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Action Ukraine Report

An International Newsletter, The Latest, Up-To-Date
In-Depth Ukrainian News, Analysis and Commentary

Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion, Economics,
Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World      

Ukraine’s culture, political system and geopolitics are much closer to
Europe than to Eurasia and, therefore, drive the country back towards Europe.
Mr. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor, SigmaBleyzer Emerging
Markets Private Equity Investment Group,

Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
Return to Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article

Authored and Edited by Dr. Olexiy Haran
Answers on pp. 23- 25, 30- 32, 45- 48 co-authored by Petro Burkovsky,
Answers on pp. 25- 30 written by Volodymyr Dubrovskiy.
Sponsored by the International Renaissance Foundation and the
Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.
University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Kyiv, Ukraine
Kyiv: Stylos Publishers, November 2009. 72 pp.
Ukraine’s culture, political system and geopolitics are much closer to Europe
than to Eurasia and, therefore, drive the country back towards Europe.

Authored and Edited by Dr. Olexiy Haran
Answers on pp. 23- 25, 30- 32, 45- 48 co-authored by Petro Burkovsky,
Answers on pp. 25- 30 written by Volodymyr Dubrovskiy.
Sponsored by the International Renaissance Foundation and the
Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.
University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Kyiv, Ukraine
Kyiv: Stylos Publishers, November 2009. 72 pp.

KYIV - This publication seeks to provide answers to questions foreigners often ask about Ukraine. In explaining the fundamentals of Ukraine’s foreign policy, it also provides an introduction to Ukraine’s domestic politics. It argues that Ukraine’s culture, political system and geopolitics are much closer to Europe than to Eurasia and, therefore, drive the country back towards Europe.

Special thanks to Dr. Roman Solchanyk, formerly a senior research analyst at the RAND Corp., for commenting on and reviewing the final drafts of the text.
The publication was sponsored by the International Renaissance Foundation and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.


List of Questions ..................................................................................................................3

Chronology of Ukrainian History .........................................................................................6
Basic Data .........................................................................................................................10
Questions and Answers .....................................................................................................11
[1]     Conspiracy theories tell us about the West’s and especially the U.S.
         “dream” of the USSR’s dissolution. What was the West’s position
         vis--vis Ukrainian independence? ............................................................................11
[2]    Why, in contrast to some other Soviet republics, were there no
         interethnic conflicts as Ukraine moved towards independence?...............................13
[3]    Given the depth of Russification of eastern Ukraine, the CIA’s
         sensational report in early 1994 speculated that Ukraine could
         “split” in two. Why didn’t this happen? ...................................................................14
[4]    What is the present ethno-linguistic situation? Is the Russian language .
         under threat? ............................................................................................................15
[5]    Despite profound regional differences, there is no federalization of .
         Ukraine. Why? .........................................................................................................16
[6]    Why doesn’t Ukraine recognize Kosovo? ................................................................17
[7]    Why was Ukraine a founder but not a member of the CIS? ......................................18
[8]    What is the “tapegate scandal” and how has it influenced Ukraine’s
[9]    How was the country deliberately polarized by Kuchma’s
         administration during the 2004 presidential elections? ...........................................20
[10]  What were the reasons for the success of the Orange Revolution?
         Was it a Western plot? ............................................................................................21
[11]  What were the results of the Orange Revolution?....................................................22
[12]  Why did the Party of Regions reemerge and why
         did Yanukovych return as prime minister in 2006? .................................................23
[13]  Ukrainian politics seem to be very turbulent, but eventually result
         in compromises. Why is that? What is “pluralism by default”? ...............................24
[14]  What are the main achievements and disappointments of the Ukrainian economy?..25
[15]  What is the influence of the world economic crisis of 2008-2009 on Ukraine? ......29
[16]  What are the directions of constitutional reform? ....................................................30
[17]  Is it necessary for Ukraine to return to a single mandate electoral system? .............31
[18]  During the 1990s, the Communists were the strongest party in the parliament.
         Are they still as influential? .....................................................................................32
[19]  How decisive is Russia’s influence in Ukraine? ......................................................32
[20]  Creation of an “enemy image” of Ukraine ................................................................33
[21]  Why is Ukrainian Orthodoxy split? What are the prospects
         for a canonic, autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church? .....................................34
[22]  Divisive history issues ............................................................................................35
[23]  Why do Ukrainians consider the 1933 famine as constituting genocide? .................36
[24]  Divisive history: the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the
         Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) .............................................................................37
[25]  Soviet and Russian propaganda portrayed the Ukrainian national liberation
         movement as anti-Semitic. It promoted this stereotype in the Western media
         as well. What is the real history of Ukrainian-Jewish relations? .............................40
[26]  Can Russia repeat the South Ossetian/Abkhazian scenario in Crimea? ....................43
[27]  “Gas wars”: what happened between Russia and Ukraine
         in the winters of 2006 and 2009?..............................................................................45
[28]  What was the EU reaction to the Russia-Ukraine “gas war” in winter of 2009?.......47
[29]  Is the EU ready to recognize the prospect of Ukraine’s membership? ......................48
[30]  Visa issue: test of the EU’s good will ......................................................................51
[31]  Can Ukraine stay neutral/non-aligned? .....................................................................52
[32]  There is a stereotype that the policy of joining NATO was formulated by
         President Yushchenko after the Orange Revolution. However, it is President
         Kuchma who argued that Ukraine should join NATO ..............................................52
[33]  Yanukovych once actually "scheduled" Ukraine's entry into
         NATO in 2008. So, is the Party of Regions really anti-NATO? ..............................54
[34]  NATO promised that “Ukraine will become a NATO member,” but refused to
         offer a Membership Action Plan (MAP). How could this happen? .........................55
[35]  How will the results of the 2010 presidential elections influence future
         Ukrainian politics? ..................................................................................................57

1.  Breakdown of Ukraine's Exports of Goods .................................................................58
2.  Breakdown of Ukraine's Imports of Goods .................................................................59

1.  Nations in Transit 2009. Ratings and Democracy Score Summary.............................60
2.  Democracy Score. Year-To-Year Summaries ...........................................................62

1.  Kyivan Rus circa 1000 ..............................................................................................64
2.  East Slavic Lands circa 1450 ....................................................................................65
3.  Ukrainian Lands, 1649 ..............................................................................................66
4.  Ukrainian Lands circa 1750 ......................................................................................67
5.  Ukraine, 1914 ...........................................................................................................68
6.  Ukraine, January 1919 ..............................................................................................69
7.  Ukraine, 1937 ...........................................................................................................70
8.  Ukraine circa 1970 ...................................................................................................71
9.  Ukraine, 2009 ...........................................................................................................72


Early 6th century                  AD Slavic tribes first mentioned in historical sources
Late 9th-early 10th century   Formation of Kyivan Rus state
988                                       Kyivan Rus accepts Christianity under prince Volodymyr (Vladimir) the Great
1054                                     Catholic-Orthodox schism
12th century                          Disintegration of Kyivan Rus into separate principalities
1187                                      “Ukraine” as a toponym first used in chronicles
1237-1264                            Reign of Danylo of Halych. The rise of the Principality of Galicia-Volyhnia
1240                                     Mongols sack Kyiv
13th century                          Formation of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
1330s-1360s                         Southern Rus lands incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
1349                                      Poland occupies Galicia
1569                                      Union of Lublin, creation of Rzeczpospolita (Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth),
                                              Ukrainian lands become part of Kingdom of Poland
1570s-1580s                          Formation of Zaporozhian Sich, military center of Ukrainian Cossacks
1596                                      Union of Brest, creation of Uniate (Greek Catholic) Church
1648-1654                             Great Rebellion (“Cossack Revolution”) led by Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky, creation of the Cossack State (Hetmanate)
1654                                      Treaty of Pereiaslav, Hetmanate accepts protectorate of Tsardom of Russia
1686                                      The Eternal Peace Treaty, Cossack Ukraine divided along Dnieper between Russia and Rzeczpospolita
1708-1709                             Hetman Mazepa fails to get rid of Russian protectorate during war between Russia and Sweden
1772                                      First partition of Rzeczpospolita. Habsburgs occupy Galicia
1764-1782                             Russia abolishes Hetmanate
1775                                      Russian army destroys Zaporozhian Sich
1783                                      Russia eliminates the Crimean Khanate and annexes its territories
1793-1795                            Second and third partitions of Rzeczpospolita, Russia occupies Right Bank Ukraine and Volyhnia
First half of 19th century       Formation of modern Ukrainian national self-consciousness, 1840 — Taras Shevchenko’s book of poetry Kobzar
1861                                     Abolition of serfdom in the Russian Empire, start of “Great Reforms”
1863                                     Valuev circular, publications in Ukrainian (except for fiction) prohibited in the Russian Empire,
                                             existence of a separate Ukrainian language denied
1876                                     Ems Decree bans all publications, public readings and stage performances in Ukrainian
Late 19th-early 20th century Ukrainian cultural aspirations transformed into political movement
1905-1907                            First Russian revolution
1914-1918                            World War I
1917 (Feb)                            February revolution in Russia
1917 (Mar)                           Ukrainian Central Council (Central Rada) set up
1917 (Nov)                           October revolution in Russia, Ukrainian People’s Republic (UNR) proclaimed
1917 (Dec)                            First Soviet Ukrainian government controlled by Moscow
1918 (Jan 22)                        Ukrainian People's Republic (UNR) declares independence
1918 (Nov)                            West Ukrainian People’s Republic (ZUNR) proclaimed
1919 (Jan 22)                        Act of Unity between UNR and ZUNR
1918-1920                             UNR struggles with Bolsheviks and Russian White forces, ZUNR struggles with Poles
1921                                      Treaty of Riga, Western Ukraine comes under Polish control, the rest of Ukraine (Ukrainian SSR) controlled by Bolsheviks
1922                                      Ukrainian SSR joins USSR
1923-1933                             Ukrainization campaign in Soviet Ukraine (support to formerly discriminated Ukrainian language and culture to create
                                               “Ukrainian working class and new intelligentsia” and to legitimize Soviet rule in Ukrainian eyes)
1929                                      Formation of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN)
1930s                                    Purges in Soviet Ukraine, Ukrainization stopped
1932-1933                            Great Famine in Soviet Ukraine
1939-1945                            World War II
1939-1941                            First Soviet occupation of Western Ukraine
1941                                     German invasion of the USSR, OUN declares independence, Nazi repressions against OUN
1942-1954                            UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) insurgency
1944                                     Second Soviet occupation of Western Ukraine
1954                                     Khrushchev transfers Crimea from Russian SFSR to Ukrainian SSR
1960s                                   Dissident movement for human rights and against Russification begins
1976                                     Ukrainian Helsinki Group, since 1988 — Ukrainian Helsinki Union
1986                                     Chornobyl nuclear plant explosion
1989                                     First Congress of Rukh, broad national-democratic opposition movement
1990                                     First Ukrainian parliamentary elections
1991 (Aug 24)                      Ukrainian parliament declares independence after failed Moscow coup
1991 (Dec 1)                        Referendum confirms independence, Kravchuk elected president
1994                                     Kravchuk loses presidential election to Kuchma, launch of economic reform
1996                                     New constitution, introduction of national currency (hryvnia)
1997                                     Friendship Treaty with Russia, Partnership Charter with NATO
1999                                     Kuchma reelected president, Yushchenko appointed prime minister
2000 (Fall)                           Journalist Gongadze murdered, “tapegate scandal” follows
2001 (Apr)                           Fall of Yushchenko government
2004 (Nov-Dec)                  Presidential election falsified in favor of Yanukovych, Orange Revolution, constitutional reform, Yushchenko elected president
2005 (Sept)                          First split within Orange forces, Yushchenko dismisses prime minister Tymoshenko
2006 (Jan)                            First “gas war” between Russia and Ukraine
2006 (March-Aug)                Orange forces win parliamentary election. Because of their internal conflicts, Yanukovych is able to form a coalition and
                                             becomes prime minister
2007 (Sept-Dec)                  Early parliamentary election, formation of the second Tymoshenko government
2009 (Jan)                           Second “gas war”, Europe suffers
2010 (Jan-Feb)                    Next presidential election

