Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Support for Ukrainian Democracy - Estonia - EP

Show your support for democracy in Ukraine on Wednesday, December 1 at 16:00
Tallinn, Town Hall Square (Raekoja plats).

2004 2009
Session document
[30.11.2004] B[6- /2004]

to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and Commission
pursuant to Rule 103(2) of the Rules of Procedure

by Jacek SARYUSZ-WOLSKI, Charles TANNOCK, Jerzy BUZEK, Tunne-Väldo KELAM and Edward McMillan-Scott on behalf of the EPP-ED

- PSE,
- UEN,

on Ukraine
RE\000000EN.doc PE 000.000v00
B[6- /2004]

European Parliament resolution on Ukraine

The European Parliament,

– having regard to its previous resolutions on Ukraine

- having regard, in particular, to its resolution on Ukraine adopted on 28 October 2004,

- having regard to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between the European Union and Ukraine , which entered into force on 1 March 1998,

- having regard to European Council Common Strategy 1999/877/CFSP on Ukraine, adopted by the European Council in Helsinki on 11 December 1999,

- having regard to the Final Statement and Recommendations of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee of 16-17 February 2004,

- having regard to the Communication from the Commission of 11 May 2004 on the European Neighbourhood Policy - COM(2004) 373 final,

- having regard to the Joint Statement of the Ukraine-European Union Summit of 8 July 2004 in The Hague,

- having regard to the statements and the preliminary findings and conclusions of the international election observer mission in Ukraine on both rounds of the Presidential election,

- having regard to the declaration by the Dutch Presidency on the second round of the Presidential election in Ukraine,

- having regard to the address by the High Representative of the European Union Javier Solana before the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament on Ukraine,

- having regard to the announcement on the final results of the
Presidential election in Ukraine by the Central Electoral Committee,

- having regard to the procedure before the Supreme Court of Ukraine on the validity of the second round of the Presidential elections,

- having regard to the resolution adopted by the Ukraine Parliament in its special Session of 27 November 2004 on the second round of the Presidential elections and the following political crisis,

– having regard to Rule 103(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the European Neighbourhood policy recognises Ukraine's European aspirations and the importance of Ukraine as a country with deep historical, cultural and economic links to the Member States of the EU, and whereas a genuine and balanced partnership can only be developed on the basis of shared common values with regard, in particular, to democracy, the rule of law and respect for human and civil rights, (PSE)

B. whereas the Ukrainian society proved its political maturity and adherence to common European values; (EPP)

C. whereas the conditions under which the Presidential elections in Ukraine were taking place were considered beforehand as a serious test for the state of democracy in Ukraine and for the authorities' adherence to these shared common values, (PSE)

D. whereas international observers have concluded that the second round of the presidential elections in Ukraine was marked by a multitude of serious irregularities and has fallen far short of international standards for democratic elections, (PSE)

E. whereas serious allegations have been made that massive fraud has taken place in the counting of the votes in favour of the incumbent Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich and many indicators point to a confirmation of these allegations, (PSE)

F. whereas the Central Electoral Committee has refused to take up these allegations of fraud and has declared Mr. Yanukovich as the winner of these elections, (PSE)

G. whereas the Ukrainian Supreme Court suspended the publication of the decision taken by the Central Electoral Committee and at this moment is investigating the validity of the Presidential elections, (UEN/PSE)

H. whereas the Parliament of Ukraine, many representatives of governments and international organisations - including the EU Presidency and the government of the United States - and many leading national and international politicians, have asked for annulling the result of the second round of the elections and for a new round of voting to take place on actual notice, (PSE)

I. whereas the Russian Federation and in particular its President have made great efforts to influence the result of the Presidential elections in Ukraine and to secure the victory of one candidate, Mr.Yanukovitch, (PSE)

J. whereas hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens have gone to the streets for more than a week in a massive protest against the manipulation of the elections, (PSE)

K. whereas the situation concerning these elections has led to a serious political crisis in Ukraine and even to threats to break up the unity of the country, (PSE)

L. whereas the European Union and its Member States have acted promptly by sending mediators which prevented the crisis from deepening by bringing the two candidates to the table to negotiate and defuse tensions, (PSE/VERTS)

M. whereas announcements were made on 29 November by President Leonid Kuchma that he would support a new election; (EPP)

1. Expresses its solidarity with the Ukrainian people, whose right to freely elect its president has to be recognized and implemented and not to be repressed; (EPP/ALDE)

2. Strongly rejects the conditions under which the second round of the Presidential elections in Ukraine have taken place, both as regards the final stage of the pre-electoral campaign as well as the irregularities and the apparent fraud during the counting of the votes, (PSE)

3. Rejects the decision by the Central Electoral Committee under the chairmanship of Serhiy Kivalov to declare Mr. Yanukovich as the winner of the Presidential lections without having thoroughly and fully considered the validity of the elections and the electoral process and therefore with apparent disregard to the wish of the people of Ukraine, (PSE)

4. Calls on the Ukrainian authorities to annul the second round of the Presidential elections and re-organise this second round before the end of this year with the participation of international observers, whilst guaranteeing an open and transparent electoral process according to international democratic standards both during the pre-electoral campaign as well as during the actual voting and counting of the votes and thoroughly improving the conditions of the election campaign,

5. Gives its full support to the efforts of EU High Representative, the Lithuanian and Polish Presidents as well as the speaker of the Russian State Duma to come to a peaceful and political solution to the crisis in Ukraine and calls to all those concerned in the Ukraine to co-operate in finding such a political solution,

6. Calls, in this respect, on the Council and the Commission to make clear to the Ukrainian government that in no way the use of violence against the peaceful and democratic protestscould be tolerated and that if such is the case the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement will immediately be suspended and sanctions applied; VERTS)

7. Calls on all protestors to allow for a normal functioning of the Ukraine State organs and to refrain from barricading the main buildings of these organs of the state,(PSE)

8. Juge inacceptable toutes menaces séparatistes et de partition de l'Ukraine, et exprime son attachement ? l'intégrité territoriale de l'Ukraine (GUE/NGL)

9. Rejects allegations, especially by the Russian President, that the European Union and the international community by expressing its support for the Ukrainian people's right to exercise their democratic rights would encourage violence; underlining at the same time that Russia carries a great responsibility for the situation in Ukraine; (EPP/UEN)

10. Believes that relations with Ukraine depend on a democratic resolution and pledges itscontinuing support, assistance and duty to the Ukrainian people's establishment of a free and open democratic system, their creation of a prosperous market economy and their country's assumption of its rightful place in the Euro-Atlantic community of democratic nations; (ALDE)

11. Calls upon the Commission, the Council and the Members States in case of a satisfactory outcome of the present situation to speed up the ratification of the Action Plan for Ukraine, to engage in the rapid implementation of this plan and to include new measures aiming at strengthening the role of civil society.

12. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the Parliament and the Government of Ukraine, the Parliamentary Assemblies of NATO and OSCE, the Council of Europe, as well as the government and Parliament of the Russian Federation.

The "East-West Split"

With regard to the "East-West split" scenario which is being so energetically played by the Kremlin, it now seems that Germany is getting in on the act, with Alexander Rahr rallying to the cause:

2004-11-30 17:49

MOSCOW, November 30 (RIA Novosti) - In its raging political crisis, Ukraine may split into East and West, warns Alexander Rahr, director of Russian and CIS programmes at Germany's Foreign Political Council. He analyses the option in a contribution to the Nezavisimaya Gazeta, influential Moscow-based daily.

The dire prospect threatens to drive in a wedge between Russia and the West. East Ukraine may repeat the patterns of Transdniestria, unrecognised republic in Moldova, or else develop quasi-statehood on a par with Abkhazia, Georgia's self-proclaimed republic. Such countries are a kind of black holes-they are established economic entities, even though the world has not recognised them. If Ukraine receives such a black hole in its east, the new state will largely depend on Russia. West Ukraine will lose economic support of the country's industrial part, the impending split to rob it of money and resources that have always flooded in from east. If that becomes true, West Ukraine, doomed to weakness, will have to sponge on the European Union and the USA.

If you read Russian, you can catch up on Rahr's article here.

The Last Bastion

Marius has drawn my attention to an excerpt from an article in yesterday's Le Monde:

L'avenir de la Russie se joue aussi à Kiev
LE MONDE | 29.11.04 | 15h01

The future of Russia is also played in Kiev

[passage omitted]

Since 1990-1991, the collapse of communism, and the dismantling of the Soviet Union, the Russian Empire has been in retreat. In the west, the old people's democracies have completed their emancipation while adhering to the EU and NATO, just as the Baltic republics, which had been integrated into the tsarist empire for centuries. have done. Apart from Belarus and the Kaliningrad enclave, Ukraine remains the only vestige of this "étranger proche" [near abroad] to which the Kremlin asserts to have particular rights.

Whereas Russia itself is threatened in its territorial integrity by the Chechen secession, the leaders of Moscow know that a supervision of Ukraine represents the last chances for the Russian empire to survive.
[passage omitted]

Tihipko To Run For President?

RIAN again, this time with a story that begins:
004-11-30 09:53

KIEV, November 30. (RIA Novosti) - Sergei Tigipko, ex-chief of Viktor Yanukovich's campaign team and leader of the Labor Ukraine party does not rule out that in case of repeat elections he may run for presidency, he said on Monday in an interview with Novosti Ukraine.

He may run "if the parliament votes [for repeat election] and the party [Labor Ukraine] makes a corresponding decision," he said.

When asked about the outlook for overcoming the political crisis in the country, he replied, "We simply must overcome the divide in the society."

"We must look for a compromise and take into account mutual interests," he believes. At the same time, "first of all, it is necessary to diminish tension in the society."

