31.03.06. 100% af stemmerne optalt. Vitrenko få tusind stemmer fra at komme ind 

28.03.06. USA roser det ukrainske parlamentsvalg

28.03.06. 60% af stemmerne optalt. Kun 5 partier kommer ind

26.03.06. Exit polls kl. 23.00 lokal tid: Fiasko for Jusjtjenkos parti

24.03.06. Oppositionen beskylder styret for at ville stjæle en million stemmer

23.03.06. Jusjtjenko parat til at opløse det nye parlament

20.03.06. Svækket Jusjtjenko søger koalition med oligarker (eng.)

18.03.06. Myndighederne vil forbyde oppositionsparti i at deltage i valget

13.03.06. Kan Ukraine blive NATO-medlem i 2008 ? (eng.)

13.03.06. Is Ukraine's richest man also its future premier?

11.03.06. USA vil først snakke NATO efter parlamentsvalget

10.03.06. Regionernes parti står til at få ca. 40% i parlamentet 

07.03.06. USA har ophævet handelsrestriktionerne mod Ukraine

07.03.06. Monitoring the implementation of the April 4, 2005 Joint U.S.-Ukraine statement

07.03.06. The new Verkhovna Rada: How new?

07.03.06. A completely new election

01.03.06. Anklagemyndigheden lukker sag mod ex-guvernør

25.02.06. Kutjma kritiserer styret for manglende professionalisme

24.02.06. Janukovytj-støtte anklages for mordforsøg

21.02.06. Tymoshenko opstiller betingelser for en orange koalition

17.02.06. USA har anerkendt Ukraine som et land med markedsøkonomi

14.02.06. USA utilfredse med RosUkrEnergos lukkethed

11.02.06. Politifolk erkender mordet på Gongadze

06.02.06. Ukraine håber på en medlemskabshandlingsplan i NATO

01.02.06. Ukrainian president proposes political stabilization plan - full version

01.02.06. USA beder Ukraine satse på energibesparelser

01.02.06. USA beder Ukraine satse på energibesparelser

January 24, 2006

Rivne, Ukraine -- In a letter delivered today to Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and other government leaders, the Ukrainian-American Environmental Association (UAEA) urged consideration of a series of low-cost energy efficiency measures that could rapidly reduce natural gas use by more than a third.

Foremost among these would be the creation of a system of revolving energy conservation loans - possibly using a portion of the Kryvorizhstal income for starting capital.

A second option would be implementing a comprehensive government procurement program in which the government invests in energy efficiency improvements in its own facilities, including schools, hospitals, post offices, military facilities, orphanages, and office buildings.

Citing a successful program being used in the United States as an example, UAEA noted that simple and generally inexpensive improvements in government buildings such as sealing leaky windows and doors can curb energy use by 10-30 percent. Money thus saved on reduced energy costs can then be invested in further improvements in energy efficiency.

Moreover, as an incentive to save energy, local governments that reduce natural gas use should be allowed the reinvest the monetary savings in other municipal projects.

Noting that efficiency standards can reduce energy costs by 30-50%, UAEA proposed implementation of energy use guidelines for homes, cars, and appliances. Coupled with this should be a governmental "labeling" program that provides consumers information on the energy use of different appliances, lights, and automobiles - perhaps modeled on a very successful American program called "Energy Star."

Also key to any successful effort to reducing energy use is a nationwide public education campaign aimed at businesses, local governments, drivers, students, and individual citizens. This could include media appeals by well-known sports and entertainment personalities, energy-savings competitions among cities, energy studies programs for schools, and government-funded energy audits for businesses and industries.

Longer-term measures such as changes in the tax code to encourage energy-saving investments, new approaches to agriculture that reduce energy use, and introduction of energy-saving technologies such as Combined Heat and Power systems to larger enterprises could also yield major energy savings.

Stressing that "these ideas are only a few of the many options that are available," UAEA concluded by urging that efforts to "to reduce energy waste and improve energy efficiency ... be made the centerpiece of [the government's] near-term energy strategy"

01.02.06. Ukrainian president proposes political stabilization plan - full version

President Viktor Yushchenko has proposed a number of steps intended to restore stability after the country was thrown into political turmoil when parliament dismissed the government on 10 January. Speaking in an address to the nation marking the first anniversary of his inauguration, which was carried on all the major national TV channels on 23 January, Yushchenko called for a moratorium on all actions by parliament and the executive that would further destabilize the situation, urged parliament to ensure the operation of the Constitutional Court, and called for a public debate on the political reforms shifting power from the presidency to parliament that came into force on 1 January. Yushchenko also praised the achievements of his administration over the last year, outlined reform programmes for 2006, and urged all branches of power to work together to ensure that the parliamentary election in March is free and fair. The following is the text of Yushchenko's address, as broadcast by Ukrainian state-owned television UT1 on 23 January:

Dear citizens, dear Ukrainian community!

A year ago I pledged on the Constitution of Ukraine and the Peresopnytske New Testament to be loyal to Ukraine. For the country and for me personally, this was an extremely important and difficult, sometimes dramatic, but decisive year. I am grateful to each of you for living through this year together, for your faith and support. Together we have proved that the Ukrainian nation is capable of building a modern, independent and democratic state. We have understood that we can respond to internal and external challenges only if we are united. We were united by the most important thing, which is the sense of national dignity. Today we say: Yes, I am a citizen of Ukraine and I am proud of it. This is the main achievement of the first year of my presidency.

Ukraine has proved it can protect national interests

The year of 2005 was, first of all, the year when our community revised its values. And this is its historical significance. We have taken a new look at ourselves and our country, its history and its future. For the first time, the Ukrainian community has authorities who report on the execution of their programme "Ten Steps Towards People" and who resolve all problematic issues in a broad dialogue. During this year some important steps were made to reduce the size of the shadow economy. National budget revenues grew by 50 per cent. We returned to the country billions of hryvnyas that were stolen during non-transparent and non-public privatizations.

Care about children and their mothers, orphans and pensioners is the main priority of the authorities. People's real incomes grew by 20 per cent. This is the highest indicator in all the years of Ukraine's independence.

Another important task is to create additional jobs. I guarantee that during the five years of my presidency we will create conditions in which every able-bodied Ukrainian will have a decent job and a decent salary. We will form a favourable climate for business and investment.

An important achievement of the new team is freedom of speech. The word "temnyk" [media coverage instructions] has gone for good. Ukraine is respected in the world. We have proved that from now on, Kyiv is a predictable and responsible partner that respects its neighbours.

We are building our foreign policy, guided only by the nation's strategic interests. We are now closer to Europe, we are better understood in Russia. The world has recognized that Ukraine can protect its national interests.

A convincing example of this is the resolution of the gas problem. The cabinet did not increase gas prices for ordinary people, as it promised. Ukraine is receiving Europe's cheapest fuel, while its gas transportation system remains in state ownership. There can be no discussion of its transfer to some other country or group of countries.

Infighting has slowed development

Responsible authorities should analyse their failures. All those who stood close to me on the Maydan [Kyiv's Independence Square, the main site of the Orange Revolution protests] a year ago received a chance to work in Yushchenko's team. Unfortunately, sometimes personal ambitions took precedence. As a result, the country has lost time.

My favourite philosopher, Hryhoriy Skovoroda, said, "The greatest loss is the loss of time." As the president of Ukraine, I will not allow destructive steps that could slow down the country's development. The main lesson that the authorities learnt last year is: Ukraine above all.

We need to be a strong and united team, and drop our personal ambitions for the sake of future.

Reform programmes for 2006

Today I want to talk to you about what our country will be like tomorrow. The year of 2006 will be the year of national reforms in areas that are important to everyone, in particular, medicine, education, rural areas and judicial reform.

First, the Health of the Nation programme, which will guarantee a list of free medical services for every individual. We will restore a basic health care system in rural areas. I view responsibility for the nation's health and investment in the health-care system as a contribution to the development of the economy and the fight against poverty. I will take under my personal patronage the introduction of national programmes for combating cancer, TB, HIV/AIDS, and also heart and blood diseases.

Second, upgrading the system of education. Secondary and higher education is a start for new generations. The time has come for an economy of knowledge, with intellectual resources bringing the country much higher dividends than natural ones. Good education is a chance for the children in each Ukrainian family. The task of the authorities is to ensure the accessibility and quality of education. We will restore respect for teachers and will give them decent wages and modern work places. We will root out corruption in the system of education by introducing independent testing at higher educational establishments in Ukraine.

Third, Ukrainian rural areas. A programme for the development of rural areas will create favourable conditions for the agricultural sector. Support for farmers, loans for agriculture, the construction of homes, the introduction of social programmes to provide incentives for young people to come back to their villages. Modern technology should find its way to the agricultural sector.

The fourth, and one of the most important, tasks for the authorities is the diversification of the Ukrainian energy market and an energy-saving programme. We are planning to cut energy consumption by at least 10 per cent throughout the year to ensure the country's energy independence.

Fifth. A large-scale reform of the judicial system will be launched. The country will receive a fair and independent judicial branch of power, and every individual will be able to protect their rights. Fair justice is an important step in fighting corruption. We should restore people's trust in courts and renew the body of judges in terms of quality. The judge must be at the centre of judicial reform. For that reason, I as president will do my best to ensure that an independent judicial branch is formed in the country and the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the constitution are ensured.

Our foreign policy priorities remain unchanged. Joining the European Union is the main strategic aim of Ukraine. A qualitative rebuilding of Ukrainian-Russian relations is also on the agenda. I will demand that every Ukrainian official and diplomat firmly defends Ukraine's national interests. I hope that the new parliament will step up its work to bring national legislation in line with European standards. This, in turn, will speed up Ukraine's pace towards the European Union and NATO.

Parliament election will be free, fair

2006 is the year of a parliamentary election, which will be an important test of democracy. As the president of Ukraine, I assure you that this is the first election in which administrative resources will not be used and the authorities will not pressure voters. As the guarantor of the constitution, I will react firmly to any signs of violations of the election law. Campaigns should be conducted exclusively with parties' money. There should be no exceptions to this standard for anyone.