Based on Andrew Wilson’s "The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation" (New Haven-London: Yale Nota Bene, Yale University Press, 2002). Supplemented
by Olexiy Haran and Dmytro Vortman.

BASIC DATA [Page 10]

Land area:   603,700 sq km
Population: 46.0 million (2009)
Ethnic structure (December 2001 census):  Ukrainians (77.8%), Russians (17.3%), Belarusians (0.6%), Crimean Tatars (0.5%), Bulgarians (0.5%),
       Moldovans (0.5%), Romanians (0.3%), Hungarians (0.3%), Poles (0.3%), Jews (0.2%), Armenians (0.2%), Greeks (0.2%), Germans (0.1%)
Official state language:  Ukrainian
Constitution:  approved by parliament on June 28, 1996
President:  Viktor Yushchenko elected by direct popular vote in December 2004; sworn in on January 23, 2005; head of Our Ukraine party.
       Next presidential election in 2010 (January 17- first round, February 7 - runoff)
Parliament (Verkhovna Rada):  450 deputies elected on party slates with a 3% electoral threshold
       Last election:  September 30, 2007, next scheduled parliamentary election: September 2012; Next scheduled local elections:  May 30, 2010
Chairman (speaker) of parliament:  Volodymyr Lytvyn (since December 2008)
Governmental coalition (since December 2008): Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (156 seats), Our Ukraine - People's Self-Defense (72 seats), Lytvyn Bloc
       (20 seats)
Opposition:  Party of Regions (175 seats), Communist Party of Ukraine (27 seats)
Prime minister:  Yulia Tymoshenko (since December 2007)


[1] QUESTION: Conspiracy theories tell us about the West’s and especially the U.S. “dream” of the USSR’s dissolution. What was the West’s position vis--vis Ukrainian independence?

[Page 11] Until the 1990s, Ukraine was to a great extent terra incognita in the West. The history of Ukraine was distorted by Soviet propaganda and many important documents were off limits to the public and most scholars. Western Sovietologists traditionally viewed events in Ukraine from Moscow’s perspective. For more than forty years, relations with the Soviet Union defined American foreign policy, and direct contacts between U.S. and Soviet leaders only reinforced these misperceptions.

At the same time, in 1959 President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Captive Nations Resolution, which was unanimously passed by the U.S. Congress. It stated that the independence of nations under Communist control (including Ukraine and the other Soviet republics) was in the vital interest of the United States.

It also called for an annual week of commemoration of “Captive Nations” to be held during the third week of July. The resolution established a certain commitment by the United States to the “Captive Nations.” Western Europe, in contrast, had no such resolution and did not emphasize the issue of human rights in East-West relations.

However, it is widely acknowledged that the Captive Nations Resolution was mostly rhetoric and had little influence on actual foreign policy. President Richard Nixon’s national security advisor, Henry Kissinger, told Soviet Ambassador Anatoliy Dobrynin on June 12, l969 to ignore “separate public critical statements by the president on one East European country or another, since this is only a tribute to some layers of the U.S. population which play a role in American elections.” [1, Page 11)

In 1990-1991, before the dissolution of the USSR, the West underestimated the strength of the national liberation movements, especially in Ukraine. This is perhaps because the West sought above all to preserve good relations with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev with regard to nuclear disarmament and global security and feared the balkanization of the Soviet Union. In 1990, on a visit to Kyiv, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher compared Ukraine to California.

And on August 1, 1991, less than three weeks before the failed coup d’ tat that derailed Gorbachev’s plan for new Union Treaty, U.S. President
George H.W. Bush unequivocally supported the Union Treaty, which was designed to preserve the USSR, and criticized “suicidal nationalism.”

This speech, which President Bush delivered to the Supreme Soviet of Ukraine in Kyiv, has become known derisively in the West as the “Chicken Kyiv speech.” In November 1991, a group of nuclear security specialists argued that “the United States still has an incentive to prefer as little disintegration as
possible... the United States may have little leverage on the disintegration question. But it can try to create incentives for union rather than independence.”
[1, Page 12]

Up until the last minute, Western politicians hoped that it would be possible to preserve the Soviet Union in some form or another. But during the referendum on December 1, 1991, over 90% voted for the independence of Ukraine; a majority was registered in every region, including Crimea and Sevastopol.

Ukraine’s peaceful move towards independence prompted Western leaders to change their policy. Canada and Poland were the first countries to recognize Ukrainian independence, on December 2. The United States recognized independent Ukraine as well as some other former Soviet republics only after
Gorbachev’s resignation on December 25, 1991. Germany recognized Ukraine’s independence on December 26, France on December 27, and the United Kingdom on December 30, 1991.

Therefore, it is not surprising that even after Ukraine gained independence the “Russia-first” approach continued to hold sway in Western countries. Some Western analysts started to talk about the possibility of interethnic conflicts. The CIA contemplated a “split of the country” as one possible scenario in
Ukraine. Even in 1995, Jack Matlock, Jr., former US Ambassador to the USSR in 1987-1991, wrote an article on Ukraine titled “The Nowhere Nation.”

But the situation started to change in 1994 after Ukraine relinquished its nuclear weapons (it had the third largest arsenal in the world!). After presidential and parliamentary elections the same year brought about a peaceful change of power, it became clear that, despite any fears, there would be no returning to any form of union with Russia.

[2] QUESTION: Why, in contrast to some other Soviet republics, were there no interethnic conflicts as Ukraine moved towards dependence?

[Page 13] Under the Soviet regime, Ukrainians, Jews, and Crimean Tatars all suffered Russification and national and religious discrimination. Dissidents of different nationalities learned the real, not declared (Soviet-type), internationalism in Soviet prison camps.

For decades the Polish migr journal Kultura promoted the idea of Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation. Poland’s “Solidarity” movement influenced Ukraine’s aspirations for independence and supported the creation in 1989 of the Ukrainian nationaldemocratic movement Rukh, which in turn appealed to Ukraine’s different ethnic groups to support mutual national revival.

Thus, modern Ukrainian nationalism is a territorial not an ethnic one and “inclusive” rather than “exclusive.” The tolerant position of the national-democrats towards national minorities influenced the national-communists, who were led by independent Ukraine’s first president, Leonid Kravchuk (1991-1994).

Although a law passed in 1989 proclaimed Ukrainian as the only official state language, Russian continued to play an extremely important role in the country (see below). As for the question of citizenship, Ukrainian leaders adopted in October 1991 a “zero variant.” Everyone living in Ukraine was eligible for citizenship without any conditions. Thus, Ukrainian citizens’ socio-economic and political opportunities were not limited or circumscribed by
ethno-linguistic criteria.

[3] QUESTION: Given the depth of Russification of eastern Ukraine, the CIA’s sensational report in early 1994 speculated that Ukraine could “split” in two. Why didn’t this happen?

[Page 14] Ukraine did not split even in the most difficult year of 1993 when inflation soared to 10,000%. Polls taken in early 1994 showed that only 1% of respondents in Lviv and 5% in Donetsk (the main cities in the west and the east of Ukraine, respectively) wanted Ukraine to cease to exist as a united nation.

Ethno-linguistic boundaries within Ukraine are blurred, and the Russian and Ukrainian languages are closely related. In fact, the very division of Russian- and Ukrainian-language speakers is rather exaggerated because most of the population is bilingual.