Tigipko believes that the divide in the Ukrainian society into pro-Russian and pro-Western parts is a temporary phenomenon caused by "use of election technologies."
(via Marius)


Once again we have a British columnist/campaigner who has made it his task to defend the dictators. Putin, John Laughland tells us, "has been the very opposite of a dictator or an imperialist. He has preferred instead to adopt an attitude of appeasement in the face of relentless US expansionism. During Putin’s presidency, Russia has been geopolitically weakened far beyond even the catastrophes inflicted under Gorbachev and Yeltsin, and yet the so-called tyrant in the Kremlin has done absolutely nothing to stop it." Milosevic, he tells us, is a scapegoat in a "show trial" organized by the West. Most recently, as David Aaronovitch has shown,Laughland has been trying to discredit the Ukrainian opposition and its leadership, and lavishing praise on Yanukovych.

Laughland and the type of views he presents are not really a new phenomenon in Britain and in Europe. During the 1930s, when there reigned a confusion of political and social values not dissimilar to the one that exists now, the Laughlands could be found all over the British press - especially the Beaverbrook press. In many ways, the rise of Hitler was made possible because of such confusion - a loss of moral and intellectual focus, which enables the crossing from one political extreme to another, where fascists become communists, and "libertarians" are allied to the most intolerant and anti-liberal ideologies. After the collapse of Soviet Communism, a return to this mish-mash of extremisms was always on the cards, and it has begun to assert itself in many quarters, including, it seems, areas of the British political establishment.

In the 1930s, liberal democracy became deeply unfashionable - the vogue was for "commitment", whether of left or of right, and the ideals of moderation and tolerance , were exchanged for those of "creative destruction". The push towards illiberal, totalitarian modes of thinking and acting exists also now, in our modern society - human kind cannot stand very much reality, and the urge to escape into the pseudo-certainties of anti-democracy, anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism, anti-"bourgeois"-ism, is as strong as it was back then. The tactic of the political and moral smear becomes all-important in the media, as the distortions of thinking that characterized the ideologists of Nazism and Stalinism still prevail - though now harnessed to a new and possibly even more destructive form and force of nihilism.

Update: RIAN haven't been slow to seize on the "Laughland controversy": here they go with an old-fashioned propaganda piece in time-honoured Soviet style, by one of their in-house commentators:

Western Europe seems to have accepted the American theory that the presidential election in Ukraine was rigged. Washington and Old European capitals, in particular Berlin, demand a repetition of the second round of the election.

But respected European organizations disagree. The British Helsinki Human Rights Group, whose observers sat in election districts in Ukraine, is convinced that the election was honest.

Does anyone in Europe know about the Group's opinion? No. The Ukrainian news circulated in Europe is screened to favor opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko and all other views are discarded as spam..

It's a rather tedious read, but you can catch the whole of it here. (via Marius)

Collective Guilt

A remarkable essay in New Times by Russian human rights activist Sergei Kovalyov argues that the Russian secret services will not be able to defeat terrorism. Interestingkly, he bases this assertion on the notion that terrorism - particularly the kind of terrorism that is practised by the Chechen resistance - is based on concepts that are in some important ways foreign to the Russian mindset:

Why is it that the question of Islamic terrorism is now posed so acutely? There is a current view that terrorism does not need popular support, that individuals or small groups can go about their horrible business without any approval of the masses. There seems to be no contradiction in this as logic goes. But we see how jubilant crowds welcome any effective terrorist act. What is the reason?

I believe a very important circumstance is involved in this. For historic or other reasons (on which experts should ponder) terrorism, to my mind, receives the biggest popular support wherever there is the notion of collective guilt, and where this notion becomes one of the fundamental principles. What is the blood feud all about? It is based on the notion of collective guilt. It is a primitive notion, characteristic of undeveloped legal systems. Nevertheless, it is a deeply-rooted notion. If I killed your relative, I must realize that you will be killing my relatives with the belief that you are avenging on the guilty because we are of the same clan. Terrorism is based on the same notion. Russian soldiers behave atrociously in Chechnya, so we will avenge ourselves on Russian citizens – such is Chechens’ logic. So a terrorist act is regarded as something natural there. It cannot cause the horror and repulsion it causes among the people of European Christian civilization who view the collective responsibility only in a moral and historic sense. This is a very important factor that must be taken into account.

There are subtle and paradoxical manifestations of this. The trouble in Russia is that we have no notion of, or don’t want to realize what the national guilt is, the moral guilt rather than the juridical, requiring sanctions. Germans have this notion but we don’t. Even raising the matter prompts indignation. What can we be guilty of? We are victims! Whereas in the Caucasus the sense of collective guilt is deeply rooted in the conscience, the collective guilt in the true sense of the notion, in the biblical sense, if you wish – seven generations should pay for the guilt, should be exterminated.

Indeed, Islam is a biblical religion. Christianity, however, has long since veered from these biblical considerations into deep aspects of morality, and got firmly planted there, it seems, not on the basis of the profound knowledge of the Bible. What can be done about that.

Kovalyov looks to the West. The West. he believes, must substitute its offers of help to Russia in defeating terrorism with an honest and open appraisal of what the conflict in Chechnya is actually about:

Is there room in these generalized reflections for a specific peace plan for Chechnya? I think the core of such a plan is the internationalization of the conflict on which the West should insist firmly, by demands, rather than persuasion. The West should take a stand of having the right to uphold its view of the conflict rather than stating the readiness to help.

I believe such an approach must become normal for the contemporary community. All the members of the community must have their own stand on such conflicts, and must have the right and opportunity to take part in their solution. For instance, Ilias Akhmadov (who was foreign minister in Aslan Maskhadov’s government – Ed.) have proposed any form of a mandated territory. This proposal is, certainly, far more realistic than, say, the plan to dispatch United Nations forces to Chechnya. They can only be sent there by the Security Council in which Russia wields a veto. Even before Akhmadov’s plan emerged, the Russian national committee for ending the war and establishing peace in the Chechen Republic had pronounced its own, quite specific, plan but that aspect was expressed there in a more generalized way. The need for mediation and monitoring by other countries and the need to internationalize the conflict was stressed there.

It is apparent that Akhmadov’s plan, too, is presently unfeasible because the international community treats any statement of the Russian authorities, and we have heard what President Putin said after the Beslan events as the final say.

This is understandable because all the countries, members of the international community, have their own guilts, too. In this situation, not a single state is ready to come up and declare “Yes, we are imperfect, but we don’t want to live in such a world any longer. We must live in a rule-of-law world.” Sooner or later this will happen as there is no other way out. But politicians presently are unprepared for this, so it is for society to demand such a stand from politicians. All other pragmatic steps are possible, but if we don’t strive for radical change of the situation we will find ourselves in a quagmire. This is clearly shown by history.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Thatcher: "Iron Curtain" in Ukraine

Baroness Thatcher has made a personal statement on the Ukraine election crisis, warning that a new "Iron Curtain" may be about to fall over Ukraine. According to the BBC
She issued a statement after Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the UK could not accept the country's presidential elections were either free or fair.

Moldova Next?

Again at EDM, Vladimir Socor writes:

Reacting to the Kremlin's premature move to proclaim Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych as winner, the government daily Moldova Suverana editorialized, "If they ultimately 'appoint' Yanukovych as president, Moldova will find itself in difficulty, as Yanukovych is an ally of Putin and of [Trans-Dniester leader Igor] Smirnov against Moldova and against the West" (Basapress, November 24). Moreover, the Communist government, the right-of-center opposition, and civil-society are all apprehensively expecting Kremlin-connected political operatives to turn their attention to Moldova's electoral campaign, once they complete the mission in Ukraine.

"After Ukraine We Shall Tackle Moldova," ("O Moldovoi My Zaymyomsya Posle Ukrainy"), according to Russian political planners, cited under that headline by the pro-Moscow, pro-Tiraspol newspaper Kommersant Plyus in Chisinau. Accompanying the front-page story is a photograph of Chisinau mayor Serafim Urecheanu shaking hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting last summer (Kommersant Plyus, November 19). This newspaper propagandizes simultaneously for Smirnov and for Urecheanu, leader of the five-party Bloc Moldova Democrata (BMD), the three "centrist" components of which count on Moscow's support for their electoral campaign.

Urecheanu has met with senior Kremlin officials several times in recent months. However, he has tried to keep most of those Moscow visits secret and acknowledged some of them only after the information leaked out. He denied having met with Putin and is now keeping silent on what looks like a calculated disclosure that he did. Capitalizing on President Vladimir Voronin's open break with Russia, BMD's centrist leaders hope to replace Voronin as Russia's partners in Moldova.

Russia's newly appointed ambassador to Moldova, Nikolai Ryabov, signaled during his inaugural press conference on November 24 that Moscow is considering getting involved in Moldova's electoral campaign. While disclaiming any intention by Russian official authorities to do so in Moldova or "in any country," Ryabov stated, "Russian political technologists [operatives] might offer consultations to certain political parties in Moldova. How to present themselves and for whom to perform this service is their business. We are free men in a free country," Ryabov claimed (Infotag, November 24).

As former chairman of Russia's Central Electoral Commission, Ryabov is an experienced election-manager. This background almost certainly contributed to the Kremlin's decision to appoint him ambassador to Moldova, as the country now embarks on a parliamentary and presidential election campaign. A team of Moscow "political technologists" -- some of them with long-standing ties to Tiraspol -- recently worked for approximately six weeks in Chisinau, advising BMD's three "centrist" factions on electoral strategy and tactics. The bloc's two right-of-center factions objected to the Russian consultants' involvement and helped blow the cover on their mission, which BMD's centrist troika was trying to keep secret. Financed by Russia's Presidential Administration, the team recommended creating an alliance of BMD centrists with hard-line Russian/"Russian-speaking" groups that are expected to defect from the Communist Party as a result of Voronin's break with Russia (see EDM, November 10).

