29.06.05. Stolen vakler under chefanklager Piskun (eng.)
29.06.05. Regeringen forfølger tidligere topembedsmænd (eng.)
29.06.05. Ukraine deserves EU membership
29.06.05. Vice-premierminister foreslår russisk som andet officielle sprog
26.06.05. Ukraine skal betale for gassen med hård valuta
22.06.05. Usikkert om Kutjma skulle have beordret Gongadze myrdet
20.06.05. Ukraines parlament nedstemmer copyright love (eng.)
20.06.05. Media bias decreases in Ukraine, but through dubious means
20.06.05. EU regner ikke med et ukrainsk medlemskab
15.06.05. Tymoshenko har lovet Jusjtjenko ikke at stille op i 2009
14.06.05. Tymoshenko på officielt besøg i Paris
14.06.05. IMF opfordrer Ukraine til at mindske inflation (eng.)
14.06.05. Sprækker i Ukraines brede koalition (eng.)
14.06.05. Ukrainian police go after Yanukovych, Medvedchuk
11.06.05. Kravtjuk beskylder styret for magtfordrejning
06.06.05. Yushchenko to produce re-privatisation list next week
06.06.05. Former security chief reveals details about violence during presidential election
06.06.05. Lytvyn er imod, at Jusjtjenko skal stå i spidsen for et parti
03.06.05. Melnitjenko beskylder Jusjtjenko for at modarbejde ham
Major Mykola Melnitjenko beskylder den øverste
anklagemyndigheds ledelse "og dele af præsident Viktor Jusjtjenkos
omgivelser" for at stå i ledtog med den russiske oligark Boris
Berezovskij, siger han i en udtalelse, oplyser Obkom.
"De ukrainske ordensmyndigheder forsøger ikke at slå ned på Boris Berezovskij og hans internationale gruppes ulovlige forsøg på at forfalske de skandaleombruste sager og fjerne ansvaret fra Leonid Kutjma og dennes medsammensvorne for de forbrydelser, som blev begået mod Georgij Gongadze og Oleksandr Jeljashkevytj", hedder det i hans erklæring.
"En af grundene til det er, at Boris Berezovskijs internationale gruppe står i ledtog med ledelsen af den øverste anklagemyndighed i Ukraine og en del af præsident Viktor Jusjtjenkos omgivelser", mener han.
I den forbindelse mener Melnitjenko, at Jusjtjenko "for hvem opklaringen af de højtprofilerede kriminalsager om Georgij Gongadzes dødsfald og attentatet mod Oleksandr Jeljashkevytj er en æressag" bør "straks fjerne de personer fra sin omgangskreds og fra den øverste anklagemyndighed, som er indblandet i Boris Berezovskij og hans internationale gruppes kriminelle planer.
Desuden oplyste han, at han "med udgangspunkt i Ukraines nationale interesser" har rettet officiel henvendelse til USA's og Ruslands ordensmyndigheder i anledning af Boris Berezovskij og hans internationale gruppes ulovlige aktiviteter".
Desuden oplyste han, at han i sit officielle brev til Ruslands øverste anklager Ustinov omtaler eksistensen af dokumenterede eksempler på "Boris Berezovskij og hans internationale gruppes ulovlige aktiviteter".
Ifølge Melnitjenko har "medlemmer af Boris Berezovskij gruppe" overdraget "bevidst forfalskede erklæringer" om Ruslands (herunder FSB's) meddelagtighed i mordet på journalisten Georgij Gongadze, hvilket efter majorens mening bør "få en passende juridisk bedømmelse".
"Desuden har jeg orienteret ordensmyndighederne om, at jeg har kendskab til andre eksempler på Boris Berezovskijs internationale gruppes ulovlige aktiviteter, herunder bedrageri i spørgsmålet om Berezovskijs modtagelse af politisk asyl i Storbritannien, og at jeg er parat til at komme med yderligere oplysninger om dette bedrageri", hedder det i erklæringen. UP.
Formanden for Ukraines parlament Verkhovna Rada, Volodymyr Lytvyn, mener, at præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko bør opgive planerne om at opbygge et præsidentielt parti, fordi det vil få "den stik modsatte effekt".
Dette synspunkt kom han frem med i lørdags under mødet med formanden for USA's Senats underudvalg for internationale relationer, Chuck Haighel, og næstkommanderende for de amerikanske tropper i Europa, Charles Walt.
"Præsidenten bør optræde som nationens voldgiftsdommer, han bør konsolidere samfundet og være hævet over processen", citerer parlamentets pressetjeneste Lytvyn for at sige.
Parlamentsformanden kom også ind på spørgsmålet om etableringen af en valgkoalition og betegnede denne proces som "forsøg på at være venner og mindske hinandens vælgeropbakning på én gang". "Det er et problem, som kræver en drøftelse bag lukkede døre", sagde han.
Lytvyn forklarede de eksisterende meningsforskelle mellem politikerne i forhold til den udenrigspolitiske vektor med, at parlamentsvalget nærmer sig, og at man gerne vil lefle for vælgerne. I betydning sammenlignede han det forestående parlamentsvalg med præsidentvalget.
Ifølge parlamentsformanden vil parlamentet efter valget få en nøglefunktion i styret og vil udpege premierministeren uafhængigt af, om præsidenten vil acceptere denne beslutning, hvilket kan fremkalde en konflikt i samfundet.
Ifølge Lytvyn er en af det nye styres vigtigste opgaver også at få etableret civiliserede forhold mellem styret og oppositionen som en uomgængelig betingelse for demokratiet. "Oppositionen er en afspejling af styret og vice versa, - sagde han. - Oppositionen er mat, og styret har endnu ikke fundet et ben at stå på". UP.
Eurasia Daily Monitor
The Jamestown Foundation
Wednesday, June 1, 2005 -- Volume 2, Issue 106
By Taras Kuzio
In February, Oleksandr Turchynov, a close ally of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, replaced Ihor Smeshko as chief of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU). Smeshko recently provided new details about violence during Ukraine's 2004 presidential elections in a long interview published in the May 27 issue of the newspaper Fakty. Smeshko's comments bring to light more details about the violence planned, and sometimes attempted, against presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko. This new information also helps explain why the Orange Revolution that carried Yushchenko to victory was non-violent.
The Yushchenko camp anticipated and prepared for violence. Yushchenko's personal security detail was led by Yevhen Chervonenko, now minister of transportation, and included 55 former SBU, spetsnaz, and Interior Ministry experts. Chervonenko claims that they had an "elaborate system of reconnaissance, intelligence, and physical protection" (Times, April 1).
Chervonenko also built up a team of hundreds of "battle-ready" individuals, including many athletes. "All were armed. Many of them legally held various weapons, including hunting weapons" (Ukrayinska pravda, March 29). These paramilitaries were backed by 4,000 volunteers who, according to Orange Revolution organizer Taras Stetskiv, were "ready for everything and only waited for a signal" to storm the presidential administration (Zerkalo Nedeli/Tyzhnia, December 11-17, 2004).
