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Action Ukraine Report
An International Newsletter, The Latest, Up-To-Date
In-Depth Ukrainian News, Analysis and Commentary

Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor, SigmaBleyzer

-------- INDEX OF ARTICLES --------
Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.
Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article

The Washington Times' exclusive interview with Viktor Yanukovich
TODAY'S COLUMNIST: By Rachel Ehrenfeld
The Washington Times, Washington, D.C., April 23, 2007

By Simon Bell in Kiev, Sunday Telegraph, London, UK, Sun, Apr 22, 2007

LETTER-TO-THE EDITOR: By Stephen Velychenko
Sent to the London TELEGRAPH in response to
Mr. Yanukovych's article, "I Support a Pro-Western Course"
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #833, Article 3
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #833, Article 4
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, April 24, 2007

PART I By Mustafa Nayem for Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian)
Ukrayinska Pravda, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 19, 2007
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #833, Article 5, (in English)
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, April 23, 2007

PART II By Mustafa Nayem for Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian)
Ukrayinska Pravda, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 22, 2007
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #833, Article 6, (in English)
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, April 23, 2007

PART III By Mustafa Nayem for Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian)
Ukrayinska Pravda, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #833, Article 7, (in English)
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, April 23, 2007

Ukraine & Poland granted the right to host the Euro-2012
Mirror-Weekly, #15 (644) Kyiv, Ukraine, 21-27 April 2007

PRESENTATION: By Oksana Zabuzhko (in Ukrainian)
At the Conference "New Ukraine in New Europe"
Translated by Sofiya Skachko, Ukrayins'ka Pravda On-line
Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, April 15, 2007

February-March 2007
Dr. Irina Paliashvili, President, Russian-Ukrainian Legal Group, P.A.
Kiev, Ukraine; Washington, D.C., USA, April 20, 2007

Ukrainian foreign minister made serious blunders in Moscow
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Volodymyr Kravchenko
Zerkalo Nedeli, Kiev, Ukraine, in Russian 21 Apr 07, p 4
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, Saturday, April 21, 2007

OxfordBusinessGroup, London, UK, Thursday, 19 April 2007
Reuters, Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, April 20, 2007

By Adrian Blomfield, Telegraph, London, UK, Monday, April 16, 2007

Orest Dorosh, Creative Director, Oxygen Media and Design
Mississauga, Canada, Friday, April 20, 2007

Battle of symbols and memories is being waged
By Gary Peach, Associated Press, Tallinn, Estonia, Sun, Apr 22, 2007
The Washington Times' exclusive interview with Viktor Yanukovich

TODAY'S COLUMNIST: By Rachel Ehrenfeld
The Washington Times, Washington, D.C., April 23, 2007

The April 2 decree of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko to dissolve
the parliament and hold new legislative elections generated a political
crisis that is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. Reminiscent of the social
unrest during the 2004 Orange Revolution, demonstrators are again filling
Kiev's main squares.

This crisis originated with the constitutional reforms adopted by the
Ukrainian parliament in December 2004, which led to the election of Victor
Yushchenko as president in January 2005.

The new constitution after January 2006 introduced a parliamentary-
presidential system. The failure of Mr. Yushchenko to hold his government
together led to the March 2006 dissolution of parliament and new elections.

In January 2007 a new government headed by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich
adopted further constitutional reforms, limiting the president's power,
allowing the parliament to appoint new ministers and the prime minister to
veto presidential decrees.

So many members of parliament began defecting that Mr. Yushchenko faced
the possibility of 300 or more of them overriding his veto. Thus he issued
the controversial April 2 decree.

In Kiev, the prime minister, in an exclusive April 18 interview, argued that
the political crisis can be resolved by a Constitutional Court ruling "on
the legality of President Yushchenko's decree to dissolve the Ukrainian
Parliament. Whatever the decision is, it must be accepted by all parties
without exception.

The Constitution should be the law for everybody if we want to create a
law-based country." Meanwhile, the president stands accused of pressuring
the judges.

The premier does not oppose new elections: "There is no hidden danger in
holding an election in and of itself, but there is danger in establishing a
precedent of violating the constitution."

Implementing Mr. Yushchenko's decree, he says, "could establish a
precedent of allowing illegal early dissolution of [a] legitimately elected
First and foremost this would be an assault on the inviolability of
democratic procedures and a threat to the authority of the 'rule of law'
in Ukraine. Who can say what violation of the constitution would come next
if we accept an unconstitutional dissolution of the [parliament] today?"

Mr. Yanukovich warns that allowing the president to unconstitutionally call
for early elections, until satisfied with the results, would throw Ukraine
into permanent political crisis.

Moreover, "Article 90 of the Principal Law establishes the provisions
governing legal elections," says the premier. But the president's call for
new elections does not comply with the constitution, and a parliamentary
majority objects to his action. "So, let the Constitutional Court...
established to deal with such of cases, deliver its ruling."

The premier is willing to negotiate a compromise. "It's not too late," he
says. But holding early elections would be possible only if the
Constitutional Court ruled the presidential decree constitutional, and the
parliament introduced new legislation concerning early elections, which
current Ukrainian law does not adequately address.

Otherwise, early elections would be possible if the Constitutional Court
decided the presidential decree was unconstitutional, and all political
parties and the president agreed on new elections anyway.

Given Ukraine's recent economic growth and development, Mr. Yanukovich
believes he would receive an even larger voter mandate if the elections were
held soon.

The premier raises serious concerns about attempts to influence and
interfere with the independence of the Constitutional Court. Attempts to
exert undue influence can damage the court and delay its deliberations. He
explains that such attempts to discredit the judges are "old-school politics
and should be emphatically discouraged."

Mr. Yanukovich concludes: "This is a very dangerous game." He believes
that discrediting both the judiciary and legislative branch will undermine
confidence in law and justice. Such activities are intended to destroy
Ukraine's young democracy.

"Our Government, the Parliamentary Coalition and I, personally, will accept
any decision by the Constitutional Court. We expect the same from all
participants in the political process," he emphasized.

The prime minister points out that the presidential decree ignored Article
90 of Ukraine's Constitution. His call for the dissolution of the parliament
met none of the specific conditions under which it may be dismissed.
The premier outlined the provision's three requirements for the president
to legally dissolve the parliament:

[1] First, it may be dissolved within a month of an election if the
premier is unable to form a majority coalition;
[2] Second, if the prime minister cannot form a new cabinet within
60 days after the cabinet resigns;
[3] Third, if a full new parliamentary session cannot convene within
30 days of adjournment of the previous regular assembly of

As for the parliamentary request for international mediation, the premier
believes it may be necessary if the neither the Constitutional Court nor
political negotiations resolve the crisis. In that case, international
intervention would help prevent violent civil confrontation.

To prevent the worst-case scenario, he said, "we have submitted a request
for mediation to Austria -- a neutral European Union member country...
[and] would be happy with other international participation."

On April 10, President Bush signed into law the expansion of NATO, to
include Ukraine along with four other countries. Mr. Yanukovich notes:
"Ukraine has proven its efficiency and reliability in participating in
peacekeeping operations and remains an active participant in joint world
efforts in this sphere."

Nevertheless, the he recognizes that only 20 per cent of population supports
joining NATO, adding that "this issue must be resolved by national
referendum." He notes that Sweden, similarly, did not join the alliance
because only 55 percent of public supports it.

Besides, to carry its weight in the alliance, Ukraine must first complete
election-law reforms as well as changes in judicial, civil and
administrative procedures.

U.S. plans to deploy an anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic
concern Mr. Yanukovich only insofar as they sow discord between "our two
strategic partners and security guarantors." To succeed, they must minimize
the risk of nuclear confrontation.

The premier remarks: "We are aware of Russia's negative reaction, which
currently perceives it as a potential threat... [and] that there is no
common opinion in this regard among European countries... [even] President
Yushchenko has said that he is concerned about this issue."

Mr. Yanukovich adds that Ukraine has "something to offer," including "space
observation systems and experts who could significantly help in establishing
such a global system."

Mr. Yanukovich considers Ukraine's potential membership in the World Trade
Organization as "one of the top priorities of foreign economic policy of
Ukraine." Indeed, under his government, the parliamentary coalition has
passed all the necessary legislation.

However, the current domestic political turmoil threatens Ukraine's efforts
to join the WTO.

Ultimately, the prime minister hopes that WTO membership "will foster deeper
integration of Ukraine into the European space, promote cooperation in the
energy sphere, and international transportation, trade and industrial
cooperation." He added that Ukraine would like it if Russia could join at
the same time. -30-
Rachel Ehrenfeld is the director of American Center for Democracy and
a member of the Committee on the Present Danger.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

By Simon Bell in Kiev, Sunday Telegraph, London, UK, Sun, Apr 22, 2007

The pro-Moscow leader who was prevented from becoming president
of Ukraine by the "Orange Revolution" is attempting to reinvent himself
as a Western-leaning conciliator who defends democracy.

Viktor Yanukovich, who has been the country's prime minister since last
August, has declared that he supports "gradual integration" with the West.

"Ukraine is not Russia," he said last week, in what many will see as a
U-turn from his position three years ago when Viktor Yushchenko leapfrogged
over him to become president after his supporters forced a rerun of the
disputed vote.

Talking exclusively to The Sunday Telegraph as Ukrainians faced political
chaos over President Yushchenko's attempt to dissolve parliament and force
new elections, Mr Yanukovich seemed keen to show that his strength now goes
hand in hand with a spirit of conciliation.

In 2004, when Ukraine's future seemed to hang in the balance between Western
democracy and Russian vassal state, he twice received President Vladimir
Putin in Kiev to show that he believed Ukraine's interests lay with Russia,
across its eastern border.

His tactic failed, as Ukrainians demonstrated their wish to lessen Russia's
influence and elected Mr Yushchenko president instead. Now Mr Yanukovich -
who is of Russian stock, from the industrialised east of Ukraine - seems to
have learned from this mistake.

"I support a pro-Western course, which means building a democratic, wealthy
and socially healthy society," he said. "The difference between my position
and that of my opponents is that they are trying to go Western as soon as

"Their leaders even talk about turning Ukraine into the key element of a
cordon sanitaire against Russia. Is Europe interested in such a
confrontation? I'm sure it isn't. I support gradual integration into the

In the aftermath of the Orange Revolution, many of Mr Yushchenko's
supporters have become disillusioned with the factional in-fighting between
him and Yulia Timoshenko, his ambitious erstwhile ally who became his first
prime minister.

In parliamentary elections last year, Mr Yanukovich's Party of the Regions
topped the poll and, after the previously pro-Yushchenko Socialists switched
sides, he assembled a big enough coalition of MPs to take over as prime
minister, a powerful move that prompted Mr Yushchenko to call for fresh
elections on May 27.

Mr Yanukovich, a former weightlifter and one-time racing driver, is
challenging the attempt to dissolve parliament once more as
"unconstitutional", and believes he can rally Ukrainians behind him.

Speaking in the soft baritone that accompanies his deceptively mild manner,
he said: "The Ukrainian people have an old democratic tradition. They have
repeatedly proved that they can realise their civic potential."

He has appealed to the country's supreme court to strike down Mr
Yushchenko's order, and MPs have refused to leave the country's
parliamentary buildings or begin election campaigning until the court has
ruled. The white and blue flags of his supporters have taken over
Independence Square, which was filled with Mr Yushchenko's orange
during the 2004 revolution.

Mr Yanukovich speaks with a permanent frown, as if choosing his words
carefully. He was talking in the cabinet ministers' residence in Kiev's
Grushevsky Street, a stark building from the Stalin era, which made his
conciliatory words about the West - and Ukraine's heated national debate
over whether it should join Nato, which Moscow vehemently opposes -
seem all the more surprising.

"Under my prime ministerial tenure, Ukraine-Nato relations have been based
on a deepening cooperation with the alliance," he said.

"Our North Atlantic partners constantly point to the significant
contributions our state makes to world security, in peacekeeping operations
and so on. Nevertheless, it is too early to talk about joining the alliance.
Only 20 per cent of the population supports this idea."

Extraordinarily, Mr Yanukovich even had praise for the Orange Revolution.
"I would call 2004 the year our society became purified," he says.

"We laid the foundation of a new political model, a
parliamentary-presidential one. But the old system is putting up a fight, it
doesn't want to give up, and it looks for ways to stay in power."

He described as "unacceptable" President Yushchenko's order to dissolve
parliament, adding: "I think that international mediators would prevent the
political conflict from escalating to where violent methods might be sought
to resolve it." -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

LETTER-TO-THE EDITOR: By Stephen Velychenko
Sent to the London TELEGRAPH in response to
Mr. Yanukovych's article, "I Support a pro-Western Course"
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #833, Article 3
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Yanukovych's opinions about the country he rules should not be viewed in
isolation by anyone interested in Ukraine or the EU. First and foremost it
must be stressed that his neo-soviet Party of Regions is not a "normal"
political party in a "normal" state.