In a November 23 news conference, a November 24 clarification statement, and a November 28 rally in downtown Chisinau, BMD leaders equivocated on the situation in Ukraine. Urecheanu declared that the official election returns represented the voters' choice, and that BMD would seek good relations with Ukrainian presidential contender. He argued that Moldovan-Ukrainian relations "mainly depend on Chisinau's leadership showing goodwill" -- thus placing the onus squarely on Moldova, as Urecheanu also does when criticizing official Chisinau for the impasse in Trans-Dniester. BMD's clarification statement the next day added an expression of "regret over widespread fraud" and "concern over developments in Ukraine," without taking a stand. Speakers at BMD's street rally differed among themselves, with some expressing sympathy for Viktor Yushchenko, some criticizing his tactics, and most speakers asserting that Urecheanu could solve problems through negotiations with Russia, Ukraine, and Trans-Dniester (Flux, Basapress, November 24; Basapress, Moldpress, November 28).

Christian-Democratic People's Party leader Iurie Rosca made public a "Dear Viktor" letter to Yushchenko, announcing that Moldova's CDPP stands "shoulder-to-shoulder with the Our Ukraine bloc," and recognizing Yushchenko as the "real winner of the election" and "legitimate president of Ukraine" (Flux, November 24).

Kuzio on the Standoff

In EDM Taras Kuzio argues that the only conclusion that can possibly be drawn from the continuing standoff in Ukraine is that the government side never intended to hold free and fair elections in the first place:

Plans for organized mass election fraud have been confirmed on tapes made by the Security Service (SBU) in Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's campaign headquarters and subsequently leaked to challenger Viktor Yushchenko. (The Russian-language tapes can be heard at maidan.uar.net/audio and pravda.com.ua has published three excerpts.) Just as President Leonid Kuchma was implicated in Kuchmagate, now a "Yanukovychgate" is taking shape.

While round one witnessed moderate "massaging" of the vote, in round two the authorities deployed extensive and blatant fraud. The political crisis following round two has paralyzed the authorities, which grossly under-estimated the domestic and international reaction and vastly over-estimated their own strength. Yanukovych has admitted, "If I am to be really honest, I never expected such statements [from the West]" (Ukrayinska pravda, November 25). Institutions of state power (local councils, educational institutions, television, the Interior Ministry, the military, and SBU) have increasingly recognized Yushchenko as Ukraine's next elected president while refusing to recognize Yanukovych's alleged "victory."

The authorities's paralysis pushed them into pressuring the Central Election Commission (CEC), which itself was involved in election fraud, to declare on November 24 that Yanukovych had won. Their plans to rush through Yanukovych's inauguration two days later and publish the official election results in parliament's Holos Ukrainy and the Cabinet of Ministers' Uriadovyi Kurier was thwarted by both Yushchenko's "orange revolution" on the streets of Kyiv and by the Supreme Court ruling that no official announcement could be made until it had investigated the numerous charges of fraud.

This left the Yanukovych camp in further paralysis and panic. One day after the CEC announced the official results, the situation in Kyiv and Ukraine began to "tip" in Yushchenko's favor. While Leonid Kuchma is still president technically, real power is increasingly moving into Yushchenko's hands.

In August 1991 leading Ukrainian officials, including then-parliamentary speaker Leonid Kravchuk, waited until the anti-Gorbachev putsch in Moscow failed before jumping ship. The same delay was happening in the "orange revolution," as many individuals and state institutions waited until Thursday or Friday (November 25-26) before defecting to Yushchenko. Interior Ministry cadets and officers openly sided with Yushchenko, while the SBU and former Defense Minister Yevhen Marchuk issued statements condemning election fraud (see Marchuk on 5tv.com.ua/video). The Ministry of Defense's orchestra even serenaded the sea of orange-clad protestors.

Yanukovych's gut instincts were always to resort to force or provoke conflicts with Yushchenko's orange crowd by transporting his own supporters to Kyiv. They began to arrive on November 24-25 and never totaled more than 15,000-20,000 (compared to Yushchenko's estimated 200,000-one million). Yanukovych's supporters tended to be coal miners or other workers from his home base of Donetsk, who were given $100 for expenses, free alcohol, and transportation (The Times, November 27).

Dispatching Yanukovych supporters to Kyiv grossly backfired. Instead of clashing with Yushchenko's supporters, some of them defected to Yushchenko's side after political discussions and being given warm clothing, food, and shelter. Other Yanukovych supporters were simply awed by the size of Yushchenko's support, as local Donetsk television stations had misled them about the scale of the protests. At the November 26 round-table negotiations brokered by Poland and the EU, Yanukovych announced that he would send home his supporters. Yushchenko wryly pleaded for him to continue sending them, as many had defected to his ranks.

The governmental paralysis deepened during Saturday's parliamentary hearings, when the pro-presidential camp split. The stormy session voted by an unusually high constitutional majority of 307 votes (out of 450) for a resolution that did not recognize the second-round vote. The resolution was supported by key opposition groups: the dissident Center faction (which had supported Yushchenko in round two), speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn's Agrarians, and the People's Democratic-Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs [NDP-PPPU) (PPPU head Anatoliy Kinakh also backed Yushchenko in round two), and unaffiliated deputies.

Opposition to the resolution came from Yanukovych's Regions of Ukraine, Labor Ukraine (led by Serhiy Tyhipko, who formally headed the Yanukovych campaign), and the Social Democratic United Party. Even within these three factions, 19 out of 131 deputies backed the resolution.

The 48-hour ultimatum issued by Yushchenko at the November 26 roundtable meeting, followed one day later by the parliamentary resolution, were too much for Yanukovych. Feeling betrayed by Kuchma and other Kyiv allies, and unable for an entire week to enter his own government building due to a blockade by the orange crowds, forced Yanukovych to abandon Kyiv and retreat to Donetsk.

Seven days after the runoff, an extraordinary session of the National Security and Defense Council (NRBO) convened without the Prime Minister. The NRBO criticized Yushchenko's supporters for barricading state and government buildings in Kyiv. Meanwhile, Yanukovych and his eastern Ukrainian allies were criticized for separatist and autonomist agitation. Kuchma even praised parliament's resolution as "correct," which Yanukovych interpreted as further evidence of betrayal (Ukrayinska pravda, November 28). Even before round two Yanukovych had threatened Kuchma that he would become his "personal enemy" if he approved changes to the law on presidential elections adopted by parliament on November 18 that aimed to remove potential channels for election abuse.

Yanukovych ignored the NRBO session, instead preferring an "All-Ukrainian Congress of Deputies" held in Severodonetsk, Donetsk oblast. Besides local council deputies from Russophone regions of eastern and southern Ukraine, the congress invited Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov to speak, in what can only be understood as gross interference in Ukraine's internal affairs. The congress was broadcast using Russian television transmitters.

The congress heard calls for a "federal southeastern republic based in Kharkiv" (Ukrayinska pravda, November 28). Yanukovych threatened to call for a referendum on this issue if Yushchenko becomes president. The 1994 elections in Donetsk included a referendum on a similar question and, like then, any such referendum today would have no legal force. Not surprisingly, as Yushchenko pointed out, the officials organizing these separatist steps are the same individuals who were most involved in election fraud.

Yanukovych's retreat to Donetsk also reflects his skepticism about the Supreme Court ruling scheduled for today (November 29). The Supreme Court is likely either to annul the results in the regions with rampant fraud (i.e. Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv) and then hold fresh elections, or to call for a repeat of round two on December 12 or 19, a step preferred by Yushchenko. In either case, Yanukovych is likely to lose to Yushchenko by a substantial margin, as he has been discredited by the charges of election fraud.

Yanukovych is in a dilemma of his own choosing. Claims that he did not know of plans to falsify the elections on his behalf are not believable. The majority of Ukrainians, who have watched unbiased television coverage since November 25, (see related article in this issue of EDM), now believe Yushchenko's charge that round two was plagued by election fraud.

Kuchma is squeezed between the "Orange Revolution" and Yanukovych's wrath at being betrayed. By permitting Viktor Medvedchuk, head of the presidential administration, to undertake the dirtiest and most divisive elections in Ukraine's history, Kuchma is now facing both a popular revolution and autonomist-separatist sentiment as he leaves office.


From Moscow comes news of a new campaign.

from the PORA website
(my tr.)

29.11.2004 14:11:33

The organizations RED PORA! – Orange Moscow! – Russian PORA!
demand the immediate institution of impeachment proceedings against V. Putin on the charge of drawing Russia into a dangerous foreign policy adventure, leading to a sharp deterioration of relations with Ukraine and a possible military conflict.

The real face of Putin is Yanukovych. Putin is Yanukovych.

Putin has soiled peaceable Russia’s international reputation in Chechnya, and is now drawing our motherland into the dirty conflict it has provoked in Ukraine.
Putin has had no qualms about forming an alliance with the criminal Akhmetov-Yanukovich grouping which has looted Ukraine’s national budget.

We, citizens of Russia, appeal to decent Russian legal experts, politicians, lawyers, deputies, judges, businessmen, entrepreneurs, bankers, journalists, publishers, photographers, film and television cameramen, writers,
to all decent people in Russia:


We declare juridical, informational, aesthetic and moral war on this disgrace to Russia

Let each of us in their own place decide what they can do and how.
It may be:
legal action, humorous posters, songs, photographs, collages, aphorisms, slogans,
anything you like, but

We CAN bring about a change of regime in Russia and we shall do it
by legal means.
We are beginning the campaign: “PUTIN IS YANUKOVYCH”,
aimed at Putin's impeachment and his being held to account for harmful activity against the state.

Actions will be staged in Moscow and in other cities of the world.

Get out of the Kremlin, Putin!

We appeal to all public and private organizations, human rights groups, centres of learning, publishing houses, film studios, journals, newspapers, to all who are now ashamed and afraid for the future of our beloved Russia!


