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Friday, December 25, 2009

Get a “Russkie Card” for Christmas!

Medvedev, Yanukovych and NGOs play
Russian language card in Ukraine elections

"Russian Card"

Russian president Dmytri Medvedev said his country does not have its “own” candidate in Ukraine’s 2010 presidential contest. But he made it clear that Moscow does not like incumbent Victor Yushchenko. Speaking in his year-end address to Russians, Medvedev said that his country will respect any choice the Ukrainian people make when they go to the polls on Jan. 17 (as long as it’s not Yushchenko). Medvedev did say that he hopes the new president will not, among other things, harm the Russian language.

Russia is looking to avoid the international embarrassment caused in 2004, when then-president Vladimir Putin congratulated Victor Yanukovych with victory prior to the announcement of official election results. After Ukraine’s highest court found the elections to be fraud-ridden and ordered a repeat round, Yanukovych lost to Yushchenko. This time around, Moscow has been careful not to endorse any single candidate, putting its eggs into as many baskets as possible – except Yushchenko’s.

With Russia’s help, Yanukovych has made “Russian as a state-language” a campaign issue, although polls show voters are more concerned with the economic and social issues (high prices and unemployment) than with Russian language rights.

But instead of overtly backing a candidate (Yanukovych or Yulia Tymoshenko, Moscow has prepared something else for Ukraine: an NGO.

Beaten by Ukrainian NGOs in 2004, the Kremlin began imitating successful civil society practices to serve its own, twenty-first-century-fascist ends. Moscow created “civil society” and “non-governmental” organizations like “Nashi” for youth at home.

In Ukraine, the Interregional Movement ‘Russian-language Ukraine’ (IMRU) is handing out “Russia is my fatherland” cards and offering material support to card-carrying members.

“Russian people” – by IMRU’s definition – are not limited to citizens of the Russian Federation. Rather, the term “Rus” is a broader concept that includes neighboring Ukraine and Belarus. The concept has religious overtones: Moscow Patriarch Kiril I defines the Orthodox union of the three countries as “Holy Rus”.

On the back of the card, the definition of what being “ruski” is provided: “Ruskey – is a concept simultaneously ethnic and spiritual political and cultural-historic.” Cardholders are simultaneously defenders of Ruski world and civilization.

By applying for a ‘Russia is my fatherland’ card, Ukrainians are the NGO implement the Russian State Duma Law on helping out Russians living in the near abroad (read: former Soviet republics.)

IMRU names the fund that is supporting its activities: the Russian “Russkie” Fund: Addresses and applications are available on the “Russian-language Ukraine” website: The international movement has its own social network site:

Here’s a quick translation of the recent Ruski Card announcement from IMRU’s website:



Esteemed countrymen!

The “Interregional Movement ‘Russian-language Ukraine’” Civic Organization is informing compatriots that everyone who wants a “Ruski card” – a document that designates Russia as his/her historical Fatherland – can turn to the following addresses:

“Ruski card” distribution points: [Three addresses and coordinator contact numbers in Donetsk, Slaviansk, Alchevsk in Luhansk oblast. See original for details (below).]

The owner of a “Ruski card” has the right to:

1. Obtain information on the activities of the “Interregional Movement ‘Russian-language Ukraine’” and the “Russkie” Fund for the Unity of Rus’ people

2. Receive informational support of the “Russkie” Fund on the territory of Russia

3. Apply for aid in social matters to the offices of IMRU

4. Receive legal aid within the competencies of IMRU

5. Receive support from IMRU in education and employment in the countries of the near abroad
6. Receive support from IMRU to independently provide decent life [standards] for himself/herself and families.

7. Participate in IMRU’s programs and projects, including:
a. Small and medium business development Project
b. IMRU’s “Reunification” Program (family search in Russia and CIS)
c. Obtain information and participate in the Russian Federation State Program on Aid for Volunteer Resettlement of Compatriots.


Olga K...
Director Donetsk

According to, the All-Ukrainian civic organization “Human rights civic movement ‘Russkoyazichnaya Ukrain” (RU) was registered by the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine on Aug. 10, 2009. Its founding members include Russian Orthodox and Party of Regions leaders and activists.


The smoking Russian gun original of the Ruski Card announcement in Ukraine:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

24: Land and bread as election tools

"Congratulations on receiving your state act"
distributed with property deeds in Ukraine

Whoever said election faslifications are a thing of the past, are very wrong. Transit servers and "carousels" may be gone, but the other [political] technologies have become commonplace, especially in provincial Ukraine.’

A group of civic organizations has been conducting long term presidential elections monitoring. It's preliminary conclusion: the buying of votes, abuse of administrative resources and voter intimidation are back from extinction and actively used by key candidates' local campaign headquarters.'

In “Election faslificators: end to unemployment,” journalist Dmytro Hnap first takes aim at Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. He promises investigations into other candidates’ campaigns will follow. In this installment, he looks at the way Tymoshenko has used administrative means (adminresurs) to leverage her electoral rating.

Specifically, he looks at the five-month government program giving out property deeds – a move that cost tax payers 800 million hryvnia ($100 million) from the government’s stabilization fund.

The property deeds are gifted with pomp and circumstance and plenty of local media coverage. The deeds are distributed with the premier’s portrait “so the people won’t forget who gave them the land.”

In Ukraine’s northwestern regions, Tymoshenko’s heart and braid are plastered across “social stores” (sotlsialny magazyny) that offer the needy basic goods and foodstuffs at discount prices. The report, published on Ukrayinska Pravda website on Dec. 21, includes photos of the storefronts and interiors in Rivne and Zhytomyr oblasts.

A November elections monitoring report issued by Opora - a national network of civic activists - found that Tymoshenko and Victor Yanukovych used the distribution of medical goods at the height of the flu hype for campaign purposes. Victor Yushchenko has friendly oblast administrations installed in every oblast in Ukraine, except in the east that is loyal to Yanukovych. Tymoshenko’s eponymous bloc is a major force in oblast and city councils.

Thus the levers of administrative powers are in multiple hands for the 2010 elections (not like 2004!). In a way, the presidential elections are a dry run for the local self-government elections in March of next year.


