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Focus on Ukraine, December 21-27, 2009

December 28, 2009

Overview of political events of the week

 
December 21
 

Yesterday at the congress of the Za Ukrainu! Party (For Ukraine!), Vyacheslav Kyrlyenko was elected the party’s leader and agreed that the party would support Viktor Yushchenko in the 2010 Presidential Election.

Recall that earlier four members of the Our Ukraine People’s Self-defense party (OUPSD) – Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, Ksenya Lyapina, Volodymyr Moisyk and Oleh Humeniuk – announced their departure from OUPSD headed by Viktor Yushchenko to join Za Ukrainu!

Lyapina said the newly formed Za Ukrainu! Party has the objective of creating all conditions for the development of the middle class as the messenger of the Ukrainian national idea.

 

The press service of presidential candidate Anatoliy Hrytsenko announced that eight presidential candidates are prepared to finance the holding of the single National Exit Poll 2010 organized jointly by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) and the Razumkov Centre.

Hrytsenko believes the exit poll is an important stage in controlling the results of the freewill of voters.

 

President Viktor Yushchenko expressed his hope at a meeting with President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek that observers from the EP will be highly active in the upcoming presidential election in Ukraine.

 

The State Statistics Committee of Ukraine published the statistics of embassies in Ukraine showing that in October the country fell into last place in terms of wages in Europe in the dollar equivalent.

Among the five European countries with the lowest average monthly wages are Bulgaria – US $420, Albania – US $400, Belarus – US $360, Moldova – US $250 and Ukraine US $240.

 

14 members of the Central Election Commission unanimously voted in favor of forming 113 electoral commissions in voting districts abroad.

 
December 22
 

The Verkhovna Rada adopted the law on extending the moratorium on the sale of land plots in its first reading. This means the sale of land in Ukraine can be abolished until 2012.

 

The parliament does not support the proposal of the BYT to make amendments to electoral legislation. Specifically, the BYT proposed to vote in favor of voters’ lists not being changed on the day of elections. There were not even enough votes to submit this proposal to the order of the day. As such, electoral legislation remains unchanged.

 

The Verkhovna Rada did not manage to consider the budget issue. The BYT is demanding that the resolution by virtue of which the MPs earlier returned the 2010 National Budget for revision by the government be cancelled.

 

President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek informed during his meeting with Ukrainian Premier Yulia Tymoshenko that the European Union may render financial assistance to Ukraine.

Buzek said today the European Parliament can resolve the issue of whether or not to render Ukraine micro-financing from the EU.

 
December 23
 

The Verkhovna Rada took an early recess without adopting the law on elections or the budget.

232 deputies voted in favor of such changes to the itinerary of the 5th session of the parliament, including the Party of Regions, the Communist Party, the Bloc of Lytvyn, 10 members of the OUPSD party and one representative of the BYT.

The parliamentarians plan to convene for the next plenary session on January 19, 2010, after the presidential election.

 

The Central Election Commission obligated the Ministry of Finance and the National Treasury to allocate UAH 195 million to finance the commission’s work in 2009.

Member of the commission Mykhailo Okhendovskiy said just over a million hryvnia was transferred to the bank account of the CEC, which is less than 1% of the required amount.

 

Presidential candidates made their election statements.

Lyudmyla Suprun feels the practice of importing large parties of foodstuffs into Ukraine is a mistake and says the country can survive without imported goods.

Serhiy Tihipko is for drafting and implementing a program for the substitution of imported goods into Ukraine to protect domestic production from cheap contraband goods from abroad.

Yulia Tymoshenko calls for budget reform, which entails the decentralization of Ukraine’s national budget.

Oleh Tyahnybok feels strengthening the accountability of violators of environmental legislation is imperative and all polluters of the environment should be subject to severe fines.

Viktor Yushchenko proposes the formation of a special economic zone in Crimea with special fiscal and budget conditions for 23 years.

Viktor Yanukovych is convinced that breaks between elections should be maximized to ensure political stability in Ukraine. He believes elections should not be held more often than once every five years.

 

Premier Yulia Tymoshenko informed that the IMF will continue to cooperate with Ukraine only after the national budget is approved.

The premier said a decision was made during the visit of the Ukrainian delegation to Washington for talks with the IMF that will “ease the budget problem”.

 
December 24
 

Chechnyan President Ramzan Kadirov called on Russia to eliminate Ukraine and Georgia. Kadirov said in an interview with Reuters that Georgia and Ukraine are a tumor that Russia needs to remove.

In the opinion of the president of Chechnya, last year’s invasion by Georgia on South Ossetia was part of an anti-Russian conspiracy between western countries to take over the entire Caucasus region. In connection with this, Kadirov called on the Russian government to devise a strategy and go on the offensive.

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine called the statement of President of Chechnya Ramzan Kadirov belligerent and aggressive.

In a telephone conversation between Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Volodymyr Handohiy and his counterpart in Russia Grigory Karasin, the Ukrainian side emphasized that such statements are construed as a threat and do not correspond to the new approaches to mutual relations between Ukraine and Russia.

In his turn, Karasin noted that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia is refusing to acknowledge Kadirov’s statements.

 

Assistant Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine and ex-foreign minister Volodymyr Ohryzko stated Chechnyan President Ramzan Kadirov must answer before the law for his statements that Russia attack Ukraine and eliminate it as a problem.

 

The new U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Tefft said the United States of America is in favor of free and fair elections in Ukraine, but does not support any of the parties struggling for power.

 

The State Security Service (SBU) named individuals accused of the crime of genocide of the Ukrainian nation in 1932-33.

Joseph Stalin was acknowledged the main organizer of the Great Famine. Other high-standing officials of the USSR and Soviet Ukraine were also responsible for the genocide.

The SBU began investigations into the criminal case of the Great Famine in May 2009. Investigators have since collected 3,500 documents, questioned 2,000 witnesses and found 857 places of mass burial. Now the case will be filed with the courts.

 

Today was the 72nd birthday of Vyacheslav Chornovil, who was respected by the people as a political activist that became one of the symbols of the fight for an independent Ukraine.

Chornovil was imprisoned three times for his anti-Soviet propaganda and served time in hard labor camps and in exile.

In 1990 he was elected a people’s deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and ran then for president in 1991. In 1992 he headed the party Narodniy Rukh Ukrainy (People’s Movement of Ukraine).

Chornovil died in 1999 in a highway accident under obscure circumstances. Proponents of Chornovil believe his death was a political assassination organized prior to the presidential elections in autumn of 1999.

 
December 25
 

In its official statement the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine called upon on the world community to react to the anti-Ukrainian statements of the leader of Chechnya Ramzan Kadirov.

The NSDC says similar statements pose a threat to the national security of Ukraine and Russia aimed at destabilization and attaining a new level of strategic partnership between two equal and independent states.

 

The Central Election Commission of Ukraine was allocated UAH 191.8 million for organizing and conducting the 2010 Presidential Election.

Member of the CEC Mykhailo Okhendovskiy said this sum fully covers the costs of the electoral process in 2009.

 

Commenting on the statement of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that Russia does not back a certain candidate for president in Ukraine, member of the Russian State Duma Konstantin Zatulin said Moscow wants to see Viktor Yanukovych as the next president of Ukraine.

Zatulin’s statement is published on the official website of the Yedyna Rossiya (United Russia) party. The deputy noted that the party does not want Viktor Yushchenko to be elected for a second term as the president of Ukraine.



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