I signed today a decree to ensure a democratic, fair and transparent election in 2006. I obliged the central and regional governments to create all conditions to conduct a free and fair election. The authorities guarantee equal opportunities for campaigning to all political forces.

I call on all parties and blocs to sign a fair election memorandum. At the same time, I will not allow a single political force to divide the country, speculate on language, religion, federalism or separatism.

Esteemed fellow countrymen! Assume an active civic position. We must elect a new and responsible parliament together. Remember that Ukraine's development for the next five years depends on the outcome of the election. Ukraine will become a strong and affluent country. This requires that the authorities should be responsible, professional and patriotic.

Stabilization proposals

The latest events in the Supreme Council [parliament] have once again shown that the country's development can only be ensured in conditions of political stability. We must achieve concerted action by all the branches of power.

I am proposing a plan to stabilize the sociopolitical situation in Ukraine.

First. I consider it necessary to introduce a moratorium on any decision or action by the executive or the legislature which may destabilize the situation in the country. The president, the government and the Supreme Council should join forces to create conditions for conducting a fair election, electing a new parliament, and creating a parliamentary majority which will create a new government.

Second, we need to ensure that the Constitutional Court can function properly. The Supreme Council, acting in accordance with the law, should swear in the judges of the constitutional court. This is the top priority of the [next] 9th session of parliament. Parliament members should reach agreement on judges elected under parliament's quota. I believe that society will appreciate such a step by parliament.

As president of Ukraine, for whom the law is above everything, I recognize that from 1 January 2006, in accordance with parliament's decision, a new constitution has come into force in Ukraine. But I do not believe that this constitution is ideal. Reform of the basic law took place without the public's participation, without even a discussion in the Ukrainian parliament. I believe the public should have its say about the changes to the constitution. After the parliamentary election we will have an honest debate about political reform.

For my part, and this is part three of my plan, I will initiate the creation of a joint working group, with equal representation of the president, parliament and the cabinet of ministers. The group's priority task will be to develop proposals on harmonizing the work of the branches of power in Ukraine. I am confident that an important step in this direction will be the adoption of the bills that are marked as priorities on the agenda in connection with the introduction of political reform in Ukraine. These bills include the law on the Cabinet of Ministers, the law on the president on Ukraine, on the opposition, on all-Ukrainian referenda, and others.

A year ago I promised that we would change the government. The first steps in this direction have already been taken. The parliamentary election should cement this change and completely dismantle the old system of government. I am confident that democratic parties and blocs will win in March 2006. But to win and to implement reform, a team is needed.

Every one of you is my team. I believe in every one of you. I know that our strength is in unity. And we can make Ukraine strong and prosperous. Glory to every one of you. Glory to Ukraine.

06.02.06. Ukraine håber på en medlemskabshandlingsplan i NATO

Ukraines forsvarsminister Anatolji Hrytsenko mener, at Ukraine har en reel mulighed for i år at påbegynde en tilslutning til NATO's Membership Action Plan (MAP). Det sagde han i et interview med radio "Liberty" i fredags.

"Efter valget, og hvis valgkampen lykkes, og hvis de indenlandske reformer lykkes, så vil dette spørgsmål komme op på et bilateralt niveau, og vores alliancepartnere vil have mulighed for på grundlag af denne plan at træffe den allerede aftalte beslutning om Ukraines tilslutning til indmeldelsesprocessen", sagde Hrytsenko.

Ifølge ministeren vil en mere intensiv fase bestå i selve opfyldelsen af denne plan, som i bedste fald kan påbegyndes i september i år. Han sagde endvidere, at han håbede på, at Ukraines indtræden i NATO muligvis vil ske omkring 2008-2009. Hrytsenko tilføjede, at han regner med, at tilstedeværelsen af fremmede baser på Ukraines territorium ikke vil hindre Ukraines tilslutning til NATO.

"Vi bør gå ud fra, at uafhængigt af om vi bliver medlemmer af NATO eller ej, så skal de bilaterale relationer mellem Ukraine og Rusland være harmoniske og konfliktløse... Hvis vi ikke har noget forhold til Rusland omkring Sortehavsflåden, og det forhold er nu på kogepunktet, så vil dette spørgsmål ikke være noget problem i forhold til vores indtræden i NATO", understregede Hrytsenko.

Han påpegede, at "problemerne omkring Sortehavsflåden kan løses ganske roligt og konfliktløst, fordi de ikke er antagonistiske i deres væsen".

"På trods af, at problemet omkring udstationeringen af Sortehavsflåden fylder en del i massemedierne i Rusland og Ukraine, er dette ikke en afgørende faktor i vores problematiske forhold", - sagde Hrytsenko.

Samtidig deltog ministeren i den 42. München sikkerhedspolitiske konference "Europa og Amerikas Forenede Stater: fornyelse af det transatlantiske partnerskab", hvor han holdt tale til deltagerne. Forsvarsministeriets pressetjeneste oplyser, at Hrytsenko påpegede, at Ukraine i dag fortsætter med at være en af de vigtigste bidragydere til den regionale sikkerhed.

I München mødtes Hrytsenko desuden med USA's forsvarsminister Donald Rumsfield, den tyske forsvarsminister Franz-Josef Jung, den georgiske præsident Mikhail Saakashvili og Georgiens forsvarsminister Irakli Okruashvili. UP.

11.02.06. Politifolk erkender mordet på Gongadze

To af de tiltalte i Gongadze-sagen har påtaget sig den fulde skyld for mordet på journalisten, sagde statsanklager Volodymyr Shylov til avisen "Segodnja".

Ifølge statsanklageren fik de tiltalte forevist et anklageskrift udarbejdet af den øverste anklagemyndigheds efterforskere. Herefter afgav to af de tiltalte fuld tilståelse, mens den ene af de tiltalte erklærede sig delvist skyldig.

"Vi har derfor tilbagelagt en vigtig fase i retssagen. Det er en fase, hvor de tiltalte ofte lige pludselig kan finde på at sige, at de ikke er skyldige, at de er blevet bagtalt eller er blevet torteret til at afgive tilståelse. I denne sag har vi ikke set noget af det, og det hænger efter anklagemyndighedens opfattelse sammen med en dygtigt gennemført efterforskning og fremskaffelsen af uigendrivelige beviser", skriver avisen "Segodnja".

Statsanklageren ville dog ikke nævne efternavnene på dem, som var kommet med den hele eller delvise tilståelse, idet han henviste til en nyligt vedtaget lov, som forbyder offentliggørelsen af navnene på sigtede og tiltalte inden domsafsigelsen.

Samtidig har "Segodnja" af sine kilder fået oplyst, at de to som har afgivet fuld tilståelse, er Mykola Protasov og Valerij Kostenko, mens Oleksandr Popovytj kun har kendt sig delvist skyldig. Han hævder, at han ikke deltog umiddelbart i selve mordet (Popovytj kørte den bil, som kørte Gongadze ud til det sted, hvor han blev myrdet). UP.

Den kritiske journalist og stifteren af internetavisen Ukrajinska Pravda, Georgij Gongadze, forsvandt den 16. september 2000. I november samme år blev hans lig fundet i en skovlysning syd for Kiev. På en skjult båndoptagelse udført af en af den daværende præsident Kutjmas livvagter, hørte man præsidenten og den daværende indenrigsminister Kravtjenko (som begik selvmord kort tid inden han skulle vidne i Gongadze-sagen den 4. marts 2005) diskutere, hvad der skulle ske med Gongadze. Se dækningen af Gongadze-sagen i arkivet for 2000-2001.

14.02.06. USA utilfredse med RosUkrEnergos lukkethed

USA's ambassadør i Ukraine John Herbst siger, at USA's ledelse "har spørgsmål" vedrørende selskabet RosUkrEnergo's rolle i gasoverenskomsten mellem Ukraine og Rusland.

"Det berygtede selskab RosUkrEnergo's rolle fremkalder nogle spørgsmål hos os. Det er uklart, hvem der har overtaget i denne lukkede organisation, og hvordan det forklarer dens rolle i denne aftale", sagde Herbst i et interview med avisen Kievskij Telegraf. Ifølge ham "er det uklart, hvem der står bag denne organisation".

"Men jeg håber på, at det ukrainske folk her Ukraine, når dette skumle væsen går i gang med at arbejde, får øjnene op for principperne i dets arbejde. Hvis dette væsen skal være skummelt, så bør det være skummelt udenfor Ukraines grænser", sagde Herbst.

I forhold til Ukraines indtræden i WTO, fremhævede ambassadøren, at man for nogle uger siden i USA "var meget tæt på" at underskrive en bilateral protokol med Ukraine, "men bagefter skete der nogle ændringer i normerne for import af kødprodukter til Ukraine".

Ifølge ham har dette "vanskeliggjort situationen" lidt. "Jeg håber på, at vi snart vil kunne overvinde denne hindring og dernæst vil være klar til at underskrive en bilateral protokol. Med mindre der selvfølgelig opstår nye problemer", sagde Herbst.

Ambassadøren gav udtryk for den holdning, at forholdet mellem Ukraine og USA er blevet væsentlig bedre indenfor det sidste halvandet år. UP.

17.02.06. USA har anerkendt Ukraine som et land med markedsøkonomi

USA har anerkendt Ukraine som et land med markedsøkonomi. Det oplyser advokatfirmaet "Magistr & Partnere" overfor nyhedsbureauet UNIAN.

Beslutningen medfører, at Ukraine bliver betragtet som en markedsøkonomi fra den 1. februar 2006. En tidligere  beslutning var ventet den 23. januar 2006, men i forbindelse med udnævnelsen af en ny amerikansk vice-handelsminister blev godkendelsen udsat.

Det understreges i pressemeddelelsen, at Ukraines anerkendelse som markedsøkonomi vil have en positiv effekt for alle ukrainske selskaber, som har handelssamkvem med USA. I første omgang vil det gøre det mere vanskeligt at iværksætte sanktioner mod Ukraine for dumpning af priser, mens selve undersøgelsesprocessen vil blive meget mere transparent.

Desuden vil de ukrainske virksomheder få mulighed for at kræve en revision af de igangværende anti-dumping undersøgelser i USA af deres produkter.

