31.05.06. Prospect of Bush visit puts pressure on Kyiv parties
31.05.06. Ukraine needs to get the word out on NATO
31.05.06. Regions of Ukraine Comes Back, Takes Up Language Issue
16.05.06. Ukrainske alkoholproducenter er imod udtræden af SNG
16.05.06. "Vores Ukraine" vil ikke acceptere Tymoshenko som premierminister
14.05.06. Putin vil først besøge Ukraine efter regeringsdannelsen
14.05.06. Gas, corruption and non-transparency
11.05.06. Jusjtjenko vil sætte skub i strukturreform
08.05.06. Mere åbenhed omkring ejerskabet af RosUkrenergo
08.05.06. Vesteuropa skeptisk overfor ukrainsk NATO-medlemskab
02.05.06. Report: Chornobyl to kill 90,000
01.05.06. Jusjtjenko prøver at "blackliste" Janukovytj og Kushnarjov
19.04.06. Bush overbragte en lykønskning til Janukovytj
18.04.06. Tymoshenko foreslår Moroz som parlamentsformand
17.04.06. Jusjtjenko nægter at udnævne Tymoshenko til premierminister
14.04.06. Rammeaftale om demokratisk koalition underskrevet
faces tough choice in forming coalition
10.04.06. Koalitionsforhandlingerne inde i et dødvande
09.04.06. Jusjtjenko holder fast i plan om NATO-medlemskab
03.04.06. Koalition mellem Janukovytj og Vores Ukraine mulig
En af lederne af Regionernes parti, Taras Tjornovil, siger, at en koalition mellem hans parti og "Vores Ukraine" er mulig under visse betingelser.
"Lige nu taler alle om en koalition mellem "Vores Ukraine" og Regionernes parti", siger Tjornovil i et interview med ugebladet "Stolycnhi novyny", som blev offentliggjort i tirsdags.
"Vi har tydelig vist, at vi er parate til at arbejde i en koalition, og er parat til seriøse forhandlinger og kompromiser", siger han.
Ifølge ham er nogle af betingelserne for, at en sådan koalition kan blive en mulighed, en styrkelse af statens kontrol med olie- og gasindustrien og optimeringen af gasforhandlingerne med Rusland, samt gensidige indrømmelser i forhold til minister- og guvernørposter.
"Hvis "Vores Ukraine" vil tage olie- og gassektoren ud af præsidentens familiesfære, så vil vi kunne underskrive en aftale med dem. Vi har brug for at komme tilbage til normale gasforhandlinger med Rusland", siger Tjornovil.
"Hvad ministerposter angår, så er det sådan, at Regionernes parti har opnået dobbelt så mange stemmer som "Vores Ukraine". Ifølge denne logik burde vi få lov til at udpege premierministeren, men vi forstår godt, at der er prioriteringsmuligheder ved skabelsen af en bred koalition, og man bør give den anden part mulighed for at redde ansigt, og derfor er vi parat til seriøse forhandlinger", tilføjer han.
"Men hvis vi siger, at Janukovytj (lederen af Regionernes parti) ikke skal være premierminister, så vil Jekhanurov (premierminister) under alle omstændigheder være udelukket. Kompromiset må ske på begge sider", siger Tjornovil.
Tjornovil beklager, at der i lovgivningen ikke er nedfældet i procedure for dannelsen af koalitionen, som ville give forhandlingsmandatet til det parti, som havde fået det største antal stemmer.
Han udelukker, at parlamentet kan blive opløst. En garanti for det er ifølge Tjornovil muligheden for at der skabes et flertal med det socialistiske og kommunistiske parti.
"Jeg vil ikke udelukke en tredje koalitionsmulighed; nemlig en centrum-venstre koalition med Regionernes parti, SPU og KPU. Ganske vist er denne koalition ikke særlig realistisk og vil kun blive en realitet, hvis forhandlingerne mellem "Vores Ukraine" og Julia Tymoshenkos blok går ind i en blindgyde og der vil komme en trussel om en opløsning af parlamentet", fremhæver Tjornovil.
Tjornovil siger, at Regionernes parti ikke har tænkt sig at tage initiativ til at indlede en rigsretssag mod præsidenten.
"Vi er ikke interesseret i et nyvalg til præsidentposten! Havde vi ønsket det, havde vi aftalt det med Julia Tymoshenko, fordelt premierminister og præsidentposterne og - tro mig - så havde vi lavet en rigsretssag mod præsidenten allerede i efteråret! Men vi er trætte af en opsplitning af samfundet - det er overflødigt", understreger han. UP.
Præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko har godkendt den såkaldte Målplan Ukraine-NATO for 2006. Præsidentens pressetjeneste oplyser, at Jusjtjenko underskrev et dekret herom den 7. april 2006 indenfor rammerne af Handlingsplanen Ukraine-NATO.
Regeringen pålægges at sikre opfyldelsen af Målplanen, mens den udøvende magts centrale organer og andre statslige myndigheder, der har det som arbejdsområde, hvert kvartal inden den 5. i den måned, som følger efter kvartalet, skal forelægge en rapport om status i forhold til opfyldelsen af Målplanen.
Det nationale center for euroatlantisk integration og Udenrigsministeriet er blevet pålagt at sikre udarbejdelsen af kvartalsvise beretninger om status i forhold til opfyldelsen af Målplanens tiltag, som skal forelægges regeringen med henblik på den videre underretning af præsidenten.
Jusjtjenko har også pålagt Den statslige fjernsyns- og radiokomite at sikre en regulær information af offentligheden om forløbet og resultaterne af opfyldelsen af planens tiltag. UP.
En forhandlingsproces er en meget vanskelig størrelse selv for så erfarne folk som Oleksandr Moroz, Roman Bezsmertnyj og Julia Tymoshenko, siger lederen af meningsmålingsinstituttet "Ukrainsk barometer" Viktor Nebozhenko i en kommentar til, at BJuT, Vores Ukraine og Socialistpartiet endnu ikke er kommet til en forhandlingsløsning om en koalition.
