Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Dividing lines in Ukraine?

The division of Ukraine into separate groups: west/east, Orthodox/Greek Catholic, Russian speaking/Ukrainian speaking, is just too easy. The issues are too complex and the dividing line, if there is one, is not fixed. Is Kiev in the east or the west? It is Russian speaking and is the starting point for the Russian Orthodox tradition. Then it must be in the east, but it voted heavily for Yushchenko. Both the Potlava and Cherkassy oblasts went for Yuschenko but they are also heavily Orthodox and Russian is spoken in their cities. Odessa is certainly Russian speaking but it religious traditions are extremely varied with a large historical Jewish population. Odessa went for Yanukovych but Odessa does not fall into any box and will remain unique. It is certainly west of the Dnipro River. How about Mykolaiv? It went for Yanukovych but its voting pattern in the second round smells of fraud. 35% of Mykolaiv voters were treated as “invalids” and another 30% were absentees. If you remove these interesting votes, Mykolaiv might have gone Yushchenko.

If reporters and analysts are writing for headlines then Ukraine is breaking apart right down the line of the Dnipro River. If a more careful review of the social and political makeup of the country is used, there is not easy dividing line.

One note on the move of the Donbas into “Transdniester” condition of non-official, semi-autonomous nation state. Donbas exports a great deal of materials throughout the world. To do this it needs to be recognized in the world economy. “Semi-autonomous areas” do not typically particulate on the world market. Russia alone cannot take in all of the Donbas exports without harming its own industry that directly comletes with the mines and steel-works of the Donbas.

One final sporting note: Sportak Donetsk is a leading football club in Ukraine. It competed in European Champions League this fall. It owners have large plans to build a $200 million stadium very soon. If the Donbas breaks apart, the teams status at an international basis goes away and that stadium becomes a white elephant.

Balance of Payments

A question of balance of payments.

Maidan - News - Lyudmyla Yanukovych. Star Performance

Maidan - News - Lyudmyla Yanukovych. Star Performance

This is fun, Poni Yanukovych speaks.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | David Aaronovitch: PR man to Europe's nastiest regimesms t

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | David Aaronovitch: PR man to Europe's nastiest regimes

It seems that not all international observers of elections are wonderful people with open minds.

THE victorious people of AN undefeated country. SERHII RAKHMANIN. Zerkalo Nedeli On The WEB

THE victorious people of AN undefeated country. SERHII RAKHMANIN. Zerkalo Nedeli On The WEB

as always, solid analysis from Zerkalo Nedeli

Bedrock Resistance to Protests in Kiev

The New York Times > International > Europe > In a World Below, Bedrock Resistance to Protests in Kiev

fine article on the miners of Donbas. They have been abused by the mine owners/controllers for ever.

Monday, November 29, 2004

They are packing it up and the end is near

In the past few hours, there has been a great movement away from confrontation and a lining up of political forces to support an united Ukraine with Victor Yushchenko as president. Parts of the Donbas business community are coming to Kyiv to discuss the future. Major clan leaders have backed away from the fight. Kuchma seems unable to have an affect on the political scene. While this might be pre-mature, barriers to the presidency of Victor Yushchenko are falling away.

Stepping away before the fall.

Kyiv Post. Top stories

The line away from Yanukovych is getting longer.

Tihjpko moves away

Ukraine Supreme Court Opens Hearing Into Vote Fraud Charges

The move by Tihpko is a major event. It is the first sign that a leader of a major economic clan is breaking ranks. While he is not going to the other side, he does state that a new election is needed.

Ukraine Supreme Court Opens Hearing Into Vote Fraud Charges

The New York Times > International > Europe > Ukraine Supreme Court Opens Hearing Into Vote Fraud Charges

The move by Tihpko is a major event. It is the first sign that a leader of a major economic clan is breaking ranks. While he is not going to the other side, he does state that a new election is needed.

A Silent Act of Rebellion Raises a Din in Ukraine

The New York Times > International > A Silent Act of Rebellion Raises a Din in Ukraine

From NY Times (reg. req.) This does a good job of discussing the media blockage that occurred throughout the first two elections. Also, please note the continued mindset of the director of Television One, the government TV chanel. He still has not progressed beyond Soveit times.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

A Ukrainian News Source

a good selection of Ukrainian news not found elsewhere

Kiev's shifting sea of orange

BBC NEWS | Programmes | From Our Own Correspondent | Kiev's shifting sea of orange

Kyiv Post. Top stories

Kyiv Post. Top stories

again making the case that Yushchenko, as prime minister, fostered appropriate Russian investments.

