Friday, May 28, 2010

Rubber stamp parliament?

Russian 'piano players' in action here and here

Ukraine's parliament is not much better when it comes to illegal absentee voting even though Article 84 of the country's constition is very clear: "Voting at the meetings of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is performed by a National Deputy of Ukraine in person"

How can Ukrainians, or any foreign investor for that matter, have any confidence in laws passed by the country's fundamental law-making institution when it's members have such a cynical disregard for the rule of law?

p.s. The Italians do it with a bit more class..

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Yanukovych's schizophrenia

President Yanukovych's address to his nation today, on the Ukrainian day of remembrance in memory of victims of political repression:

"Dear compatriots!

Today is a deeply sorrowful day for Ukraine. We honor the memory of millions of our countrymen who were victims of a totalitarian regime. We remember everyone that was destroyed by the punitive system, that was imprisoned in the Gulag prisoner, or that was deprived of their family home and sent to a foreign country.

In '30-'40's of 20th century, Ukraine suffered heavy losses. Stalin's repressive machine crushed all who tried to resist. The victims could be anyone - farmer or intellectual, teacher or engineer, scientist or worker.

It was a time of disillusionment, despair and hopelessness. Those who died can be best honoured by our memory and prayer, and those who survived the terrible years - by daily care.

We express our sympathy to all nations who have experienced terror regimes. Let our common memory be a pledge that similar tragedies are never repeated.

Viktor Yanukovych"

So why the nonchalant attitude to the erection of statues in honour of Stalin by PoR's Communist coalition partners? Is it because their co-operation is required in high-level corrupt schemes?

What are "those who survived the terrible years" supposed to think?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Russia's plans for Ukraine..

According to an article in the 'WSJ', a leaked high-power Russian report "includes insights into Moscow's relationships with former Soviet republics. It calls for taking advantage of the global financial crisis to acquire industrial and energy assets in the Baltics, Belarus, Ukraine and Central Asia—all areas where Russian influence is a sensitive political issue."

Here's the bit in the report, published in full in 'Ruskii Newsweek', about Ukraine,

"- To actively draw in Ukraine into an orbit of economic cooperation with Russia, taking into account its large industrial and scientific potential, the presence of a modern military-industrial complex, and the traditionally close ties of cooperation of Russian and Ukrainian enterprises, to ensure Russian companies in strategic industries, particularly in advanced industries - aviation, transport , rocket and space, energy and other areas, do not slip into technological dependence on their Ukrainian counterparts.

- To achieve integration of the Russian United Aircraft Corporation and Ukrainian aircraft building enterprises in the production of AN-148, AN-140, Tu-334-124-100 aircraft, the production of A-222-25, A-222 -25F aircraft engines, and the D-436, A-450 series of engines for the Yak-130, Tu-334, Be-200 aircraft and helicopters.

- In the field of space research to urgently proceed in the setting up of a single navigational environment in Russia and Ukraine on the basis of GLONASS and other global navigation satellite [GPS-type] systems; to conduct coordinated trials...[Cuba and Venezuela could also be partners...let's say no more...Levko]

- To consider as a strategic aim [or task] Russia's participation in the operation of Ukraine's gas transmission system. To seek from the Ukrainian side, agreements on the establishment of an International Consortium for Management and Development of Ukrainian gas transportation system for this purpose.

- To support the efforts of Russian oil companies striving to use the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline in the reverse direction, thus limiting the access of Ukraine to Caspian oil.

- To expand cooperation with Ukraine in the field of nuclear energy and strive to clinch long-term contracts to supply Ukrainian nuclear power plants with nuclear fuel produced in Russia in order to achieve this.

- Increase the presence of Russian investment in Ukraine and Belorussia. To strive for the acquiring by Russian investors of controlling packets of shares in Ukrainian enterprises."

Not sure what Akhmetov, Pinchuk, Kolomoysky and the rest will make of this..

p.s. How different are British and Ukrainian politics.

In Ukraine leading politicians leave office enriched with dachas, grace and favour homes, hefty bank balances home and abroad, fancy motors with state-employed chauffeurs etc. They are set up for a life of luxury.

Last night, following a recent general election, Gordon Brown resigned as British prime minister. He has to vacate the PM's official residence, 10 Downing Street in the next few days because the new PM, David Cameron, will be moving in.