"Tymoshenko gør ret i at kræve en stor del af magten til sig selv", mener politologen. "Moroz forstår udmærket, at dette er hans sidste historiske spil, mens Bezsmertnyj ganske enkelt intet har at miste", tilføjer han.
Ifølge Nebozhenko "er det meget svært ud fra disse tre holdninger at komme med en overordnet positivitet, som ville give en stabilitet og kunne lede landet i form af en koalition af sejrherrer i mindst 1,5-2 år".
"Derfor tror jeg ikke, at der er tale om, at man bare har udsat koalitionsbeslutningen i to dage, men at det drejer sig om, hvorvidt man skal udvide kredsen af forhandlere eller udskifte selve forhandlerne", understreger politologen.
Direktøren for Det europæiske institut for integration og udvikling Dmytro Vydrin vil imidlertid ikke forbinde det forhold, at forhandlingerne trækker i langdrag, med politiske eller psykologiske årsager.
"Årsagen er, at "Vores Ukraine" alt sjældnere opfører sig som mandfolk. Det er den omvendte verden: i spidsen for BJuT står en kvinde, som opfører sig som en mand, mens "Vores Ukraine" ledes af en mand, der opfører sig forfængeligt, uforudsigeligt og fuldstændig som en kvinde", siger politologen.
"Fraværet af vilje og karakter fører til, at de finder et hvilken som helst halmstrå, så de kan udsætte forhandlingerne, hvis resultat allerede er åbenlyst", tilføjer han.
Samtidig mener direktøren for Center for politiske studier og konfliktologi, Mykhajlo Pohrebynskyj, at koalitionsparterne har forskellige mål med at holde møderne.
"Hvor "Vores Ukraine" opbygger et system af "checks and balances", vil Julia Tymoshenko og hendes folk gerne løse hovedspørgsmålet: hvem skal være premierminister, mens de øvrige spørgsmål skal løses bagefter", mener politologen.
Som bekendt afholdtes i dag endnu en runde i forhandlingerne mellem BJuT, Vores Ukraine og Socialistpartiet, hvor man traf en beslutning om at fortsætte forhandlingerne i forhold til underskrivelsen af en koalitionsaftale om to dage. Liga. UP.
By Valentinas Mite
President Viktor Yushchenko's party suffered a humiliating third-place finish in Ukraine's March 26 parliamentary elections, but is still in a position to determine the shape of the new government by joining a coalition with one of the two leading parties. Yushchenko's Our Ukraine bloc faces a tough choice -- its 81 seats can help form a solid majority in a coalition with the winner of the elections, former rival Viktor Yanukovych's Party of Regions. Or, it could repair its estranged relationship with the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, which finished second, in an effort to form a three-party coalition including the Socialist Party of Ukraine. Both marriages of convenience pose potential pitfalls.
PRAGUE, April 4, 2006 -- The Ukrainian president must choose between two of his main political rivals to forge an alliance that will determine the next government.
His Our Ukraine bloc is the trump card in helping either of the top two finishers in the election to construct a coalition that will hold a majority of the votes in the new parliament.
But the top party, the Party of Regions, is led by Viktor Yanukovych -- Yushchenko's bitter rival in Ukraine's 2004 presidential elections.
The second-place finisher, the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, is led by his closest ally during the Orange Revolution that launched him to power in 2004. But their relationship became strained after Yushchenko dismissed Tymoshenko from her post as prime minister in September.
Tatyana Stanovaya, who heads the analytical department at the Center for Political Technologies, a Moscow-based think tank, says choosing Tymoshenko as a partner would be politically advantageous for the president.
"In fact, for Yushchenko the scenario of uniting with Tymoshenko is a perfect one, but only if Yuliya [Tymoshenko] abandons her pretensions of heading the government," Stanovaya said.
Tymoshenko has made no secret of her desire to regain her position as prime minister, and analyst Stanovaya believes that chances are high that she would refuse any other cabinet position.
But while Tymoshenko and Yushchenko share pro-Western principles, Stanovaya concedes that forming a coalition with the pro-Russian Party of Regions might be easier for the president.
"In the second case [a coalition with Yanukovych] there are fewer obstacles and it is less complicated and easier," Stanovaya said.
Others envision further obstacles to a Yushchenko-Tymoshenko reunion.
Oksana Shuliar, an analyst at the Institute of the Euro-Atlantic Cooperation think tank in Kyiv, says that talk of another Tymoshenko premiership could scare away foreign investment.
"Already now, many British experts have expressed their concern that Tymoshenko's premiership will cause a very big flight of investment from Ukraine ," Shuliar said. "Investors might start doubting whether to invest in Ukraine -- as Tymoshenko's premiership was marked by calls for reprivatization and creating stricter rules for privatization."
In addition, it is plausible that in the event that Tymoshenko were to regain her position as prime minister, the president would have a harder time checking her power this time around. This is in part due to reduced presidential powers courtesy of new constitutional amendments, and because of the political strength Tymoshenko gained by finishing ahead of the president's party in the recent elections.
Shuliar believes that for investment, a Yushchenko-Yanukovych alliance makes more sense. But such a convergence would also mark a return to the past, as it would serve to unite business and politics -- the separation of which was one of the main aims of the Orange Revolution.
"The east of the country is more industrial, all big business is mainly in the east and it is represented, of course, by the Party of Regions," Shuliar said. "It [a Yanukovych-Yushchenko alliance] will be a minus. There were many calls [during the Orange Revolution] to make a clear division between the authority and business. But in case of this big coalition -- the one between the Party of Regions and Our Ukraine -- there will be no division between the authority and business."
Meanwhile, others believe that Yushchenko is in a lose-lose situation, as an alliance with either of the two parties will weaken his credibility and hinder his political future.