It is a restorationist party that seeks to prevent the democratization of a
de facto "post-colonial" state, and to keep it subordinated to its former
ruler. Should it succeed the EU would have to face the prospect of an
unstable eastern border.

While the party formally supports "eurointegration" - just like Putin
supports the eurointegration of Russia - it has not explicitly stated that
it is for "EU membership for Ukraine." Mr. Ianukovych's public statements
to the contrary in various EU countries, therefore, cannot be taken
seriously until this commitment is clearly stated in his party's program.

Given this omission there is every reason to believe that as soon as they
manage to get a majority by dubious methods in the Rada, they will first
incorporate Ukraine into Russia's Single Economic Space and only then, via
Russia, "integrate into Europe" -- presumably just like Belorus.

Ukrainians reemerged on Europe's political map in 1991 after more than 200
years of direct foreign political rule imposed by military might. Between
1709 and 1711, then between 1918 and 1921, and again between 1944 and 1950
Russian armies invaded Ukraine three times in a series of bloody wars that
tied Ukraine to the tsarist and then Soviet empires.

Under Russian rule Ukrainians got Russian-style serfdom, Siberian exile,
governmental prohibition of publishing and teaching in the native language,
terror, and famine-genocide. When in 1991 Ukraine emerged as an independent
state there was no "liberation war." Consequently the imperial or "old
regime" elites were not exiled or executed.

They remained in power until 2004 and since then have retained positions
influence to such a degree that they can keep their own out of jail. Their
constituency, meanwhile, is the product of Soviet migration policies that
directed Russians into and Ukrainians out of Ukraine.

This immigration and "ethnic dilution", combined with deportations and
millions of unnatural Ukrainian deaths between 1917 and 1947, created large
Russian-speaking urban enclaves in the country's four easternmost provinces.

In addition, educational and media policies, channeled upwardly mobile
non-Russian rural migrants into Russian-speaking culture and allowed urban
Russians to live work and satisfy their cultural/spiritual needs without
having to use or learn Ukrainian.

Second and third generation urban Russian immigrants and assimilated
migrants spoke in Russian, lived in a Russian public-sphere and were
Moscow- oriented culturally and intellectually. After 1991 most of the
urban population accepted Ukrainian independence, but few changed their
Russian language-use or intellectual/cultural orientation.

Since 1991 an increasing percentage of Russians and Russian-speakers see
Ukraine as their native country. However, in 2005, whereas only 6% of
Ukrainians still saw themselves as "soviet citizens," the percentage for
Russians was 18%, and while 2% of Ukrainians still did not regard Ukraine
as their native country, 9% of Russians in Ukraine did not.

This means that a percentage of the population in Ukraine today, of whom
most are Russian, support foreign rule over the territory in which they
live - much as did once the French in Algeria, the Germans in Bohemia and
Poland, the Portuguese in Angola, and the English in Ireland.

This anomie and nostalgia for empire of some Russian speakers would be
harmless if not for Ukraine's entrenched neo- soviet political leaders who
exploit it to maintain their by-gone imperial -era power.

Both would be manageable if leaders in Russia, the former imperial power,
were able to resign themselves to the loss of their empire, and like the
British, help the new national democratic Orange coalition rather than its
imperial era collaborators.

Putin is no DeGaulle --who realized in the end that French settlers had to
leave Algeria.

Ukraine's neo-soviet leaders are organized in four major groups with
varying degrees of support covert and overt from Russia and its government -
whose ambassador in Kyiv is not know ever to have made a speech in
Ukrainian. Ukraine's communists and Natalia Vitrenko's "Bloc" openly
advocate the abrogation of Ukraine's independence and its reincorporation
into a revamped imperial Russian dominated USSR.

The Russian Orthodox church, which claims an estimated 50% of Ukraine's
Orthodox, is not only led by a Patriarch in Moscow, a foreign country,
that sits in Putin's government, but is dominated by its chauvinist,
anti-Semitic fringe. This church does not recognize Ukrainians as a distinct
nationality, it publicly supports Ukraine's communists, and fielded priests
to run in elections.

In June 2003 the Russian Patriarch gave the leader of Ukraine's Communist
Party its "Order of Prince Vladimir." No more than 8% of Ukraine's voters
back these old communist party leaders.

The more serious threat to Ukrainian independence is posed by its fourth
major neo-soviet group; the Party of Regions. Although 2004 and 2006
election results suggest approximately one-third of all voters in 2006
supported the Party of Regions, these returns are dubious.

[1] First they are a product of documented coercion, intimidation and covert
operations-albeit smaller in scope and scale than was the case in 2004.

[2] Second, they are based on 'machine politics' in Ukraine's eastern
provinces where, in control of the local administration and manufacturing,
the party can offer people fearing poverty and insecurity short-term material
incentives in return for votes.

[3] Third they are based on a lingering soviet-style cradle to grave
enterprise-paternalism, still stronger in eastern than western Ukraine, that
allows managers and owners to politically blackmail their employees-- much
as "company-town" owners did in nineteenth- century western Europe and

How strong the party would be in Ukraine's east, without the dirty-tricks,
machine-politics and neo-feudal enterprise-paternalist based intimidation
is difficult to determine. But it would have less than one-third of the
seats in the country's parliament.

The party ostensibly supports Ukrainian independence in as much as its
leaders regard Ukraine as a territory that they should control as a
"black-mail state" -- just as they controlled it up to 2004.
Yet, its anti-constitutional advocacy of Russian as a "second language" for
example, shows it wants to keep Ukraine within the Russian-language
communications sphere and out of the English-language communications
sphere - which includes now the EU.

While the Canadian and Polish ambassadors can learn Ukrainian before their
appointments well enough to use it publicly, some Party of Region leaders
have the unmitigated gall to speak in Russian in parliament. A number of
their leaders, like ex deputy-prime minister Azarov, have not managed to
learn Ukrainian after fifteen years of independence.

But then how many French in Algeria learned Arab? How many English in
Ireland learned Gaelic? How many whites in Africa knew Swahili or Bantu?

How many Japanese learned Chinese or Korean? How many Germans in
Breslau learned Polish? Its leaders, additionally, engage in symbolic
colonial-homage type acts that pander to imperial Russian nostalgia and
compromise Ukraine's status as independent country.

In November 2005 in Krasnoiarsk, for example, Ianukovych publicly gave
the speaker of the Russian Duma a bulava - the symbol of Ukrainian

Party of Region leaders learned their politics under the soviet regime
and since then failed to learn any other kind. They ran Kuchma's
"black-mail state," and employ criminal Bolshevik-style electioneering

Not the least of which is advertising in the press for "supporters"
to their current demonstrations - whom they pay at a set rate at the end of
the day. They publicly belittle Ukrainian independence, are in constant
contact with Russian extremists like Zhirinovsky, Zatulin, and Luchkov.

Foreign observers must ask themselves how a Party of Regions led
Kuchma-like "black-mail state" is supposed to fit into the EU?

How can such a Ukraine be "stable" if it is dependent on Russia, a
resource-based autocracy, at a time when resource-based autocracy's
everywhere else in the world are notoriously unstable? -30-
NOTE: Stephen Velychenko is a Resident Fellow, CERES Research
Fellow, Chair of Ukrainian Studies Munk Center at the University of
Toronto, Toronto, Canada. E-mail:
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #833, Article 4
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Dear Morgan Williams:

Since President Viktor Yushchenko issued his decree on 02Apr2007
dismissing the Verkhovna Rada and setting pre-term elections for
27May2007, a myriad of strange and contradictory articles have
appeared in the Ukrainian and world press. Some of these have been
reproduced in the Action Ukraine Report. It is not clear if these are
creations of serious scholars, paid shills, provocateurs or
disinformation artists.

A prime example is the 16Apr2007 interview of Oleksandr Volkov
(AUR#830, 19Apr2007), who claims to have supported the Orange
Revolution, but has since switched his allegiance to the Party of
Regions. Name-dropping that he and his buddies are good friends with
Boris Berezovsky (the Jewish Russian billionaire in English exile), he
then goes on to smear both Mr. Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko
with gossipy tidbits impossible to verify. Whatever the veracity of his
rantings, Mr Volkov does illustrate the illegitimacy of the political
order in Ukraine.

In a Letter to Yulia Tymoshenko, 25Jul2006 [1], I wrote that the
so-called constitutional “reform” concocted during the Orange crisis
of the Nov-Dec 2004 Presidential elections is illegitimate, because
(a) it was negotiated by politicians under duress, (b) it is
inoperable and (c) it was drafted by politicians without consulting
the people of Ukraine and without their ratification via a referendum.

The Constitutional Court has been inoperable since the Presidential
elections in 2004. It is certainly not an independent body and,
judging by the number of individual meetings with various politicians,
the necessity of police protection and the mass demonstrations in
front of its doors, it is certainly deliberating under severe duress.
On what basis can it possibly make a rational decision on the
constitutionality of the President’s decree?

My advice to the learned judges would be to avoid making a direct
ruling, but instead to “recommend” that pre-term elections be held at
a given date subject to specific stipulations. This recommendation
would be based upon the provisions that the judges expect to be
incorporated in the new constitution that the Ukrainian people must
formulate and adopt over the next several years. That constitution
would presumably enshrine the principle that, indeed, the Office of
the President has the right and duty (under certain conditions) to
dismiss the government and call for pre-term elections.

Pre-term elections are utilized by many countries around the world as
a safety valve to solve intractable conflicts and avoid violence and
social upheaval. It is a perfectly legitimate and useful exercise --
especially for Ukraine at this moment.

I find the political mentality within Ukraine particularly worrisome.
The politicians simply do not accept the concept that they are
servants of the Ukrainian people and not its masters. I am convinced
that the illegitimate constitutional changes in 2004 and the January
2007 law on “Cabinet of Ministers” were imposed in bad faith by the
Party of Regions. These changes remove all checks and balances upon
the puppeteers controlling the deputies of the Verkhovna Rada.

The parallel of these mechanations with the rise to power of the
Bolshevik Party following the 1917 Revolution is frightening. At that
time, the modus operandi was “kto, kovo?” -- who [will destroy]

And this was not just political destruction, but physical
destruction -- leading to the death of millions. Once again, this is
the nightmare scenario facing the Ukrainian people. Instead of
“dictatorship of the proletariat”, they will now be subjected to the
“dictatorship of the Oligarchs”.

There must be checks and balances on politicians -- and not just
during election time. Appropriate checks and balances on governments,
politicians and bureaucrats is lacking in many countries around the
world. There is virtually nothing an ordinary citizen can do to
reverse unreasonable decisions. For example, the governments of the
United States, Britian and Canada are involved in the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan despite the opposition of the majority of the populace.
Ukraine is no exception.

In my report on the 26Mar2006 parliamentary elections [2], I stated
that “although the election procedures were fair and legitimate, the
legitimacy of the politicians ranked in the "party lists" of the
various Parties is questionable.” I also stated that I was not
impressed with the proportional representation system and even
speculated on how the electorate could have an influence on the
rankings in the various party lists.

These concerns are even more urgent today. It is crucial that the
future constitution define appropriate election mechanisms and
appropriate checks and balances on the composition of the Verkhovna

I expect that pre-term elections will, indeed, take place within the
next several months. Hopefully, the constitutional question will be
the main focus of the electoral discussions. In my opinion, it would
not be appropriate for the President of Ukraine to participate
directly in the electioneering, except as to express his views on the
constitutional question. The two divisory issues of NATO and
Ukrainian-Russian language must not be used to further fragment
Ukrainian society. I expect to expound on these issues in later

Respectfully yours
William Zuzak, Ph.D., P. Eng. (retired); 2007.04.23
Edmonton, Canada (
The two references above are archived at
in the centre column under Will Zuzak Letters:
[1] Letter to Yulia Tymoshenko, e-POSHTA, Jul. 25, 2006
[2] Zuzak Ukraine Political Report; Part II, Jun. 02, 2006
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Send in names and e-mail addresses for the AUR distribution list.

By Mustafa Nayem for Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian) PART I
Ukrayinska Pravda, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 19, 2007
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #833, Article 5, (in English)
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, April 23, 2007

American spin-doctors hired by Viktor Yanukovych have long become
part of the Party of Regions' and its leader's profile.

The Regions are typically associated by Ukrainian voters with Russia as any
cooperation with Americans has been kept out of the public eye. In
off-the-record comments, however, both supporters and opponents of the
Regions willingly demonize the spin-doctors and their techniques.

Meanwhile, it is not difficult to find the Kyiv office of the American PR
companies that counseled the Regions in the run-up to the parliamentary
elections. The office is located in 4, Sofiyivska square - across the
street from trolley-bus routes #16 and 18 stops and the Golden Telecom

The shutters on the windows of the secretive office are drawn all day. Where
one could expect to see a massive signboard, only a small blue notice titled
PAM Ukraine shows. There is no reaction to our repeated ringing the

To enter the office, you have to wait for someone leaving it. Near the
entrance, we are met by a plain-looking office employee. To get past him,
you only need to declare solemnly that Mr Philip Griffin is waiting for you.

