Senior Fellow, Chair of Ukrainian Studies, University of Toronto, Adjunct Research Professor, Carleton University, Editor, Ukraine Analyst
Д-рТарас Кузьо, старший науковий співробітник кафедри українських студій Торонтонського університету, професор-дослідник Карлетонського універстету в Оттаві, редактор видання «Ukraine Analyst»
Time to end EU-Ukraine pseudo-relations
BRUSSELS - In Ukraine, informal rules and norms of behaviour are respected much more than legislation and constitutions.
The term "doublethink" was coined by George Orwell to describe this act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs and world views as correct; in the Ukrainian context this has translated into virtual policies.
Examples abound of Orwellian doublespeak.
Former president Leonid Kuchma issued decrees banning censorship and outlining measures to hold free elections and at the same time presided over the Soviet style censorship through "temnyky" (secret instruction sent to television channels) and massive election fraud that led to the Orange Revolution in 2004.
On 13 February 2013, Ukraine’s prosecutor’s office laid out murder charges against former PM Yuliya Tymoshenko on the same day the government issued this year’s programme for EU integration.
Ten days after President Yanukovych was given his virtual “last red line” by the EU in Brussels Tymoshenko’s lawyer, Serhiy Vlasenko, was stripped of his parliamentary mandate.
Complete article here
Murder and selective use of justice in Ukraine (Part Two)
One month ago (February 14), Kyiv’s Pechersky District Court launched investigatory proceedings into the 1996 murder of then Ukraine’s wealthiest oligarch, Yevhen Shcherban. Yet, as investigative journalist Tetyana Chornovil has pointed out, the murder of Shcherban cannot be separated from political-economic-criminal conditions in Donetsk from the late 1980s to the late 1990s (source).
Part One of this two-part series of articles analyzing the selective use of justice in investigating the Shcherban murder explored why the investigation has been launched now, nearly two decades after the oligarch’s assassination (see EDM, February 25). Part Two will attempt to answer who was actually behind this murder and who benefitted from Shcherban’s death.
Complete article here
Tymoshenko and the Ukrainian Diaspora: passivity and irrational hostility
Developments under Viktor Yanukovych should be sufficient to show that nationalists and others in Ukraine and the diaspora, encouraged by then President Viktor Yushchenko, were very wrong to call for a vote against both Yanukovych and Yulia Tymoshenko in the second round of the 2010 presidential elections.
The adoption of the new language law in July reversed twenty years of nation-building by returning to russification policies in Ukraine. Meanwhile, the imprisonment of opposition leaders is the first example of political repression for a quarter of a century before Mikhail Gorbachev came to power as Soviet leader in 1985.
In adopting the language law and returning to Brezhnev era political repression, President Viktor Yanukovych will be remembered in Ukrainian history as the new Volodymyr Shcherbytsky who ruled and russified Soviet Ukraine in the last two decades of the USSR. Yanukovych’s first three years in power will be viewed in the same manner by future historians as the 1971-1972 pogrom of Ukrainian culture, language and dissent.
The adoption of the language law came on the back of the appointment of the Ukrainophobe Dmytro Tabachnyk as “Education Minister” who reintroduced Soviet ideological tirades against Ukrainian nationalism as “fascism” and removed any mention of the Orange Revolution from school textbooks. In addition, Yanukovych signed the “Kharkiv Accords” that extended the Black Sea Fleet base in Sevastopol until the middle of this century, became the first Ukrainian president to no longer seek NATO membership, and appointed Russian citizens as Minister of Defense, Chairman of the Security Service (SBU) and head of his personal bodyguards. Ukraine’s integration into the European Union (EU) is frozen because of selective use of justice against the political opposition.
Complete article here
Call to boycott Ukrainian diplomatic offices
The Ukrainian diaspora has always lived in a strange bubble that was different to others. Could you imagine members of Chilean, Spanish or Greek diaspora’s attending events at their embassies when political repression was taking place in their countries? Of course not. Ukrainians nevertheless, have continued to maintain relations with official representatives of Ukraine and attend official functions. This has been despite not only political repression in the last two years – but an attack on Ukrainian national identity that culminated in the July 3 vote to adopt a new language law that makes Russian a second official language.
Why has this been the case?
It is time we showed our displeasure and opposition to the attempt to turn back the clock to the Soviet Union prior to 1991 by boycotting all Ukrainian Embassy and official Ukrainian events. Ukrainian diplomats represent not only Ukraine – they also represent President Viktor Yanukovych
Complete article here
European boycott of Yalta 2012 summit sparks Germanophobia in Ukraine
In November 2002, President Leonid Kuchma was advised not to attend NATO’s Prague summit, but he ignored the advice and went. NATO changed the language used to allocate seats for countries, using French not English, and thereby ensured Kuchma would not sit next to UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W. Bush. Kuchma had become an international pariah following the Kuchmagate and Kolchugagate scandals that revealed his alleged involvement in the disappearance and murder of journalist Georgi Gongadze and the sale of military equipment to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
The 17th summit of Central European leaders
in Yalta was attended by twenty heads of
state and US President Barrack Obama -
the 18th summit was cancelled.
In May 2012 the 18th summit of Central European leaders in Yalta was cancelled – to be rescheduled for a future date – after 13 of 20 invited leaders planned to boycott it. The 17th summit held in Warsaw in May 2011 had been attended by twenty heads of state and US President Barrack Obama.
Poland’s leaders opposed the boycott although the opposition supported it (http://www.kyivpost.com/news/politics/detail/127101/; http://www.kyivpost.com/news/nation/detail/126986/). Warsaw was unable to encourage other Central European countries to attend except for Lithuania. Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, Moldova and Serbia also planned to attend, making a total of only seven countries.
Thirteen other countries boycotted the summit planned for the Livadia Palace in Yalta where three allied leaders met in 1945 to carve up post-Nazi Europe. Of the thirteen, the country now leading the rhetoric in Europe against the Yanukovych regime is Germany (see below). The remaining twelve included Austria, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Estonia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Hungary and the Czech Republic (which has granted two Ukrainian oppositionists asylum, including Tymoshenko’s husband Oleksandr).
Complete article here.
The problem in Ukraine isn’t Svoboda, it’s Yanukovych: a reply to Ivan Katchanovksi
Pro-Russian and anti-Russian Ukrainian
'nationalists' come into conflict at a
November 2011 march in Kyiv.
Many Ukraine observers have identified the far-right Svoboda party as the key source of racial conflict in the country. This represents a misunderstanding of Ukraine’s fake politics, its divisive president and the real far-right thugs of the Party of Regions, argues Taras Kuzio.
Western scholars such as Ivan Katchanovski [see his article published on openDemocracy, 21 March] are wrong to focus on the far-right Svoboda (‘Freedom’) party as a new and significant threat to Ukraine’s democracy. I say this for three reasons.
First, Svoboda’s popularity has not grown – and indeed in some recent polls has declined – since the neo-Soviet and pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych was elected president in 2010. Contrary to Katchanovski's analysis, Svoboda is unlikely to cross the 5 percent threshold in October’s parliamentary elections, and even if Svoboda members are elected, it will only be in single mandate districts [rather than via nationwide proportional representation]. Western Ukrainian ethnic nationalism is weak, and support for Svoboda has remained comparably low compared to that for nationalist and populist groups in Europe and Eurasia.
'Svoboda’s main raison d’etre is as an artificial scarecrow designed to direct votes away from bona fide democratic parties and to mobilise eastern Ukrainian, Russian-speaking voters against the virtual "nationalist bogeyman".'
Second, neo-Soviet and Russian nationalism is a far bigger threat to Ukraine’s democratic system and European integration than ethnic Ukrainian nationalism. Victor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions is a much more violent, anti-democratic and corrupt political machine than Svoboda could ever be.
Third, Svoboda’s main raison d’etre is as an artificial scarecrow designed to direct votes away from bona fide ‘orange’ democratic parties, and to mobilise eastern Ukrainian, Russophone voters against the virtual ‘nationalist bogeyman’. There are grounds to suggest that the Party of Regions has had a direct role funding Svoboda (though as financing of all parties is not transparent in Ukraine, there is no ‘smoking gun’ here).
Complete article here
Eight radical steps to changing Ukraine
First, Ukrainian politicians will never propose, let alone, undertake policies that are of benefit to Ukraine and society. This means that Ukrainian citizens and civil society should take the lead and undertake “command and control” over politicians, rather than waiting for politicians to propose populist utopias they never intend to fulfill.
Ukrainian politicians never ask tough questions as to why they have lost elections, or why their popularity is not growing after them, or what their personal responsibilities are for bad policies.
Second, following on from this, Ukrainian citizens and civil society need to make the next democratic president undertake a radical course of action across a wide range of long outstanding issues.
Third, there needs to be greater intellectual input by Western experts from academia, think tanks and international organizations into the policymaking process in Ukraine. Ukraine’s political elites are provincial, most speak no English, and they are not integrated into European and Western intellectual elites. They remain in essence provincial Eurasians.
Complete article here
Russia takes control of Ukraine's security forces
The Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza (March 1) provided details of Russia’s growing grip over Ukraine’s security forces. According to Gazeta Wyborcza, then Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin only dropped his support for Yulia Tymoshenko in mid-2011. This came about as a consequence of two factors.
First, the criminal case against Tymoshenko removed her as a political actor and counter-weight to President Viktor Yanukovych, whom Putin did not have a high regard for. According to a US diplomatic cable, Prime Minister Putin “‘hates’ Yushchenko and has a low personal regard for Yanukovych, but apparently sees Tymoshenko as someone, perhaps not that he can trust, but with whom he can deal” (http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/01/09KYIV208.html).
Second, Putin changed his stance after Yanukovych agreed to the introduction of Russian advisers in the Security Service (SBU) and coordination and joint consultation with Moscow over future government appointments (especially in the siloviky services). “The list of these candidates should be personally agreed by Putin,” Gazeta Wyborcza (March 1) reported.
Complete article here
Yanukovych awaits a third term or a third sentence
Run before it's too late!!!
Front for Change party leader, Arseniy Yatseniuk, said in an interview in Fokus magazine “In effect in the country there is a two party system. The post-Soviet system confronts the pro-European, the past versus the future” (http://focus.ua/politics/213418/).
This view was repeatedly stated by opposition leaders on the January 22 anniversary of Ukraine’s 1918 independence on St. Sophia Square in Kyiv
Former Deputy Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, Stepan Havrysh, described the gloomy economic and energy situation in Ukraine: “Our current external debt (public and private) is about $135 billion, our budget deficit is more than $30 billion. External debt, which we need to return next year, is almost $7 billion. Clearly, in these conditions, without external borrowing, which we are unable to do [we have a problem]. And [as] the IMF has ceased cooperating with Ukraine, this is obvious.
The World Bank under these circumstances will not give any money [and] will not help.” He added: “In 2008 there were 17 Western banks, which had 40 percent of the banking system assets working in Ukraine. Today, most of them have left Ukraine, and capital repatriation by foreign investors continues. Euro 2012 has not attracted major European, US or Chinese investors to Ukraine. Privatization on which we rely takes place between a handful of groups who [deliberately] devalue these assets.” This means Ukraine stands “between the surrender of key assets, and technical default.” One solution really could be selling off of the gas transport system, or key assets (http://www.radiosvoboda.org/content/article/24424542.html).
Complete article here
Russian, Soviet nationalism is the biggest threat to democracy, ethnic stability in Ukraine
Nationalism in Ukraine is traditionally understood as western Ukrainian and ethnic by Western scholars such as Germany’s Andreas Umland who have focused their research on Svoboda and western Ukrainian nationalists. Unfortunately, this analysis does not do justice to a complicated country such as Ukraine, where anti-democratic culture, racial intolerance, anti-Semitism and xenophobia are more prevalent in eastern and southern Ukraine and the Crimea.
The prevalence of bi-ethnic identities and high levels of Russian language use in eastern and southern Ukraine translates into high levels of identification with Soviet and Russian culture and deep levels of hostility towards Ukrainian nationalism. This, in turn, provides a bedrock of support for Sovietophile and Russophile parties, such as the Communist Party and the ruling pro-presidential Party of Regions because public support for social authoritarian political forces is far higher in eastern than western Ukraine. The Communist Party and Party of Regions have eight times as much support in eastern and southern Ukraine and the Crimea, at 40 percent nationwide, compared to 4-5 percent nationwide for the Svoboda nationalist party. Western Ukrainian ethnic nationalism has been weak in Ukraine and support for Svoboda, even in the face of Yanukovych’s Russophile nationality policies and democratic regression, has remained comparably low compared to that for nationalist groups in post-communist Europe.
The Party of Regions, when it has been in opposition and since the 2010 elections when it has had control of parliament and the presidency, has been by far the most aggressive and violent political force in Ukraine. This is evident from violence it has undertaken inside and outside parliament against opposition parliamentary deputies and journalists and its campaign of political repression against Yulia Tymoshenko and her supporters.
Complete article here
The “Blackmail State” re-emerges in Ukraine
New head of the Social Democratic Party of Ukraine, Natalya Korolevska
Since Viktor Yanukovych’s election victory, four strategies have been adopted against the opposition that in particular targets Yulia Tymoshenko and her eponymous bloc (BYuT). BYuT became the dominant national democratic party in the last decade increasing its share of the vote from 7 percent (2002), 24 percent (2006) to 31 percent (2007). In the 2007 parliamentary and 2010 presidential elections BYuT and Tymoshenko received 3 percent less on both occasions than the Party of Regions and Yanukovych respectfully.
As opposition leader Yanukovych expected to win by over 10 percent in the 2010 elections, but only scraped through with a 3 percent victory over Prime Minister Tymoshenko – and he won fewer votes than in 2004. In 2015, with their positions of incumbent and opposition leader reversed, Tymoshenko would be likely to win the elections.
BYuT and Tymoshenko’s ability to challenge the Party of Regions’ political machine ensured that “Orange” coalitions be formed after elections (whether they could work together is a separate but important question). The Party of Regions’ only ally is the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU), but its additional 5 percent to the Party of Regions vote (31 percent, 2006 and 34 percent in 2007) is insufficient to establish a coalition, as seen in 2007. A Party of Regions-led coalition required a third party that in 2006 was provided by the defection of the Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU).
Four strategies have been directed against Tymoshenko and BYuT:
Complete article here
Ukraine moves to state capitalism and "militocracy"
In 2011, Oleksandr Yanukovych, the president’s eldest son, entered for the first time the top 100 wealthiest Ukrainians.
On November 8, Segodnya ran the headline: “Within the authorities there is a ‘silent coup’ taking place.” Segodnya was referring to the consolidation of “The Family” loyal to President Viktor Yanukovych. The capital assets of “The Family” are estimated to be $130 million, and 64th in Ukraine’s 100 wealthiest (Korrespondent, November 11). In 2011, Oleksandr Yanukovych, the president’s eldest son, entered for the first time the top 100 wealthiest Ukrainians. He recently purchased the All-Ukrainian Bank for Development and increased its capital from 270 million hryvnia ($33.69 million) to 349 million hryvnia ($43.54 million).