Sidst men ikke mindst vil andre lande, som endnu ikke anser Ukraine for at være et land med markedsøkonomi, fx Mexico, efter al sandsynlighed også ændre deres holdning i dette spørgsmål, hedder det i pressemeddelelsen.

Allerede i 2001 var juristerne fra firmaet "Magistr & Partnere" initiativtagere til anerkendelsen af Ukraine som et land med markedsøkonomi i USA. I april sidste år erklærede USA og Ukraine, at de ville fremskynde den bilaterale forhandlingsproces i forhold til Ukraines indtræden i WTO i 2005. UNIAN. UP.

21.02.06. Tymoshenko opstiller betingelser for en orange koalition

Lederen af Julia Tymoshenkos blok (BJuT) Julia Tymoshenko har ensidigt underskrevet en aftale om oprettelsen af en orange koalition, oplyser BJuT's pressetjeneste.

BJuT har sendt aftalens tekst til Ukraines præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko, nr. 1 på "Vores Ukraines" partiliste Jurij Jekhanurov og formanden for Socialistpartiet Oleksandr Moroz.

"Koalitionens deltagere forpligter sig til ikke at oprette koalitioner i den kommende Verkhovna Rada med de politiske partier og blokke, som gik imod og går imod Ukraines nationale interesser og legemliggør sammensmeltningen af det politiske styre med den store lyssky kapital, herunder med Janukovytjs Regionernes parti", hedder det i Tymoshenkos aftale.

Koalitionens medlemmer skal endvidere give afkald på at bruge den administrative ressource og beskidte tricks i valgkampen.

Samtidig ophæver koalitionsdeltagerne alle forpligtelser og garantier, som de har givet "repræsentanter for det tidligere styre hvad angår disses immunitet, uanset embedsmænds og politikeres rang eller status".

Aftalen indebærer blandt andet, at de skal sikre "den fulde efterforskning af de forbrydelser, som den tidligere præsident Kutjma og dennes omgivelser har begået, samt en offentlig og retslig efterforskning af Gongadze-sagen, som ender med en domfældelse og strafudmåling i henhold til gældende lovgivning af journalistens mordere og dem, som beordrede mordet".

Koalitionsdeltagerne garanterer en ophævelse af aftalen om nye betingelser for leverancerne af gas til Ukraine af den 4. januar 2006 samt alle de juridiske følger af denne aftale.

Koalitionen er åben for alle de politiske kræfter, som deler dens principper og arbejdsgrundlag og kommer ind i det nye parlament.

Koalitionen vil ifølge Tymoshenkos projekt have sit eget ledende organ - koalitionens politiske råd, som skal bestå af 2 repræsentanter fra hver af koalitionens deltagere. Rådets beslutninger træffes i konsensus, mens formandskabet i rådet skal gå på skift.

De politiske kræfter, som danner koalitionen, vil få ret til at danne regering udelukkende som resultat af den folkelige viljesytring og kun afhængigt af resultatet af valget til Verkhovna Rada.

"Det parti eller den blok bestående af politiske partier, som får det største antal stemmer ved valget til Verkhovna Rada blandt andre af koalitionens deltagere (får 1. pladsen blandt koalitionens deltagere) foreslår sin kandidat til premierministerposten. Andre deltagere i koalitionen kan ikke nedlægge veto mod denne kandidat", hedder det i aftalen.

Præsidenten bør være garant for overholdelsen af koalitionsaftalen. UP.

24.02.06. Janukovytj-støtte anklages for mordforsøg

Den tidligere politimajor Vjatjeslav Synenko, som står under anklage for at have organiseret mordet på den tidligere præsident for fodboldklubben "Shakhtar" Donetsk, Akhat Bragin, siger, at forretningsmanden Rinat Akhmetov stod bag et attentat imod ham.

"Akhmetov havde brug for at dræbe mig, fordi jeg havde anholdt og havde alle belæg for at rejse sigtelse mod en af Akhmetovs "soldater" Rukhmanov", sagde Synenko under en retssag i sagen, som i øjeblikket pågår ved appelretten i byen Donetsk, oplyser netavisen Ostriv.

Ifølge Synenko blev Rukhmanov anholdt af politiet, men blev imidlertid løsladt efter ordre fra den tidligere chefanklager for Donetsk-regionen Hennadij Vasyljev. Synenko beskyldte også Vasyljev for at have forfalsket hans straffesag.

Den tidligere politimajor gjorde opmærksom på, at han nødtvungent måtte opholde sig med sin familie i Grækenland i nogle år pga. af de vedvarende trusler fra folk fra Akhmetovs og Vasyljevs lejr imod ham, hvilket indbefattede hårdhændet behandling af Luhansk-regionens bagmandspoliti, som medførte lammelse i benene.

Desuden mener Synenko, at journalisten Ihor Aleksandrov (myrdet i 2001, red.) blev dræbt efter at han havde overdraget Synenko dokumenter, der handlede om, hvem Bragins virkelige mordere var.

Som bekendt blev Bragin myrdet i forbindelse med en bombeeksplosion på "Shakhtar"-stadion i Donetsk i oktober 1995.

Akhmetov, som stiller op til Verkhovna Rada som nr. 7 for "Regionernes parti" under Viktor Janukovytjs ledelse, har været "Shakhtars" præsident siden 1996. UP.

25.02.06. Kutjma kritiserer styret for manglende professionalisme

Den tidligere præsident Leonid Kutjma mener, at det nuværende ukrainske styre opbygger sine relationer med Rusland på en alt for ukonstruktiv facon. I et interview med ugeavisen "2000" siger Kutjma, at "regeringen bør være langt mere aktiv, og først og fremmest langt mere konstruktiv".

Efter Kutjmas mening har Ukraine reelt lidt et nederlag i "gaskrigen" med Rusland, "og det er endda først og fremmest selvforskyldt".

I en kommentar til Ukraines samarbejde med selskabet "RosUkrEnergo" siger Kutjma, at "styret har begået en fejl" ved at lade denne mæglerstruktur komme ind på det indre ukrainske marked.

Han minder om, at det tidligere var det statslige selskab "Naftohaz" der alene stod for hele gasforsyningen i landet, mens mæglerne alene leverede gassen til Ukraines grænse. Kutjma mener, at Ukraine i spørgsmålet om gassen "trods alt bør forsøge at sætte sig til forhandlingsbordet, først og fremmest med Rusland, fordi de energibesparende teknologier og alternative energikilder ikke kan blive til virkelighed overnight.

"Man bør glemme alle mulige fantasier om gasleverancer fra Iran, Afrika, Den persiske Golf... Azerbajdzhan befinder sig i modsætning til landene i Den persiske Golf ved siden af Ukraine, men hverken præsidenten eller premierministeren har været i Baku i det forløbne år", mener han.

"Dermed er de tit i Tbilisi. Det burde stå klart, at når der skal laves aftaler om gas og olie, så foregår det ikke i Warszawa, Prag eller Tbilisi, men i Moskva og nok engang i Moskva, i Astana, Ashkhabad og Baku", understreger Kutjma.

Han minder om den tidligere russiske præsident Boris Jeltsins udsagn: "Når du står op om morgenen, skal du tænke på, hvad du kan gøre for Ukraine", og siger: "Ud fra det jeg har hørt i Moskva (under den nylige markering af Jeltsins jubilæum), kan man komme med den entydige konklusion: i dag vågner russerne ikke op og tænker sådan om Ukraine".

Han går også i brechen for lederne af diverse strukturer, som arbejdede i hans tid som præsident, og som nu efterlyses og befinder sig udenfor Ukraine:

"Det er iøjnefaldende hvor søgte flertallet af anklagerne er. Der er ingen tvivl om, at der ligger et politisk motiv bag forfølgelserne". UNIAN. UP.

01.03.06. Anklagemyndigheden lukker sag mod ex-guvernør

Den øverste anklagemyndighed i Ukraine har lukket sagen mod den tidligere guvernør for Kharkiv-regionen, Jevhen Kushnarjov, der i dag er leder af Regionernes Partis valgkamp. Sigtelsen blev i sin tid rejst for embedsmisbrug i forbindelse med byggeriet af en metro i Kharkiv. Meddelelsen kommer fra Kushnarjovs advokat Vjatjeslav Stovba.

"I dag har rigsadvokaturens efterforsker i særlig vigtige sager Serhij Lavryntjuk udsendt en resolution om afslutningen af straffesagen pga. manglende lovovertrædelse", påpeger advokaten.

Stovba fremhæver, at sigtelsen mod Kushnarjov baserede sig på den ukrainske straffelovs § 365 stk. 3 (embeds- eller magtmisbrug med alvorlige konsekvenser).

Som bekendt stod Kushnarjov under anklage for 4 tilfælde af lovovertrædelser, herunder et misbrug af offentlige midler til betaling af renter som vederlag for de banklån, som blev brugt til byggeriet af metroen.

Kushnarjov mistænkes også for ulovlig medvirken til, at et selskab fik tilladelse til at udvinde gas i Kharkiv-regionen, medvirken til en velgørenhedsfonds ulovlige privatisering af en bygning i Kharkiv, samt misbrug af offentlige midler til betaling af renter som vederlag for et banklån til en af de lokale fodboldklubber i Kharkiv.

I august blev Kushnarjov tilbageholdt under et besøg hos rigsadvokaten, men blev senere løsladt mod en kaution på 1,5 millioner US$. UP.

07.03.06. A completely new election

Vol. 6, No. 1
February 28, 2006

(c) Ivan Lozowy

Item A: A Completely New Election

With general elections less than four weeks away, Ukraine is headed toward wide-ranging changes in the political landscape.

First and foremost, the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, will undergo a radical transformation. Earlier Radas were composed largely of the "boloto," or "mud" - People's Deputies who drifted between factions, often receiving large sums of money for switching sides. Previously, half of the Rada's MPs were elected in single-mandate districts and many from the other half, elected on party lists, did not feel particularly tied to the political party which got them elected.

Now, the March 26 elections are based on a pure proportional, or party list, system. New rules preclude changing factions after the elections, so the new parliament will be much more rigid.