According to Chervonenko, "We would not have allowed troops into the center of Kyiv without a fight" (Ukrayinska pravda, March 29). That fight never came. When Interior Ministry (MVS) troops were dispatched to Kyiv on November 28 they failed to reach their destination because taxis had blocked the main roads into Kyiv.
Aside from possible assaults on his supporters, new details suggest that there were three separate plots to eliminate Yushchenko.
Plan one is the best known, namely Yushchenko's near-fatal poisoning. However, Smeshko claims that Yushchenko was not poisoned with anthrax on September 5 during dinner with SBU deputy chief Volodymyr Satsiuk. He says that the SBU had investigated a possible link between the poisoning and the two Russian bombers arrested two months later. If proven, this scenario would point to a Russian connection in at least two of three assassination attempts on Yushchenko.
Plan two involved bombing Yushchenko's election headquarters during the November 21 runoff. Two men arrested in connection with this plot had false Russian passports and were in a car with Russian license plates. The two arrested claimed that the 3 kilos of plastic explosives in their car were part of an attempt to fake a terrorist attack and increase Yushchenko's ratings. Smeshko discounted this explanation because a small portion of the plastic explosive had been tested, common procedure before a bomb is planted. If the bomb had gone off as planned, the entire three-story headquarters would have been destroyed.
For plan three, a sniper squad was trained to assassinate Yushchenko while he addressed the Orange Revolution crowds from the Maidan stage in central Kyiv. Chervonenko said this was the second of two assassination attempts that he had foiled (Times, April 1). Whether the sniper squad was arrested or fled abroad has not been disclosed.
Rumors of a Russian spetsnaz unit in Kyiv during the Orange Revolution have proven to be false. SBU Chief Turchynov and MVS Minister Yuriy Lutsenko have now revealed these were in fact a MVS "BARS" spetsnaz unit brought from the Crimea to be the last line of defense outside the presidential administration (Zerkalo Nedeli/Tyzhnia, December 11-17, 2004, Ukrayinska pravda, April 12). The first lines of "Berkut" spetsnaz were from Kyiv; photos show that demonstrators had placed flowers in their shields.
The Crimean "BARS" spetsnaz had orders to shoot if the demonstrators broke through the unarmed "Berkut" forces and attempted to storm the presidential administration. Tymoshenko led crowds to the building on November 23 where they stood all night.
Smeshko credits the SBU with preventing violence during the Orange Revolution. This was not easy as, "A part of those who still were in power demonstrated a readiness to go for a violent option, even as far as bloodshed, to hold onto power" (Fakty, May 27).
Smeshko says then-President Leonid Kuchma advocated non-violence. Kuchma's son-in-law, oligarch Viktor Pinchuk, claims that one reason Kuchma refused to use violence was he did not want to leave office with Ukraine "drowned in blood" (Ukrayinska pravda, February 12), nor did he want to be executed like Romania's Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989 (Ukrayinska pravda, January 26).
Besides Kuchma, only Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and presidential administration head Viktor Medvedchuk had the authority to order MVS Minister Mykola Bilokin to send Internal Troops against the crowds. In fact, Yanukovych told former Polish President Lech Walesa, "An order had already been given to the security forces" (Observer, May 1). Indeed, throughout the first week of the Orange Revolution Yanukovych complained that Kuchma had not fulfilled his "constitutional duties" by transferring power to the declared president-elect -- Yanukovych -- and imposing a state of emergency.
Besides taxis blocking main roads into Kyiv, another factor worked against the order for MVS troops to attack the protestors. According to Turchynov, during the 18 months prior to the election a "special contact unit" had worked with Kyiv's military units (Guardian, May 27). This effort, together with a decade of cooperation in NATO's Partnership for Peace, created Orange sympathizers in the armed forces who were ready to obey orders from Yushchenko's Committee for National Salvation. Thus, MVS Internal Troops halted their advance on Kyiv. "The leadership of the infantry of the armed forces of Ukraine warned that they were ready to stand between the people and the ranks of Internal Troops moving on Kyiv" (Ukrayinska pravda, April 12).
Aside from Yushchenko's poisoning, other forms of violence were narrowly averted during Ukraine's 2004 presidential election, and the Orange Revolution will be remembered for its non-violent nature.
May 30, 2005
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has postponed the announcement of a list of 29 strategic enterprises the privatisation of which is to be revised.
Yushchenko promised to announce the list before May 30, but Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko said on Monday it had been postponed till next week.
A draft blacklist of 29 privatised enterprises had already been published with reference to an anonymous source in the presidential secretariat. In particular, the privatisation of the Krivorozhstal steel plant, several mining-and-processing integrated works, the ferroalloy plant in Nikopol, the Nikolayev alumina and Kherson shipbuilding plants was called into question.
Lederen af SDPU (o)'s fraktion, Leonid Kravtjuk, kritiserer statssekretær Oleksandr Zintjenko for magtfordrejning. Anklagen blev fremsat på en pressekonference, hvor han kommenterede Zintjenkos besøg i Donetsk, hvor denne havde advaret den lokale guvernør om, at han ville blive fyret, hvis han fremover lukkede munden på personer, han var uenig med.
"Hvem er Zintjenko, siden han kan tillade sig at sige sådanne ord? Er det måske ham, som underskriver dekreter? Det gør han måske også allerede...", sagde Kravtjuk.
Ifølge Kravtjuk havde Zintjenko også opfordret journalisterne til "at give den rigtige fortolkning af præsidentens ord". "Hvad med journalisternes eget standpunkt? Inden længe vil I nok få udleveret "den lille citathåndbog" og en grøn bog, og så skal I nok med garanti få sagt det hele rigtigt".
"Vi har allerede haft Mao Tse Tongs bog med hans citater!...", sagde Kravtjuk forarget. "Tænk lige over det, fordi det er alvorlige sager! Hos Kutjma begyndte det meget senere. Her er der kun gået 100 dage - og løbet er allerede kørt".
"I folkemunde siger man klogelig: tænk over, hvad for en tumpe du sender for at bede til Gud", tilføjede Kravtjuk.
Han mindede også om, at massemediernes redaktører så sent som i sidste uge ventede længe på et møde med Jusjtjenko. "Hvorfor ventede journalisterne i to en halv time på en præsident, som var ved at vande blomster. Er det måske udtryk for en respekt for folket?"
Desuden kan Kravtjuk heller ikke lide Jusjtjenkos ordvalg. "Forleden ankom præsidenten eksempelvis til Zaporizjzja og sagde til borgmesteren: "Du er en pakhan (mafia-boss, red.)!". Ifølge forfatningen må præsidenten ikke øve indflydelse på det lokale selvstyre. For slet ikke at tale om, at der her er tale om fængselssprog", sagde Kravtjuk. UP.
By Oleg Varfolomeyev
As Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko promised several months ago, investigators have finally targeted the very top figures from the previous government. Police have summoned former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and former presidential administration head Viktor Medvedchuk for questioning over several graft cases. Earlier the police got hold of Yanukovych's close ally, Donetsk regional council head Borys Kolesnykov, charging him with extortion (see EDM, April 11), and a friend of Medvedchuk, former Trans-Carpathian governor Ivan Rizak, who is suspected of official abuse (see EDM, May 18). Both are now in prison, awaiting verdicts from the courts.