Yanukovych has become independent of the Donetsk oligarch allies whose patron he had been while serving as Donetsk governor from 1997 to 2002. The first stage took place as opposition leader, when he aligned himself with the “gas lobby” (see EDM, March 18, 2010). The “gas lobby” ran Eural-Trans Gas (2002-2004) RosUkrEnergo ([RUE] 2004-2008) gas intermediaries.
The then Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, lobbied to remove RUE in the January 2009 Russian-Ukrainian gas contract. On August 25, The Economist suggested Dmitry Firtash, who owned a 45 percent stake in RUE, may be “one of Mr. Yanukovych’s wealthy backers insisting on Ms. Tymoshenko’s punishment.” Firtash had warm relations with Viktor Yushchenko and supported his national projects, for which he was awarded a state medal in January 2009. Firtash supported Yanukovych in the 2010 elections out of fear and loathing for Tymoshenko. Since Yanukovych’s election Firtash’s capital assets have “grown at a fantastic rate,” by some 540 percent (Korrespondent, November 11).
Complete article here
Майбутнє України в десять етапів
Зі слів посла ЄС Жозе Мануела Пінту Тейшейра "видно - закривши двері, Євросоюз хоче залишити Януковичу відкритим вікно".
США та ЄС залишать це вікно "відкритим" до парламентських виборів у жовтні 2012 року. Данія, яка перебере на себе головування в Раді ЄС з січня 2012 року, буде ставитися до України значно жорсткіше, ніж Польща, яка сподівалася увінчати своє президентство підписанням угоди про асоціацію в грудні цього року.
Події в Україні протягом наступних чотирьох років будуть розвиватися в десять етапів:
1. Тимошенко та інших політичних в’язнів не звільнять. Її покарання (7 років ув’язнення плюс 3 роки позбавлення права обіймати державні посади) не дозволить їй взяти участь у наступних чотирьох виборах (парламентських 2012 та 2017 років і президентських 2015 та 2020 років). Вирок Тимошенко гарантує Януковичу, що Тимошенко не буде змагатися з ним протягом двох запланованих президентських термінів і, можливо, не буде його конкурентом навіть на президентських виборах 2020 року, до початку яких він зможе змінити Конституцію, аби скасувати обмеження на два президентські терміни.
Вся стаття тут
Can Ukraine hold free elections next year?
The Party of Regions is preparing well in advance to the 2012 elections
The October 11 sentencing of Yulia Tymoshenko to seven years imprisonment makes it impossible to hold free elections in one year’s time on October 31, 2012. The EU has already made its position plain: if opposition leaders are not able to stand, then the elections cannot be recognized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as in accordance with “democratic” standards.
A second factor is the attitude of Ukrainian opposition leaders. Running second in popularity among opposition leaders, Front for Change leader Arseniy Yatseniuk would benefit the most from Tymoshenko not standing in the elections, but he nevertheless called upon the opposition to boycott the 2012 elections if some leaders could not stand (Ukrayinska Pravda, October 11).
An equally important area for the holding of a free election is the election law. A “Working Group on Election Law Improvement” was established by presidential decree on November 2, 2010, but has been mired in controversy ever since. Most incumbent Ukrainian administrations have changed election laws ahead of elections to shift the rules in their favor. The latest example was the last-minute changes to the date and law on local elections leading to widespread fraud in favor of the Party of Regions in the October 2010 local elections. The current draft would be the fourth change in Ukraine’s election law in two decades.
Complete article here
Kuzio Testimony to the Standing Committee
Ten Factors why Yulia Tymoshenko is imprisoned and why she is unlikely to be released from prison
Complete report in PDF [ here ].
Five Policy Recommendations
- Canada should coordinate its actions with its Euro-Atlantic partners (US, EU).
- The October 2012 elections are under threat of being not recognized by the OSCE. Canada should support a large OSCE observation mission and send with its allies strong warnings of the consequences of the elections not meeting ‘democratic standards.
- If the EU decides to freeze negotiations on a free trade agreement with Ukraine it would be advisable for Canada to follow suit in its negotiations with Ukraine. As outlined in point 1, Canada should coordinate its policies with its allies in order to achieve maximum effect.
- Invest in Ukraine’s future – Ukraine’s youth. Support programs such as the highly successful Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Program.
- Follow the money trail. The Yanukovych regime cannot survive if its oligarch allies withdraw their support. Canada and its allies have greater leverage towards Ukraine than towards authoritarian Belarus as the latter does not have oligarchs.
Ukraine’s oligarchs, as I have outlined in Point 3, have a great personal stake in travel to western Europe. Many Party of Regions deputies never attend parliamentary sessions as they live in Monaco (e.g. Akhmetov). Canada and its allies should begin discussing a visa black list of Ukrainian officials involved in political repression and human rights abuses and pro-regime oligarchs.
Complete article here
Два Віктори і два сигнали
Протягом останніх п’яти років Україна отримала два "сигнали", проте жоден із Вікторів ними не скористався.
На багатьох міжнародних конференціях протягом останніх двадцяти років я неодноразово чув, як українські політики та посадовці просили НАТО та ЄС "дати їм сигнал", а вони вже проведуть необхідні реформи.
Особисто я ніколи не розумів, навіщо країні "сигнал" для того, щоб здійснювати реформи, які в будь-якому випадку принесуть їй користь.
Всі посткомуністичні країни почали здійснювати реформи ще до того, як отримали «сигнали» від ЄС. Польща, наприклад, почала свої реформи в 1989-1990 роках, Хорватія - після 2000 року. Польща стала членом ЄС у 2004 році, Хорватія приєднається до нього наступного року. Грузія ніколи не отримувала жодних "сигнал", однак це не завадило їй використати Революцію троянд як плацдарм для проведення великої кількості реформ та практичного викорінення корупції.
Утім, українські політики та посадовці, здається, не звертають увагу на те, що за останні п’ять років Україна отримала по сигналу від НАТО та ЄС - і в обох випадках не скористалася ними.
Вся стаття тут
Poor Ukrainian-Russian ties reflect Yanukovych-Putin relationship
Ukraine’s poor relations with Russia are nothing new as they also existed under the “pro-Russian” Leonid Kuchma. Nevertheless, Kuchma had to deal with the more democratic Russian President Boris Yeltsin, whereas the certainty of Vladimir Putin returning as Russian President in March 2012 means that Moscow will continue to present a hard line toward Kyiv.
During the last two decades of Ukrainian independence, Kyiv’s relations with Moscow have followed predictable patterns. Moscow has always favored presidents elected by eastern Ukrainian, Russian-speaking voters, whether Kuchma or Yanukovych, but the promise of better relations has never appeared. With Ukrainian “nationalist” presidents, poor relations were inevitable. Leonid Kravchuk, elected in 1991 by Russophone voters, was quickly perceived by Moscow as a “nationalist” because he relied upon national democratic support and quarreled with Russia over the CIS, Black Sea Fleet (BSF), nuclear weapons and many other issues.
Complete article here
Зовнішня політика України прямує до міжнародної ізоляції
"Як може бути таке, що влада прагне, щоб євроінтеграційні процеси були більш якісними і більш ефективними, а невеличка частина опозиції стоїть на перешкоді цього руху. Такого не буде". Президент Віктор Янукович.
Ціла низка статей, опублікованих нещодавно в західних виданнях, збігаються у своїй характеристиці судових процесів над Юлією Тимошенко та іншими як "вибіркового правосуддя": в Daily Telegraph 8 липня, Der Tagesspiegel 12 липня, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 18 липня і The Independent 25 липня. Нинішній обсяг критики Заходу є безпрецедентним для всього періоду незалежності України.
Більшість сумнівів базуються на звинуваченнях, які висунуто проти Тимошенко на основі підписаного в січні 2009 року газового контракту (вони не містять звинувачень у корупції). Старший науковий співробітник брюссельського Центру європейських політичних студій Майкл Емерсон, зокрема, зазначає, що "у той час як пані Тимошенко звинувачують у тому, що вона допустила процедурний прорахунок, сам Президент Янукович постійно проявляє себе справжнім майстром управлінських прорахунків, навіть в таких стратегічно важливих питаннях як подовження оренди російського Чорноморського флоту в Севастополі".
Вся стаття тут
Could Elections be Democratic in Ukraine without Tymoshenko?
Speaking to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on June 21, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych defended the criminal cases launched against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and twelve ministers from her 2007-2010 government. Together with nine leaders of the fall 2010 anti-tax code protests and ten nationalists who admitted to beheading the monument to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin (a crime of ‘hooliganism’) although they have been charged with blowing it up (which is a charge of ‘terrorism’) the list of Ukrainians persecuted for political beliefs is now over 30 - and growing.
Negotiations are moving fast for a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) which both sides optimistically predict will be signed between Ukraine and the EU in December. During the same period of negotiations for a DCFTA, democracy in Ukraine has regressed across all indicators and the country has been downgraded by Freedom House from ‘Free’ to ‘Partly Free’; that is semi-authoritarian.
Complete article here
Yulia Tymoshenko goes on trial a day before Constitution Day
Opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko’s trial began on June 27, a day before Ukraine celebrated constitution day, an irony that has not bypassed Ukrainians. In a new Razumkov Center for Economic and Political Studies survey, Ukrainians pointed to President Viktor Yanukovych as the main infringer of human rights in Ukraine (criminal structures came second). Nearly three quarters of Ukrainians believe their human rights are infringed upon, and that this situation is deteriorating (www.uceps.com.ua, June 27).
In an earlier survey the Razumkov Center found nearly half of Ukrainians believe political repression exists in Ukraine, while 60 percent feel the security forces are tougher toward the opposition than towards pro-regime forces (Ukrayinska Pravda, 7 June). With Tymoshenko and 12 members of her government, nine leaders of the fall 2010 anti-tax code protests and approximately a similar number of nationalist activists under investigation, on trial, or in jail, the number of Ukrainians who are politically persecuted stands at over 30 – growing to a number similar to Belarus.
Roman Besmertnyi, Ukrainian Ambassador to Belarus in 2009-2011, lambasted the Tymoshenko trial as “98 percent of that which is taking place in Belarus” on the Shuster Live television program (June 24). Our Ukraine-People’s Self Defense bloc issued a similar statement earlier this month.
Complete article here
Потреба змістовної альтернативи
Рівень підтримки Віктора Януковича та Партії регіонів продовжує падати. Соціологічні опитування засвідчують загальне розчарування владою (навіть на малій батьківщині ПР), напрямом розвитку країни, високим рівнем інфляції, зростаючим розривом між елітами і рештою населення, а також прихильним ставленням влади до олігархів і великого бізнесу, внаслідок чого представники малого та середнього бізнесу зазнають утисків.
Ситуація, що нині склалася, нагадує період 2002–2004 років, коли високий рівень недовіри до влади також поєднувався з готовністю великої кількості українців вийти на вулицю з протестами. Однак важливою відмінністю сьогодення є брак публічних лідерів, яким би довіряли громадяни.
Вся стаття тут
Yanukovych relies on Soviet nationalism to stay in power
Western and Ukrainian analysts have long argued that three, basic factors apply in any political analysis of Ukraine.
First, President Viktor Yanukovych's Party of Regions (like other centrist parties) has no ideology.
Second, Ukraine's regional diversity prevents the monopolization of power by one political force.
And third, unlike in Russia, ruling parties cannot use nationalism in Ukraine to remain in power.
Violence last month in Lviv showed that all three of these factors are wrong.
Complete article here
Time for a reality check
With 11 opinion pieces over 15 months, by far the most prolific Western author of eulogies for President Viktor Yanukovych has been Adrian Karatnycky. Let us take a look at the claims that Yanukovych is a different man and assertions about his policies by running them through a reality check.
First, all of Karatnycky’s seven main claims have been wrong.
These have included that Sergei Tigipko would become prime minister, that a government of well-educated and professional reformers would be formed and that the Yanukovych administration consists of reformers and retrogrades. Where are the reformers?
Other predictions have included that he has heard “whispers” Education Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk, unpopular for his Russophile attitudes, is about to be fired.
The administration’s policies on the 1932-33 Holodmor are imported directly from Moscow. The Yanukovych policy dishonors the memories of millions of murdered Ukrainians. The administration ignores the 1939-41 Soviet-Nazi Pact by reverting to calling World War II the Soviet-favored Great Patriotic War. It permits Communists to erect billboards, carry portraits and build monuments to Josef Stalin.
Complete article here
Опубліковані каблограми засвідчили, що США помилялися стосовно Януковича
Тарас Кузьо, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
На виборах-2010 Янукович здавався США більш прийнятною кандидатурою. Захід втомився від п’ятирічної ворожнечі Ющенка і Тимошенко та довірився американським піарникам Партії регіонів. Однак перший рік президентства Януковича тільки підтвердив скепсис щодо «нового обличчя» Партії регіонів, висловлений у опублікованих на сайті WikiLeaks дипломатичних каблограмах, пише Тарас Кузьо у статті, яку опублікував інтернет-портал «Радіо Свобода» (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty).
«Каблограми з Посольства США в Україні, нещодавно оприлюднені на сайті WikiLeaks, спонукають до двох спостережень», – пише Тарас Кузьо. Перше – посольство вірило, що Віктор Янукович змінився з часів виборів 2004 року. Друге – американські посадовці не вважали Юлію Тимошенко кращою альтернативою Януковичу під час президентських виборів 2010 року. На думку Тараса Кузьо, обидва погляди хибні.
Критика, наявна у посольських каблограмах щодо Тимошенко, зумовлена як її власними помилками, так і «лобіюванням американських політичних консультантів, що працюють на Януковича та Партію регіонів з 2005 року». Кузьо вважає необґрунтованим звинувачення Тимошенко у популізмі, оскільки популізм – це звичне явище в українській політиці. На його думку, куди більшим популістом був Віктор Янукович під час виборчої кампанії 2010, а також екс-президент Віктор Ющенко, який пообіцяв запровадити 20% податку на яхти, лімузини та вілли.
Вся стаття тут
Leaked cables ahow U.S. was wrong on Ukraine's Yanukovych
The first is that the embassy believed Party of Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych had changed from what he was during the 2004 election, when he sought to come to power through election fraud. The second is that U.S. officials believed Yulia Tymoshenko was not a better option than Yanukovych in the 2010 presidential election. One cable quotes former President Leonid Kuchma as saying the 2010 election was one of "choosing between bad and very bad" -- with Tymoshenko allegedly being the latter.
Both of these positions were fundamentally wrong -- especially as seen from the hindsight of Yanukovych's first year in power.
The WikiLeaks cables critical of Tymoshenko were a reflection of her own mistakes and of lobbying by U.S. political consultants working for Yanukovych and the Party of Regions since 2005. One of the main criticisms was that Tymoshenko is a "populist," a claim that ignores widespread populism among all Ukrainian politicians. Indeed, Yanukovych was the most populist in the 2010 elections and the prize for the most populist billboard goes to former President Viktor Yushchenko, who promised to place a 20 percent tax on yachts, limousines, and villas.