The major polling services are pretty uniform in their forecasts, showing six groups as definitely passing the 3 percent threshold:

Party of Regions
Our Ukraine
Yulia Tymoshenko Block
Socialist Party
Communist Party
Lytvyn Block

The pre-election campaign has produced few surprises. The Party of Regions is conducting a hard-hitting campaign. Their list is heavily dominated by people linked directly to Renat Akhmetov, the real force behind the party and head of Ukraine's most powerful industrial-financial group, or clan. Akhmetov, who previously avoided the limelight, recently staged a prominent appearance on his home turf in Donetsk, fueling rumors that he is preparing to go public and oust Viktor Yanukovych, Yushchenko's unsuccessful rival in 2004. Yanukovych had been the political face for the Donetsk clan for years, but his failure in 2004 was reportedly very upsetting to his boss, Akhmetov.

Yushchenko's "Our Ukraine" coalition is headed by current Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov, who, besides his loyalty to Yushchenko has little to recommend him. Yekhanurov is a political lightweight and has been damaged by the recent gas spat with Russia. The person pulling Our Ukraine's strings is Roman Bessmertny, one of the people closest to Yushchenko. Yet Our Ukraine's TV ads have been muddled and backward-looking, attempting to capitalize on the Orange Revolution at a time when disenchantment among voters is high.

The firebrand Yulia Tymoshenko, Yushchenko's former partner in the Orange Revolution and Prime Minister until Yushchenko fired her on September 8, 2005, initially hesitated in confronting the Our Ukraine coalition directly. These days, however, Tymoshenko sarcastically refers to her former partners in Our Ukraine as "my dear friends" when she mentions Bessmertny's shenanigans in conducting "black PR" in the form of leaflets accusing her of "betraying Ukraine" after her parliamentary faction voted on January 10, 2006 to help oust Yekhanurov.

Tymoshenko's political party, "Batkivshchyna" ("Fatherland"), is 100% a one-woman show. According to MPs on her list, she maintained the list of candidates to parliament in alphabetical order until all her "ducks" were in a row. Specifically, Tymoshenko co-opted at least a dozen Kuchma-era and medium level oligarchs by selling places for about 5 million USD. Unlike other coalitions, which at least pretend to vote through party lists at party congresses, Tymoshenko personally established the pecking order in what is truly "her list." Since the Yulia Tymoshenko Block is not running paid TV advertisements, she even stands to make some money during this election campaign.

The once powerful Social Democratic Party headed by Viktor Medvedchuk is at the core of a coalition named "Ne Tak" - an entitled denouncement of Yushchenko's principal slogan in the 2004 presidential campaign: "Tak!" or "Yes." But the Ne Tak crowd is polling at only 1.5%. Their only hope is to pull their usual trick of massively buying up electoral and election committees' support in one or several regions.

Another group set to go down in their rowboat is the Ukrainian People's Party headed by Yuriy Kostenko. Kostenko drifted away from Yushchenko because of his inability to hit it off with practically anyone among the Our Ukraine crowd.

Of all the major players, Our Ukraine has led the underperformer crowd. Yushchenko's rule has come across as weak and detached. During the recent gas crisis with Russia, Yushchenko kept largely silent. The collapse last year of the high-profile case against Borys Kolesnikov (See The Ukraine Insider, Vol. 5, No. 1 from March 8, 2005), a key figure in Akhmetov's clan, dashed hopes among voters that Yushchenko's slogan "Send the bandits to prison!" would be realized.

Today many voters remain undecided, by some counts as many as 20 percent of the electorate. Thus the big surprise of the March 2006 elections will be delivered by the protest vote. Disenchantment with a series of crises badly handled and squabbling within the former Orange coalition will boost support for blocks seen as oppositionist, primarily Tymoshenko's, the Socialist Party, the radical pro-Russian politician and former Kuchma protege Natalia Vitrenko and Pora-PRP (which includes Viktor Pynzenyk's Party of Reforms and Order).

Pora, largely composed of youth who spearheaded the Orange Revolution, has put former heavyweight boxer Vitaly Klichko first in its party list, is running a forceful TV ad campaign and has thousands of active volunteers combing the larger cities.

Yet the undisputed leader is the Party of Regions. Their neck of the woods in eastern Ukraine is a microcosm of the former Soviet Union, with subservient media, a completely controlled local economy and regular handouts buying up voter sympathy.

Many Westerners will view Region's first place finish on March 26 as a victory, although the combined votes for Our Ukraine and Tymoshenko will be greater.

Thus the million dollar question is who will form the government after the elections.

07.03.06. The new Verkhovna Rada: How new?

By Markian Bilynskyj

The following article takes a look at the likely nature of the next Ukrainian parliament based on the dynamics of the current election campaign and political reforms in Ukraine.

The Verkhovna Rada's recent 'dismissal' of the Yekhanurov government and its subsequent confrontation with President Yushchenko signaled the opening salvo in what promises to be a series of stand-offs stemming from the redistribution of political authority - commonly referred to as constitutional or political reforms - that commenced on January 1. The situation is further aggravated by the highly charged atmosphere surrounding March elections to a more powerful parliament and, most importantly, by the absence of a fully functioning Constitutional Court hamstrung by the Rada's deliberate refusal to vote on its quota of appointments and swear in the president's nominees.

The debate over the reforms has focused almost exclusively on the powers that will accrue to the Rada upon their full adoption and the implications for executive legislative relations. Virtually no attention, however, has been paid to whether the Verkhovna Rada as an institution can be trusted with - or, more bluntly, is fit - to exercise its new, enhanced role. Unfortunately, the answer is far from encouraging. Indeed, rather than consolidating the Rada's representative and legislative responsibilities along a more democratic path of development, as the advocates of political reforms argue, the changes might even reinforce some of the worst characteristics and practices the Rada has accumulated in the fifteen years since Ukraine's independence.

During the latter part of the Kuchma era the Rada was often referred to (not only by the then opposition) as a bulwark of democracy against the confused authoritarianism pursued by the presidential Administration. This kind of judgment was both appropriate and self-evident in the context of a raw power confrontation with a presidency prone to rather arbitrary interpretations of democratic procedures. However, the advent of a new Administration - which, despite some serious shortcomings in other areas, appears willing to live with the inconvenience democratic scrutiny and procedure entails - has inevitably brought a change of both context and perspective. This reveals (even confirms) that the terms Rada, democracy, and accountability correspond only in a broad, generic sense and that upon closer examination there are some inherent flaws that continue to disfigure this theoretically most democratic, and hence accountable, of political institutions. Prominent in this regard are issues of composition, accountability, and procedure.

Proponents of a fully proportional system of parliamentary elections argued, inter alia, that this new model - beginning with the abolition of majoritarian constituencies that were notoriously at the mercy of moneyed interests, and continuing through the party convention stage - would broaden popular participation in the process of party list creation. This development would help finally to identify and separate those individuals more interested in pursuing their personal interests under parliamentary immunity from those with a genuine interest in the less materially rewarding pursuit of professional law-making. In other words, business would finally be separated from politics and the result would be a Rada finally devoted to professional, publicly accountable legislating.

Unfortunately, what could never have been more than a desired outcome was all too often presented almost as an axiom. And since any kinds of political reforms cannot occur independently of their socio-economic context, the first results of the political reforms appear to simply validate the enduring wisdom of that popular "Chernomyrdism" (accepted into the contemporary Ukrainian lexicon almost as an expression of resignation): "Khoteli kak luchshe a poluchylos' kak vsiegda." (They/we wanted things to be better but they turned out just the same.)

Ukrainian political parties in general, even in the post-Orange environment, continue to betray their genesis as special interest vehicles with limited appeal to a broader public. Personalities therefore continue to predominate over policies. The parties expend considerable resources and effort in order to broaden their legitimacy and bolster their declared democratic credentials but they remain predominantly top-down structures overwhelmingly subservient to the needs of their Kyiv-based leadership.

Not surprisingly, then, as a rule the party lists for the principal contenders in the March Rada elections reveal a predominance of Kyiv-based figures augmented by local elites seeking to redefine and align themselves with today's leading players in various blocs. Rada Chairman Volodymyr Lytvyn's bloc perhaps offers the best example of this trend, while several of the parties running under various shades of orange have also happily accommodated individuals and groups of individuals from the regions who were quite clearly and actively in the pro-Kuchma camp in that part of their lists that polls suggest will make it into parliament.

Moreover, according to official statistics representatives of business (at 30%) form the largest group of candidates to the Verkhovna Rada, with educators, ( 8.5%) coming a distant second. This proportion is similar to 2002 when it was hoped, in vain as it turned out, that a Rada dominated by the business community would work towards adopting progressive legislation. (Not that business and crime are always linked in Ukraine, but there are all sorts of rumors and estimates in circulation regarding the numbers of candidates running for representative office, particularly at the local level, suspected of criminal activity in the business sphere. However, the facts are almost an irrelevance in view of the powerful popular perception, fueled by many candidates themselves, of an enduring link between business, crime, and politics.) The presence, for example, of Ukraine's wealthiest businessman, Renat Akhmetov, at the top of the Party of Regions list does not suggest that things will be any better this time around. (Plain amusing, on the other hand, is the presence of Andriy Derkach, a businessman who obviously had a change of mind about running for the Rada again, in the Socialist Party's list; amusing, because Mr. Derkach's media played a leading role in the Kuchma regime's attempts to discredit Socialist leader Oleksandr Moroz during the "Kuchmagate" scandal.) Under normal circumstances, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with successful businessmen running for public office. However, the enduring and clear lack of consensus among Ukraine's political elites over what constitutes the national interest means that individual and narrow corporate interests will continue to predominate. The composition of the new Rada will simply not provide the critical mass needed to change the trajectory of its evolution from essentially an exclusive forum for brokering business deals and establishing preferential access to the budgetary and privatization processes to one genuinely concerned with a broader, common good.