President Viktor Yushchenko was the first to signal to Yanukovych that he might become the next target of corruption investigators. Speaking on live television on May 12, Yushchenko said that the National Olympic Committee -- headed by Yanukovych -- had embezzled the hryvnia equivalent of $20 million. The Olympic Committee denied the charge the following day, yet on June 1 Yanukovych tendered his resignation from the committee over "persecution" for his decision last year to "award Olympic champions from the state's reserve funds."
On May 26 the Interior Ministry delivered its first serious blow against Yanukovych, summoning him for questioning over alleged illegal donations of almost $1 million to the airport in his hometown of Donetsk. According to the police, the sum was transferred to Donetsk, apparently on orders from Yanukovych, last year. But because the Donetsk airport is a municipal property, it may not be financed from state coffers. Another blow came the following day, from the western Ivano-Frankivsk region. The local police summoned Yanukovych to explain why and how a plot of land in a local nature reserve had been sold to him. Speaking to journalists on May 31, Yanukovych admitted that he had indeed bought a tract near Ivano-Frankivsk for his "ailing mother-in-law" in 2000, but she refused to leave Donetsk, and the plot has remained unused ever since.
Yanukovych, however, offered no comment on the accusations that the tract was illegally taken from a nature reserve. Nor did he offer any comment on the Donetsk airport deal. Moreover, he failed to turn up for questioning either on the airport case on May 30 and June 2, or on the land-misappropriation case on June 1. Yanukovych explained that he had not received a proper summons, and that calls to appear for questioning released through the mass media are not legally binding. The head of the Kyiv city anti-organized crime directorate, Valeriy Heletey, explained to journalists that no written summons had been sent to Yanukovych "because he travels a lot," so his exact whereabouts were unknown, and it had been decided to inform him about the questioning via the media. He threatened to have Yanukovych escorted for interrogation by the police if he continued to ignore the summons.
But instead of going to the police, Yanukovych flew to Moscow, which had firmly backed his presidential bid last year. Moscow has recently become a refuge for former Ukrainian officials wanted by the police, such as former Odessa mayor Ruslan Bodelan and the former manager of Kuchma's office, Ihor Bakay (see EDM, April 15). Yanukovych spent at least four days in Moscow, and his press service reported that he was meeting Russian politicians, drumming up support for "the wave of indignation rising across the country" over the detention of his ally Kolesnykov. It is unclear which wave of indignation Yanukovych meant, unless it was the pathetic march of his supporters in Kyiv on May 19 (see EDM, May 23), and a rally near the Donetsk Court of Appeals on June 3, in which 150 people participated.
Along with Yanukovych, Ivano-Frankivsk investigators on May 27 also invited former presidential administration head Viktor Medvedchuk to explain "the illegal allocation of land" for the construction of a recreation facility in the Carpathian Mountains. And on June 1, the Interior Ministry summoned him and his crony, energy and media tycoon Hryhoriy Surkis, for questioning over the construction of a training facility in Trans-Carpathian Region for the Dynamo Kyiv soccer club, which is controlled by the Surkis family. The investigators believe that funds for the project were taken from the state budget. Medvedchuk chose Yanukovych's line of behavior: he did not turn up for questioning either, explaining that he did not receive a proper summons. Medvedchuk also denied that he or his family have ever owned land plots in either Ivano-Frankivsk or Trans-Carpathia. In a separate statement, he accused the authorities of neglecting the legal principle of presumption of innocence and of "brainwashing" ordinary Ukrainians by portraying "the opposition forces as the bad guys."
Yanukovych and Medvedchuk are indeed in great trouble politically, as the official accusations of corruption may irrevocably taint their reputation ahead of next year's parliamentary polls.
Oxford Analytica, Relevant Country Pages: Ukraine United Kingdom, Wednesday, June 1, 2005
EVENT: First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoliy Kinakh criticised Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's handling of the recent fuel crisis in an interview published on May 26.
SIGNIFICANCE: The crisis brought divisions in the governing coalition into focus, and raised questions over the future of Tymoshenko. In previous transitions in Eastern Europe, broad alliances such as that now governing Ukraine have, once their unifying aim of ousting the former authorities is achieved, proven inherently unstable and tended to fragment fairly quickly.
ANALYSIS: President Viktor Yushchenko's election victory in 2004 came about as a consequence of a broad political alliance that includes left and right-wing populists -- the Socialist Party (SPU) and Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (BYT) -- alongside free-market liberals and centre-right national democrats -- the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (PIE) and Yushchenko's Our Ukraine (see UKRAINE: Yushchenko rule holds out hopes for change. - December 29, 2004).
There are few divisions in this alliance over political and institutional aims. Populists, liberals and national democrats all broadly agree on the need to:
democratise political life; build respect for the rule of law; reform the judiciary and court system; fight corruption and organised crime; and bring to trial members of the former regime implicated in corruption and election fraud.
The only area that could seriously strain the coalition in the political/institutional field relates to the constitutional reforms agreed in December 2004 as part of a compromise package to break the deadlock over repeat elections (see UKRAINE: Constitutional changes will weaken Yushchenko - January 5, 2005). The fate of these reforms, which would transfer considerable powers from the presidency to parliament, remains unclear.
However, only the SPU support the changes; the BYT and the PIE are opposed, while Our Ukraine is evenly divided, fearing both to weaken the presidency's ability to push through reforms and advantage the Left. The reforms could be challenged in the Constitutional Court, over procedural irregularities in their initial passage.
DIVISIONS. The main divisions are over economic reform and, to a lesser extent, foreign policy. The latter will only become an issue of serious contention as Ukraine moves closer to NATO or EU membership, both of which remain only medium-term possibilities. In the coalition, the only solidly pro-NATO and pro-EU constituency is grouped around Our Ukraine. The BYT and the PIE favour Ukraine only joining NATO together with Russia, while the SPU is strongly opposed to NATO membership. The SPU and BYT will baulk at many of the demands raised by the EU to qualify for membership.
ECONOMIC POLICIES.On economic policies, the coalition is fundamentally split between state interventionists (the SPU and BYT) and free-market liberals (PIE, Our Ukraine), who have clashed over key issues:
(1) REGULATING FOOD AND FUEL PRICES. The government's decision to impose price caps after an oil price hike in April, alongside Tymoshenko's
decision to confront directly the Russian oil companies that supply most of Ukraine's oil, arguably only succeeded in creating a petrol shortage (see UKRAINE: Fuel prices continue to challenge government - May 9, 2005). Yushchenko and certain figures in the cabinet, notably First Deputy Prime Minister (and PIE leader) Anatoliy Kinakh, criticised the government's handling of the crisis, in particular the departure from allowing market forces to determine pricing. Yushchenko reportedly suggested in a meeting with Russian oil executives that Tymoshenko should resign, although he later stepped back from this.
(2) RE-PRIVATISATION. Tymoshenko has voiced support for investigating 3,000 privatisations undertaken since 1992, while Yushchenko and Kinakh support a list of 29 (yet to be released). Tymoshenko's views are supported by the new head of the State Property Fund, Valentyna Semeniuk (SPU). Tymoshenko appears unconcerned at the risk that re-privatisation could negatively affect foreign investor confidence.