Complete article here
How to turn a 'partly free' Ukraine into a 'not free' Ukraine
President Viktor Yanukovych has returned Ukraine to its authoritarian ways, says Taras Kuzio
Some Western policymakers continue to argue that Ukraine's political system is unlikely to evolve into a full authoritarian system along the lines of Russia and Belarus, President Viktor Yanukovych will slow down his authoritarian blitzkrieg, they argue, and the system will stabilize into a semi-authoritarian system.
|The SBU under Yanukovych has adopted authoritarian tactics against academics, NGO activists, politicians, and journalists for the first time since under its predecessor, the Soviet Ukrainian KGB, in the pre-Gorbachev era.
In other words, Ukraine will stabilize at "partly free," the semi-authoritarian status that Freedom House gave it throughout the Leonid Kuchma era and to which it returned in 2010 after Yanukovych's first year in office.
An alternative viewpoint that's gaining ground is that Ukraine will decline further to "not free," the full authoritarian status that independent Ukraine has never held. If this were to take place, Ukraine would join the eight authoritarian CIS countries (Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, and the five Central Asian states) that are classified as "not free" by the U.S.-based rights watchdog.
Complete article here
Як перетворити «частково вільну» Україну в «не вільну» Україну
Чий режим авторитарніший – Кучми чи Януковича? Чинний президент України пішов далі за Леоніда Кучму в утвердженні авторитарного правління: він купив більшість у парламенті, знищив незалежну судову систему, ліквідував опозицію та запровадив жорстку цензуру, чого не вдавалося зробити такою мірою Кучмі, – пише Тарас Кузьо у статті, яку опублікував інтернет-портал «Радіо Свобода» (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty).
Україна скочується до «не вільного», повністю авторитарного статусу, якого не знала з часів здобуття незалежності, застерігає Тарас Кузьо. Деякі інші західні політологи заспокоюють, що держава «стабілізується в напівавторитарному режимі» як «частково вільна».
Вся стаття тут
Повернення до радянської каральної психіатрії?
Влада СРСР використовувала психіатрію в політичних цілях, зокрема, для того, щоб ізолювати політичних інакодумців, дискредитувати їхні ідеї та знищити їх фізично й ментально. Демократичний світ і міжнародні організації, такі як Світова психіатрична асоціація, розцінювали цю практику як форму катувань.
У 1971 році російський демократ-дисидент Владімір Буковськи (і прихильник права України на незалежність) зумів надіслати на Захід 150 сторінок документів, у яких містилася інформація про використання в Радянському Союзі психіатрії в політичних цілях. Наступного року його арештували та засудили до семи років ув'язнення та п'яти років внутрішньої еміграції. Пишучи це, я з іронією згадав, як на початку 1990-х років возив Сергія Головатого, тодішнього активіста "Руху", у Кембридж в гості до Владіміра Буковського. Як змінилися часи, пане Головатий.
|Спокусу використовувати психіатрію в політичних цілях так ніколи і не було викоренено ні в Росії, ні в Україні ...
Серед тих, кого ув'язнювали в радянських психіатричних лікарнях, було двоє відомих українських дисидентів: Леонід Плющ, єврокомуніст, якому зрештою дозволили виїхати до Франції, та Петро Григоренко, колишній радянський генерал та захисник прав кримських татар.
Charm offensive will not play well abroad for these ‘Sovki’
The Viktor Yanukovych administration is actively integrating domestic and foreign PR, as well as lobbying, a new development for Ukraine that should be welcomed – up to a point.
It is indeed ironic that the Orange Revolution forces of ex-President Viktor Yushchenko and ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko could never accomplish such a strategy because of infighting that undermined the unity of democratic forces. Yushchenko still believes his main mistake was working with Tymoshenko.
In the West, only the Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko (BYuT) sought to use PR and lobbying to advance her case in Washington, the United Kingdom and Brussels. Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine was nowhere to be seen while the ex-president restricted himself to occasional op-eds in Western newspapers and the Kyiv Post.
|The value of such a coordinated charm offensive is undermined by three factors which harm Ukraine’s ability to be taken seriously in its declared intentions of seeking European integration.
This though, was not a state strategy and cannot be compared to what is currently being undertaken by the Yanukovych administration.
Complete article here
Десять брехень і десять правд: відповідь Ганні Герман
Брехня-1: Тим часом скасування політреформи розглядається президентом як перехідний етап. За ним обов'язково ітиме підготовка до внесення змін у Конституцію 1996 року із залученням до цього процесу всього суспільства. І чи був інший шлях швидкого подолання хаосу, який існував у системі влади протягом останніх п'яти років?
Правда-1: За часів функціонування президентської системи у 1996-2005 роках уряди змінювалися частіше, ніж протягом існування парламентської системи в 2006-2010 роках. Де тут "хаос"?
Брехня-2: Я думаю, мине небагато часу, і ми довідаємося, хто інспірував і провокував усі ці недолугі історії з переслідуваннями історика, який на час затримання був працівником СБУ; зі зникненням журналіста Климентьєва; з організацією акцій на кшталт "Дайте жити! Дайте писати!"; зі скандалами у територіальних виборчих комісіях у зв'язку з відмовою реєструвати представників опозиційних партій на виборах до місцевих органів влади. Однак факт залишається фактом: опозиція звинувачує, а влада виправдовується, причому вже не лише вдома, а й за кордоном.
Правда-2: Цим Герман демонструє свою совкову політичну культуру, вдаючись до тих самих теорій змови, згідно з якими фальсифікації на виборах 2004 року насправді були не фальсифікаціями, а "провокацією" з боку опозиції, представників якої підготували західні агенти спецслужб, що працювали в іноземних фондах. Герман повторює ту саму неправду щодо "провокацій" довкола виборів 31 жовтня, що й Міністр внутрішніх справ Могильов і Президент Янукович. "Що мене хвилює на цих виборах, мене хвилюють тільки провокації... якщо не будуть працювати спеціально підготовлені загони провокаторів, проблем ніяких не буде", – сказав Янукович.
Yanukovych's New Best Friend - Hugo Chavez
|Following the creation of a Ukrainian-Venezuelan working group, the first meeting of which will take place next month and the second in December in Caracas, Yanukovych is expected to visit Venezuela in the early part of 2011.
Venezuela’s eccentric President Hugo Chavez visited Ukraine on October 18 to cement an economic, political and security relationship. As the director of Kyiv’s Institute of World Policy, Alyona Hetmanchuk, noted, the new alliance was given a name by Ariel Cohen of Washington’s Heritage Foundation: VIRUS – which brings together Venezuela, India, Russia and Syria. Perhaps Ukraine, Hetmanchuk muses, is planned to be the ‘U’ in the new strategic alliance of VIRUS?
Chavez travelled to Ukraine after visiting Russia and Belarus. From Kyiv, he visited Iran, Syria, Libya and Portugal. “I was very pleased to hear about your victory, about your return, which was secured by the Ukrainian public. That very day I said to myself that I cannot waste time anymore, I must go to Ukraine and shake Viktor Yanukovych's hand, I have to embrace [the president] and convey the warmest greetings to the Ukrainian people,” Chavez said.
Kyiv’s relationship with Venezuela harms Ukraine’s relationship with Georgia. During the same week that Chavez visited Ukraine, the prosecutor’s office re-opened the case of alleged “illegal” arms sales to Georgia during President Viktor Yushchenko’s rule.
Complete article here
Ukraine’s foreign and security policy controlled by Russia
|Yanukovych has repeatedly ignored requests by the G7 Ambassadors for a meeting in Kyiv.
President Viktor Yanukovych’s foreign and security policy is controlled by Russia and coordinated with Moscow. The same conclusion is already appearing among European elites after seeing first-hand how Ukrainian foreign policy personnel work closely with Russia.
Russian influence in Ukraine’s foreign policy is evident in two areas. The first is coordination between the Ukrainian delegation headed by the Romanian and Party of Regions deputy, Ivan Popecku, and the Russian delegation at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) that sought to moderate criticism of the October 5 resolution (http://assembly.coe.int/ASP/Doc/ATListingDetails_E.asp?ATID=11237). A detailed analysis of backroom negotiations described the Russian delegation as “the Big Brother of the Party of Regions” (Ukrayinska Pravda, October 6).
Russian support for the Ukrainian authorities on the PACE monitoring committee only served to increase the determination of the Estonian PACE co-rapporteur for the monitoring of Ukraine, Mailis Reps, to include tough criticism of the Ukrainian authorities. Russian and Ukrainian delegations repeatedly blamed the “Orange” authorities for alleged democratic infringements and repression of Russian speakers. “Yushchenko was a pseudo-democrat!” Russian Duma deputy Dmitriy Viatkin said, a comment followed by similar remarks by Russian Communist leader Gennadiy Zyuganov and the Russian political technologist, Sergei Markov (Ukrayinska Pravda, October 6).
Complete article here
Constitutionalism and the rule of law in retreat in Ukraine
|They failed to take into account that a presidential system has been synonymous with democratic regression, authoritarianism and weak reforms throughout the CIS. All Central-Eastern European and Baltic post-communist states, that conducted the greatest number of reforms and advanced towards democratic systems and market economies, adopted parliamentary systems.
Three recent episodes reflect the degree to which the rule of law in Ukraine is under pressure from its already weak position after five years of instability under former President Viktor Yushchenko. This growing pressure on the rule of law comes after President Viktor Yanukovych has been in office for only nine months. On September 14, the Prosecutor-General’s Office concluded that the only person who ordered the murder of journalist Georgi Gongadze in September 2000 was the Interior Minister, Yuriy Kravchenko. Gongadze’s decapitated body was re-buried in such a way for it to be found, as it was in November 2000, leading to what became known as the Kuchmagate crisis.
Kravchenko committed “suicide” in March 2005 on the day he was set to give evidence to the Prosecutor-General’s Office. Kravchenko’s “suicide” has been in doubt ever since as he died from two gunshots to the head. The verdict has been ridiculed by Kravchenko’s friends and foes alike as a whitewash orchestrated by its organizers. Volodymyr Melnykov, General Oleksiy Pukach’s superior in the interior ministry, did not believe that Kravchenko gave the order to Pukach. Pukach admitted murdering Gongadze and was captured last year, after five years in hiding (Komersant-Ukraina, September 27).
Complete article here
Nationalism, identity and civil society in Ukraine: Understanding the Orange Revolution
|Three other types of nationalism found in post-communist societies – ethnic, Soviet and great power-imperial .
Following the disintegration of communism, ethnic conflicts in the Balkans, Caucasus and other parts of the world have led to nationalism becoming widely seen as intrinsically hostile to democratic development. In reality, as this article seeks to demonstrate, the relationship between nationalism and post-communist transitions and democratization is more nuanced.
… Three other types of nationalism found in post-communist societies – ethnic, Soviet and great power-imperial – have led to ethnic conflict, chauvinistic xenophobia and the establishment of authoritarian regimes. Anti-Western nationalisms in Serbia, Belarus and Russia have u der-pinned authoritarian regimes that display no interest in integrating into ‘Europe’. Civic nationalism in Ukraine played a positive role in mobilizing mass protests against election fraud in the 2004 presidential elections that came to be known as the Orange Revolution. Following the Orange Revolution, out of twelve members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) only Ukraine has been designated as ‘free’ by the New York-based Freedom House think tank (www.freedomhouse.org).
Complete article here
Ukrainian Education Minister Tabachnyk confirms his Russian nationalist credentials
|The appointments of Tabachnyk and Khoroshkovsky both negatively impacted on President Yanukovych’s international and domestic image. The fact that they remain in place is evidence that Russia was able to implement its demand to influence cabinet appointments in the Siloviki and humanities fields in exchange for support for Yanukovych in the 2010 elections.
Education Minister, Dmytro Tabachnyk, in Ukrainian Prime Minister, Nikolai Azarov’s, government has always been a controversial figure because of his antagonistic views towards Western Ukrainians, Ukrainian nationalism and his pro-Russian view of history. Valery Khoroshkovsky continues to remain in his position as the Chairman of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) despite continually embarrassing President Viktor Yanukovych (EDM, September 23).
The appointments of Tabachnyk and Khoroshkovsky both negatively impacted on President Yanukovych’s international and domestic image. The fact that they remain in place is evidence that Russia was able to implement its demand to influence cabinet appointments in the Siloviki and humanities fields in exchange for support for Yanukovych in the 2010 elections. These demands were outlined in President, Dmitry Medvedev’s, August 2009 open letter to the then President Viktor Yushchenko (http://korrespondent.net, August 9, 2009).
Complete article here
Ukraine’s oligarchs and democratic regression: Why are they silent?
|... the SBU is deliberately derailing Ukraine’s European integration and thereby pushing Ukraine into a single vector pro-Russian foreign policy
The image of the Viktor Yanukovych administration continues to deteriorate in the eyes of Ukrainians and Europe, as seen in opinion polls and a September 13 statement by the Political Assembly of the center-right European Peoples Party, the most influential political group in the European Parliament. The EPP asserted
it is “deeply disturbed by the ongoing situation with Ukraine’s democratic development” (http://epp.eu/press.asp?artid=1447&fullview
=1). Two days later the EU called upon Yanukovych to not destroy Ukraine’s democracy (www.pravda.com.ua/news/2010/09/17/5393165/).
A central figure contributing to ending Yanukovych’s honeymoon with the West is the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) Chairman, Valery Khoroshkovsky. It is, therefore, surprising that his protégé, oligarch and Leonid Kuchma’s son-in-law, Viktor Pinchuk, a trailblazer in seeking to lobby a new and improved international image for himself, has remained silent. Khoroshkovsky was propelled into
Ukrainian politics in 2002 as a leader of the KOP (Winter Crop Generation)
political party that Pinchuk funded as a rival to Viktor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine.
Complete article here
Russophile agenda rising once again
The orientation became most acute under Volodymyr Shcherbytsky, who ruled the Soviet republic of Ukraine from 1972 to 1989. He was followed by “imperial communists” Volodymyr Ivashko and Stanislav Hurenko. Hurenko led the Communist Party after he retired in 1989-1991. Pyotr Symonenko, the Communist Party of Ukraine leader since 1993, is the continuation of this “imperial communist” tradition in Ukrainian politics. Ukraine’s “national communist” tradition also goes back to the beginnings of the Communist Party in Ukraine, but was annihilated in the early 1930s.
In the 1960s, it revived and became most closely associated with Petro Shelest, a native of Kharkiv who ran Soviet Ukraine from 1963 to 1972, and Kravchuk, a western Ukrainian who dominated this group between 1989 and 1994.
The Feb. 7 election of Yanukovych signals a decisive break in Ukraine’s history as it signifies the return of the “imperial communist” orientation to Ukrainian politics. Yanukovych is more pro-Russian than ex-President Leonid Kuchma (1994-2005) in domestic and foreign policies. Yanukovych is seeking to change the consensus of integration with the West that had been accepted by Ukraine’s first three presidents – Kravchuk (1991-1994), Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko (2005-2010).