Red Pora!
Action Co-ordination

Update: Red Pora!'s email address is REDPORA@gmail.com

Tihipko Resigns

Maidan reports that Serhiy Tihipko has resigned as head of Yanukovych's headquarters. He is now, of course also ex-chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine.


Alexander Litvinenko, writing from London:
Our common enemy is Cheka

Today the Ukrainian people have risen against enslavement and dictatorship. The intellectuals, workers, students, housewives and servicemen have gone out and crowded in the streets and squares of the cities of Ukraine to voice a protest against the arbitrariness of the authorities. The chekists and criminal elements, having seized power in Ukraine , are threatening with cleaving the country into “east” and “west” and with the possibility of unleashing the civil war.

Of course, there is a severe political opposition in Ukraine , but it is not fraught with splitting the country into “east” and “west”. That is an opposition of the honest and free people not wishing to return to the yoke of slavery against the chekists and criminals always uniting in extremal situations to defend their corporative interests. The chekists and the criminals siding with them are the main enemies of the Ukrainian people and not the natives of the western or eastern parts of the country.

The chekists and criminals are not strong enough to fight openly against the thousands of citizens of their country, who, in a burst of despair have come out to stand up for freedom and to save their children. That's why they, as usual, first will try to cleave the country in two huge camps, and then stir up one mass of people against the other. And if they manage to act according to this bloody scenario, they will exterminate the active part of the population on the both sides.

Therefore, I declare that our common enemy is the cheka – i.e. those who in the offices of the so-called body of state security are spinning their bloody web of plots and intrigues setting on the civil population to fight; those who, using the secret agents in different strata of society, are sowing discord and hostility among their fellow countrymen; those who, covering themselves with the slogans about security and national interests, actually are defending their own “feeding-racks”, their accounts in the banks of foreign countries, the chance given to them to rob people with impunity.

No wonder that Russian chekist Putin, so violently supporting his Ukrainian colleagues – criminals Yanukovich and Kuchma, has sent to Kiev the chekist landing party, able to organize coup d'etat. But comrade chekists do not understand one thing – it is not 1991, when the initiative was in power of the Centre, and the KGB could somehow take control over the democratic processes that later made it possible for the chekists to save themselves and their agents.

All that is happening today comes from the regions, and that is another situation and quite another apportion of forces. And control over the processes taking place in society is not sufficient for the chekists to win a victory over the people who stand up for freedom. They have to take up arms and openly fight against the people. They can no more achieve anything, sitting in the cosy offices.

So far, the chekists can hide behind the skinhead criminals, whom they are driving in special busses from place to place all over Ukraine , but very soon, the skinheads will run to their places. And then, comrade chekists, the moment of truth will come to you, and you will not be able to escape from the people's anger, as it happened in 1991, when you managed “to write off” your sins attributing them to the marasmic Central Committee of the KPSU. Only Chechens, Georgians and Ukrainians have stood up against you so far; the Byelorussians, Ingush, Balkarians, Russian and thousand representatives of the enslaved and humiliated peoples are waiting for their turn. Then, you will have to fight with them personally, as no criminals will help you.

Indeed, one cannot say you are in luck's way, comrade chekists! Today the Ukrainians are defending not only their freedom, but also that of all freedom-loving peoples, because we have one common enemy – the cheka!

Alexander Litvinenko, London, for Chechenpress


(Via Chechnya-SL)

Political terrorism

Listening to the discussion* of the Ukraine election crisis on BBC World Service's Talking Point (you can watch it and hear it with RealVideo here) this morning, I was struck by one thing that clearly emerged from the points that were being made on both sides of the Ukrainian political divide: whatever else may be needed to resolve the crisis, the one step that can't be dispensed with is a re-run of the second round of the elections. From Katharyna Wolczuk's comments it was possible to glean a truth that in some of the analysis I've seen appears to have been more or less ignored so far: that the Kuchma government, while agreeing to hold the presidential elections in the first place, decided to use and manipulate them in order to deliberately precipitate a crisis of the kind that has developed - one in which fears of a new Cold War can be exploited in order to undermine the Yushchenko opposition. It was this agenda that lay behind the gross and blatant manner in which the election fraud was carried out - the purpose was to make it so open and obvious that it could not possibly be ignored, and would lead to large-scale protests of the kind we have seen in Western Ukraine. The idea was to split the country, to aggravate political divisions that in some ways were not yet clearly defined, to arouse democratic political opinion in the West, and in short to create all the conditions where the accusation of "political interference by the West" could be levelled both at Yushchenko and at the West itself.

This technique is not a very sophisticated one, yet it can be quite effective. Its origins and ancestry are in Moscow - and in recent times it has been used even more crudely, with disastrous consequences in terms of human suffering and loss of life, by Russia in Chechnya. The Kuchma/Yanukovych/Putin axis is well aware that force alone will not lead to the results it desires, and so old KGB informational tactics, some of which date from the Stalin era, were brought out of the cupboard and put to service. What's mildly reassuring about this, at least to a Western observer, is that it highlights even more graphically the true nature of the Yanukovych campaign, and also of its Moscow patrons and supporters. An example: what has happened in the election, and in the last week, will make it difficult, if not impossible, for Yanukovych to go on presenting himself as an ally of the West in the War on Terror - for his government has been seen to be practising a blatant form of political terror: one based on fraud, intimidation and the threat of state repression. This man is no friend of the West, and no friend of democracy: at least that message has come through loud and clear. And the re-run of the second round - this time with proper and extensive international supervision - is needed not only to establish the will of the Ukrainian people, but also in order to provide a start in repairing the split in the nation that was maliciously and intentionally created by the government.
*There's also a page about the programme, with listeners' viewpoints, here

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Russia "will back force"

A report in today's London Sunday Times says that

Russia ‘will back force’ by Ukraine president

Russia has offered to back the Ukrainian government if it uses force to crush pro-democracy demonstrators who have taken control of the capital and other cities, it was claimed last night, write Askold Krushelnycky and Mark Franchetti.

A senior figure in the Ukrainian presidential administration who declined to be identified said that Boris Gryzlov, President Vladimir Putin’s personal envoy to Ukraine, had promised “diplomatic cover” against any international backlash prompted by such a move.

The source emphasised, however, that the pledge had been given at the beginning of escalating protests prompted by last Sunday’s elections that handed the presidency to Viktor Yanukovych, the prime minister.

The rest of the article is here.

Sunday afternoon/evening

From Victor Katolyk:

Tymoshenko is speaking in front of the people in the Independence Square. Here is just a few things she said:
1) The authorities are planning to sweep away the demonstrators this night;
2) She announced an ultimatum to Kuchma, where the opposition leaders give Kuchma 24 hours to meet their requirements;
3) The authorities excercise enormous pressure on the Supreme Court judges, inluding threats of bodily harm etc.

Posted by: Victor Katolyk | November 28, 2004 02:24 PM

The Eastern congress decided to hold a referendum about the autonomy 12 December.

Posted by: Victor Katolyk | November 28, 2004 02:51 PM

28-11-2004 23:01 Maidan-INFORM

Yulia Tymoshenko Announced a Rally in Front of Supreme Court


At this moment Julia Tymoshenko (Yushchenko’s ‚right hand’) is talking to hundreds thousands of people at Maidan. She has announced, a rally in front of Supreme Court is starting at 11 o’clock tomorrow. This is going to be a peaceful rally directed at protection of Judges from Kuchma’s pressure. She further informed people about Kuchma’s and Yanukovich’s plan to scatter protesters in Kyiv tonight. She called upon all Yushchenko’s supporters to gather at president’s administration. Julia also said that today or tomorrow Yanukovich was going to seize president’s office and this should not happen. That’s why no Kuchmist should be allowed into the president’s administration and ministers’ office.


"Don't Believe It!"

Vitaliy Dovhych, writing in Maidan:

Tonight Russian TV channel TVC, obedient to Moscow Mayor Luzhkov, cited Western treacheries as reason for Ukrainian political crisis. Hundreds of thousands of people that spend their days on Maidan, Kyiv’s main Independence Square, people that come here for hours in a row, that walk in Khreshchatyk in unbelievable jams, - that, by the appraisal of the program “Post scriptum”, is a “well-organized crowd”. Anything but a people conscious of its own self-respect.

Moreover, TVC is giving voice to the crisis deepening scenario desirable for Russian authorities – scenario that implies interference in Ukrainian internal affairs: “We shouldn’t shy away from it – even at the cost of our friendship with EU and USA, even at the cost of Ukraine’s territorial integrity”.

And where is Russia’s intelligentsia? What is its civic stand? Where are the demands that media provide well-balanced information?

So far we only hear from some lone voices of Moscow’s, St. Petersburg’s and Sochi’s intellectual elite.

Read the rest.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Statement by Lithuanian-American Community

Statement in Support of Ukraine's Democratic Forces

November 24, 2004

On behalf of the tens of thousands of members of the Lithuanian-American Community, Inc., we express our solidarity with the people of Ukraine, particularly the democratic forces of Ukraine which today are standing firm against a corrupt, arbitrary and lawless regime and defend their electoral process and the future of their children.

We call upon our own government to support the democratic forces in Ukraine and to not recognize the Ukrainian Central Election Commission's decision to certify Viktor Yanukovych the winner of the Ukrainian presidential election. This election has been judged by independent international observers as flawed by wide-scale and visible fraud.

This is no longer an internal matter of Ukraine and Ukrainians. The United States and other Western democracies must act on their convictions in defense of the democratic process.

We, Lithuanian-Americans, know something about the issue of not recognizing an illegal regime. The United States did not recognize the illegal occupation of Lithuania by the Soviet Union for over fifty years and never recognized the Soviet government's claim to speak for the people of Lithuania. Therefore, we call upon the United States to not recognize the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych.

The United States and other Western democracies must also insist on the removal of foreign troops or foreign armed units from the territory of Ukraine. There are widespread reports that Russian interior ministry troops and even Russian spetznatz troops have entered the territory of Ukraine. Since the parliament of Ukraine has not voted to support any such request, this is a violation of both international law and the Constitution of Ukraine.