The youngest generation of Ukrainians knows Russian even if half of them do not study it at school given that Russian TV programs are broadcast in Ukraine and most radio programs in Ukraine are still conducted in Russian or in both languages. In its preamble, Ukraine’s 1996 Constitution defined “the
Ukrainian people” as “citizens of Ukraine of all nationalities.”

Russian-speaking politicians do not feel excluded from the political process in Kyiv, and they feel that it is more realistic to compete for power and resources in Kyiv rather than in Moscow. Ukraine’s independence elevated the status of what had previously been a provincial elite and became one of the values for the political and business elites whatever language they speak.

Characteristically, Ukraine’s second President, Leonid Kuchma (1994-2004), relearned Ukrainian (which he had forgotten during his years at the university and in the missile industry). He even wrote a book (published in Russian) titled "Ukraine Is Not Russia.:

Although the electoral divide between the south and the east, on the one hand, and the west and the center of Ukraine, on the other, has persisted in every election since 1990, there are signs that major players are moving into the regions that traditionally supported their opponents. At the same time, radical nationalist forces (both Russian and Ukrainian) do not exceed the 3% parliamentary threshold.

[4] QUESTION: What is the present ethno-linguistic situation? Is the Russian language under threat?

[Page 15] The results of the 2001 census (the first one in independent Ukraine) showed a slow Ukrainization of Russified Ukrainians. Compared to 1989, the number of ethnic Ukrainians increased from 72.7% to 77.8% and the number of ethnic Russians decreased from 22.1% to 17.3%, which was basically a return to the 1959 census. But the number of those who consider Russian as their “mother tongue” is higher - 29.6%. The Russian language still dominates in the eastern and southern parts of the country.

Towards the end of the Soviet regime, in 1990, only 45% of pupils studied in Ukrainian, and in higher education about 90% of subjects were taught in Russian. In independent Ukraine, the Russification of education has been halted. Nevertheless, in 2008-2009 17.6% of pupils were studying in Russian, and if one considers those who study the Russian language as a subject the figure increases to 46.6%. [1 Page 15] (Compare to Russia: there are 2.49 million Ukrainians there, but no Ukrainian schools and the Ukrainian language is studied by only 205 pupils).

In higher education, 14-17 % of Ukraine’s students (as of 2007) studied in Russian, but the actual figure is higher (it is difficult to determine exact figures as one professor can teach in Russian, another in Ukrainian).

The numbers for education in Ukrainian drop dramatically in the eastern and southern regions. In Crimea, Ukrainians comprise 24%, but only 7% of pupils are taught in Ukrainian. In vocational schools in Crimea all (!) subjects are taught in Russian.

42% of all books in circulation are in Russian (as of June 2009) and two-thirds of the country’s newspapers are in the Russian-language! The biggest challenge, therefore, is how to promote Ukrainian-language publications in the media market. The Russian language still dominates in business and in mass entertainment. Despite the law, many members of parliament do not bother to learn Ukrainian, the only official state language, and continue to speak Russian in the parliament.

Given centuries of overt Russification (culminating in the 1876 Ems Decree that banned all publications in Ukrainian as well as public readings and stage performances) and subtle Russification in post-war USSR, making Russian the second official state language, as some politicians advocate, will threaten the existence of the Ukrainian language. We can return to this idea only in the future, when the country is stable and prosperous and the status of the Ukrainian language is secure.

[5] QUESTION: Despite profound regional differences, there is no federalization of Ukraine. Why?

[Page 16] The idea of federalization for Ukraine was put forward in 1989 by, among others, Vyacheslav Chornovil, a former dissident and then the head of Rukh, the main national-democratic opposition movement. However, during Ukraine’s move to independence the Soviet apparatus tried to use this idea to polarize the country and organize separatist movements. During the first years of in dependence it became clear that federalization, attractive as a model for a democratic and multicultural society, could encourage centrifugal tendencies in Ukraine.

Therefore, Chornovil rejected the idea. It may be seen only as a prospect for a future stable democratic society. It is important to note that the l996 Constitution rejected the idea of federalization as well as official state status of the Russian language. The fact that the national-democrats (the right) were joined by centrists and even part of the left-wing deputies was instrumental in the adoption of the Constitution.

During and after the Orange Revolution the Party of Regions also used the idea of federalization to secure its position in its electoral strongholds to challenge the Orange authorities in Kyiv and also as a campaign slogan. Given the regional polarization of the country, the absence of administrative-territorial reform and, therefore, a weak financial basis for self-government, federalization could lead not to development of self-government but to regional “feudalization” of the country. The key issue for the time being is to strengthen self-government at the local level: village, town, rayon (district).

The country’s main political forces agree on the necessity of this. Characteristically, the Party of Regions has also decided to avoid mentioning “federalization” in its program.

[6] QUESTION: Why doesn’t Ukraine recognize Kosovo?

[Page 17] The current Ukrainian borders were formed during World War II (including as a result of the Soviet invasion of Poland and the threat of force to Romania following the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact). After 1991, ultra-radical forces in Poland, Hungary and Romania put forward some territorial claims on Ukraine, not to mention Russia’s claims to Crimea. This could have created a zone of instability along Ukraine’s borders.

However, these territorial claims were not dominant in the political life of most of Ukraine’s neighbors. The leaders of the Ukrainian state and its nationaldemocratic opposition were in favor of the inviolability of postwar borders despite the fact that the borders (including the Russian-Ukrainian border) did not correspond to ethnic lines. (Under Communist rule, some Ukrainian territories were included in Russia and Poland).

This is seen as a sine qua non of Ukrainian foreign policy. Despite changes of presidents, it has shaped Ukraine’s policy towards Georgia and Moldova. (Even though Moldovans comprise only 32% of the self-proclaimed Transnistrian Moldovan Republic, while Russians make up 30% of the population there and Ukrainians 29%; before 1940 this region was part of the Ukrainian SSR.).

It also explains why Ukraine did not recognize Kosovo. Nor have countries such as Spain, Romania, Greece, Slovakia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Russia, China, India and others with separatist movements or potential territorial disputes of their own.

[7] QUESTION: Why was Ukraine a founder but not a member of the CIS?

[Page 18] After the break-up of the Soviet Union, many Western and Russian analysts thought that sooner or later the union of post-Soviet states would be restored in a new form. However, despite three centuries of shared existence in one state with Russia, Ukrainian politics cannot be explained by its intertwined history and culture (or the “clash of civilizations” approach according to which only Western Ukraine belongs to Western civilization) or even by its economic dependence on Russia. Ukrainian politics is the result of the correlation of domestic political forces and the position of the Ukrainian elites.

Moscow and Kyiv viewed the future of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), created on December 8, 1991, from opposite perspectives — as “reintegration” or a “civilized divorce,” respectively. Ukraine has not ratified the CIS Charter.

Therefore, despite being one of its founding states, Ukraine is not formally a member of the CIS, thereby avoiding binding political commitments. Ukraine also refused to sign the 1992 Tashkent Treaty on Collective Security in order to avoid the possibility of becoming involved in military conflicts within the CIS.

Ukrainian diplomacy avoids discussions about supranational integrationist structures and instead focuses on developing bilateral relations within the CIS and on Russia’s ratification of the 1994 CIS free trade agreement (which is still pending!). For the same reason, Ukraine decided only to have observer
status in the Eurasian Economic Community (into which the CIS customs union was transformed in 2000).

It did formally join the Single Economic Space with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan in 2003, but limited its participation to support for creating a free trade zone, but not the custom union, as this conflicted with its official aim to join the European Union (EU).

[8] QUESTION: What is the “tapegate scandal” and how has it influenced Ukraine’s politics?

[Page 19] In September 2000, internet journalist Georgiy Gongadze, who had written critical articles about the government and oligarchs, disappeared, and in early November he was found murdered. In late November, one of the opposition leaders, Socialist Party leader Oleksander Moroz, released tapes allegedly recorded in Kuchma’s office shortly before Gongadze’s disappearance.

In the recordings, the President and his entourage appear to be discussing Gongadze’s kidnapping and murder. The recordings were made by one of the president’s former security officers, who was later granted asylum in the United States.

The opposition organized rallies and marches demanding Kuchma’s resignation. In early 2001, the Russian and Ukrainian media controlled by pro-Kuchma “oligarchs” claimed that the scandal was masterminded by the U.S. in order to undermine Russian-Ukrainian relations and to make pro-Western Prime
Minister Viktor Yushchenko the president.

However, these claims were not substantiated by subsequent developments. In fact, Ukraine’s relations with the West quickly deteriorated in the wake of the scandal. In April 2001, the parliament dismissed Prime Minister Yushchenko. In contrast, Russian President
Vladimir Putin supported Kuchma and intensified Russia’s activity in Ukraine. This fed rumors that Russian special services stood behind the scandal.

However, because closer ties with Russia threatened the power of the Ukrainian elite, Kyiv tried at the same time to improve relations with the West, especially the U.S. Kuchma sacrificed the very term “multi-vector policy” (balancing between Russia and the West) in favor of European integration and even sent Ukrainian troops to Iraq. Despite these efforts, he was unable to restore his reputation in the West after the “tapegate scandal.”

During the 2004 presidential campaign, Yushchenko promised to find the people responsible for Gongadze’s killing and bring them to justice. But five years later, the investigation continues (as does the investigation of Yushchenko’s near fatal poisoning during the 2004 campaign). In March 2005, just hours before he was to provide testimony as a witness in the Gongadze case, former Interior Minister Yuriy Kravchenko allegedly committed suicide.

A court sentenced three former officers of the Interior Ministry to 12-13 year prison terms, but it was not until July 2009 that one of the chief suspects, General Oleksiy Pukach, was arrested. It is still not clear who ordered the kidnapping and killing of Gongadze, how the recordings in Kuchma’s cabinet were made, and, finally, what forces were behind the making and release of the tapes.