Complete article here
Hapless opposition unable to lead nation out of political wilderness
The opposition to President Viktor Yanukovych established a Committee in Defense of Ukraine on May 10 in the Writers Union. It all felt like deja vu -- 1988 all over again, when the Writers Union launched the Ukrainian Popular Movement (Rukh), which pressed for national independence, in the same building.
It was also reminiscent of ex-President Leonid Kuchma's era when the opposition established a Front for National Salvation in February 2001. At that time, Yulia Tymoshenko was briefly imprisoned. Today, the ex-prime minister faces threats from the current authorities to revive corruption charges against her.
Has Ukraine really not moved on since 1988 or 2001?
Following numerous protest waves, the 2004 Orange Revolution and the largely ineffectual presidency of Viktor Yushchenko, Ukrainian society is in trouble. Relations between the country's political class and its citizens are depressed.
|Opposition is an indispensable component of democracy. However, the rhetoric that emanates from both sides of the political divide suggests neither understands this. After five years of political instability, the opposition forces to government are in a rut. They will not evolve into a powerful force for four reasons...
Ukrainians did not go to the elections this year with great expectations or enthusiasm, a very different atmosphere to the heady days of the Orange Revolution, which gave the nation hope for justice, change and a different relationship between ruling elites and citizens. All of the main candidates in the 2010 contest had negative ratings. Even the "new faces" -- Sergiy Tigipko, Arseniy Yatseniuk and Anatoliy Hrytsenko -- had negative ratings.
Contrast this with 2004, when Yushchenko had high positive ratings and was seen as a new and clean candidate. Four million fewer Ukrainians voted on Feb. 7 than did so on Dec. 26, 2004.
Although in opposition for much of the last five years, Party of Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych received nearly a half-million fewer votes than he received on Dec. 26, 2004. He won the same 11 oblasts, became the first president to not be elected by 50 percent of voters and won by only 3.5 percentage points. This was hardly an outstanding victory considering the fact that Tymoshenko was an incumbent prime minister during the worst economic-financial crisis in decades.
Ukrainians have taken their revenge on politicians who have betrayed them, such as the Socialist Party, leader Oleksandr Moroz, who took the party from the Orange Revolution coalition to the Party of Regions and Communists in 2006. The Socialists failed to enter parliament in 2007. The same revenge by voters will be most likely taken against Volodymyr Lytvyn in the 2012 elections for betraying the democratic coalition in February.
|The bottom line: The opposition today is far weaker and divided than it was during Kuchma's second term in office, from 1999-2004, in the run-up to the Orange Revolution.... It should be recognized that a strong opposition is essential to the nation to remain a democracy.
Ukraine's journalists have immediately begun to protest against a return to censorship since Yanukovych's Feb. 25 inauguration. It took journalists at least a decade under Kuchma to rise up against "temnyky" -- the presidential administration's instructions to television channels on how to cover the news.Opposition is an indispensable component of democracy. However, the rhetoric that emanates from both sides of the political divide suggests neither understands this. After five years of political instability, the opposition forces to government are in a rut. They will not evolve into a powerful force for four reasons:
- Ukrainian political leaders never undertake internal audits following election defeats. Party leaders are never replaced. Internal examination and leadership changes are indispensable in rebuilding trust with voters. But this requires both an honest discussion of mistakes and a greater sensitivity to opinion polls and public sensitivities;
- Young people, who do not remember the Soviet Union but see elements of that state being rebuilt, are not integrated into the opposition;
- Politicians need to outline alternatives, rather than just criticize authorities.
- When in opposition, Ukrainian politicians offer weak programs. The Party of Regions returned to power this year with no ready program.
The ideological amorphousness of post-Soviet political parties did not lead to the revival of European-style ideological divisions between left and right. Another factor is the weakness of intellectuals within all political parties. This, in turn, is a reflection of the weakness of political science as a discipline in Ukrainian universities. Well-researched books on current politics are nearly impossible to find in Kyiv's bookstores.
What should be done? Four steps come to mind:
Re-connect with voters: The opposition needs to re-establish trust with voters by encouraging internal debate and external transparency. If they do not, party members, civil society and the media should undertake it for them.
Work with young people. The old Rukh nationalists, who have a well-deserved place in contemporary Ukrainian history, will never be able to mobilize young people. The opposition has to understand that it will never become a powerful and energetic force without integrating young people and youth-oriented non-governmental organizations. The centrality of young people to popular movements was evident in the Ukraine Without Kuchma movement and the 2004 Orange Revolution.
Draw on intermediaries. Ukrainian diaspora groups, such the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, could be used as intermediaries to bring together divided opposition leaders. The launch of the Committee in Defense of Ukraine was ignored by Yushchenko, Vyacheslav Kyrylenko and Yatseniuk who, together with Hrytsenko, did not join the new opposition movement. Disunity permits the authorities to divide and rule.
Inject intellectual input. There are upwards of 30 North American and European political scientists with expertise on Ukraine and the post-communist world. Some of these political experts could be indispensable in providing intellectual gravitas for the opposition, assisting in drawing up alternative programs and organizing Western visits of opposition leaders and youth activists.
The bottom line: The opposition today is far weaker and divided than it was during Kuchma's second term in office, from 1999-2004, in the run-up to the Orange Revolution. There remains much to be done to rebuild Ukraine's opposition. It should be recognized that a strong opposition is essential to the nation to remain a democracy.
New Ukrainian foundation puts people first
Ukraine finally emerged as a democracy six years ago following mass protests that became known as the Orange Revolution. The human rights think tank Freedom House has rated Ukraine as "Free" since 2005, making it the only CIS country to sustain this annual ranking over a period of years.
|The approach of People First is different. Its president, Ivan Matieshin, a Ukrainian businessman who made his fortune in the energy sector in western Siberia, targets the grassroots.
To date, Ukraine has held four elections that were assessed by OSCE observers as "free and fair." It has also been given credit for vibrant media pluralism.
But not everything is in good democratic order in Ukraine.
Public trust in state institutions is at an all time low, corruption levels have risen over the last five years, corruption flourishes within the judicial system and the prosecutor's office, politics has become more brittle and fractured, and Ukrainian citizens are disenchanted with their leaders and with democracy.
A November 2009 International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) survey found that all of the main presidential candidates in the 2010 elections had negative ratings that ranged from 55 to 83 percent. Four million fewer Ukrainians voted in the second round of the 2010 presidential elections than in the rerun second round in December 2004.
Ukrainian citizens and the political and business elites are separated by a wide gulf of mistrust, disillusionment, and frustration. Ukrainian citizens feel excluded from the political process; people in both the east and west of the country are not contented, but they don't know how to channel their frustration into concrete actions and thereby bring about the change the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians desire.
How can this gulf be overcome and Ukraine's democracy rebuilt and strengthened?
A New Approach
May 13 marked the launch of a new nonpolitical foundation, People First, that believes it has a hitherto untried approach to promoting democracy in Ukraine.
|People First has hit the proverbial nail on the head in seeking to increase public efficacy and feelings of self-worth.
Ukraine has been the target of democracy-promoting Western foundations, such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), for a quarter of a century. Other bodies, such as the European Union and German, British, Dutch, and Swedish foundations, have promoted democracy since the 1990s.
The People First foundation plans the most ambitious such democracy promotion effort to date. It differs from earlier programs in four ways.
First, it is funded by a Ukrainian businessman, not by an external source, which is unusual. Indeed, it is because so few Ukrainian businessmen have been willing to invest in philanthropic activities that most NGOs are forced to seek grants from abroad.
Viktor Pinchuk, one of the few exceptions, provided funding for lobbying efforts among European and U.S. elites to influence their attitudes towards Ukraine. Renat Akhmetov has aimed at influencing Ukraine's elites through a think tank that focuses on socioeconomic questions. Both, however, target elites.
The approach of People First is different. Its president, Ivan Matieshin, a Ukrainian businessman who made his fortune in the energy sector in western Siberia, targets the grassroots.
"Democracy is the voice of the people, and our program is designed to give the people a voice that is loud enough to reverberate through the corridors of power, not only in Ukraine but right across the world," Matieshin said.
Matieshin was born in Russia's Tyumen oblast, the home of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians who were either exiled for political reasons or sent there to work in the energy sector. It is no coincidence that Matieshin's roots are in Western Ukraine, confirming again the close link identified by Western and Ukrainian scholars between national identity, prodemocracy views, and civil society.
Second, People First will encourage Ukrainians to participate in a series of referendums, starting in late summer and continuing until spring of next year. This will be the most comprehensive public consultation ever undertaken in Ukraine of what citizens expect from their elected leaders and unelected officials. The results will be incorporated into a People's Charter, like a modern-day Bill of Rights.
People First hopes the charter will become the subject of a broad dialogue between elites, political parties, NGOs, and the population at large. It is here that the ambitious nature of the new foundation is evident; after all, post-Soviet ruling elites are not accustomed to listening to citizens and voters.
Third, and following on from the second point, People First has hit the proverbial nail on the head in seeking to increase public efficacy and feelings of self-worth. Ukrainians feel oppressed and short-changed by their employers, politicians, and government officials and, with the exception of the Orange Revolution, have rarely fought back.
|In every established democracy, promoting a sense of national -- as opposed to regional -- identity has been a precondition for democracy-building. But that process has been relegated to the back burner for the past five years.
The presentation of People First stressed socioeconomic issues as much as the different elements that go to make up a democracy. No Ukrainian political leader has ever managed to strike a successful balance between addressing socioeconomic problems, national identity, and democratic values -- although widespread grievances in all three areas were behind the Orange Revolution.
Until Ukrainians are satisfied with their socioeconomic status they are unlikely to be strong supporters of democracy. Until Ukrainians see that elites have become accountable for their actions, they themselves will not respect the law. Until Ukrainians demand to be treated differently by their leaders, they will remain subjects, and will not be treated as citizens.
Fourth, People First could deal at the grassroots level with two issues that have been largely ignored by external democracy-promotion efforts to date. The first relates to periodic attempts by politicians on each side of the political divide to exacerbate regional divisions, particular during election campaigns. While it is true that Ukraine has inherited regional diversity, domestic and foreign surveys have also shown that far more unites Ukrainians than divides them.
In every established democracy, promoting a sense of national -- as opposed to regional -- identity has been a precondition for democracy-building. But that process has been relegated to the back burner for the past five years.
Energetically promoting national integration, including by striving to find areas of consensus and compromise, is therefore one of the keys to consolidating democracy in Ukraine.
Another factor is the absence of civics, or citizenship studies, in Ukraine's education system, together with the weakness of political studies. Book-length studies on Ukrainian politics, in contrast to books on every aspect of Ukrainian history, are rare commodities. These weaknesses negatively influence the development of Ukrainian citizens and the emergence of new political leaders.
Will People First succeed in implementing what is undoubtedly an ambitious, even idealistic program? Initial reactions to its launch were skeptical, but many people have expressed approval and support.
Four Steps to a New Soviet-Russian National Identity for Ukraine
|Domestically, a Soviet-Russian national identity undermines Yanukovych’s claim that he will bring stability to Ukraine which was believed in the West which largely welcomed his election. But, as the April 27 riot in the Ukrainian parliament has shown, a radical shift in Ukraine’s national identity towards a Soviet-Russian framework will bring turmoil and conflict while deepening Ukraine’s regional polarization.
The Viktor Yanukovych administration is undertaking a radical overhaul of Ukraine’s national identity that turns its back not only on the Viktor Yushchenko era but also on two earlier presidents. All three presidents promoted an Ukrainophile national identity that was based on the doyen of Ukrainian historiography, Mykhailo Hrushevsky, president of the 1918 Ukrainian independent state.
President Yanukovych and Minister of Education Dimitri Tabachnyk have outlined policies to re-write school textbooks, in some cases together with Russia. These would be no longer based on the Hrushevsky framework while permitting Soviet-Russian national identity to influence Ukraine’s education system.
The Yanukovych administration is unashamedly moving Ukraine to a neo-Sovietophile and Russophile view of Ukrainian history and national identity. This step will be even more divisive than that pursued by Yushchenko. The shift from a Ukrainian to a Soviet-Russian national identity is reflected in four ways.
Firstly, as Ukraine celebrates the 65th anniversary of World War II, billboards and posters throughout Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities reflect the Viktor Yanukovych administrations shift in Ukraine’s national identity to one more acceptable to Moscow. Parades in four Ukrainian cities will, for the first time, include 1,000 Russian troops.
Tabachnyk has ordered that school textbooks no longer refer to ‘World War II’ but to the Велика Вітчизняна війна. In his view, there were heroes from the Great Patriotic War and ‘collaborators’, within which he includes Ukrainian nationalists.
Secondly, Tabachnyk has returned to Soviet era ideological views of Ukrainian nationalists as Nazi hirelings. Attacks on nationalists returned during the 2002 and 2004 elections as a way of portraying Our Ukraine and Viktor Yushchenko as ‘nationalists’. In the 2004 elections, fake ‘nationalists’ were registered as technical candidates and SS-style street parades were organized in Kyiv who voiced their support for Yushchenko. These views were then given wide media coverage aimed at reducing support for him in Eastern Ukraine.
Today, Ukrainian television, which is under the control of oligarchs and since Yanukovych was elected has returned to self censorship, is again exaggerating the influence and support of the nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party as a way of mobilizing Russian-speakers to remain loyal to the Yanukovych administration. The moderate opposition are largely ignored on Ukrainian television; Yulia Tymoshenko has not been invited to give interviews since the elections.
Soviet Army veterans stand next at the monument to Soviet dictator
Thirdly, the rehabilitation of Soviet leader Jozef Stalin whose ideology Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) placed on an equal par with Nazism in a resolution last year. A Stalin bust was unveiled in Zaporizhzhia on May 5 and further busts are planned in Odesa and other Russian-speaking cities. Billboards greeting Stalin went up earlier in Luhansk and Donetsk.
Josef Stalin in Zaporizhya, 500 kms (311 miles) southeast of the capital Kyiv, May 5, 2010. The monument was unveiled ahead of the 65th anniversary of the World War Victory.
At the PACE a representative from Luxembourg asked President Yanukovych ‘It seems that in Ukraine, a process of heroization of Stalin, and increasingly, a return to the Soviet interpretation of the Second World War, is taking place. Could this trend be supported by your Government too, and particularly by the Minister of Education? What are you doing, Mr. President, to stop this most disturbing process?’.
Yanukovych’s feeble response was to say that there should be a local referendum to see if the city’s inhabitants support a Stalin bust. He could not openly condemn the bust as the Communist Party (KPU), in whose grounds the bust was unveiled, is a member of the Stability and Reforms coalition. The 2006-2007 Anti-Crisis coalition also included the KPU many of whose voters have re-aligned with the Party of Regions.