With respect to accountability, the fact that the Rada is to be elected on a proportional basis means that even the often all too formal, organic link between individual deputies and constituents provided by the majoritarian system will be further weakened. Several parties have stated that they will compensate by dividing the country into areas of responsibility. Yet it is difficult to imagine a party or bloc with the minimum fifteen Rada deputies the 3% vote threshold provides offering anything remotely resembling effective representation. The Rada's representative responsibilities (and by extension accountability), never a high priority, are therefore in danger of withering away. The envisioned reforms could make the Rada a more effective and efficient legislative body (the so-called imperative mandate barring deputies migrating between re is factions is being touted as a means for enforcing voting discipline); but, with its representative imperative effectively undermined, in whose interests?

If political reforms do not augur well for a change in composition and representation the outlook is no better with respect to procedure. It is a deeply ingrained and ironic aspect of the Rada's operational culture that Ukraine's primary law-making body refuses to be governed by its own regulations; regulations that, by extension, provide the key point of reference for civil society groups interested in exercising their legitimate role of monitoring the Rada. The rehlament, or regulations, have languished in draft-law form since 1996 and only passed the first reading in late 1999. In the current political reforms package, the 1996 constitutional requirement that the rehlament be an actual law rather than a resolution is dropped. A case can be made that in making this change, the Rada is in fact aligning itself with international practice. However, based on the sometimes mind-boggling abuses to which the rehlament has been subjected over the years, a strong case can be made that the Verkhovna Rada, at this stage of its development, must be regulated by law not resolution if it is finally to develop as a genuinely transparent and accountable institution. However, that the new Rada will subordinate the interests of the individual deputies for the sake of the institution's long-term development is highly unlikely because such a move would severely fence in and dilute the authority of parliamentary party and faction leaders; in other words, the authority of those very political actors advocating political reforms in the first place.

One of the most egregious abuses, concerning the voting process, appears to have seeped into the very marrow of Rada procedure. Arguably the most responsible function a representative and legislator is called upon to perform is the act by which popular will is codified into law. The brazen extent to which the process is manipulated - by all political forces - means that it is possible to talk of institutionalized abuse. A strong case can be made that barely a handful of legislation has been adopted by the Verkhovna Rada since independence on the basis of the rehlament's one-person-one-vote requirement. Much more frequently, often in full view of TV cameras, voting numbers have been recorded that bear no resemblance to actual attendance in the plenary hall. The difference is explained by deputies - so-called "piano players" - running along the empty rows and voting with the cards of their absent colleagues. The prevalence of this behavior is further evidence that many deputies see their formal responsibilities as something of an inconvenience as they pursue their personal interests.

In late December, after a bitter confrontation with the government and within the parliament itself, the Rada adopted the 2006 budget by just one vote. The following day, Deputy Viktor Kirilov informed Chairman Lytvyn that while his card had voted he did not because he was away on constituency business. Under normal circumstances the chairman could - even should - have proposed a motion, as requested by Mr. Kirilov, authorizing the appropriate committee to investigate the matter, even if this meant a new vote on the budget. Mr. Lytvyn's response, however, ignored this apparently clear violation of the rehlament and replied that procedure did not provide for a retroactive withdrawl of a deputy's vote. The matter was then conveniently forgotten. Who needs regulations when power can be exercised so arbitrarily, shamelessly - and with little or no consequence?

There is currently little reason to believe that the Rada elected next month will in any significant way be an improvement on its predecessor(s). Once in office, too many individual deputies will likely succumb to and (even happily) perpetuate the existing ingrained, anti-democratic corporate culture in pursuit of their narrow personal or group interests. Volumes of campaign rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding, accountability and transparency are and always have been considered inconveniences to be avoided, the rehlament a document to be observed only in the breach.

Accumulated arbitrary abuses and a perceived disdain for popular will by the presidency were the proximate causes of the Orange Revolution. At the time, it was popular to anticipate the forthcoming Rada elections as complementary to the presidential elections, a kind of "stage-two" litmus test regarding the prospects for the eventual consolidation of Ukrainian democracy throughout all branches of government. Given the powerful dynamics working against the Rada reforming itself it might take a similar - although highly unlikely - popular expression of no-confidence to make the Rada finally take seriously its role as the principal Ukrainian representative and legislative body.

Markian Bilynskyj is the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation's Vice President and Director of Field Operations in Ukraine. Mr. Bilynskyj may be contacted at mib@usukraine.kiev.ua .

The views expressed by Mr. Bilynskyj are his own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation.

09.03.06. USA har ophævet handelsrestriktionerne mod Ukraine

Repræsentanternes hus i USA's kongres har ophævet handelsrestriktionerne mod Ukraine i den såkaldte Jackson-Vennick særlov.

Ifølge avisen "Komersant" blev spørgsmålet om ophævelsen af Jackson-Vennick særloven for så vidt angår Ukraine sat på dagsordenen i Repræsentanternes hus af et kongresmedlem fra Det republikanske Parti, lederen af kongressens finansudvalg - Bill Thomas.

Såvel repræsentanter for Det republikanske som Det demokratiske parti stemte for at ophæve særloven for så vidt angår Ukraine.

I november 2005 blev denne særlov ophævet af USA's Senat. For at beslutningen kan træde i kraft mangler kun præsident George Bush's underskrift.

Særloven, som blev vedtaget tilbage i 1974, forbød statslige lån til Ukraine, etablerede handelsrestriktioner og forhøjede afgifter på ukrainsk eksport.

Særloven blev dengang indført som et politisk skridt imod Sovjetunionen, fordi landet dengang begrænsede sine borgeres udrejsemuligheder.

Under sit første officielle besøg i USA bad præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko de amerikanske parlamentsmedlemmer om at ophæve særloven for så vidt angår Ukraine. 

Særloven gælder fortsat for så vidt angår Rusland, Kazakhstan og en række andre lande. UP.

10.03.06. Regionernes parti står til at få ca. 40% i parlamentet 

Tre uger inden parlamentsvalget fører Regionernes parti stadig i alle meningsmålingerne. Den seneste af slagsen er foretaget af Kievs internationale sociologiske institut (KMIS) i dagene 28.2-5.3.06.

28% af alle vælgere er parat til at stemme på Regionernes Parti, 16,1% ville stemme på "Vores Ukraine", 11,9% ville stemme på Julia Tymoshenkos blok, mens 5,4% ville sætte deres kryds ved SPU.

Det kommunistiske parti har ifølge denne meningsmåling en tilslutning fra 2,9% af vælgerne, mens Lytvyns blok er nede på 2,3%. Tre andre blokke får mere end 1% af stemmerne; nemlig "PORA-PRP" (1,5%), Natalia Vitrenkos blok med 1,3% samt Kostenkos og Pljusjtjs blok med 1,2%.

Hvis der valg til parlamentet Verkhovna Rada i dag, så ville højst sandsynligt 70% af vælgerne stemme, hvilket ville resultere i følgende stemmefordeling: Regionernes parti - 36,2%, "Vores Ukraine" - 20,9%, Julia Tymoshenkos blok - 14,3%, SPU - 6,4%, KPU - 3,9%, Lytvyns blok - 2,5% og PRP-Pora - 2,2%.

Hvis man medregner de ikke-besluttede vælgeres statistisk set mulige stemmeafgivning, kan partiernes reelle tilslutning på valgdagen blive følgende: Regionernes parti - 39.3%, "Vores Ukraine" -23.6%, Julia Tymoshenkos blok - 16.6%, SPU - 8.0%, KPU - 5.2%, Lytvyns blok - 3,5%, PRP-Pora - 3.1%.

Regionernes parti har flest tilhængere i Østukraine, og jo mere man bevæger sig mod vest, jo mindre er partiets opbakning. Den således næsten 12 gange mindre i Vestukraine end i Østukraine.

Blokken "Vores Ukraine" og Julia Tymoshenkos blok har omvendt flest tilhængere i Vestukraine, og jo længere man bevæger sig østover, jo mindre bliver disse partiers tilhængerskare, og den er således næsten 13 gange mindre i Østukraine end i vest, påpeger meningsmålingsinstituttet.

Hvis kun fem politiske partier kommer over spærregrænsen til parlamentet, vil parlamentets 450 mandater blive fordelt på følgende vis: Regionernes parti - 199 mandater (44,3 % af pladserne), "Vores Ukraine" - 115 mandater (25,5% af pladserne), Julia Tymoshenkos blok - 79 mandater (17,5% af pladserne), Socialistpartiet - 35 mandater (7,8%) og Kommunistpartiet - 22 mandater (4,9%).

Såfremt hele syv partier kommer over spærregrænsen, vil mandaterne blive fordelt på følgende måde: Regionernes parti - 178 mandater, Vores Ukraine - 107, Julia Tymoshenkos blok - 75, Socialistpartiet - 36, Kommunistpartiet - 24, Lytvyns blok - 16 og PORA-PRP - 14 mandater. UP.

11.03.06. USA vil først snakke NATO efter parlamentsvalget

Fra amerikansk side vil man ikke diskutere planerne om Ukraines indtræden i NATO, før parlamentsvalget er afsluttet. Det oplyste den fungerende ukrainske udenrigsminister Borys Tarasyuk til pressen i lufthavnen Boryspil efter sit besøg i USA.

"Den amerikanske regering er indstillet positivt i forhold til at føre de amerikansk-ukrainske relationer over i en handlingsplan i forhold til Ukraines medlemskab af NATO", fremhævede lederen af det ukrainske udenrigsministerium.

Ifølge Tarasyuk har man fra amerikansk side "klart ladet forstå, at spørgsmålet om en plan i forhold til Ukraines medlemskab af NATO vil blive drøftet tidligst efter parlamentsvalgkampen i Ukraine er overstået og en ny regering er dannet".

Desuden oplyste ministeren, at han under besøget opfordrede alle deltagerne i de bilaterale møder til at medvirke til, at der kommer flest mulig amerikanske observatører til det ukrainske valg. Interfaks-Ukrajina. UP.

13.03.06. Is Ukraine's richest man also its future premier?

RFE/RL Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova Report
Vol. 8, No. 8, 28 February 2006

A Survey of Developments in Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova
by the Regional Specialists of RFE/RL's Newsline Team.

In mid-February, 40-year-old Rynat Akhmetov -- one of Ukraine's richest men by virtue of his 90-percent stake in the Donetsk-based System Capital Management Corporation (SCM) -- was interviewed on his nationwide television station, TRK Ukrayina.