Brown, who has a wife an and two small boys, has lived in Downing Street at number 11, the Chancellor of Exchequer's [Minister of Finance's] residence, for 10 years, followed by a couple of years at number 10.

His family home is in Fife, Scotland. His wife owns a one bedroom apartment in London...and that's it. So he and his family have some serious disruption to sort out...But this is normal...take note Yanukovych, Yushchenko, Kuchma you greedy b******ds...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Reconciliation, or 'Is there an end to the War?'

Last Friday's 'Shuster Live' programme entitled 'Is there an end to the War?' was, even by Ukrainian standards, one of the most depressing items I have seen for a long time.

The representative studio audience was asked a simple question:

"Do you want reconciliation to take place between OUN-UPA and veterans of the Soviet Army ?

Overall, 72% were in favour. Regionally, amongst those from Western Ukraine it was 90% in favour, Eastern Ukraine 59%, Central Ukraine 83%, and Southern Ukraine 55%.

The population well understands the dreadful paradoxes and dilemmas Ukraine faced in WW2. The parents of brave Soviet soldiers, including millions of loyal Ukrainian soldiers, had died a decade earlier in the Stalin-induced famine or during Stalin's Great Terror. Many thousands of Ukrainians from Halychyna, which had been 'liberated' by Stalin as part of a deal with Hitler in 1939, also fought in the Red Army. Thousands of their brothers served in the Werhmacht even though their families had frequently been brutally treated by the Nazis. Millions of their brothers and sisters had also been deported to Germany as slave labour, and having survived allied bombing raids, when they returned were treated appallingly by the authorities for 'betrayal of their country' - sometimes to be treated as slave labour yet again. And during the years immediately after the war, often forgotten by many, the entire country collectively endured near famine too while other parts of the Soviet Union fared rather better.

But in Shuster's studio Dmytro Tabachnyk, minister of education, Communist party leader Petro Symonenko, who are now part of the ruling coalition, as well as some members of the opposition did everything possible to reduce any possible chance of reconciliation. The ministers' aim was to simply demonise anyone who did not follow their simplistic orthodox, half-truthful Soviet line.

The programme starkly revealed that the differing attitude to WW2 and Stalin's leadership, between what can loosely be called eastern and western Ukraine, lies at the dark heart of political conflict in the country.

Reconciliation processes have had some measure of success in other countries e.g. in South Africa, Northern Ireland, Spain and elsewhere. It is vital that such processes start take place in Ukraine if there is to be a better tomorrow.

The nonchalant or malicious attitute of current ministers to the reconciliation favoured by the population, and e.g. to the erection of statues of Stalin in today's Ukraine, shows how little they care about this. Former president Kravchuk correctly pointed out the absurdity of today's Communists' actions when over 50 years ago Stalin had been denounced by the party which he headed, by peers that were first-hand witnesses of his crimes.

"There is at least one common denominator to all...approaches to reconciliation. They all are designed to lead individual men and women to change the way they think about their historical adversaries. As a result, reconciliation occurs one person at a time and is normally a long and laborious process....Reconciliation matters because the consequences of not reconciling can be enormous."

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Strange day for the Yanukovychs

Serhiy Leshchenko of U.P., in his article about president Yanukovych's visit to the PACE headquarters in Strasbourg last Tuesday, recalls a peculiar incident that took place as the president was entering the building's restaurant to go for lunch.

Yanukovych, escorted by his normal detail of bodyguards, felt the need to go the toilet so stopped by into one he was passing. His goons remained stationed on guard at door to make sure no-one else entered while their boss was 'doing his business'.

A moment later a smartly dressed, distinguished-looking gentleman tried to enter the toilet but was denied access by Yanukovych's dummies - they clearly were unable to understand the gentleman's appeals in English. Only after repeated requests did they finally permit him to enter.

It later turned out that the gentleman who they had impeded was Secretary General of PACE himself - Thorbjørn Jagland...he was the man that had invited Yanukovych to have lunch with him in the restaurant...

One would think that anyone who spent three and a half years relieving himself into a prison bucket in the corner of a communal cell would not be too fussed with whom he shared a public toilet... but there you go..

At the same time Yanukovych Jr. was 'roughing up' opposition deputies in the VR [see pictures here] - he's the pug-nosed, swarthy, unshaven young dude..a big lad, like his dad, must pack quite a punch..