Party of Regions deputies have defended the Stalin bust by countering that there are statues of the ‘Nazi’ nationalist leader Stepan Bandera in Western Ukraine. This is a false comparison as Western Ukrainians support Bandera monuments whilst Eastern Ukrainians do not support Stalin statues. An April poll found that 57% of Ukrainians opposed the opening of Stalin monuments and only 10% supported this step. Of those opposed this ranged between 76% in Western Ukraine and 57% in Eastern Ukraine.
Fourthly, as in Russia, a rehabilitation of Stalin comes with a downplaying of Stalinist crimes. President Yanukovych said to PACE that the famine was a tragedy for all Soviet peoples, not only Ukrainians, denying that it was a ‘genocide’.
The new Yanukovych position is the same as the old Russian position. It was, ‘like pouring oil on an already simmering fire in Ukraine’s polarized politics’, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs David Kramer wrote in the Kyiv Post (April 28).
On the day of his inauguration the section on www.president.gov.ua established by Yushchenko on the 1933 famine was removed. SBU chairman Valeriy Khoroshovsky closed the agency’s archives department which had released documents on Soviet crimes against Ukrainians and the famine.
The Party of Regions and KPU did not vote for the November 2006 law on the famine which, together with a January 2010 Higher Appeals Court ruling, defines the famine as ‘genocide’ against Ukrainians. Yushchenko condemned Yanukovych’s ‘cynicism’ for infringing both at PACE. The Stability and Reforms coalition plan to overturn the famine law.
This four-step shift to a Soviet-Russian identity has ramifications in both Ukraine’s domestic and foreign policy.
Domestically, a Soviet-Russian national identity undermines Yanukovych’s claim that he will bring stability to Ukraine which was believed in the West which largely welcomed his election. But, as the April 27 riot in the Ukrainian parliament has shown, a radical shift in Ukraine’s national identity towards a Soviet-Russian framework will bring turmoil and conflict while deepening Ukraine’s regional polarization.
Secondly, Ukraine’s foreign policy will be affected by a Soviet-Russian national identity, the Black sea Fleet long-term base agreement until 2042-2047 and further pro-Russian policies. These have not only closed Ukraine’s path to NATO membership but also even EU membership aspirations.
Perception means everything in international affairs and the Yanukovych administration is not perceived in Brussels as ‘European’ but as Eurasian, the ideology behind the Soviet-Russian national identity. This is especially the case as Brussels and Washington eventually come to realize that he will not bring either stability or reforms, the name of the pro-government parliamentary coalition.
Yanukovych, Stalin and the Ukrainian famine
On May 5, the Communist Party unveiled a bust of Soviet leader and war criminal Josef Stalin in Zaporizhya. A second Stalin bust is rumored to be ready for Odesa. Billboards of Stalin have already gone up in Luhansk.
What is going on in Ukraine?
This is par for the course, to some degree. After all, Kyiv still has a statue to Vladimir Lenin, who created the Soviet secret police and established the gulag long before Stalin. Ukraine still has a Communist Party that is part of the ruling majority with the dominant Party of Regions, which stands for oligarchic capitalists, theoretically the opposite of what the Communists stand for.
But the unveiling of the Zaporizhya bust of Stalin and President Viktor Yanukovych's disregard for public sentiment shows reactionary policies at work. The gradual rehabilitation of Stalin, under way in Russia and Belarus, is now creeping into Ukraine, the former Soviet republic that has done the most to denounce Stalin and his crimes.
Yanukovych has moved away from the admittedly controversial view of the famine as genocide. But he also seeks to downplay the famine. On the day of his Feb. 25 inauguration, the famine section on www.president.gov.ua was removed. State Security Service head Valeriy Khoroshovsky closed the agency's archives, which had released documents from the Soviet KGB and its predecessors outlining totalitarian crimes against Ukrainians.
A 1+1 journalist has also complained about the famine becoming a taboo subject on commercial channels owned by pro-presidential oligarchs. He claimed that new directives that resemble Kuchma era temnyky are being give to television stations.
Stalin's rehabilitation in Ukraine has not gone unnoticed in the West. It will be another nail in the coffin of Ukraine's hopes of being seen as European.
At the Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe (PACE) on April 27, the same day as parliament's ratification of the highly contentious Black Sea Fleet base treaty, a representative from Luxembourg asked Yanukovych: "It seems that in Ukraine, a process of heroization of Stalin, and increasingly, a return to the Soviet interpretation of the Second World War, is taking place."
Minister of Education Dmitri Tabachnyk has already outlined his view that Ukrainian textbooks should return to using Great Patriotic War rather than Second World War.
The Soviet interpretation ignores 1939-1941, when the U.S.S.R. was an ally of the Nazis and that, for Ukrainians, the war broke out in 1939 when Nazi ally Hungary attacked the Transcarpathian Ukrainian Republic and Poland, which was attacked in 1939 by both the Nazis and Stalinists.
Yanukovych's only response to the Stalin rehabilitation has been to call for a local referendum, which has been echoed by his deputy chief of staff, Hanna Herman.
Professor Andrea Graziosi has one of the best and most balanced analyses on this topic. You can read Graziosi's lecture on the topic here. Graziosi shows how Stalin saw the peasantry as the main army of Ukrainian nationalist movement, and reasoned that by killing off the peasantry he takes the air out of nationalist movement he feared.
Yanukovych's views are a complete negation of three previous Ukrainian presidents on the famine question and not only the views of former President Viktor Yushchenko. Kuchma first described the famine as genocide on the 70th anniversary in 2003, when parliamentary hearings were held. A 1998 presidential decree declared the fourth Saturday of each November as National Day of Remembrance of Famine Victims.
What can the opposition do to take Yanukovych and his administration to task on this question? Three steps spring to mind:
Include in future election programs support for banning the Communist Party. Last year the Council of Europe placed Nazi and Soviet crimes on the same footing. Nazi parties are illegal in Austria, Germany and Italy; pass a law making propagation of Nazism and Stalinism illegal. It is illegal to wave Nazi flags and symbols in three European countries; and Launch an information campaign in eastern-southern Ukraine targeting Party of Regions voters who do not agree with the rehabilitation of Stalin. A poll by the Razumkov Ukrainian Center for Economic and Political Studies (www.uceps.com.ua) found that 57 percent of Ukrainians opposed the opening of Stalin monuments and only 10 percent supported this step. Opposition to Stalin monuments is to be found across all age groups, including 52 percent of those aged 60 and over.
A moderate but still pro-Ukrainian viewpoint for Yanukovych would be to accept that the famine was a crime against Ukrainians while distancing himself from the genocide question.
Instead, Yanukovych has moved towards Russia's position of denial of the famine as a crime against Ukraine. In doing so, Yanukovych has turned the clock back two decades to before 1990 when the Communist Party first belatedly criticized the 1933 famine.
The only conclusion one can reach is that a reactionary program is in place to undermine two decades of achievements in Ukrainian nation-building.
President Yanukovych threatens Ukraine's democracy
President Viktor Yanukovych is in Washington for the nuclear summit with the hope of securing a meeting with President Barack Obama. If a meeting goes ahead, Yanukovych should be reminded of the importance of democratic values to the U.S.-Ukrainian relationship.
In 2008, the United States and Ukraine signed a Charter on Strategic Partnership that highlights cooperation in security, energy, democracy and economics. President Yanukovych supports continued cooperation within the Charter but his domestic policies, after only 40 days in office, point to him backsliding on democratic and economic reforms.
Speaking to a conference on Ukraine at George Washington University this week, University of Florida's Paul D'Anieri does not see encouraging signs for democracy in Ukraine: "Will there be free and fair elections in 2015? It's early, but the signs aren't encouraging. Already it appears that Yanukovych seeks to eliminate political competition in Ukraine, and it is questionable whether there is any force powerful enough to stop him."
A presidential meeting on the sidelines of the nuclear summit should be used by Washington to discuss five areas that threaten further U.S. cooperation with Ukraine. The first should point to the unacceptable trend of the Yanukovych administration towards clawing back Ukraine's democratic gains. Only four days before Yanukovych set foot on U.S. soil he engineered a blatantly political ruling by the Constitutional Court.
Political corruption, which is now being rewarded, is by far the biggest threat to Ukraine's democracy. Opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko warned that the court's ruling "blessed corruption" and "opened great perspectives for corruption by Ukrainian parliamentary deputies."
The court's ruling legitimizes the ruling coalition by permitting factions and deputies who have defected from their factions to join a coalition. The ruling contradicts an earlier ruling that permitted only factions to join coalitions and overturns the very essence of Ukraine's proportional system whereby voters elect parties, not individuals.
Second, the president's coalition has indefinitely postponed local elections set for May and introduced draft legislation that permanently takes away the vote from Kyev to elect a mayor.
Threats to media pluralism, one of the main democratic achievements in Ukraine, are growing.
Evidence of interference by the Chairman of the Security Service, Valery Khoroshkovsky, an oligarchic media tycoon, into allocation of television licenses have led to growing protests by journalists. Journalists have been arrested and harassed by police and officials.
Intolerance of the opposition is gauged by arrests and police brutality against protesters. An investigation is to be launched against Tymoshenko into alleged financial transgressions when she headed the government.
Third, the appointment of Nikolai Azarov as prime minister dispels any prospects for economic reforms. As Rutgers University's Alexander Motyl points out, the prime minister is "synonymous with government corruption, ruinous taxation rates, and hostility to small business."
Fourth, the Azarov government is the first of 15 in Ukraine over the last two decades that does not include a single woman. Both Yanukovych and Azarov have expressed brazenly chauvinist views that consign women to the kitchen or allege they are unable to work the long hours that are required during the economic crisis. Britain's Guardian newspaper depicted Azarov as a "Neanderthal" for his sexist comments.
Fifth, the presidents staffing policies have returned corrupt oligarchs, those opposed to reforms and holding neo-Soviet and anti-American views to senior positions of power in law enforcement, the military and the intelligence services. These personnel escaped justice following election fraud five years ago by seeking asylum in Russia or through backroom immunity deals with President Yushchenko.
The return of such individuals to head the security forces have opened up channels for greater Russian influence over Ukraine's national security apparatus and the country's foreign policy orientation and reduces prospects for continued high levels of security cooperation with NATO and the U.S. Such cooperation has benefited Ukraine through military reforms and income generated by the military-industrial complex.
Ukraine became a democracy five years ago following Europe's biggest mass protests since World War II when one in five Ukrainians protested in what became known as the Orange Revolution. The Supreme Court overturned a rigged election that brought Yanukovych to power and ordered a re-run which opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko won.
During the next five years U.S. political consultants Rick Davis and Paul Manafort worked on improving Yanukovych's image by introducing American-style party rallies and election campaigns. Davis-Manafort's re-imaging led many Western newspapers in the 2010 elections to portray Yanukovych as a "new-born democrat."
But, after less than two months in office Yanukovych's "new" image is fraying and proving to be not very different from the old, un-democratic image he held five years ago.
When Yanukovych sought to undemocratically come to power five years ago he provoked a 17-day non-violent street carnival known as the Orange Revolution. If President Yanukovych attempts a second time to undermine Ukraine's democracy he will be again faced by mass protests -- but of a different type. The violent breakdown of order in Kyrgyzstan should be a wake up call to the U.S. that Yanukovych's policies will fail to bring stability to Ukraine.
As Yanukovych visits Washington, Ukraine's foreign policy incoherent and deceitful
|A major problem facing Western governments and international organizations is their inability to de-cipher and therefore understand the neo-Soviet mindset that permeates members of the Yanukovych administration. Where we see contradictions, deception and deceit they see nothing unusual as exhibited by three examples.
Ahead of President Viktor Yanukovych's three day visit to Washington DC, Ukrainian commentators are increasingly pointing to the fact that the Yanukovych administration's undermining of a two decade-old elite consensus on Ukraine's foreign policy is leading to widespread confusion at home and abroad as to his foreign policy goals. Brussels and Washington will be unable to understand the Yanukovych administration's domestic and foreign policy goals because of its deeply ingrained neo-Soviet mindset.
The proua.com.ua web site (April 8) commented "Ukraine intends to integrate into the EU without its consent, make peace with Russia on its own terms and establish a strategic partnership with the U.S. having lost strategic significance for Washington". Former President Leonid Kravchuk in an open letter to President Yanukovych wrote "everything that we did until now cannot be described as serious foreign policy that would reflect the core interests of the Ukrainian people" (Ukrayinska Pravda, April 6).
Kravchuk complained that Ukraine was "going to the West, going to the East, to the CIS and to the EU" (Ukrayinska Pravda, April 6). "In our words we are moving to Europe. But interestingly we are doing this through Russia, through the Single Economic Space, and the Customs Union. Its obvious that this is impossible" (Ukrayinska Pravda, April 6 and http://zik.com.ua/en/news/2010/04/08/223981).
A major problem facing Western governments and international organizations is their inability to de-cipher and therefore understand the neo-Soviet mindset that permeates members of the Yanukovych administration. Where we see contradictions, deception and deceit they see nothing unusual as exhibited by three examples.
|Yanukovych supported the Constitutional Court's ruling to legalize the parliamentary coalition, which is widely seen in Ukraine as a product of political corruption, by stating that "We should learn to live by the law"
First, declaring goals without establishing mechanisms to achieve them. The mindset is similar to Soviet lofty goals of building communism or fulfilling five year plans without any idea or intention of achieving them. Programs to combat corruption, join the EU and NATO are set forth without any intention of reaching the end goals.
Second, undertaking two policies at the same time that completely contradict one another. The 2002-2004 Yanukovych government sent the third largest military contingent to Iraq and yet launched the biggest anti-American campaign since the Soviet era.
In 2004, then President Leonid Kuchma and Prime Minister and candidate Yanukovych repeatedly declared their support for free and fair elections and at the same time undertook the least free and fair elections in Ukraine's history. Yanukovych's 2010 election program declared his intention to seek a "non-bloc status" for Ukraine while supporting the transformation of Sevastopol into a de facto permanent military base.
Third, because policy goals are not serious intentions, but merely declarations of intent, while politicians are never held accountable for their actions and statements, Prime Minister Yanukovych could support Ukraine's membership of NATO in 2002-2004 but oppose it since 2005 -- without offering any explanation as to why he changed his mind. In September 2008, Yanukovych and the Party of Regions became the only non-Russian political actor in the CIS to support the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. After being elected president Yanukovych did not use his constitutional right to recognize their independence.
Domestic and foreign policy goals that are therefore outlined by the Yanukovych administration cannot be taken at face value because intentions will be rarely backed up by policies. Yanukovych supported the Constitutional Court's ruling to legalize the parliamentary coalition, which is widely seen in Ukraine as a product of political corruption, by stating that "We should learn to live by the law" (Ukrayinska Pravda, April 8). Opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko described the Courts judges as "criminals" (www.tymoshenko.ua, April 8). The ruling appeared on the eve of Yanukovych's first visit to the US where it will confirm to many that his autocratic inclinations remain unchanged.