[9] QUESTION: How was the country deliberately polarized by
Kuchma’s administration during the 2004 presidential elections?

[Page 20] The main force of the opposition, former Prime Minister Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine bloc, included not only the traditional national-democratic opposition, but also former state executives who opposed Kuchma’s crony capitalism.

Among politicians loyal to Kuchma, Viktor Yanukovych, the Prime Minister since November 2002 and representative of the Donetsk group, had the highest personal rating (because of his administrative power). His past, especially his two terms of imprisonment, weakened his position. But from Kuchma’s
perspective, this only enhanced Yanukovych’s appeal, because a weaker candidate could be more easily controlled.

Throughout the election campaign, Kuchma’s administration did everything possible to prevent Yushchenko from winning the elections. Its main strategy was to present Yushchenko as a radical nationalist who would “oppress” the Russian-speaking population, whereas Yanukovych was portrayed as a great friend of Russia. Yanukovych’s Russian and Ukrainian consultants also promoted the idea of a “schism” in Ukraine between the “nationalistic” West and
“industrial” East.

Their posters depicted Yushchenko in fascist uniform or Ukraine divided into three segregated parts. They also started to wage an anti-Western, anti-American campaign. Russian authorities openly supported the Yanukovych campaign, and President Putin twice congratulated Yanukovych on his “victory.”

The results of the vote were falsified. Exit polls showed that Yushchenko won the elections by 9% in the run-off, but the changes in favor of Yanukovych comprised almost 12% (and in the center of the country — 17.4%)!

In the course of massive, non-violent protests, which came to be known as the Orange Revolution, the Supreme Court ordered a new runoff. This time Yushchenko won 52% of the vote and Yanukovych 44%. However, the country emerged from these elections extremely polarized. The rivals reached a compromise by changing the Constitution to limit the power of the future president (see below).

[10] QUESTION: What were the reasons for the success of the Orange Revolution? Was it a Western plot?

[Page 21] The West’s continuous support of civil society during Ukrainian independence was extremely important for its development, but the dominant factors of the Orange Revolution were domestic. It was no secret that the opposition was prepared to call people to the streets.

But even Yushchenko and his allies did not expect such gigantic, continuous, non-violent rallies all over Ukraine, which combined the celebration of the “orange” victory (the color of Yushchenko’s campaign) with protests against falsifications. The main factors leading to the success of the peaceful protests were:

       1) weakness of the regime and relative pluralism of Ukraine’s political system compared to Russia and most post-Soviet states;
       2) support from small and medium-sized businesses (the middle class);
       3) split within large business groups dissatisfied with Kuchma’s growing authoritarianism;
       4) maturity of civil society;
       5) international condemnation of the falsifications and the West’s demand that Kuchma renounce the use of force.

[11] QUESTION: What were the results of the Orange Revolution?

[Page 22] The Orange Revolution appeared to be an event of crucial importance for the entire post-Soviet space. Despite support from Moscow, Kuchma did not manage to pass power to his designated “successor” and to repeat the “Yeltsin-Putin scenario”.

The main accomplishments of the Orange Revolution are political freedoms (including freedom of the press) and free and fair elections. After the elections of 2006, Ukraine was recognized in the ratings of Freedom House as the only free country in the CIS. The results of the elections have been accepted in Ukraine by those who lost, and since 2004 the reigns of government switched hands three times. This means that elections in Ukraine do matter
and no political force can monopolize power.

On the other hand, many aspirations of the Orange Revolution were not realized, especially fighting corruption, strengthening the rule of law, judicial reform, etc. Hence, many voters were frustrated, especially those who voted for Yushchenko in 2004 and his political bloc Our Ukraine in 2006 and 2007.

There were several obstacles to implementing reforms:

       1) the constitutional reform which weakened the role of the presidency, leaving Yushchenko only one year to implement reforms (see below);
       2) the country within a year shifted from presidential elections to a scheduled 2006 parliamentary campaign, hence the growing populism in Ukrainian 
       3) divisions and internal disagreements within the broad coalition in power.

The emerging democracy and the chain of elections (2006, early 2007 parliamentary elections, and the 2010 presidential elections) made Ukrainian politics populist, in general, and the Orange forces, in particular, the hostages to electoral democracy. Thus, the Orange Revolution appeared to be only a first step towards fundamental economic and political reforms.

[12] QUESTION: Why did the Party of Regions reemerge and why did Yanukovych return as prime minister in 2006?

[Page 23] Political freedoms made it easier for opponents to exploit the missteps of the Orange government. And the press had the freedom to criticize the government. Although the elections of 2006 and 2007 gave Orange forces a majority in the parliament, the constant fighting between Viktor Yushchenko and his former ally Yulia Tymoshenko (she became prime minister after the Orange Revolution) strengthened the Party of Regions. It reemerged as the largest single faction in the parliament. In 2006—2007, it even formed the governmental coalition, which Yushchenko had to accept.

As the Party of Regions gained seats in free elections and recognized the results, it became a legitimate political player. The party and its leaders (including business elites) presented themselves in a more civilized, “gentrified” manner. It also formed tactical alliances with former Orange forces (both with Our Ukraine and the Yulia Tymoshenko bloc) and negotiated with them over so-called “grand coalitions.”

During electoral campaigns, Yanukovych makes pro-Russian pronouncements to mobilize his electorate, which then limits his possibilities to maneuver in relations with Russia. But it is a simplification to consider Yanukovych and his Party of Regions as “pro-Russian.” For example, Ukraine was ahead of Russia in the process of joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) when the Russian side demanded “coordination” (disclosure of the Ukrainian
documents signed with the WTO countries, which contradicts WTO practice). But the Yanukovych government refused this request.

When Russia laid territorial claims to the tiny but strategically important island of Tuzla in the Kerch straight in October 2003, this provoked stormy protests in Ukraine, including from Ukrainian officials. Even more important: it was clear that the Donetsk group would defend first of all their own interests which often clashed with the interests of more powerful Russian oligarchs and state-controlled mono polies.

Although not a supporter of Yushchenko’s course to join NATO, Yanukovych during his second premiership continued to deepen cooperation with NATO (see below). Despite electoral promises, it is clear that the Party of Regions cannot and is not going to change the Constitution and make Russian the second official state language (the procedure demands two-thirds of MPs and a nationwide referendum, which makes this possibility highly unlikely).

This and the next answer co-authored by Petro Burkovsky (School for Policy Analysis, University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy)

[13] QUESTION: Ukrainian politics seem to be very turbulent, but eventually result in compromises. Why is that? What is “pluralism by default”?

[Page 24] Since perestroika, political development in Ukraine has evolved so that the country’s most important decisions are reached by compromise. In fact, Ukraine stands in contrast to many other former Soviet republics in that it gained its independence peacefully and without interethnic conflict. This was a result of a compromise between the national-democratic opposition and nationalcommunists.

Ukraine also became the first country of the CIS where democratic elections in l994 changed both the president and the composition of the parliament. Ukraine’s new 1996 Constitution was the result of a compromise between the president and the parliament, as opposed to Yeltsin’s “revolutionary” approach, which involved an armed assault on the Russian parliament.

Compromise was also a necessity. Ukraine, in contrast to its post-Communist western neighbors, faced enormous challenges after independence. It had to build a nation-state, civil society, democracy, and market simultaneously. None of this could be achieved overnight, and it demanded compromises with the
country’s post-Communist nomenclature. The drawback to Ukraine’s system of power-sharing and political compromise was that it preserved the influence of the Communist past, which, compared to Poland, Hungary, and the Baltic countries, was not radically restricted.

Ukraine is also too regionally and politically diverse to allow one force to monopolize power (also known as “pluralism by default”). Even when President Kuchma’s administration grew increasingly authoritarian, he was never able to implement the results of the 2000 referendum, which would have given him more power.

Kuchma submitted six questions to voters, but the Constitutional Court deemed two of them unconstitutional (a situation which is difficult to imagine in Yeltsin’s or Putin’s Russia). Moreover, the Constitutional Court stipulated that the results of the 2000 referendum should be implemented through proper constitutional procedure, that is, by approval of two-thirds of MPs, which Kuchma failed to achieve.

Another difference in Ukraine’s political culture, compared to Russia’s, is a stronger tradition of individualism, private ownership of land, and the absence of broad public support for an authoritarian leader.

The country’s political and business elites want to prevent further polarization of the country, which could lead to destabilization and thus threaten their interests. They also do not want concentration of power in the hands of one leader. As a result, the 2004 Orange Revolution, with its slogan “bandits
to prison,” also ended in compromise.

The runoff (or “third round”) resulted in Orange leader Viktor Yushchenko’s victory in exchange for the constitutional reform, which shifted power from the president to the parliament. In 2006, as a result of a new coalition in the parliament, Yushchenko had to appoint Viktor Yanukovych, his rival in the 2004 elections, as prime minister. The next year, Yanukovych had to agree to early parliamentary elections and accept the results, which again placed him in opposition.

The flip side of all these compromises (especially when they are not open to the public) is that they cause gridlock and postpone radical reforms. All of this makes the road to achieving European standards longer and more winding.

[14] QUESTION: What are the main achievements and disappointments of the Ukrainian economy?

[Page 25] Ukraine formally belongs to the world’s lower-middle income countries, with a per capita GDP of $3,920 in 2008. But it does not share many of the common features and problems that characterize this level of wealth. This is due to the country’s exceptionally uneven and unnatural path of development during the 70 years that it was part of the Soviet Union.

Ukraine’s main competitive advantage is its skilled and remarkably flexible labor force and a relatively strong capacity for innovation. In addition to full literacy over the last two generations, the country has the ninth largest higher education enrollment rate in the world. Ukraine has made huge strides in
its transition from a centrally planned economy to a market economy, but the process is not complete.