People of Ukraine, do not lose faith in your ability to govern yourselves. We call on all people of conscience in the government of Ukraine to support the candidate of the majority, Viktor Yushchenko. We call on the regime of President Kuchma and presidential candidate Yanukovych to refrain from the use of police or miltary force against your fellow Ukrainians.

We urge our members throughout the United States to call on the Congress of the United States and the President of the United States to support the democratic forces of Ukraine.


Verkhovna Rada

From Victor Katolyk:
Verkhovna Rada:
* recognized the second round of elections as invalid,
* expressed distrust to the Election Comission

However, Verkhovna Rada didn't adopt the ruling to re-run the elections.

Ukraine: The West Is Also To Blame

The Russian leader has got away with meddling in Georgia and Moldova and he serves as sponsor to the tyrannical regime in Belarus. Ukraine was always next in Mr Putin's efforts to tame Russia's near-abroad.

The west's complicity, or at the very least acquiescence, has been justified as part of the bigger (let's not dignify it by calling it grand) bargain. Washington is anxious for Russian co-operation in Iraq. Europe has sought its aid in persuading Iran to scale back its nuclear ambitions. And, of course, the oil companies want access to Russia's vast reserves. Somewhere along the way the strategic ambition to support and entrench Russian democracy has been discarded. Maybe events in Ukraine will change things. I hope so. But I am not optimistic.

Philip Stephens, writing in the Financial Times. You can read the whole article here.

Brzezinski: West Should Cool Relations with Russia

My translation of an article from newsru.com:
Brzezinski: The West Needs to Cool Its Relations with the Kremlin

time of publication: 26 November 2004, 13:51
last update: 26 November 2004, 13:51

The political crisis surrounding the outcome of the presidential elections in Ukraine has caused a deep split between Russia and the West. In spite of the open criticism from the EU, Russian president Vladimir Putin continues to support Viktor Yanukovych. On Friday the German newspaper Handelsblatt published an interview on this theme with President Jimmy Carter’s former adviser on national security, the prominent Sovietologist Zbigniew Brzezinski.

In his opinion, what is at stake is democracy and a country’s independence. However, in a broad sense, Russia’s future also depends on this: if democracy is buried in Ukraine, because the West merely watches the events, Russia will become more authoritarian and more imperialistic. Russia, which dominates both in Ukraine and in Belorussia, does not fit into the democratic world. Brzezinski explains how the EU and the US can have an influence on the development of events.

“Firstly, it’s essential to establish that the elections in Ukraine were not conducted in accorance with the law. Secondly, we must support the promotion of the opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko by political means. Thirdly, work must proceed on the preparation of new elections. In addition, the EU and NATO must display a greater degree of interest in relation to the membership of Ukraine in those organizations. The West must send an unambiguous signal: if the outgoing Ukrainian President Kuchma wants to crush democracy, then that will have consequences – not only for relations with Ukraine, but also with Russia. To the extent that the Kremlin has contributed to the manipulation of the Ukrainian elections.”

The well-known Sovietologist described what in his view should be the consequences of what is happening in Ukraine. Brzezinski considers that the new Ukrainian leadership must be outlawed, and its property and holdings abroad be sequestrated. With regard to Russia, a cooling of relations must be planned. The West must return to the question of Russia’s membership of the G8.

Brzezinski went on to characterize the government of Vladimir Putin:

“It bears a definite resemblance to the Italian Fascism of Mussolini in the 1930s: an authoritarian state, nationalist rhetoric, historical myths about a great past; also, private enterprise in Russia is under state control.”

The Sovietologist commented on the relationship between US President George W. Bush and his Russian counterpart. Bush constantly extols his friendship with Putin.

“I have nothing against good relations between heads of state. But the advantages that stem from personal relations should not become the cause of delusions. It’s bad if someone portrays an authoritarian regime as democratic.”

(via Marius)

Friday, November 26, 2004

Kuzio on the Election Fraud

The article by Taras Kuzio part-quoted and linked to below appeared in the Jamestown Foundation's Eurasia Daily Monitor on November 24.

The entire international community has condemned the second round of the Ukrainian presidential election, held on November 21. The only exception has been the CIS Election Observers Mission, a body established in Russia in 2003 that brings together most CIS member states. CIS Executive Secretary Vladimir Rushailo, head of the election mission to Ukraine, noted that the second round was an improvement on the first, a view that contradicted Western governments and international organizations (Interfax, November 21). CIS observers reported that the elections were "legitimate and of a nature that reflected democratic standards" (Ukrayinska pravda, November 22). In contrast, the Civic Voters Committee in Ukraine, which deployed 10,000 observers, and the European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations, which deployed 1,100 observers, both condemned round two as not being "free and fair."

The CIS Election Observation Mission never attempted to be impartial. They supported Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and condemned his opponent, Viktor Yushchenko, in their printed materials. One letter sent by a CIS observer to Ukrainian voters warned that a Yushchenko victory "would lead to Ukrainian politics being dictated by American activists" (Ukrayinska pravda, October 28).

Read the rest here.

Russia blames Poland

Here's more on that Cold War-style conspiracy theory from Sergei Markov:
Russian Political Scientist Blames Polish Conspiracy for Ukraine Election Crisis

Created: 25.11.2004 17:30 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 17:30 MSK


Renowned Russian political scientist Sergei Markov told reporters in Moscow on Thursday that the ongoing political crisis in Ukraine was in fact a Polish conspiracy with the aim of imposing Polish patronage over Ukraine and thus raising Polish influence within the European Union.

“Yushchenko’s electoral campaign has been developed within the Polish diaspora abroad and its ideological basis was prepared by former U.S. national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and his two sons,” the Newsru.com web-site quoted Markov as saying.

Markov said that another ethnic Pole, Andrian Karatnitsky, the head of the U.S. foundation Freedom House, had hired Serbian spin doctors and brought them to Ukraine ahead of the presidential elections. (Another Russian political scientist, Gleb Pavlovsky, said in a Wednesday evening news broadcast on Russia’s RTR television channel that Yushchenko’s campaign had been prepared by the same specialists who prepared similar campaigns in Serbia and Georgia).

“The arrival of Lech Walesa and Aleksander Kwasniewski as intermediaries in the Ukraine negotiations would become a part of the Tbilisi-Belgrade scenario, as the objective of these intermediaries is not peace, but a passing of power to Yushchenko,” Markov said.

Read the rest of the article here

"Very Expensive To Buy Votes"

Kommersant, Nov.26 2004

Very Expensive to Buy Votes

//The Price of the Question//

Andrey Kozyrev, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Russia has unambiguously endorsed one candidate in the Ukrainian presidential elections and even congratulated him on his victory before the Ukrainian Central Elections Commission announced the outcome of the voting. And that while all major European countries refused to recognize the election as legitimate. That will cost Russia dearly, and the cost will be paid both in foreign policy and in domestic affairs.

The Ukrainians will settle their election sooner or later. Their movement away from the post-Soviet oligarchic structure toward the competing Western model is already irreversible. It is only a matter of time. It was faster when Yushchenko was prime minister, and it will probably be faster yet if he becomes president. If anyone else becomes president, the course of events will remain the same, just maybe going more slowly and with more detours. Equally assuredly, any president of Ukraine is going to maintain good relations with Russia (especially economic relations) at the same time it moves closer to the West. There are no other alternatives for Ukraine.

(via Marius)

Donetsk Region to Secede?


KIEV, November 26 (RIA Novosti) - The Donetsk Region, East Ukraine's best-developed industrial area, is in for a status referendum.

If a coup d'etat awaits Ukraine, the coal-rich province's authorities will call its entire population to independently determine its fate, the Donetsk Regional Council says in a resolution it passed at an emergency session today.

Victor Yanukovich, Ukrainian Premier, won last Sunday's presidential runoff in close competition, the Central Election Commission announced, Wednesday. The supporters of Victor Yuschenko, opposition leader and his rival, adamantly opposed the election returns they consider forged, and appealed against it to the Supreme Court. The issue will come under consideration Monday next, November 29.

The regional resolution qualifies opposition moves as "unconstitutional and putting Ukraine to the brink of civil war", Council PR said to Novosti-Ukraina news agency.

Yanukovich swept the runoff in the Donetsk Region with 96.2 per cent votes, a token 2.3 per cent for Yuschenko, reports the Central Election Commission.

(via Marius)

"Coup" Rhetoric from Yanukovych

from Moscow News:

Ukraine’s Yanukovich Warns Against Opposition “Coup” Just Before Meeting with Mediators

Created: 26.11.2004 19:08 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 19:22 MSK, 1 hour 7 minutes ago


Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich urged supporters on Friday to help him avert an “unconstitutional coup”, hours before a scheduled meeting with his rival, opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko, together with European mediators to sort out the crisis over disputed presidential polls both candidates claim they won.

“Dear friends, together we must do everything so that an unconstitutional coup in Ukraine does not happen,” Yanukovich told thousands of his own supporters brought to Kiev by train from the Donbass coalfield in his power base —- the Russian- speaking east of the country, Reuters reported.

More Cold War Talk from Russia

from Moscow News

Russia Accuses Europe of Dragging Ukraine Westward

Created: 26.11.2004 15:20 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 15:20 MSK, 5 hours 2 minutes ago


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday accused some Western nations of trying to drag the Ukraine westwards, taking advantage of the massive support for pro-Western candidate Viktor Yushchenko, who, according to official results, lost the presidential elections to pro-Kremlin Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich.

“Some capitals have not recognized the election and put forward the theory that Ukraine should be with the West,” Reuters quoted Lavrov as saying.

“In some European capitals there are some forces that are attempting to draw some new border lines across Europe.”