See Ukrainian language original “Election faslificators: end to unemployment,” Dmytro Hnap, UkrPravda, Dec. 21, 2009,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

25 days: Eight candidates pledge support for Ukraine Exit Poll

Exit Poll organizers plan to raise funds

among general public for Round Two

Ukrainian presidential hopeful Anatoliy Hrytsenko said that fellow candidates Inna Bohoslovska, Mykhailo Brodsky, Serhiy Ratushniak, Liudmyla Suprun, Serhiy Tihipko, Oleh Tiahnybok and Arseniy Yatseniuk have agreed to pitch in to pay for a national exit poll on January 17.

With less than a month to go, Exit Poll organizers said they needed at least another half million hryvnia (under $70,000) to conduct the alternative poll whose preliminary results would be announced on television immediately after polls close at 8 PM on election day.

Veteran exit poll organizers Democratic Initiatives Foundation, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KMIS) and the Razumkov Center for Economic and Political Research said they planned to poll 13,000 voters at 240 polling stations on the third Sunday of the New Year, giving the survey a 2.5% sample error.

Televised exit poll results have been a mainstay in Ukrainian politics since 1998 and have helped catch electoral fraud including the Ukraine presidential showdown five years ago when ballot box stuffing led to the Orange Revolution in late 2004.

The Ukrainian National Exit Poll 2010 has already secured financial support from a forum of international donors that include the International Renaissance Foundation, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ukraine, National Democracy Support Fund and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation (USA).

DIF is conducting talks with other donors and recently scored some moral support from Madeline Albright who appeared on Ukrainian state TV on Dec. 20.

Other foreign donors, who have supported exit polls in the past, have cited “Ukraine fatigue” and lack of financial resources due to the global credit crunch as reasons for not backing the independent survey.

The support announced by Hrytsenko in Sumy on Dec. 22 would cover the first round of elections and exit poll organizers said they are still fundraising to cover the costs for the second round.

Ilko Kucheriv of the Democratic Initiatives Foundation said that he was in talk with banks to set up accounts for fundraising among the general public to pay for the poll. “If we get 50,000 people to donate 20 hryvnia each will raise 1 million hryvnia,” Kucheriv said.

Earlier this month the Kyiv Post reported that additional exit polls may be conducted by market research firms GfK, Research and Branding, FOM and SOCIS polling firms and the Opora civic activist group.

Exit Poll winners and losers

The eight (of eighteen) candidates who have announced their support for the exit poll are most interested in seeing the vote free and fair. There is no clear winner in the race with frontrunners Victor Yanukovych and Yulia Tymoshenko barely splitting 50 percent of the popular vote, according to recent predictions by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.

With less than a month to go, polls show that the sixteen “outsider” candidates will split around 20 percent of the vote, with a high number (15 to 20 percent) of voters still undecided.

Every vote counts for everybody running in the tight race. They will determine each candidates’ weight for the second round of elections – expected to be held within three weeks of the first. Then the “losers” from found one will trade endorsements for governmental posts and other crony-like favors with the two “winners” from round one.

The election results from round one will likely be challenged in the courts by “losing” candidates. Although exit poll results are not a legal substitute for official returns, the survey will show how the extent of the fairness of the first round.


Related links:

National Exit Poll 2010 website (Ukrainian):

Presidential candidates agree to assign funds for exit poll”, Dec. 22:

Election watchers worried by lack of independent exit poll; survey essential to deterring vote fraud.” December 11, Mark Rachkevych,

International Foundation for Electoral Systems Ukraine Survey:

Monday, December 14, 2009

“Vodka tastes better than blood”

“impaling loathsome lords on pitchforks is a time-honored tradition”

“whenever justice is served there is never enough beer”

The prospect of political upheaval will be higher in Ukraine over the next two months, with voters going to the polls unconvinced about any of the eighteen ladies and gentlemen vying for the presidency. With no clear leader, a key twenty percent of likely voters were still undecided in late November.
Ukrainian author Gustav Vodichka has weighed in on the imminent elections with an alarming view of another “revolution” should it occur. These elections will likely be fought in the courts, but if Ukrainians are p-o-ed to the point Vodichka says, then watch out! A “we won’t be fooled again” revolution will make the revolt of 2004 look like a casual afternoon stroll through the orange grove.
Gustav Vodichka (a pen name that sounds like “thick water” or “thick little vodka”) pointed to the potential of things turning ugly in his article “Horizon of vengeance” (Ukrayinska Pravda, Dec. 8) translated below.
Vodichka is an author worth listening to: in his pre-Orange Revolution work “Country of dreaming angels” he pinpointed Ukrainians as being more Gandhi than Guevara. Today, he sees a potential for things turning ugly in the short term if full-scale revolution occurs.

Horizon of vengeance

When Ukraine’s “nobles” start wagging their tongues it feels like they should all be swinging from a noose.

The destruction of the Ukrainian ruling class is a popular erotic fantasy: one interesting to fall asleep with, but frightening to wake up to.

Naturally, our conscience bothers us. It’s a sin to desire thy neighbor’s death. It’s hard to accept the fact that these people have long grown distant from us. But there is no difference between those who rule today and the ferocious enemy that once invaded the Fatherland.

When the Germans trampled Ukraine, they were well-groomed, wealthy, beautiful, adroit, loved their children and parents, worshipped Germany and sought to seize Ukraine’s natural resources. Just like our oligarchs! They too are well-groomed, wealthy, beautiful, adroit, love their children and parents and worship Germany and similar vacation destinations. They have succeeded in seizing Ukraine’s natural resources, turned the population into slaves, covered the country with ruins and are squeezing the last life-juices out of everything still breathing.

It’s the same as the days of [Nazi] occupation: foreign cars speed along streets, new cafes, restaurants and flea markets are opened. They let us pray to God, stage sporting events, concerts and go the opera theater… Only millions of people have disappeared somewhere and are not coming back…

Credit is due: everything the mighty German machine could not do was easily accomplished by the sniveling local. The same people with whom we once slurped common bowls of soup at pioneer [Communist youth] camp.

Did these select citizens spend their childhoods dreaming about “picking pockets” and publicly pissing on peoples’ heads? Of course not!

During the Nuremberg trials it came to light that the accused – for whom the gallows wept – were exemplary family men and law-abiding patriots. Perhaps that is a social paradox or a quirk of human nature. But there is a difference between a criminal and a criminal society.

Criminals can join forces or be put into prison. A criminal society, on the other hand, is often comprised of “decent” people who can only “be put” into parliament.