No third option
However, analyst Stanovaya says there is no third way, as a coalition between the Party of Regions and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc is out of the question. Stanovaya says Tymoshenko has characterized Yanukovych as an evil force in the hands of the Kremlin, while Yanukovych has described Tymoshenko as unpredictable and too ambitious.
Sohat leaves Yushchenko holding the cards, and while Our Ukraine has announced that it will not decide on a coalition partner before April 7, the clock is ticking.
Lederen af "Vores Ukraine", Roman Bezsmertnyj, BJuTs leder Julia Tymoshenko og Socialistpartiets leder Oleksandr Moroz har underskrevet en aftale om principperne for dannelsen af en koalition af demokratiske kræfter.
Dokumentet blev underskrevet under et større presseopbud i Verkhovna Radas biografsal efter et to timer langt møde.
Aftalens sidste punkt taler om, at koalitionsaftalen "er blevet til på grundlag af de principper, som ligger til grund for memorandummet om de demokratiske kræfters koalition".
Ifølge det omtalte memorandum skal premierministeren foreslås af det politiske parti, som fik flest stemmer. UP.
Præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko er overbevist om, at forhandlingerne om en demokratisk koalition går "som de skal" og mener, at det er uhensigtsmæssigt at drøfte ministertaburetter, før forhandlingerne er afsluttet.
"Forhandlingerne forløber lige nu som de skal, det er helt normalt", sagde han til pressen i lørdags. På spørgsmålet om, hvad han mente om den koalitionsaftale, som er blevet underskrevet mellem "Vores Ukraine", BJuT og Socialistpartiet, hvor det omstridte punkt 6, som ville have sikret Julia Tymoshenko premierministerposten, er blevet underkendt af "Vores Ukraines" hovedbestyrelse, begyndte Jusjtjenko at kritisere punkt 6.
"Da jeg fandt ud af, at man stemte om aftalen og aftalens punkt 6, var min kommentar meget enkel: punkt 6 betyder i dag, at man reviderer principperne for regeringsdannelsen og endda nogle principper, som er hinsides principperne og er af personlig karakter", sagde Jusjtjenko.
Efter hans mening er det uhensigtsmæssigt at diskutere ministertaburetter, så længe man ikke er blevet enige om de overordnede politiske aftaler om diverse aftaler.
"Man danner ikke en koalition for at udnævne en eller anden, man danner en koalition for at opnå et eller andet", sagde Jusjtjenko, idet han fremhævede, at der ikke er noget farligt i denne proces. Interfaks-Ukrajina. UP.
Julia Tymoshenkos blok vil insistere på at formanden for Socialistpartiet Oleksandr Moroz bliver valgt til parlamentsformand.
"Vi vil insistere på, at Oleksandr Moroz bliver formand for parlamentet", sagde Tymoshenko i tirsdags.
Hun forklarer det med, at en fordeling af magten mellem "Vores Ukraine", som repræsenteres af præsident Jusjtjenko, Tymoshenkos blok, som vil have premierministerposten, og SPU, som får parlamentsformandsposten, "vil gøre det umuligt at ødelægge vores demokratiske koalition".
På spørgsmålet om, hvilke embeder "Vores Ukraine" kan regne med at få, hvis Tymoshenko bliver premierminister og Moroz parlamentsformand, svarede Tymohsenko:
"Vores Ukraine vil have præsidentposten og ministerposten, herunder magtministre og guvernører". Hun tilføjede, at hendes parti ikke er interesseret i posten som Nationalbankdirektør.
Lederen af BJuT opfordrer til ikke at trække tiden ud med at opfinde et handlingsprogram for den demokratiske koalition.
"Vi vil ikke spilde tiden på at udarbejde nye programmer. Der er programmet "10 skridt for at imødekomme menneskene" og det regeringsprogram, som jeg stod i spidsen for, og som over 370 parlamentsmedlemmer stemte for. Vi stopper alle diskussionerne omkring programmet og baserer os på disse to dokumenter", tilføjede Tymoshenko. UP.
USA's præsident George Bush har lykønsket Viktor Janukovytj med afviklingen af et demokratisk valg i Ukraine og en overbevisende sejr til Regionernes Parti.
Lykønskningen blev overbragt i onsdags af Jack Daers Krauch, som er næstformand i det nationale sikkerhedsråd og den amerikanske præsidents stedfortræder, oplyser Janukovytjs hjemmeside, som også gør opmærksom på, at Janukovytj og Krauch på deres møde tidligere på ugen drøftede fortsættelsen af de økonomiske reformer i Ukraine samt skabelsen af de nødvendige betingelser for investeringer.
Mødets deltagere var enige om, at betingelserne for udviklingen af forholdet mellem Ukraine og USA nu er de optimale. Men samtidig mente mødedeltagerne, at det vigtigste for det ukrainske folk i dag er at forene sig omkring det mål at nå en politisk og økonomisk stabilitet i landet, oplyser Janukovytjs pressetjeneste. UP.
Præsident Jusjtjenkos rådgiver Vira Uljantjenko går ind for dannelsen af en bred koalition i parlamentet mellem "Vores Ukraine", Regionernes Parti, Julia Tymoshenkos blok og Socialistpartiet.
"Jeg prøver hele tiden på at argumentere for en bred parlamentarisk koalition... I den brede demokratiske koalition bør der være fire politiske partier: "Vores Ukraine", Regionernes Parti, Julia Tymoshenkos blok og Socialistpartiet", udtaler hun i et interview med avisen "Kievskij Telegraf".
Samtidig understreger hun, at der ikke er tale om en koalition udelukkende mellem Regionernes parti og "Vores Ukraine".
"Hvis vi sætter os ned for at tale om de seriøse perspektiver og om en koalition, så vil vi nå til fuld forståelse i forhold til NATO, EEP og det russiske sprog som det andet officielle sprog med Regionernes parti. Og vi kunne endda nå til enighed om, at visse politikere fra den "blå-hvide" lejr ikke skal beklæde nogle offentlige poster", siger Uljantjenko.