Western countries have cited fraud and some have refused to recognize the results as legal, straining relations with Russia which fears losing influence in Ukraine. Moscow traditionally regards Ukraine as being within its sphere of influence.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has officially congratulated Yanukovich on victory and has warned foreign powers against statements that could incite chaos in the former Soviet state. Putin said on Thursday a solution to the crisis should be found through the courts and not through street protests. Ukraine’s supreme court has declared it will investigate accusations of electoral fraud.

Earlier Putin warned the West not to meddle in Ukraine’s affairs by supporting the opposition.

Ukraine: Polish press reports


Gazeta Wyborcza

Viktor Yushchenko was created by the Poles!

BW 25-11-2004, last update 25-11-2004 16:03

Zbigniew Brzezinski, his sons and Poland's government created the candidate of the Ukrainian opposition and have promoted Yushchenko in order to prevent the deeper integration of the European Union!

Thus asserts Sergei Markov, the well known political expert and director of the Institute of Politcal Studies in Moscow.

At a press conference in Russia’s capital city, Markov argued that Brzezinski, together with his sons - Mark and Ian - wanted Yushchenko to win, because this would increase Poland’s significance in the EU. And this - thinks Markov - suits Washington, because a strong Poland won't allow greater integration of the EU, which is under the patronage of France and Germany.

Markov describes this Polish conspiracy thus: Mark Brzezinski is an aide of the Democrats and his brother advises the Republicans. Their co-conspirator is Adrian Karatnycky - "a person with Polish ancestry", one of the leaders of Freedom House - the organization which supports democracy in the world.

According to Markov, the visit of Lech Walesa and the planned visit of [Polish president] Aleksander Kwasniewski are not coincidental - The Polish socio-technologists are planning in Kiev the repeat of coupe d'etats from Georgia and Serbia - asserts the Russian expert.

- Of course, the whole plan has to be secret, because the Ukrainians know that the Poles don't like them and treat them as something inferior [to them], so they can't know that actually Poland is behind the candidature of Yushchenko.

But what does Zbigniew Brzezinski want to achieve himself? - That's simple - answers Markov. - The Polish diaspora in the US hates George Bush, and it wants, by supporting Yushchenko, to make the president of the US quarrel with the president of Russia.


Tough talk of Walesa with Yanukovich

Marcin Bosacki, Kiev, PAP 25-11-2004, last update 25-11-2004 21:13

Chances for talks between the authorities and opposition in Kiev are slim. Premier Yanukovich, who was declared as the winner of Sunday's elections in Ukraine talked very tough with the Polish mediator Lech Walesa. - Today I'm still ready for talks, but tomorrow I might be not - he told Walesa.

Lech Walesa came out from one hour talk with Yanukovich visibly upset. He said that Yunukovich declares his intention for talks with the opposition's leader Victor Yushchenko, but not about the results of the election. That means de facto, that he wants that Yushchenko would recognized him as a president. Of course, the opposition won't agree to any talks on these kind of conditions.

Lech Walesa, after the meeting with Yanukovich, was saying that he feared provocations on the streets of Kiev, and the next 24-48 hrs will decide about development of the situation there. Although Walesa's collocutors were assuring him, that are ready for talks and are excluding the use of force, the president thinks that there's a serious possibility of provocations and if you have a provocation
then force must be used.

He repeated these words later at a rally of thousands of Yushchenko's supportes, on which he showed up for the second time, after the meeting with Yanukovich.

People from Walesa's entourage add that Yanukovich told the ex-president that he might not talk tomorrow, because he will bring to the streets of Kiev thousands of his supporters from the Eastern Ukraine. And this will radically change the arrangement of forces.

It's not known if these threats are real.

It looks as though, in this tough attitude, Yanukovich is being supported by Moscow. During Walesa's meeting, to the government building, where the talks were going on, came the Russian ambassador - Victor Chernomyrdin, and ambassadors of Kazakhstan and Armenia. These two ambassadors were carrying big bouquets of flowers, it could be
assumed, to congratulate Yanukovich of his victory.

(translations by Marius, my minor edits)

The Return of the Past

Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger, writing in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 26 November 2004:

East-West conflict

The return of the past can neither be overlooked nor denied. Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates Viktor Yanukovych, the protégé of the Ukrainian oligarchs who would so like to crawl under the Russian blanket, on his election victory. The West, aroused by the pictures of civil protest in Kiev and a dramatic confrontation, said the vote was rigged. U.S. President George W. Bush's special delegate even speaks of a defrauding government. Washington's other comments on developments in Ukraine show all too clearly that the U.S. government favors the opposition candidate Yushchenko. The political and geopolitical lines of conflict reach far into the East and the West. At least it has now become clear that the future development of this massive, internally torn-up country, has a wider European significance. Without exaggerating, one may conclude that the fate of Ukraine could decide the future of the post-Soviet area in general. Russia clearly wants to play fate. Rather than merely make Ukraine a part of its own sphere of influence, it would like to reintegrate the country. Russia's behavior in this matter also impacts its relationship to the West - which today includes countries that still feel the effects of subjugation to Moscow. There are two reasons why many Europeans have been surprised by this new East-West conflict. For one, they have neglected eastern Europe, with Ukraine as a country of key geopolitical importance. And they have been deafened by their own, repeated talk about a strategic partnership with Russia. In the end, the Europeans - including German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder - apparently believed that Putin was a model democrat whom they should stop criticizing so harshly. No doubtful word about the open process of de- democratization in Russia, no complaints about Chechnya, no queries on Russia's interference in Ukraine.
Perhaps Schröder, Chirac, Berlusconi & Co. are now learning a lesson about the ”true Putin.” It is high time that Putin was told clearly how Europe defines democracy and that old striving for power and influence will not gain access to this Europe. The demand in Kiev's direction must be: Repeat the election under strict supervision.


With Solana, Kwasniewski, Kubis and others visiting Kyiv today for mediation efforts, one might be forgiven for thinking that the decision-making in the present crisis is being taken out of the hands of the opposing forces in Ukraine into the realm of international diplomacy. This is probably an illusion. While the envoys may talk to the parties concerned, there has to be something for them to talk about - some measure of give and take. If Lech Walesa's experience during his hour-long talk with Yanukovych yesterday is anything to go by, there's not much of that on the government side. According to Walesa, Yanukovych was singularly unforthcoming and unwilling to compromise - by all accounts, Walesa emerged from the meeting quite upset.

The responsibility for the taking of decisions - and, indeed, for the entire future course of Ukraine's development - rests with Ukrainians themselves. That is what the present crisis illustrates above all else, and while international helpers and observers can watch and suggest, in the end the resolution of the crisis lies in the hands of the Ukrainian people. That is, of course, unless Russia intervenes with force - in which case the whole of Europe will be thrown into a political crisis, and a new Cold War will begin. If there is anything the envoys can do in the present situation, it's to help to avoid that scenario.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Solana to visit Ukraine

Announcement from the Council of European Union website:

Javier SOLANA,
EU High Representative for the CFSP,
to visit Ukraine
26 November 2004

Javier SOLANA, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, will travel to Kiev on Friday 26 November 2004. He will have meetings with President Kuchma as well as Prime Minister Yanukovich and opposition leader Yushchenko to try to assist in the identification of a way out of the current crisis following the second round of presidential elections.
° °
Meeting on 22 November, EU Foreign Ministers discussed the situation in Ukraine after the run-off of the presidential election. The Presidency noted after this discussion that the European Union had followed the second round of elections with great concern; that the EU had on several occasions urged the Ukrainian authorities to observe democratic principles so that the second round of elections could be free and fair; that the second round of elections had clearly fallen short of international standards and that in view of the irregularities detailed in the OSCE/ ODIHR report the EU seriously questioned whether the official results would fully reflected the will of the Ukrainian electorate. Since then, the EU has continued to follow the electoral process in Ukraine closely.

Sign the letter

from PORA

25.11.2004 12:23:16

sign the letter of freedom and solidarity

To all the CITIZENS of the FREE WORLD

Now, while you are reading this letter, 48 millions of people that live in one of the largest European countries, have a unique chance to make their choice and change ruling corrupted regime.
This autumn 2004 is the moment of truth for Ukrainian nation

We know that choice of Ukrainian people is clear.
They are tired of years of corrupted regime and distrusted government. They are exhausted by permanent lie and lawlessness. They want prosperity and stability for their children. They want to live in a democratic country. They value freedom of expression and freedom of press They want to join European community. They want their choice to be heard and respected.

But we also know that this choice could be falsified, as it happened during parliamentary elections in 2002, during the elections in Mukacheve and in tens of small towns all over Ukraine. We recognize that people’s choice could be disgraced and replaced by the will of a small oligarchic group. And again millions of Ukrainians will be deceived

We started this letter of freedom and solidarity to protect free and fair results of elections.
If you believe in freedom, if you care about future of Ukraine, sign this letter to prevent falsifications and to protect thousands of young Ukrainians, who created a national network of volunteers and started PORA (TIME) civic movement, aimed at ensuring and protecting fair and democratic elections of the President of Ukraine.
We need your help
because regime will be afraid to break the rules in front of
because only UNITED we can win

There is no alternative to public action:
1. Check our website www.pora.org.ua/en
2. Sign our letter of freedom and solidarity
3. Make a difference: join PORA Campaign and contribute to campaign
4. Forward this letter to your friends
There might not be other chance

It is TIME to act, TIME to struggle, TIME to win
The letter was signed by: (show all).
If you want to sign this letter please send your name, organization you represent and your email to info@pora.org.ua

Fixing the election - VI

The BBC reports that Ukraine's Supreme Court has frozen the election result. This is good news as far as it goes, I guess.

