29.09.06. Parliament commemorates journalist Georgy Gongadze with moment of silence
25.09.06. Ukrainian president, allies on the defensive over NATO policy
25.09.06. Ukraine puts efforts to join NATO on hold
25.09.06. Ny forfatningsmæssig konflikt mellem Jusjtjenko og Janukovytj
19.09.06. Ukraine: Back to strategic square one
19.09.06. Will presidential party split over ruling coalition?
18.09.06. Ukraines udenrigsministerium i ny konflikt med Rusland
16.09.06. Ukraine dropper NATO, og vil i EU
15.09.06. The rises and downfalls in the Ukrainian politics
15.09.06. Rusland forventer mere af Janukovytj (eng.)
10.09.06. Journalists warn of assaults on the freedom of speech in Ukraine
08.09.06. Ukraine stats: Then and now
08.09.06. Yushchenko - a weak, indecisive and non-listening president
08.09.06. USAID assist Ukraine increase its energy security
06.09.06. Ekspert: forfatningsændringerne har styrket regeringen
02.09.06. Tymoshenko er Jusjtjenkos hovedrival (eng.)
02.09.06. Lazarenko idømt 9 års fængsel (eng.)
01.09.06. Jusjtjenkos parti truer med at forlade koalitionsregeringen
De ministre, som repræsenterer "Vores Ukraine" i regeringen, kan godt træde ud af regeringen, hvis der ikke bliver underskrevet en koalitionsaftale mellem "Vores Ukraine" og Regionernes Parti.
"Det kan ikke udelukkes", sagde justitsminister Roman Zvarytj, idet han tilføjede, at dette spørgsmål endnu ikke er blevet drøftet på blokkens politiske rådsmøde.
Talsmand for "Vores Ukraine", Tetyana Mokridi, har også redegjort for ledelsens holdning: "På mødet i det politiske råd har vi nedsat en arbejdsgruppe, som skal arbejde med indholdet i en officiel aftale med en efterfølgende underskrift. Hvis den ikke bliver underskrevet i løbet af de kommende par uger, så vil vore ministre træde tilbage".
Zvarytj forklarede, at "Vores Ukraines" politiske råd har truffet en beslutning om, at der skal indledes forhandlinger om en koalitionsaftale. Han føjede til, at alle politiske partier kan deltage, men at dokumentets base skal være den tekst, som "Vores Ukraine" og Regionernes Parti har udarbejdet i foråret under koalitionsforhandlingerne.
"Vi har besluttet at vende tilbage til den koalitionsaftale, som Regionernes Parti og "Vores Ukraine" har godkendt. Vi betragter den som det basale dokument og ser ikke behov for at indføre væsentlige ændringer", sagde ministeren.
"Jeg vil tro, at vi alle har forstået, at der på det ideologiske plan ikke er uoverensstemmelser mellem Regionernes Parti og "Vores Ukraine", tilføjede han.
I en kommentar til Regionernes Partis planer om, at man skal indføre et punkt om at tildele det russiske sprog status som det andet statssprog, sagde Zvarytj, at den slags dokument overhovedet ikke findes.
Desuden oplyste ministeren, at Viktor Janukovytj, Roman Bezsmertnyj og Oleksandr Moroz under de natlige forhandlinger omkring Det nationale kompromis underskrev et memorandum om dannelsen af en bred koalition.
"Det dokument blev underskrevet sent om natten og det har ikke skabt genlyd i pressen", sagde ministeren. Han påpegede, at Regionernes Parti har fået to uger til forhandlingerne.
"Men jeg ser ingen grund til ikke at gøre det i løbet af to uger, fordi vi allerede har en afstemt koalitionsaftaletekst", sagde Zvarytj.
Ifølge ham er "Vores Ukraine" ikke tilfreds med antikrisekoalitionens tekst, selvom den i mangt og meget gentager den aftale, som "Vores Ukraine" og Regionernes Parti har underskrevet.
"Da Regionernes Parti, Socialistpartiet og KPU underskrev koalitionsaftalen, fjernede de koalitionens handlingsplan fra vores tekst. Men det var 2/3 af dokumentet. Hvordan kan en koalition arbejde uden sit program", spurgte Zvarytj.
Ifølge ham vil der opstå "forvirring", hvis den nye koalitionsaftale ikke bliver underskrevet, idet "Vores Ukraines" ministre i så fald vil repræsentere et parti i koalitionsregeringen, som ikke er med i koalitionen.
"Vi kan forblive præsidentens repræsentanter. En sådan mulighed vil jeg personligt ikke udelukke. Men det er svært at få til at passe ind i en koalitions algorytme", sagde Zvarytj. UP.9
A federal judge in San Francisco sentenced Pavlo Lazarenko, a former prime minister of Ukraine accused of stealing $114 million while in office from 1996 to 1997, to nine years in an American prison for money laundering, wire fraud and transporting stolen goods. He was also fined $10 million. He fled to the United States in 1999, seeking asylum, but instead was arrested and charged with siphoning tens of millions of dollars of public money into his personal accounts and attempting to hide some $21 million in American banks, mostly in San Francisco. Mr. Lazarenko, 53, who was convicted in 2004 and has since been under house arrest, is the first former head of government tried in the United States since the Panamanian dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega, who was convicted of money laundering and drug trafficking by a federal jury in Miami in 1992 and sentenced to 40 years. New York Times.
by Taras Kuzio
As fickle as the recent moves of Yushchenko and his party may look, they highlight Our Ukraine's deep-seated motivations.
The Ukrainian parliamentary elections in March were the freest in the country's history and one of the most free and fair polls yet held in the Commonwealth of Independent States. But this milestone in Ukrainian history was overshadowed by a four-month parliamentary and political crisis that was overcome only at the beginning of August with the signing of a deal that saw President Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party enter a "National Unity" coalition with the top vote-getter, the Party of Regions, headed by defeated presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych. The Socialist Party is also part of the new coalition, and the political bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko, Our Ukraine's Orange Revolution partner, goes into opposition.
Our Ukraine's maneuvers saw Yushchenko approving the candidacy for prime minister of the man conventionally dubbed his arch-rival. The real rivalry, however, is not Yushchenko against Yanukovych; it is the personal and ideological divide between Yushchenko's party and the person and political movement of the woman who stood at his side during the Orange Revolution.
Yushchenko and Our Ukraine did not expect to win the elections. Surveys clearly put Yanukovych's Party of Regions in the lead. But they never expected to finish a distant third behind both Regions and the electoral bloc headed by Tymoshenko, Yushchenko's Orange Revolution comrade, first prime minister, and now rival to both him and Yanukovych. After the voting, a leading figure in Our Ukraine, Roman Bessmertny, told the Stolychnyi Novosti newspaper, "The elections have taken place and we should respect their results." Instead, the president and his stunned supporters refused to adhere to the informal agreement among the "orange" forces that whichever political grouping in their camp won the most votes - Yushchenko's or Tymoshenko's - would have the right to nominate the next prime minister.
Our Ukraine's unwillingness to accept the election outcome led directly to four months of political and constitutional deadlock. And the party's solution to the dilemma was to go into "opposition" while placing some of its leading figures into the National Unity coalition government: a "semi-pregnant" position, as the leading weekly Zerkalo Tyzhnia described it. Such a move will not fool orange voters. Yet the party's decision to adopt an awkward straddle between the opposition and government did not arise from short-term political considerations alone, for the party has never been a true opposition force.
OUR UKRAINE'S TWO-FRONT STRATEGY
When they realized how badly the elections had turned out for them, Yushchenko and Our Ukraine made a decision that set the course for stalemate. Instead of living with the outcome of the voting and putting forward Tymoshenko for the premiership, they began simultaneous talks with the Tymoshenko bloc and the Party of Regions. In its talks with Tymoshenko's people, Our Ukraine sought to prevent her from returning to the premiership, or failing that, to win the post of parliamentary speaker for Our Ukraine's candidate, Petro Poroshenko, a major figure in or near the party since its founding in 2001. Personal animosity between Poroshenko and Tymoshenko plagued the first year of the Yushchenko administration, and many observers felt that the placing of the two rivals in high office would up the odds of a quick government collapse.