However, you'll never go farther than a smallish room where they will ask
you to introduce yourself and tell the purpose of your visit. On hearing
that you are a journalist, they will politely tell you to leave the office
and never come back again. Asking for Paul Manafort's whereabouts will
cause much the same reaction.

After lengthy negotiations, the office manager agreed to go and fetch
someone authorized to deal with the media. When he was gone, we had a
good chance to look around the office.

We saw an empty bookcase in the corridor, a chair near a table on which we
saw scattered sheets and files. We also saw a mini automatic telephone
switchboard. Next to one of its buttons there was a sticker with red
hand-written letters on it reading Davis-Manafort.

After some time, the office manager returned, followed by a young man
wearing a well-tailored suit and tie. He told us that Mr Griffin was away
for a vacation in the United States.

To get some detailed information, we had to engage in lengthy persuasions
again. Finally, we learned that the office was staffed by 6 to 8 persons,
all of them Ukrainian residents. "We are presently working with Manafort,
but formally our boss is Griffin," the young man said.

"We do not work with the Regions at present. After the end of the election
campaign, Mr Griffin is apparently rendering some services to the Regions,
on a personal basis. But we have no relationship with the Regions now."

In the course of our conversation, the young man mentioned the
Davis-Manafort company several times, most probably, meaning either
Davis-Manafort or Davis, Manafort & Stone. According to our sources, this
company is not registered in Ukraine and, therefore, has no official right
to hire personnel and lease an office.

The young man from the Sofiyivska square office asked us to call in 10 days,
promising to relay our request for an interview to Mr Griffin. However, when
the deadline passed the American was still outside Ukraine, with no one in
the office bothering to answer Ukrayinska pravda's official request for an

This kind of conduct has been followed by Paul Manafort and his partners
long enough. Shunning cameras and mikes, they are rubbing shoulders with
Ukraine's richest man who, in his turn, calls them his friends.

Paul Manafort, who has become a legend in two years of his work in Ukraine,
was last seen in the company of the Region's leader at a lunch in Davos
thrown in by Viktor Pinchuk [Pres. Kuchma's son-in-law and tycoon -

After a feeble effort to keep away from the camera, the American said that
he was not a public person and refrained from comment. It is beyond doubt,
that the American was Viktor Yanukovych's, not Rinat Akhmetov's, eyes and
ears at the forum in Davos.

Mr Manafort is not and has not been involved with the System Capital
Management [Akhmetov's flagship company - Transl.] since he started his work
for the Regions," Akhmetov admitted, speaking to The Ukrayinska Pravda.
Meanwhile, the activities of Paul Manafort and his partners over the past
two years may indicate that their relationships with the Regions is part of
a major business project, directly or indirectly benefiting big Ukrainian
businessmen, primarily Rinat Akhmetov.

Originally, a group of American spin-doctors came to Ukraine long before the
2006 parliamentary elections. According to our information, Rinat Akhmetov,
while in self-imposed exile in mid 2005 [fearing arrest by the Orange
government - Transl.], had a number of meetings with several US PR
consultants, including Paul Manafort.

The meetings focused on consultations to prepare SCM for the placement of
its shares on Western stock exchanges. It was the start of cooperation
between Rinat Akhmetov and the Americans.

Says Akhmetov, "In 2005 SCM decided to work out communication corporate
strategy. To this effect, the company invited four experts, including Mr
Manafort. Besides, the team of consultants also included world-known
Burson-Marstellar and Europe's MMD firms."

However, some sources in the Regions claim that Paul Manafort's first visit
to Donetsk took place between Dec. 10 to 20, 2004, that is, between rounds 2
and 3 of the presidential elections. "SCM became the topic of negotiations
much later, in early 2005, while Paul Manafort had been invited to prepare
our candidate for round 3 of the election.

However, Paul Manafort openly stated that he could not influence the course
of the campaign as there was only two weeks left before voting day," one of
Yanukovych staffers said.

According to Rinat Akhmetov, Paul Manafort had been recommended to him by
some US law firm. To go by another version, Manafort was introduced to
Akhmetov by Russia's tycoon Oleh Derypaska.

Manafort is linked to several companies involved in lobbyism and political
counseling. Manafort was founder of such entities as Davis, Manafort &
Freeman, Inc., Davis, Manafort & Stone and Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly.

As admitted by our source, SCM signed a contract with Black, Manafort, Stone
& Kelly, a company specializing in counseling on economic lobbyism. In
business circles, this company is known as an exclusive consultant for
Phillip Morris.

Manafort worked with the Regions via another company, Davis, Manafort &
Freeman, Inc. It is still not known whether the US company operated under a
direct contract with the Regions or via go-betweens.

Manafort's heyday came in early 1980s on the back of his counseling for
political campaigns in third world countries. Companies and spin-doctors
working now with Yanukovych have earlier advised the governments of Kenya,
Somali, Angola, Nigeria and Congo.

Manafort is said to have contributed personally to the success of the
presidential election campaign by the Philippines dictator Marcos in 1981.
At the start of his campaign and worried by the growing international
isolation of his country, Marcos lifted the state of emergency and declared
a general election which was later dubbed by the Western media one of the
dirtiest in the country's history. "The election was smeared by massive
falsifications, voter coercion, fraudulent voter lists and dubious
counting," media comments ran.

Paul Manafort began his career in the team of the 38th US Republican
President Gerald Ford. Ford was the only US president who entered the
highest office in the wake of a scandal, not through election. While vice-
president, he was sworn in as president when Pres Richard Nixon had to
resign after the notorious Watergate scandal.

After 1974, Manafort's name figured on campaign staffs of almost all
Republican presidents. Manafort was spin-doctoring Ronald Reagan's campaigns
in 1980 and 1984 and George Bush, Senior in 1988. "This guy is the
Republican party's business card. He opens doors with his foot in Washington
and in the offices of Bush insiders.

For the first time in 50 years the Republicans control the whole government.
All you need is the GOP master key: Manafort is just the guy you need,"
writes Charles Lewis, author of Selling the 2004 President.

True, the only time when Paul Manafort suffered a fiasco was when he was
acting as a top strategist for presidential candidate Bob Dole in 1996 who
was beaten into second place by Bill Clinton. Later on, Bob Dole came under
Republican fire for the lack of a clear-cut strategy during his campaign.

Currently, Akhmetov does not deny he initiated cooperation of the Regions
with Paul Manafort and his partners. "At a certain moment, due to Mr
Manafort's new experience, he was recommended to the Regions as an expert
who could help the party's election campaign. When the Regions betted on
Manafort, SCM scrapped its cooperation with him," Ukrayinska Pravda quotes
Akhmetov as saying.

Interestingly, Akhmetov denies footing the bill for Manafort's services to
the Regions. "SCM paid to Mr Manafort only for his services to the company.
SCM did not pay for any political counseling done by Mr Manafort for the
Regions," the wealthiest Ukrainian said.

Meanwhile, Akhmetov's business partner and a close friend, Anton Pryhodsky,
claimed that the Americans had been paid exclusively from the war chest.

However, the total amount coughed up by the Regions for the services of US
spin-doctors remains a closely guarded secret, with some lawmakers setting
it at between 2 to 20 million dollars for the whole election campaign. By
contrast, in the United States such information about the cost of PR and
lobbying services to political structures is open to public.

Participation of American spin-doctors in the election campaign caused
frictions and conflicts of interest amid Viktor Yanukovych and Rinat
Akhmetov teams. On July 3, 2005, Yanukovych named Vasyl Khara, a loyal
representative of the Regions hardcore nomenklatura, his campaign chief. At
this time, Akhmetov was holding intensive talks with Black, Manafort, Stone
& Kelly.

Yanukovych's acquaintance with Paul Manafort and his partners took place in
the late summer of 2005 in Karlovy Vary. At that time, the rumor was thick
in the party that Rinat Akhmetov and his supporters opposed cooperation with
radical Russian spin-doctors, like Gleb Pavlovsky.

Probably, Yanukovych was himself aware of the need for a new strategy in the
coming parliamentary elections, but Akhmetov's proposal was taken as a
direct shot at winning influence in the party.

Finally, the change of spin-doctors was agreed upon. The only thing left was
the official introduction of Paul Manafort and his colleagues to campaign
staff leaders. At this moment, Vasyl Khara opposed the project.

"I didn't like the Americans. I tried to convince the Regions leaders that
prior to hiring them we need to get acquainted with their strategies. Still,
as far as I know, no one has ever received any strategy proposals from the
Americans," Khara told the Ukrainska Pravda.

Yanukovych did everything for his protégé to continue to run the campaign
staff. The final attempt to talk Khara out of resigning was made in early
October, 2005. Khara was invited to Moscow where in a closely guarded house
he faced Yanukovych and his friend and colleague Anton Pryhodsky. Their talk
lasted over an hour.

Trying to persuade Khara to continue in office, they told him about the
successful track record of the Americans in the European countries, without
even mentioning Congo or Angola. "Paul with his partners also had to come to
the meeting.

We hoped that Khara would get acquainted with the Americans, they would come
to terms and start joint work. But Khara didn't wait for the Americans. He
refused pointblank to meet them, leaving before they arrived," a source in
the Regions confided.

A few days after the Moscow meeting, Khara handed in his resignation from
the post of Regions campaign staff chief. "When I realized that the
decisions will be made by them and I will be merely a front man, I made up
my mind to resign," Khara said.

In the early November, former first deputy Donetsk governor Vasyl Dzharty
was appointed by one of the Regions secret conventions a new campaign chief.
It was declared by some Regions politicians a tactical mistake as Dzharty,
unlike heavyweight Khara, was more vulnerable to criticism from political

At the same time, Dzharty has been viewed as Rinat Akhmetov's insider,
something sources in the tycoon's immediate entourage deny. Still, the
appointment of a new campaign chief indicated, to a certain degree, a
victory for Akhmetov in his efforts to gain control of the election
campaign, with at least 50 of his supporters figuring of the Regions slate.

The Americans started on their project as soon as the memorandum between the
authorities and the opposition was signed on Sept. 23, 2005. "Paul Manafort
picked his team personally," Borys Kolesnykov [prominent Regions politician,
former mayor of Donetsk - Transl.] recalled.

With no forthcoming elections in the United States, Manafort managed to
enroll quite a few professionals, both Republicans and Democrats. On a
permanent basis, the team included Philip Griffin, Richard H. Davis, Rick
Ahearn - Pres Ronald Reagan's representative and Alex Kiselyov, head of the
PR firm Aleksei Kiselev, friend of Eduard Prutnik.

On an off and on basis, head of Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly (Saint
Petersburg branch) Leonid Avrashov and Manafort's American partners Brian
Kristiansson and Robert Dole were hired to do odd jobs. (PART I) -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
By Mustafa Nayem for Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian) PART II
Ukrayinska Pravda, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 22, 2007
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #833, Article 6, (in English)
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, April 23, 2007

American spin-doctors hired by the Regions had a twin task: 1) to counsel on
the Regions election campaign and 2) to sell its leader Viktor Yanukovych to
voters, with US-born Paul Manafort in supreme command.

"With the arrival of the Americans, there's been a major overhaul of our
tactics - already in the first days of their presence," says lawmaker Vasyl
Khara who resigned as campaign chief when Manafort took the reigns. The
scope of campaigning by campaign workers was reduced manifold, and
the main emphasis was placed on the leader and the events he attended.

Following a reduction in their number, public performance of campaign
workers was optimized. A clear hierarchy for campaigners was established.

"It resembled a multi-level pyramid, with each layer represented by
spokespersons with the authority to comment on only a specified part of the
party's agenda and activities," says a chief of one campaign workers team,
speaking on condition of anonymity. "The higher the level which a campaigner
was covering, the more free hand he had to improvise.

This pattern made it possible to quickly vary the party's stand depending on
how the situation developed: in the course of the campaign higher level
spokespersons could correct their lower level

Incidentally, the Party of Regions was the first to use VIP-campaigners, a
new twist in the Ukrainian or Russian politics. Numbering about 60 persons,
Regions VIP-campaigners represented the bulk of Regions faction in the past
legislature. They were divided into groups, with group leaders receiving
instructions and being regularly briefed on the party's overall performance.

In addition, VIP-campaigners were once a week issued a list of declarations
they had to air in their public appearances. The list was issued on a
regular A4 piece of paper bearing no signatures or dates. Just 3-5 proposals
drawn up by the party's top leaders in close association with the Americans.

These declarations, which the Americans called messages, covered only a
specific period of time during which they had to be relayed to the audience.

"Generally speaking, the strategy of the US spin-doctors was rather simple:
one and the same idea had to be hammered into heads of voters," one of 2006
campaign leaders says. "We could say whatever we wanted but the messages
had to be declared.