Why break the law when you can write criminal ones?

It’s hard to believe that the Ukrainian political “elite” are not all just thieves, fraudsters, sadists, looters, pedophiles and other types of maniacs. There are those that genuinely love their country. When they weep in public and say that they pain for Ukraine – it’s the real truth.

But it’s the same kind of pain a family “suffers” when the favorite calf is slaughtered: everyone eats in silence, weeping, stuff their faces with fresh kill. Weeping and eating… Mourning while stuffing their faces

A scene truly worth sympathetic condolences.

They all have a cherished dream or burning passion. Someone wants a dacha by the ocean, another a pile of money, a third likes to give it his all on stage and become the “national hero”… Nothing grossly amoral, except that panty hose and knick knacks mysteriously disappear from children’s changing rooms [in Crimea – SB] …

That’s the nature of the criminal society: there is theft but no thieves.

In contrast to masses of mob-mentality humans who don’t know what they’re doing, the criminal society is an intelligent organism. Everyone knows what she or he is doing and also knows the consequences of their actions beforehand. There are no “accidental” people. Everyone contributes their chunk of the action silently, according to unwritten rules. It’s the safest way of committing a felony. Everything is allowed. Personal profit exists but personal responsibility does not. Thus either everybody is guilty, or nobody is.

In fighting cancer it’s naïve to target individual cells. But cutting out the entire tumor is a difficult task. Sharp steel instruments are required. And not everyone has the resolve to conduct such an operation…

Ukraine’s ruling class is a criminal society that cannot be put behind bars. And that’s too bad.

Where legal norms don’t work, historical ones will. Where revolution is always unfair. Where peoples’ tribunals do not require paperwork to make decisions. Where party lists turn into execution lists. Where it makes no sense to cry “I never stole a cent”… If you sat beside someone who did, that means you personally blessed the legality of everything that went on. It’ll be pointless to argue “but you yourselves elected us!” That’ll be like saying that the Jews went to Babyn Yar on their volition.

In life many things happen that are “against the rules.” When a bayonet spears a well-to-do gentleman or lady square through their expensive linens and checkbooks that evokes surprise. As if a proud peacock, although magnificent, is not just another bird. One that can be plucked and cooked for supper. Today he’s puffing up his cheeks, tomorrow: clucking for mercy. It must be frightening to die sitting on a golden toilet seat…

Ukrainians are wise people. We understand that vodka tastes better than blood. We don’t want to run along Khreshchatyk [street] chopping up oligarchs. It’s better to fall sleep on a crate of bullets in the garden. It’s pleasant to watch the enemies of the fatherland strangle one another in our dreams.

But they’re not letting us fall asleep!

A collective of squanders is beleaguering the entire nation. They shove their riches under our nose: “Envy us! We’re drowning in bird’s milk [the crème de la crème]! We’re living the good life purely by chance! Envy us! The right to shit in and on the public is not accessible to you. We took advantage of your old age and consumed your children’s resources! We devalued the fruits of your labor and knowledge! Your diplomas and military insignias are worth nothing! Our children and woman are laughing at you! What else do we need to do for you to explode?!”

We look away and wait… impaling loathsome lords on pitchforks is a time-honored tradition. Koliyivshchyna is our heroic epic. Haydamaky – our dear legend. Makhnovshchyna – spirit of national pride. The nation’s prophet tells us directly: sharpen the axes so the blood flows to the blue sea…

It’s clear that letting the band live will leave us with zero chances of progress. Our kids shouldn’t go to school if a lesson in morality is not included in the history being written today.

The horror is that people’s thirst for vengeance is uncontrollable. When the flames start burning, there’s no stopping them. The borders with the ruling class have eroded. There’s an oligarch in every village. Those who think themselves lords want peace. Those left out want justice.

And we know very well that whenever justice is served there is never enough beer. Making the choice is tormenting: beer or justice? Except history will have its way… More likely than not, we won’t be going for beers.

A criminal society cannot dissolve on its own. It cannot change or back away. Its habits are passed on by inheritance. It’s planning on living forever.

When a colony of parasites attacks a body doctors don’t argue for the rights of worms and larvae. There are no environmental concerns. Negotiating with ticks that are sucking blood is absurd – the concerned parties’ interests are slightly different…

Once the destruction of the ruling class ceases to be a folk dream and becomes a banal medical procedure, the most difficult part begins. We’ll have to start living healthy, constantly look after our self and take precautionary measures. And say “no” to many things.

Otherwise it’s pointless. If the nation’s body is ill then it will always be a feast for parasites.

They say that “social crisis” means that God is taking humanity to court.

Where God is judging men, lawyers won’t help….
See Russian language original:
Ukrainian language interview with Vodichka:

Friday, December 4, 2009

44 days: Putin, Tymoshenko and Obama jokes

“I don’t support Yulia Tymoshenko for the presidential election,” said Russian leader Vladimir Putin. “But we have a great amount of experience as functioning prime ministers. There’s a plan of common work and we are executing it,” Putin said in a recent interview.

Putin noted that as far as party politics go, his United Russia – the ruling party of power that dominates his country’s Duma – has a special relationship with Victor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.

Tymoshenko and Putin have held several joint press conferences in Russia and Ukraine since last year’s natural gas wars. Putin, likely to seek a repeat resurgent Russian presidency in 2012, has used the occasions to take pot shots at Ukraine and her president Victor Yushchenko. Not once did Tymoshenko come to the aid of the Ukraine’s head of state, laughing along at the cheap jokes at the expense of her country’s honor.

Tymoshenko wants to show voters in the countries’ eastern and southern regions that she is capable of good relations with Russia – an important electoral consideration if she wants to win the presidency.

November polls showed Tymoshenko trailing her main rival Victor Yanukovych by up to ten percent. But the number of undecided voters is double that difference. The undecided will decide who scores highest in the 16-candidate race slated for Jan. 17.

Meanwhile, Tymoshenko wants the western world to know that she wants good relations with everybody. When asked about her first three steps as president, Tymoshenko joked about following US President Barak Obama’s example.

Tymoshenko said that during Obama’s first televised interview as president, he was asked about the “Book of Secrets, that only the President of the USA can read.”

“Barak Obama joked in black humour that he had, naturally, read the book [of secrets], but that he can’t tell the journalist what’s in it, otherwise he’d be replaced immediately,” Tymoshenko said.