Yushchenko by contrast seems very conscious of the linkage and has stressed the importance of increasing foreign investment. Left and right-wing populists are interested in maintaining state control over large 'strategic' enterprises if they are re-privatised; Yushchenko supports their submission to new, transparent tenders or asking the current owners to pay the market price.
One area of economic policy that the coalition has not disagreed on is a socially oriented budget. Pensions and state salaries were increased ahead of the 2004 elections by then Prime Minister and presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych. The new government had to continue these commitments, but has added new spending of its own (see UKRAINE: New authorities are making good progress - May 3, 2005). Higher pensions and state salaries risk higher inflation and slower growth.
Nevertheless, they are supported by both strands in the coalition, partly to reduce the need for corruption by making state salaries sufficient to permit a reasonable standard of living for state officials, but also to increase support for the coalition in the 2006 parliamentary elections, especially in eastern and southern Ukraine.
TYMOSHENKO'S FUTURE. Other divisions in the coalition are personal - the product of competition for top jobs after the 2004 elections. For example, the broad remit given to Petro Poroshenko, who had hoped to become prime minister, as head of the National Security Council creates the potential for 'turf wars' with Tymoshenko, and friction between the two is likely to persist.
However, Tymoshenko is likely to remain as prime minister at least until parliamentary elections in March 2006. Leaving the coalition at this stage would threaten her political future, and she is protected from votes of no confidence by a period of 18-months' grace after assuming office, which extends to the elections in 2006. Her more populist impulses will continue to jar with Yushchenko's more cautious approach, but Yushchenko has reined her in over the oil crisis and re-privatisation.
ELECTION COALITIONS. Government politics is also strongly influenced by the need to build coalitions for the 2006 parliamentary elections. Our Ukraine is being transformed into a new mega-party, People's Union-Our Ukraine.
However, polls suggest that the new party will obtain just one-third of the vote in the 2006 elections, up 10% on Our Ukraine's total in 2002. Yushchenko is therefore being forced to compromise to ensure the creation of a pro-presidential parliamentary majority.
A three party coalition is being prepared for the 2006 elections. This will consist of People's Union-Our Ukraine, BYT and parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn's People's Party, which unites moderates from the Kuchma camp who did not support Viktor Yanukovych's candidacy in the 2004 presidential elections.
Kinakh's PIE and Yuri Kostenko's Ukrainian People's Party will not formally be included in this coalition, but they will be allies in the elections. This alliance could obtain around 60% of the vote. The SPU's left-wing ideology means that there is no place for it in the planned coalition.
WEAK OPPOSITION. Divisions within the governing coalition will not be capitalised upon by the former pro-Leonid Kuchma camp. As former parties of power, these centrists are finding it difficult to adjust to acting as a united and coherent opposition (see UKRAINE: Kolesnykov case presages further prosecutions - April 20, 2005). Their weakness reduces the pressure for the government camp to hold together.
CONCLUSION: Divisions in Yushchenko's broad coalition are only really pronounced on economic policy, between populist backing for state intervention and liberal, free-market supporters. They create some uncertainty over policy that is damaging for Ukraine's image with investors. However, they are unlikely to prevent the survival of the Tymoshenko government until the 2006 parliamentary elections
June 08 2005
The International Monetary Fund is recommending that Ukraine step up its efforts to lower the rate of inflation and stabilize prices.
This stated in a statement that the International Monetary Fund issued at the end of the IMF mission's visit to Ukraine that took place from June 1 to 7.
"From the mission's point of view, restoration of a low and stable rate of inflation is the most pressing macroeconomic challenge facing Ukraine," the statement said.
The IMF is concerned about the rise of inflation in Ukraine since 2003.
"This indicator is presently about 15% in annual terms," the statement said.
The International Monetary Fund is recommending that Ukraine take the following measures in order to keep the inflation rate in single digits: step up its monetary policy, including a more flexible exchange rate; implement a fiscal policy aimed at implementing the budget; accelerate the implementation of structural reforms aimed at building a market economy and creating a favorable investment climate.
The fund is also recommending that the government and the National Bank of Ukraine implement a coordinated economic policy and avoid contradictory public statements.
The IMF believes that delay in adopting such measures increases the risk of a further acceleration of inflation, which may complicate the prospects for economic growth in Ukraine in the medium-term.
As Ukrainian News earlier reported, President Viktor Yuschenko focused attention on the need for investments in eradication of the shadow economy, fighting corruption, entrenching the rule of law, and raising social standards in Ukraine during meetings with delegations from the International Monetary Fund.
Преса в захваті від "ікони помаранчевої революції", "слов'янської мадонни" та "пані з косою"
Den franske presse har givet Julia Tymoshenko epiteter som "Den orange revolutions ikon", "Den slaviske madonna", "fruen med fletningen og "Ukraines kvindelige symbol" under hendes officielle besøg i Paris.
"Den rige og smukke Julia Tymoshenko, som er
forgudet af millioner af tilhængere over hele landet, blev
premierminister i en alder af 44 år", skriver Le Monde.
Frankrig blev det første land, hvor den ukrainske premierminister kom på officielt besøg, citerer BBC Le monde.
"Efter at have nået højdepunktet af
popularitet i december 2004, da hun på Kievs vigtigste plads af
kosakkerne blev døbt som "Ukraines kvindesymbol", har
"Julia", som man kalder hende i Ukraine, opnået en
popularitet uden sidestykke", skriver Le Monde.
Julia Tymoshenkno målrettethed er ifølge avisen årsagen til, at hendes mandlige kolleger betegner hende som "det eneste mandfolk i Verkhovna Rada".
Le Monde minder sine læsere om milepælene i premierministerens karriere, herunder "tre fængslinger på grundlag af udokumenterede beskyldninger om illegalt salg af russisk gas", samt hendes lynhurtige opstigen til magtens tinder efter Den orange revolution.
"Jeg er blevet kritiseret, forfulgt, jeg er blevet truet, så hvad har jeg mere at frygte?", spørger hun stille; denne kvindelige premierminister i hvidt og ligner en skolepige med hendes hår sat op i en fletning", beskriver Le Monde Julia Tymoshenko.
Er Julia Tymoshenko er bekymret over det forhold, at franskmændene har stemt imod EU-forfatningen og er ligesom hende imod EU's fortsatte udvidelse?
"Vi opfatter det ikke som et "nej" til Ukraines indtræden i Europa, men som et signal til de europæiske ledere", svarer den "44-årige unge dame".
Desuden har resultatet af afstemningen "blot styrket det ukrainske folks overbevisning om, at det hører til Europa", fortsætter Julia Tymoshenko med et smil.
"Der er brug for, at Rusland forstår, at det ikke vil opnå noget som helst, hvis landet også fremover vil bruge metoder overfor sine nærmeste naboer, som er Stalin-epoken værdige", siger Julia Tymoshenko til den franske avis.
På spørgsmålet om, hvem der er hendes ynglingshelt, svarer hun uden tøven, at det er Jane d' Arc - "indbegrebet af den rene patriotisme". Ukraine og Frankrig har ifølge Julia Tymoshenko meget tilfælles, "som er påbegyndt af vore revolitioner." UP.