The Observer | Comment | Our man in Kiev

The Observer | Comment | Our man in Kiev

a short Yuschenko biography. I would add that his management of the National Bank was great. It was the first Ukrainian national institution to begin to function openly and rationally.

The Observer | Comment | Beware this post-Stalinist threat

The Observer | Comment | Beware this post-Stalinist threat

fine article in The Observer, Nov 28, 2004

Saturday, November 27, 2004

a look into the future

It now looks like that there will be a third Presidential election. The probable changes in the format will be no absentee ballots, open access to election observers in all election locations, and access to the major national media outlets. This should solve many of the problems that previous elections in Ukraine have had. The absentee ballots issue alone cost Yushchenko the election, possibly in both rounds. Looking too far forward, let’s look at what a Yushchenko presidency will look like.

There will be better relations with Europe and North America. The ties with Poland will become much stronger. This is not just historic ties but more importantly, Poland is seen as an example to follow. Many of the economic burdens that have tied up country should be relieved. The privatization programs will not need to be targeted solely to certain political clans. It is quite possible that some of the more questionable recent privatizations will be revisited. There is a chance that economic ties with Russia will weaken. I actually expect the opposite. The Donbass area has always fought moves by Russian industrialists to move into the region. I do not view Yushchenko to be anti-Russian but more pro-Ukrainian.

If the region does lose some political clout, as it should, these barriers will weaken. Tourism should begin to grow and develop. Ukraine has many cities that would be quite wonderful for visitors from the rest of Europe. Ukraine’s harsh visa regime and the lack of appropriate hotel facilities hinder the development of tourism. The entire country could use better marketing of its unique recreational possibilities. A major marketing campaign targeted to the Russian market featuring the Crimea would play immediate results.

It should be expected that many of the non-economic barriers to doing clean business will begin to fall. This will take time but there are many towns and cities that have started to clean up their business registration operations and reduced the opportunities for bribery. This trend should be expected to move into larger Ukrainian cities. As Ukraine is now a low-cost neighbor to the European Union, it should begin to see investment by manufacturers hoping send into Europe. Western Ukraine has begun to seen some of this investment but it needs to grow. Most of this investment will have to be in green-field type opportunities, Ukraine’s manufacturing infra-structure is badly out of date.

The downside of a Yushchenko presidency is that expectations will be very high and these expectations will not be met. There are still thousands of bureaucrats in place and these will remain in place. The needed reforms in the police, military, customs service, and government regulators will take time. It will be a long process. The illusion of a sudden turnaround of the economy will undermine Yushchenko.

I expect that the growth in the GNP and trade surplus that Ukraine has seen the past few years will continue. The national economy is growing and this is truly a national trend, it is not just certain regions. The removal of some of the governmental jack-boot should increase this growth. In many ways, the eastern industrialists will be better off with a stronger, broader Ukrainian economy. I could never understand how wealthy Ukrainians, and there are more every year, could fully enjoy their wealth. The legal basis for their lives was shaking, the opportunities for the enjoyment of their wealth was limited and bounded by the developmental limits of the economy. A broader spread of the country’s wealth would only increase their opportunities. It has always seem that people schooled in the Soviet system saw that there is only a finite amount of wealth and so it needed to be controlled and hoarded. The idea that wealth could be increased and broadened never was entertained. Of course, the concept that the commonweal would increase wealth and personal freedom is the central basis for the space that Ukraine will now be entering.

A sound article from Moscow

This is a fine article written by Fyodor Lukyanov in Gazeta.Ru . It is not often that Russian writers actually suggest that Ukraine has the right to be independent from Moscow's shadow.

Friday, November 26, 2004

notes from Kharkiv

This comes from the Maidan web site, a great location for interesting news. http://eng.maidanua.org/
It is a letter writen by police officials. It is a good description of the types of things that were going on.
To the Speaker of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
V. M. Lytvyn

Statement of the staff of law-enforcement bodies of Kharkiv region

Dear Volodymyr Mykhaylovych,

Our duty and our conscious obliges us to address You as a representative of Supreme legislative power of Ukraine and demand that you interfere with the situation in our region on behalf of the Ukrainian nation.