“That’s why I can’t say anything about my first steps. So that nobody has time to flee. I’m joking, of course,” Tymoshenko told Korespondent magazine.

Holod '09: Unsettled about Resettlement

Source: Typescript, Raphael Lemkin's unpublished History of Genocide, NYPL

Raphael Lemkin’s exposure of the Soviet genocide of Ukraine describes how a people were targeted for death in four steps. The Holodomor of 1932-33 – when millions died of starvation in the breadbasket of Europe – was step number three in a process that was repeated and spanned decades.

“The systematic destruction of the Ukrainian nation” by the Soviets, according to Lemkin, began with a “blow aimed at the national brain – teachers, writers, artists, thinkers, political leaders were liquidated, imprisonment or deported” between 1920 and 1933.

Simultaneously Ukraine’s “soul” was targeted in an “offensive against the churches, priests and hierarchy” – a process Lemkin described as ongoing in 1945, when the Soviets established rule in Western Ukraine.

The “third prong of the Soviet plan was aimed at the farmers, the large mass of independent peasants who are the repository of the tradition, folk lore and music, the national language and literature, the national spirit, of Ukraine. The weapon used against this body is perhaps the most terrible of all – starvation. Between 1932 and 1933, 5,000,000 Ukrainians starved to death, an inhumanity which the 73rd [U.S.] Congress decried on May 28, 1934.”

Thus, the United States recognized the Holodomor. But back in 1934, the word "genocide" was not around to describe the grave crime against humanity. Only fifteen years later would the UN would adopt the 'legal' term genocide.

“The fourth step in the process consisted in the fragmentation of the Ukrainian people at once by the addition to Ukraine of foreign peoples and by the dispersion of the Ukrainians throughout Eastern Europe. In this way, ethnic unity would be destroyed and nationalities mixed. Between 1920 and 1939, the population of Ukraine changed from 80 percent Ukrainian to only 63 percent,” Lemkin wrote.

The criminal intent on part of the Soviet state is evidenced by its plan to re-populate the purposefully-depopulated areas. It shows that genocide was designed and executed by governmental order.

Evidence of this can be found (inter alia) in the documents of the aptly-named All-Union Resettlement Committee of the Council of Peoples’ Commissars. The documents – found in declassified Soviet archives in Russia and Ukraine – show that the government was literally counting on the deaths of hundreds of thousands in Ukraine in order to make room for “resettlers” from abroad. This was government-run ethnic cleansing.

A government resolution dated August 1933 orders AURC to “organize the resettlement of 10 thousand families to Kuban and Terek, and 15 to 20 thousand families to Ukraine… by the beginning of 1934.”

Four months later, the AURC reported the plan for resettling Ukraine was over-performed at 104 percent. The December 29, 1933 report is very detailed: “In total, 21,856 collective farm, 117,149 persons, 14,897 horses, 21,898 cows and 38,750 heads of other livestock have been relocated.”

A table in the doucment shows the “source” and “destination” oblasts. The sources are five oblasts in what are modern-day Russia and Belarus. The destination oblasts are four in Ukraine: Odesa, Donetsk, Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk.

This is just one resettlement. In the course of seventy years, the Soviet Union not only killed millions of its own people, it forcedly resettled unfathomable millions as well. It was a great shuffle of humanity and cleansing of ethnicities on the quest to create a “denationalized” homo sovieticus.

For AURC reports, see: Holodomor of 1932-33 in Ukraine: Documents and materials (Kyiv, 2008). Compiled by Prof. Ruslan Pyrih, Documents #68 (p.116) and #73 (p. 121)

Friday, November 27, 2009

50 days: Bill Billovych Againstall

Againstall: For a life without "Me" and "You"
Ya = Yanukovych, Yu= Yulia, Yushchenko

“Jokers” have been part of Ukrainian politics since the communist monopoly on party politics was broken up 18 years ago. For the January 17, 2010 race, there is no shortage of comedic candidates and political humor in general. With politics the way it is in Ukraine, you got be able to laugh… Here’s a look at one of the Joker Candidates

In October Vasyl Vasylovych Humeniuk changed his surname to Protyvskih to run in these elections. The new name of the former communist party member and resort town mayor from Ivano-Frankivsk oblast means “against all” which is itself a standalone option on the unique Ukrainian ballot. Voters face a list of candidates and can choose ‘none of the above’ if they so wish.

None of the above” has done comparatively well in past elections, consistently scoring higher than two percent in parliamentary and presidential elections alike.

The highest “against all” ever scored in the presidential elections was 1999, when incumbent Leonid Kuchma beat commie Petro Symonenko in two rounds. Nearly one million voters said they don’t like either the red director or the red party boss for 3.4 percent of the popular vote.

During the 2002 parliamentary race, a groups of parties calling itself the “Against all” Electoral Bloc ran in a field of 33 parties and blocs. Then, “against all” was supported by nearly 30,000 voters, scoring point one of a percentage point (0.1%)

The last presidential race (2004) saw Ukrainians go to the polls three times in three months before a head of state was finally elected. Candidates Yushchenko and Yanukovych went three rounds before Viktor from Sumy beat Viktor from Donetsk to become victorious.

Five years ago, twenty six candidates ran for the presidency. “Against all” was the fifth most popular choice; more than half a million voters liked none of the candidates in the first round. Combined, “none of the above” beat 20 presidential hopefuls. “Against all” swelled to nearly seven hundred thousand when voters said they don’t like either Victor in the second and third rounds of 2004.

More than 600,000 voted “against all” in the 2006 regularly-scheduled and 2007 snap elections to the Rada, both times beating out over 15 parties and blocs.

For these coming elections (less than two months away), Vasyl Againstall is fighting fifteen other candidates for the right to lead Ukraine for the next five years. The 63-year-old's chances are slim. Yet he had no problem finding the required UAH 2.5 million hryvnia (around $300,000) to run in these elections. A pretty expensive joke, no?

Maybe he’s counting on people to mistake his name for the “Against all” option and inadvertently cast a vote for him. Or perhaps he hopes that Ukrainians are so fed up that they’ll choose him in protest against the constant political squabbling that borders on the absurd. Ukraine today has over 160 political parties! Democracy in the 19-year-old former Soviet republic is still very messy, but not bereft of humor.