Premierminister Julia Tymoshenko siger, at hun har lovet præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko at støtte ham ved præsidentvalget i 2009. Det oplyste Tymoshenko, da hun svarede på spørgsmål i Institut for politisk videnskab i Paris.
"Jeg har givet et personligt løfte til præsidenten - og jeg holder det jeg lover til punkt og prikke - om at jeg vil støtte ham ved præsidentvalget i 2009", sagde Tymoshenko.
"Jeg siger det meget åbent, fordi jeg har meget stor respekt for min præsident. Jeg har tillid til ham, og anser ham for at være en person med en meget høj moral. Og for Ukraine er dette et nationalt klenodie", tilføjede Tymoshenko.
Tymoshenko sagde endvidere, at der foreligger en aftale om at danne en blok op til parlamentsvalget i 2006. "Vi går til valg samlet", tilføjede Tymoshenko.
"Ved præsidentvalget støttede de forskellige partier Viktor Andrijovytj. Og det gav jo et forrygende resultat, og ingen var i tvivl om, hvor oprigtigt vi støttede ham". "Personligt vil jeg og det politiske parti, som jeg står i spidsen for, støtte præsidenten ligeså længe det politiske liv varer: både i de svære stunder og i triumfens øjeblikke".
Angående diverse skriverier i pressen om en uenighed mellem premierministeren og præsidenten sagde Tymoshenko: "De kan ikke leve uden intriger, for så havde de ikke været massemedier, men derimod partiorganer. Det er skønt, at samfundet holder øje med os og analyserer hvert eneste af vores tiltag".
Tymoshenko sagde endvidere, at en sådan kontrol umuliggør korruption i det nye styre. "Hvad korruption i de øverste magtens korridorer angår - så er det fuldstændig umuligt. For når vi vågner om morgenen og tager hjem om aftenen, bliver vi iagttaget gennem specialbriller. Samfundet har forandret sig helt fundamentalt, og det er ikke ligeglad med, hvad politikerne foretager sig".
"I dag kan det godt være, at præsidenten eller jeg eller regeringen som helhed ikke opfylder nogle af de økonomiske spørgsmål eller begår en svipser indenfor den økonomiske reform. Men for os er det aldeles umuligt at begå forræderi mod den høje moral, som vores hold udviste under valget. For så vil alt det, som samfundets opvågen og vores sejr baseredes på, gå i vasken", sagde Tymoshenko.
Tymoshenko oplyste, at man som led i bekæmpelse af korruptionen har oprettet en hotline i regeringen. "Vi har et register over tilfælder af korruption i Ukraine. Vi arbejder på at ændre systemet og jagter ikke hvert eneste tilfælde af korruption. Det er selvfølgelig en ambition helt at udrydde korruptionen, men vi insisterer på at bekæmpe den", sagde hun.
Efter hendes oplæg blev Tymoshenko også spurgt om det ukrainske sprogs status i Ukraine. Hun oplyste, at det nu er blevet moderne at tale ukrainsk, og selv hendes familie, som stammer fra de russisktalende regioner, forsøger at tale sproget.
"Min datter, min mand og min mor, som er russisktalende, anser det for at være en æressag at tale ukrainsk", sagde Tymoshenko. "Det er umuligt at tvinge folk til at tale ukrainsk, men det er en følge af, at hver enkelt er stolt af sit fædreland", tilføjede hun. UP.
EU-kommissionen næstformand, kommissær Günther Verheugen, går ind for, at EU har en tilbageholdende holdning i spørgsmålet om udvidelse.
Det siger han i et interview med den tyske avis "Bild am Sontag", oplyser Deutsche Welle. Ifølge Verheugen bør EU afholde sig fra at love medlemskabsperspektiver til nogen som helst lande, med undtagelse af dem, som EU allerede har givet sit principielle tilsagn til.
Som eksempel på det sidste nævner Verheugen blandt andet Rumænien og Bulgarien, som skal tilslutte sig EU i 2007. Forhandlingerne om Tyrkiets indtræden skal ifølge kommissæren føres med forventningen om et negativt resultat.
Verheugen siger, at der er andre muligheder for, at lande samarbejder med EU uden et medlemskabsperspektiv. UP.
By Taras Kuzio
Six months into the Viktor Yushchenko presidency, the media and information situation in Ukraine remains mixed. The good news is that oligarch control over electronic media is on the decline. The bad news is that the tactics of the newly elected authorities are not always different from those used under former president Leonid Kuchma.
Ukraine's media played a negative role in the 2004 presidential election. According to the OSCE's Election Observation Mission's final report, "Most media outlets failed to provide impartial and fair coverage... and few TV stations provided the opposition with airtime" ( osce.org/odihr/).
The main oligarch clan to lose in the presidential election is linked to the Social Democratic Party-United (SDPUo). During Kuchma's second term in office, the SDPUo controlled two television channels: the U.S.-Ukrainian joint venture "1+1" and the Russian-Ukrainian joint venture "Inter." State Channel 1 also came under the executive control. Inter and 1+1 have the largest number of viewers in Ukraine, and they are regionally concentrated in the west and center (1+1) and east and south (Inter). Most Ukrainians receive their information from television.
In the first week of the Orange Revolution, censorship disintegrated. The director and journalists at 1+1 Channel rebelled and refused to follow guidelines sent by the authorities. Although the SDPUo had never controlled 1+1, its directors had been warned that if they did not follow the guidelines, the channel would be shut down.
Following Yushchenko's election, State Channel 1 automatically transferred to his control. Taras Stetskiv, a long-time Yushchenko ally and organizer in the Orange Revolution, became the channel's president.
With two of the SDPUo's three TV channels taken away, only Inter remained under their control. Information was recently leaked to the investigative news site Telekritika claiming that the SDPUo has now lost Inter channel ( telekritika.kiev.ua, June 6). National Security and Defense Council secretary Petro Poroshenko, who has business interests in Russia, is acting as an intermediary for a Russian businessman who wants to purchase Inter channel. The Russian is reportedly "loyal to the Orange Revolution."
The president of Inter channel is Ihor Pluzhnykov, deputy head of the SDPUo, who controls 79% of its shares. Russia's Channel 1 controls the other 21%.
When Pluzhnykov initially refused to sell, he was subjected to a well-known tactic to persuade him to change his mind. As reported by Telekritika, "certain delicate factors forced him to begin negotiations... in a way, he was forced to choose between liberty and the TV station" ( telekritika.kiev.ua, June 6).
Yale University scholar Keith Darden dubbed this proven method of persuasion the "blackmail state." Beginning under Kuchma, officials and businessmen were permitted to indulge in corruption in return for political loyalty. To ensure this loyalty, the government collected files documenting the illegal activities.
The files collected by the "blackmail state" are now being turned against former Kuchma supporters. Inter channel President Pluzhnykov is the second known target; the first was Crimean Prime Minister Serhiy Kunitsyn (EDM, April 22). Kunitsyn, head of the Crimean branch of the pro-Kuchma People's Party of Ukraine (NDP), was forced to resign or face criminal charges. His replacement, Anatoliy Matvienko, is head of the Sobor Party, which is part of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's bloc.