Our Ukraine switched roles when talking with Yanukovych's side, agreeing to a deal to retain Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov in office while Regions would be allowed to control the speakership. This would not have been too bitter a pill for Regions to swallow, as they saw Yekhanurov as someone they could work with, above all, someone opposed to further "reprivatizations" of one-time state assets that had fallen int
Though Our Ukraine had come in third in the voting, the party believed that having the president's backing would compensate for its election failure and allow it to hang on as the dominant political force.
The Socialists' defection from the orange camp in July and the formation of the "anti-crisis coalition" comprising the Party of Regions, Socialists, and Communists, without Our Ukraine, undermined this strategy and moved the crisis into a new phase that resolved itself only with the formation of the "National Unity" coalition.
The creation of this coalition in early August marks a return to the political landscape of the early 1990s after Ukraine became an independent state. The country's first president, Leonid Kravchuk, sought to align himself with the so-called national democrats - center-right parties, such as Rukh, who favored building a strong state ahead of reform - to support his statist policies in the face of internal and external threats. National democrats divided over their attitudes toward cooperating with Kravchuk. Rukh underwent a split, one wing going into opposition while hewing to the president's overall policies - a stance known in Ukrainian political jargon as "constructive" or "loyal" opposition - while another wing fully aligned itself with the president. Our Ukraine's split this summer came about in a similar manner, with one "constructive opposition" wing against cooperation with Yanukovych and another faction willing to join a Yanukovych-led government. The party's deep d ivision showed clearly in the parliamentary vote on Yanukovych's candidacy for the premiership on 4 August, when only 30 of Our Ukraine's 80 deputies voted for him.
Today, as in the early 1990s, those in Our Ukraine, such as Yushchenko, who countenance cooperation with Yanukovych do so believing that national democrats and "centrists" need to work together to unite Ukraine, bringing together the western and central areas where the national democrat power base lies with the eastern and southern strongholds of the business-oriented, typically Russophone "centrists."
Our Ukraine was established after parliament removed Prime Minister Yushchenko from office in 2001. The aim was to unite national-democratic and liberal parties against the growing authoritarianism of President Leonid Kuchma's administration. Yet Kuchma did not see Our Ukraine as a threat, because its leaders - including Poroshenko, who brought another "loyal opposition" party, Solidarity, and enticed business interests into Our Ukraine's fold; Yushchenko; and former parliamentary speaker Ivan Pliushch - made clear they were not like the true opposition represented by Tymoshenko's party and the Socialists. Our Ukraine sought out a niche between pro-regime and anti-regime parties.
National democratic forces in Ukraine have never been comfortable oppositionists. Their qualms in the early days over taking overly critical stances against the presidential administration can be partially understood by looking at the political tensions of the day. Under Kravchuk and during Kuchma's first term, the new state was threatened by internal and external threats from the Communist Party and Russia respectively, which refused to accept Ukraine's sovereignty or borders. The strategic priority for national democrats was state and nation building; that is, they were first and foremost statists rather than reformers, as the 1992 split of Rukh into "constructive oppositionists" and strong supporters of Kravchuk's state-building policies shows.
These two poles of the national-democrat camp have always ruled out a position of real opposition. Not until the "Kuchmagate" affair of 2000-2001 would Ukraine see its first true opposition movement, embodied in Tymoshenko's supporters and the Socialists.
The emergence of Tymoshenko as a leader of the protests against Kuchma over his alleged involvement in the murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze deepened the split in the national-democrat camp between mild oppositionists and those willing to cooperate with the authorities. Her bloc, which entered the 2002 elections as the National Salvation Front, attracted some radical national democrats and liberals who opposed any cooperation with pro-Kuchma centrists, but most national democrats joined Our Ukraine and backed away from Tymoshenko's and the Socialists' calls for Kuchma's impeachment.
Our Ukraine and dismissed premier Yushchenko did not condemn Kuchma or call for his removal from power. Instead, they merely called for the removal of the heads of law enforcement bodies involved in the Gongadze investigation, a sacrifice that Kuchma accepted. When Yushchenko took over Kuchma's office, although free from any allegations of personal involvement in the journalist's murder, he, too, shied away from a thorough investigation of the affair, even after the 2005 shooting death (officially by suicide) of former Interior Minister Yuri Kravchenko, one of the officials reportedly mixed up in Gongadze's death.
During the 2004 presidential campaign, the violence committed against Yushchenko and his supporters, coupled with the level of fraud undertaken by the authorities, temporarily changed Our Ukraine's constructive opposition to open protest against Kuchma. He was no street activist, unlike Tymoshenko, but Yushchenko had little choice than to prepare for a revolution after his poisoning and the mass fraud in the runoff vote against Yanukovych, which convinced him that the authorities would never allow him to win.
Yushchenko's transformation into temporary revolutionary did not convert him into a true oppositionist, and the division between Our Ukraine and the forces led by Tymoshenko and the Socialists was only set aside during the Orange Revolution. The division has dominated the Yushchenko administration, leading to the dismissal of the Tymoshenko government in September 2005 and bitter recriminations ever since. This spilled over following the 2006 elections in Yushchenko and Our Ukraine seeking not to permit the return of Tymoshenko as prime minister.
Our Ukraine's inability to become an opposition force showed through again in its reaction to the formation of the National Unity coalition. The Socialists' abandonment of the orange coalition for the Party of Regions sent Our Ukraine reeling, and the party's tactics have continued to remain confused. One part of Our Ukraine has stated its readiness to go into "constructive opposition" to the new Yanukovych government while another is eager to join forces with him. Meanwhile, neither of these wings of Our Ukraine is willing to go into true opposition alongside Tymoshenko's party.
OUR UKRAINE REDUX
The Our Ukraine bloc that won the 2002 elections under Kuchma is very different from the Our Ukraine that lost the 2006 elections under Yushchenko.
Our Ukraine-2002 was a far broader coalition of liberal and national democratic parties. Our Ukraine-2006 is more centrist and pro-business, comprising parties such as the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, which supported Kuchma in the 2002 elections, defected to Yushchenko's camp only in the second round of the 2004 presidential election, and joined Our Ukraine-2006. Other democratic groups that had joined up with Our Ukraine in 2002, such as the Reforms and Order Party and the civil-society organization Pora, backed away from Yushchenko in 2006 and failed to win any seats in parliament.
The more centrist and pro-business Our Ukraine became the more it grew estranged from the Tymoshenko bloc and the closer it moved toward the Party of Regions. Yushchenko has always been more threatened by Tymoshenko, personally and ideologically, than by Yanukovych.
One of the paradoxes of the Yushchenko administration has been his dispensing with allies who assisted his rise to power. The presence of Pora and Reforms and Order in the Our Ukraine camp for this spring's elections would undoubtedly have helped the party attract more than a measly 14 percent of the vote and would have helped Yushchenko build a stronger support base in parliament from which to challenge more effectively the rebounding Party of Regions during the spring and summer negotiations. True to form, Yushchenko has seemingly preferred to team up with the former authorities than with the opposition.
Taras Kuzio is a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and an adjunct professor at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, George Washington University. The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone.
De personer, som har udtænkt de forfatningsændringer, som trådte i kraft i Ukraine den 1.1.2006, har udelukkende tænkt på, hvordan de fratager den kommende præsident flest mulige beføjelser. Det udtaler medlem af "Vores Ukraines" fraktion og præsidentens permanente talsmand i det ukrainske parlament, Jurij Kljutjkovskyj ifølge partiets pressetjeneste.
De "har aldrig tænkt på, hvordan disse ændringer kommer til at fungere i praksis", siger Kljutjkovskyj.
"Det har ført til, at disse ændringer har vist sig at være så uigennemtænkte såvel i juridisk som i politiske forstand, at man ikke kan undre sig over de problemer, som vi i dag hele tiden støder på", påpeger Kljutjkovskyj.