Together with voter turnout numbers, the electoral fate of both Vasyl Againstall and “Against all” will be good indicators of what Ukrainians think about elections and, more importantly, about democracy in general: Are voters tired and fed up?

Voters should be encouraged to show up at polling stations on January 17, otherwise their uncast vote risks being cast on their behalf. At least they have the option of telling the lot: “I don’t like any of you!”

Follow Vasyl Vasylovych on Twitter:

"Against all candidates" website (Ukrainian):

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Holodomor 2009: Yushch and Lukash Enkos

The best image from this year’s Holodomor commemorations thus far (for Holodomor Education Week is ongoing in Toronto, 83 Christie St., until Nov. 28) has to be the photo snapped back in the first week of November, when Belarusian president Aleksandr Lukashenka came to Kyiv on an official visit.

The man once called “last dictator of Europe” by the West joined his Ukrainian presidential counterpart Victor Yushchenko in honoring the victims of the Holodomor 1932-33. That’s something Russian Federation president Medvedev has refused despite repeated requests from Ukraine. Lukashenka did this despite warnings from Moscow to the Slavic leader of the brotherly republic to avoid committing “high treason.”

Lukashenka knows full well about what went on in Belarus and across the border in neighboring Ukraine in 1932-33 and his countrymen were not left unscathed by the soviet scythe of death in Stalin’s swinging arms. Declassified documents prove this. Lukashenka’s voice is the latest to join a choir of consensus emerging in the eastern Slavic and Orthodox worlds about the untold evils of soviet rule: They need to be told!

Yushchenko declassified all secret Soviet archives not only pertaining to the Holodomor, but all the way up to 1991. When they shook hands, maybe Yushchenko gave Luklashenka a bit of the “anti-Soviet” bug – a welcome “flu” that should spread to the dozen former Soviet republics from the Baltic to the Pacific still dealing with their communist past.

In Ukraine that consenus is shared by all of the countries churches - including the wealthy Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow patriarchy. Since independence, all three of Ukraine's presidents have championed international recognition of the Holodomor as genocide.

Nobody is saying that Stalin did not commit genocidal crimes in what today is the Russia Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Moldova (and in all the breakaway regions as well.) All the governments have to do is open up the Soviet archives to public scrutiny!

Twenty years may have passed since the fall of a German wall, but the true scale and nature of crimes of the USSR are only now coming to the surface. History is not being “rewritten” or “falsified” as the Kremlin charges: the true history of something that happened 75 years ago has yet to fully see the light of day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

55 days to E-Day: Rada rerun plays, Tymo joke about luck

They may be running for the presidency, but the two Victors talked about new Rada elections on Monday, November 23.

Some would argue that the current parliament, elected in a snap vote in 2007, should sit until 2012, according to constitutional changes hastily adopted during the Orange Revolution. Two years into the Victor Yushchenko presidency, voters elected a parliament to replace the one formed in 2002. But the 2006 vote was followed by political crisis and a snap poll in 2007 when Yushchenko dissolved parliament. He dissolved the Rada yet again in 2007 but his order lapsed when the government and parliament refused to release state funds to hold the poll. (

If elected Yushchenko will give parliament one hundred days to adopt a new Constitution or face new elections and a national referendum. But those 100 days will fall into what could very well be a “lameduck” period of his presidency if nothing like the Orange Revolution is repeated when Ukrainians go to the polls to elect the next president in two months’ time. So this is like Yushchenko saying “elect me, and I’ll solve this constitutional mess once and for all.” And messy it will be: snap polls, referendum debates. Better at the ballot box than on the battlefield.

Seeking revenge for his loss to Yushchenko five years ago, Victor Yanukovych said on national TV that he will dissolve parliament and hold snap elections if a majority coalition is not formed in the legislature once he becomes president. The opposition leader said that if the president, parliament and government are not working as a “state team” then the Rada will face the people for reelection. (

His main opponent in the polls race Yulia Tymoshenko, meanwhile, said that Ukrainians will never elect Yanukovych and joked about her opponent being “lucky.”
“You have to have a very rich imagination to call a person who sat in prison twice, who, out of fear, twice gave up the post of premier and once of president, lucky,” according to her Nov. 21 statement marking the fifth year since Ukrainians took to the streets in response to state-run electoral fraud. “This reminds me of an anekdot (joke). A sign says: Lost Dog. Features: one eye, limp back paw, one ear bitten, the other completely missing. With three stitches on his maw. Answers to the name ‘Lucky’.” (

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Stashynsky precedent

Even if Demjanjuk did commit a Nazi war crime, it was ultimately Hitler who ordered it

In Bavaria fifty years ago this month, a KGB agent killed our grandpa Stepan Bandera with a double-barreled prussic acid spray gun. The physical extermination of Bandera was only part of Moscow’s devious plan: the covert killing in mysterious circumstances was complemented with a propaganda campaign whose goal was to cast the shadow of responsibility for the murder onto the Ukrainians themselves, i.e. to make it seem as if Ukrainian leaders were killing off one another. "Ah, those Ukrainians... fighting amongst themselves again..." Sound familiar?

How do we know the truth about this poisoning? It might have never come to light had not the assassin come forth with the details of the killings.

KGB agent Bogdan Stashynsky fled from East to West Berlin the day before the Wall was erected and turned himself in to the Americans. For the murder of two men he was sentenced to a mere eight years imprisonment by a German court. From what we know today, he served only four of those years and was given a new life and identity in exchange for the valuable information he provided US intelligence services about the inner workings of the KGB. Stashynsky was given a break in the name of political expediency. The German high court deemed him to be merely an accessory to murder. The real guilty party: the Soviet state and its leaders. Hmmm, was the German court under pressure from the Americans?

Below are some excerpts from the German court’s 1962 verdict. It might come in handy for those prosecuting and defending John Demjanjuk in Bavaria today.

Don’t get me wrong. I hate Nazis as much as Jake and Elwood do. Our grandfather’s two brothers – Vasyl Bandera and Oleksandr Bandera were killed in Auschwitz. And Stepan Bandera spent most of WWII in the Sachsenhausen Nazi concentration camp. I felt justice was being served as I watched Tarantino’s inglourious basterds carve swastikas into fascist foreheads. But even Demjanjuk has already been exonerated by Israel’s own judicial system, ferchrissakes!