The SDPUo's loss of control over three television stations and the loss of its power base in Trans-Carpathia give little optimism for its future (EDM, May 18). A new Razumkov Center poll gave the SDPUo only 1% support, down from 6% in the 2002 and 4% in the 1998 parliamentary elections (Natsionalna Bezpeka i Oborona, no. 3, 2005). Ukrainian experts do not expect the SDPUo to scrape past the 3% threshold in the March 2006 election.
Ukraine's other oligarchs continue to control their television channels, at least for the time being. Dnipropetrovsk oligarch and Kuchma son-in-law Viktor Pinchuk controls ICTV, STB, and Novyi Kanal, while Donetsk oligarch Renat Akhmetov controls TRK Ukrayina, which mainly broadcasts in the Donbas oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Pinchuk and Akhmetov are battling the authorities over the sale of Kryvorizhstal, Ukraine's largest metallurgical plant, which they bought in June 2004 at the under-valued price of $800 million. The current authorities, with court backing, are seeking to transfer the plant back to state property to likely be re-sold in an open tender for $3-4 billion.
Inter channel's shift to political forces loyal to Yushchenko dramatically changes the media situation in eastern and southern Ukraine ahead of the 2006 election. Former pro-Kuchma centrists are in disarray after the defeat of their presidential candidate, Viktor Yanukovych. This crisis is also tantamount to a crisis of the pro-Russia idea in Ukraine as centrists, particularly the SDPUo, were the driving force behind Ukraine's re-orientation toward Russia in Kuchma's second term.
The pro-Russian Communist Party is also in crisis with 4.8% support (down from 20% in the 2002 election). This would give the Communists only 36 deputies in the 2006 parliament, down from its current 55 and 120 at its peak in the 1998-2002 parliament (Natsionalna Bezpeka i Oborona, no.3, 2005).
With access to Inter channel, the Yushchenko camp can now freely spread its message in eastern Ukraine. It can also deny a platform to pro-Russian forces in the 2006 election and thereby reduce the opposition's ability to block Ukraine's new Euro-Atlantic drive.
E. Morgan Williams, Publisher & Editor
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR)
June 13, 2005
Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada (parliament) on Tuesday, May 31, 2005, once again voted down, by a narrow margin, a package of amendments to Ukraine's intellectual property rights laws that would have brought Ukraine into compliance with widely accepted international standards.
The amendments, if adopted, would have allowed the government of Ukraine to move forward to finalize the completion of several major inter- national business and economic agreements including several with the United States and those needed for possible accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in late 2005.
Ukraine again failed to legally protect intellectual property rights, which many experts believe will jeopardize Ukraine's efforts to join WTO, its efforts to get rid of economic sanctions imposed by the United States, undermine its efforts to substantially increase its trade and investment levels and its program to improve the image of its overall business environment.
Several top U.S. government officials involved in economic and trade agreements indicated last week in Washington they were very disappointed in the parliament's failure to pass the needed amendments. They felt this action was a huge blow to Ukraine and do not see much chance now for Ukraine to meet the requirements needed for WTO membership by late 2005.
Reports from Kyiv indicate the Yushchenko/Tymoshenko government did not do an adequate job of informing parliament members about the international and domestic importance to Ukraine of passing the intellectual property rights amendments. Also a considerable number of Our Ukraine members in the parliament did not vote for the intellectual property rights amendments and several key Our Ukraine bloc members were not even in Kyiv the day the vote was taken. Passage of the amendments would have provided substantial benefits to Ukraine.
The failure of the Our Ukraine bloc in the Parliament to strongly support Ukraine's rapid movement towards major international economic and trade agreements has been alarming to many private business and government leaders around the world.
The major negative consequences for Ukraine most likely include:
Some of the comments regarding the issues reported above that were expressed by various private business, government and other leaders in Washington last week included:
With the opportunities now available to Ukraine, if this pattern continues, various agreements favorable to Ukraine will be delayed and Ukraine will lose its participation in other programs needed in Ukraine to move the reform agenda forward. The Ukraine government at the highest level needs to quickly address and solve this issue by setting up better organizational systems for planning, execution and oversight.
Many of the ten comments reported above were heard more than once and represent a general consensus now in Washington. The same general message was heard over and over in a variety of meetings held on the Hill, with various government officials, private business leaders and other officials from think-tank organizations in Washington who are quite knowledgeable about Ukraine.
Georgij Gongadzes krop blev overført til Tarasjtja af general Oleksij Pukatj og hans medgerningsmænd, fortæller vice-rigsadvokat Viktor Shokin i et interview med avisen "Stolitjnyje novosti".
Shokin gentager den teori om, hvem der udførte mordet, som avisen "Segodnja" tidligere har bragt. Blandt andet nævner han, at mordet fandt sted i distriktet Bilotserkivskyj, og at det var general Pukatj, som kvalte Georgij.
"Da man satte ild til kroppen, sad hovedet stadig på kroppen og tøjet ligeså. Da man havde brændt alt som kunne brændes, begravede man liget. En del af effekterne - dokumenter, nøgler og sko - tog de med sig og bortskaffede på hjemvejen. Bagefter "skyllede" de forbrydelsen ned på en almindelig landevejskafe", fortæller Shokin.
"Kort tid efter gravede Pukatj og nogle andre liget ud og flyttede det til et andet sted. Til det formål brugte de den anden af de biler, som står i rigsadvokaturens gård", tilføjede Shokin.
På spørgsmålet om, hvorfor bilerne blev bevaret, svarer Shokin, at "bilerne stod ikke opført i indenrigsministeriets fortegnelse, men "var udlejet, og efter at overvågningen blev stoppet, forlod bilerne Kiev og blev kørt til registreringsstedet".
Ifølge ham blev bilerne reddet af en erklæring fra den daværende SBU-ledelse om, at de allerede var tilintetgjort.
Hvad angår gerningsmændene, siger Shokin, at man ikke afregnede med dem direkte, men at de efterfølgende gjorde en lynkarriere: deres forfremmelser blev fremrykket og de fik begunstigelser".
På spørgsmålet om, hvad Melnitjenkos bånd har givet efterforskningen, fremhæver Shokin, at "ordren lød alene på at dræbe". Shokin fremhæver, at efterforskningen anser Gongadzes arbejde som journalist som værende årsagen til mordet på ham, men er ikke sikker på, at "ordren kom fra Kutjma".
"Hvorfor Kutjma? Der var mange mennesker, som Georgij arbejdede med som journalist. Men indtil videre vil vi ikke låse os fast på bestemte efternavne. Vi har en plan, og den vil vi opfylde til punkt og prikke. Der er visse fremskridt, men det er indtil videre for tidligt at tale om det", siger vice-rigsadvokaten.
Ifølge Shokin er det "lige nu kun obduktionen (som finder sted i Tyskland), som forhindrer sagen i at blive overdraget til retten. "Vi ved ikke, hvor længe obduktionen vil vare", fremhæver han.
Som tidligere oplyst har rigsadvokaten erklæret, at han vil overdrage sagen mod Gongadzes mordere til domstolen uden at afvente de retsmedicinske undersøgelser. UP.