Very often, the messages were the reaction to a PR attack of our opponents.
Sometimes we got the impression that presentation of these mandatory
declarations was not as important as the frequency with which they were

The Regions claim that similar tactics were employed by the orange parties
ahead of the 2004 presidential election. "I am not sure who their
spin-doctors were, but their practice was to come up with several slogans
that those with orange scarves had to chant," Regions lawmaker Anton
Pryhodsky recalls. "Including such slogans as "Bandits must go to prisons",
"We are many, they will not defeat us." I really do not know who their PR
advisors were, but it looks as if the tactics were the same."

According to some sources, the Americans authored one of Regions key
campaign slogans "Better life today." Most of the lawmakers mouthed the
messages obediently, but some opposed them strongly. "We realized that it
was pure spin without any ideology attached. Some called campaign messages
crowd-pleasers, but they had to go to the streets and mouth them.

I remember how Taras Chornovil, on getting yet another list of messages on
the status of the Russian language and NATO, tore up the list in front of
his group leader, refusing to speak on the topics. Chornovil's colleagues
say that this incident may have cost him his career in the party. Some admit
that he even lost his status of a VIP campaigner.

True, some campaign projects by the Americans were cold-shouldered by the
Regions. Some were brushed off, like the idea to use for campaigning
specially equipped busses to be shipped from abroad. Hanna Herman was
even heard saying the project involved black-skinned drivers for the busses.

"It was a 100% American proposal: a double-decker bus with all conveniences
like a toilet, a shower, etc.," 2006 campaign chief Vasyl Dzharty says. "The
Americans proposed to bus campaign workers all over Ukraine. Frankly
speaking, I didn't like the idea. It runs counter to our ways."

As confirmed by our sources, the idea was finally rejected by Viktor
Yanukovych in Crimea when he saw one of the campaign busses equipped
specifically for him. The cost of such bus amounted to $700,000-800,000.

"Victor Yanukovych made a wry face, he was talked into entering the bus,"
one of his insider tells. "He got into the bus, took a look around and said
it was too much for him. He continued his campaign tour in his minibus."

What happened to the busses delivered by the Americans is anyone's guess,
but some lawmakers insist they saw the double-deckers at the funeral of
Yevhen Kushnaryov.

The election staff was also involved in reaching out to the media. This work
was done by Eduard Prutnyk, owner of the NTN TV channel, assisted by the
former Inter TV channel PR department head Ihor Chaban.

Following the 2006 elections, Prutnyk was appointed by the anti-crisis
coalition head of the State committee for TV and radio broadcasting. Chaban
resigned from his official position and became Prutnyk's deputy.

For the record, in 2005-2006, both Prutnyk and Chaban mapped out and
monitored the Regions media campaign. Prutnyk was in charge of general
organizational issues, including cooperation with TV channels, advertising
agencies, while Chaban was involved in working out the party's media
strategy. Both of them are staying in touch with the Americans.

"They often cooperated with Paul Manafort, discussed and coordinated their
actions," says former staff member and currently a lawmaker Vitaly

"The Americans were not involved in issuing short-term instructions, it was
the business of Vasyl Dzharty. The Americans came up only with strategic
guidelines. Among other things, they strongly recommended to quit regional
press and TV channels and move over to national TV channels.

Interestingly, Chaban flatly denies ever to have dealt with the Americans.
He says he was in the dark about their role in the election staff. It is
known, however, that Chaban has repeatedly advised some key party leaders
on their public appearances.

In the night following the voting day on March 26, the Ukrayinska Pravda
reporter became an eye-witness to such episode. Immediately after Yanukovych's
chief-of-staff went on the air at the Inter TV channel announcing the
Regions victory in the elections and their intent to form a government
coalition, Dzharty climbed the stairs to the second floor of the Regions HQ
where offices are located.

There he talked through an interpreter to Paul Manafort in the presence of
Chaban, saying, "I have told everything you recommended." Chaban enrolled
his former colleagues from Inter TV to advise on the Regions media campaign.

Incidentally, these same colleagues were involved in schooling Regions top
five politicians for their televised debates on the 5 TV Kanal on March 19,

According to participants of this group training, Pual Manafort and Philip
Griffin were present in the room. To prepare Mykola Azarov, Rayisa
Bohatyryova, Borys Kolesnykov, Yevhen Kushnaryov and Taras Chornovil, a
special team role-play was conducted.

"They gave us a ball; we had to throw it to whoever we wanted to speak. It
did not matter what we spoke about - it could be any absurd idea. What
mattered was our readiness to react to any attacks by our opponents.

The training was supervised by a lady, a colleague of Chaban. In addition to
verbal battles, participants were trained to show proper emotions on their

"Azarov was bad news. He is very reserved, although a high-octane person
emotionally. When asked to mime a specific emotion, he would ignore the
instructions or even become slightly angry. But in general, the spirit in
the class was very friendly. We discussed even minor details, like what to
wear for the debates.

The deceased Yevhen Kuchmaryov proposed to put on jeans and sweaters.
After several hours of training, the Regions politicians could pretty easily
engage in debates and the intervals between their answers considerably

Interestingly, ordinary campaign workers didn't have a chance to communicate
with the American spin-doctors: "Heads of campaign groups frequently
referred to the Americans, but unlike the Russians, the Americans didn't run
any seminars or workshops for ordinary campaigners," one of the lawmakers
says. The majority of deputies, including even VIP-campaigners, had never
seen the Americans, he adds.

"This is another proof that the Americans were not directly involved in
running the election campaign," Anton Pryhodsky says jokingly. "Otherwise,
they would have seen the Americans. You have seen the main headquarters,
VIP-campaigners, regional staffs, but you haven't seen any American

Although the advice by Americans had a substantial impact on election
campaigning, they didn't take part in day-to-day management. We are quite
satisfied with the contribution they made to the party performance. They
introduced theoretical and practical transparency in our approaches to
campaign strategies. (PART II)
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
By Mustafa Nayem for Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian) PART III
Ukrayinska Pravda, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #833, Article 7, (in English)
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, April 23, 2007

It is definitely not easy to assess the true impact the American
spin-doctors had on the Regions 2006 election campaign. Especially since
the role they played in the party is far from clear.

Their recommendations on how to run the campaign clearly indicate that Paul
Manafort and his partners became cat's paws in the Regions internal
wrangling between two centers of influence - Rinat Akhmetov and Viktor
Yanukovych, who are involved in a so far mild confrontation with each other.

Surprisingly, the Americans threw their weight behind the party strategy
line drawn by Rinat Akhmetov. The Donbas tycoon was opposed to joining the
Socialists and Communists to form the Viktor Yanukovych Bloc to run in the
2006 elections, despite the arguments by political analysts and Regions
opponents at the start of the campaign that the bloc would be a good

Akhmetov, however, was well aware that creating a personalized bloc would
dent his clout in the party. Accordingly, the Americans and campaign chief
Vasyl Dzharty went out of their way to hype the party's profile, basing
their strategies on combining Viktor Yanukovych's image with this of the

Until late October 2006, the Regions were actively promoting a united
Regions-based opposition bloc, with the openly pro-Russian Natalya Vitrenko
Bloc and marginalized pro-Kuchma SDPU (united).

According to some sources, the plans to set up a united opposition spurred
SDPU(u) into creating the Ne Tak bloc that had to play a major role in the
proposed united opposition. Ne Tak's agenda was actually a replica of Region's
election platform.

While Vitrenko was cold-shouldered in late summer of 2005 by Yanukovych,
talks with SDPU(u) went on till late October, with the Regions' leader
noticeably patting the back of SDPU(u) and Ne Tak.

Meanwhile, Rinat Akhmetov's insiders indicated that he was strongly opposed
to cooperation with SDPU(u). Akhmetov allegedly said that entering in a
coalition with SDPU(u) would mean that the Regions would have to share power
and posts with people who cannot be trusted.

Akhmetov is convinced that he is the opposite of Hryhory Surkis [a big
businessman and SDPU(u) heavyweight - Transl]. "In private conversations
Akhmetov openly praises his relationships with the owners of the Industrial
Union of Donbas Vitaly Hajduk and Serhy Taruta, saying they were fair and

On the contrary, his relationships with Pinchuk, Surkis and Hryhoryshyn
[Ukrainian tycoons - Transl.] were very unsatisfactory," an Akhmetov insider

This time, the advice of Paul Manafort and Philip Griffin again surprisingly
echoed Akhmetov's vision. "They pooh-poohed entering in a coalition with any
parties, insisting the SDPU(u) be kept at arm's length."

"I don't know who was behind it, Akhmetov or Kolesnykov, but Manafort came
up with a very appealing and seemingly valid scenario. I was witness to a
conversation between Manafort and Yanukovych with the former trying to bring
it home to Yanukovych that in the West he is associated with Kuchma and that
if now he joined forces with Medvedchuk and Surkis it would bring a total
failure," a source close to the Region's leader told me.

At the same time, campaign staff leaders didn't even bother to get any
public opinion polls on the likely performance of a united opposition bloc
in the elections, some 2006 election campaign members admitted.

Early November, Viktor Yanukovych was forced to backtrack, declaring at the
Region's so-called technical convention that the party will go it alone in
the elections. The Americans openly sided with Rinat Akhmetov in the wake of
the parliamentary elections.

In June 2006, when the talks on the creation of the Orange coalition came to
a stalemate, the likely wedding between the Regions and Our Ukraine was
actively supported by Rayisa Bohatyryova, one of Akhmetov's most trusted
insiders. Indicating his moderate stand, Akhmetov spoke approvingly of
Yushchenko in his private comments.

He praised the propriety of a union with OU openly during the festivities to
mark his soccer team's 70 anniversary. Meanwhile, Viktor Yanukovych and his
team were neutral and openly reluctant to comment on the likelihood of the
proposed coalition

Again, the American spin-doctors found themselves on the same side of the
fence with Akhmetov. According to some lawmakers, the Americans believed
the union with OU would be the most optimum decision for the party, viewing
talks with the Socialists and Communists as a stand-by arrangement.

The contract with Davis, Manafort & Freeman was extended by the Regions
after the 2006 elections. The bulk of the American team stayed in Ukraine
for a month and a half in the wake of the election, then their number was
reduced, with only a few left to counsel the Regions till the end of 2006.
And only in late February an 8-strong team of spin-doctors that worked for
the party in 2006 came back.

After Yanukovych had assumed office, the main efforts of his spin-doctors
were focused on creating a positive image for him in the USA and Europe.
According to some sources, the Americans played a leading role in preparing
Yanukovych interviews in foreign publications.

Paul Manafort and his partners definitely deserve credit for significantly
sugarcoating Yanukovych's rhetoric as regards cooperation of Ukraine with
NATO and EU. The Ukrainian premier now frequently refers to his country
as a bridge between the West and East.

Whereas Viktor Yanukovych has earlier argued that Ukraine's entry into NATO
was premature, now he does not evade the topic. He even speaks about
enhanced cooperation with the alliance.

According to our sources, Manafort had drawn up a list of topics recommended
for discussion during Yanukovych's visit to the USA late 2006. Regarding his
relationships with Yushchenko, the Americans advised him to keep saying at
every opportunity,"

"I'm no opponent or rival of Yushchenko. I do not intend to humiliate or
hurt Yushchenko, we are playing each other softly. We cannot, however,
demand that the president do things he cannot do. My objective is to cover
Yushchenko's weak spots.

I want the US government to persuade Yushchenko that the Americans are
interested in a dialog between the Ukrainian president and premier. I'll
spare no efforts to have Our Ukraine in the government coalition."

In addition, the spin-doctors recommended Yanukovych to emphasize, while in
the US, his vision of Ukraine-NATO relations, saying "Ukraine is currently
cooperating with NATO, maintaining an enhanced dialog. At the same time,
Ukraine is not after immediate entry in the alliance. When Ukraine gets an
invitation to join, the people will have the final say in a referendum."

In fact, such position is a clear manipulation on the part of the
spin-doctors, because a country gets an invitation to access NATO only after
it has embarked on an action membership plan. It was precisely Yanukovych
who had refused to accept the membership plan in the fall of 2006 during his
Brussels visit.

It is also clear that, given the specifics of Davis, Manafort & Freeman,
Inc., its experts are actively lobbying for the present government in
business circles in the USA and EU. Nowadays, Western politicians are more
willing to meet with the Ukrainian premier than three years ago.

Then, the second wave of Yanukovych face-lifting was launched in the West's
media focusing on democratic reforms in Ukraine, with an accent almost in
every planted article on radical changes involving the former presidential
candidate Viktor Yanukovych and his Regions party.

Over the past year, under watchful eyes of his American advisors, the
profiles of Yanukovych and Regions have acquired a new and unquestionably
positive shine. It cannot be ruled out that Ukraine's democratic reforms and
economic growth will be soon associated by West's politicians and
businessmen with the Regions and its leaders.