The interview was conducted by Raisa Bohatyrova, a leading member of the Party of Regions led by Viktor Yanukovych, President Viktor Yushchenko's main rival in the 2004 presidential election. Bohatyrova was elected to parliament in 2002 after Akhmetov, who had been considered a likely candidate, stepped aside, saying he did not wish to run for public office.

Things appear to have changed.

The TRK interview was, for many Ukrainians, the first opportunity to hear the usually reclusive billionaire describe his stance on a variety of subjects. The interview was widely watched throughout Ukraine, and established Akhmetov as a man with his own vision regarding the country's future.

Akhmetov's name is seventh on the Party of Regions' electoral list for the 26 March legislative vote. But the fact that his interview was televised nationally, rather than just in Ahmetov's native Donbas region, led some viewers to conclude Akhmetov sounded more like a candidate for prime minister than a man merely seeking a parliamentary seat.

Akhmetov denies he is seeking the premiership. But some of his comments during the interview could indicate otherwise.

"We need to form a government that cares about economic growth," Akhmetov told Bohatyrova. "What does that mean? It means a government of professionals, a government which will take not only power, but responsibility, into its hands."

Akhmetov went on to define a strong Ukraine as one where the country is dependent upon neither Russia, the United States, nor the European Union. He was going into politics, he added, "in order to see Ukraine enrich itself, in order that there be no poor people in Ukraine. I want Ukraine to hold in its hands the trophy for being the best country in Europe."

Akhmetov, an ethnic Tatar and practicing Muslim, was born in Donetsk in 1966. His father was a coal miner, and the family often lived in poverty. Akhmetov graduated from Donetsk State University with a degree in economics.

In 1996, Akhmetov took over the presidency of the Shakhtar football club in Donetsk after the murder of its owner, criminal boss Oleksandr Brahin. Around that time, he founded Donetsk City Bank, DonGorBank, and remains its majority shareholder.

In 2000 Akhmetov founded SCM, which rapidly became a very aggressive player in acquiring companies in the Donetsk region. Over the next few years, it took control of over 90 companies concentrated in the iron ore, coal, steel, and energy generation sectors. SCM also has interests in insurance and banking, food and beverage services, and hotels and hospitality.

Akhmetov's assets and personal fortune are sure to make him a major player in Ukrainian politics for years to come -- regardless of whether he becomes prime minister.

But his repeated assertions that a future Ukrainian government must be run by "professionals" and promote "economic growth" have only intensified speculation that the head of SCM -- one of Ukraine's largest corporations -- might be persuaded to head up the country's new government.

In the past year SCM has gone to extraordinary lengths to polish its image as a responsible, European-style corporation and overcome past rumors about reputed links to organized crime and unorthodox business methods.

In the summer of 2005, SCM launched a massive advertising campaign aimed at promoting the stature in Europe of Ukrainian businesses. Ads were featured in publications including the "Wall Street Journal Europe," "The Economist," the "Financial Times," and on television networks like CNN, EuroNews, and BBC World.

In order for Akhmetov to succeed in extending his popularity beyond the Donetsk region, many observers believe he will ultimately need to break ties with Party of Regions leader Yanukovych, his old friend and political ally.

This could be relatively simple. Yanukovych has no financial support base of his own, and relies on SCM and the Industrial Union of the Donbas for funding. Moreover, Yanukovych is seen by many Ukrainians as a former convict -- as a young man he was twice convicted of assault and battery -- and not fit to run for public office.

President Yushchenko's Our Ukraine bloc has reportedly discussed a possible coalition with the Party of Regions, but says it will not agree to Yanukovych becoming prime minister. It has, however, avoided such a categorical refusal regarding a similar deal with Akhmetov.

Roman Kupchinsky

13.03.06. Kan Ukraine blive NATO-medlem i 2008 ? (eng.)

by Taras Kuzio

Ukrainian ministers continue to publicly remain optimistic about their country's chances of NATO membership. Different dates are given for the country's entry, from 2008-2010. Deputy Foreign Minister Volodymyr Khandohiy said Ukraine hoped to be included in those countries invited to join at the 2008 NATO summit, which is expected to be an enlargement summit. Three other countries could be included in this enlargement wave, Croatia, Albania and Macedonia.

Included in the 2008 enlargement wave would likely see Ukraine, and the other three countries, join NATO in 2010. This would be good timing for Ukraine as it would follow the October 2009 presidential elections. But, it would assume that the NATO friendly Viktor Yushchenko would be re-elected for a second term or, failing that, his replacement was pro-NATO.

NATO General Secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer supports the view that the 2008 NATO summit would be an enlargement summit that would invite in western Balkan states and Ukraine. He refused to give a concrete follow up date when these four countries would actually become NATO members.

Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko sees the likelihood of Ukraine obtaining a Membership Action Plan (MAP) at the NATO summit in Riga in November, the first to be held in a former Soviet country. This would give Ukraine the opportunity to complete two annual cycles of MAP before being invited to join NATO.

The unilateralist Bush administration is also committed to supporting democratization abroad, including Ukraine and Georgia, which includes giving these countries the protection of NATO. US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is on record as supporting Ukraine's NATO membership. An influential Ukrainian newspaper concluded that, 'The US will support it in every possible way and call on the other allies to help Ukraine integrate into the alliance'.

Unilateralism could work in Ukraine's favor as it reduces the need for the US to take into account Russian objections to NATO membership for Ukraine. This is especially, at a time when democratic regression is taking place in Russia.

The 2003 territorial conflict with Russia over the Tuzla island near the Crimea, the 2005-2006 gas crisis and on-going dispute over Black Sea Fleet illegal use of Crimean lighthouses have reinforced the need in the minds of a large portion of Ukraine's elites for the country to achieve NATO membership. President Yushchenko told a joint meeting of the National Security and Defense Council and NATO's North Atlantic Council in Kyiv that NATO membership would provide the necessary external guarantees for Ukraine's national security.

NATO membership, de Hoop Scheffer added, may be also seen as a stepping stone to EU membership. The EU is inclined is currently only offering "Enhanced Partnership" to Ukraine rather than full membership. As the "carrot" of EU membership was crucial in encouraging post-communist states to undertake painful and unpopular reforms, the absence of such a "carrot" may negatively influence reforms inside Ukraine.

Problems on Ukraine's road to NATO

Although Ukraine has a high chance of being invited into the MAP process in 2006 the time frame for achieving full membership could be delayed beyond the 2008 NATO summit because of the widely held view inside European members of NATO that Ukraine is not 'ready'. The three western Balkan states are already in the MAP process.

President Yushchenko is correct to state that no country invited into NATO's Intensified Dialogue on Membership, which Ukraine was invited to join in May 2005, has never not ultimately joined NATO. But, the short timeframe of 2006-2008 for a MAP before being invited into NATO may mean Ukraine's invitation may be postponed after 2008.

The Ukrainian authorities is too optimistic about Ukraine's chances of entering NATO -- even though there are the best international conditions for this step. It is not just a question of free and fair elections, a Western demand that is likely to be met by Ukraine. A British Foreign office official working on Ukraine told me recently that such a free election would be one of the first in the CIS since the early 1990s (and certainly in Ukraine since 1994). Another condition is that Yushchenko attempt to have good relations with Russia. In the West, Yushchenko is not seen as anti-Russian.

But, a third Western expectation is to wait and see whether reformers dominate the Parliament coalition and government. It is in this expectation that there are two contradictions facing the authorities that will be decided by the 2006 election results.

First, many Western members of NATO will condition supporting Ukraine being invited into a MAP at the Riga summit based on if there is a re-unified Orange Parliament coalition. A re-unified Orange Parliament coalition will send a SIGNAL to NATO and the EU that Ukraine's democratic breakthrough begun by the Orange Revolution and election of Yushchenko as Ukraine's first reformist President is now consolidated and the reform process is sustainable. The paradox of this expectation is that one of the three branches of the Orange coalition -- the Socialists -- are hostile to NATO membership.

Second, as an alternative to a re-unified Orange coalition, Anders Aslund is lobbying in Washington for an Our Ukraine-Regions coalition. After his January visit to Ukraine he wrote that such a Parliament coalition is what Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov, State Secretary Oleh Rybachuk and National Security and Defense Council Anatoliy Kinakh also allegedly support.

If this is indeed true, do Aslund and these three members of the Orange vlada realize what SIGNAL such a coalition would send to NATO and the EU. And, how support for such a coalition would undermine the goal of Ukraine's membership in NATO? A Our Ukraine-Regions of Ukraine coalition would give a SIGNAL that Ukraine is backtracking on reform and regressing away from the Orange Revolution. NATO would postpone inviting Ukraine into a MAP and Ukraine would miss being invited to join in the third round of NATO enlargement in 2008.

An additional consequence of supporting a Parliament coalition with Regions of Ukraine would be to make Yushchenko a virtual President (which constitutional changes would simply reinforce). Yushchenko's support in western-central Ukraine would collapse and his supporters would defect to Tymoshenko. Eastern-southern Ukrainians would not give Yushchenko credit for doing a deal with their Regions party. This would lead to Yushchenko not being re-elected for a second term in 2009.

Does Our Ukraine not remember the drop in its support after it signed a strategically futile memorandum with Regions of Ukraine in late September 2005, a memorandum that Yushchenko himself discarded in January?

Would an Orange coalition support Ukraine's membership of NATO? Not completely.

Throughout the CIS, the left are hostile to NATO membership. This makes the post-Soviet left very different to the left in the Baltic states and Central Europe. Remember post-communist Polish President Aleksandr Kwasniewski's ardent backing for Polish membership of NATO. We could not imagine any Ukrainian left-wing leader, pro-Orange or anti-Orange, following in Kwasniewski's footsteps.

Ultimately, the major hurdle to be overcome in Ukraine will be the attitude of the Party of Regions, which is set to have the largest faction in the newly elected parliament. The Party of Regions is dominant in eastern Ukraine where opposition to NATO membership is highest. Without the conversion of the Party of Regions after March 2006 into a pro-NATO force, or at least neutrally disposed towards membership, it is difficult to see how Ukraine can move beyond a MAP into membership by 2008-2010 as President Yushchenko and Ukrainian officials constantly reiterate.

