main Kyiv media.
The Russian threat is real, as can be seen from the hacking of the presidential secretariat and support for Russian nationalists and separatists; but the paranoia of Yushchenko and his staff about "Russian conspiracies" is exaggerated. Both the proposed coalition of national unity and the larger orange coalition have been accused of being in the "pay of the Kremlin," just as unfounded accusations of "treason" were leveled against Tymoshenko in August. The prosecutor's office declined to institute criminal charges after studying the 300-page "testimony" prepared by the Security Service (SBU) on the orders of the presidential secretariat. These accusations have been aimed at influencing western Ukrainians, but opinion polls and focus groups have determined that the public has not been duped by such crude propaganda, a senior BYuT official told The Jamestown Foundation. Yushchenko had hoped to attract patriotic voters away from BYuT ahead of the upcoming presidential elections.
The third (larger) orange coalition suffers from the same problem as its two predecessors; namely, presidential antipathy and internal disunity within the pro-presidential Our Ukraine. The third orange coalition also faces two additional new threats: the global crisis and a bellicose Russia.
By Roman Olearchyk and Stefan Wagstyl
December 17, 2008
[...] Tension is particularly high this year because of
Moscow's intervention in Georgia, a power vacuum in Ukrainian
politics and the global economic crisis, which is increasing
pressure on Gazprom, the state-controlled Russian gas group, to
extract a big price rise.
Yulia Tymoshenko, prime minister of Ukraine, ... wants to
exclude Rosukrenergo, a joint venture between Gazprom and Dmitry
Firtash, a Ukrainian billionaire gas trader. The
Swiss-registered company says it is fully transparent and
intends to keep its contractual role.
Alexander Medvedev, the Gazprom deputy chief executive, has warned the European Union that the two countries are "far away from a settlement" [...].
The three key issues are price, Ukraine's unpaid arrears, and
the intermediaries. [...]
Next year Gazprom wants another big increase from Ukraine,
from $179.50 per 1,000 cu m to $400 - close to what Germany pays.
Naftogaz, Ukraine's state gas company, want to keep the price it
pays at about $250, not least because the Ukrainian hryvnia has
dropped 30 per cent against the dollar this year and could slide
further. With its economy set for recession in 2009, Kyiv fears
the impact of higher gas prices on a country that has already
needed International Monetary Fund support.
Ukraine wants to replace today's ad hoc negotiated prices
with a long-term agreement pegged to world oil prices. This
could reduce disputes and lead to cuts in gas prices in late
2009, when rolling six-month average oil prices - which could be
the basis of a peg - are expected to fall sharply. Yet Russian
economic growth has plummeted from more than 7 per cent to about
3 per cent. The state is running down its huge financial
reserves by supporting the rouble and refinancing banks. With or
without a new price formula, Gazprom is keen to maintain export
It also insists that Ukraine settle unpaid gas bills worth
$2.4bn [...] - an amount Ukraine disputes. [...] In the middle
of the dispute sits Rosukrenergo. In taking a soft approach
towards Moscow over Georgia, Ms Tymoshenko appears to have won
favour with Mr Putin and may get her way over Rosukrenergo.
[...] The US has criticised this arrangement, but the EU has
been cautious. Edward Chow, a fellow at the Center for Strategic
& International Studies in Washington, says "the critical
question" is what Rosukrenergo does to secure gas worth billions
a year. "What service does it perform that Gazprom and Naftogaz
cannot do for themselves?" asks Mr Chow.
[...] Mr Firtash's holding company, Group DF, has also
invested heavily in Ukraine's domestic distribution market and
in central Europe. Whatever the outcome of the talks, Ms
Tymoshenko will struggle to fulfil her aim.