At first glance, it looks improbable due to high popularity of Orange
leaders in Europe and the USA. But it should be taken into account that
Ukraine is now much more represented in the West by the government, not
the presidential administration or opposition.

Such scenario suits best the Regions big business, primarily the owner of
the System Capital Management Rinat Akhmetov.

As the American spin-doctors have originally counseled SCM Holdings on
preparations for the placement of their shares on West's stock exchanges, it
can well be that Davis, Manafort & Freeman are part of a bigger business

P.S. The Regions refused to comment on the facts presented in this article.
Their representative responded by saying "It is unethical to ask about the
cost of US spin-doctors' services when the country is in turmoil." For the
record, the information on any party war chest expenditure must be open,
the law says. (PART III)
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
NOTE: Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
Ukraine & Poland granted the right to host the Euro-2012

Mirror-Weekly, #15 (644) Kyiv, Ukraine, 21-27 April 2007

Ukraine has yet another chance (maybe the last) -- a unique opportunity to
show its consistency to the world. It has five years to cope with a
multitude of problems that have been weighing heavily for the last fifteen
years. In all these years, the cleverest Ukrainian brains have been unable
to work out a consistent strategy for uniting the nation.

This country still lives without its Ukrainian dream. By far, politicians
have only offered remedies for dissention that have only aggravated this
disease. It looks like the strategy and the dream began to take shape on
April 18 in Cardiff, Wales.

Last Wednesday, eight of eleven members of the UEFA executive board created
a sensation: they granted Ukraine and Poland the right to host the Euro-2012

In the summer of 2012, Kyiv, Warsaw, Donetsk, Wroclaw, Lviv, Poznan,
Dnipropetrovsk, and Gdansk will receive millions of fans from all corners of
the continent and the rest of the world.

In a long and hard marathon competition, the two Slavic countries went ahead
of Azerbaijan, Greece, Romania, Russia, and Turkey, and in the final round
they bested Italy and the Hungary/Croatia tandem.

Italy was seen as the favorite, although its chances were seriously
undermined by the recent corruption scandal and fan clashes.

It is no small wonder the Coriere della Sera gave a reserved comment,
calling the UEFA boards decision somewhat unexpected. UEFA President
Michel Platini called Ukraine and Poland's success a great victory of Eastern
Europe, saying they won by right. Figaro warned, however, that the hardest
part for the eastern nations is only just beginning.

The newspaper reminded the hosts of the Euro-2012 soccer finals,Poland and
Ukraine have to renovate four stadiums each, reconstruct their road
infrastructure, expand their hotel chains, and start a lot of construction
from scratch. These are tremendous tasks.

It should be noted that these tasks are even more difficult for the
Ukrainians than the Poles, which will rely on a more stable economy and can
count on some backup from the European Union.

The news came to Ukraine as a big surprise: most soccer fans had not even
dreamed of watching the great sport event live! They are even happier,
knowing that the Ukraine national team will play in the finals as the host,
without having to go through the qualification ordeals.

Not only are fans happy at least because this is a rare opportunity to be
proud of the much degraded country. The news inspired optimism in those
who still believed in an idea that could reconcile leaders and mend the
dissented nation together.

The organization and conducting of a good continental championship is a
task that takes a lot of joint efforts. Residents of all parts of Ukraine,
supporters and opponents of the government, and all leaders regardless of
political colors are equally eager to host such a prestigious forum.

This is any host natural desire - to rise to the occasion. There are purely
pragmatic reasons. This is the last lucky chance for Ukraine to regain
Europe's interest and attention after it squandered the great opportunities
opened by the Orange Revolution.

This is a chance to convince disillusioned European politicians that we can
live up to promises if we build and rebuild what we pledged to build and
rebuild by 2012.

We still can convince disillusioned European businessmen that it is possible
to do civilized business in Ukraine, that our government can create an
agreeable and safe investment environment, that Ukrainian entrepreneurs can
be reliable partners, and that Ukrainian officials can make do without

This is a fantastic opportunity to have a hand in a large-scale
international business project as a partner of an EU member country. No
lobbying could have helped. Football did. There were many factors behind
Ukraine's victory in this competition, but one is undeniable: colossal
personal efforts exerted by Football Federation President Grigory Surkis.

It was his zeal and his fanatical desire to make Ukraine the Euro-2012 host
that overcame the skepticism of European football officials.

Probably, he was the only one who believed, and even those who disliked him
before (not without reason) give credit where credit is due. And if
Euro-2012 does become a turning point in Ukraine history, many might temper
justice with mercy and gratitude to him.

There are good reasons to expect improvements in this country. National
Olympic Committee President Sergey Bubka noted justly that the UEFs historic
decision would not only make Ukraine more authoritative in the sports world,
but would also spur its political and economic development. His phrase,in
five years we will achieve what we should have achieved in fifteen years,
was quoted by all leading news agencies.

Yes, Bubka is right: within five years Ukraine has to do what it has hardly
been able to do since independence in 1991. Otherwise, it is sure to lose
the trust of the European community for good.

Ukrainian political leaders and moneybags are now bound to do for their own
international reputation what they have been reluctant to do for their own

So far, Ukraine's economic development has been like the hurdles. Year after
year, private business has been carving its way through the high walls built
by bureaucrats indolence, obtuseness, and greediness. In sectors where
authorities keep business under total control, Ukraine lags decades behind
free economies.

The simplest and obvious example is transportation problems. Many residents
of Kyiv say,I just can't believe we're going to host a European championship
And I can't believe we're ever going to have good roads

Even Kyiv roads that leave much to be desired, seem like autobahns for
residents of other Ukrainian cities. There is so much to build: modern
airports, road junctions, tunnels, overpasses and underpasses, and thousands
of parking lots.

Ukrainian authorities must be aware of the transportation problem to which
they have turned a blind eye so far. They do need to look at this country
from the eyes of Europeans. However, they are hardly able to see the real
scope of this problem.

Here is an example. German roads are reputed as the best in the world.
Nevertheless, in preparation for the 2006 World Cup finals, the German
government spent 4.15 billion to improve the transportation system!

There is another incentive money. Soccer championships are like a big
lottery in which the odds of grabbing the jackpot are directly proportional
to the number of tickets bought.

A European championship is the best way to draw investment, a perfect
stimulus for expanding the advertising market, and a strong impetus for
developing various businesses, especially tourism, hotels, and catering

Here are some more figures, reflecting the scale of financial input into the
2006 World Cup finals in Germany. Twelve stadiums were built or
reconstructed. The Munich stadium alone cost as much as 300M. All-in-all,
1.5 billion was spent on building, reconstructing, and renovating sports

The sum spent on improving the water supply system amounted to millions of
euros. (Doesn't this figure send shivers down the spines of Ukrainian city
mayors? Especially the mayor of Lviv where the water supply system is badly
dilapidated. Are they ready to cope with such a tremendous job in five

Every sixth German company saw a substantial increase in net profit. The
highest profits flowed into the pockets of owners of cafes, restaurants,
bars, hotels, and souvenir shops where tourists left more than 900M.

The World Cup finals gave Germany 40,000 jobs. Six national and fifteen
international sponsors gave the country more than 750M. German companies
paid 13M to pose as exclusive sponsors and foreign companies paid 45M.

Ad placement prices soared: TV companies charged up to 32,000 for a
30-second spot during a live broadcast (whereas the standard price is
between 6,000 and 7,000).

According to expert estimates, total financial input into Germany's economy
exceeded 10 billion, and it is going to feel the positive effects of the
2006 championship for the next fifteen years.

Of course, Ukraine is not Germany and a European championship is not a world
championship, but the above figures give a clear picture of the input/profit

Is Ukraine ready to bear this brunt? There are at least two favorable
circumstances. Firstly, almost all Ukrainian billionaires except Viktor
Pinchuk are presidents of football clubs.

Rinat Akhmetov, Sergey Taruta, Igor Kolomoysky, and Alexander Yaroslavsky
know what has to be done, possess enough financial resources, and are
willing to invest them. Secondly, all the topmost officials are very
enthusiastic about this excellent opportunity, which can encourage them to
act TOGETHER, at least on this job.

The most evident problem stadiums looks quite soluble. The government has
already allocated funds for the reconstruction of the Olympic Stadium in
Kyiv. Akhmetov is building a modern stadium in Donetsk (worth approximately

At Kolomoyskys initiative, another modern stadium is under construction in
Dnipropetrovsk. Next year, reconstruction is going to start on the Ukraina
stadium in Lviv.

Yaroslavsky has invested in the reconstruction and re-equipment of the
Metallist stadium in Kharkiv. Funds are being raised for renovating the
football arena in Odesa.

Kyiv Mayor Leonid Chernovetsky made a surprising statement, promising to
outstrip Akhmetov with a brand new $200M stadium in the capital city and
making experts wonder whether Ukrainian moneybags understand what exactly
they should do and how.

Experts are sure that the costs could be a lot lower. They can build
stadiums with marble walls, but what difference will it make to a
Portuguese, Dutch, or Italian tourist if he has rusty water in his hotel
room or has to roam the city for hours, looking for a place to park his car?

The list of problems Ukraine has to handle would take pages and they demand
quick and cost-effective solutions. Sergey Taruta, the owner of Donetsk
Metallurgy, has a rational suggestion. He proposes to involve experienced
Western companies that would:

- conduct audits;
- help with drawing up tentative budgets and setting quality criteria;
- control the quality of operations;
- pose as credit grantors.

Such a model would:
- make future tenders transparent;
- ensure proper quality standards;
- minimize interference from authorities, protectionism, and lobbyism;
- practically eliminate embezzlement.

Taruta is convinced that only national companies should act as contractors.
For example, it is possible to create a powerful private company. With the
help of investors, support from the government, and supervision of Western
specialists, it would build quality roads for Euro-2012.

After the championship the company would continue to build quality roads
across Ukraine. One might call this project utopian, but didn't the idea of
hosting Euro-2012 seem utopian?

Meanwhile, Ukraine's top leaders are already calculating their future
profits. President Yushchenko expects about $3 billion. The government
specifies $3.2 billion, of which one-fifth will go to the national budget in
VAT deductions.

Net profit is expected to exceed $800M and each of the 400,000 tourists is
expected to spend $400 in three weeks during the championship events.

At the same time, planned expenditures announced by the government look
unsubstantiated. According to a tentative estimate published by the Justice
Ministry, an equivalent of $240M will be provided by the government and
$3,960M will come from extra-budgetary sources.

Some experts say unofficially that these figures are spun out of thin air.
Others say that the estimate was drawn up by old Soviet methods, without
considering the experience of the recent continental and world

The document leaves too many open questions. How much will be spent on
renovating the transportation and communication infrastructures? How much
will be spent on transitions for travel agencies?

How much will be spent on retraining hotel personnel and teaching police
officers foreign languages? How does the government plan to develop the
hotel business?

Some officials have announced plans to build a dozen five-star hotels, but
where are they going to accommodate hundreds of thousands of other
tourists? In refurbished suburban hostels and sanatoria?

There are serious apprehensions about the disgraceful repetition of
Eurovision 2005 in Kyiv, when guests had to live in tarpaulin tents and use
wooden johns or go in the bushes. With such an approach, Ukraine is in
for a global scandal.

Ukrainian authorities will not only have to change roads and sewers. They
will have to change their way of thinking. They have too little time - just
five years, and they must know that there will never be another chance.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

PRESENTATION: By Oksana Zabuzhko (in Ukrainian)
At the Conference "New Ukraine in New Europe"
Translated by Sofiya Skachko, Ukrayins'ka Pravda On-line
Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, April 15, 2007

The pain and frustration expressed by the author in this article is very
real. However, when the day comes that Ukraine has a Holodomor monument
(for its millions who died) anything like the Vimy Ridge monument erected by
Canada (for its 3,598 soldiers who died April 9 - 12, 1917) is when the
world will begin to fully understand why Ukraine does not have the "culture"
which the author seeks.

Ukraine has nothing to be ashamed of. No country in Europe, if not the
world, has gone through what Ukraine has gone through. Ukraine is brave
and she is a miracle.

My deepest conviction is that numerous Ukrainian problems, connected with
the indeterminate status we have at the international level, are caused by
one very sad fact: contemporary Ukraine has no culture.

Fifteen years of independence haven't been enough for the Ukrainian state to
grasp why a state needs a culture, and what sort of whim compels even the
poorer countries to 'turn out their pockets' only to invest in cultural
development. Why on earth would they do it?

However, the answer lies on the surface. The 'trademark' of any country is
not its political order, nor the faces of its leaders, nor even, however
paradoxical this may sound, its economic prosperity and well-being.

Bah, I have to say that even its sports achievements ain't it, even though
they are an excellent tool to win fans' dedication.

The trademark of any country that has the most direct and intimate influence
on the foreign audience, touching them on the most personal and subconscious
level, is its national culture.

