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Focus on Ukraine, May 19-25, 2008

May 26, 2008

The Democratic Initiatives Foundation follows political events in Ukraine with the aim of monitoring the pre-election promises of the country’s leading political forces that won seats in the parliament as a result of the snap elections to the Verkhovna Rada held on September 30, 2007. The monitoring is conducted within the framework of the project “Where are our political leaders taking us?”

Monday, May 19

A criminal lawsuit has been filed against Andriy Portnov, whom the government recently appointed acting chair of the State Property Fund, for illegal privatization.
Prosecutor General Oleksandr Medvedko personally informed the president of the start of investigation.
Portnov said the case was initiated under the pressure of the president, pointing to the corresponding instruction given to the Prosecutor General’s Office.

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine made a decision to postpone the tender for the privatization of the Odesa Portside Plant for an undetermined period of time.
Premier Yulia Tymoshenko this will be the case until the fervor around this enterprise abates. The Presidential Secretariat assessed this measure as a cancellation of illegal judgments and supported it.

Tuesday, May 20

The Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc demanded from the parliamentary dais that Valentyna Semenyuk-Samsonenko tender her resignation as the head of the State Property Fund and placed the responsibility for the break up of the coalition on the president’s shoulders.
Andriy Portnov, who was motioned as a candidate for the chair of the SPF, said he is prepared to turn down the post for the sake of the unity of democratic forces. But the leader of the YTB insists that he is the one that should chair the fund.
The Verkhovna Rada postponed the resolution of the problem of diarchy in the SPF until this Thursday.

President of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development Jean Lemierre noted the high quality of work being done at the Chornobyl Atomic Energy Station (ChAES) after today’s visit to the plant.
As a reminder, four major projects are currently under way at the ChAES. They are the construction of a new sarcophagus and a depository for spent nuclear fuel, as well as two projects for the recycling of hard and liquefied radioactive waste.
The EBRD allocated another euro 135 million for continuing the construction works. It is planned that the a new sarcophagus atop the destroyed reactor will be in place by 2012 and a fuel repository will be ready within a year.

Wednesday, May 21

55 of 58 deputies of the Donetsk City Council voted in favor of limiting the use of the Ukrainian language in schools and kindergartens.
This is the way in which the Donetsk authorities are executing the program on the development of the Russian language.
From now on the opening of new pre-school institutions and groups and the expansion of the number of students having the desire to learn Ukrainian is banned.

President Viktor Yushchenko assigned the Cabinet of Ministers to draft by July 20 a bill suspending the effect of international treaties on the provisional stationing of the Russian Black Sea Fleet on the territory of Ukraine.
By virtue of this decree President Yushchenko put into effect a decision of the National Security and Defense Council made on May 16. As of this date the Cabinet of Ministers took to executing the decision of the NSDC.

Chairman of the National Security and Defense Committee Viktor Ozerov informed that Russia plans to raise the issue of Crimea belonging to Ukraine and the status of Sevastopol in the event that the Ukrainian parliament adopts the decision on the decommissioning of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in 2017.
Ozerov expressed his conviction that neither Yushchenko nor Tymoshenko will be the ones to approve the resolution of this problem as they will not be in power by that time. He added that today’s decision of the president looks more like a PR move than a concrete approach to the problem.

Thursday, May 22

The Verkhovna Rada worked for only 5 minutes as its deputies failed to agree on the order of the day. Indeed, the Party of Regions demanded that a number of issues concerning privatization be put on the agenda for debate.
VR Speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk warned Finance Minister Viktory Pynzenyk that should the government fail to make amendments to the 2008 National Budget, then the parliament will not consider his draft laws. The speaker firmly stated that this process has been dragged out for four months and has now reached its absolute limit.

Donetsk Mayor Oleksadnr Lukyanchenko suspended the effect of a decision of the city council of May 20, 2008 to limit the use of the Ukrainian language in schools and not permit the expansion of the network of Ukrainian-language schools and kindergartens.
The Public Relations Administration in the city council made this announcement.

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed that Russia will approve decisions as to taking appropriate measures concerning those Ukrainian politicians that by their statements and actions are causing damage to Russia.
Russia is forced to take such measures in connection with the banning Moscow’s mayor Yury Luzhkov from setting foot on Ukrainian soil.
Recall that the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) banned Moscow’s mayor from entering the territory of Ukraine in connection with his statements about the need to review Ukraine’s ownership of the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

Friday, May 23

Vice Premier Hryhoriy Nemyrya informed that Ukraine signed 14 of 20 documents after a meeting of the heads of member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) held in Minsk, Belarus.
He said that Ukraine’s participation in the CIS should not contradict its strategic integration into the European Union.
The premiers of Russia and Ukraine (Vladimir Putin and Yulia Tymoshenko) met within the framework of this meeting. The two sides agreed to develop cooperation in the area of agricultural security.

Saturday, May 24

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it is not reviewing the issue of extending the term of stationing of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Crimea after 2017
. This was the information contained in a statement by MFA Spokesman Vasyl Kyrylych. He said that Russia must be fully removed from the territory of Ukraine by the set deadline.

Sunday, May 25

Today the snap elections of the mayor of Kyiv and deputies to the Kyiv City Council were held. According to the result of an exit poll, Chernovetskiy is in the lead for winning the mayor’s seat and his political bloc leads for seats in the city council.
The exit polls were conducted by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation (DIF) and the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) upon the order of the ICTV television channel.

Results of the exit polls

1. Elections of the Kyiv mayor

Leonid Chernovetskiy – 32.0%
Oleksandr Turchynov – 20.3%
Vitaliy Klitschko – 19.8%
Viktor Pylypyshyn – 9.1%
Mykola Katerynchuk – 4.9%
Oleksandr Omelchenko – 2.7%
Vasyl Horbal – 2.7%
Oleh Tyahnybok – 2.4%
Other candidates – 2.8%
Did not support any of the candidates – 3.1%
Don’t recall – 0.3%
In total – 100%

2. Elections to the Kyiv City Council

Leonid Chernovetskiy Bloc – 25.7%
Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc – 23.4%
Vitaliy Klitschko Bloc – 12.7%
Lytvyn Bloc – 10.4%
Party of Regions – 4.0%
Hromaskiy Aktyv of Kyiv – 4.3%
Mykola Katerynchuk Bloc – 3.9%
Svoboda All-Ukraine Association – 3.0%
Oleksandr Omelchenko Bloc – 2.6%
Our Ukraine-People’s Self-defense – 2.1%
Communist Party of Ukraine – 1.4%
PORA citizens’ party – 0.4%
Socialist Party of Ukraine – 0.4%
Other parties – 2.8%
Did not support any of the parties/blocs – 2.4%
Don’t recall – 0.4%
In total – 100%




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