Ifølge ham "kan man ikke sige, at koalitionen vil kontrollere regeringens arbejde - tværtimod vil regeringen i det store hele kontrollere den parlamentariske koalitions arbejde".
"En sådan regering, der har et flertal i parlamentet og tænker på sin overlevelse, kommer til at bestemme parlamentets dagsorden, arbejde og endog listen over de forskellige lovforslag", tilføjer Kljutjkovskyj.
Ifølge Kljutjkovskyj "er karakteren af parlamentets arbejde undergået væsentlige forandringer efter forfatningsændringerne, og det kan man allerede mærke efter åbningen af den femte samlings anden session".
"Fx har man vedtaget en uges pause, da regeringen ikke havde fremlagt lovforslagene, og fordi der ikke var nogen ide i at behandle de deputeredes lovforslag", påpeger han.
Kljutjkovskyj siger, at "vi endnu har nogle gedigne overraskelser til gode fra det nye forhold mellem regeringen og parlamentet".
"Man kan rette op på situationen og balancere den ved at gennemføre yderligere ændringer til forfatningen. Hvor realistisk dette er i dag politisk afhænger af, hvor hurtigt de vigtigste politiske aktører får sig nogle knubs på den nye politiske kampplads", mener Jusjtjenkos repræsentant i Ukraines parlament. UP.
Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a $1 million program to help increase energy efficiency in Ukraine and strengthen Ukraine's energy independence. USAID/Ukraine Mission Director Earl Gast United announced the program during a press conference in Odesa, where he had traveled to learn more about energy efficiency efforts.
"We expect two outcomes from this program," explained Earl Gast. "First, we expect to help the participating companies to save a significant amount of natural gas, and second, to establish a model for other Ukrainian companies to emulate. In doing so, the program will achieve its object -- increased energy efficiency in Ukraine's industrial sector."
The USAID Ukraine Industrial Energy Efficiency Initiative Program will provide technical assistance and low-cost financing solutions to increase energy efficiency in Ukraine's industrial sector. USAID will also promote partnerships between international and Ukrainian energy services companies (ESCOs) to strengthen the capacity of Ukrainian ESCOs to finance and implement energy efficiency projects in Ukraine.
With possible low-cost financing from the U.S. Ex-Im Bank and other financial institutions, over 15 industrial plants will work to reduce their natural gas consumption. The project will also support dissemination of best practices to other industrial companies.
The 18-month program will include:
The program will be implemented by U.S.-based International Resource Group (IRG) and its subcontractor, the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE). The program team will also include Ukrainian companies, including ESCOs, other types of energy service providers, as well as international experts in energy efficiency and project financing.
For more information about the program, please contact: Andriy Mitskan, USAID Project Management Specialist, (380 44) 492-7137, email@example.com
Since 1992, USAID has provided over $1.4 billion worth of technical and humanitarian assistance supporting Ukraine's democratic, economic and social transition. For more information about USAID activities, please contact the USAID Development and Outreach Office at (044) 537-4600 or visit http://ukraine.usaid.gov.
By Taras Kuzio
Orange voters in Ukraine and abroad did not have a good summer. After four months of tortuous, non-transparent and back channel negotiations, neither of the two coalitions that everyone had expected materialized; neither a revived Orange nor a "grand" coalition of Our Ukraine and the Party of Regions.
Instead, Orange supporters were stunned to see the return of Viktor Yanukovych. It was bad enough, we had all thought, that the "bandits" had slipped through the net of the prosecutor's office during President Viktor Yushchenko's many foreign visits in 2005. But, that they had even entered parliament and were now back in government! Of Ukraine's 13 Prime Minister's since independence, Yanukovych is the only Prime Minister to serve a second term.
Unlike his twelve predecessors, who served an average of only 12-15 months each, Yanukovych could well stay prime minister until the next election cycle in 2009-2011. Following constitutional reforms, the president no longer has the option to dismiss the prime minister if, for example, the incumbent's popularity becomes too high, a common cause for the government's dismissal prior to 2005.
Ironically, Yushchenko used this power for the last occasion in September 2005 when he dismissed the Yulia Tymoshenko government after a record of only seven months in government. Even if the parliamentary National Unity coalition were to collapse, the government would not automatically fall. Following a host of tactical mistakes after Yushchenko came to power, Yanukovych could well be with us for the medium term.
Disillusionment among Orange voters first appeared in September 2005 when the Tymoshenko government was removed and President Viktor Yushchenko signed a memorandum with Viktor Yanukovych. In other words, the Universal signed on August 3 between all of the parliamentary forces, except Tymoshenko, is already the second of such documents.
In both September 2005 and July-August 2006, President Yushchenko was willing to sacrifice his principles by signing deals with Yanukovych when his back was against the wall; the first when his candidate for prime minister (Yuriy Yekhanurov) failed to win parliamentary approval and the second when he had to choose between two unpalatable steps, early elections or putting Yanukovych forward as prime minister. In both cases, Yushchenko had been boxed into a corner by his own team's tactical mistakes and poor strategy.
This is also the second occasion in Ukraine's history when the Communists have entered government, the first being in 1994 with Prime Minister Vitaliy Masol and the second in 2006. The dates are not coincidental, as President Yushchenko increasingly resembles former President Leonid Kravchuk.
Kravchuk brought back Masol to replace Leonid Kuchma in a vain attempt to attract Communist voters in the summer 1994 presidential elections. Kravchuk's betrayal of his post-1991 shift towards Ukrainian statehood by bringing in a representative of a party that opposed Ukrainian statehood failed to lead to his re-election for a second term.
Yushchenko and Our Ukraine insisted that the Communists be removed from the Anti-Crisis coalition before they would consider joining it. The coalition members refused, the Communists stayed in the coalition and government, and Yushchenko nevertheless approved the entrance of Our Ukraine into government.
The confusion that surrounds Ukrainian politics since this year's elections has therefore not disappeared; Our Ukraine is both in "opposition" and in government, an untenable position.
Both Kravchuk and Yushchenko will be remembered for having brought about independence (Kravchuk) and the Orange Revolution (Yushchenko). But, Kravchuk failed to be re-elected in 1994 and Yushchenko is unlikely to be re-elected in 2009 because they both proved to be weak, indecisive and non-listening presidents.
Voters in 1994 did not think of independence achieved three years earlier, but were instead preoccupied with the previous years' hyperinflation and incompetent economic policies of the Kuchma government. They went on to punish Kravchuk by not re-electing him for a second term. Similarly, in the 2009 elections, Orange voters will not remember the Orange Revolution but instead the fact that President Yushchenko permitted Yanukovych (the "bandit" and twice former convict in Yushchenko's 2004 election rhetoric) to return to government, thus permitting defeat to be snatched from the jaws of victory.
Yushchenko Not Playing by His Own Rules
Some Western academic experts have downplayed the significance of the return of Yanukovych. After all, they argue, the Orange Revolution has changed the rules by which Ukrainian politics is played.
To reach this conclusion one has to possess a very optimistic view of the ability of human personalities to quickly change. Of the 24 members of the government, only four are new people, while 20 are representatives of the Kuchma era or were in the Tymoshenko government, such as Minister of Justice Roman Zvarych, who proved to be very economical with the truth about his U.S. education.
Five areas point to Yushchenko failing to play by the rules of the Orange Revolution but instead by rules initiated by his opponents since 2000 when he first entered politics. As one commentator wrote in Ukrayinska Pravda (August 10), "there are grounds to believe that in August 2006, Yushchenko lost the elections begun in 2004. The triumphant inauguration in January 2005 was only the victorious "end of the first phase."
First, Ukraine has a multi-party coalition that includes representatives from four out of five of parliament's political factions. All four - Regions, Our Ukraine, Socialists and Communists - signed the Universal.
When Yushchenko was prime minister in 2000-2001 he refused to accept demands from pro-Kuchma centrists to create a multi-party coalition government. National democrats and centrists had removed the left-wing leadership of parliament in a "velvet revolution" in January 2000 and created, for the first time in Ukraine's history, a non-left parliamentary coalition.