Chopin has always been and still remains the trademark of Poland in the
world, Finland has Sibelius, Sweden has Pippi Longstocking and Carlson That
Lives on the Roof. These examples are taken at random, since every "mature"
country, no matter how big or small, has its "cultural passports."

These are the most delicate and subtle - and oh how powerful! - "first call
signs", that a country sends out into the world, bringing about sometimes
barely conscious attraction and trust towards itself. They prepare the
ground in the mind of every and any foreigner for an a priori positive image
of a country.

As long as Ukraine fails to send these cultural call signs, it will always
be a dark horse for the international community, who will remain weary about
what to expect from it.

One can endlessly visit all kinds of summits and symposia, wear Armani and
Brioni, memorize the names of the delegates in order to avoid mispronouncing
them at the negotiation table, and assure everyone that we are nice and
honest, and we should be received everywhere - however, if we don't have
these recognizable trademarks as our herald, it's difficult to be perceived
in a positive light.

Let's not forget: over a hundred years Tolstoy and Dostoevsky have been
Russia's trademark, and to a large extent all of the Bolshevik revolution
was mediated in the consciousness of western political and intellectual
elite through Tolstoy and Dostoevsky as the "guides" to the "mysterious
Russian soul".

Lenin, Bolsheviks, even Chekists headed by Dzerzhinsky were perceived
from behind the iron curtain not as political criminals, who were
liquidating every living soul, including the "Russian" one, but as heroes
from Russian classics, anxious to "save the world" - and this had the most
direct impact on the international success of Stalinist politics.

It's that level of influence that allowed NKVD to recruit the Cambridge Five
headed by Tim Philby only based on their romantic motivation, rather than
mercenary interest.

I pass in silence over the whole army of duped Frenchmen, including Sartre &
Co. that for decades were providing USSR with a rosy free publicity.

The Dostoevsky-syndrom in the choice of western affiliations towards Soviet
Union was always present. There is a plethora of literature on the subject,
which is, unfortunately, barely known in Ukraine.

Alas, for lack of knowledge of these things makes it hard to estimate
realistically the meaning of country's cultural image in the world and how
well it works even in the most pragmatic and cynical contexts.

Those, who in the recent times took a Polish airlines transatlantic flight,
should remember a 10-minute TV presentation of Poland.

Poland begins with Chopin, the sounds of his music accompanies the changing
images on the screen: faces of eminent Poles, Nobel laureates, including
Maria Sklodowska-Curie, Czeslaw Milosz, Wislawa Szymborska; wonderfully
montaged landscapes, and in between you are unobtrusively told about the
modern achievements in the spheres of education, science, technology and

Chopin's music remains the emotional background, playing the role of the
emotional "greeting" the country sends to the world, and owing to which the
world enthusiastically cognizes and recognizes the country.

When in 1991 Ukraine appeared on the world map, it had no recognizable
signposts of the kind, so the reaction of the international community was
legitimate - quoting Mayakovsky: "Where are they from, and what are these
geographical novelties?" [1]

I'll make a wild guess and say if at the time Lesya Ukrainka and Mykhailo
Kotsiubynskyi had been known in the world to the extent Tolstoy and
Dostoevsky are, our country needn't have given up its nuclear weapons. And
this is not just a metaphor.

I will never forget one conversation I had with the editor of the Wall
Street Journal Europe. That man had a chance to see the exhibition of works
by the Boichukisty group at the Metropolitan, or rather what's left of them.

After that for the period of two months his whole family were struck by the
deep sadness, caused by a shocking discovery: that such an astounding
avant-garde school, which in fact was way ahead the work of David Alfaro
Siqueiros, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, all this bunch that would later become
the trademark of Mexico, was completely annihilated - not only were the
artists shot, but their works had been destroyed as well.

This very editor was ready to grant Ukraine forgiveness for all its future
errors in domestic and foreign policy, and offer all Ukrainians his
understanding and sympathy, for their being a strategic victim of the XXth
century totalitarianism.

One single episode from our cultural history was enough for him to see
Ukraine through different eyes. One can cite a large number of such stories.

I have to state the sad fact that the Ukrainian state has not taken
advantage of the opportunities to present its culture in this most effective
way on the institutional level, as its landmark.

And it has had enough of these opportunities, especially following the
events of the Orange revolution, when the whole world took a serious
interest in Ukraine, when it opened all the doors leading to the world
cultural mainstream and shouted "Welcome!"

There was a chance to make Ukraine a guest country at the Frankfurt Book
Fair in 2008, there was a similar invitation from Leipzig Book Fair in 2006,
which our state institutions pooh-poohed in the most careless way, just like
other similar occasions, only because the responsible officials (responsible
to who? what for?) simply did not understand what this "export of culture"
is and what to serve it with.

They failed to understand that it is the clever politics of cultural export
that integrates a country into European information space much faster and
much more efficiently than all the round table talks.

Every breakthrough of the Ukrainian culture into European space has been
carried out by the use of guerrilla tactics - by-passing all the state

I myself belong to this guerrilla group of those who have successfully
"integrated into Europe" within the limits of an individual creative
biography, who have made a name for themselves, and personally I ask for
one single thing from the Ukrainian state - to just let me be. But it
continuously jumps at me from behind like a devil from a box, and each time
it puts me to shame.

They translate, publish and stage your works, they give you awards, you go
to presentations, meet the readers, journalists, give interviews, start
telling about the bulk of culture behind you, what tradition you represent,
who were your literary predecessors and what contribution they made into the
treasury of human creation - and you see how the eyes of your interlocutors
widen and widen.

Finally, I can only quote one Swedish journalist, that told me during one
interview: "I'm really sorry, but if I'm not mistaken, your country seems
to say very little about itself, it provides little information about what's
interesting about it."

And I, humbly lowering my eyes, mumble: you're right, but you know,
unfortunately, no experience, a young country only starting to learn... How
long does it need to learn, I wonder?

Here is another telling example. My Czech translator, working on the book
"Oh Sister, My Sister," revealed in the novel "The Alien Woman" hidden
allusions to Lesya Ukrainka's drama "Cassandra". The translator came to
Ukraine on a research trip, went to a book-store and asked for "Cassandra"
by Lesya Ukrainka.

She was told at this point that she must have confused something, for they
have heard in the book-store who Lesya Ukrainka is, but this Kalandra is an
unheard-of person.

It's hard to imagine the cultural shock of a European person, who comes to
Ukraine, to its capital, which has almost a European look to it, there are
more expensive cars in the streets than in any capital of a European
country, the cafes are crowded, at a first glance everything looks decent,
even quite glamorous - but then you enter a book store and it turns out that
an "almost European" country simply does not have national classics on sale.

The effect is almost the same as if a person opened the front door of
Radisson hotel and slumped down into a cesspit. One big Potemkin village.

I support wholeheartedly the pathos of the statement that Ukraine is part of
Europe. Provided we know our history, our achievements, then no doubt, based
on its origins, its legacy and its psychological matrix our country is a
part of European cultural continent.

However, Ukraine itself does not know about this. An average Ukrainian
citizen, a "layperson", knows poorly his or her history, and practically
knows nothing about Ukrainian cultural heritage.

It's very difficult to "integrate" anywhere, if we ourselves are not
culturally "integrated". The entity that is deprived of historical memory,
lacks self-understanding and has only a vague idea of the point of reference
or criteria for comparison, is difficult to "integrate".

The incident with my translator concluded with me presenting her with my own
little volume with Lesya Ukrainka's "Cassandra." Recently I got a note that
she is finishing the translation of this drama and leading the negotiations
with the Prague theater, which has expressed eagerness to create a stage
production of "Cassandra."

I really hope that afterwards - at least in the city quarter, where
"Cassandra" is played on stage - the announcements on the doors of some
houses saying something in the vein of "dogs and Ukrainians not wanted" will

After all the image of Ukraine in Europe should not be shaped only by
Ostarbeiter and female sex workers, but also by the realization that this
country had high culture in the past and is capable of exporting it.

Sometimes it seems to me we're back in 1920s, in the times sarcastically
described by Tychyna: "For God's sake, pull up your cuffs, tell them
something: they're asking if we have culture!" [2]

Indeed "they" ask, but it's "we" who have the task. The completion of this
task depends on how we can answer "them", and if we can take on this

Without exaggeration it's the question of our country's survival in the
foreseeable future, - if we really want to integrate into Europe and become
a part of the civilized world. -30-
[1] Mayakovsky Vladimir "Soviet Passport," translated into English by
Herbert Marshall;
[2] Tychyna Pavlo "A Test", translated into English by Michael M. Naydan
/The Complete Early Poetry Collections of Pavlo Tychyna, Litopys Publishers,
2000, p.251 -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
February-March 2007

Dr. Irina Paliashvili, President, Russian-Ukrainian Legal Group, P.A.
Kiev, Ukraine; Washington, D.C., USA, April 20, 2007

The "Chronicle of Recent Developments in Ukrainian Legislation" is a monthly
summary of the most important legislative developments in Ukraine in the
area of business and corporate law, and is prepared, published and
distributed by the Russian-Ukrainian Legal Group as a free service. .

The Chronicle is distributed only via e-mail, in English and Russian, by the
middle of each month, and will summarize the legislative developments of the
previous month.

The Chronicle is prepared in an effort to capture news of greatest interest
to the widest cross-section of our firm's clientele, without restating all
legislation published and drowning our readers in too much information.

Due to the winnowing process necessary when preparing the Chronicle, we
cannot and do not guarantee that it contains a comprehensive list of all
Ukrainian legislation relevant to your business.

Finally, please bear in mind that this summary does not constitute legal
advice; it is an informational service only. Should you wish to receive
further information or actual legal advice, please do not hesitate email us
February-March 2007
1) National Bank of Ukraine Resolution No 31 "On Approving the Procedure for
Building up Reserves for Securities Operations at Ukrainian Banks" dated 2
February 2007. The Procedure gives the terms and conditions for calculating
and building up securities reserves. The Procedure took effect on 16 March

In addition to the Procedure, the NBU approved amendments to the
"Instruction on the Procedure for Regulating Banking Activities in Ukraine"
pertaining to the size of a bank's capital required by law. These amendments
shall take effect on 5 May 2007.

2) Decision of the Fund for Guaranteeing the Deposits of Individuals No. 1
"On Increasing the Amount of Compensation for Deposits" dated 14 February

This Decision increases the amount of individuals' deposits, including
interests on them, guaranteed by the government against a bank's default.
Deposits are now guaranteed up to 25,000 UAH in value.

The Decision also covers depositors of JSCB Rostok Bank, JSB Allonzh, JSCB
Premierbank, JSCB Intercontinentbank, OJSC Joint-Stock Commercial Bank
Garant and LLC Kiev Universal Bank, each of which is currently undergoing
liquidation. The Decision took effect on its publication date.
3) State Commission for Regulation of the Financial Services Markets
Ordinance No. 6817 "On Approving the Procedure for Insurers Publicizing
Information about Insurance Contracts Effected within the System of
Non-governmental Pension Insurance" dated 15 February 2007.

This Ordinance establishes the procedure for insurers to publish information
about life pension insurance contracts, disability, and death benefits
insurance contracts of participants in non-governmental insurance funds
effected within the system of non-governmental pension insurance.

The Procedure also requires that such information be published annually by 1
June of the year following the accounting year, as part of the insurers'
annual financial reporting. This information may be either published in
periodicals, distributed as a separate printed publication, or posted on the
insurer's website (if available). The Procedure shall take effect on 1
January 2008.
4) Ministry of Finance Order No. 292 "On Adopting the Procedure for Approval
of Issuance of Export Licenses for Goods Specified in Schedule 1 to Cabinet
of Ministers of Ukraine Resolution No. 1852 dated 29 December 2006" dated 28
February 2007.

The Order establishes the procedure for issuing licenses for the export of
precious metals, waste and scrap, as well as for precious and semiprecious
stones. The Procedure took effect on 27 March 2007.
5) State Commission for Regulation of the Financial Services Markets
Ordinance No. 6882 "On Approving Amendments to the Regulations on
Financial Rules for the Activities of Credit Unions and Joint Credit Unions"
dated 1 March 2007.

The amendments concern the refunding of fees and dues, paid by credit union
members, upon termination of membership, as well as for the build-up of
credit union capital.

The amendments also require that separate rules for financial activities
shall be established for each management regime group into which credit
unions are divided, depending on the risk inherent in their activities, the
volume and the nature of transactions, and the existence of separate
subdivisions. The Ordinance shall take effect on 1 January 2008.

6) Ministry of Finance of Ukraine Order No. 255 "On Adopting the Forms for
Documents Used to Grant Medium-Term Interest-Free Loans" dated 23
February 2007.

This Order approves a model Medium-Term Interest-Free Loan Contract,
Medium-Term Interest-Free Loan Application Form, Medium-Term Interest-Free
Loan Sum Registration Form, and Medium-Term Interest-Free Loan Order to the
State Treasury of Ukraine. The Order took effect on 3 April 2007.

