Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ukrainians' minds already made up on Holodomor

Portions of an article on Holodomor memorial from 'Donbass' newpaper:

"..The Day of Remembrance for Victims of Holodomor and political repressions in Ukraine is marked the fourth Saturday of each November.

On January 21st, 2010 a ruling of the Court of Appeal in Kyiv came into force prescribing blame for the organization in 1932-1933 Famine-Genocide in Ukraine on the Bolshevik leaders of the USSR and the USSR. A corresponding decision was made by the Court on 13th January 2010.

The Court decision confirmed the findings of investigators of the Security Service of Ukraine on the organization of and commission, in 1932-1933 on the territory of the Ukrainian SSR, of the leadership of the Bolshevik totalitarian regime [the general secretary of the CPSU (Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union) Joseph Stalin, member of the CPSU, chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR Vyacheslav Molotov, secretaries of the CPSU, Lazar Kaganovich, and Paul Postyshev, member of the CPSU, General Secretary of the Communist Party in Ukraine, Stanislav Kosior, member of the CPSU, chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Vlas Chubar, Second Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine, Mendel Khatayevich] in the "genocide of the Ukrainian national group (gruppa), i.e. artificially creating conditions calculated to bring about its partial physical destruction."

The court determined that Stalin, Molotov, Kaganovich, Postyshev, Kosior, Chubar and Khatayevich committed the crime of genocide, according to article 442 Part 1 of the Criminal Code (genocide), and closed the criminal case in connection with their deaths.

As a result, the genocide in Ukraine of three million 941 thousand people was perpetrated (according to the findings of a pre-trial forensic demographic investigation by the State Academy of Science Institute of Demography and Social Studies im. Ptukhi) .

Criminal charges of genocide in Ukraine in 1932-1933, were initiated in May 2009, by the SBU under Part 1 of Art. 442 of the Penal Code."

Quite clear then, where the editors of 'Donbass' (and a good portion of its readership?), who can hardly be considered 'anti-Russian', stand on this issue.

So why are the Russians so upset by the "g-word"?

Some current events TV programmes deliberately introduce lengthy aggressive debates on the Holodomor and kick awkward topics for the government, such as current demonstrations by small-scale entrepreneurs against the passing of a new tax laws, into the long grass.

p.s. Watch and listen to truly moving eye-witness accounts of the Holodomor, with English sub-titles, in Anna Gin's film, 'Zhernova' [The stone mill] here.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Rich get richer..you know about the poor..

According to a recent O.P., details of which appear in 'Segodnya':

10,5% of Ukrainian families do not have enough money, even for food. 41,2% have enough money for food, but have find it difficult to buy clothes or shoes. Almost all Ukrainians, 96,7%, are worried, in varying degrees, about rising prices.

46% of those questioned believe that the culprits responsible for the current skyrocketing prices are both the current and the previous administrations in equal measure. The proportion of citizens who believe that price inflation is the more the fault of the current government than the previous government is 21.9%. 16.2% think that the previous government is more to blame.

In contrast, president Yanukovych, not content with building himself a clubhouse at Mezhyhirya, which could cost an eye-watering $200M, and acquiring a private Monaco - in Crimea , 'Segodnya' also reports a 'grandiosnyi remont' has been taking place at the ugly 'Synyohora' state dacha in the Carpathian mountains for over a month, so that the president may spend his Christmas and New Year vacation there.

Cranes, concrete mixers and excavators are working flat-out, and locals are peeved that just men from Poland other parts of Ukraine are being employed. Granite, stone, concrete and pipes are being delivered, and new plumbing and wiring is being installed. Unofficially everything is being payed for by 'biznesmyeny'...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Parliament now Yanuk's toe-rag*

Video here of how just a few dozen PoR regions parliamentary deputies voted through the controversial new tax code today.

The records will show 269 deputies voted in favour of the motion. Voting for absent colleagues is unconstitutional, but small matters like that don't seem to matter in the Ukrainian parliament.

The small-scale entrepreneurs that will be hardest hit by the new tax laws look determined to continue their actions. The callous manner in which these laws were enacted by the authorities will stiffen their resolve.

This same bunch of PoR tossers also bulldozed through procedures enabling changes to be made to the Ukrainian Constitution in parliament without the need for signed personal voting slips to be placed in ballot boxes during voting so it will not be necessary for deputies to attend parliament in person to make changes to the country's Constitution.

The president signed off these new parliamentary procedures just a few hours later.

The same few dozen parliamentary deputies will now be able to vote through changes to the Constitution...with no discussion, no referendum..nothing...

They have no shame...no respect to the electorate...Can any serious international body take the Ukrainian parliament or its president seriously from now on?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Only the poor pay taxes [2]

President Yanukovych considers yesterday's protests by small-scale traders and entrepreneurs against the introduction of a new tax code, were prompted by "their unwillingness to pay taxes "

How ironic that the daughter of Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Tihipko who headed the working committee drafting the tax code , as well as other prominent officials, was involved in a $3,000,000 tax scam involving prestige automobiles just a few months ago.

As someone once told me: "Ukrainian prisons are for poor people only .."

Winter of discontent brewing?

Big demo's were staged in Kyiv today by market traders and other small business owners protesting against proposed new tax codes.

'Segodnya' estimated between 30,000 and 50,000 took part in noisy but peaceful protests.

Similar scenes were seen in Khmelnytskyi, were maybe 10,000 protested in the main square [see photos here] Smaller demo's took place in other cities too.