Three demands of the Bush administration

NATO and the Bush administration expect three objectives to be met in Ukraine for membership to become a potential future option.

First, the holding of free and fair elections on 26 March as understood by the OSCE and the Council of Europe. This objective is very likely to be met as Ukraine holds its first free elections since 1994.

Second, continued political, economic and defense reforms. Although the pace of reforms since Yushchenko's elections have been slower than expected, and often contradictory, that there is forward momentum is internationally recognized. Freedom House upgraded Ukraine to 'free' this year, the country was granted market economic status by the EU and USA and the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) on money laundering has halted its monitoring of Ukraine

There is an on going cleaning up, and reform of, the Interior Ministry and military under Interior Minister (MVS) Yuriy Lutsenko, on a high profile visit to Washington DC last week, and Defense Minister Hrytsenko. Hrytsenko has called for greater coordination among Ukraine's security forces where duties often overlap. NATO is set to assist in this endeavor by expanding its long standing cooperation with the military to the Security Service, MVS, Border Troops and Ministry for Emergency Situations.

Third, the most contentious issue is that of regional opposition to NATO membership and low public support. Some other post-communist states, such as Slovenia and Hungary, also had low public support for membership. The populist Tymoshenko bloc have reiterated their opposition to joining NATO if there is not public support within Ukraine.

Ukraine is different from earlier countries which have joined NATO in that it would be the first truly post-Soviet state to be invited to join NATO, as the three Baltic states were always treated differently and never joined the CIS. Only 10% of Ukrainians understand what NATO is and why the country should join, a legacy of Soviet anti-NATO propaganda.

There was also a lack of an information campaign on NATO during the Leonid Kuchma era. This lack of a positive campaign on the merits of membership has left a vacuum into which the former Kuchma camp has launched an anti-NATO membership campaign.

Lack of an all-round strategy

The anti-NATO campaign is being led by the Ne Tak! (Not This Way!) election bloc grouped around the Social Democratic united Party headed by Viktor Medvedchuk, head of the presidential administration in Kuchma's last years in power. An important financial source for 'Ne Tak!' bloc and anti-NATO campaign is the Republican Party led by former Naftohaz Ukrainy CEO Yuriy Boyko.

Boyko was set to be arrested in summer 2005 but this was halted after presidential adviser and energy tycoon Oleksandr Tretyakov intervened. Boyko is thought to be a major recipient of income from the shady Rosukrenergo created in July 2004 and included in the January new gas contract with Russia.

This shows how the failure to launch criminal proceedings against past corruption in the energy sector, and continuing to work with the shadowy Rosukrenergo, undermines other policies. Namely, the strategic aim to seek NATO membership. Not surprisingly, Defense Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko and Finance Minister Viktor Pynzenyk are against the gas agreement.

Second, support for a coalition with Regions of Ukraine (which Yekhanurov, Rybachuk and Kinakh allegedly support) shows the degree to which the Ukrainian government is itself not united over its NATO strategy. Is their dislike of Tymoshenko more important than their support for Ukraine's NATO membership, which would be postponed if such a Rada coalition was formed?

Third, the largest faction in the new Rada will be Regions of Ukraine. It will include numerous senior level Kuchma officials against whom no criminal charges have been laid. Bandits to Prison have been replaced by Bandits to Parliament!

How do Ukraine's foreign policy strategists expect to deal with the question that the largest faction in the new Rada is against NATO membership? How do those government officials who prefer an Our Ukraine-Regions coalition not understand that this would send a signal to NATO that Our Ukraine is cooperating with an anti-NATO political force.

If President Yushchenko had fulfilled his campaign promise to send Bandits to Prison, Regions of Ukraine would not have the largest faction in the new Rada. Regions would not have been able to take revenge for what it sees as a stolen victory in 2004. And, the largest faction in Ukraine's parliament would have been pro-NATO (Our Ukraine), not anti-NATO (Regions).


Holding a free election and not proposing anti-Russian policies are two Western expectations of President Yushchenko that he will fulfill easily. He is a democrat and is not anti-Russian. A third more difficult expectation is that an Orange coalition be established in the Rada after the elections.

Ukraine has two coalition possibilities in the new Rada. In choosing which coalition to go into, President Yushchenko and Our Ukraine will, in turn, influence Ukraine's successful drive to NATO or postpone it indefinetly.

1. A re-united Orange coalition leading to an invitation to join MAP at the Riga NATO summit in October. This would be followed by an invitation to join NATO (together with Albania, Croatia, Macedonia) at its 2008 summit.

2. An Our Ukraine-Regions coalition that will lead to a postponement of NATO's decision on inviting Ukraine into MAP. Such a postponement would lead to Ukraine not being included in the third wave of NATO enlargement in 2008.

Taras Kuzio, Visiting Professor, Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University. Former head of the NATO Information and Documentation Centre, Kyiv.

18.03.06. Myndighederne vil forbyde oppositionsparti i at deltage i valget

Retten i byen Dnipropetrovsks Kirov-distrikt afgjorde i fredags, at Dnipropetrovsk- afdelingen af Regionernes parti (som er Ukraines største oppositionsparti, red.) har overtrådt reglerne for valgkamp.

Klagen var indgivet af Ukraines nationalistparti Rukhs regionale organisation, og dens repræsentant beskyldte Dnipropetrovsk- afdelingen af Regionernes parti for at have forsøgt at købe vælgerne, blandt andet i forbindelse med uddelingen af gaver i anledning af Den internationale kvindedag den 8. marts.

Retten gav sagsøgeren medhold i, at uddelingen af gratis produkter er ensbetydende med en overtrædelse af agitationsreglerne. Nu skal den territoriale valgkommission på baggrund af rettens beslutning træffe afgørelse om, hvorvidt repræsentanterne for Regionernes parti skal deltage ved valget til regionalrådet i Dnipropetrovsk.

Samtidig siger lederen af Dnipropetrovsk- afdelingen af Regionernes parti, folkedeputeret Oleh Tsarjov, i et interview med nyhedsbureauet "Interfaks-Ukrajina", at domstolens beslutning overhovedet ikke bygger på kendsgerninger, "men kun på ønsket om at forhindre det dominerende parti i regionen i at deltage i valget". Ifølge ham er det guvernøren for Dnipropetrovsk, Mykola Shvets, der står i spidsen for processen mod Regionernes parti. 

Tsarjov siger endvidere, at Regionernes parti ikke har uddelt gaver i forbindelse med fejringen af den 8. marts. "Der var tale om en årligt tilbagevendende begivenhed, som partiets repræsentanter afholder hvert år, og som man havde aftalt med de regionale myndigheder". Ifølge Tsarjov vil hans parti i dag indgive en klage over distriktsrettens afgørelse med krav om, at den dommer, som afsagde kendelsen, bliver fjernet fra sin bestalling. 

I den nærmeste tid vil partiet indlede en massiv aktion, "som vil vise styret, at vi ikke vil tillade, at nogen stjæler sejren fra Regionernes parti", siger Tsarjov. UP.

20.03.06. Svækket Jusjtjenko søger koalition med oligarker (eng.)

Wall Street Journal
March 13, 2006


Ukraine's parliamentary elections this month could mark an unexpected turn for the country's fledgling democracy, which the West had hoped would inspire democratic movements in other former Soviet states -- and in Russia itself.

With his own supporters weak and divided before the crucial vote, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is considering what was unthinkable a year ago: a coalition government with the pro-Russian factions that opposed him during the 2004 presidential elections.

Mr. Yushchenko is faced with the choice after a severe come-down in his popularity since the protests that overturned the flawed election and put him in power. His problems stem partly from the country's sagging economy and bitter disputes with onetime allies.

The March 26 vote is the first electoral test of the political promises Mr. Yushchenko made during the "Orange Revolution." In a bitter turnaround, the top vote-getter is expected to be the party of Viktor Yanukovych, the Moscow-backed presidential candidate who almost became president by alleged ballot stuffing in 2004.

Rankling Russia

Ukraine's rapid integration with the West has rankled Russia, which accuses the U.S. and Europe of bankrolling the Orange Revolution to tug Ukraine out of its orbit. Observers say Russian President Vladimir Putin has used the events in Ukraine -- as well as upheavals that toppled governments in the former Soviet states of Georgia and Kyrgyzstan -- to crack down on dissent at home.

Whether Mr. Yushchenko makes peace with his embittered former allies could determine how rapidly Ukraine can end its culture of corruption and turn around its economy, which has lately stagnated.

Recent constitutional changes in Ukraine mean its Parliament will have new powers to fire and hire the president's cabinet and prime minister. A deadlocked Parliament could stall the economic overhauls needed to move Ukraine toward a Western-style economy and could derail more-divisive political matters, such as whether to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

No single party is likely to dominate the new 450-seat Parliament, however, and Mr. Yushchenko may yet rally enough onetime allies from the Orange Revolution to form a government. That may help galvanize the estimated 20% of Ukraine's undecided voters, many of whom are disillusioned with the infighting of Orange Revolutionaries and plan to stay home on election day.

"We need to agree on some kind of coalition before these elections," said Dmitry Sennychenko, head of the executive office of the PORA political party, which supported Mr. Yushchenko in 2004. "If we succeed, then a lot of our parties will do better on election day."

Hopes, however, are fading. Talks last month between Orange Revolution allies collapsed amid demands by some parties over specific cabinet posts. Mr. Sennychenko said they are unlikely to resume before the vote.

Effective team

Many of Mr. Yushchenko's political problems arise from a bitter falling-out with his former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, who in 2004 helped lead demonstrations that reversed the tainted presidential vote. During that tumultuous time, their radically divergent styles made them an effective team: Ms. Tymoshenko was emotional, telegenic and articulate, and Mr. Yushchenko was authoritative and measured.

The two quickly tangled in government, however. Last fall, Mr. Yushchenko fired Ms. Tymoshenko from her prime minister's post and blamed her for contributing to the slowdown in economic growth that has undermined his popularity. He replaced her with Yuri Yekhanurov, a technocrat and former university professor.