Assume for a moment that the Germans actually do have a Nazi camp guard from the former Soviet Union awaiting trial for war crimes. The Germans are therefore prosecuting a Prisoner of War they caught and incarcerated. The German are prosecuting a non-German for crimes ordered from up top by Adolf Hitler and “German Nazi persons.”

Was this theoretical person merely an accessory to murder? (A German court found that Stashynsky was on the lowest rung of the responsibility ladder.) Or did he/she commit over 29,000 acts of murder of his/her own volition?

The leukemia-ridden 89 year old John Demjanjuk was deemed fit to stand a trial that is slated to begin November 30 and likely to last for months… Could it be that politics is influencing Germany’s judicial system today as it did 50 years ago? Say it isn’t so, Otto…

Written Motivation
in the Stashynsky Trial
of the Federal High Court in Karlsruhe

Penal Code §§ 47, 49, 211

A person who commits homicide with his own hand is as a rule the perpetrator; under certain, limited circumstances, however, he may solely be an assistant

Federal High Court, Verdict of October 19, 1962 – 9 StF 4/62
On October 19, 1962, pronounced the following verdict:

I. The accused is found guilty on two charges of aiding and abetting a murder and on a charge of treachery.
II. He is sentenced to a total punishment of eight years penal servitude.
III. Allowance is made for imprisonment pending trial.
IV. The costs of the proceedings are to be borne by the accused.

ARGUMENTS (excerpts)

II. 2) “…certain modern states under the influence of radical political views, and in Germany under National Socialism, have adopted the method of planning political murders or mass-murders, and of issuing orders that such foul crimes are to be committed. In committing such officially ordered murders, the persons who merely receive and carry out these orders are not prompted by the usual personal or other motives defined by criminology. On the contrary, they find themselves in the morally confusing and often hopeless situation of having been ordered to commit most heinous and reprehensible crimes by their own state, which to many persons, as a result of clever mass-propaganda, seems to be an indisputable authority. They obey such orders and instructions under the influence of political propaganda, or under pressure of commands from the authority in power, or under similar influences exercised by their own state, from whom, on the contrary, they might justifiably expect the preservation of law and order. These dangerous criminal impulses emanate not from the persons who receive the orders, but from those who represent the state power and thus violently abuse this power…”

V. “…But in committing these murders he [Stashynsky - SB] was merely the unwilling tool of ruthless political instigators … His guilt is mitigated by the fact that in his earliest youth, in spite of the Christian atmosphere of his parents’ home, he was constantly obliged to witness political acts of violence and bloodshed. The cunning manner by which the KGB caught him in its clutches… has also been taken into consideration by the Court… On the strength of the evidence adduced in this trial the guilt of those from whom he received his orders is far greater. The accused cannot therefore be burdened with the guilt of the high-ranking instigators of these crimes (i.e. ‘the Soviet Russian persons from whom he received his orders’).”

3rd Court of Criminal Appeal of the German Federal High Court in the hearings of the trial on October 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 15th and 19th, 1962, in which the following took part: President of the Senate, Dr. Jagusch as President of the Court, Federal Judge K. Weber, Federal Judge Dr. Wiefels, Federal Judge Dr. Hengsberger, Federal Judge Dr. Schumacher as advisory judge, Federal Attorney Dr. Kuhn and Judge Oberle of the District Court as representatives of the Federal Attorneyship, Chief Clerk of Court Hatz as certificating official of the Court

Source: Murder International, Inc.: Murder and Kidnapping as an Instrument of Soviet Policy, Hearing Before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Eighty-Ninth Congress. First Session. March 26, 1965. (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1965).

Friday, September 25, 2009

News from Crimea circa 1850

Photo taken September, 2009
Sovereign Hill, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
1850s Living Museum, Gold Rush Town

Friday, April 10, 2009

Romanian grapevine revolution

Foreign Minister details 'messianic' Moldova meddling

Moldova's coat of arms - the only difference
between Moldovan and Romanian flags

Months after snatching Serpent's Island from Ukraine, Romania’s Foreign Minister admitted that Romanians were involved in the protests that rocked neighbouring Moldova after elections last week. The poorest European republic’s “pro-European” communist party (PCRM) won a majority to the legislature it has dominated for the last eight years.

Mobilized via Internet, 10,000 mostly youth reportedly took to the streets of Chisinau to protest against the commies and their leader Vladimir Voronin, who has ruled Moldova as president since 2001. Some waved the flag of Romania (that is identical to that of Moldova sans coat-of-arms). Many went overboard and vandalized the parliament building (estimated $40 mln in damages) and presidential offices. Police reportedly detained 200 protesters. (Protests had subsided by week’s end, when “pro-European” communist Voronin, by now enjoying Russia’s support, announced an election recount.)

While lamenting Chisinau’s decision to cancel visa-free travel for Romanians, Romania’s top diplomat Cristian Diaconescu also publicly confirmed that Bucharest has been in the business of giving out passports to Molodovans. He accused Moldova of failing “to act according to the European pattern.”

Additional details about Romanian involvement in the protests, presumably done under the pretext of “getting Moldova closer to Europe” were revealed by Diaconescu during his April 9 press briefing in Bucharest:

“Starting with yesterday [April 8], the authorities in Chisinau carry out a methodical operation for the identification of the persons that participated in the manifestations that took place on 7 and 8 April, 2009. From the …General Prosecutor of the Republic of Moldova we understand that there are also foreign citizens among the 200 persons that are said to be arrested. We have also sent a notification and we are launching a firm and insisting call to the authorities of the Republic of Moldova to officially state the number of Romanian citizens arrested…”

“Thirdly… the internal situation of this State [Moldova] raises important issues regarding the safety of the Romanian citizens to whom we recommend to avoid the travels (sic) to this country. We know that this recommendation makes it difficult for the people with double citizenship, especially because the Orthodox Eastern (sic) is near. Unfortunately we have to make such a recommendation, following the actions and measures taken at Chisinau.”

“…we will continue to support the Republic of Moldova to get closer to the European Union. We consider that this action remains the best option for the citizens of the Republic of Moldova and for the consistency of the Romanian foreign policy during the last years.”

Diaconescu said that Romania has requested “solidarity” from the EU and NATO “to counteract the deviations from the standards of democracy and of the international law, which, at this moment, we think that it represents a sources (sic) of instability in the region were (sic) our country lies.”