På spørgsmålet om, hvorvidt dette betyder, at der bliver oprettet en sort liste, svarer hun:
"Hvad snakker I om? Jeg er bare ikke sikker på, at vi vil foreslå Jevhen Kushnarjov (Janukovytjs mest loyale støtte, red.) en eller anden ledende post. Jeg tror heller ikke, at Rinat Akhmetov vil få tilbudt posten som industriminister. Det er det, forhandlingerne vil gå ud på".
I forhold til BJuT's holdning i forhandlingerne med "Vores Ukraine" siger Uljantjenko:
"Med hensyn til den lidt anspændte tilstand, som Julia Tymoshenkos politiske parti i øjeblikket befinder sig i, så kan jeg godt forstå dem: de var så tæt på at få heldet med sig…" UP.
The report's conclusion underlines the uncertainty that remains about the health effects of the world's worst nuclear accident as its 20th anniversary approaches.
A reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine exploded on April 26, 1986, spewing heavy levels of radioactive fallout over much of Europe. The fallout was particularly severe in northern reaches of Ukraine, western Russia and in much of Belarus.
Areas immediately around the now-inoperative plant remain off-limits, but other areas that got significant fallout are inhabited and health anxiety is common in those areas.
A report by the Chernobyl Forum, which comprises the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency and several other U.N. groups last year said only 56 deaths could be confirmed as being connected to Chernobyl and said the number of deaths connected with the accident ultimately would probably be around 4,000.
But Greenpeace, in a report citing data from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine -- and extrapolating from those figures -- disagreed and suggested the Chernobyl Forum report was deliberately misleading.
"It is appalling that the IAEA is whitewashing the impacts of the most serious nuclear accident in human history," Ivan Blokov of Greenpeace's Russia office said in a statement. "Denying the real implications is not only insulting to the thousands of victims but it also leads to dangerous recommendations and the relocation of people in contaminated areas."
The Chernobyl Forum report had suggested that many of the health problems and complaints in the regions around Chernobyl were connected with unhealthy lifestyles such as heavy drinking and smoking and with a culture of victimization.
Greenpeace countered that statistics from Belarus indicate there will be 270,000 cases of cancer attributable to Chernobyl radiation throughout the region and that 93,000 of those cases are likely to be fatal.
Greenpeace also cited a report by Veniamin Khudolei of the Center for Independent Environmental Assessment of the Russian Academy of Sciences that found sharply increased mortality in western Russia over the past 15 years, suggesting that the increase was due to Chernobyl radiation.
"On the basis of demographic data, during the last 15 years, 60,000 people have died additionally in Russia because of the Chernobyl accident and estimates of the total death toll for Ukraine and Belarus could be another 140,000," Greenpeace's international office said in a statement.
The report also finds that "radiation from the disaster has had a devastating effect on survivors" other than cancer cases -- "damaging immune and endocrine systems, leading to accelerated aging, cardiovascular and blood illnesses, psychological illnesses, chromosome aberrations and an increase of deformities in fetuses and children."
Tarasyuk is entertaining a positive view, that the NATO Summit, scheduled in Riga for this November, will prove more accommodating. A helping hand by Washington on this matter, however, remains adversely impacted by two events:
 The weak performance by Yushchenko in last elections
 The potential change of guard anticipated in the coming US Congressional Elections.
One might add to the Tarasyuk woes the reality on the ground in Ukraine of the populace remaining largely opposed to NATO. Tarasyuk should use the time offered by the indecision displayed by the West for a re-education campaign of the ignorant and confused masses in preparation for a nation-wide NATO issue referendum. The effort would have a beneficial side-effect of proving to the West the seriousness of Ukraine intentions in its drive toward the Euro-Atlantic integration.
The Wall Street Journal
April 28, 2006; A4
By Gregory L. White, David Crawford and Glenn R. Simpson
LONDON -- The secretive shareholder in a trading company that handles the multibillion-dollar natural-gas trade between Russia and Ukraine said he concealed his identity to win the business with Russian gas monopoly OAO Gazprom and to avoid political pressure in Ukraine.
In his first interview since revealing that he owns a 45% stake in Rosukrenergo AG this week, Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash pledged to make the company more open and said it is likely to seek an initial public offering or other international financing in the future.
Rosukrenergo became a focus of international attention in January when it emerged as an intermediary between Moscow and Kiev in a deal to resolve a dispute over gas prices that had led to a brief reduction in Gazprom's exports to Europe.
Rosukrenergo's opaque ownership -- Gazprom owns 50%, but Mr. Firtash had concealed his identity behind a trustee arrangement with Austria's Raiffeisen Bank AG -- raised questions in the region and in Western capitals about the possibility of corruption. It remains to be seen whether Mr. Firtash's emergence will allay the political concerns.
In response to a U.S. inquiry, company representatives met with the Justice Department in Washington in February and disclosed Mr. Firtash's ownership.
Mr. Firtash insisted Rosukrenergo has no political or other connections, and said the remaining 5% stake is held by a business associate who isn't involved in the company's operations.
Having worked for most of the 1990s trading gas between Turkmenistan and Ukraine, Mr. Firtash said he approached Raiffeisen in 2004 with the idea of creating Rosukrenergo to allow Gazprom to take a stake in the lucrative business. Gazprom, whose cooperation is critical to the trade, had publicly stated its desire to take a greater role in the business.
The Austrian bank provided a brand name as well as financial strength that allowed Mr. Firtash to secure the deal with the giant Russian company. Wolfgang Putschek, Raiffeisen's chief representative on the deal, said the bank introduced Mr. Firtash during negotiations with Gazprom as "our technical expert" but didn't disclose that he was a shareholder.
Gazprom thought it was dealing with Raiffeisen and was happy with the bank as a partner, said Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kuprianov. "For all its lack of transparency at the time, it was pretty understandable for us," he said, noting that Rosukrenergo pledged to invest in upgrading pipelines to carry gas from Central Asia across Russia to Ukraine.