1. Into Kharkiv region were brought 50% more bulletins than the whole quantity of voters of the region.

On October 30 before the elections in the executive committee of the city of Lozovaya of Kharkiv region a sealed room was unearthed in which were kept unaccounted bulletins filled in beforehand for the candidate for the post of President of Ukraine V. F. Yanukovych. This room was sealed with the seal of the executive committee and was guarded by policemen. The staff of the executive committee rejected demands of the community representatives to open the room. Eventually these bulletins were delivered to local voting commissions and were counted in during the process of calculating the election results.

In this episode the most active part was performed by: the first vice-chief of Administration of Ministry of Internal Affairs (AMIA) in Kharkiv region Z. S. Galavan and vice-chief of AMIA N. M. Khalin, the main orders were given by the chief of Kharkiv region State administration E. P. Kushnarev.

2. In passport offices forms # 1 are kept that contain personal information of every voter and lists of voters prepared by this offices were sent to the Territorial Election Commissions (TEC) and eventually were corrupted. The corruptions were made by concrete members of TEC. Tell us please, who could give such an order to the members of TEC? Who could order to publish more bulletins? Only Central Election Commission with S. Kivalov in the head.

Actually a number of crimes were committed to fake the elections results. The faking mechanism was as follows when a mismatch was found in a record concerning a voter in the list of voters, additional lists were made where records matched data of the passport offices. But the wrong voters were not excluded from the main lists. Thus there were “extra” people voting for V. F. Yanukovych. Surplus of brought in bulletins let do it.

3. A huge number cadets from the University of Internal Affairs (the president of board of directors is A. M. Bandurka) was sent to the regions of Western Ukraine, each of whom had no less than 10 absentee ballots. The transportation and food costs were compensated for each cadet and a guarantee was given to them that they will “pass” the examinations without efforts. We are shocked by cynical attitude of people’s deputy A.M. Bandurka true werewolf with epaulets towards the President of Ukraine election process.

4. In the city of Dergachy in Kharikiv region, the election division of A. M. Bandurka, a local congress was gathered at which Bandurka demanded that voters vote only for V. Yanukovych, otherwise they will have neither electricity nor gas. A.M. Bandurka is capable to fulfill his threats.

5. During voting in mental hospitals and old peoples homes the bulletins were filled in by the members of voting commissions or medicals, who were given instructions to vote for their candidate - V. Yanukovych.

6. Right before the elections the chief of Kharkiv region State administration E. P Kushnarev gathered the chiefs of administrations of the city districts, Security Service staff and announced that if V. F.Yanukovych gets less than 60% at their territory the present chiefs are not expected at their offices the next day after the elections.

Now we consider necessary to explain the part performed by Kharkiv law-enforcement bodies during the elections:

1. According to the orders of the head of AMIA in Kharkiv region C.F.Denysyuk a group of policemen was created at basis of AMIA to prevent the election campaign of Viktor Yuschenko. The group was ordered to destroy agitation materials in stores, in cars, in publishing houses. Members of this group crashed cars near “Myr hotel in the city of Kharkiv and also a number of cars in Kharkiv region that belonged to staff of Yuschenko'’s office.

2. According to the orders of the head of AMIA an operation was performed resulting in putting an explosive devise into the car of the authorized representative of Viktor Yuschenko Y. P. Potykun by the staff of Administration of Work against Organized Crime. The explosive devise was taken away in presence of coroner’s jury. The coordinators of this provocation are the head of Administration of Work against Organized Crime Z. S. Galavan and his assistant I.I Chekotylo. As a result a criminal case was launched against an innocent citizen and order for arrest was issued. All this was performed to frighten the staff and supporters of V. Yuschenko. Where is our country if the law-enforcement authorities turned into “legal” armed gang?

3. Before voting the head of AMIA Denisyuk S.F. as well as the head of Kharkiv city police administration V.I. Dyatlov gathered the staff and in the form of order forced the police staff to vote for their candidate, with several previous convictions, V. F. Yanukovych, and forced the police staff to fill in forms with personal data, information about their relatives and no less than 15 people whom they promise to convict to vote for Yanukovych. All the forms were taken by the heads of divisions and collected in human resources departments.

4. At present in the city of Kharkiv a number of felonies are committed, among which an attack at cash messengers during which three people were murdered, car explosions etc. Despite the tasks of the law-enforcement bodies to protect the legal rights and interests of the citizens, the heads of AMIA were involved into political games. Instead of investigation of felonies the operating executives detected the dissidents with the help of the staff that was not investigating crimes but agitated for V.F. Yanukovych even by means of frightening the people.