Ukraine asked to extradite alleged riot financeers Gabriel Stati and Auren Marinescu, both detained in Odesa after the violent protests

Diaconescu's full April 9 press conference:

Monday, April 6, 2009

Stalins and Lenins under attack

Pottering loses something in translation as Regions, commies miffed

European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pottering addressed the Verkhovna Rada on Monday speaking in the local tongue to the delight of most of the narodni deputaty who initially clapped in approval when the conservative German politician uttered a sentence in transliterated Ukrainian.
But the white-haired Saxon began losing some of the crowd when he spoke about the democratic freedoms gained by the “Orange Revolution.” Party of Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych may have been among those audibly grumbling disapproval at the mention of late December 2004, when he saw the presidency slip away to Western-backed Viktor Yushchenko. “Is there a problem? A problem with translation?” Pottering asked the restless Rada members.
The communists demonstratively did not clap or rise to honor the president of the European parliament after his speech: Pottering mentioned the Holodomor and lamented the fact that other countries in the region have not come to terms with their Stalinist past like Ukraine has. He put the Soviet Union’s communists in the same league with Germany’s national socialists, landing a black eye to Ukraine’s Leninists (who also saw the rear ends of their proletarian fuhrer’s statues blown off in Russia and Luhansk oblast in the first week of April [see links below]. But the marxists in neighboring Moldova had cause to cheer on April 6, as election results showed that former Soviet republic’s ruling communist party scored a 60 seat majority in Sunday’s parliamentary poll. However Moldova’s communist party is described as being “pro-European,” oddly enough).
Pottering also had a clear message to Ukraine when it comes to changing its constitution:
“Of particular importance for Ukraine is the implementation of a proper constitutional reform, which would establish a viable system of checks and balances and define clear distribution of competences between all branches of power, on the basis of the recommendations issued by the Venice Commission,” he said.
Last week, President Yushchenko said that the constitutional reforms he submitted to parliament on March 31 will be submitted for scrutiny of the constitutional legal beagles based in the Italian city.
Yushchenko’s proposed changes include the introduction of an upper parliamentary house that would be elected directly with equal regional representation (three senatory per region). The electoral system would also be changed to include open list proportional representation in the lower house (occupied by deputaty). Yushchenko’s version would have the presidency cede powers of formation and oversight responsibilities for the premier and cabinet of ministers to the lower house as a way of combating the dualism currently plaguing Ukraine’s executive branch.
Improving the constitution has become a legacy issue for Yushchenko in the last year of his presidency. Ukraine’s parliament ordered presidential elections to be held on October 25 instead of January 17, 2010, as the president initially suggested.
This week Yushchenko agreed to even earlier presidential elections, if voters are given the opportunity to simultaneously elect a new Rada and the deputaty agree to give up their immunity from prosecution.
The back-and-forth can be expected to last until sufficient political consent is manufactured to provide the 300 votes necessary to push through constitution-changing, veto-overriding votes in the already fractured parliament. And you can bet your bottom hryvnia that not too many deputaty are willing to gamble their cushy seats and in early elections… for many it’s possibly their last time at the personally-lucrative parliamentary trough and far from the expected five-year term: the current Rada was elected only 19 months ago in Sept. 2007.
Then, early elections were made possible only after the Cabinet of Ministers led by Yanukovych agreed to finance the elections. But Yanukovych is now in opposition and the premier post is currently occupied by Yulia Tymoshenko, who has her own presidential bid to worry about.


For Lenin statues under attack:

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Back to Bicameralism

President Yushchenko delivered what’s supposed to be an annual address to parliament on the last day of March. (He was prevented from doing so last year by MPs loyal to erstwhile orange ally and prime minster Yulia Tymoshenko).

On paper, Yushchenko’s speech was very strong, but the delivery appeared strained on the tube. For starters, the president was not in friendly territory and many politicians rejoiced that this was “the last time” this person would ever address parliament. Opposition MPs hung caricatures of the president and provided a suitcase with an oversized one-way airline ticket from Kyiv to Washington. One of the caricatures depicted Yushchenko pointing like Uncle Sam and declaring “You poisoned the president!” (In the afternoon, MPs voted to re-create an ad hoc commission to investigate Yushchenko’s 2004 poisoning and re-appointed KGB veteran Volodymyr Sivkovych as its head.)

Yushchenko’s speech was received like a lame duck. Legislators did not stop babbling while the president reported on the state of the republic and outlined strategic national priorities. The shoom in the room turned into catcalls when Yushchenko announced that he thinks Ukraine needs a bicameral parliament, with an upper house Senat (3 senators per oblast, direct representation) and a lower house called Palata Deputativ (elected according to an open list proportional system). In order to eliminate the current dualism paralyzing the executive branch, Yushchenko’s model would have the Cabinet of Ministers fully subordinate to the Rada (instead of president and parliament) including in foreign affairs and policing that are currently in the presidential purview. The lower house would be fully responsible for forming and controlling the Cabinet of Ministers - another concession from the presidential office.

The idea of the upper house was immediately criticized across the board: it’ll be nothing else but a resort or reserve for oligarchs or lords who are able to spend their way into their senate seats. Yushchenko argued that bicameral models are standard practice in European countries like Czech Republic, France, Poland and Spain.

The idea of creating a bicameral parliament is not a new one for Ukraine. Back on April 16 2000, the majority of Ukrainians (over 80 percent) supported the idea of introducing a two-chamber legislative branch, lowering the number of parliament deputies from 450 to 300 and eliminating immunity from prosecution for MPs. The referendum, initiated by then President Kuchma, was called a farce by the opposition. Five months after the referendum, journalist Heorhiy Gongadze disappeared and Kuchma soon had other things to worry about than over constitutional reforms.
Kuchma would not revisit the issue in a big way until his Independence Day speech in 2002, when he single-handedly announced that Ukraine was going to change over to a “parliamentary-presidential” model of government (in place of the “presidential-parliamentary” model that Kuchma enjoyed during his decade-long rule).

That constitutional time bomb was laid by Kuchma’s new administration head Viktor Medvedchuk, socialist Oleksandr Moroz (supposedly Kuchma’s arch enemy) and commie Petro Symonenko, but did not go off until Yushchenko term as president. Kuchma never saw his presidential powers limited – some would claim circumcised, not quite castrated – the way Yushchenko did. According to the reforms, the president is supposed to be weak!