Ukraine and the EU

Timothy Garton-Ash, in the Guardian, with an excellent article on Freedom's Front Line:

Actually, it's in places like Kiev, rather than in Brussels, that you see what a great story Europe has to tell, if only we knew how to tell it. It's the story of a rolling enlargement of freedom, from a position 60 years ago when there was just a handful of perilously free countries in Europe, and virtually the whole continent was at war, to a position today where there are only two or three seriously unfree countries in Europe, and almost the whole continent is at peace. Today, the front line of that forward march is in Ukraine.

Orwell writes somewhere that "from inside, everything looks worse". Whatever its faults seen from inside, and they are many, seen from outside the European Union is a great magnet and promoter of freedom. Most of our neighbours want to join it in order to become more free (as well as richer), and so as to secure the freedoms many of them have fought for in velvet revolutions.

In the longer term, to say, as I believe we should, that a democratic Ukraine has its proper place in the EU, is the best support we could give Ukrainian democrats. Immediately, though, we need the hardest, sharpest warning that Europe, the US and any other democracy that has influence in Kiev or Moscow can deliver. A group of students in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv send us this appeal via the BBC website: "We just hope Yanukovich decides not to turn the guns on us ... Don't let them kill our will."

Schroeder on Putin, Ukraine

There are clearly some strong divisions of opinion in the views of German political figures on the current crisis in Ukraine, as the following reports show.
Merkel warnt vor Bindung an Rußland
Schröder: Putins Kurs nötig / Tagung der Trilateralen Kommission
K.F. BERLIN, 24. Oktober. Die CDU-Vorsitzende Angela Merkel hat vor einer zu engen Verbindung Deutschlands mit Rußland gewarnt und damit indirekt ...

Germany's Merkel Warns Against Ties With Russia, Schroeder Backs Putin's Course
Frankfurt/Main Frankfurter Allgemeine in German 25 Oct 04 p 5

[Report by "K.F.": Merkel Warns Against Ties With Russia; Schroeder --
Putin's Course Necessary / Meeting of Trilateral Commission"]

Berlin, 24 October -- CDU [Christian Democratic Union] Chairwoman Angela Merkel has warned against too close ties between Germany and Russia, thus indirectly criticizing the policy of the Federal Government. Equidistance to Russia, or even closer ties would be dangerous, she said. Ms Merkel stressed her firm opposition to a policy of equidistance toward the United States and Russia, complaining, "The level of dependence on Russian natural gas is exceeding acceptable levels." She called on Germany to resume its former mediating role in Europe, as well as between the European states and America. In the Iraq conflict, the Federal Government has given up this balancing role of mediator, she complained.
[passage omitted]

With regard to the assessment of the development in Russia, the chancellor's view clearly differed from that of the opposition leader, when he expressed his understanding and support for the centralization policy of [Russian] President Putin. His [Putin's] goal is the "reconstruction of statehood" in Russia, he said. "The state should once again fulfill its protective function, so that it is no longer necessary to pay mafia-like elements for protection," he stated. Stressing the will of Germany and the European Union to enter into a strategic partnership with Russia, without which it would be impossible to achieve sustainable peace and prosperity in Europe, Schroeder demanded: "We should understand this process." The line that Putin has adopted in Russia is necessary, he said.

Nov 24 2004 6:43PM
Putin, Schroeder want legal solution to Ukraine crisis

MOSCOW. Nov 24 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and his German counterpart Gerhard Schroeder had a phone conversation on Wednesday, in which they said a legal solution is needed for the crisis in Ukraine, the Russian presidential press service reported.

"It was mentioned that the post-election situation should be resolved on the basis of the election legislation currently effective in Ukraine. As to political problems, they can be resolved within the framework of the corresponding political contacts and consultations," the press service reported.

(via Marius)

Walesa, Havel, Yushchenko poisoning

As the Ukraine election crisis enters another day, some items from here and there:

* The Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reports that Lech Walesa has flown to Kyiv for a meeting with Yushchenko, and probably also for one with Kuchma and Yanukovych:
Lech Walesa flies to Kiev
ms, mab 25-11-2004, last update 24-11-2004 18:25

Nobel prize-winner Lech Walesa flies today to Kyiv for one day with a mission. He will meet with the opposition leader Victor Yushchenko, and probably also with his rival Victor Yanukovich and president Leonid Kuchma.

The legendary leader of Solidarity was invited to Ukraine, just after the elections, by Victor Yushchenko. Walesa had been hesitating for a long time, he was still saying yesterday "that although he is with the Ukrainian people in spirit, he won't go there now". Today he had a planned trip to Portugal.

But at noon, Jaroslaw Walesa, who acts as an assistant of his father informed us - We are flying to Kyiv. Our plan: We're neutral and we talk with both sides.

The former president flies at dawn on the airplane provided by the present president. Probably he will be accompanied by other Polish politicians, among them another legend of Solidarity, Zbigniew Bujak [former "S" leader from the Warsaw region M.L.]

* The Moscow News has the following report:
Former Czech Leader Havel Urges Ukrainians to Keep Up Protests
Created: 24.11.2004 13:16 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 13:16 MSK,

Former Czech president, Vaclav Havel, urged Ukrainians to keep up their protests against the presidential election results.

The leader of the "Velvet Revolution" in Czechoslovakia was quoted by Reuters as saying that "all respected domestic and international organizations agree that your demands are justified. Therefore I wish you strength, endurance, courage and fortunate decisions."

Long years or decades of the Ukrainians' future are at stake, Havel said during a trip to Taiwan.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian presidential opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko proclaimed himself president even though preliminary results provided by the Central Election Commission said he lost. Late in the evening, Yushchenko and his supporters surrounded the president's office. The candidate's aides said the current president,
Leonid Kuchma, agreed to hold negotiations.

* The current issue of Nature magazine contains an article about a British toxicologist's claim that Yushchenko's acne points to dioxin poisoning:
John Henry, a clinical toxicologist at St Mary's Hospital, London, and a consultant for Britain's National Poisons Information Service, points out that current photos of Yushchenko's face show a dramatic transformation compared with a few months ago.

He says that Yushchenko's disfiguring acne is almost certainly 'chloracne', a characteristic symptom of dioxin poisoning.

(via Marius)

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Estonian airspace violated

MAK reports from Tallinn that "Russian airplanes continue to violate Estonian airspace. Today a TU-154 heading in the direction of Kaliningrad penetrated Estonian territory twice."

Tymoshenko and Yushchenko

Yulya Tymoshenko's speech, as she talks on the Maidan, relayed by this blog:
Tomorrow we will go to the supreme court though we know that the court is not fair. we will try to convince them to be just. But we also know that trying to work legally with people don't recognize the law is truely impossible.

we must start first battles. we will battle to the end

last night when we passed the barriers into the Presidential Administration and we saw what is happening there. We got infornmation from the officers there. there are not only Ukrainians. there are soldiers of another country dressed in Ukrainian uniforms. But the foreign soldiers will shoot if there are more than 50 people coming in. The Ukrainians said they will not shot.

But last night we knew if we brought the people in there, we knew what will happen.

We must now plan concretely. we will block roads, railroads, airports and will not let them destroy or country

We do not want to lose a single Ukrainian life.

Also, Yushchenko calls for a general strike.


From the most recent entries on the PORA civic campaign website:

24.11.2004 19:27:17

Weapons for Yanukovych supporters discovered
According to our activists, road inspectors have detained a truck carrying weapons. According to the information received, these weapons were intended for supporters of Victor Yanukovych in Kyiv.

24.11.2004 19:18:41

A prayer for the inhabitants of the tent camp

At this very moment a rally continues at Independence Square with the participation of Victor Yushenko. At present there are no specific appeals from the stage. But the people said they are ready to stay in the Square for many days.

Before Yushenko’s speech, preachers came to PORA camp and prayed for the activists.

24.11.2004 17:33:19

Youngsters wearing blue colors support Yushchenko!

Tents of Yanukovych "supporters" have been installed in the territory between Dinamo Stadium and Mariinskyi Palace.

Near the tents, young people stand with blue-and-white ribbons proclaiming “For Yanukovych!” Military men can be seen there giving orders to the youngsters. Many of the young people admitted in private talks that they were forced to come to Kyiv and that in fact they support Yushchenko.

24.11.2004 17:17:25

Reports of incoming aircraft from Donetsk and Russia
We have received an eyewitness report from Zhulyany airport that 30 aircraft are incoming from Donetsk, and a further 20 from Russia itself. Our observer reports that the aircraft from Russia are carrying men in military uniform. We await confirmation of these details.

24.11.2004 15:52:33


We have just received information from the sources close to Security Service of Ukraine that in two hours (on November 24th at 16:00) Victor Yanukovych will be announced a President and Russian special troops that are already in Kyiv will start force actions against the people in the center of Kyiv.


24.11.2004 13:30:14

We have just received information that almost all the higher institutions in Kyiv are on strike About two hours ago they formed columns and marched to Independence Square to support those at the meeting. At the present time these students should have arrived at the central square of the capital.

The results

The results of the Ukraine election have been announced by the Central Election Commission.

This doesn't augur well for the future.

The wrong candidate

It appears that the authorities in Moscow are beginning to get worried about what they may have started in Ukraine. RIA Novosti has put out the following report:

2004-11-24 13:29

MOSCOW, Nov 24 (RIA Novosti) - Leonid Kuchma will meet with Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg soon. The Russian president's press secretary, Alexei Gromov, has confirmed this news.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta recalls that Mr. Putin was the first foreign leader to congratulate the current Ukrainian prime minister, the authorities' presidential candidate, Viktor Yanukovich, on his victory in the elections before the official results were declared.

Meanwhile, an opposition rally of 200,000 people in central Kiev has proclaimed its leader, Viktor Yushchenko, the president, and the parliamentary opposition has attempted to swear him in.

Stanislav Belkovsky, a Russian political scientist and head of the National Strategy Institute, believes that Mr. Putin's experts were mistaken in assessing the situation in Ukraine in the run-up to the vote. "We should have never have backed Mr. Yanukovich. There were five or six politicians in Ukraine who could have defeated Mr. Yushchenko. Now we are witnessing a revolutionary situation."