Yushchenko's refusal to transform his government by including representatives from the different political groups in the parliamentary coalition, principally centrists, had two ramifications. Tymoshenko was arrested in January 2000, spending 3 weeks in jail.
In April 2001, parliament voted no confidence in the Yushchenko government and replaced it with one led by Anatoliy Kinakh. As is common with all Ukrainian political groups, Kinakh first joined the pro-Kuchma "For a United Ukraine" bloc in the 2002 elections and then defected to Yushchenko in round two of the 2004 elections.
Second, during the Orange Revolution, Yanukovych proposed as a solution to the crisis that he continue as prime minister while Yushchenko become president. But, Yushchenko refused to have any dealings with what he then termed "bandits".
Following the creation of the National Unity parliamentary coalition and government, Yushchenko and Yanukovych are jointly running the country.
Government competencies are divided between Yushchenko (humanities, culture, law enforcement, foreign and defense policy) and Yanukovych (economics, energy).
Third, regional divisions inflamed by Russian political technologists, the shadow Yanukovych campaign (run by Deputy Prime Minister Andriy Kluyev) and Viktor Medvedchuk's presidential administration were successful in creating a near 50:50 split in the vote. Yet, even in the relatively free re-run of round two of the elections on December 26, 2004, Yushchenko won by only 8 per cent. Compare this to the 97 percent won by Mikheil Saakashvili in the January 2004 Georgian elections where his opponents received less than 2 per cent each. In Georgia there is little chance of Saakashvili's opponents returning to power.
The Razumkov Ukrainian Center for Economic and Political Studies, which provided many of the analysts for the 2004 Yushchenko campaign, points out that President Yushchenko did nothing to resolve Ukraine's regional divide between coming to power in January 2005 and the March 2006 elections. If he had undertaken steps during this fifteen-month period, it would have been welcomed as the sincere efforts of a president with political will.
The Razumkov Center states, "In addition, Viktor Andriyovych did not wish to recognize the problem, described it as contrived, and spoke in the name of the nation himself," (Zerkalo Tyzhnia, August 19-25). Yushchenko only sought the mantle of President Lincoln as "unifier" after his back was against the wall and he had to choose between two unpalatable choices. The regional divisions inflamed by the 2004 elections, coupled with the failure to heal them following those elections, were in the end successful in bringing Yanukovych back to power.
Fourth, only one reprivatization has taken place following the Orange Revolution. After only a week in power, the Yanukovych government issued instructions to the State Property Fund, Security Service and Prosecutors Office to halt further investigations of past privatizations.
The Orange Revolution was about many factors, including blocking Yanukovych from becoming president, anger at the treatment by the authorities of the population in the 1990s and support for democratic rights and freedoms.
What it was also about was removing "bandits" from government and society. It was never made clear who these "bandits" were, but Orange supporters assumed they were Kuchma era senior officials and oligarchs.
The oligarchs can now rest easy as they are, in former Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov's words, "national bourgeoisie". Rinat Akhmetov and Hryhoriy Surkis were both included by President Yushchenko in this year's honor's lists for state medals.
Fifth, constitutional reforms to transform Ukraine from a presidential to a parliamentary republic were first developed by Socialist leader Oleksandr Moroz in 2000-2001 during the Kuchmagate crisis. These were then developed by Kuchma and Medvedchuk in 2002-2003, failing to find parliamentary approval in April 2004, but were then agreed to in a "compromise package" in December 2004 and introduced in January 2006.
Yushchenko won a breathing space for himself by ensuring that constitutional changes would not take place until 2006, rather than immediately following the 2004 elections, as Kuchma, his centrist allies and the left pushed for.
Yushchenko therefore had a whole year, at his insistence, with Kuchma's extensive powers.
Yet, surprisingly, these powers were barely used; the one occasion when they were was when he removed the Tymoshenko government. In reality, Yushchenko's detached personality is more comfortable as a president under the new constitution, rather than as the micro manager Kuchma under the 1996-2005 constitution.
Unpacking the Yushchenko Myth
Why has Ukraine developed in this way since the Orange Revolution? To understand this we need to first and foremost unpack the myths about Yushchenko. Yushchenko has been unable to become a revolutionary president and we are right to dismiss the comparison made by the presidential secretariat between US President Abraham Lincoln and Yushchenko. President Lincoln never compromised on his principles, such as abolishing slavery, and never countenanced appointing the leader of the confederacy as his vice president.
President Yushchenko, whose career developed during the thirteen years of the Kravchuk and Kuchma eras, has been unable to institute a break with the Kuchma era and introduce a new system of governance in Ukraine. The Razumkov Center wrote, "Who then won? Leonid Danylovych won! We saw a Ukraine without Kuchma, and it resembled something similar to Ukraine with him (Kuchma)," (Zerkaklo Tyzhnia, August 19-25).
Yushchenko was unable to utilize the possibilities offered to him by the Orange Revolution to become an Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy in one, having no truck with the personalities and policies of the Kuchma era while proposing a new democratic and European vision for Ukraine. Yushchenko may escape having to face early elections but Ukraine will still have a new president in 2009. Only this time Ukrainian voters will be able to choose for the first time between a man and a woman.
Taras Kuzio, PhD, Senior Transatlantic Fellow, German Marshal Fund of the USA, Adjunct Professor, Elliott School of International Relations, George Washington University and President of Kuzio Associates. See www.taraskuzio.net. The views contained herein are those of the author and do not reflect those of the German Marshal Fund of the USA.
Sources: 1992 CIA World Factbook, 1994 CIA World Factbook, 2006 CIA World
The statement of journalists and mass-media employees on assaults of the freedom of speech in Ukraine
Translated by Irena Yakovina, 11.08.2006
STATEMENT: By Journalists and Mass-media Employees on Assaults of the Freedom of Speech in Ukraine Original statement in Ukrainian, translated by Irena Yakovina Ukrayinska Pravda online, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, August 11, 2006
KYIV - On August 9, 10 and 11, 2006 Ukraine experienced a row of alarming and annoying events which constituted a threat to the freedom of speech in Ukraine.
Besides, MP Oleh Kalashnikov who assaulted the film crew of STB TV channel remains unpunished. De facto he is a member of Party of Regions, although the faction leaders urge that their party has expelled him.
The case on assault of Chief Editor of Stolychni Novyny (Capital's news) periodical Volodymyr Katsman is unprobed too. Investigation of Georgiy Gongadze's case stays inexplicit.
We, journalists and mass-media employees, are deeply concerned about all these events happened for such a short interval. Hoping that it is just a coincidence, we still will do utmost to bar the return of censorship and pressure on mass-media.
In our turn we confirm our intentions to stand up for the freedom of speech and our colleagues' safety by all possible means.
We warn that we are ready to trigger active protests in case the freedom of speech is jeopardized.
You may support this statement by sending your signatures here:
By Vladimir Socor
Ukraine's new prime minister, Viktor Yanukovych, paid his first visit abroad in that capacity on August 15-16 to Russian President Vladimir Putin's residence in Sochi. The visit's results are inconclusive, but Russia's message to Ukraine seems clear: Economic favors are ruled out for the time being, but may become available later through mechanisms of "integration."
Yanukovych held talks with Russia's leaders and attended a summit of the six-member Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEc: Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan) in line with Ukraine's observer status in that group. Extensive discussions between Yanukovych and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov were followed by a one-hour Putin-Yanukovych session on the second day (August 16), just before Yanukovych caught his flight back to Ukraine. The ushering in of Yanukovych at the last moment underscored the Kremlin's wait-and-see attitude toward Ukraine's new government. Landing in the Crimea in the evening to report to President Viktor Yushchenko there, Yanukovych could only tell the awaiting press, "We are aware of our quite difficult relations in the oil and gas sector" (Interfax-Ukraine, August 16).