The fiercest critics of Yushchenko’s constitutional reform announcement point to its timing: “Hello!!! There’s a crisis in the country – factories shutting down, jobless rates rising, banks are holding back money (etc.)… and you’re wasting time rewriting the constitution?”
In fact, Yushchenko’s proposed changes to the Constitution have been on the table since 2006. I

Politicians of all stripes repeatedly sing the same song during the marathon political talk shows bombarding viewers nightly: the current proportional electoral system is in desperate need of fixing. But no party or bloc in the current Rada has actually done anything about. Despite promising voters they will lift immunity from prosecution for legislators, the lawmakers have failed to do so. MPs naturally want to hang on to their seats as long as possible. Plus parliament is so fractured that the task of gathering the more than 300 votes necessary in the 450 member chamber seems insurmountable. The rare occasions this Rada has seen more than 300 MPs vote together are when Tymoshenko’s BYuT and Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions combined forces to pass legislation and override presidential vetoes. Do they have a draft Constitution ready an alternative to the president’s vision? Now that’s question for Viktor Medvedchuk.

Sivkovych’s website (last updated December ’07):

Monday, March 30, 2009

Armies of the north east and south west

Russia and Romania wedge Ukraine

The Ides of March woke the Russian bear salivating at the prospect of Ukraine losing its sovereignty and falling apart. That’s understandable and even predictable when it comes to the country’s largest neighbor to the north and east. More alarming is that Ukraine’s disintegration is waking appetites in the belly of Romania to the south west, who also happens to be a NATO member.

While Russian strategists declare Ukraine “a failed state” on the verge of losing its sovereignty, some Romanian officials and media are suggesting that only part of Ukraine, with its capital in Lviv, can ever come under the alliance’s euroatlantic umbrella. In addition to delivering the informational wedgies, both Romania and Russia are handing out passports to Ukrainian citizens in their bids to restore territorial glories of eras gone by.

Unfazed by the reset relations with the new US administration, Russian Cold warrior and imperial policy guru Sergei Karaganov recently said that Ukraine will inevitably join the list of failed states – a list that currently numbers a dozen countries, but will grow in geometric proportions across the globe. Karaganov argued that the process of “desovereigntization” of one state can be managed by stronger states in times of stability, but the global financial mess only compounds problems.

“As a result of the Ukrainian government’s loss of control over their own territory, mad desuverenizatsiya is occurring there, but not to the benefit of some foreign force. It’s simply the breakdown of the state. That is completely obvious. And the situation is unacceptable – on its own the state is a little too large.”

Karaganov said that Russia and Europe do not have the right to let Ukraine fall apart. “I think the process will be drawn out and can be controlled, influenced in some way. But it’s completely unacceptable to let affairs spin out of control. I do not see any chance that Europe will give Russia the carte blanche to occupy Ukraine, as a whole or in parts, in the near future. However Russia does not want to see a completely unmanaged territory at its side… and Russia will not allow anyone to display excessive activeness. That’s because the Cold War is not yet over and the level of mistrust still runs high and the super powers cannot work together to deal with existing challenges.”

In wake of already strained relations (Serpent Island territorial dispute, Danube delta shipping dispute, Romania and Ukraine expelled diplomats on espionage charges earlier this year and Romanian president Traian Basescu indefinitely postponed a visit to Ukraine) Romanian and Russian media circulated a sensational statement concerning Ukraine’s future by Romanian army general and elected senator Ioan Talpes (head of the Romanian SIE Foreign Intelligence Service from 1992 to 1997):

“In conversation, a high-ranking NATO official confessed that the North Atlantic Alliance can be joined by a part of Ukraine with the capital in Lviv, meaning the division of the country into the western and eastern parts. …”

So now Ukraine is surrounded by two countries subscribing to Vladimir Putin’s vision of Ukraine’s division. The Ukrainian Center's for Independent Political Research Ilona Bilan provided a great report on the state of Romanian-Ukrainian relations:

“… According to Moldovan political scientist [Oles] Stan, the international community represented by the West has assigned Ukraine the role of not only ‘loser’ but also ‘victim.’ The process of Ukraine’s disintegration will occur according to the same principle as the split of the USSR and Yugoslavia, since Kyiv allowed the challenge of its borders inherited from the Soviet Union. He also underscored Romania has no intention of limiting its interests to Snake Island, as seen from behaviour of official Bucharest, which assures Ukraine support for EU and NATO integration on the one hand while meddling with its internal affairs on the other.”

“A deputy of the European Parliament from Romania recently registered a bill on preferences for Romanian national minorities up to the creation of ethno-cultural autonomies. In addition, the media reported that positioning himself as the collector of Romanian lands, [president Traian] Basescu has publicly challenged the borders established by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, under which Romania lost a part of its territory - Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina. … the idea of ‘Greater Romania’ is deeply ingrained in the head of the Romanian ruling elite. Taking small steps, Bucharest is realizing its plans by giving out Romanian passports to residents of the Odesa region and Bukovina and trying to integrate these territories not only economically and culturally but also politically.”

“The Romanian minority in Ukraine enjoys much broader rights than the Ukrainian one in Romania. In the Chernivtsi region alone, there are some 140 schools and kindergartens providing tuition in Romanian; periodicals are published in Romanian; TV and radio programs are broadcast in Romanian; Ukrainian citizens study in Romanian higher institutions on preferential terms. According to data of the 2001 Census, more than 50 percent of Ukrainian Romanians do not speak the national language…”

“Nevertheless, Bucharest regularly attempts to accuse Ukraine of violating rights of citizens of Romanian origin and engages in open anti-Ukrainian propaganda. Romania is doing its best to convince Moldovans who live in Ukraine that they are Romanians, because if 20 percent of the population of a certain region represents a national minority, this gives grounds to demand the creation of an ethno-cultural autonomy. Hence, while Ukrainian authorities try to oust Russian TV channels from the Ukrainian information space and to reduce the number of education establishments offering tuition in Russian, on the territory of Ukraine Romania insistently creates its information and cultural space that has long ago expanded beyond the bounds of the Romanian border and has taken on political overtones.”

Nikom ne nuzhni chudishcha: desuverenizatsiya Ukrayiny,’ Interview with Sergei Karaganov, Russki Zhurnal, March 20, 2009

Unfriendly Steps of a Friendly Country,’ by Ilona Bilan, Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research Update, March 24, 2009, Vol. 15, No. 8(568)