Ms. Tymoshenko has turned into a spirited opponent and even teamed up with the pro-Moscow forces in Parliament to pass a vote of no-confidence in Mr. Yushchenko's new prime minister and cabinet.

Hryhoriy Nemyri, a top adviser to Ms. Tymoshenko, says she and Mr. Yushchenko have some deep differences over how far to prosecute the crimes of the old regime after Mr. Yushchenko was swept to power. Ms. Tymoshenko's group "says that in order to move ahead we need to clean the stables," Mr. Nemyri said. "And there is the other side that wants to make a broad-based deal with the former regime without cleaning the stables."

Ms. Tymoshenko is making no secret of her ambitions: She wants her party to win more seats in Parliament than Mr. Yushchenko's party, making her the chief representative of the supporters of the Orange Revolution and forcing Mr. Yushchenko to form a coalition with her and name her prime minister again.

The latest polls show she isn't too far behind: One taken this month showed Mr. Yanukovych's party collecting 28% of the vote, with Mr. Yushchenko trailing with 16% and Ms. Tymoshenko with 12%. Following her are a clutch of parties, including communists, socialists and Orange Revolutionaries that have been both supportive and hostile to Mr. Yushchenko.

For now, Mr. Yushchenko is betting that Ukrainians are more interested in jobs than the revolutionary rhetoric that they associate with Ms. Tymoshenko. Last week his government got a boost from the U.S., when Congress voted to establish permanent normal trade relations with Ukraine by revoking a Cold War provision tying Kyiv's trade status to the rights of Jews to emigrate. Earlier in the week the U.S. also signed with Ukraine a bilateral-trade protocol that is a major step toward Kyiv's joining the World Trade Organization.

Making a coalition possible

Mr. Yushchenko's practical interest in economic growth may indeed make it possible for him to form a coalition with Mr. Yanukovych's party, which is dominated by oligarchs and economic-clan leaders from Ukraine's Russia-dominated east. Besides Mr. Yanukovych, a major leader in the party is Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine's richest man, who resided outside Ukraine for most of last year when rumors were rife that police were planning to arrest him. He returned to Ukraine after Mr. Yushchenko fired Ms. Tymoshenko as prime minister.

Katya Malofeeva, an analyst at Renaissance Capital brokerage firm in Moscow, said the Kremlin as well as the pro-Russian politicians in eastern Ukraine may be learning there is no point in strident opposition to Mr. Yushchenko. While many dislike Mr. Yushchenko, Ms. Tymoshenko is feared for her revolutionary rhetoric.

"People understand that Yushchenko is easier to deal with," said Ms. Malofeeva. For that reason, she expects Mr. Yushchenko to form a coalition with his old foes in eastern Ukraine, and leave Ms. Tymoshenko as an oppositionist.

23.03.06. Jusjtjenko parat til at opløse det nye parlament

Præsident Viktor Jusjtjenko vil ikke udelukke muligheden af en opløsning af det nye parlament, hvis det ikke formår at danne et handledygtigt flertal.

Under et direkte interview i det lokale Tv i Ternopil-regionen svarede Jusjtjenko på spørgsmålet om en mulig opløsning af parlamentet:

"Naturligvis. Det er præsidentens forpligtelse. Hvis der ikke i løbet af 60 dage bliver dannet et flertal og en regering, så vil parlamentet ikke have opfyldt sine funktioner. Og det indebærer, at det ikke kan træffe beslutninger".

"Hvis der ikke er noget flertal, så er parlamentet uarbejdsdygtigt, og så træder der en mekanisme i kraft, som indebærer præsidentens ret til at handle derefter", tilføjede han.

Jusjtjenko udtrykte også håb om, at de små "orange" partier og blokke kan komme ind i det nye parlament.

"Der er spørgsmålet om de vil komme over spærregrænsen... Jeg tror, at Ukraine vil miste meget, hvis parlamentet ikke længere har en Pljusjtj eller Kostenko eller en så ærlig og stærk person som Klytjko (bokseren, red.). Det bliver trist. Det vil være ærgerligt set ud fra et politisk synspunkt, fordi disse personer har en enorm erfaring, og det er mennesker, som gik i forreste frontlinje.", - sagde præsidenten. UP.

24.03.06. Oppositionen beskylder styret for at ville stjæle en million stemmer

Regionernes parti beskylder det ukrainske styre for at have til hensigt at fratage det store oppositionsparti ca. en million stemmer ved valget på søndag. Kushnarjovs beskyldning blev fremsat på en pressekonference i Kiev i fredags.

"Ifølge vores oplysninger er dette den stillede opgave - valgresultatet for Regionernes parti skal lyde på en million stemmer færre, mens valgresultatet for "Vores Ukraine" og dets satellitpartier skal forhøjes mindst 1 million", sagde Kushnarjov.

Ifølge ham har Regionernes parti alle mulige belæg for at tale om en valgsvindel, som det ukrainske styre ifølge ham er i gang med at forberede. Blandt andet vil han ikke udelukke, at man på visse valgdistrikter i det sydlige og østlige Ukraine, hvor Regionernes parti står stærkest, simpelthen vil annullere valget.

"Styret har mulighed for at skabe en situation, som vil gøre det muligt at tage visse love i anvendelse. Ifølge de oplysninger, vi er i besiddelse af, har "Vores Ukraine" allerede udstedt direktiver om det til sine lokalafdelinger", sagde Kushnarjov.

Han oplyste, at det blandt andet er meningen, at "Vores Ukraines" stab i Kharkiv skal sikre omkring 1500 anmeldelser af uregelmæssigheder fra Regionernes partis side på valgstederne, hvilket vil gøre det muligt at annullere valget på disse valgsteder.

"Jeg er i besiddelse af informationer om, at "Vores Ukraine" regionale stab i Kharkiv-regionen har fået til opgave på valgdagen at sammensætte mindst 1500 protokoller på samtlige valgsteder med anmeldelser af uregelmæssigheder, som man kan beskylde Regionernes parti for", sagde Kushnarjov.

Samtidig sagde han, at han har fået oplysninger om, at man allerede har transporteret omkring 100 varme vintertelte, vinterstøvler, vintertøj og primuser til Kharkiv, som er nødvendige for at kunne gennemføre en langvarig teltlejr. Desuden påpegede Kushnarjov, at Regionernes parti frygter en alvorlig valgsvindel i de oversøiske valgkredse.

Ifølge ham stemte omkring 93.000 ukrainere i udlandet i forbindelse med 2. runde af præsidentvalget. I forbindelse med det forestående parlamentsvalget har man indført navnene på næsten 400.000 ukrainere, som befinder sig i udlandet.

Samtidig gjorde Kushnarjov opmærksom på, at hvis antallet af ukrainere, som har stemt i udlandet, vil være dramatisk højere end det antal, som stemte ved præsidentvalget i 2004, og resultatet vil være til fordel for "Vores Ukraine", vil man kunne tale om, at det er noget styret har manipuleret sig frem til.

Han understregede, at Regionernes parti er interesseret i et ærligt og demokratisk valg.  Interfaks-Ukrajina. UP.

26.03.06. Exit polls kl. 22.00 lokal tid: Fiasko for Jusjtjenkos parti

Lederen af Ukraines sociologiske institut Iryna Bekeshkina offentliggjorde kl. 22.00 ukrainsk tid resultatet af et exit poll, som de tre førende ukrainske meningsmålingsinstitutter har gennemført på valgdagen

Regionernes Parti: 31%

Julia Tymoshenkos Blok: 23,9%

"Vores Ukraine" (Jusjtjenkos parti): 15,5%

Socialisterne: 5,4%

Kommunisterne: 3,3%

Prognosen bygger på interview med 18.000 vælgere der havde stemt, da de blev spurgt. 

Ingen andre partier har klaret spærregrænsen på 3%. UP.

28.03.06. 60% af stemmerne optalt. Kun 5 partier kommer ind

Med 60% af stemmerne optalt ser det ud til, at kun fem af den ukrainske partier får sæde i det nye parlament. Desuden viser de foreløbige optællinger, at tilslutningen til Regionernes parti bliver en smule lavere end ifølge Exit pollen - dette forhold kan dog nå at ændre sig, efterhånden som de store østlige industriregioners stemmer bliver talt med i det samlede landsresultat:

Regionernes Parti: 28,8%

Julia Tymoshenkos Blok: 22,8%

"Vores Ukraine": 15,83%

Socialisterne: 6,53%

Kommunisterne: 3,5%

Tæt på spærregrænsen er desuden Lytvyns Folkeblok med 2,59% og Vitrenkos stalinister med 2,47%. UP.

28.03.06. USA roser det ukrainske parlamentsvalg

USA mener, at det valg, som lige er blevet afholdt i Ukraine, har været ærligt og frit og er parat til at samarbejde med den nye ukrainske regering.

Det meddelte Det hvide Hus' pressetalsmand Scott McLelland. "Der er alle mulige tegn på, at det (ukrainske valg) ser ud til at have været frit og fair", - understregede den amerikanske præsidents pressesekretær. 

"Vi venter på muligheden for at arbejde sammen med regeringen, lige så snart den bliver dannet", oplyste McLelland. Ifølge ham stod valget i Ukraine "i skærende kontrast til det, som vi har så i Belarus".

Som bekendt har de vestlige internationale observatørmissioner også givet en positiv bedømmelse af valget i Ukraine, mens Ruslands repræsentanter er kommet med en negativ vurdering af den folkelige viljesytring. UP, RIA Novosti.

28.03.06. 100% af stemmerne optalt. SPU er tungen på vægtskålen

Regionernes Parti: 32,14%

Julia Tymoshenkos Blok: 22,29%

"Vores Ukraine": 13,95%

Socialisterne: 5,69%

Kommunisterne: 3,66%

Stalinisten Vitrenkos blok kom meget tæt på spærregrænsen med 2,93%. UP.

Som det fremgår af diagrammet har Regionernes Parti mulighed for at danne flertal med såvel Vores Ukraine, Julia Tymoshenko som de to småpartier SPU og KPU - udenom de to orange revolutionspartier.