Gazprom, Mr. Kuprianov said, received an audit report disclosing Mr. Firtash's true role only in the past 10 days or so, and top executives only became aware of it in the past few days. Mr. Kuprianov said Gazprom intends to continue working with Rosukrenergo.
In Ukraine, where the January gas deal has become a major political issue, Mr. Firtash said he didn't want his identity to become fodder for the debate.
Mr. Firtash acknowledged that a company he controlled once had as a shareholder the wife of Simon Mogilevich, who is wanted by U.S. authorities on racketeering charges. Mr. Firtash said he took over ownership of that stake as soon as he learned of the connection to Mr. Mogilevich.
He noted the company, High Rock Holdings Ltd., wasn't connected to Rosukrenergo or its predecessor, Eural Trans Gas.
Ze'ev Gordon, a lawyer for Mr. Mogilevich, confirmed the two men have no current business relationship but said he couldn't immediately comment on whether Mr. Mogilevich's wife had ever been a shareholder in High Rock.
Under the compromise reached in January, Rosukrenergo sells gas from Central Asia and Russia in Ukraine at below-market prices, but more than offsets those losses, thanks to profit from exports of low-cost Central Asian gas to Europe at world prices. It plans to invest in expanding pipelines carrying Central Asian gas to Russia, as well as in underground storage facilities for the fuel destined for Europe.
I dag leder præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko et møde i Det nationale råd for den statslige administration og lokalt selvstyre.
På mødet planlægger man at drøfte forslaget til en reform af den statslige administration og det lokale selvstyre, oplyser præsidentens pressetjeneste.
Mødedeltagerne skal efter planen også tage stilling til udkastet til rådets brev til partierne i det nye parlament med forslag om, at man i den nye regeringskoalitionsaftale forpligter sig til omgående at indlede en administrativ reform og oprette posten som vice-premierminister med ansvar for den administrative reform.
Udover eksperter deltager formanden for partiet "Vores Ukraine"'s politiske råd Roman Bezsmertnyj, 1. næstformand i præsidentens sekretariat Ivan Vasyunyk, samt næstformand for præsidentens sekretariat Anatolij Matvijenko.
Med til mødet er også fungerende premierminister Jurij Jekhanurov, lederen af Socialistpartiet Oleksandr Moroz, lederen af BJuT Julia Tymoshenko samt formanden for Regionernes parti Viktor Janukovytj. UP.
By Taras Kuzio
The Ukrainian owners of the shady gas intermediary that was established to supply Turkmen gas to Ukraine and Europe have been revealed.
The Russian newspaper Izvestia reported that Dmytro Firtash and Ivan Fursin together control 50 percent of RosUkrEnergo (RUE). Their shares are held through Centragas Holding and administered by Austria's Raiffeisen banking group. The other 50 percent share in RUE, owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom, is held through Arosgas, which along with Centragas is registered in Austria.
[ ... ]
According to a report by the Internet site Ukrayinska Pravda, part of Fursin's 5 percent share in RosUkrEnergo goes to Kuchma. During Yushchenko's presidency, Kuchma has not been questioned for abuse of office or other crimes in which he was allegedly involved.
Widespread suspicion points to Kuchma being given immunity during negotiations in December 2004, possibly at the insistence of the EU. If true, Kuchma's immunity also came with a large unofficial "pension" from RUE.
According to Ukrayinska Pravda, Firtash is the link between RUE and ETG. Firtash's main business offices (High Rock Holdings) are in Moscow and offshore Cyprus, meaning most of Ukraine's 50 percent share in RUE is run by a businessman from Moscow.
[ ... ]
But if Yushchenko is committed to taking Ukraine into NATO and the
EU, this requires battling corruption. The most corrupt sector of the
economy is energy -- an area that Yushchenko has been ironically
unwilling to touch.
We can only reach the conclusion that Yushchenko has not found the political will to reform the energy sector and has left in place the same corrupt schemes in existence under Kuchma.
Taras Kuzio is a visiting professor at George Washington University Washington D.C.
Præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko og Ruslands præsident Vladimir Putin har haft en telefonsamtale angående sidstnævntes forestående besøg i Ukraine. De to præsidenter kom også ind på nogle af de bilaterale spørgsmål, herunder indenfor handelsrelationer, oplyser Jusjtjenkos pressetjeneste. Blandt andet drejede samtalen sig om eksport af animalsk produktion fra Ukraine til Rusland.
Desuden drøftede Jusjtjenko og Putin, hvordan man bedre kan organisere toldvæsnets arbejde og grænseovergangene mellem de to lande.
De to præsidenter kom også ind på international politik, hvor de to præsidenter koncentrerede sig om SNG's organisation og arbejde. Det er som bekendt langt fra første gang at Putins besøg i Ukraine bliver udsat.
Tidligere afhang Putins besøg af, hvor hurtigt underudvalgene i "Jusjtjenko-Putin" kommissionen ville udarbejde forslagene til mødet. Bagefter sagde Ruslands ambassadør i Ukraine Viktor Tjernomyrdin, at Putin ville komme efter at der var dannet en regering i Ukraine. Det er ikke første gang, at de to landes præsidenter drøfter besøget over telefonen. UP.
Præsident Jusjtjenkos parti "Vores Ukraine" har forladt koalitionsforhandlingerne så længe Julia Tymoshenkos Blok ikke har afklaret sin holdning til spørgsmålet om fordelingen af ministerposter.
Det fortalte forhandlingslederen for "Vores Ukraine" Roman Zvarytj tirsdag formiddag ifølge nyhedsbureauet Interfaks-Ukrajina.
"Vores Ukraine" afventer en uddybning af Julia Tymoshenkos udtalelser om fordelingen af poster, ifølge hvilke Julia Tymoshenkos Blok skal have posten som premierminister, Socialistpartiet - posten som parlamentsformand, da "Vores Ukraine" jo allerede har præsidentposten.