The political expert explained that the only possible compromise in this crisis could be to recognize Mr. Yushchenko as the winner of the elections, to appoint Socialist Party leader [Oleksandr] Moroz prime minister, and to form a coalition government to incorporate, in particular, the Communists and Mr. Yanukovich's supporters.

Some Ukrainian experts believe that Russia is currently finishing a game imposed on it by Kremlin political expert, Gleb Pavlovsky. "However, every step President Putin is making in this game is complicating Ukrainian-Russian relations for years to come," said a parliamentarian of the Ukrainian Rada.

(Via Marius)

Waiting - II

The wait is now for the announcement of the official election results by the CEC, and it looks as though the expected talks between Kuchma and the opposition will not take place. From the BBC:
Deputy head of Mr Yushchenko's headquarters Taras Stetskiv said the opposition wants Mr Kuchma to declare the elections as falsified and name Mr Yushchenko as president.

If the authorities fail to respond to these demands, the opposition "will paralyse the country", he said.

"There will be no trains or cars moving, and there will be a general strike," he added.

Meanwhile, it's reported that journalists and newsreaders have walked out in protest at censorship:
The IFJ said four newsreaders on Channel 1+1 had refused to read the news after complaining of "crude" censorship, forcing the station to drop certain news bulletins altogether.

Three newspapers had their distribution blocked in the days leading up to the election, while a fourth had 500 copies seized from sellers in northern Ukraine.

"The situation is very tense and we have extremely worrying reports about attempts to distort the news and control the media," said the IFJ general secretary, Aidan White.

"Many broadcast journalists are risking everything by refusing to bow to pressure and censorship".


As the wait for the opening of talks between the president and the opposition continues, and the protests go on, it's perhaps as well to consider that Ukraine's struggle has always been a twofold one: while the first stage of the struggle, independence, has been won, the second stage, which will decide what kind of a country Ukraine is to become, is still being fought.

Earlier this year the Canadian academic and political commentator Taras Kuzio pointed out that
Those who refuse to criticize President Kuchma should bear in mind his presiding over a Ukraine that is going to commemorate the 1654 Pereiaslav Treaty and Ukrainian Communist Volodymyr Shcherbytsky's 85th anniversary, while continuing to refuse to honor the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) as genuine veterans and freedom fighters.

And Kuzio asked:
Does the Ukrainian diaspora wish to support this kind of Ukraine which is being subjected to what Ukrainian scholars are increasingly describing as the country's "Little Russianization?"

Not only the Ukrainian diaspora, but the Western world as a whole needs to ask this question, for in the answer to it may lie the future of entire areas of modern democratic practice. The fate of Europe, in particular, is acutely bound up in it.

What we see in Ukraine today is a continuation and development of the processes that took place in Eastern Europe and parts of the Soviet Union during the second half of the 1980s.

Roman Szporluk, Professor of History at Harvard University, says that
The Ukrainian crisis today brings to mind events in Poland in late 1988 and in 1989. Under the pressure of the popular democratic movement Solidarity the Communist rulers of Poland agreed to negotiate with leaders of the democratic forces and undertook to conduct an honest parliamentary election. In order to ensure that the election would be truly free, the Communists allowed the democrats access to the mass media, including TV. In the election the democrats won a convincing victory and the Communist establishment accepted the nation's verdict. In August 1989, Poland had a government headed by one of the opposition leaders. There was no violence, no arrests, no revenge.

Professor Szporluk also points to some other 20th century historical precedents:
In a situation like this, a law-abiding citizen has to ask whether he or she is obliged to obey an authority that is engaged in breaking the fundamental laws of the state. Thousands of people are now demonstrating in the capital of Kiev and in other cities and towns of Ukraine in order to defend their democratic rights and the state constitution. Especially impressive is the participation of the younger generation, including university students, which is understandable because they are the people who were young children in 1991 when democracy seemed to have been coming to Ukraine. They feel that their struggle for fair elections is legitimate even if it appears to be in opposition to the established authorities.

A historian knows that there are certain turning points in history when resistance to the ruling powers is justified and indeed is a moral duty of the citizen. Nobody questions the decision of Charles de Gaulle to defy the French parliament and the head of the French state, Marshal Petain, when they established a collaborationist regime in France in 1940. Looking back at Hitler's rise to power, many people now understand that he should have been resisted as early as 1933, even though his appointment as chancellor of the German state was consistent with legal formalities. These examples are not to suggest that President Kuchma or Viktor Yanukovich are comparable to Petain or Hitler. But they do provide historical support, just as in a different way does the case of Poland in 1989, to those who believe in the supremacy of a law that respects the fundamental human rights of the individual and the sovereignty of the nation. The decision is now in the hands of President Kuchma. It is not too late for him to uphold the integrity of the law.
(JRL #8468)

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Paul Goble, on how attitudes towards Islam are seen to be deepening the split between Russia and Europe:

Tartu, November 23, 2004 – Differences in the way Russians and Europeans now think about Islam, about the Muslims living within their borders and beyond, and about the possibility of including an Islamic component in their respective identities, are exacerbating the split between Russia and Europe, according to a leading Russian specialist on Islam.

Aleksandr Ignatenko, who does research at Moscow State University and serves on the Presidential Council for Cooperation with Religious Groups, made this comment during a recent discussion at the Liberal Mission Foundation in Moscow. His comments and those of his fellow participants have been posted online at
http://www.liberl.ru/sitan.asp?Num=505 .

That session, organized by the Liberal Mission Foundation’s Igor Klyamkin was called to discuss the new Russian translation of a study exploring how peoples in general and Russians and Europeans in particular use images of „the other,” of outside groups, to define themselves and to promote the integration of their communities.

Entitled in Russian „Ispol’zovanie ‚Drugogo’” („The Use of the ‚Other’”), the book was written by Iver B. Neumann, a former Norwegian diplomat and social scientist who now works at the Oslo Institute for International Affairs.

In this study as in its English-language predecessor, „Russia and the Idea of Europe” (London, 1996), Neuman argues that Europeans over the last several centuries have tended to view Russia in one of two ways, both of which have flatter Europe at Russia’s expense.

On the one hand, he writes, Europeans have conceptualized Russia as „the barbarian at the gates,” as a threat to European civilization. On the other, Europeans have seen the state centered on Moscow as „the eternal apprentice,” as a country that wants to become European but constantly falls short.

Not surprisingly, such ideas provoked a lively and wide-ranging debate at this Moscow seesion whose participants included Klyamkin, Central European University Professor Aleksei Miller, Levada Center pollster Boris Dubin, Effective Politics Foundation expert Oleg Vitte, Moscow State University Africanist Vil’ Gel’bras, Social Accord Project expert Denis Dragunskiy, and Strategic Reserach Center director Andrei Piontkovskiy.

But perhaps the most intriguing comments were made by Ignatenko who addressed the very different ways Europeans and Russians currently view Islam and how that is dividing the two even more than they were in the past.

„European identity at present,” Ignatenko said, „is formed to a remarkable degree if not entirely in opposition to Islam as ‚the other.’” Hepointed out that in the recent discussion of whether to include any reference to Christianity in the European Constitution, Europeans were „prepared” to drop any reference to the faith that has defined them for centuries in order to avoid having to include any reference to „certain Islamic roots” of Europe.

And he said that this desire to keep Islam at bay even at the cost of denying Europe’s own religious past was even more clearly displayed by France’s decision to prohibit the wearing of all religious symbols in schools and other public places in order to prevent Muslims from wearing the hijab.

„In this way, the French said that they were prepared to pursue a far-reaching secularization in order that France not have anything Islamic as part of its public identity,” Ignatenko said.

The situation with regard to Russia, he continued, is very different. „At present, ever more Islamic aspects are being included in the image of Russia in the West.” The existence of indigenous Muslim populations in Russia itself – in Europe, Muslims are almost all immigrants -- and Moscow’s efforts to present itself as a Muslim country within the Organization of the Islamic Conference – something no European country has sought to do -- each have played a role, he said.

But the most important reasons for European attention to this Islamic aspect of Russia, Ignatenko continued, have to do with three ideological formulations that are now on offer in Russia itself and that have attracted much attention in the West.

The first of these is Eurasianism, the notion that Russia is „an Orthodox-Islamic state (country, civilization) and in this way is set apart both from the West and the East,” having taken „all the best from the one and the other.”

The second is EuroIslam, an idea advanced by Rafael Khakimov, the director of the Institute of History in Kazan and an advisor to Tatarstan President Mintimir Shaimiev. Khakimov’s call for a modernized, Europeanized Islam has attracted much interest, but it has also led many Europeans to conclude that Russia really is Islamic in important ways.

Reporting that he had been present when Khakimov discussed his ideas, Ignatenko observed „with what hope, the Westerners began to listen to him and how great was their disappointment. Because the conception of EuroIslam did not offer anything except that Tartarstan could and would like to move in the direction of Europe but without the rest of Russia, in which there is not ‚EuroIslam’ but eastern Orthodoxy.”

The third ideological formulation involves the idea of „so-called ‚Russian Islam.’” Its proponents advance the following proposition: „At one time in the histori past, Russians made a mistake when they adopted Orthodoxy and not let us say Islam, and on this basis, they decayed” as a people falling away from God and taking to drink.

Consequently, advocates of Russian Islam say that „if now [Russians] want to reestablish a certain historical justice and accept Islam, then this will save Russia – Russians will stop drinking and the demographic situation (under conditions of polygamy) will resolve itself.”

All these developments and ideas only add to Russia’s image in Europe as a very different and unwelcome „other,” Ignatenko concluded. And that in turn seems certain to deepen the existing divide between a Russia that has not yet made a final decision as to whether it is part of Europe and a Europe that appears to have concluded that it has yet another reason for believing that Russia is not a European country.