Yanukovych has made his intentions clear about NATO membership by abolishing the inter-agency commission to prepare Ukraine for NATO membership, the national center for Euro-Atlantic Integration, the Institute on Problems of National Security and National Institute on Problems of International Security (headed by former National Security and Defense Council secretary Volodymyr Horbulin) (www.president.gov.ua, April 2 and 4). The deputy prime ministers position with responsibility for European integration, held by Hryhoriy Nemyria in the Tymoshenko government, was abolished.
|Distrust of the US is rife within the Yanukovych administration, as evidenced by the decision to invite Russian troops to participate in the May 8 Victory Day parade, the first occasion since 1991, in five Ukrainian cities.
While dropping the goal of NATO membership the Yanuovych administration have stated their continued support for cooperation. Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryschenko said that "Ukraine is interested in the further development of partner relations and pragmatic cooperation with NATO" (Kyiv Post, April 8).
But, how much credence can be given to this alleged goal?
During Kuchma's decade-long presidency Ukraine was the most active CIS member of NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP) program that benefitted Ukraine tremendously. The first time that problems arose in the cooperation began in 2005 when the Party of Regions, its Russian nationalist allies in the Crimea and Odesa and undercover BSF intelligence officers prevented joint maneuvers. Since 2005 the Party of Regions has repeatedly voted against annual PfP maneuvers and NATO lease of Ukrainian transport aircraft, both of which benefit Ukraine.
It therefore remains an open question if the Yanukovych administration will continue to support high levels of PfP cooperation, as they claim, that existed under Kuchma and Yushchenko or to continue to send Ukrainian units to NATO and UN-led missions. Distrust of the US is rife within the Yanukovych administration, as evidenced by the decision to invite Russian troops to participate in the May 8 Victory Day parade, the first occasion since 1991, in five Ukrainian cities.
Yanukovych continues to reiterate his support for EU membership over unions within the CIS. Nevertheless, his domestic policies and return of Kuchma era cadres constitute a threat to Ukraine's democratic gains since 2005, returning Ukraine to the Kuchma era's disconnect between pursuing Eurasianist domestic with European foreign policies.
This contradiction is also apparent in the foreign policy field. The alleged goal of EU membership is contradicted by strong support within the Yanukovych administration for integration and union with Russia, as outlined by Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Semynozhenko on a discussion on Ukrayina channel March 26). This breaks with Horbulin's definition of Kuchma's foreign policy as "integration with Europe, cooperation with the CIS" that drew a red line as to how far Ukraine would move towards CIS projects.
Brussels, where Yanukovych first visited, and Washington this week would do well to appreciate the existence of these different Western and neo-Soviet mindsets and thereby not be disappointed by inevitable future disappointments and contradictions that for us -- but not them -- seem like deceit.
Ukraine's fractured opposition
During the four years between the unveiling of secret tapes made by a presidential guard in November 2000 that implicated President Leonid Kuchma, the speaker of parliament, and the security forces in the abduction and murder of an opposition journalist and the 17-day Orange Revolution four years later, the Ukrainian opposition mobilized, increased in strength, and improved its tactics to go on and defeat the authorities' presidential candidate, then-Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.
International monitoring organizations and Western governments had cried foul and refused to accept the legitimacy of Yanukovych's "win" in the second-round runoff. The Supreme Court annulled the results on December 3, 2004, and called for a rerun later that month, which opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko won.
|Is the opposition capable of again successfully reversing today's drift to authoritarianism, as it did in the Kuchma era?
Fast-tracking the clock forward five years after Yushchenko's largely wasted presidency, and the discredited candidate of 2004, Party of Regions leader Yanukovych, is elected in what international organizations describe as a free election. Yushchenko, the hero of the Orange Revolution, comes in fifth with just 5 percent of the vote, far less than the 44 percent received by incumbent President Leonid Kravchuk in 1994. Both Yushchenko and Kravchuk served only one term.
Kuchma, although severely weakened by the 2000 revelations about his role in Heorhiy Gongadze's murder, went on to serve a second term. Concerns about his slide into authoritarianism only surfaced during that second term (1999-2004). In that respect, Kuchma's presidency differed from that of Yanukovych, who in his first two months in office has already raised concerns about his consolidation of power and his willingness to attempt a second time to impose on Ukraine the "Donetsk model," one that closely resembles Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's nexus of business-politics-government.
Within a month after Yanukovych's election as president in February, the new administration was again accused of backsliding on democracy, and the opposition has branded the April 8 Constitutional Court ruling endorsing the manner in which his coalition was formed by factions and individual defectors a "coup d'etat."
Is the opposition capable of again successfully reversing today's drift to authoritarianism, as it did in the Kuchma era?
Probably not, because today it is more divided and weakened than in the first half of the decade. Ukraine's slide into authoritarianism in the Kuchma era, and Yanukovych's attempt to win power through a rigged election in 2004 were both blocked by a strong and largely united opposition that closed ranks behind Yushchenko.
During Kuchma's second term, the opposition was stronger than today, but nevertheless still split. Ukraine's center-right national democrats have collectively never been able to make up their minds whether they wanted to be in opposition or statists (derzhavnyky). Yushchenko himself always wavered between a grand coalition with the Party of Regions or an "Orange" alliance with Yulia Tymoshenko. This indecisiveness led in the 1990s to a weak opposition that was unable to impede the rise of an oligarchic class.
From 2001 to 2003, Yushchenko never felt comfortable in opposition, and if his government had not been removed in April 2001 by a parliamentary vote of no confidence, he would have loyally served Kuchma until the end of his term, perhaps even becoming his chosen successor. It was only after the failed attempt to poison him in September 2004 that Yushchenko and his Our Ukraine party unequivocally embraced a radical opposition stance, vowing to take to the streets if there was election fraud.
|Yushchenko never defended Tymoshenko while she was in prison, and the Yushchenko national democrats never supported Kuchma's impeachment, unlike Tymoshenko and the Socialists.
Fraying to right and left
Key pro-business leaders in Yushchenko's team, nicknamed the "Dear Friends," preferred a grand coalition with the oligarchs and the Kuchma camp to unity with other opposition forces.
Petro Poroshenko, head of Our Ukraine's 2002 election campaign, defected to Yushchenko only after losing the contest for leadership of the newly formed Party of Regions to Mykola Azarov, then head of the Tax Administration and now prime minister. Poroshenko's Solidarity Party was one of five that had merged to form the Party of Regions in 2001.
Another was Kyiv Mayor Leonid Chernovetskyy's Beautiful Ukraine party; Chernovetskyy supported Yanukovych in the 2010 presidential election. Another member of this group is Yuriy Yekhanurov -- Ukraine's answer to Russia's Boris Nemtsov -- who as head of the State Property Fund managed the privatization process that created the oligarchs who emerged in the late 1990s.
Like Poroshenko and former Foreign Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Yekhanurov has always been a staunch opponent of Tymoshenko. After the 2006 elections, Yekhanurov was tasked by Yushchenko with negotiating a grand coalition of Our Ukraine-Party of Regions that was ready to be signed in early June 2006, but fell through.
Ivan Plyushch, although elected in September 2007 as a deputy in Our Ukraine-People's Self Defense (NU-NSO), always refused to join the democratic (Orange) coalition. Plyushch continues to defend the scandalous February 2001 letter (released in the same month that Tymoshenko was arrested on trumped up corruption charges) that he co-signed as parliament speaker with President Kuchma and Prime Minister Yushchenko denouncing the opposition as "fascists."
Yushchenko never defended Tymoshenko while she was in prison, and the Yushchenko national democrats never supported Kuchma's impeachment, unlike Tymoshenko and the Socialists.
Yatsenyuk, leader of the Front for Change party, another virtual center-right party established from the top down in 2008, will unite the so-called Dear Friends in the 2012 parliamentary elections. Yatsenyuk placed fourth in the 2010 election with 7 percent of the vote but, unlike Serhiy Tihipko (who came third with 13 percent), he refused to join the Stability and Reforms coalition and the Azarov government.
Like Our Ukraine, the left were never fully committed to the opposition. The Communist Party (KPU) had joined with oligarchic parliamentary factions to vote no confidence in the Yushchenko government in April 2001. After 2004, the KPU continued its alliance with the oligarchs, joining the 2006-07 Yanukovych and 2010 Azarov coalitions and governments.
In 2003-04, the Socialist Party (SPU) and KPU cooperated with presidential-administration head Viktor Medvedchuk in preparing the constitutional reforms that parliament failed to approve in spring 2004. These were eventually adopted by parliament in December 2004, with only the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) voting against them.
SPU leader Oleksandr Moroz and KPU leader Petro Symonenko did not support a united opposition candidate in the 2004 presidential elections, but instead put forward their own candidates. But Moroz backed Yushchenko in the two second rounds (in exchange for his support for constitutional reforms), while KPU voters backed Yanukovych.
What the opposition must do
Comparing the Kuchma era and the situation today, five conclusions can be drawn.
First, the opposition is weaker today than it was in the four years prior to the Orange Revolution. At the same time, Yanukovych's team is stronger than that of Kuchma.
Kuchma's personal authority and standing were irreparably damaged both at home, as reflected in the defeat of his For a United Ukraine bloc in the 2002 elections, and in the West, where he was shunned because of the Gongadze murder, a scandal over the illicit sale of four Kolchuga radar systems to Iraq, and other evidence the tapes made by presidential guard Mykola Melnychenko yielded of his abuse of office. In 2004, the opposition had just two presidential candidates (Yushchenko and Moroz), while in 2010 the former Orange camp had three times as many.
Second, Tymoshenko is the strongest component of the weaker opposition. But, unlike in the Kuchma era, Tymoshenko is not a parliament deputy, which undercuts her ability to function as opposition leader. She maybe also be less able to unite the opposition than was Yushchenko in 2004.
Third, Yushchenko remains unwaveringly obsessed with, and hostile to, Tymoshenko, unlike in 2001-04 when they joined forces and cooperated. The NU-NSO bloc is more divided today than Our Ukraine was under Kuchma. Meanwhile, the NU-NSO bloc's initial nine parties in 2007 have grown to 13, fracturing the center-right, which fielded multiple Orange candidates in 2010.
Fourth, the lack of a center-left component to the opposition makes it weaker. In 2000-03, the SPU, which then had approximately the same electoral support as the BYuT, was a strong supporter of the opposition.
It was SPU leader Moroz who made public to a shocked parliament in November 2000 the clandestine tape recordings that documented Kuchma's involvement in the murder of Gongadze. The SPU had earlier helped Melnychenko to flee from Ukraine to Prague.
Since 2006-07, the SPU has lost support because Moroz failed to step down as its leader after voters deserted the SPU following its July 2006 defection from the Orange coalition to the Party of Regions. Moroz finished third in the preceding three presidential elections, but only 11th in 2010.
That self-destruction of the SPU permitted the ideologically vacuous Volodymyr Lytvyn bloc to be elected to parliament in 2007 in its place. Following Yanukovych's election as president, the Lytvyn bloc deserted the democratic coalition and joined the pro-Yanukovych Stability and Reforms coalition, a U-turn that resembles the SPU's 2006 defection. The consequences for the Lytvyn bloc will be as defeating in the 2012 elections as for the SPU in 2007.
Fifth, in 2000-03 young people did not identify overwhelmingly with one single opposition force. It was only in 2004 that they became a crucial component of the Yushchenko campaign through the "yellow" and "black" wings of "Pora" (It's Time) and other youth NGOs. In other words, the generation born between when Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985 and the disintegration of the USSR six years later emerged as "Generation Orange."
Today the situation is different. Disillusioned by five years of Yushchenko's presidency and infighting among the former Orange Revolution allies, many young Ukrainians have withdrawn from politics, while a minority have been attracted by the extreme right Svoboda (Freedom) Party led by Oleh Tyahnybok. The "Yellow" Pora wing evolved into another virtual center-right political party. It failed to enter parliament in 2006, but succeeded in 2007 as one of nine parties in NU-NSO.
|The Constitutional Court's recent ruling legalizing the new coalition effectively precludes early elections in the fall. The opposition therefore has two years to plan, mobilize, and develop new tactics and strategies before the next parliamentary elections in September 2012.
The Constitutional Court's recent ruling legalizing the new coalition effectively precludes early elections in the fall. The opposition therefore has two years to plan, mobilize, and develop new tactics and strategies before the next parliamentary elections in September 2012.
The 2012 parliament will be very different from the two parliaments elected after the Orange Revolution in 2006 and 2007. In 2012, gone will be the KPU, the Lytvyn bloc, and mega-center-right blocs such as NU-NSO. In will be the Party of Regions and BYuT, competing again for first and second places, followed in third and fourth places by new liberal political forces (Yatsenyuk, Tihipko), with the nationalists (Yushchenko, Tyahnybok) possibly entering parliament in last place.
Opposition déjà vu with three nuances
Yulia Tymoshenko bloc (BYuT) senior adviser Oleh Medvedev wrote in his Ukrayinska Pravda blog (15 March) that the "Opposition in Ukraine rarely appears united. In Ukraine always more than one opposition was formed." This is true, as the following analysis points out but nevertheless there are three important nuances that make todayâ??s situation in Ukraine under President Viktor Yanukovych different to that under President Leonid Kuchma.
Ukraine's centre-right national democrats have always been divided since before Ukraine became an independent state in their attitude towards being either in opposition or being statists (derzhavnyky), dividing them under Presidents Leonid Kravchuk and Kuchma. This led to a weak opposition in the 1990s that enabled the unimpeded rise of an oligarchic class to become the basis of a semi-authoritarian regime during Kuchma's second term in office and under President Yanukovych today.
Viktor Yushchenko's divisive politics in the 2010 electionsÂ were therefore merely a continuation of the long-standing willingness of one wing of the national democrats to cooperate with the Kuchma regime. In 1992 the Ukrainian Popular Movement (Rukh) split over whether to cooperate with Kravchuk or go into opposition and the wing that opted for cooperation established the Confederation of National Democratic Forces (KNDS). Between 2001-2003, Yushchenko neverfelt comfortable in oppositionand if his government had not been removed in April 2001 by a parliamentary vote of no confidence he would have faithfully and loyally served Kuchma until the end of his term, perhaps even becoming his chosen successor.
Petro Poroshenko's Solidarity Party, formed in 2000 with Kuchma's blessing from Peasant Party deputies and other defectors, was one of five political parties that merged to form the Party of Regions in 2001. One of the other four parties was Kyiv Mayor Leonid Chernovetsky's Beautiful Ukraine party, again showing the long-standing relationship between Chernovetsky and Donetsk that was evidenced by Chernovetsky's support for Yanukovych in the 2010 elections. Only after Poroshenko failed to become leader of the Party of Regions did Poroshenko switch his support to Yushchenko where he became head of Our Ukraine's 2002 election campaign.
Poroshenko's preference for cooperating with the regime over being in opposition meant he became the natural leader of the so-called Dear Friends (Liubi Druzi) businessmen in Our Ukraine who always preferred a grand coalition with the Party of Regions to a democratic coalition with BYuT. As secretary of the National Security and Defence Council (NRBO) in 2005, Poroshenko used his position to undermineÂ the 2005 Tymoshenko government.