"Hvis præsidenten var blevet valgt indenfor samme system og skulle sidde indenfor den samme valgperiode som parlamentet, ville man kunne forstå Julia Tymoshenkos holdning. Men i forbindelse med, at vi forstår, at valgene afholdes på forskellige tidspunkter - er der overhovedet ingen logik i disse udtalelser", fremhævede han.
"Således må disse udtalelser dække over noget andet; nemlig et forsøg på at stille "Vores Ukraine" overfor et nyt ultimatum. "Vores Ukraine" kan ikke og vil ikke være med til denne eventyragtige og krænkende holdning fra Julia Tymoshenkos side", sagde Zvarytj.
"I forbindelse med disse udtalelser fra Julia Tymoshenkos side træder vi hermed ud af koalitionsforhandlingerne, indtil disse udtalelser enten er blevet trukket tilbage eller dementeret", sagde Zvarytj.
Samtidig med det understregede repræsentanten for "Vores Ukraine", at han i mandags redegjorde for denne holdning i forbindelse med forhandlingerne med BJuT og SPU og spurgte om der var tale om "et krav, et ønske eller et ultimatum".
Ifølge ham har Socialistpartiet allerede besvaret spørgsmålet og sagt, at der kun er tale om et ønske fra SPU's side.
"Vi har ikke modtaget et sådant svar fra Julia Tymoshenkos side", tilføjede han.
"Så længe vi ikke kender BJuT's officielle holdning, vil vi ikke kunne vende tilbage til forhandlingsprocessens algoritme", understregede Zvarytj.
Samtidig understregede Zvarytj, at hvis disse udtalelser fra BJuT-lederens side er et ultimatum, så ser han kun to udveje af denne situation: "Enten accepterer "Vores Ukraine" denne holdning eller også giver BJuT afkald på denne holdning".
Han oplyste desuden, at han mandag kl. 19:00 modtog et forslag til en koalitionsaftale fra Socialistpartiets side, og dette projekt lige nu bliver undersøgt. UP.
De ukrainske alkoholproducenter i sammenslutningen "SOVAT" er imod Ukraines mulige udtræden af SNG, fordi det vil have en negativ effekt på den ukrainske alkoholsektor, udtalte formanden for "SOVAT"s komite af vodkaproducenter og medlem af bestyrelsen i firmaet Nemiroff Holding Jakiv Hrybov på en pressekonference i dag.
Ifølge UNIAN's korrespodent oplyste Hrybov, at der i dag toldfrihed for import af alkohol indenfor SNG-landenes område.
Når Den russiske Føderation træder ind i Verdenshandelsorganisationen WTO regner man med, at importafgiften vil stige til 1,5-1,6 euro for en liter ren alkohol (ren spiritus), som i dag gælder for WTO's medlemslande.
Når et land træder ind i WTO, har tidligere underskrevne aftaler imidlertid fortrinsret. Så hvis Ukraine forbliver i SNG, vil importafgiften for alkohol til Rusland fortsat være lig nul.
"Det er et marked som vi har kæmpet for og bearbejdet i årevis. Der findes ikke et større marked end det... Der er ingen grund til at lade sig koste rundt med mere end nødvendigt", sagde Hrybov. Han understregede, at Georgien, som har mistet det russiske marked for vin, cognac og vand "intet har at gøre i SNG. Det er åbenlyst".
Den 4. maj i Moskva sagde Ukraines 1. viceudenrigsminister Volodymyr Ohryzko, at regeringen i Kiev mener, at SNG til stadighed mister sin tiltrækningskraft.
Den 11. maj sagde udenrigsminister Borys Tarasyuk, at Ukraine på nuværende tidspunkt ikke har nogle aktuelle planer om at træde ud af SNG. UP.
by Oleg Varfolomeyev
The Ukraine List (UKL) #391 23 May 2006
Eurasia Daily Monitor, 17 May 2006
Though defeated in the Orange Revolution, regional elites scored a strong performance in Ukraine's March 26 general election, strengthening the position of their main party -- the Party of Regions (PRU) of former presidential contender Viktor Yanukovych. President Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine bloc emerged very weak in the east and south of Ukraine, where PRU people dominate the local councils. Yushchenko is grudgingly accepting the status quo and starting to withdraw his appointees from those regions. The opposition, in the meantime, is displaying its strength in its strongholds, challenging Yushchenko on a highly sensitive issue -- language. Several regional councils have decided to officially equate Russian to Ukrainian, and Yushchenko seems to be helpless to stop them.
Yushchenko-appointed governors in the eastern-most regions, including Henady Moskal of Luhansk and Vadym Chuprun of Donetsk, resigned in April. Yushchenko dismissed Kirovohrad governor Eduard Zeynalov of Our Ukraine and Odessa governor Vasyl Tsushko of the Socialist Party on May 3, and on May 12 he dismissed another Socialist governor, Stepan Bulba, in Poltava region. More dismissals apparently loom.
So far the government has found a replacement only for Chuprun -- Volodymyr Lohvynenko. Unlike Chuprun, essentially an outsider who had spent many years abroad as a diplomat before coming home in 2005, Lohvynenko is firmly entrenched in Donetsk. He was deputy governor in 2002-2005, and prior to that that he had managed Energo -- one of the major local business conglomerates controlling companies in the metals and mining sector and several banks. The PRU has no objections to Lohvynenko, who "is a person with extensive life experience," according to one of the PRU's leaders, Volodymyr Rybak. The business daily/ Delo/, which published the comment by Rybak, led its article on Lohvynenko with a telling headline: "The end of Orange experiments in Donbas."