Opening the prime ministers' session, Fradkov cautioned Yanukovych that declarations about Russia being a priority in Ukraine's foreign policy "should advance from words to deeds" and that Russia "needs full clarity" from Ukraine. Fradkov called for a "market approach" to bilateral economic relations, including energy supplies; Yanukovych, for a "market approach [that] also takes into account the level of Russia-Ukraine relations." While Fradkov's "market approach" implies monopoly and price dictati on, Yanukovych's qualification implies favors to Ukraine within a context of Ukrainian economic gravitation toward Russia.
Fradkov urged the Ukrainian side to participate more actively in preparations for creating the Single Economic Space (SES, with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan) and, as an intermediate step, to fully join EurAsEc and its planned Customs Union. Fradkov described such participation in "integration processes" as one of the main factors that will determine the shape Ukraine's relations with Russia. Yanukovych seemed to demur on SES, announcing only that First Deputy Prime Minister Mykola Azarov would re present Ukraine in the High-Level Working Group on the Formation of SES. Regarding EurAsEc's Customs Union, Yanukovych answered cautiously that Ukraine would consider selective participation in those activities that would correspond to Ukraine's national interests. Even so, this would seem to go farther than the previous government's policy of seeking no more than a Free Trade Zone.
At this Sochi meeting, the presidents of EurAsEc's member countries decided to accelerate preparations for the Customs Union, aiming to announce its founding by July 2007. Concurrently, the presidents of the three full-fledged SES member countries decided to forge ahead with that project. Such bifurcation would seem to enable Ukraine to opt for the softer form of such "integration." However, participation in this Customs Union would jeopardize Ukraine's accession to the World Trade Organizations and relations with the European Union. Yanukovych's public remarks during this two-day meeting did not include any reference to Ukraine's relations with the EU.
In the run-up to the Sochi summit, Yanukovych had publicly expressed hopes that Russia might reduce if only symbolically the price of gas for the remainder of 2006 and consider a price cut for 2007 (see EDM, August 16). These unrealistic hopes were dashed in Sochi. At the visit's end, Yanukovych cited speculation about a price range of $150 to $230 per 1,000 cubic meters in 2007, which must look horrific in Ukraine, compared to $95 at present. But he assured the country on his return that there woul d be "no jump" in the price next year, and that the price of gas to household consumers would rise only moderately in 2007.
Thus, the issue remains in suspense as the heating season approaches. Fradkov and Yanukovych added to the uncertainty by announcing that a whopping 24.5 billion cubic meters of Russian gas would be pumped into Ukraine's underground storage sites ahead of winter, at a rate of 130 million cubic meters daily. There is no word as to how much of this volume is intended for export to EU countries and how much for Ukraine's consumption, how will the already indebted Ukraine pay for its share, and what fees Russia would pay for Ukraine's storage services.
There was no word in Sochi about revising Kyiv's suspect arrangements with the RosUkrEnergo gas company. The new government seems reconciled to those arrangements, to which both the first Yanukovych government and the Yushchenko contributed in an ironic demonstration of "bipartisanship." Gazprom's Vice-Chairman Alexander Ryazanov, who concurrently sits on RosUkrEnergo's Coordinating Committee, was a key participant in the Sochi talks with Yanukovych.
Both sides aim to convene a meeting in Kyiv of the Russia-Ukraine Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation. The meeting would prepare decisions for a subsequent meeting of the Putin-Yushchenko Commission, the top though dormant authority on bilateral relations. In Sochi, Yanukovych pressed for an early meeting of the intergovernmental commission, to be followed the next day by the presidential commission's meeting. Fradkov, however, seemed in no hurry, and neither did Putin. The Russian side wants "careful preparation" of the first meeting and, after that, careful preparation again of the presidential-level meeting. Yanukovych clearly tried to secure for Yushchenko the meeting with Putin that the Ukrainian president insistently seeks; but the Kremlin clearly feels that Ukraine needs Russia more than Russia needs Ukraine at this point.
by Andriy Ignatov
There is no doubt that, currently, Ukraine is ruled by the government of the Party of Regions (PoR), who is here to stay, for quite some time.
The Party of Regions is a well organized group, backed by billions of hryvnia of prominent businessmen throughout central and eastern Ukraine . PoR controls 40% in Rada. They control the ruling coalition. Victor Yanukovych, a PM and a party leader, is the most trusted politician in Ukraine .
The loosing opponents in the government coalition, the pro-presidential Nasha Ukrajina (NU), control 18% in Rada. It is backing a couple of ministers who are not even members of the NU and who could potentially switch sides any time. Most of the NU deputies are said to be on the payroll of and controlled by one of the heroes of the Orange Revolution, a prominent small oligarch, Petro Poroshenko.
The NU fiercely opposes the Bloc of Julia Tymoshenko (BYuT), the later currently controlling 25% in Rada. The leader of BYuT is a prime opposition contestant in the Presidential Elections 2009. Both NU and PoR hate BYuT and Julia Tymoshenko.
The NU is falling apart. (http://obkom.net.ua/news/2006-09-04/1105.shtml) Since January 2005, the leadership of a then new party (M. Tretyakov, P. Poroshenko, R. Bezsmertny, D. Zhvania, and I. Vasyunyk) chopped off aging national democratic component (UNP) with 100,000 active membership, and BYuT, the most popular 'orange' bloc, from participating in NU formation. Despite all of NU high leadership had been loyal to Kuchma or had been Kuchma administration's civil servants prior to 2002, the NU ran in 2006 on the "ideals of the revolution" messages, and they lost. NU did not come into a bloc with BYuT at elections-2006; the results of the election showed that that was an irrational decision because BYuT would contribute more that 50% of success to a possible bloc. Currently, NU is trying to survive as its leadership heavily influenced by Petro Poroshenko reacts to real and, ever more often, imaginary threats. ( http://obkom.net.ua/news/2006-09-04/0940.shtml)
The role of Mr. Poroshenko is a peculiar one. A prominent and popular businessman (http://obkom.net.ua/articles/2005-09/30.1428.shtml) became the closest friend, financier, and partner, of President Yuschenko in 2002. He strengthened his position in Yuschenko's office and circle of trust in 2004 and on. He has been a master of compromise, a fluent English speaker, the one who knows what business needs to succeed.
At the same time, he is the one blamed for the downfall of the Yuschenko's government: In 2005, he consolidated a major power share within the new NU. Some insiders he was "totally corrupt" when a chair of RNBO, always soliciting rent from businesses and judges. In September 2005, his were the reasons that Yuschenko took for dismissing the government of Julia Tymoshenko ( http://obkom.net.ua/articles/2005-09/13.1722.shtml . Poroshenko persuaded Yuschenko that Julia Tymoshenko, Zinchenko, and Hrytsenko were secretly conspiring against Yuschenko to back Julia as a presidential candidate in 2009 and not Yuschenko) On August 24, 2005, the President in a speech called the YT government the most successful in the world, and two weeks later the President dismissed the government of YT after a whistleblower scandal involving Petro Poroshenko. Later, at the advice from Mr. Poroshenko, the NU declined an offer to form a bloc with BYuT. In August 2006, it was because of Mr. Poroshenko's candidacy for the Speaker that Mr. Moroz cheated on the Orange Coalition and formed a new one with the PoR. Finally, influenced by Mr. Poroshenko, the political council of the NU acted emotionally at the rumors that M. Katerynchuk, the official head of political council of NU, considered forming a new, opposition party. It is clear now that the political role of Mr. Poroshenko in the NU has consistently been highly dysfunctional.
Another peculiar role from within the NU is Minister R. Zwarycz. Having denied criticism about his resume and his blocking the work of the Cabinet of Ministers under the influence of his business interests in trading Russian oil while a Minister of Justice, he is active in NU leadership. In fact, after allegations of fraud and corruption, the President not only didn't dismissed him, but the NU installed Mr. Zwarycz as a NU chief negotiator after elections-2006, effectively promoting Mr. Zwarycz to a higher role than ever before. There is no surprise then that the Minister of Justice is okey with showing negligence for the Law at his second appointment in the government of V. Yanukovych. ( http://pravda.com.ua/news/2006/9/4/46802.htm) It was Minister Zwarycz who a few days ago said that "there are no ideological differences between NU and PoR". Mr. Zwarycz remains one of closest allies of the President.