Yekhanurov was a similar case. As head of the State Property Fund in the 1990s he had managed the privatization process that created the class of oligarchs who emerged in the late 1990s in Ukraine. In 2005 he was a staunch opponent, like Poroshenko, of the Tymoshenko governments plans for re-nationalisation. After the 2006 elections Yekhanurov was sent by Yushchenko to negotiate a grand coalition that was ready to be signed in early June but fell through.
In 2000-2001, during the Kuchmagate crisis, Yushchenko and his national democratic allies refused to support Tymoshenko and Oleksandr Moroz's call for Kuchma's impeachment and ignored the accusations of the president's criminal involvement in journalist Georgi Gongadze's murder. Gongadze was kidnapped in September 2000 and his decapitated body was found two months later. Yushchenko and most national democrats ignored Deputy Prime Minister Tymoshenko's February 2001 arrest and the infamous letter attacking the opposition signed by Yushchenko, Parliamentary Speaker Ivan Pliushch and Kuchma.
Pliushch is a third example. Although he entered parliament in September 2007 as a deputy in Our Ukraine-Peoples Self Defence he refused to join the democratic coalition established in November of that year. After Yanukovych's election, Pliushch joined the new coalition established to support the Nikolai Azarov government.
It is therefore not the case as Medvedev writes that, ‘В 2002 році НУ, БЮТ, СПУ та КПУ проводили спільні акції в рамках кампанії "Повстань, Україно!". Our Ukraine and the Communists wavered continuously between supporting the opposition and the Kuchma regime. In 2002 Yushchenko negotiated with Kuchma to return as Prime Minister arguing that he had a right because Our Ukraine had won that years elections.
Yushchenko's "opposition" in 2001-2003 was only directed against presidential administration head Viktor Medvedchuk and the Social Democratic united Party (SDPUo) that he led; never against Kuchma with whom he once infamously described as having a "father-son" relationship. Yushchenko allegedly granted Kuchma immunity from prosecution during the December 2004 round-tables.
The Socialist Party (SPU) and Communist Party (KPU) were also never fully committed to the opposition. The KPU had joined with oligarchic parliamentary factions to vote no confidence in the Yushchenko government in April 2001. In 2003-2004, the SPU and KPU parties cooperated with Medvedchuk in preparing the constitutional reforms that failed to be approved in spring 2004 but were adopted by parliament on 8 December 2004 (only BYuT voted against them).
SPU leader Oleksandr Moroz and KPU leader Piotr Symonenko did not support a united opposition candidate in the 2004 elections but instead put forward their own candidates. Only Moroz backed Yushchenko in the second round and repeat second round. From the 2000-2003 opposition only Tymoshenko refused to stand as a candidate and backed Yushchenko who did not reciprocate the gesture in the 2010 elections where he stood in the first round and sought to undermine her in the second. Yanukovych's small 3.5 percent margin of victory would suggest that if Yushchenko had not called upon voters to vote against both candidates or had supported Tymoshenko in the second round she would have been elected Ukraine's president.
Today, Ukraine's opposition is therefore a déjà vu with four nuances.
Firstly, as Medvedev wrote, "It is obvious that Tymoshenko is the strongest component of the opposition". But, the main difference between today's opposition and that under Kuchma is that Tymoshenko is outside parliament. Only if there are pre-term elections will the opposition's leader return to parliament; the alternative would be to wait until September 2012 for scheduled elections.
Secondly, Yushchenko and Our Ukraine have always been weak in opposition, as seen when they did not support the Ukraine without Kuchma movement in 2000-2001 and only half heartedly supported Arise Ukraine! between 2002-2003. Tragically, as Our Ukraine-People's Self Defence deputy Taras Stetskiv pointed out, it took the September 2004 poisoning to radicalise Yushchenko and Our Ukraine into accepting that the authorities would stop at nothing to prevent his election.
Our Ukraine's half-hearted support for the opposition to Yanukovych shows a consistency in Ukrainian politics.
Our Ukraine-Peoples Self Defence deputy Arseniy Yatseniuk came fourth in the 2010 elections with seven percent, refused to join the Azarov government (unlike Sergei Tigipko who came third with thirteen percent) and has claimed the mantle of the opposition leader. Yatseniuk's inclination will be to follow the same path as Poroshenko, Yekhanurov and Pliushch with Front for Change, the party that Yatseniuk leads, uniting "Dear Friends" businessmen in Our Ukraine as a constructive opposition. Yatseniuk's opposition status was announced by Yanukovych before he had chance to do so himself which Ukrainian experts have understood as a tacit agreement for him to represent a loyal opposition.
Yushchenko and Yatseniuk's position today is a step backwards in relation to the stance of their predecessors in the 1990s, and especially in the light of the threat that the Yanukovych regime poses to Ukraine's fragile democracy. This threat was recognized by Bohdan Horyn, Dmyto Pavlychko and Ivan Drach, three high profile statists from the 1990s,Â who called upon voters to back Tymoshenko in the second round.
Thirdly, in 2000-2003 the SPU (which then had approximately the same electoral support as BYuT) was a strong supporter of the opposition. Moroz unveiled presidential guard Mykola Melnychenko tapes outlining Kuchma's involvement in Gongadze's murder on 28 November 2000 to a shocked parliament. The SPU had assisted Melnychenko in earlier escaping from Ukraine to Prague.
Since 2006-2007 the SPU is stagnating because of Moroz's continued leadership after voters deserted the SPU following its July 2006 defection from the orange coalition to the Party of Regions. The self-destruction of the SPU permitted the Volodymyr Lytvyn bloc to be elected to parliament in 2007, rather than the SPU. The After Yanukovych's election, the Lytvyn bloc deserted the democratic coalition and joined the pro-Azarov coalition, a step that resembles that of the SPU in 2006. The consequences for the Lytvyn bloc will be crushing in the next elections, as it was for the SPU.
The lack of a centre-left component to the opposition therefore makes it weaker than under Kuchma. Unfortunately the more moderate Social Democratic Party (SDPU), which is one of three parties in BYuT, does not have public support but could be built up as an alternative to the SPU. Disillusioned former members of the SPU's youth wing could form a new cohort of SDPU cadres.
Fourthly, young people mobilised separately to the opposition in 2000-2003 but became a crucial component of the Yushchenko campaign in 2004 through both wings of the youth NGO's Its Time (Pora), I Know (Znayu) and other's. The generation born when the USSR disintegrated came of age during the Orange Revolution.
Today, these young people have distanced themselves from politics. Disillusioned by five years of Yushchenko's presidency and inter-orange in-fighting most young Ukrainians have withdrawn from politics whilst a minority have been sucked into joining the extreme right Freedom (Svoboda) Party led by Oleh Tyahnybok. One wing of Pora that became a political party joined the Our Ukraine-Peoples Self Defence bloc in the 2007 elections. Pora party leader Vladyslav Kaskiv supported a grand coalition during the failed negotiations after Yanukovych was elected.
The opposition could cooperate with former leaders of the other wing of Pora (known by its black symbols) and Znayu and other more recently established NGO's to integrate young people into the opposition. Their energy proved decisive in the Orange Revolution and will be indispensable in mobilising an opposition and in futureelections.
Young people should not only be given high-ranking positions in the opposition but they should also be offered a large quota of seats on opposition party lists in the next election. These young opposition cadres should be equally representative of both men and women showing that the opposition is more progressive on gender issues in comparison to the authorities. The Azarov government has no female members and the prime minister has explained why: "At present the situation in the country is rather difficult, and people who can work 16-18 hours a day ... have been taken into the government". "Conducting reforms is not women's business", Azarov said.
Ukraine Analyst, March 2010
Pro-Russian, old guard return to run Ukrane's security forces
|... defectors from the Kuchma regime who had received asylum in Russia out of fear that Viktor Yushchenko would implement the Orange Revolution slogan of "Bandits to Prison!" are in the throes of returning to Ukraine.
12 out of 29 members of the Azarov government had been implicated in criminal cases or were witnesses in them. Nearly half the cabinet are former high ranking members of the Soviet Ukrainian nomenklatura or KGB.
Of 29 cabinet members, 13 were former KGB officers or had collaborated with the Soviet security organs
President Viktor Yanukovych and Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov are both ignoring the sensitivities of “Orange” Western and Central Ukraine by returning to positions of power individuals from Leonid Kuchma’s second term in office. Moreover, defectors from the Kuchma regime, who had received asylum in Russia out of fear that Viktor Yushchenko would implement the Orange Revolution slogan of “Bandits to Prison!” are in the process of returning to Ukraine (EDM, April 14, May 25, 2005).
On March 21, Ukrayinska Pravda reported the return of two individuals (Borys Kolesnikov and Viktor Tikhonov) involved in organizing the November 2004 separatist meeting in Severodonetsk (EDM, November 28, 2004). Criminal charges against separatists that were filed in 2005, as in other prominent cases involving Ukraine’s elites, were never completed (EDM, June 23, 2005).
Many of those returning to the security forces were wanted by Interpol, but had received asylum in Russia, ready to return if and when their patron, Yanukovych came to power. They have returned to the Interior Ministry (MVS) and head oblast branches in “Orange’ Western and Central Ukraine (Ukrayinska Pravda, March 21). First Deputy Sergei Popov headed MVS internal forces despatched to crush the Orange Revolution on November 28, 2004, but were turned back by the intervention of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) and the military.
Vasyl Vartsaba served as a militia officer and was removed in December 2004. Seven months later he was placed on an Interpol international watch list. He helped to organize the first incident of violence that shook the 2004 elections in the Mukachevo mayoral election in April of that year (EDM, May 5, 2004). Vartsaba is to head the Galician region of Ivano-Frankivsk’s MVS, while his deputy in 2004, Viktor Rusyn, will head the Trans-Carpathian MVS. Rusyn spent six months in jail in 2005, for his part in election fraud and violence in the previous year (Ukrayinska Pravda, March 21).
Defectors currently living in Russia, ready to return to Ukraine, include the former Odessa Party of Regions leader, Ruslan Bodelan, and General Mykola Bilokin, who headed the MVS in 2004 (EDM, July 20, 2004). The most notorious returnee will be the former Deputy Chairman of the SBU Volodymyr Satsiuk (in 2004), who owned the dacha where Yushchenko was allegedly poisoned. Another individual set to return is Ihor Bakay, who fled to Russia in December 2004 after misappropriating over $1 million as head of the DUS (department that serves senior officials).
Korrespondent magazine (March 18) analyzed the Azarov cabinet and found it was not only dominated by “Donetski” and Party of Regions members, but also by wealthy businessmen such as Deputy Prime Ministers Kolesnikov, Sergei Tigipko and SBU Chairman Valeriy Khoroshkovsky (EDM, March 18).
Another factor that Korrespondent exposed was that 12 out of 29 members of the Azarov government had been implicated in criminal cases or were witnesses to them. Nearly half the cabinet are former high ranking members of the Soviet Ukrainian nomenklatura or KGB. Among the 29 cabinet members, 13 were former KGB officers or had collaborated with the Soviet security departments
The best known example is Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Sivkovych, who has responsibility for overseeing the security forces.
|A real struggle against corruption requires political will that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has but Yushchenko and Yanukovych did and do not. German think tank Transparency International gave Ukraine and Russia both 146th rankings last year and Georgia 66th
Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko, the Ukrainian Ambassador to Russia under Yushchenko, had high ranking ties to the communist nomenklatura. Hryshchenko’s career was developed in Moscow during the Soviet era. Although Hrushchenko has a reputation as a professional diplomat, the political expert Oleh Medvedev pointed out that Hryshchenko had admitted that the Russian leadership lobbied for him to receive the post (Ukrayinska Pravda, March 22). On March 21, Hryshchenko said on Inter channel that “Ukraine will never allow any organization she remains within to be used against Russia.”
After the Orange Revolution, Hrushchenko joined the Republican Party (RPU) established by the “Godfather” of the opaque gas intermediary RosUkrEnergo and now Minister of Fuels and Energy, Yuriy Boyko (Ukrayinska Pravda, March 13). Hryshchenko was number 18 on the “Ne Tak!” (Not Like That!) election bloc organized by the Social Democratic United Party (SDPUo) for the March 2006 elections.
Ne Tak! stood on a virulently anti-NATO platform and failed to enter parliament after receiving only one percent of the vote, thus ending the SDPUo’s hopes of re-entering post-Kuchma politics. Boyko, who was on the verge of arrest in summer 2005 for abuse of office when he was head of Naftohaz Ukrainy in 2002-2004, switched to the stronger Party of Regions with which the RPU merged in 2007. Boyko stood in the Party of Regions list in the 2007 elections.
Yanukovych and Azarov have claimed they would prioritize the struggle against corruption but this, as in the Kuchma and Yushchenko era’s, is very likely to become a “virtual” struggle. A real campaign against corruption requires political will demonstrated by the Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, but which Yanukovych lacks. The German think tank, Transparency International, assigned Ukraine and Russia both 146th rankings last year and Georgia 66th in their annual corruption index (www.transparency.org).
In the past two decades, Ukraine has adopted and passed on corruption, seven laws, two criminal codes, 16 presidential decrees, ten government resolutions, two instructions, two supreme court resolutions, and two orders from the finance ministry and civil service (Natsionalna Bezpeka i Oborona, no.97, 2009,
Despite one of the largest and most rapid transfers from state to private control of any economy, the SBU and prosecutor-general’s office has never convicted a single member of the Ukrainian elites for abuse of office or corruption.
Half of Ukraine’s 14 wealthiest oligarchs are parliamentary deputies and most of these were elected as members of the Party of Regions. An opinion poll quoted in Natsionalna Bezpeka i Oborona (number 7, 2009) asked which parliamentary political forces are most prone to corruption and which most seek to combat it. The Party of Regions was considered to be most prone to corruption (14.3 percent) and only 5.1 percent believe that they actively combat the phenomenon. The Yulia Tymoshenko bloc scored 13 percent and 14.9 percent respectively, the only political force where more Ukrainians believed that they fought corruption.
Yanukovych and Azarov have not implemented cadre policies that would unite Ukraine, as the former promised in the election campaign, and the government cannot in any shape or form be considered reformist.
Counter Revolution in Ukraine
|"Galicians have virtually nothing to do with the people of Great Ukraine, mentally, confessionally, linguistically or politically. We have different enemies and different allies. Furthermore, our allies, and even brothers are their enemies, and their "heroes" (Bandera, Shukhevych) are for us murderers, traitors and accomplices of Hitler's executioners."
-- Newly appointed Minister of Education, Dmytro Tabachnyk, September 23, 2009
Leonid Kuchma (woops Nikolai Azarov) has returned to power in Ukraine. Five things are certain with the formation of an unconstitutional coalition and government.
The first is that the president was only in his job a few weeks before he began infringing the constitution by postponing local elections and changing parliamentary rules so that deputies could join a coalition.