Following the March elections, Yanukovych's people became the dominant force in the Crimean parliament. The "For Yanukovych" bloc -- essentially the local PRU branch -- secured 44 of the legislature's 100 seats. Allied locally with the radical anti-West Progressive Socialists and several smaller pro-Russian groups, the PRU secured the election of its own Anatoly Hrytsenko as local parliament speaker to replace the politically neutral Borys Deych. Hrytsenko was elected on May 12 with 71 votes. He is hardly a political novice -- Hrytsenko occupied the same position in 1997-98.
In the regions where it dominates, the PRU began to challenge Yushchenko almost immediately after the election on a matter of principle for him -- language. Giving Russian an official status equal to Ukrainian was one of the PRU's main election promises. Russian de facto dominates in Kyiv and other major cities except Lviv, and public opinion polls over the past several years have shown that most Ukrainians are in favor of raising the status of Russian. De jure, however, Russian is just another minority language, on par with Hungarian or Greek. It will be hard to raise the language issue at the national level, as the PRU has no dedicated allies on this issue in the national parliament in Kyiv. In the east and south, however, the PRU quickly got down to business.
Even before the election, on March 6, northeastern Kharkiv's regional council voted, 53-22, to give Russian "regional language" status. This should mean that official correspondence and bookkeeping may be conducted in Russian. Yushchenko's secretariat reacted on the same day, saying the decision was outside the legal field, as the constitution does not provide for such a status. The PRU-dominated regional councils in Luhansk and Sevastopol, however, followed Kharkiv's suit on April 25-26. Yushchenko on April 28 asked the Justice Ministry and the Prosecutor-General's Office to look into the legal side of the three councils' decisions.
The councils argued that they were inspired by the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages, adopted by Ukraine. But Justice Minister Serhy Holovaty argues that the charter referred to languages on the verge of extinction -- a threat Russian definitely is not facing. Yushchenko has laid the blame for the language dispute on parliament, which has failed to swear in Constitutional Court judges. Language is a constitutional matter, so a decision on the Russian language status by the Constitutional Court should have -- in theory -- settled the dispute. But the court cannot resume it work, as it does not have a quorum. The outgoing parliament blocked the appointment of new judges to replace those whose tenure expired.
The language dispute has revealed how difficult it will be for Yushchenko to steer the country after the election in the absence of an Orange coalition, and with an opposition that dominates half of the country. The language discussion has been a convenient occasion for the PRU to demonstrate its strengths and probe Yushchenko's weaknesses.
In a dying Ukrainian village, a fragile grandmother turns to her visiting adult granddaughter a few weeks before last March's parliamentary elections and asks: "Tell me child, what is NATO?" Surprised by the question, the young woman inquires, "why Grandmother?" The elderly woman responds: "You live in the big city, dear. President [Viktor] Yushchenko says NATO is good, while former President [Leonid] Kravchuk and his Ne Tak political party says it is bad. Tell me please, who is right?"
This testimonial, recounted on April 28 in Kyiv during the Third Assembly of the Ukraine-NATO Civic League, an umbrella organization for nearly 40 Ukrainian NGOs, underscores a serious problem on Ukraine's road to NATO membership. Put simply, more than 80 percent of Ukrainians remain in the dark about NATO, according to a recent survey conducted by the highly respected Democratic Initiatives Foundation. To anyone who even casually follows the NATO scene in Ukraine, low public support for NATO, and Ukrainian membership in it, comes as no surprise. Earlier reliable surveys also reveal that few Ukrainians understand what NATO is and why it is worth joining. Moreover, this low public support has dropped even further as a result of the fierce anti-NATO campaign launched by several political parties just months before the recent parliamentary elections. Significantly, the attack upon NATO was more vitriolic than any conducted by Soviet leaders, according to Ukrainian officials and NGO activists who participated in the recent Ukraine-NATO Civic League Assembly.
What is surprising, however, is that no systematic effort has been made by the Ukrainian government to harness the power of Ukrainian television and other media to dramatically increase Ukrainian understanding of and support for NATO prior to a possible future national referendum on the subject of Ukrainian membership in NATO. Nor is such an effort even on the horizon.
This situation is curious for several reasons. First, President Yushchenko's commitment to NATO membership seems unquestionable. His intense desire to join the alliance is reflected in the country's impressive defense reform strategy and his many bold declarations. For example, in his speech at the "Common Vision for Common Neighborhood" summit in Vilnius on May 4, the president stressed that NATO is "one of the strategic targets of Ukraine's state policy" and that "guaranteeing Europe's enlargement is one of the most serious challenges of the day." That same day, in an interview with Lithuanian television, Yushchenko asserted that there is "no greater challenge" today for the country's political elite than NATO and EU membership. He also made a very important admission in Vilnius. He stated categorically that dramatic steps such as NATO membership require the overwhelming support of Ukrainian society.
The absence of a far-reaching information campaign is also very odd because reliable, detailed information about NATO and the advantages of membership is available in Ukraine. The information seminars and round tables conducted by NATO throughout the country in recent years, with the assistance of respected Ukrainian NGOs, have produced much useful literature and are an essential instrument for facilitating informed public debate here in Ukraine. Ideally, this effort, which includes Euro-clubs and summer camps for members of the younger generation, should be expanded and intensified. However, as surveys show, the impact of these seminars and clubs on the wider population is still very limited. And, not surprisingly, these seminars often attract individuals who already support NATO membership for Ukraine. These are true believers seeking more detailed information, or simply the moral support of like-minded individuals.
Finally, the failure of the Ukrainian government to disseminate widely accurate information about NATO is curious because significant funding for this effort is available. The State Committee for TV and Radio Broadcasting, which is responsible for coordinating and disseminating information about NATO and Euro-integration issues, has been allocated more than Hr 5 million this year to implement special projects that promise to better inform citizens about European and Euro-Atlantic integration. And yet, amazingly, one would have searched Ukrainian television in vain during the past year for a single information-commercial about NATO, which could help dispel negative stereotypes of the alliance and provide useful information. Similarly, even in the country's capital, a city where one passes countless meter-high glass-covered billboards every few steps, receptacles that displayed a wide variety of political posters during the recent pre-election campaign in addition to conventional advertising, incredibly, one will not find a single eye-catching, thought-provoking NATO image or information poster, neither in these glass-covered containers on streets, nor on public transport.