Having said that "there is no ideological differences between NU and PoR", the NU and the President exhibited a lack of vision for major problems facing Ukrainians such as constructing a stable pension system, increasing employment in regions, lowering taxes for small and mid businesses, and keeping the government clean of illegal payments and bribery. Instead, the government and the President focused on and made national issues of such marginal topics as the unofficial use of Ukrainian language, the "recognition" of Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) fighters, accommodation of non-profit organization in civic councils at the Ministries -, and the "dissolution" and incomplete reformation of the road police (DAI). Experienced political managers O. Zinchenko and A. Hrytsenko left political work for the NU, while the NU did not hire any outside support for even Elections-2006 time, hoping to squeeze through and win by the "power of Maidan".
The PoR, instead, has been running on a pro-business program and message of the priority of economic growth, a message well understood by Ukrainians. Compared to only partially fulfilled promises of clean government by President Yuschenko, this was a winning line.
By looking back into these developments, politically active Ukrainians, who value democracy, freedom of expression, free enterprise, and small clean functional government, should better leave dysfunctional issues back behind, although brought to them by their loved political celebrities. Most critical achievable priorities should be emphasized for the future. Popular fears should be dispelled.
A new centrist-right political force -- a party or a movement (ruh) --, including sound, clean and capable patriot-activists, outside parties and from such parties as BYuT, the national democrats, from democrat-liberals left in the Socialist party, and from NU and the Party of Regions, from outside party establishments, could make this effort.
They should focus on measures for economic growth, lowering taxes, creating a stable pension system, increasing employment in regions, empowering citizens outside Kyiv (in regions) to govern themselves by having local radas to elect local governments themselves.
They may want to improve the political system by advocating and legally implementing intra-party elections governed by a national election law and monitored and enforced by the national government, so that the parties would no longer by petty projects of only a handful of funders, who seek rent in exchange for funding, who thus deprive the Ukrainian Democracy of its meaning.
The new party or movement should try and make Ukraine "a country of laws, not of men". It means that if someone does not like the law, he or should obey it anyway. There should be no exceptions to the law: not for the President, not for MPs, not for kums or kumas, not for nationalists, not for Russophiles, not for "investors" or media or the poor or the wealthy. Any breaking the law should be followed with legal or equitable remedy actions. As a starter, prudent politicians may want to advocate the lifting of immunity from prosecution for all MPs and all judges who are cu
Currently, Ukraine is heading toward a prolonged period of stability, with the government implementing the PoR agenda now and after the presidential elections-2009.
Ukraines nye premierminister Viktor Yanokovich ændre nu den tidligere regrings politik, og vil ikke arbejde for fuld optagelse i NATO, sagde han i går i Bruxelles.
Yanokovich mener ikke, at den ukrainske befolkning ønsker at blive medlem af den militære alliance.
Med sin udtalelse går han mod landets præsident Viktor Youshchenko - som han iøvrigt tabte præsidentvalget til.
Vil han ikke med i NATO, så er Yanokovich til gengæld varm på EU, og siger, at han vil arbejde på at styrke forholdet til den europæiske union med henblik på optagelse.
Ukraines udenrigsministerium kræver, at Ruslands forsvarsministerium efterkommer rettens kendelse i byen Sevastopol om, at samtlige fyrtårne på Krim skal tilbageføres til Ukraine. Det ukrainske udenrigsministerium har sendt en note til Rusland herom, oplyser ministeriets pressetjeneste.
"Ruslands åbenlyse uvilje til at overdrage Ukraine den på Krim-halvøen mellem Tarkhankut-odde til odden Aju-Dag beliggende og landet tilhørende infrastruktur til den navigerings-hydrografiske sikring af søfarten, gør det umuligt for Ukraine at opfylde sine internationale forpligtelser indenfor sikringen af søfarten og kan have uforudsigelige følger", hedder det i brevet.
Udenrigsministeriet betoner, at de omtalte fyrtårne ifølge de eksisterende aftaler ikke er en del af den infrastruktur, som Sortehavsflåden må bruge eller forpagte.
"Ukraine insisterer på, at Ukraines nationale navigerings-hydrografiske sikring af søfarten ikke kan hører under og blive benyttet af den russiske Sortehavsflådes enheder", betones det i brevet.
Desuden fremhæves det i brevet, at man "fra ukrainsk side ikke kan godtage og er forundret over, at det fra russisk side hævdes. at man ikke vil anerkende de ukrainske domstolsafgørelser omkring de navigerings-hydrografiske objekter".
"Eftersom denne holdning er i strid med de internationale retsnormer og Ukraines lovgivning", hedder det i brevet.
Man understreger herunder, at Ukraines forfatning slår fast, at "domstolenes jurisdiktion finder anvendelse på alle retsforhold, som opstår indenfor statens område, og at domstolsbeslutninger bliver truffet af domstolene i Ukraines navn og skal overholdes på hele det ukrainske territorium. UP.
By Jan Maksymiuk
President Yushchenko could see his bloc in parliament dissolve beneath him
PRAGUE, September 13, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The Reforms and Order Party surprised fellow Our Ukraine constituents when it recently announced it was switching alliances and entering the opposition in order to avoid a partnership with a government it accused of posing a threat to democracy.
What is taking place in Our Ukraine can be described as the final stage in the disintegration of the Orange Revolution camp that helped bring Viktor Yushchenko to the presidential post in December 2004.
Breakup of the Orange Revolution
The Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc was the first to leave the pro-presidential alliance, in September 2005, after Yushchenko removed Tymoshenko from the post of prime minister.
"It is quite apparent that there are diametrically opposing views regarding this issue in Our Ukraine, as well as opposite trends regarding the development of Our Ukraine itself."
When the Party of Regions, led by Yushchenko's erstwhile presidential rival, Viktor Yanukovych, won the parliamentary elections in March, an opportunity arose for Yushchenko and Tymoshenko to reunite in an effort to prevent Yanukovych from returning to power.
But as old political wisdom asserts, being in opposition unites, while being in power divides. Lingering animosities and personal ambitions prevented the leaders of the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, Our Ukraine, and the Socialist Party from resurrecting their 2005 ruling alliance.
Thus, the second force to quit the Orange Revolution camp was the Socialist Party led by Oleksandr Moroz. The Socialists unexpectedly switched sides in July, signing an "anticrisis" accord with the Party of Regions and the Communists.
Lack of unity
Yushchenko then tried to salvage the situation by having Our Ukraine sign a declaration of national unity with the anticrisis coalition. That deal allowed Our Ukraine to obtain several ministerial portfolios in Yanukovych's cabinet and represented a symbolic agreement between the signatories to pursue the basic goals and ideals of the Orange Revolution.
Running the government jointly with the Communist Party, however, has turned out to be an unpalatable idea for many Our Ukraine politicians. Only 30 of Our Ukraine's 80 lawmakers voted in August to confirm Yanukovych as prime minister, despite the fact that the bloc delegated four ministers to his cabinet, in addition to three ministers appointed by Yushchenko.
Mykola Katerynchuk, the chairman of the executive board of the Our Ukraine People's Union (NSNU) -- which constitutes the core of the Our Ukraine parliamentary bloc -- suggested that those NSNU members who backed Yanukovych in the vote should leave the union.
But this proposal was criticized by NSNU leader Roman Bezsmertnyy, who is in favor of Our Ukraine joining the anticrisis coalition on the basis of a new coalition accord.
How to do this, however, is a major headache for Yushchenko's loyalists.
Lawmaker Mykhaylo Pozhyvanov from the People's Rukh of Ukraine, another important component of Our Ukraine, told RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service that his party took a "very stiff position" on a potential expanded coalition.
"We see the possibility of forming a new coalition, but only if it was done simultaneously with a full reformatting of the leadership of the Verkhovna Rada and the government. To which, I think, these guys [from the anticrisis coalition] will never agree," Pozhyvanov said. "And [we want a coalition] without the Communists. It is a very stiff position. It has not gained much favor with Borys Ivanovych [Bezsmertnyy], but it was approved by voting."