The real coalition has only 219 deputies from three factions with the remainder defectors and independents. These, such as Taras Chornovil and Inna Boguslovska, have no moral right to be still in parliament as it was the party in a proportional system -- not them as individuals -- who won the votes in the 2007 elections.
The second is that political stability, about which Yanukovych has set his heart on, is not likely to appear. This would have only been possible if a coalition had been established by the Party of Regions and Our Ukraine.
A grand coalition would have entailed Yanukovych compromising on his radical pro-Russian policies and dropping his revisionist platform, as well as giving the position of Prime Minister to Arseniy Yatseniuk. Yanukovych wanted to take neither of these steps and instead created a neo-Kuchmaite, Party of Regions-Communist coalition and government with "reformer" Sergei Tigipko as mere window dressing.
|Ukraine is in legal no-mans land. ... the president was only in his job a few weeks before he began infringing the constitution by postponing local elections and changing parliamentary rules so that deputies could join a coalition.
The third is that the government has no reformist credentials and will deepen Ukraine's stagnation leading to further regression from European integration. The choice of cabinet ministers is a telling sign that the old boys have returned. Dmytro Tabachnyk as Minister of Education brings on the threat of a direct attack on Ukraine's nation-building project. This is the same person who wrote last year that "Galicians have virtually nothing to do with the people of Great Ukraine, mentally, confessionally, linguistically or politically. We have different enemies and different allies. Furthermore, our allies, and even brothers are their enemies, and their "heroes" (Bandera, Shukhevych) are for us murderers, traitors and accomplices of Hitler's executioners" Tabachnyk wrote in Izvestia in Ukraine (23 September 2009).
The Party of Regions gas lobby have also returned which means that the mass corruption of the Yushchenko era, when RosUkrEnergo was in place, will return.
The fourth is that pre-term elections are inevitable for two reasons. The first being that Yulia Tymoshenko will never agree to remain outside parliament until the next elections in 2012. This is what Yanukovych is counting on as he fears Tymoshenko heading the opposition inside parliament.
Ukraine is in legal no-mans land. The largest party in opposition in a democracy is the one to normally establish a shadow cabinet which in Ukraine is the Tymoshenko bloc (BYuT). But, Tymoshenko is not a deputy and it will be impossible to head a shadow opposition cabinet from outside parliament.
Yatseniuk has therefore stated his objective of establishing a shadow cabinet. Ukraine will therefore have two oppositions: a radical one led by Tymoshenko and "constructive" opposition led by Yatseniuk.
|... the government has no reformist credentials and will deepen Ukraine's stagnation leading to further regression from European integration. The choice of cabinet ministers is a telling sign that the old boys have returned.
The second point is that the Constitutional Court will inevitably find that Yanukovych and his counter-revolutionaries have infringed article 83 of the constitution and ignored a 2009 Constitutional Court ruling that only factions can establish coalitions. The coalition and government will be therefore officially unconstitutional.
The Communists, Lytvyn bloc and Our Ukraine are all afraid of pre-term elections as they will not enter parliament. The Our Ukraine vote would go to Arseniy Yatseniuk and to Tymoshenko.
Viktor Baloga's United Centre and Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine will not enter the new parliament and its good riddance to both of them.
Yatseniuk supports new elections as he would receive his own faction with opinion polls giving him 8% (approximately 35 deputies). Yatseniuk came 4th in the first round of the elections and received 7%.
BYuT would receive about the same result as in 2007 (31%). In the first round of presidential elections Tymosenko received 25% which represents her hard core vote in support of BYuT. Her 45% second round vote included additional negative voters against Yanukovych. A 25% voter base can be easily increased in an election campaign.
The Party of Regions is ambivalent about pre-term elections but would maybe receive less than in 2007 (34%), if Sergei Tigipko takes votes from them. Tigipko received 13% in the first round and came 3rd.
Finally, of the two so-called "new faces" in Ukrainian politics Arseniy Yatseniuk has come out far better than Tigipko. Tigipko can no longer be taken seriously by voters after he first condemned in the strongest of terms the manner in which the coalition was unconstitutional formed, describing it as "political raiderstvo" (raiding), and then agreed to join it as a deputy prime minister. With a 13% vote under his belt Tigipko could have waited out this one and come back as prime minister. Instead he opted to join an unconstitutional government under Azarov.
Yatseniuk deserves credit for not agreeing to join the government and instead going into opposition. Of the two "new faces" in Ukrainian politics, Tigipko and Yatseniuk, he is the only one that has morals and principles. Of course, Tigipko merely confirmed the fraud he always was as he was never a "new face", having been in Ukrainian politics since 1998, and had never explained how he was a reformer when he headed the 2004 Yanukovych election campaign that was the dirtiest in Ukrainian history.
His posturing as "Ukraine's Rambo" during the election campaign was amusing; after all, had he not been the one who fled Ukraine after the 2004 second round? I have watched all the Rambo movies and don't recall Rambo ever retreating from a battle.
Без коментарів: Фальсифікації на виборах 2004
року повторилися на виборах 2010 року?
17 лютого 2010
|Група спостерігачів за виборами закликає до незалежного розслідування результатів виборів в Україні: виборчий штаб Януковича пов'язаний зі звинуваченнями у фальсифікації виборів у США
ВАШИНГТОН – Кандидат у президенти України та Прем'єр-міністр Юлія Тимошенко минулого тижня заявила про те, що в другому турі президентських виборів, який відбувся 7 лютого, на користь опозиційного кандидата Віктора Януковича було сфальсифіковано понад один мільйон голосів. Вона подала до Центральної виборчої комісії понад 60 скарг та назвала ці порушення "шокуючими".
В 2004 році штаб Януковчиа було схоплено на фальсифікації голосування після того, як було записано на плівку розмову членів його виборчої команди про знищення доказів підробки результатів підрахунку голосів. Це викриття призвело до масових вуличних протестів, Помаранчевої революції, та повторного голосування, в результаті якого президентом було обрано Віктора Ющенка.
Передісторію виборів 2004 було розкрито минулого року у публічних свідченнях агента ЦРУ Стівена Стігалла, який підтвердив, що Віктор Янукович сфальсифікував вибори у жовтні 2004, таємно розмістивши комп'ютер (незаконного посередника) у місці обробки даних протоколів та змінивши результати (на 14%, за деякими даними). Підозри у фальсифікації виникли через результати екзит-полів, які вказували на перевагу Ющенка в 11%. Однак, їх вдалося довести лише завдяки запису телефонних розмов між керівниками штабу Януковича, які обговорювали фальсифікації та варіанти прикриття. До команди Януковича в 2004 та 2010 входили Рік Дейвіс та Пол Манафорт, власники вашингтонської лобістської та піар фірми під назвою "3eDC". "3eDC" хвалиться на своєму сайті, що вони вона має п'ять стратегічних партнерів:
• "Нью Мідеа Комьюнікейшнс" на чолі з Майком Коннелом, якого звинувачують у фальсифікації виборів для Республіканців
• "Інтеграл Веб Стретеджи", ще одна компанія Коннела, яка співпрацює з Торгівельною палатою Інституту правових реформ, участь якого у незаконних виборчих маніпуляціях була встановлена судом
• "Кампейн Солюшнз", яку очолює партнерка Майка Коннела, Бекі Донателлі
• "Еірнет Груп", батьківська компанія "Смартек Корпорейшнз", власником якої є Джефф Авербек, який працював на Майка Коннела під час суперечливої зміни результатів офіційного голосування в Штаті Огайо на користь Джорджа Буша, а не його опонента-Демократа Джона Керрі.
• "Дайнолоджи Корп", яка має великий список клієнтів з військової сфери: "більшість нашого персоналу має допуски до таємної та цілком таємної державної інформації."
Рік Дейвіс, Пол Манафорт та "3eDC" були керівниками виборчої кампанії Януковича у 2004 році, а також ключовими радниками Януковича на виборах 2010. Вони підтримували стратегічне партнерство і з Майком Коннелом, і з Джефформ Авербеком, обидва з яких звинувачувались у фальсифікації виборів на користь Буша. Коннел загинув у дуже підозрілій авіакатастрофі у грудні 2008 після того, як його викликали на допит у справі фальсифікації виборів. Згідно з однією зі статей в лютневому випуску 2010 журналу "Максим", Коннел фальсифікував вибори 2004 року на користь Буша за допомогою технології атаки "незаконного посередника", який змінив результати виборів в Огайо. Ця атака здійснювалась через комп'ютери Республіканської партії, якими керує "Смартек".
Беручи все вищезазначене до уваги, "ВелветРеволюшинз", незаангажована група спостерігачів за виборами, закликає до незалежного розслідування та перевірки виборів в Україні, особливо підрахунку голосів.
Ukraine should turn west to move forward
February 6, 2010
KYIV Ukraine -- The mass protests of the 2004 Orange Revolution were about democracy, corruption, rule of law and national identity, far more than they were about a battle between East and West.
But the choice Ukrainians face on Sunday, when they vote in the second round of the presidential race, can be seen as one giant geopolitical tug.
Under the watchful eye of hundreds of international observers, Ukrainians will vote Feb. 7 between Yulia Tymoshenko with her European-style democracy, and Viktor Yanukovich, who was twice convicted for violent robbery, refuses to accept responsibility for massive election fraud in 2004 and thinks a woman’s place is in the kitchen -- not the president's office.
On Sunday Ukrainians are faced by a stark choice between democracy or counter-revolutionary revenge and Soviet nostalgia.
Міфи та стереотипи про Тимошенко як про
31 січня 2010
Одним із найбільш дивних аргументів, який проявився під час президентської виборчої кампанії 2010 року, є те, що Юлія Тимошенко, коли б вона прийшла до влади - була б більшим самодержцем-диктатором, ніж Віктор Янукович, і що Україна може втратити свою демократію. Ця брехлива претензія підриває українську історію, основи її політики та основи української реальності.
З усіх кандидатів на посаду президента, Тимошенко найдовше була в опозиції – з 1998 року, коли вона пройшла до парламенту в складі антиолігархічної партії «Громада». Віктор Ющенко був усунений в опозицію лише у 2001 році, і з небажанням залишався в опозиції до 2004 року. Янукович став лідером опозиції лише у 2005 році, але йому також ніколи не подобалася ідея бути опозиціонером.
Як заступник прем’єр-міністра в уряді Ющенка впродовж 1999-2001 років, Тимошенко боролася з корупцією у енергетичному секторі, в якому олігархи завдяки корупції «заробляли» щорічно понад 4 мільярди доларів, і така політика привела до позбавлення її волі у лютому 2001 року за сфабрикованими звинуваченнями. Тимошенко одразу ж стала на підтримку вимог руху «Україна без Кучми» і, не вагаючись, приєдналася до опозиції. Вона, на відміну від Ющенка та багатьох націонал-демократів, підтримувала ідею імпічменту президента Леоніда Кучми.
У період 2001-2003 років Тимошенко була одним із двох ключових лідерів рухів «Україна без Кучми» та «Повстань, Україно» - опозиційних та антикучмівських. Помаранчева революція 2004 року ніколи б не мобілізувала мільйони українців без Тимошенко, яка відклала вбік свої особисті амбіції та підтримала Ющенка як спільного кандидата від опозиції.
Тимошенко завжди підтримувала надання широких прав опозиції у законодавстві задля того, щоб вона могла моніторити та контролювати тих, хто при владі. З 2008 року Тимошенко також була найбільшим прихильником парламентської конституції для України. Якби вона була диктатором, бо вона б виступала за президентську форму, а не за +парламентську.
Нарешті, партія «Батьківщина», яку очолює Тимошенко, є найактивнішою українською партією у Європейському парламенті, де вона є членом політичної групи правоцентристської Європейської народної партії (ЄНП). На сьогоднішній день Європейська народна партія включає в себе 74 партій-членів з 39 країн, 13 голів урядів країн-членів ЄС та 7 голів урядів країн, які не є членами ЄС.
ЄНП ніколи б настільки відкрито не підтримала Тимошенко як кандидата у другому турі виборів 2010 року, якби вона підозрювала її у диктаторстві. Очевидно, що ні. Президент Європейської народної партії Вільфред Мартенс привітав Юлію Тимошенко з проходженням у другий тур виборів Президента України, який відбудеться 7 лютого 2010 року. «Від імені ЄНП я вітаю Юлію Тимошенко з успіхом у першому турі президентських виборів! Я вірю, що сьогодні створено надійний фундамент для переконливої перемоги Юлії Тимошенко у другому турі», – наголошує Вільфред Мартенс.
«Пані Тимошенко продемонструвала яскравий приклад сучасного лідерства, відповідальності і політичної мужності. Здатність зберігати гідність, незважаючи на тиск, – це якість справжнього державного діяча», – зазначив Вільфред Мартенс. «Саме тому Європейська народна партія закликає всі демократичні сили України та партнерів ЄНП в Україні об'єднатись і підтримати Юлію Тимошенко, щоб завадити поверненню до влади політичних сил минулого, зберегти ідеали «помаранчевої революції» та відкрити новий європейський шлях для України», – йдеться у листі.
Загалом, є три фактори, притаманні Україні, які роблять самодержавство чи диктатуру у ній неможливими, як і неможливим для будь-якої політичної сили перемогти та монополізувати владу, що, таким чином, відрізняє Україну від Росії та навіть від Грузії.
Насамперед, регіональні відмінності України унеможливлюють перемогу та монополізацію влади з боку будь-якої політичної сили. Це підтвердили результати останніх парламентських виборів, під час яких максимум, який набрали політичні партії – коливався біля 30.
По-друге, регіональна різноманітність означає, що регіональні «зсуви» у результатах президентських виборів є неможливими. Порівняємо хоча б результати президентських виборів 2004 року Ющенка, коли він набрав 52%, та Михайла Саакашвілі, за якого проголосували 96%. У кожних президентських виборах в Україні переможець вигравав із результатами у проміжку між 52-56%, і єдиним винятком у грудні 1991 року став Леонід Кравчук, який переміг із результатом у 62% у першому турі (але це був особливий час в історії України).
І останній фактор, який робить самодержавство чи диктатуру неможливими в Україні – це національна ідентичність українців, яка ґрунтується більшою мірою на територіальному патріотизмі а не на етнічному націоналізмі. Самодержавство – як в Росії – вимагає всеохоплюючого підкреслення націоналізму, який має стати всенародним.
Крайньо правий націоналізм не має електорального ґрунту в Україні (націоналіст Олег Тягнибок отримав менше 1% у першому турі). Головні кандидати у президенти – такі як Тимошенко, заохочують патріотизм (як це зробив Ющенко у 2004 році). Тимошенко підтримує громадянську та мовну політики європейського зразка, які закріплюють етнічних українців як титульну націю та українську мову як єдину державну мову.
Тимошенко ніколи не зможе стати диктатором при обранні її у другому турі президентом, і за її президентства українська демократія буде у безпеці. Більше того, слабка українська демократія за умов президентства Януковича потрапить під загрозу стагнації та авторитаризму.