7) State Commission for Regulation of the Financial Services Markets
Ordinance No. 6793 "On Approving the Procedure for Confirmation by
Reinsurance Brokers of Reinsurance Conducted by a Non-Resident Ceding
Insurer, the Financial Reliability (Stability) Rating of which Meets the
Established Requirements" dated 1 February 2007.

The Ordinance applies to reinsurance brokers, including permanent
representative offices of non-resident brokers, through which or through an
intermediary of which resident insurers enter into agreements with
non-resident reinsurers.

Reinsurance brokers must submit information about reinsurance conducted
by non-resident reinsurers, the financial reliability (stability) of which
meets the Requirements for rating the financial reliability (stability) of
non-resident insurers and reinsurers. The Ordinance took effect on 27
February 2007.

8) State Commission for Regulation of the Financial Services Markets
Ordinance No. 6832 "On Approving the Procedure for Preparing and Submitting
Reports by Credit Institutions to the State Commission for Regulation of the
Financial Services Markets of Ukraine" dated 19 February 2007.

The Ordinance establishes the Procedure for credit institutions, including
state-owned financial institutions[RHS1] , to prepare and submit reports, as
well as the general requirements for filling out accounting data forms and
the terms for their submission. The Procedure took effect on 27 March 2007.
9) Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Resolution No. 454 "On Introducing
Amendments to the List of Products for Medical Purposes, Transactions
Involving the Sale of Which are Exempt from VAT" dated 14 March 2007.
The Resolution's title is self-explanatory. The amendments took effect on 15
March 2007 [RHS2] .

10) State Tax Administration of Ukraine ("STA") Letter No. 2131/7/16 - 1417
"On Considering a Letter" dated 5 February 2007. The Letter addresses
certain issues with respect to VAT calculation and payment, in particular,
the origin of the right to a tax credit.

11) STA Letter No. 2230/7/16 - 1517 "On Providing Explanations" dated 6
February 2007. The Letter explains the use of treasury bills by taxpayers
when importing goods into the customs territory of Ukraine.

12) Supreme Rada of Ukraine Committee on Finance and Banking Activities
Letter No. 06-10/10-38 "On Taxation of Individuals' Income" dated 12
February 2007. The Letter interprets the rights of individual income
taxpayers to tax credits when paying interest on a mortgage.

13) STA Order No. 50 "On Approval of a Tax Clarification Reflecting on the
Application of Provisions of Article 43 of the Law of Ukraine "On the 2007
State Budget of Ukraine" dated 5 February 2007. The Order explains how to
apply Article 43 of the Law of Ukraine "On the 2007 State Budget of Ukraine".

Ordinarily, when the legal address of a taxpaying business changes, certain
mandatory taxes and levies payable upon registration shall continue to be
paid at the place of previous registration till the end of the then-current
budget period.

The budget period is defined as a calendar year starting on 1 January of
each year and finishing on 31 December of the same year. The clarification
lists certain categories of taxpayers to which Article 43 of the Law does
not apply. -30-
The Chronicle of Recent Developments in Ukrainian Legislation, is a
monthly summary of the most important legislative developments in Ukraine
in the areas of business and corporate law. We greatly appreciate your
interest in the Chronicle and welcome any comments or suggestions you might
have.All messages should be sent via e-mail to, Website:
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Ukrainian foreign minister made serious blunders in Moscow

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Volodymyr Kravchenko
Zerkalo Nedeli, Kiev, Ukraine, in Russian 21 Apr 07, p 4
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ukraine's new and inexperienced foreign minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk
committed a serious error while on an official visit to Moscow, a well-
respected weekly has written.

His proposal to review the "big treaty" on Ukrainian-Russian friendship was
clearly inappropriate and could entail serious problems if not corrected, as
it contains clauses which Russia would probably prefer to omit in a future
"upgrade", the paper said.

The timing was extremely poor for Ukraine as it is in the midst of political
infighting at home and is weak on the international arena.

The following is the text of a report by Volodymyr Kravchenko, entitled
"Improvisation is only good in jazz", published in the Ukrainian newspaper
Zerkalo Nedeli on 21 April, subheadings have been inserted editorially:

Leaving for his first working visit to Moscow in the most democratic
manner - economy class on a numbered flight - banker, economist and now
diplomat Arseniy Yatsenyuk opened his Moscow season. Observers in Kiev
note that Yatsenyuk "looked very, very good during his first round".

In the opinion of our sources, the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry
held negotiations on a decent level with heavyweight Russian diplomats -
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Security Council
Secretary Igor Ivanov.

Yatsenyuk was able to make a good presentation of Kiev's positions in the
diplomatic sparring on such issues as demarcation of the Ukrainian-Russian
land border, economic cooperation, the Single Economic Space [of Russia,
Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus], NATO, the Dniester region and Kosovo.

Indicative is the fact that the sides practically agreed to begin
demarcation of the land-based border in the first half of this year. But the
main Ukrainian diplomat "was a bit uncertain" on the topic of the Russian
Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol.

Yatsenyuk said in Moscow that the use of Russian state symbols in Sevastopol
"is one of the last links in the chain of issues which need to be resolved
on the Black Sea Fleet". One could feel that the topic was new for him and
that he was not yet acquainted with all the nuances.
And that would not really be a big deal, if the foreign minister of Ukraine
had not voiced an unexpected proposal to his Russian counterpart - to renew
the big Ukrainian-Russian treaty.

To put it mildly, this initiative perplexed many of us journalists at
Zerkalo Nedeli, as it did many experts and people within the Ukrainian
diplomatic corps.

Earlier, Zerkalo Nedeli made the decision to not expound on a number of
blunders and diplomatic errors committed by Mr Yatsenyuk during his first
visit to Brussels.

If only because the trip to Brussels took place mere days after he was
appointed head of the Foreign Ministry. And not being a career diplomat, Mr
Yatsenyuk had a very weak understanding of the nuances of the Ukrainian
position on a number of issues.

But his get-acquainted visit to Moscow took place four weeks after being
appointed foreign minister and in this time one could have drawn some
conclusions. In particular, that improvisation is only good in jazz.

In diplomacy it is fraught with serious consequences, since the words of the
foreign minister carry special weight, and reflect the position of the

After all, the president, prime minister and head of the foreign ministry
are those persons who, according to the Venice Convention, represent a
country's official position. And that means that our partners examine what
is said at negotiations under a microscope and will not fail to take
advantage of mistakes.
The potential danger for our country that was created by Yatsenyuk's ill
considered offer to renew the "big treaty" does not lie in the idea itself.
There is no sin in giving the treaty more substance and making it more

But agreements are meant to be reviewed at the proper time. And not at times
when the position of the state on the international arena is weakened by a
permanent internal political crisis and the minister of foreign affairs is
drowning in the nuances of the issue of Ukrainian-Russian relations.

Otherwise, we will get results which are opposite to what we expect: the
experienced Russian diplomatic corps will make full use of the indeterminate
situation in our country as a lever of influence and taking into
consideration Ukrainians' interest in making an agreement, will negotiate
concessions advantageous to the Kremlin.

It is possible that Arseniy Yatsenyuk does not know this, but Russian MPs
and politicians have recently tried several times to make the treaty a card
to play in its games with Kiev.

The last time was last summer, when the [Russian] State Duma [parliament]
asked its government for information on steps to return Crimea to Russia,
since in 2007, the 10-year time frame of the treaty comes to an end.

Without doubt, the current big treaty is not perfect. But there are a number
of clauses in it which remain of fundamental importance to our country.

For example, Ukraine and Russia recognizing the territorial integrity of
each other's states and the inviolability of borders (Articles 2 and 3), as
well as the inadmissibility of using "force or the threat of force,
including economic and other methods of pressure" (Article 3).

These clauses on their own make the document a "holy cow" for Kiev. For
the basis of the political agreement is a framework document in which the
countries fix not simply declarations, but specific obligations.

And some Ukrainian experts suppose that in light of Russia's current foreign
policy, there are clauses in the treaty to which Russian diplomats would not
likely agree today. Today the Russians would probably try to change the
emphasis in favour of processes of integration.

What we have written means that Kiev does not at all intend to initiate an
"up-date" of the base treaty between Ukraine and Russia. Especially since
the 10-year period of its effect has not ended and it has not been extended.

(Under Article 39, the treaty on friendship, cooperation and partnership
between Ukraine and Russia, signed in May 1997, comes into force the day
ratification papers are exchanged. And the protocol on exchanging these
documents was only signed on 1 April 1999.

Article 40 reads that the agreement is automatically extended if neither of
the sides states at least six months before the end of the treaty in writing
that it desires to end the effect of the document.) And Yatsenyuk's proposal
is his own impromptu, initiated without consulting with experts.
Unfortunately, in Moscow the inexperienced minister's colleagues did not
point out to him that his idea was inappropriate. And Yatsenyuk managed to
repeat the topic he became enamoured of "on the expediency of updating the
big treaty": first in negotiations with Lavrov and later at the

There was enough time between these two events for the Ukrainian ambassador
or another high-ranking Ukrainian diplomat to drop his boss a hint that such
an offer was inappropriate.

By the way, the Ukrainian minister's words provoked unhidden surprise on
the part of the Russians. Some of our sources say - pleasant surprise.

It is easy to understand the Russian diplomats: the Ukrainian foreign
minister presented a gift which they were not expecting at all. It is not
surprising that they agreed to discuss this issue at future negotiations.

And here one recalls one of Oleksiy Ivchenko's first visits to Moscow as
head of Naftohaz Ukrayiny, when he suggested reviewing the terms of
supplying Russian gas to Ukraine.

At that time, the Russians could hardly believe their luck and called Kiev
for three days trying to figure out what those "cunning Ukies" had dreamed
up. We are all acutely aware of how Mr Ivchenko's proposal affected our
country in January 2006.

Of course, Mr Yatsenyuk made a serious error, one which as far as we know,
the minister has already become aware of himself and one about which he has
drawn certain conclusions.

Fortunately, this mistake can be corrected. Diplomatic experience shows that
after such sensational statements are made, diplomats' behind-the-scenes
work begins: the other side tries to find out what exactly this or that
representative of the other state meant when he made the unexpected

Is it worth taking seriously, or were these words a show of incompetence?
World practice shows that in such situations, the side which initiated the
issue either tries to forget it or puts on the brakes.

For example in our case, offering to prepare an agreement meant to develop
the current treaty on friendship, cooperation and partnership between
Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

Perhaps that exit will satisfy Moscow: difficult and strenuous work on
preparing a new basic agreement would take more than one year. And the
Russians have a presidential election looming.

So why put a mine under a bilateral agreement when there are plenty of other
problems that need to be addressed as soon as possible? -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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OxfordBusinessGroup, London, UK, Thursday, 19 April 2007

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Arseniy Yetsenyuk proposed renewing the 1997
Big Treaty with Russia, and urged for a plan of action to improve dialogue
between the two countries.

The Big Treaty refers to an agreement on friendship, cooperation and
partnership signed in 1997 for a ten-year period, which came into effect in

The statement followed a meeting between Yetsenyuk and his Russian
counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, at a time of political uncertainty in Ukraine,
due in part to the question of Ukraine's relationship with its northern

Kiev is in the middle of a familiar stand-off between President Viktor
Yuschenko, whom many consider 'pro-Western', and the parliament under
Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who is widely labeled 'pro-Russian'.

Bilateral relations have often been stormy in the years following the
break-up of the Soviet Union. Certain political factions in Ukraine have
consistently called for a deliberate weakening of ties with Russia, adopting
Western-oriented policies and neo-liberal principles.

For some Ukrainians, integration of their country into Western institutions
such as the EU and the NATO are as important for their symbolic value as
statements of independence as for their actual economic or security

Although 'pro-Russian' sentiment in Ukraine is difficult to define, ranging
from those seeking a return to rule from Moscow to those who are wary of
perceived Western meddling, there is a widespread resentment in Moscow of
Ukrainian calls for greater independence.

Russia maintains a lingering sentiment that it not only helped foster
Ukraine's development by providing heavy industrial assets to Ukraine during
Soviet times, but that the country continues to subsidise Ukraine with cheap
energy resources.

Indeed, the question of energy is one of the most politically fraught. The
relationship reached a low-ebb in January 2006, when the two neighbours
were embroiled in a dispute over gas.

Russia accused Ukraine of siphoning off natural gas bound for Europe, in
response to Moscow's halt of deliveries to Ukraine. The cut-off stemmed
from Ukraine's unwillingness to pay higher tariffs.

Many, at the time, including Yuschenko, accused Russia of using energy
prices as a political tool to influence parliamentary elections in March of
that year. Though direct Russian influence was not apparent in the 2006
polls, detractors argue that the gas crisis was nonetheless beneficial to
pro-Russian parties from the East of Ukraine.