How can we better understand the government's failure to launch a systematic, multi-media NATO information campaign that targets the masses in cities and villages throughout the country, and not just the sympathetic Ukrainian elite?
One Ukrainian NGO activist who spoke at the Third Assembly of the Ukraine-NATO League offered the following insight. He said this egregious official failure is not primarily about money. Rather, the problem lies with the "information politics" of the government. In his words, "It's not that we can't give the needed important information, we don't want to. Today, there is insufficient political will." Moreover, he stressed, "today society doesn't know about NATO and therefore doesn't support it," observing that information about NATO appears rarely, mostly on television news broadcasts, and only for a few seconds.
But the problem, unfortunately, runs much deeper than a lack of sufficient political will and is profoundly systemic. Today there is no clear understanding in the Ukrainian government about what needs to be done to effectively inform Ukraine's masses about NATO and the advantages of membership, no description of short-term and strategic priorities, no breakdown of resources required, and no detailed action plan for implementing a far-reaching information campaign.
Instead, there is complacency, wishful thinking and a false sense of security within the Ukrainian government about NATO membership. There is also the apparent belief in the presidential administration that Ukrainians, left to their own devices, will gradually see the wisdom of joining NATO and that massive public support for Ukrainian membership will slowly but steadily grow over the next few years on its own. This is a very unrealistic assumption that ignores several key facts: the recent decrease in Ukrainian public support for NATO, unwavering Russian opposition to Ukraine's NATO push, and continuing public anti-NATO protests in Ukraine (for example, on May 9 in Sevastopol).
What needs to be done?
NATO seminars and round tables in Ukraine are very important, indeed, but the NATO discussion must move beyond the seminar room. It must catch the attention of millions of Ukrainians who instinctively turn away from any talk of NATO, individuals who are either indifferent or hostile to NATO and unlikely ever to attend a NATO information seminar.
The Ukrainian government can play a crucial role in disseminating widely reliable information and more accurate, nuanced images of NATO. The State Committee for TV and Radio Broadcasting can be a beacon of light and understanding for the vast majority of Ukrainians still in the dark about NATO. It can let citizens near and far know that NATO membership is a big plus for the country: an important bridge to the European Union and a guarantee that a professional, didovshchina (brutal hazing)-free army will develop here in the foreseeable future. It can do this by supporting bold information projects which are homegrown, imaginative and even employ humor. The disarming power of humor should not be underestimated, nor its very special role in Ukrainian culture.
The State Committee for TV and Radio Broadcasting must not shy away from employing television, the most watched medium, which reaches even inquisitive grannies in distant villages. Its failure to do so, to date, is inexcusable. Importantly, Ukraine has 14 million pensioners, individuals more likely to vote in any future national referendum on NATO membership than many members of the country's MTV generation.
Given the conspicuous, institutional incapacity of the Ukrainian government to implement important programs - the NATO information campaign is but one example - one thing is clear. President Yushchenko must be the catalyst for action in the government's NATO information campaign.
All the good news in Ukraine's NATO picture, and there is a great deal indeed, should not blind him to the daunting NATO information challenge at home. The president will need to play a very active role on the domestic front if significant progress is to be made during the next few years. More specifically, he will need to act as a whip or enforcer and personally oversee the development of an action plan with specific and achievable benchmarks, appointing officials who will be held accountable for the implementation of this plan.
Unless this is done, the president should expect business as usual from the government's entrenched, largely unresponsive bureaucracy. And in a few years time, he may be unpleasantly surprised to learn that overwhelming public support for NATO membership, an essential requirement by his own admission, has not miraculously materialized on its own.
Walter Parchomenko, a Ph.D. and Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council of the United States, is currently based in Ukraine. The views expressed above are purely his own.
By Tom Warner in Kyiv
Published: May 19 2006
A possible visit to Kyiv by President George W. Bush in June or July is causing consternation in Moscow and putting pressure on Ukraine's quarrelling pro-western political parties to agree quickly on a coalition government.
The White House is hoping the Kyiv visit could be combined with a US-European Union summit in late June or with the Group of Eight summit in Moscow in mid-July.
A Kyiv visit timed closely to the G8 summit would allow Mr Bush to stress US support for the western-oriented democracies on Russia's perimeter that have come under economic pressure from Moscow.
Mr Bush would also use the visit to promote Ukraine's accession to Nato, which his administration is suggesting could be launched at the alliance's summit in Riga in November and completed by 2008.
The aggressive schedule was outlined by William Taylor, Mr Bush's nominee to take over as US ambassador in Kyiv, in a Senate confirmation hearing last week.
At a conference on Nato in Moscow yesterday, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the alliance's secretary-general, defended proposals for Nato to take in Ukraine and Georgia, which he said were "not directed against Russia".
Russian speakers warned that Nato-Russia relations would change for the worse if Ukraine was invited to join.
However, Mr Bush's mission in Kyiv depends on there being a government to greet him. A newly elected parliament is not due to convene until next Thursday, two months after the March polls.
The three parties that led the 2004 Orange Revolution and together won the largest share of parliamentary seats continue to argue over the sharing out of key jobs, including the prime minister's.
Viktor Yushchenko, president, added impetus to the talks last week when he said that he did not object to the candidacy of Yulia Tymoshenko, a former prime minister, with whom he has had a somewhat rocky relationship.
Ms Tymoshenko leads the largest of the three groups in the prospective coalition and her bloc insists she be premier.
Mr Yushchenko's spokeswoman said Mr Bush was likely to visit this year but no date had yet been set.
"Thank god that in Ukraine the government is formed without
outside influence," she said.
"But the president is optimistic that we will see a government by the middle of June."