In spite of a fairly problematic entrepreneurial climate (rated 142 out of 183 by the World Bank’s and International Financial Corporation’s “Doing Business 2010” report), Ukraine has about 30 business entities for every 1000 citizens, [1 Page 26] which is comparable to many of the EU countries. Still, most of the private sector consists of very large financial-industrial groups.

Ukraine is the only European post-Communist country (besides Russia) with powerful domestic big businesses that have significant influence on politics and mass media (so called “oligarchs”). Ukrainian firms constitute 52 out of 500 largest companies of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), and two are in the top ten (according to a rating published by Deloitt in 2009). According to Forbes magazine, seven Ukrainians were billionaires in 2008, while the wealthiest of these billionaires ranked among the 127 richest people in the world.

Nevertheless, inequality remains remarkably low. The poorest 10% of Ukrainians hold 3.8% of the national income while the richest 10% possess 22.54%, a ratio of only about 6. (These figures are from 2005; since then, the situation has most probably improved.). This is much better than in Russia, where the same ratio is 11, and even better than in the most of the CEE countries (6.12 in Belarus, 7.6 in Romania, 9 in Poland, and so on) not to mention 62.7 in Venezuela or 31.6 in Argentina.

Ukraine was the Soviet Union’s most industrialized republic, with a share of industrial output in the country’s GDP as high as 50% in 1991. However, in the post-industrial world this was not an advantage. Most of Ukraine’s plants were smoke stack, equipped with obsolete technology, and military-oriented.

Moreover, many of them, as almost the entire oil-refining industry, nitro-fertilizer producers, aluminum works, and an absolute majority of the machinery and defense industry, were technologically connected to counterparts that remained in the other former republics of the USSR, mostly in Russia.

Even worse, those “firms” did not develop as market enterprises. They lacked any kind of market-oriented corporate culture. Their management was oriented towards “producing goods for the Motherland” instead of selling them on the open market. In exchange, these enterprises benefited from complete state paternalism. This arrangement involved a nonmarket structure of prices that did not change for decades.

Not surprisingly, few of the products of those enterprises could be competitive in a free market. A large share of them - about 15% by some estimates - were worth, at market prices, less than the material inputs used for their production.

Due to the collapse of central planning across the former USSR, in 1992 the Ukrainian government had to follow Russia in an abrupt price liberalization. But other reforms necessary for establishing a functioning market economy (first of all, privatization and elimination of state paternalism towards enterprises) were postponed. Awkward attempts to keep post-Soviet industry afloat at any cost resulted in hyperinflation: in 1993 prices shot up more than 10,000 percent.

By 1995, Ukraine had lost half of its pre-transition GDP (although the latter was largely artificial). Still, there was no starvation, mostly due to the large informal economy and small-scale agriculture. Infrastructure did not collapse as one might have expected. Millions of people changed occupations and many migrated within the country or abroad. Hundreds of thousands of new firms were established.

Market-oriented industries that were absent under the Communist regime or played a very different role (such as banking or insurance) emerged from scratch. The more entrepreneurial directors of state-owned enterprises privatized them and made their first steps in real business.

In the mid-1990s, economic conditions started to improve. Under difficult circumstances and with the support of international financial organizations (primarily the World Bank and the IMF), the Ukrainian government cut subsidies to enterprises in order to curb inflation. In 1995 mass privatization
started. The next crisis came in 1998, forcing the government (in 2000) to eliminate huge-scale implicit subsidies to enterprises.

Ukraine’s partial economic transition gave it one of Europe’s highest rates of growth - 7.45% on average in 2000-2007. By 2004 it had “restored” most of its Soviet era economic potential. After 2004 growth was driven mostly by an un precedented increase in world prices for raw materials. Ukraine benefited from selling energy-intensive commodities that were produced using cheap Russian natural gas supplied at preferential conditions, as well as domestic natural resources.

In addition, the country enjoyed an increase in foreign investment and foreign credit after the Orange Revolution. Domestic credit grew 28 times from early 2000 to August 2008, while real household incomes rose more than five times. Not surprisingly, the economy became overheated. Inflation, which was in the double digits since 2004, hit 23.8% in 2008. A bigger problem was that the government used the country’s economic prosperity to avoid or postpone further institutional progress.

The business climate did not improve, monopolization flourished, and corruption remained rampant. Moreover, the hard currency revenues from exports of raw materials and byproducts, along with capital inflows, kept the national currency appreciating despite high inflation. Combined with rapidly increasing salaries, this caused problems for the labor-intensive industries that became increasingly non-competitive. All of these factors made the Ukrainian economy especially vulnerable to the world economic crisis.

The author of this and the next answer is Volodymyr Dubrovskiy, CASE Ukraine, Senior Economist and member of its Supervisory Board

[15] QUESTION: What is the influence of the world economic crisis of 2008-2009 on Ukraine?

[Page 29] Ukraine looks like one of the worst victims of the crisis. Between January 2008 and January 2009, industrial output fell more than 30%, real wages contracted 10% (between July 2008 and July 2009), and retail turnover dropped 24.4% (from the second quarter of 2008 to the second quarter of 2009). The GDP decline is expected to reach 16% by the end of 2009. The national currency, the hryvnya, has depreciated more than 60%.

A $16-billion loan from the IMF helped to finance the budget deficit and prevent a banking crisis. Nevertheless, the budget is fragile, and bad loans keep increasing. But for the time being the overall situation is not as disastrous as it seems. There have been no corporate defaults; pension and wage arrears are modest;  industrial output has stabilized and even shows some signs of recovery. Still, Ukraine has suffered more than most of its neighbors. In fact, all of its growth over the last two years has been wiped out. Why?

[1] First of all, the country’s economy was already overheated. The global crisis has coincided with an almost inevitable domestic one. For example, the construction sector started to fall a year before the rest of economy due to the burst of a speculative bubble.

[2] Secondly, Ukraine heavily depends on the world market for steel and chemicals. Exports constituted about 48% of its GDP (in 2008), while ferrous metals for the last three years made up 34% of total exports. However, both business leaders and political officials fell victim to very short-term thinking. During the “good times” of 2004—2008 they did not set aside surplus funds to cushion them in the event of a downturn. Neither were most of these profits wisely invested in diversifying or in technological modernization. The same is true for capital inflows.

[3] Thirdly, the world crisis prompted Russia to raise its natural gas prices to the European level. Thus, Ukraine has lost its source of cheap energy, which it had enjoyed since independence.

[4] And finally, the lingering government crisis may be making the country’s economic troubles worse. The politically unstable government has not responded by enacting a new wave of economic reforms, as it did in l994 and l999.

Nevertheless, the Ukrainian economy has once again demonstrated its remarkable flexibility. The labor market has reacted immediately with socially acceptable wage cuts and arrears, which has kept the unemployment rate from growing. Unemployment has actually decreased slightly during the crisis
because people have been taking jobs that they previously were unwilling to consider.

Businesses are cutting costs and extending credit to each other to substitute for the shrunken banking credit. Most importantly, currency depreciation has already made domestic production more competitive and imports more expensive, so the country’s trade balance has been restored. There are signs that some lessons from this crisis are being learned, at least by the business sector.

[16] QUESTION: What are the directions of constitutional reform?

[Page 30] One of the main impediments for the Orange team to start radical economic and political reforms in the country grew out of a contradictory compromise reached in the Ukrainian parliament in December 2004. (This was hammered out between the fraudulent second round of presidential elections and the runoff.).

The reform was designed to weaken the role of the presidency and, consequently, increase the importance of the March 2006 parliamentary election. This made the pro-Kuchma forces less anxious about the prospect of Yushchenko’s victory and thus eased the way for the runoff. And while Yushchenko was elected with a broad scope of authority, the constitutional reform reduced his power within a year. The prime minister would rely on a parliamentary majority and the president could not remove him/her, unlike before.

This was something that had been demanded by democratic forces for many years. On the other hand, the reform appeared to be hectic and inconsistent. The president and prime ministers (both Yanukovych and Tymoshenko) were trying to secure separate and sometimes parallel structures of power.

There was a debate over whether to cancel the 2004 reform, as the Constitutional Court did not approve several constitutional changes in advance. However, a return to Kuchma-type presidential rule does not seem very likely as Ukrainian political and business elites are afraid of authoritarianism. The move to a parliamentary model is possible, but as the parties are weak this model can be unstable. On the other hand, if one party receives a majority it  could monopolize power. So some kind of balance is needed.

Moreover, Ukrainians would like to retain the right to elect the president. Perhaps one can expect some kind of mixed model where executive power is not split and is under the control of the cabinet, but is balanced by a directly elected president (like the Polish model). According to the Constitution and Ukrainian political realities, these changes can emerge only as result of compromise between the country’s main political forces. It creates an opportunity to achieve a balanced system.

This and the next answer co-authored by Petro Burkovsky

[17] QUESTION: Is it necessary for Ukraine to return to a single mandate electoral system?

[Page 31] Until 1998, Ukraine had an electoral system with 450 single mandate districts that allowed for a runoff election between the two top finishers (if neither of them succeeded in gaining an absolute majority). Because the country’s political parties were weak, after the 1994 elections 50% of MP’s were non-party deputies. This led to unstable parliamentary factions.

Deputies were subject to pressure from the Kuchma administration and could easily move from one faction to another, so by the end of every term there were about a dozen factions. In the 1998 elections, Ukraine switched to a mixed (majoritarian-proportional) system and since 2006 to a purely proportional system with a 3% threshold. It resulted in five political forces in the parliament. This outcome structured the Ukrainian parliament more along party lines.

But there is a lot of criticism of the current system because voters must choose between closed all-national party lists, and they cannot influence the composition of the party slate. It also concentrates power in the hands of party leaders who compose the list. Despite popular support for a return to a majoritarian or mixed system, most analysts agree that the best way to support party development is to introduce open and regional party slates.