These small-scale entrepreneurs form an important segment of the economy, providing employment for millions, particularly where other jobs are not available.They are now organising the biggest demo's seen since 2004.

These guys know that right now, the proposals in parliament are just that - proposals...Once the laws are passed there's no way back, hence today's big push.. The Azarov cabinet have ignored 'straws in the wind'.

'Nezavisimaya Gazeta' claims most analysts agree that the country is on the brink of default. The external debt of Ukraine at the end of the year will make up 41% of GDP: the load on the state budget on debt service is growing steadily and will reach its peak in 2013. The government is being tightly squeezed by its main creditor, the IMF, so, as in other countries, they are being forced to comply with the fund's demands and take very unpopular decisions, otherwise it will be impossible to keep within planned budget parameters.

'N.G' concludes: "But the attempt to pass these problems onto the shoulders of the most socially active [and resourceful?] ordinary citizens who were able to build up their own business in recent years could turn into a revolution, in which new political leaders could appear, experts admit."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Scary metaphors

While on a visit to Kalush in Western Ukraine today, at a meeting with administrative representatives of the Ivano-Frankivsk oblast', Viktor Yanukovych said that representatives of the opposition who were elected heads of local government in the local elections on October 31, should not be in opposition either "to any government or to its nation."

"Democracy - is not self-mockery. It is a kind of constructive approach to life. If you have a competitive programme - go ahead, realise it, we can create the conditions."

"But when it is considered, for example, in one region, that five heads of cities of one party were elected - and the party is in opposition, that these five heads will be in opposition? I myself can not imagine this ... I will twist off his head if he does not deal with the sewage or with water, and gas [problems], " added Yanukovych clumsily.

He doesn't get it. These five city mayors were democratically elected by voters in their cities just a few days ago...if they do not deliver on their promises they will be kicked out at the next elections...If Yanukovych doesn't deliver on his promises does he imagine someone will "rip his head off"?

"All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs." - Enoch Powell - British politician and Conservative Party MP

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Presents for the president

Last night, president Yanukovych's wife Lyudmila attended a cultural East-West Ukraine cultural project at the Donetsk National Opera and Ballet Theatre.

She was presented with an ornamentally inlaid cassette box by the Ivano-Frankivsk oblast governor, who expressed a wish that: "it would be filled with Viktor Fedorovych's awards."

LEvko expected the box be the size of a dumpster on castors, but no, in the photos it looks quite small.

Problem is, what do you give the Yanukovychs as a present?

His 'club house' in Mezhyhirya, about which he bragged in Berlin earlier in the year, is nearing completion.

At the peak of construction, 500 workers per day were passing through the site. The garage alone holds 70 vehicles.

Just two internal doors cost $158,000, and one door, made of Lebanese cedar cost $64,000. $81,000 was spent on a ballustrade for the winter garden. The estimated total cost of the internal trim and fittings exceeds $10,000,000; and the cost of the entire project could be a staggering $200,000,000.

And if that was not enough, Yanukovych is "Building himself a private Kingdom of Monaco - in Crimea", complete with a 900 metre length of private beach along one of the most desirable parts of the coastline.

Where will the little cassette box go? What did it have carved on it? "Ukraine for the people" -Yanukovych's election campaign slogan, perhaps?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Dirty man for a dirty job?

President Yanukovych today proposed his old pal from the 'bad old days in Donetsk', Viktor Pshonka, for the position of Prosecutor-General of Ukraine.

Parliament will certainly 'rubber stamp' and approve his appointment Thursday.

The big-selling 'Segodnya' newspaper, carries a piece entitled: "Pshonka could probably throw Tymoshenko behind bars, says source".

'The source' considers Pshonka's main task will be to provide a "final solution to the problem Tymoshenko" by "bringing the investigation of abuses in the government of Yulia Tymoshenko to their logical conclusion", and that he will not waver in this matter.

The current 'vlasti' are apparently annoyed that their recent politically inspired, high media profile audit/witch-hunt of Tymoshenko’s government was not as successful as hoped, and did not produce the results they had expected in last Sunday's regional elections.

Pshonka background is distinctly "chequered" to say the least. I have written several blogs in the last few years about this character. Type in his name into this site's search engine for more...

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Computer to blame, as usual

'Lyeviy Bereg' reports: "The computer with the Kharkiv voting results at the city's Electoral Commission has burned out

The [city's] 'Obyektiv' Media Group stated that information on the last three and a half hours [counting?] has been destroyed. Commission members say that until data is restored, there will be no news on the voting results in Kharkiv [Ukraine's second largest city].

Data on the results of ballot counting has not been updated since 14.00 hours. Meanwhile, the chairman of Kharkiv Oblast State Administration Mykhailo Dobkin has already declared that his [ahem..ahem..] mate and close business partner, Hennadiy Kernes, is victor of the mayoral elections, without waiting for the count to be concluded.

Head ofthe regional headquarters of the "Batkivshchyna" opposition party, Yuriy Prav, said: "I'm surprised that even though a certain party and its people in the city's electoral committee made no small effort to falsify the Kharkiv mayoral election results, this did not help, and they had to" burn the bridges behind them."

Counting is very slow in Kharkiv - it's rumoured the electoral commission has even had to take its shoes and socks off....

p.s. Check out mayoral opposition candidate Arsen Avakov's blog for photos of the chaos, damaged sacks containing torn voting slips, and video illustrating the 'don't give a damn' attitude of guards and counters in Kharkiv.