5. During the election campaign the staff was informed not once that if they don’t vote for Yanukovych they will be fired immediately.

6. Also performing the orders of administration all operational executives organized financing of Yunukovych’s campaign and actually the operational executives were racketeering the commercial organizations; money were transferred to the funds “Law and Order”, “Shield”, Guard”, “Slobozhanschyna”. These actions were made together with tax police.
7. We have data proving that before the elections were conducted people’s deputy V.L Shepetin organized and sent to Kyiv a group of criminals to carry out mass provocations under the guise of supporters of V. A. Yuschenko.

8. According to orders of the head of AMIA C.F.Denysyuk surveillance was established after the Verkhovna Rada deputies A. Matviyenko, V. Filenko, as well as after the heads of local offices, heads of region organizations of the opposition by the administration of criminal investigation which is performed up to now. Huge resources are taken from tax payers. What is the legal basis for prosecution of dissidents? What their actions according to what articles of criminal code demand such action?

Tell us please, Vladymyr Mykhaylovych, can we having this information name these elections “clear and honest as observers of Union of Sovereign States claim? Actually the voters of Kharkiv region were not free to vote as it is guaranteed by the Constitution. What was the reason for Kushnaruk, Bandurka, Shepetin, Denysyuk and others to claim that “Kharkiv region is for Yanukovych? Actually the Police was made a weapon to suppress citizens’ freedom to vote.

Unfortunately we can not openly declare our civil position at the moment without additional safety guarantees for our relatives as there is no democracy and law in Ukraine.

But at certain guarantees we are ready to confirm all the mentioned in any place in public.

Staff of the law-enforcement bodies of Kharkiv region.

burning in the night

Residents with apartments overlooking the Presidential Administration grounds last night witnessed the burning of documents. It lasted from 9:00pm to 3:00am. It also has been suggested the Russian troops at the Presidential Administration are there to destory documents that Russia/Kuchma might wish to keep away from public view. Apparently this was done in Iraq and Geogria before their fall.

Thanksgiving evening

Khreshchatyk is now filled completely with tents and buses of supports for Yushchenkos. The snow has stopped and it was a full moon tonight with a very orange setting Sun. There are many rumors running around now about the city and many of them are untrue. Here are a few reasonable ones. Yanukovych punched out four teeth of the Transportation Minister yesterday for not blocking railroad and auto traffic from the western end of the country. The SBU has gone over to Yushchenko. The police guarding the Presidential Administration Building has not been fed in two days and are asking for food to be sent up from Independance Square. The counter demonstators are being paid 200 UAH per day for their efforts. They, for the most part, seem young men who could use the money and without much political knowledge or real passion. It is said that Kyiv now has over one million visitors staying in the city. Shovkovichna St. is now full of buses from outside of the city and appear to be full of cold, uncomfortable men, probably police.
It could be the best time for the city and nation, a true awakening. Time will tell.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Tonight there seem to have been a number of turns in events. First the confirmation of the election by the Ukrainian Central Elections Committee. This was managed in a Soviet fashion with opposition members of the committee not given places to sit in the hall. The next turn was the announcement that the opposition next step would to begin planning disruptions of the transportation systems of the country. The opposition has also taken over "Ukraine House" on European Square. It should provide a central location where marches could be sent to most of the governments buildings in the center of the city. TV has been filled of video of long rows of buses filled with police and rent-a-thugs from the Eastern part of the country. This does not bode well. Finally, there has been information that Central European leaders, including representatives of the President of Poland, are coming to Kyiv to begin negotiations with the two parties. Yushchenko has called for a new round of elections with cleaner rules, for example, not allowing absentee ballots. The Ukrainian practice of absentee ballots allowed any citizen to visit any polling and claim that they were away from their home and needed a place to vote. This allowed roving bands of voters to visit multiple polling sites in a day. The is apparently a few small villages that had over 1500 absentee ballots voted on Sunday.

One final note. The many entertainers who are performing at the Yushchenko rallies on independence Square should be granted lifetime popularity from the citizens of the city. They may never appear on Russian TV again.

Kyiv remains quiet tonight but the snows still falls.

Just a short note. The overall impression of the people on the street is one of enthusiasm, excitement, and joy. The impression that I have of the very few Yanukovych supporters that have been bused in from the east is anger. The difference between the two groups is great. This is also reflected in the TV broadcasts of the two parties. The Fifth Channel is active and positive while the Inter Channel (Yanukovych) is very defensive.

WWW http://notesfromkiev.blogspot.com