[18] QUESTION: During the 1990s, the Communists were the strongest party in the parliament. Are they still as influential?

[Page 32] In the 1998 parliamentary elections, the Communist Party list received 24.7% of the vote. In the 2002 elections they received 20%, but finished behind Yushchenko’s center-right bloc Our Ukraine.

In the 2004 presidential election and the 2006 and 2007 parliamentary elections, the Communist Party won between 3.7% and 5% of the vote. Although their position is still important for parliamentary voting and coalition building, the trend of shrinking electoral support is not likely to be reversed.

[19] QUESTION: How decisive is Russia’s influence in Ukraine?

[Page 32] The “Russian factor” continues to play an important role in Ukrainian domestic politics. However, most analysts agree that its importance has decreased compared to 1994, and now Ukraine’s political development is shaped by domestic dynamics among Ukrainian elites. Moscow could not prevent Yushchenko’s election in 2004 or the 2007 early elections, which removed Yanukovych as prime minister.

The two countries in their institutional designs are moving in different directions. It is also evident that Ukrainian business groups do not want to come under Moscow’s control again, as they would face competition from more powerful Russian business groups.

Ukraine’s economic dependence on Russia has decreased (see pp. 58-59). The most critical issue remains Ukraine’s dependency on Russia for energy (see pp. 45-47).

The Russian mass media continues to wage propaganda campaigns against Ukraine. But this sometimes works against Russian interests, as it demonstrates that Moscow’s imperial impulses are alive and well.

[20] QUESTION: Creation of an "enemy image" of Ukraine

[Page 33] If before 2004 Russia was determined to discredit the independent Ukrainian state, since 2004 it was a matter of principle for Putin to discredit Ukrainian democracy both for his domestic and foreign audience. Russia has attempted to persuade key European states that Ukraine is a divided country with an unpredictable future.

During his visit to Germany in April 2005, Russian President Vladimir Putin said “if Ukraine enters the Schengen zone one certain problem will emerge. In Ukraine, as far as I know, no less than 17 percent of the population is Russian. That will mean the division of a nation! Th at will resemble the partition of Germany into the Eastern and the Western part!”

In October 2005, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov delivered a speech at the French Foundation of Political Studies. He said “bear in mind that half of its (Ukrainian) population is ethnic Russian.” Unfortunately, the Western media sometimes repeats Russian statements that half of Ukraine’s population is ethnic Russians (i.e. The New York Times, Jan. 14, 2009), which is entirely false.

As prime minister, Putin visited the grave of White Guard leader Anton Denikin and quoted Denikin’s words that it was “impermissible to even think about the division of Russia and especially about the separation of Ukraine.” Yurij Luzhkov, mayor of Moscow, and a high-level member of the pro-Putin “United Russia” party, while visiting Crimea, declared on several occasions that Sevastopol is “a Russian city.” Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs actually defended his position, saying that he had simply expressed the views of many Russians.

The “Russian Journal,” a web-site with intellectual pretensions and which is edited by the Kremlin’s consultant Gleb Pavlovsky, has posted articles such as one discussing military plans for the occupation of Ukraine, including “the detonation of a nuclear device in the marshes of northern Ukraine” in order to blackmail Kyiv. [1, Page 33]

According to a poll conducted by the Russian Levada Center in January-February 2009, 62% of Russians view Ukraine negatively. Ukraine appears third on the list of “unfriendly states” after the U.S. and Georgia. At the same time, 90% of Ukrainians have a positive attitude towards Russia.

[21] QUESTION: Why is Ukrainian Orthodoxy split? What are the prospects for a canonic, autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church?

[Page 34] One of the most remarkable scenes of the Orange Revolution was a daily common prayer by tens of thousands of protesters on the Maidan (Independence Square in Kyiv). Clergy from all of the main confessions in Ukraine participated: Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Judaic and Muslim.
Most Ukrainian believers are Orthodox. The Kyivan Rus state accepted Christianity in 988. It was the canonical territory of the Constantinople Patriarchate until 1686 when the Ottomans, in coordination with Moscow, pressured the Patriarch of Constantinople to transfer the Orthodox Church of Kiev and all Rus
from the jurisdiction of Constantinople to the Patriarch of Moscow (which was established a century earlier).

When Ukraine was part of the Rzeczpospolita (the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth), the first split in Ukrainian Orthodoxy occurred in 1596: some of the Orthodox priests accepted the supremacy of the Pope while keeping their rite (hence the name, Greek Catholic Church or Catholic Church of the Eastern  Rite). The Orthodox Church viewed them as traitors and an instrument of Polonization, and Greek Catholics were wiped out except in Western Ukraine.

However, the historical paradox is that in Western Ukraine the Greek Catholic Church became an important factor in protecting Ukrainians from
Polonization and it actually evolved into a national church.

The Greek Catholic Church was forcibly “reunited” with the Russian Orthodox Church in 1946. Its head, Metropolitan Josyf Slipyj, was sent to the Gulag, and only in 1963, after political pressure from Pope John XXIII and President John F. Kennedy, was he freed and arrived in Rome. In Ukraine, Greek Catholics emerged from the underground only at the end of 1980s. At that time, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) reemerged as well (it existed in Ukraine since 1920-1921 but was suppressed in the 1930s).

The Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine split after independence, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church—Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) emerged (joined also by part of the UAOC). It supports the idea of a united Ukrainian Orthodox Church independent from Moscow.

However, this church is not recognized by canonic Orthodox Churches nor by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), which is still the largest church in Ukraine (but it is worth mentioning that polls  show most Orthodox believers in Ukraine identify them selves with the Kyiv Patriarchate).

Russia is trying to use the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate as an instrument of its policy towards Ukraine. At the same time, the UOC-MP enjoys autonomy, including the right to form its own synod and appoint bishops without formal approval of the Moscow patriarch. Some of its bishops support the idea of a united, autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Between 2007 and 2009, the UOC-MP and Kyiv Patriarchate opened a cautious dialogue.

In November 2008, the UOC-MP synod pronounced the Great Famine in Ukraine (1932-1933) to be a genocide of the Ukrainian people, which strongly contradicts Russia’s position. But these are only initial steps. The road to a united Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which would receive autocephaly from Moscow or from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, will be long and difficult.

[22] QUESTION: Divisive history issues

On May 19, 2009, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev issued a decree establishing a presidential commission to combat efforts to reinterpret history in ways that damage Russia’s interests. Commission members include the head of the president’s administration along with the chief of staff of the armed forces, the deputy minister of foreign affairs, the deputy secretary of the Security Council, representatives from the Foreign Intelligence Service, Federal Security Service, and other ministries.

Russian members of parliament also prepared a draft law to counteract the “rehabilitation” of Nazism and “its accomplices” on the territory of the former USSR republics. The draft law imposes sanctions against states (!) where this “rehabilitation” is deemed to have occurred. This includes expelling ambassadors and severing diplomatic relations and three years of imprisonment, which could actually make it impossible for some public figures from other states to visit Russia.

[23]  QUESTION: Why do Ukrainians consider the 1933 famine as constituting genocide?

[Page 36] The 1948 UN Convention On the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Article II) clearly states that “genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, such as:

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

In 1932, Ukraine’s grain harvest was better than in previous years, but food-collection quotas exceeded the actual harvest. The Soviet state exported much of the grain harvest in exchange for imported machinery, which the government’s policy of industrialization required. But the famine evolved into an
organized persecution of the peasantry (whose absolute majority was ethnic Ukrainian) because it resisted collectivization.

Moscow also viewed the peasantry as a dangerous source of Ukrainian nationalism. Ukrainian cities and towns (where most of Ukraine’s Russians lived) suffered less, as they were provided with a rationing system; at the same time peasants were not allowed to move into the towns and outside Ukraine.

The estimates of the number of victims of the famine of 1932-1933 vary widely: from 3 to 10 million in Ukraine, with some Russian sources placing 4 million in the category of “exceptional mortality” in Ukraine, 2.3-2.4 million for Russia, and 1 million for Kazakhstan.

The index of the death rate in 1933 (compared to the average death rate in 1932 and 1934) was the highest in Ukraine- 3.2, in Kuban (populated at that time mostly by Ukrainians) - 2.6, in the Lower Volga (including the Volga German Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic)- 2.75, and the average in Russia was 1.44. However, the Soviet government rejected any proposals of external aid and insisted that the famine was a slanderous fabrication by the “enemies of the USSR”.

This [following] section is based on information from the “Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine” prepared by the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta. See also the data of the Russian Academy of Sciences (

[24] QUESTION: Divisive history: the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA)

[Page 37] Russian and Ukrainian historians have radically different perspectives on many issues. But perhaps the most contentious historical issue is Ukraine’s nationalist movement during World War II. Most Ukrainians fought in the Red Army. Others fought for Ukraine’s independence in the ranks of the OUN and the UPA. Soviet and Russian propaganda routinely characterized them as Nazi collaborators. Having gained access to formerly classified documents, historians now confirm that the OUN and  UPA fought both the Nazis and Soviets.

The OUN was found in 1929 with the aim of fighting for an independent Ukrainian state. It rejected all party and class divisions and presented itself as the leading force in the Ukrainian national movement. The OUN was based in Western Ukraine and used violent tactics against Polish authorities in Western Ukraine (for example, the assassination of the Polish minister of internal affairs in l934). After OUN leader Yevhen Konovalets was murdered in l938 by a Soviet agent in Rotterdam, the organization suffered its first split. The largest faction, OUN(B), was led by Stepan Bandera.