The Reforms and Order Party from the Our Ukraine bloc has overtly switched to the opposition, charging that Yanukovych's government poses "a direct threat to democracy, the national-cultural self-identification and development of the nation, and fundamental principles of the Ukrainian statehood."
However, others from Our Ukraine, like former National Security and Defense Secretary Petro Poroshenko, have not lost hope of making a deal with the anticrisis coalition.
"Everything depends on the efficiency of the negotiating process," Poroshenko said. "I can't say that the negotiations are running very smoothly. There were different views regarding both the name and principles of the coalition -- it has to be a new coalition. It is very much a matter of principle [for us] to include the programmatic provisions of the declaration of national unity into the coalition agreement."
Some Ukrainian political commentators and analysts, like Kostyantyn Maleyev of the Kyiv-based Philosophical Institute of the National Academy of Sciences, believe that Our Ukraine will not be able to reach a unifying conclusion on what position to take on working with Yanukovych's cabinet.
"It is quite apparent that there are diametrically opposing views regarding this issue in Our Ukraine, as well as opposite trends regarding the development of Our Ukraine itself," Maleyev said. "It seems that these contradictions cannot be overcome in the future."
Marriage of convenience
In theory, Yanukovych does not need Our Ukraine's support in parliament -- his Party of Regions, the Socialists, and the Communists jointly control 240 votes in the 450-seat Verkhovna Rada, which is sufficient to pass most legislation.
In practice, however, backing from Our Ukraine may be needed to introduce some economic measures where the views of the Marxism-rooted Communists and Socialists differ from those of the pro-market Party of Regions.
In addition, Yanukovych may need Our Ukraine in the ruling coalition as a sort of legitimization of his government in the eyes of the West.
But irrespective of the final outcome of this coalition-building story, it is already evident that the pro-presidential Our Ukraine, which several months ago stood a realistic chance of dictating its own conditions for the government, will now have to reconcile itself to the status of a secondary political force.
Our Ukraine's political weight may be diminished even further by lawmakers who choose to switch to the opposition and side with the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc. According to cautious estimates, there may be around 20 such defectors.
(RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service correspondent Tetyana Yarmoshchuk contributed to this report.)
By Vladimir Socor
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Cohabitation of the Party of Regions with a minority Orange faction and a Regions-dominated government would seem to mark a shift in Ukraine’s foreign policy paradigm: from the Euro-Atlantic orientation proclaimed by the short-lived Orange Revolution, back to the Kuchma era (1994-2004) “two vectors” paradigm of balancing between Russia and the West. This setback directly affects key aspects of Ukraine-West relations, such as the prospects of NATO membership for Ukraine.
On the other hand, the paradigm change raises the question of whether efforts to meet NATO membership criteria might not after all turn out to be more effective as one component in a two-vector policy, rather than adopting a single pro-Western vector under an inept presidency.
President Viktor Yushchenko’s reported wish to appoint the loyalist ex-prime minister Yuriy Yekhanurov as Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council would (if carried out) continue the tendency toward lowering the NSDC’s effectiveness and professionalism. Yushchenko set the NSDC on that downward path by appointing personal and business allies such as Petro Poroshenko and Anatoly Kinakh -- who, like Yekhanurov, have no background in international or national security affairs -- as NSDC secretaries in quick succession during 2005 and 2006. The current NSDC Acting Secretary, Volodymyr Horbulin, could have been one of the most inspired appointments of the Yushchenko presidency, but he cannot continue serving because he has exceeded the mandatory retirement age. Horbulin, a close ally of former president Leonid Kuchma, served with distinction in that post during the Kuchma era, when Ukraine’s cooperation with NATO advanced far more effectively than was the case during the short-lived Orange era.
At policy conferences and strategy sessions, those disappointed with the unfulfilled Orange promise seek to relativize the return to a two-vector paradigm by developing what may be termed ex post facto consolation points. Such consolation points center on the following assertions:
-- The returning prime minister Viktor Yanukovych and his Party of Regions are “not pro-Russian”; “Ukraine is not Russia”; and “Ukraine is not going the way of Belarus.” Such arguments, while undoubtedly correct as far as they go, would seem to set a rather low threshold for satisfaction with the political outcome of the Orange era. “Ukraine is not Russia” is a Kuchma motto and title of the book he published in 2004.
-- “Even Kuchma resisted Russian proposals to hand over the gas transit system to Gazprom’s control,” hence the Regions-dominated government would not do so either. While the factual assertion is correct, the corollary may not be so. In fact, Yushchenko’s energy team and the Yekhanurov government initially set the stage for such a transfer through the RosUkrEnergo deal, and an actual transfer of local gas distribution systems to Russian interests began as the new government took office in August. The new government says that it would not hand over control of the strategic transit pipelines, however.
-- “Having the Party of Regions in government is a preferable situation to having that party agitate in the opposition against Ukraine’s NATO candidacy.” The Verkhovna Rada did, after all, vote in August to admit foreign troops for exercises on Ukrainian territory. While the first argument is probably valid tactically, its strategic validity seems far from certain. The Party of Regions is for “cooperation” with NATO but against membership, the latter being in any case a distant possibility. The Rada did admit British, Slovak, and Moldovan troops, as well as a Russian-commanded naval squadron from five Black Sea riparian countries, for exercises in August-September. However, the presidency mismanaged and the Party of Regions sabotaged the legislative process that would have been required for approval of far larger military exercises with American and other forces from NATO countries in Ukraine in May through August 2006. The Verkhovna Rada had voted the necessary authorizations for such exercises on an annual basis since 1997 and can again be expected to do so from now onward.
-- With public support for NATO membership currently in the range of only 15-20%, Ukraine can hopefully regain the 30-35% level that was recorded in the late 1990s, the argument goes. Thus, Ukraine-NATO relations in the Kuchma era are again implicitly regarded as a benchmark. Furthermore -- this argument continues -- some Central European countries in NATO show less than 50% public support for membership at this time or include parties that are less than pro-Western in coalition governments (Slovakia, Poland), so that Ukraine is not a singular case, the argument concludes. It seems to overlook the difference between those countries being inside NATO and Ukraine being outside of the alliance, as well as the fact that those less-than-pro-Western parties are minor components of coalition governments with pro-Western majorities.
-- Ukraine will not engage in any significant military exercises with Russia and keep its distance from the CIS Collective Security Treaty Organization, according to a further consolation point. While probably on target, this forecast again means a return to the situation that existed in the 1990s in this respect.
It is now clear that NATO’s November 2006 Riga summit will not approve a Membership Action Plan (MAP) for Ukraine. However, the missed date is no serious cause for disappointment. Such disappointment would seem, rather, to reflect a Washington tendency to tie policy to summit events. In fact, Ukraine can receive its MAP next year, conditional on adequate -- and adequately financed -- security sector reforms under the ongoing NATO-Ukraine programs.
For now, Ukraine seems to have reverted to the strategic square one of the pre-2004 era, with its two-vector policy between Russia and the West and cooperation with NATO, short of early membership, although with a realistic prospect of eventual membership contingent on performance.
¨Premierminister Viktor Janukovytj siger, at der ikke er noget sensationelt i, at hans regering nu forlanger, at præsidentens dekreter bliver kontrasigneret af premierministeren og den minister, som har ansvaret for dekretets eksekvering, hvilket er i overensstemmelse med forfatningens bestemmelser. Dette fortalte Janukovytj på et pressemøde under et besøg i Moskva, oplyser Ukrajinski Novyny.
"For os er det bare en del af arbejdsprocessen, og der er og kan ikke være noget sensationelt heri", sagde Janukovytj.
Han fremhævede, at der i dag i Ukraine er en forfatningsreform i gang, og en del af denne reform består af en omfordeling af beføjelserne mellem de forskellige magtorganer, herunder mellem præsidenten og premierministeren.
Janukovytj understregede, at når man har fået vedtaget de relevante love, så vil der ikke opstå den slags problemer.