Fra 2006 agter "Gazprom" at hæve prisen for den gas, som selskabet eksporterer til SNG-landene og Baltikum. Det oplyste lederen af det statslige russiske selskab, Aleksej Miller i fredags, oplyser UNIAN. Desuden har selskabet planer om fra næste år at lade markedet bestemme prisfastsættelsen, idet man vil udelukke byttehandel. Han påpegede, at Gazprom i 2004 eksporterede 52 mia. kubikmeter gas til SNG-landene og Baltikum.
Miller oplyste endvidere, at en af selskabets langsigtede planer er at holde indtog på det amerikanske og det asiatiske marked, hvor man ikke alene vil fremstille og levere netværksgas, men også fortyndet naturgas. Ifølge ham er man i øjeblikket i gang med at bearbejde muligheden for at levere gas til Mexico og Canada med henblik på at imødekomme USA's efterspørgsel.
Samtidig skal Ukraine fra den 1. juli betale for den turkmenske gas med "hård valuta" til en pris af 44 dollars for 1000 kubikmeter. Aftalen blev underskrevet efter et møde mellem formanden for "Naftohaz Ukrajiny", Oleksij Ivtjenko, og Turkmenistans præsident Saparmurat Nijazov.
Ifølge Ivtjenko er der undeskrevet "4 historiske dokumenter" - om valutabetaling for gas fra den 1. juli, samt en tillægsaftale om levering af varer inden 31. december som betaling for den gas, som er blevet leveret i første halvår af 2005.
Man har også underskrevet to aftale om investeringsgas, som Turkmenistan yder som betaling for serviceydelserne fra de ukrainske selskaber, der arbejder i landet. Omfanget af sådanne leverancer er øget fra 4,5 mia. kubikmeter til 5 mia. kubikmeter. i 2006 vil investeringsgassen udgøre 6 mia. kubikmeter.
Tidligere har Nijazov forlangt en omgående indfrielse af gælden på $600 mill. i henhold til clearingsaftalerne som betaling for den turkmenske gas, som er leveret i 2004.
For at løse problemet sendte præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko og regeringen i torsdags en delegation fra "Naftohaz Ukrajiny" med Ivtjenko i spidsen til Turkmeniens hovedstad, Ashkhabad. UP.
ICTV television, Kyiv, in Ukrainian 1500 gmt 19
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Sun, Jun 19, 2005
KYIV - Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Mykola Tomenko, has said in a live TV interview that he supports giving Russian the status of a second official language. This will ensure that the human rights of the Russian-speaking population are observed.
"There is a need for solving this problem. Opinion polls clearly show that there is a problem," Tomenko said. "The authorities should think how to protect the rights of those whose native language is Russian."
"We should change our stance. If elderly people cannot learn the Ukrainian language they should have the right to use Russian in official documents. There is also a problem with education. I think we should look for a compromise here as well and take into account the views of these people," he said.
Speaking about dual citizenship with Russia, Tomenko said the government should solve real problems of people rather than make political declarations. What people really want - free movement between Ukraine and Russia and the possibility to work in both countries - can be achieved without dual citizenship, Tomenko said.
By Yuliya Tymoshenko, Prime Minister of
Longtime members of the European Union now seem to doubt the EU's
future, but we in
Indeed, European unity is indivisible: when one nation is ostracized, all are not free. We Europeans are caught in an inescapable net, tied in a single garment of destiny. Every aspect of our shared culture, if not the last century of shared suffering, confirms that for us. Whatever affects one European directly, affects all indirectly.
Never again can we afford to live with the narrow notion of two
Of course, some people mutter that
Are they not united with those who stood alongside General de Gaulle
in the French Resistance? Are they not one with those who died fighting
To those who say that
I believe that our future is as promising as
New nations can build with their former occupiers the same kind of
fruitful relationship that
Of course, it is premature to do more than indicate the high regard with which we view the prospect of EU membership. We know that our part in that great edifice will not be built overnight. We know that the great works of European unification lay not in documents and declarations, but in innovative action designed to better the lives and insure the security of all Europeans.
Part of the work of renewing
But our Orange Revolution last winter shows that
When the EU's citizens ponder
Instead, they should look closely at the face of our president, Viktor Yushchenko, ravaged by poison during last year's election campaign, and recall the words of the great Frenchman Andre Malraux, for whom "the most beautiful faces are those that have been wounded."
Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2005
By Roman Kupchinsky
|A number of figures in the administration of former President Leonid Kuchma face charges (file photo)|
This announcement was the latest in a series of statements made by Ukrainian law enforcement agencies on the promised postelection cleanup of corruption and crime in Ukraine. According to Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko, some 18,000 criminal cases have been initiated by the MVD since the new government took power at the end of January.
The most widely publicized cases so far have been the arrests of two regional governors, Borys Kolesnykov from Donetsk Oblast and Ivan Rizak from Transcarpathian Oblast. Both men are in prison while investigations of their cases continue. Kolesnykov was arrested on charges of extortion while Rizak was charged with "inducing suicide." The Prosecutor-General's Office claims that he did so by harassing an individual to the point that the person committed suicide. Both men were known as supporters of former President Leonid Kuchma and their arrest has led the opposition to declare that they are being "politically persecuted."
In mid-June, Rizak's two assistants were also charged with crimes and put on a wanted list.
Another Kuchma-appointed regional governor, Volodymyr Shcherban from Sumy, has been indicted on a number of charges, including extortion, and is being sought by the police. He is alleged to have fled to Russia. Shcherban, originally from Donetsk, was the leader of the Liberal Party of Ukraine prior to being indicted.
Former SBU deputy sought
On 7 June, Interfax-Ukraine reported that the former deputy head of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), Volodymyr Satsyuk, was being sought in connection with "grave crimes." According to Prosecutor-General Svyatoslav Piskun, Satsyuk reportedly left Ukraine and an Interpol red alert will be posted for him.
Satsyuk has often been mentioned in connection with the poisoning of President Viktor Yushchenko in 2004. The dinner party during which many suspect that dioxin was administered to Yushchenko took place in Satsyuk's summer home.
However, after the 7 June announcement, Interfax quoted a "source close to the investigation of the poisoning" as saying that Satsyuk was being sought for misuse of SBU funds and not in connection with the Yushchenko poisoning.
Former official sought in gas case
One highly visible case is that of Ihor Bakay, the former head of the presidential property-management department in Kuchma's administration. Prior to holding that position, Bakay was the head of Naftohaz Ukrayiny, the state oil and gas monopoly, from which he was forced to resign in 2001 after being exposed for having conducted a series of suspicious transactions. After leaving Naftohaz, Bakay was elected to parliament, though according to numerous parliamentarians, he only appeared once in the session hall -- to be sworn in.
Bakay was indicted in March on charges of defrauding the state of tens of millions of dollars in a series of illegal real-estate transactions and an Interpol warrant for his arrest was issued. At that time, Russia's ambassador to Ukraine, Viktor Chernomyrdin, announced that Bakay had obtained Russian citizenship. Apparently Bakay had fled to Moscow during the 2004 election campaign and obtained citizenship, but it remains unclear if he received it in Kyiv from Chernomyrdin or in Moscow. Chernomyrdin has denied issuing Bakay a Russian passport.