Members of the OUN thought that they could use the war between Germany and the USSR to establish an independent Ukrainian state. Because the Soviet Union controlled all of Ukraine after l939, the OUN viewed the Soviets as their main enemy. After World War II started, the OUN(B), with German approval, formed two battalions of about 600 men that they thought would become the nucleus of a future Ukrainian army.

When Germany invaded the USSR in 1941, the OUN(B) proclaimed Ukrainian independence on June 30, 1941 in Lviv. However, the Nazis had no intention of allowing an independent Ukraine and they immediately arrested Bandera and several of his associates. They were imprisoned in a German concentration camp until 1944. Many other OUN members were killed by the Germans. As a result, the OUN went underground throughout all of the territory of Ukraine now controlled by the Germans.

In 1942, the first units of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (Ukrainska povstanska armiia [UPA]) appeared in Western Ukraine. They were organized independently as self-defense forces against the Germans and Soviet partisans. (1) Soon the OUN(B) became the dominant force in the UPA, although the
UPA included people of various political and ideological convictions.

The UPA fought on both fronts, against the Germans and the Soviets. It included several units composed of other nationals who had previously served in the Red Army, the largest of which were the Azerbaijani, Uzbek, Georgian, and Tatar.

According to historians of the UPA in the West, at its peak in 1944 the army had between 25,000 and 40,000 men. However, Soviet and German sources claimed as many as 200,000 people were involved in UPA activity between 1944 and l946. In this struggle, the OUN’s ideology changed from radical,
authoritarian nationalism to what some researchers call a “democratic nationalism.” At its Third Extraordinary Grand Assembly in August 1943, the OUN(B) condemned both fascism and communism and recognized democratic freedoms and the rights of national minorities.

Moreover, a kind of all-Ukrainian representative body, the Ukrainian Supreme Liberation Council (UHVR), was formed in July 1944. The majority of those at the founding meeting were not OUN members, and 10 out of 20 were from northwestern and central Ukraine. Encircled by Soviet forces, the UPA nevertheless continued its armed struggle against the Soviets in Western Ukraine until 1954.

Although the OUN split into three factions after World War II, Soviet authorities were so afraid of OUN activity that they had Soviet agents assassinate two more OUN leaders in the West: Lev Rebet in 1957 and Bandera in 1959. The Soviet machine also waged propaganda warfare to discredit the Ukrainian liberation movement. [1 Page 39] Nevertheless, the OUN continued its political activity in the West, and with other diaspora organizations it drew the attention of the international community to the situation in Soviet-controlled Ukraine.

This part is partially based on information from the “Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine” prepared by the Canadian Institute of  Ukrainian Studies. The classic study of this topic is John Armstrong’s "Ukrainian Nationalism" (New York: Columbia University Press, 1963).

[25] QUESTION: Soviet and Russian propaganda portrayed the Ukrainian national liberation movement as anti-Semitic. It promoted this stereotype in the Western media as well. (1 Page 40) What is the real history of Ukrainian-Jewish relations?

[Page 40] There were painful periods in Ukrainian-Jewish relations when both ethnic groups were discriminated against, divided, ruled over and killed. During the Cossack war against Polish rule in l648-l654, Cossacks also targeted Jewish civilians, whom they perceived as representatives of the Polish landlords. Ukraine’s Jewish population was victimized by periodic pogroms under Tsarist Russia, during the civil war in 1918-1920, and largely exterminated during the Holocaust.

At the same time, there are many examples of Jews and Ukrainians supporting each other. Jewish parties in the Central Rada voted in 1917-1918 for the creation of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (UNR). The short-lived UNR created a Ministry for Jewish Affairs, and Yiddish was one of the languages used by the Central Rada on its official currency and in proclamations.

There was a Jewish Battalion in the Ukrainian Galician Army, and a substantial number of Jews joined the anarchist army of Nestor Makhno, who made a special proclamation denouncing pogroms. But during Ukraine’s losing battle for independence, the White Army, peasant bands and partisan groups all committed atrocities  against Jews. This is partly because these groups regarded Jews as pro-Bolshevik (Jews were quite numerous among the Red Army’s commissars and security forces.). Red Army and anarchist units also victimized Jewish civilians.

The Ukrainian People’s Republic and army high command (both headed in 1919—1920 by Symon Petliura) issued orders imposing courts martial for those involved in pogroms and even executed some perpetrators. (Still, it was impossible to control many of its units.). The government also assisted pogrom survivors.

In 1921, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the father of Revisionist Zionism, signed an agreement with one of Petliura’s representatives on the formation of a Jewish gendarmerie to protect Jews from pogroms. But Soviet propaganda was effective in the West. When Petliura was murdered in Paris, allegedly by a Soviet agent, a French court ruled the assassin, an ethnic Jew, not guilty because the assassin accused Petliura of involvement in pogroms.

During World War II, some local auxiliary (police) units participated in Nazi genocidal actions, which was also the case in other occupied countries. At the same time, Yad Vashem in Israel has identified 2,323 “righteous” Ukrainians, citizens who risked their lives to save Jews. The Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Andrey Sheptytsky, also harbored Jews in his residence and in Greek Catholic monasteries and convents.

Pope John Paul II beatified Father Omelyan Kovch, who was sent to the Maidanek concentration camp for saving several hundred Jews and was murdered there in 1943. Some Jews participated in the UPA, and there are documented cases when the UPA saved the lives of Jews. [1, Page 41]

In the 1970s-1980s, the Ukrainian dissident movement was supported by Yosyf Zisels (a member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group), Semen Gluzman, Yakov Suslensky, and other Soviet Jewish dissidents. Many Jews participated in the creation of Rukh in the late 1980s. In turn, Rukh issued a special appeal to Jews and formed a Council of Nationalities within Rukh.

In contrast to Russia’s notoriously anti-Semitic group Pamiat, no anti-Semitic movements with significant public support have emerged in independent Ukraine. When Oleh Tiahnybok, one of the members of parliament from Viktor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine bloc made anti-Semitic and anti-Russian statements in 2004, he was expelled from the parliamentary faction.

Still, as in other countries, one can hear anti-Semitic statements from marginal politicians or find them in certain newspapers with limited circulation. The fight against anti-Semitism is an ongoing one. But it is important that official Kyiv demonstrates its attention to the country’s Jewish minority and the role of Jews in Ukrainian history.

This part is based on the declassified documents of the Security Service of Ukraine, information from the “Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine” prepared by the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies and the article by Moses Fishbein (see the footnote on p. 40).

[26] QUESTION: Can Russia repeat the South Ossetian/Abkhazian scenario in Crimea?

[Page 43] Crimea is the only region in Ukraine where Russians comprise a majority (58%). It’s also the historic homeland of the Crimean Tatars, who were deported by Stalin in 1944 and were only allowed to return after 1989. (They constitute 12% of Crimea’s population.). Russia’s military naval base in the Crimean city of Sevastopol (leased until 2017) remains an instrument of pressure on Ukraine.

The Russian consulate has been giving passports to Ukrainian citizens in Crimea, although dual citizenship is prohibited by both states. Nevertheless, it does not seem likely that Russia can repeat the South Ossetian/Abkhazian strategy in Crimea.

[1] First, the rights of Russians are not under threat in Crimea (although this is often mentioned by Russia and pro-Russian forces in Crimea). And it is the Ukrainian language and culture that need support in Crimea, not Russian (see p. 15).

[2] A second factor is the position of Crimean elites. Paradoxically, the election of Crimea’s first (and only) president Yurij Meshkov in 1994 divided Crimea’s pro-Russian political groups. Political infighting among these groups prompted Ukrainian President Kuchma to intervene and reduce the scope of power of the Crimean authorities. Kuchma abolished the Crimean presidency (Meshkov now lives in Moscow) and stabilized the situation in Crimea.

In Crimea today there is a continuous struggle for power and for control over the process of privatization among influential groups associated with the Crimean “party of power.” But it is much more profitable for the Crimean elites (most of whom are already members of all-Ukrainian parties) to stay within Ukraine and to bargain with both Kyiv and Moscow. If they were part of authoritarian Russia, they would lose this bargaining position.

[3] A third factor is the position of the Crimean Tatars. Their national hero is Petro Hryhorenko, a former Soviet general turned dissident and one of the founders of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group. He defended the return of the Crimean Tatars from deportation and was imprisoned by Soviet authorities for
five years in a “special psychiatric hospital.”

Since the end of the 1980s, the Ukrainian national movement Rukh and the Crimean Tatars have supported each other. Crimean Tatars were elected to the Ukrainian parliament on the party list of Rukh and subsequently on the list of the Our Ukraine bloc. Crimean Tatars supported these political forces during elections.

But if Crimean Tatars feel their rights are not protected, first of all in being given land to build homes, this could strengthen radicals outside the Mejlis (the Crimean Tatar parliament), which for decades has managed to keep the movement non-violent. [1, Page 44] And even though Crimea was part of the Russian Federation when the Crimean Tatars were deported, now it is part of Ukraine, which means that Kyiv now bears the main financial burden of their resettlement. In general, Ukraine’s attitude towards Crimean Tatars is in sharp contrast to the spread of anti-Muslim rhetoric in Russia.

[4] A fourth factor is that large-scale conflict over Crimea would provoke a strong reaction from the international community, which would damage Russian interests.

However, Moscow can exploit the situation in Crimea to destabilize the region in order to pressure Kyiv and hinder Ukraine’s domestic and foreign policy. That is exactly what happened when Ukraine applied for NATO’s Membership Action Plan: immediately anti-NATO demonstrations were organized in Crimea. Hardliners in Russia could organize clashes between Crimea’s Russian population and Crimean Tatars over land or with Ukrainian nationalist organizations over the Sevastopol naval base.

The 1996 Ukrainian Constitution stipulated that there should be no foreign bases on Ukrainian soil. But the Constitution contained “transitional clauses,” including a special article on “temporary” foreign bases. In 1997, Russia and Ukraine reached a compromise. Russia recognized the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the latter agreed to lease the Sevastopol base to Russia until 2017.