Som tidligere oplyst, mener præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko, at regeringens returnering af 7 af hans dekreter til præsidentens sekretariat ikke er i overensstemmelse med forfatningen.
Justitsministeriet mener, at den procedure ifølge hvilken præsidentens dekreter skal være forsynet med underskrifter fra premierministeren og fra den minister, som har ansvaret for eksekveringen af det pågældende dekret (en såkaldt kontrasignatur) ikke er hjemlet i forfatningen.
I torsdags returnerede regeringens sekretariat 7 dekreter til præsidentens sekretariat med et afslag om at forsyne dekreterne med premierministerens og den ansvarlige ministers underskrift med den begrundelse, at dekreterne var blevet offentliggjort uden en kontrasignatur.
En kontrasignatur er en handling, som altså indebærer, at statsoverhovedets dekreter og lignende skal underskrives af premierministeren og den områdeansvarlige minister, der har ansvaret for dekretets eksekvering. Kontrasignaturen går forud for en offentliggørelse af præsidentens dekreter. Obkom, UP.
By Alan Cullison
MOSCOW -- In another sign of the cooling of Ukraine's pro-Western zeal, the new prime minister said his country is putting efforts to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on hold because of a lack of public support for the move.
"We have to take a pause," Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych said yesterday after meeting with NATO's chief in Brussels. He said Ukraine would formally launch its bid to join the alliance, but only after a referendum on the issue.
Ukraine's backtracking on its NATO aspirations -- which emerged after the nation's popular uprising known as the Orange Revolution at the end of 2004 -- is a defeat for the Bush administration, which hoped a quick entrance would tug the former Soviet state decisively Westward.
The Kremlin has lobbied hard against Ukraine's entry. The Kremlin said that as a NATO member, Ukraine would be a threat to Russian security and warned Kyiv that any movements toward membership would worsen relations.
Mr. Yanukovych, who was named prime minister last month after a pro-Western coalition of politicians fell out over how to divide government posts, has been advocating closer relations to Moscow. He said that few Ukrainians -- maybe 12% to 25% -- support joining NATO, and that Ukraine shouldn't be forced to choose between steering either a pro-Russian or pro-Western course. "We should build a reliable bridge between Russia and the European Union," he said.
Besides many trade ties with Russia, Ukraine must worry about its dependence on Russian natural-gas deliveries. Ukraine is in the midst of negotiations with Russia for next year's shipments.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, who was swept to power in the Orange Revolution, has said Ukraine wouldn't "veer one iota" from plans to join NATO. Before agreeing to name Mr. Yanukovych prime minister, he pushed him to sign a so-called memorandum on national unity that preserved tenets of a Western-oriented agenda -- including NATO membership. But the pact appears to be nonbinding and too vague to force Mr. Yanukovych to any concrete action.
By Vladimir Socor
Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych clearly exceeded the powers of his office, breached internal governmental procedures, and undoubtedly usurped the presidency's constitutional authority by announcing in Brussels that Ukraine is opting out of NATO's Membership Action Plan. Shocked, President Viktor Yushchenko and his supporters in government and parliament seem prepared for a political confrontation with the governing majority over this issue, which is a fundamental one to them.
Moreover, they realize that the prime minister's seemingly unilateral move on NATO is but one aspect of the Party of Regions' aggressive expansion of its power and influence, rapidly exceeding the bounds of its pact concluded in August with the pro-presidential Our Ukraine factions. That pact and its subsequent misuse by the Party of Regions have almost turned the pro-presidential camp into a hostage of its more powerful partner. Thus, the president and his pro-NATO allies in government and parliament would be acting from a position of weakness if they decide to confront the Party of Regions and its allies on this issue.
Yushchenko, the ministers of defense and foreign affairs Anatoliy Hrytsenko and Borys Tarasyuk, and some second-tier presidential advisers (the first-tier positions being vacant or changing hands) are publicly criticizing Yanukovych and his party for the move on NATO and are proposing counter-measures. Their arguments, however, reflect the weakness of their position in Ukraine's internal politics generally and in the governing coalition's politics in particular. The main arguments and proposals are:
1) Ukraine should announce that Yanukovych's position on NATO is that of the prime minister and party leader, not the position of the president or the entire cabinet, and the relevant ministers have not been consulted. This assertion is correct, but the decisive political fact is that Yanukovych's position does reflect that of the main ruling party and its allies, the majorities in government and parliament, and public opinion at large. The Verkhovna Rada's Socialist chairman, Oleksandr Moroz, has promptly defended Yanukovych's conduct in Brussels as reflecting a political consensus. Moreover, the Party of Regions has become powerful enough to circumvent other centers of authority. The prime minister did not deign to include the pro-Western ministers of defense and foreign affairs in the delegation that accompanied him to NATO and European Union headquarters in Brussels. Yanukovych's chosen foreign policy adviser is Anatoliy Orel, a leading exponent of the Russia "vector" in former president Leonid Kuchma's administration.
2) The National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) -- as a presidential body, the argument goes -- should hold a special meeting and issue directives to all relevant departments of government regarding implementation of ongoing NATO-Ukraine reform programs. However, the NSDC's overall performance and its actual involvement in coordinating such reforms have declined precipitously during Viktor Yushchenko's presidency. The decline will continue if Yushchenko carries out its intention to appoint former prime minister Yuriy Yekhanurov to head the NSDC. After Petro Poroshenko and Anatoliy Kinakh, Yekhanurov would be the third consecutive NSDC chief with a business background rather than national security credentials in 21 months since Yushchenko became president.
3) The presidency and relevant ministries should launch a public information campaign about NATO and the benefits to Ukraine in implementing reform programs with the alliance's assistance. Such an effort is indeed overdue; but it will take time and funding, and requires more credible standard bearers than the political forces that emerged with 10-15% ratings from the recent elections. In any case, the information effort would almost certainly be more effective in the eastern and southern regions if it focuses on the Party of Regions and affiliated interests first, before reaching out more widely to the populace of those regions.
4) Yushchenko is being asked to confront Yanukovych and, by implication, the Party of Regions with the argument that the prime minister's move on NATO has violated the president's constitutional authority on foreign and national security policy making and the August 3 Declaration of National Unity. The constitutional argument is impeccable but risks remaining ineffective due to the political weakness of the presidential forces. Hardly anyone in Ukraine or abroad takes the Declaration of National Unity seriously as a binding pact or guide to policy (see EDM, August 7); merely invoking that document amounts to an admission of lacking real leverage.
On September 15, Yushchenko summoned Yanukovych for a four-hour discussion about the latter's actions in Brussels. Following their encounter, Yushchenko declared that the prime minister had violated the president's constitutional prerogatives, the Declaration of National Unity, and Ukraine's national interests. Yushchenko gave Yanukovych a "first political warning" and announced that he would henceforth hold weekly meetings with Yanukovych to coordinate policies. However, the president and his allies do not seem to hold any leverage that could counter Yanukovych's and the Party of Regions' continuing expansion of their power and influence.
Ukrainian News Agency,
Friday, September 15, 2006
KYIV - The Verkhovna Rada commemorated journalist Georgy Gongadze with silence. Verkhovna Rada Chairman Oleksandr Moroz said this at the plenary session of the parliament.
Moroz stated, that journalist's activity stimulated the development of democracy in the country.
Speaker reminded, that Gongadze's murder made thousands of people protest. As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the trial of the men suspected of murdering Gongadze opened at the Kyiv Appeal Court on January 9.
The suspects are three former employees of the Internal Affairs Ministry's department of external surveillance: Valerii Kostenko, Mykola Protasov and Oleksandr Popovych.
An international arrest warrant was issued for another suspect, Oleksii Pukach, who is the former head of the Internal Affairs Ministry's department of external surveillance.
The Prosecutor-General's Office said that only the first part of the Gongadze murder case - the one involving the people who murdered
Gongadze - was sent to court.
According to the Prosecutor-General's Office, the second part involves the people who ordered the murder and organized it.