The Ukrainian authorities have asked the Russian Foreign Ministry for Bakay's extradition to stand trial in Ukraine, but there has been no response to the request so far.
In May, Ukrainian Transport Minister Yevhen Chervonenko met with Bakay in Moscow. Chervonenko told the "Ukrayinska pravda" website that Bakay travels around Moscow freely, accompanied by armed bodyguards.
A number of other wanted Ukrainian suspects are believed to be hiding in Moscow, including former Odesa Mayor Ruslan Bodelan, former Interior Minister Mykola Bilokin, and former MVD General Oleksiy Pukach.
Pukach is wanted on suspicion of involvement in the murder of Heorhiy Gongadze, an Internet journalist killed in September 2000. Two other MVD officers have already confessed to taking part in the killing and are presently in jail in Kyiv.
Suspicion falls on former administration
Former Prime Minister and presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych was asked on 1 June to appear for questioning by the Prosecutor-General's Office in conjunction with a case involving the improper use of state funds when he was prime minister. Yanukovych did not appear on the date he was requested to and was said by his office to be in Moscow. He did, however appear the following day.
The consequences of a possible indictment of Yanukovych, the leader of the Party of the Regions, could be disruptive for the government and might polarize Ukrainian society once again, since Yanukovych did obtain almost half the votes cast in the final round of the elections.
On 3 June, SBU head Oleksandr Turchinov was quoted by Interfax as saying that in 2004 alone, over 3 billion hryvnyas ($594 million) was stolen from the budget in different value-added-tax (VAT) repatriation schemes. The individuals and companies responsible for the different VAT rackets are being investigated, Interfax reported on 3 June. One such company allegedly involved in VAT schemes is the charitable foundation for children run by former President Kuchma's wife, Lyudmyla.
Another major investigation centers on the activities of the state-owned railways operated by the Transport Ministry. It's former head, Heorhiy Kirpa, was often mentioned as a potential presidential candidate in 2004. Kirpa committed suicide during the election campaign.
The Transport Ministry was apparently involved in large-scale fraud and on 3 June Interfax reported that 13 managers of the railways company were facing charges.
Gongadze case casts long shadow
The most prominent case, however, remains that of Kuchma and his alleged involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Heorhiy Gongadze. Kuchma has been called in for questioning twice since leaving office. According to SBU head Turchinov, Mykola Melnychenko, Kuchma's former bodyguard who made secret audio recordings in the president's office, has agreed to be interviewed by the U.S. FBI. The FBI has also agreed to authenticate Melnychenko's recordings, specifically those passages where Kuchma is alleged to be telling his subordinates to "take Gongadze, turn him over to the Chechens," which could constitute an order to kidnap the journalist.
If the FBI authentications show the recordings to be genuine, Kuchma is liable to be arrested on kidnapping charges. It would be an event which many Ukrainians have waited five years for.
Eurasia Daily Monitor
Monday, June 20, 2005 -- Volume 2, Issue 119
By Oleg Varfolomeyev
"I will go! I am fed up!" Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Sviatyslav Piskun declared during a call-in at the Fakty newspaper on Friday, June 17. "I think one should discuss things like that with the president before making statements," President Viktor Yushchenko said, reacting to Piskun's words on the same day. Piskun, who claims to have come closer than any of his predecessors to solving journalist Heorhiy Gongadze's September 2000 murder, and who Yushchenko has entrusted with hunting down corrupt former top officials, is in trouble. His position has never been easy, as the forces defeated in the December 2004 presidential polls view him as a traitor, while many in Yushchenko's team mistrust him for serving as chief prosecutor under the former president, Leonid Kuchma, in 2002-2003. Piskun has been attacked from many sides recently, and his sensational interview to Fakty may be a sign that he is succumbing to the enormous pressure.
In June "Ukraina kriminalnaya," a muckraking website, launched an offensive against Piskun, running a series of articles accusing him of crimes ranging from running business activities, which is forbidden to state officials, to involvement in drug trafficking. The website also ran what it claimed to be the audio files and transcripts of secretly recorded conversations of Piskun with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst and "oligarch" Viktor Pinchuk. In one of the recordings, a voice resembling Piskun's thanks somebody sounding like Herbst for moral support in 2003, when Kuchma fired Piskun, and promises to fire a local prosecutor for persecuting a certain religious activist. If the other recording is to be trusted, last year Piskun asked Pinchuk for help in reinstating him as chief prosecutor, and promised Pinchuk not to work against him in return when Yushchenko becomes president.
On June 8, commenting on the scandalous publication, Piskun said that he had been warned that the recordings would be made public if he refused to pay money for them ($100,000, Piskun would tell Fakty on June 17). Piskun said that he had informed Yushchenko about the blackmail. He called the recording involving Pinchuk "nonsense" and denied that the voice on the tape belonged to him. But he did not deny the conversation with Herbst, and on June 8 the Prosecutor-General's Office (PGO) opened a criminal case "into the fact of illegal wiretapping of a telephone conversation" between Piskun and Herbst. Finally, in the June 17 interview with Fakty, Piskun admitted that the conversation with Herbst did take place. According to Piskun, the "faked" conversation with Pinchuk was published together with the "real" conversation with Herbst in order to make the former one sound trustworthy.
Either the president or parliament, according to the constitution, can fire the prosecutor-general. The Regions of Ukraine and United Social Democratic Party opposition factions in parliament, whose several representatives have been arrested on orders from Piskun (including Donetsk council head Borys Kolesnykov and former Trans-Carpathian governor Ivan Rizak, see EDM, April 11, May 18), have several times failed to put to vote in parliament a no-confidence motion against Piskun. They may be more successful next time, as the scandalous recordings are sure to make Piskun less popular. His conversation with Herbst was hardly a crime, but it will not go down well with the traditionally anti-American Communists, who control the second-largest faction in parliament. And if the scandalous conversation with Kuchma's son-in-law Pinchuk really took place, the radical elements in the Yushchenko camp, such as the nationalists from the Ukrainian People's Party and the populists from the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc, will never forgive Piskun.
The most recent blow to Piskun has come from the Security Service (SBU). In an interview that the Zerkalo nedeli weekly, published on June 18, SBU head Oleksandr Turchynov accused the PGO of obstructing plans to arrest SBU former deputy chief Volodymyr Satsiuk, who is suspected of involvement in Yushchenko's poisoning. According to Turchynov, the PGO did not allow the SBU to arrest Satsiuk several months ago, but by the time the prosecutors eventually gave the go-ahead to detaining Satsiuk, the SBU had lost his whereabouts. It is widely known that Yushchenko was admitted to an Austrian clinic with serious poisoning last September shortly after a dinner with SBU officials at Satsiuk's dacha.
Piskun is in trouble also because he has failed to justify the high hopes Yushchenko pinned on him. In early March Piskun announced that Gongadze's murder was solved, but nobody has yet been sentenced, and it has not been found who ordered the policemen arrested in the case to kill Gongadze. No former top official has so far been punished for corruption, which thrived under Kuchma, neither has anybody been brought to book for the mass fraud during the first and second rounds of last year's presidential polls.