Another politically charged issue is the continued Russian naval presence in
the port of Sevastopol in Crimea. Under the 1997 agreement, the Russia's
Black Sea fleet is allowed to remain in the port until 2017.

In the wake of the gas crisis, Ukraine abruptly raised the rent charged to
the Russian government for usage of the port. In response, the Russian
government banned the import of Ukrainian dairy and meat products, claiming
food safety concerns.

Having said that, the relationship between Russia and Ukraine appears to
have evolved significantly since the 2006 dispute, as evidenced by the
decreased Russian 'presence' in the current stand-off.

Though some hard-line neo-imperialists in the Russian media and Russia's
parliament the Duma have been vocal on behalf of the Yanukovych government,
Russia's President Vladimir Putin, who was publicly supportive of Yanukovych
during the 2004's 'Orange Revolution,' has maintained a low public profile
this time around.

Meanwhile, Lavrov recently made an appeal for calm in the current stalemate
and indicated that Russia was prepared to intervene in the political crisis
only if requested.

Yanukovych himself seems to have tempered his pro-Russian stance. He has
discussed the possibility of a Western mediation of the crisis, or
potentially an East-West mediation involving countries like Austria, Poland
and Russia to help resolve the crisis.

Political turbulence aside, economic relations continue to look robust.
Yetsenyuk reassured Russian investors that their investments in Ukraine were
not in danger despite the ongoing stand off, and described the current
situation as temporary political turbulence.

"The Ukrainian economy is open to Russian capital in whatever currency, we
offer guarantees," he said.

Yetsenyuk went on to add that Ukraine was interested in a common economic
space with Russia and called for wider cooperation on energy issues, which
are particularly important given Ukraine's position as a transit country for
Russian gas.

Russia remains Ukraine's most important trading partner. In 2005 the country
absorbed 22.1% of Ukrainian exports, and supplied 35.5% of its imports.

According to Ukraine's State Statistics Committee, 42% of Ukraine's
investment abroad in 2006 went to the Russian Federation, and the volume of
Russian investment in Ukraine in 2006 was around $980m.

According to the WTO, from 1995-2005, Ukraine was Russia's third largest
destination for exports, after the EU and China, and the second largest
source of imports.

Former Minister of Economy Volodymyr Makhuka told OBG that over the
last year and a half, improved relations with Russia has been a "major
breakthrough" in spite of confusion and misunderstandings.

We have resumed effective political and economic dialogue, resolved the
issue of energy supply, and are coming to an understanding on several trade
disputes. -30-
Editorial Enquiries:
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Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.

Reuters, Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, April 20, 2007

KIEV - Ukraine must pass nine pieces of legislation within the next month to
keep alive any chance of joining the World Trade Organisation this year, the
country's finance minister said on Friday.

"Serious matters remain to be completed and they depend on joint action by
the government and parliament," Anatoly Kinakh told a news conference.

"There are about nine bills to be passed. This is pre-condition for joining
the WTO. We would then still have a chance of joining by the end of the

The remaining legislation marked the "final stage" before former Soviet
republic could join the WTO after more than 13 years of negotiations, he

Pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko, who was swept to power in 2004 by
"Orange Revolution" mass protests, had hoped to win admission to the WTO in
his first year of office as part of his drive to move Ukraine closer to the

Government ministers at the end of 2006 had said all necessary legislation
had been passed and Ukraine was on course for WTO membership in the first
six months of this year.

Kinakh said the outstanding bills dealt with health guarantees linked to
genetically modified foods as well as farm sector taxation, standardisation
and certification issues.

He said he hoped Ukraine's political crisis, provoked by a presidential
decree dissolving a hostile parliament and calling a snap election, would
not impede the passage of the bills.

"The bills are not very long and if parliament remains able to work, we
intend to spend no more than a month on examining and passing them," he

Parliament has continued to hold regular sessions in defiance of the
dissolution order and has challenged the decree in Ukraine's Constitutional
Court. -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

By Adrian Blomfield, Telegraph, London, UK, Monday, April 16, 2007

Ukraine's opposition leader has vowed to end Russia's influence over her
country once and for all. Yulia Tymoshenko may soon be able to act on her
promise if she becomes prime minister once more after elections scheduled
for next month.

Mrs Tymoshenko, named the world's third most powerful woman by Forbes
magazine, is perhaps the one politician to have emerged stronger from
Ukraine's latest political crisis, sparked by a presidential order to
dissolve parliament earlier this month. The Kremlin will be quivering at the
prospect of Mrs Tymoshenko being granted a fresh mandate.

She served as President Viktor Yushchenko's prime minister in 2005. She
promised to act swiftly to end Russia's recent attempts to pull Ukraine back
into its sphere of influence.

"Our leaders have been too mentally dependent on Russia," she said. "We
have behaved like vassals from day one of our independence. I want friendly
relations with Russia but they must be to our mutual benefit."

Along with the president, Mrs Tymoshenko led the pro-Western Orange
Revolution of 2004 that ended a power grab by Moscow's favoured candidate,
Viktor Yanukovich.

After 14 years as a Russian quasi-colony, Ukraine suddenly had a new
president expressing a desire for membership of the EU and Nato. But the
Orange coalition rapidly fell apart amid accusations of corruption.

In 2005, the president sacked Mrs Tymoshenko. Russia's influence began to
grow again when Mr Yanukovich, once discredited as an electoral cheat,
became prime minister last summer.

And so, faced with a collapse of his power, the president is turning once
more to Mrs Tymoshenko.

To take on Russia, she says she must take on Mr Yanukovich's Party of the
Regions and the oligarchs in the industrial heartlands of eastern Ukraine.

"The Party of the Regions is a vast corporation that runs Ukraine as though
it were a limited company," she said. "Yanukovich is not an independent
politician. He's a double marionette of Russian elites and clan managers."
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Orest Dorosh, Creative Director, Oxygen Media and Design
Mississauga, Canada, Friday, April 20, 2007

Last summer the Volyn Ukrainian Song & Dance Company disappointed
Ukrainian folklore fans across Canada by limiting its 2006 Canadian tour to
eastern Canada. But they left behind a gift for those who missed seeing them
on stage – and for those who caught the spectacle and want more.

The Show Must Go On! captures the vivid colour and boundless energy of the
Volyn Ukrainian Song & Dance Company, filmed live at London Ontario’s
Grand Theatre on June 20, 2006.

Now audiences anywhere can experience the energy and excitement of Volyn –
gravity-defying leaps and frenetic footwork against a backdrop of swirling
colours and harmonious melodies. And they can enjoy it as often as they
like – on DVD.

Both music and choreography reflect Ukrainian rituals and traditions of the
annual cycle and of family life, as well as representations from Ukrainian

Volyn’s repertoire includes more than 150 songs and dances, including
original contemporary works by renowned composers of Volyn Oblast

The music ranges from rip-roaring depictions of daredevil Cossacks to
humorous songs, reflective ballads, and tender love songs, as well as works
from world folk classics.

The company’s Artistic Director is Oleksander Stadyk, the recipient of the
National Art Activist Award and the Lutsk Province’s Stravinsky Prize.

Under the genius of Stadnyk’s arrangements, traditional Ukrainian folk music
takes on an element of modernity without losing its essence. Volyn’s music
is so appealing that other performing ensembles across Ukraine, as well as
North America, are using it.

The Volyn Ukrainian Song & Dance Company was founded in 1978 in Lutsk
(Volyn Oblast) as the Volyn State Academic Ukrainian Folk Choir, in
affiliation with the Volyn Provincial Philharmonic.

Of the 80 choir members, most are professionally-trained and include five
recipients of the National Artist of Ukraine Award, and one recipient of the
National Art Activist Award.

The Volyn Ukrainian Song & Dance Company has consistently performed to
critical acclaim around the world and has won numerous national and
international awards.

The ensemble has presented nearly 3200 concerts in Ukraine as well as the
US, Canada, Italy, Holland, Austria, Greece, Poland, Russia, Belarus,
Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

To date, Volyn has released three albums of folk and contemporary songs,
including one of Christmas carols and New Years songs (koliady and
shchedrivky). Volyn is presently preparing a new program to celebrate its
30th anniversary in 2008.

Produced by NorthStreams, The Show Must Go On! is the first ever
Ukrainian High Definition DVD release. It retails for just $35.00USD and is
now available across Canada wherever Ukrainian cultural products are sold.

It can also be purchased direct from For a limited time
the DVD also contains a BONUS CD of the latest recordings from Volyn.

For more information on the Volyn Ukrainian Song & Dance Company, their
CDs and The Show Must Go On! DVD, contact NorthStreams at 416.620.6933
or email Website:

Orest Dorosh, Creative Director, Oxygen Media and Design
Mississauga, Canada,
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Battle of symbols and memories is being waged

By Gary Peach, Associated Press, Tallinn, Estonia, Sun, Apr 22, 2007

TALLINN, Estonia -- The life-size statue of a Red Army soldier stands at a
crossroads in this Baltic capital, fist clenched and head bowed, marking the
spot where Soviet war dead are buried.

But the statue is engulfed in bitter debate over the Soviet army's place in
European history, which could come to a head this week if the Estonian
government goes ahead with plans to dig up the tomb and move the statue
to a park outside Tallinn.

Russians are appalled, and the Kremlin has warned of "irreversible
consequences" for relations with Estonia.

Estonia is not alone. These days, throughout formerly Soviet-controlled
eastern Europe, a battle of symbols and memories is being waged -- over
statues, street names, the hammer and sickle, even Auschwitz.

Now firmly entrenched in the West through NATO and European Union
membership, many countries are showing renewed eagerness to erase the more
visible vestiges of communism.

The dispute underscores the opposing views of the Soviet legacy in Russia
and its former satellites. Russia's resurgent patriotism under President
Vladimir Putin has only widened the gap as countries from the Baltics to the
Balkans seek to shed the last vestiges of communism.

Russia views the Soviet troops as heroes who rescued the three Baltic states
from a racist Nazi regime. Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians say the
Soviet regime that held sway over them for 45 years after World War II was
even more repressive.

"This is not a monument to the victors of the war but a monument to the
destruction of the Estonian Republic," said lawmaker Mart Laar.

The problem, says Eugeniusz Smolar, head of the Center for International
Relations, a Polish think tank, is that "Russia has never come to terms with
its history."

Russians continue to see themselves only as victims of World War II, he
said, and ignore the dictatorial systems they imposed on the countries they
liberated from the Germans.

Opposing interpretations of history clashed earlier this month in Auschwitz,
where Polish curators of a museum at the former death camp refused to let
Russia to open its exhibit.

Russia claimed that hundreds of thousands of "Soviet citizens" died in the
Holocaust. The Poles vehemently rejected this, saying those victims, mostly
Jews, were from territories occupied by the Soviet Union in league with the
Nazis between 1939 and 1941.

Sergei Mironov, a senior Russian lawmaker, called the Polish decision
"sacrilegious," and its reasoning "stupid."

After regaining independence, the communist bloc nations tore down statues
of Lenin, Stalin and the idealized socialist laborer. But respect for the
Soviet role in defeating Hitler was not entirely erased. In Hungary and
Lithuania, many of those statues now stand in parks and are major tourist

In Estonia, there are scores of Soviet monuments that stir no anger --
one-third of the population is ethnic Russian -- but the Bronze Soldier
stands out because it has become a popular staging point for pro-Russian

Poland's governing Law and Justice party has called for changing street
names that have a communist taint. Romania has issued a 650-page report
detailing and condemning communist atrocities.

In 2005 members of the European Parliament from former communist countries
demanded that communist symbols be banned along with the swastika, citing
the death toll inflicted by communist dictatorships. The initiative was

Estonian lawmakers are pushing for a ban on the hammer and sickle, while
Latvian lawmakers have drafted legislation making it a crime to deny the
Soviet occupation.

In Hungary, a right-wing fringe group has gathered 200,000 signatures
calling for a referendum on removing a prominent Soviet war memorial in

However, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany is opposed. "We are not the only
ones who have national feelings," he told parliament. "Stirring up this
issue would bring Hungary more harm than good."

But in Tallinn, the atmosphere is heating up. The government is determined
to remove the Bronze Soldier, while Estonia's Russians, who make up
approximately one-third the country's population, will try to prevent it.

A large pro-Kremlin youth group in Russia, Nashi, has promised to send
young people to stand guard over the monument.

Sergei Ivanov, Russia's first deputy prime minister and possible successor
to President Vladimir Putin, called on Russians to stop buying Estonian
products and vacationing in the Baltic country.

Vladimir Velman, a member of Estonia's parliament and a native Russian,
warns: "There's going to be trouble as soon as the shovel touches the
ground." -30-
Associated Press correspondents Pablo Gorondi in Budapest, Vanessa
Gera in Warsaw, Jari Tanner in Tallinn and Alexandru Alexe in Bucharest
contributed to this report.
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