Politically, it will be extremely difficult for any Ukrainian president to extend the lease after 2017, and the Russians gradually seem to understand the inevitability of having to leave Sevastopol. But to make this transition smooth Russia and Ukraine need to start negotiations on a timetable now rather than waiting until the last moment. In the meantime, Moscow refuses to discuss the matter.

[27] QUESTION: “Gas wars”: what happened between Russia and Ukraine in the winters of 2006 and 2009?

[Page 45] The issue of gas supply shapes Russian—Ukrainian bilateral relations to a great extent and influences Ukraine’s domestic policy. Ukraine’s gas transit system remains the backbone of gas supplies to Europe. 80% of Russia’s gas exports to the European Union and 20% of the gas consumed by the EU flow through Ukrainian pipelines. Despite pressure from the Russian gas company Gazprom to control these pipelines, the Ukrainian gas transport network remains fully state owned.

Russia’s energy strategy, formulated in 2003, clearly states: “Russia possesses significant reserves of energy resources and a strong fuel and energy sector, being the basis of development of the economy, and a tool for both domestic and foreign policy.” Specifically, Russia has not hesitated to use its gas exports as a political weapon in its relations with Ukraine.

President Yushchenko’s most stinging rebuke in his relations with Russia was in the energy sector, particularly his inability to build transparent and reliable relations regarding gas transport. In November-December 2005, Russia and Ukraine opened very tense negotiations on gas supplies and their transit to EU countries. The Russian side politicized the gas issue through a mass media campaign, accusing Ukraine’s Orange government of being un re liable.

Despite existing agreements, Gazprom announced it was raising the price of gas from $50 per 1,000 cubic meters to $160, but then suddenly increased the price even more - to $230. On January 1, 2006, Gazprom reduced the pressure in the pipelines, which dramatically diminished Russian gas flowing to Ukraine and Europe. President Yushchenko tried to respond by threatening to sue Russia in the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal for violation of
commercial contracts.

But on January 4, 2006, representatives of the two governments suddenly resolved their dispute. Russia agreed to deliver gas to the Russian-Ukrainian border at $95 per 1,000 cubic meters, where it would then be bought by RosUkrEnergo (RUE), a Swiss-registered trading company half owned by Gazprom and half owned by two Ukrainian businessmen.

RosUkrEnergo would buy Russian gas on the Russian-Ukrainian border to transmit to Europe and the market in Ukraine. Through this non-transparent scheme, RUE could then pressure the Ukrainian side on both economic and political issues. The price of gas continued to rise over the next two years despite the formation of the Yanukovych cabinet, which was considered more sympathetic to Russia. By 2008, it had reached $180 per 1,000 cubic meters.

A new “gas war” started when Moscow and Kyiv could not reach an agreement on gas prices and supplies for 2009. On January 7, 2009, Russia halted all  was flowing through Ukraine to Europe. Several EU countries were seriously affected. Cutting Europe off from Russian gas supplies was never used by Moscow, even during the Cold War.

In subsequent negotiations, the Russian media conducted a propaganda war accusing Ukraine of being untrustworthy and unstable. Russian Prime Minister Putin publicly used such wording as “we will throw documents submitted by Ukraine into the fire,” and “we will deprive the girl of her illusions.” The Russian government also insisted on a new transit route through Ukraine, which, if implemented, would have cut off gas supplies to the eastern regions of Ukraine.

Gas supplies were fully restored only on January 21, 2009, after negotiations between Prime Ministers Vladimir Putin and Yulia Tymoshenko. Both sides reached an agreement for a ten-year period. On the one hand, the non-transparent intermediary, RUE, was removed and specific formulas for calculating gas price and for transit tariffs were finally introduced. This was a principal achievement for the Ukrainian side.

Without these formulas, Russia could impose gas prices that were not based on concrete calculations tied to the energy market. On the other hand, the so called “basic price” for calculation was one of the highest in Europe ($450 per 1,000 cubic meters) and the “basic price” for transit tariffs - one of the lowest at $2.04 for 1,000 cubic meters for 100 kilometers.

Also, the Naftogaz company of Ukraine faces serious penalties if it reduces the country’s gas consumption, while Gazprom faces no penalties if it supplies less than the agreed upon amount of gas to Ukraine. Therefore, this agreement can be used by Moscow to pressure Kyiv. To alter it will be the task for the next Ukrainian president. The next president will also need to reduce Ukraine’s dependence on Russian gas, diversify energy sources, and conduct
energy-saving reforms to reduce the country’s energy consumption.

This and the next answer co-authored by Petro Burkovsky

[28] QUESTION: What was the EU reaction to the Russia-Ukraine “gas war” in winter of 2009?

[Page 47] At first, EU countries portrayed it as a commercial dispute between two countries and were not going to intervene. Some Ukrainian analysts likened this position to a “new Munich.” But once Europe faced a serious energy threat, the EU sent in groups to monitor the gas metering stations between Russia and Ukraine and actually started to act as a mediator. It is important to stress that the EU did not confirm Russian accusations that Ukraine
had been illegally siphoning off Russian gas. [1, Page 47]

The “gas war” prompted the EU to take a more active role in stabilizing the flow of Russian gas through Ukraine. On March 23, 2009, a Joint EU-Ukraine International Investment Conference on the Modernization of Ukraine’s Gas Transit System was held in Brussels. A Joint Declaration was signed by the
Ukrainian government, the EU Commission, the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the World Bank. Ukraine was promised international financial support, while Kyiv was to reform its gas sector.

The declaration mentioned “Ukraine’s intention to join the Energy Community and in particular to permit gas to be purchased in Ukraine or at its Western or Eastern borders.” This was perhaps one of the reasons why the Russian side, which participated in the negotiations, boycotted the conference.

The signing of the declaration was a positive step in EUUkraine relations in the energy sphere, as it was designed to make the transit through Ukraine less vulnerable to Russian pressure. However, its future fulfillment will depend on both Ukraine and the EU, and its success remains to be seen.

[29] QUESTION: Is the EU ready to recognize the prospect of Ukraine’s membership?

[Page 48] Ukraine’s desire to join the EU was formulated under President Kuchma long before the Orange Revolution. It was always understood within Ukraine that potential EU (as well as NATO) membership was conditional on positive changes in the country. But the EU consistantly avoided any mention of such a possibility, even in the distant future.

That is why the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), developed by the EU in 2004, was not satisfactory from Ukraine’s point of view. Moreover, according to the ENP, Ukraine formally appeared in the same category as North African and Arab nations (including Libya, Palestine, Syria etc.) that are not eligible for EU membership.

The most positive signal was sent to Ukraine right after the Orange Revolution on January 13, 2005. The European Parliament passed a resolution on the results of Ukraine’s election, which, in particular, proposed to consider “giving a clear European perspective for the country and responding to the
demonstrated aspirations of the vast majority of the Ukrainian people, possibly leading ultimately to the country’s accession to the EU” (emphasis added - Ed.).

It also recalled “the provisions of Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union, which states that EU membership is an option for all European countries that satisfy the relevant conditions and obligations; looks forward to a sustained transition process in Ukraine that would bring the country towards this objective, and commits itself to assisting and supporting Ukraine in this process.”

However, even these formulations were not developed further in the EU-Ukraine Action Plan for 2005—2007, which was adopted in February 2005. It was prepared when Kuchma was in power and many analysts in Brussels believed that Prime Minister Yanukovych would succeed him. It was not substantially revised even when a new team came to power after the Orange Revolution.

There were certain promises from the EU side in the Action Plan: that work would be stepped up on agreements on Ukrainian exports of steel and textiles to the EU and analyses would begin toward establishing a free trade zone. (This goal was formulated in the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement signed between the EU and Ukraine in 1994 and ratified by the EU countries only by 1998.) The EU supported Ukrainian aspirations to join the WTO.

When Ukraine became a member of the WTO in May 2008 it was able to start official talks on the creation of a deep and comprehensive Ukraine-EU free trade area. The EU became Ukraine’s largest foreign investor and trading partner. Between 2000 and 2007 the EU’s trade in goods with Ukraine more than tripled: exports rose from 5.5 billion euros to 22.4 billion, while imports increased from 4.8 billion euros to 12.4 billion. Nevertheless, given the potential of the two sides, this increase did not go far enough.

In general, the EU limited itself to formulations that it “recognizes Ukraine’s European aspirations and hails Ukraine’s European choice.” It limited the influence of the EU on developments in Ukraine to the extent that did not utilize its most powerful foreign policy instrument - namely, the
conditionality of the accession process.

On May 7, 2009, the EU initiated the Eastern Partnership in Prague. It covers Armenia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The idea was first suggested by Poland and Sweden. As an instrument of deepening cooperation, visa facilitations, free trade zones and partnership agreements, it will
be helpful in bringing these countries closer to EU standards. At the same time, the Eastern Partnership diplomatically avoids the question of accession to the EU.

During the EU-Ukraine summit in Paris in September 2008, a Joint Declaration on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement was adopted. Negotiations are currently underway. The Ukrainian side would like to clearly outline Ukraine’s prospects for EU membership, which enjoys broad support within Ukraine. Polls in recent years show that more than 50% of the public supports the idea.

It is widely believed that a clear European perspective will serve as a catalyst for reform and a unifying motive for the Ukrainian political elite (as it was in Central and East European countries). It will also help to overcome stereotypes such as “Nobody is waiting for us inEurope,” which opponents of EU integration like to claim.

Unfortunately, it seems that this agreement will not resemble the “European association agreements” that the EU signed with many Central and East European states (from Poland to Romania in the first half of 1990s to the Western Balkans by the end of the 1990s), which offered an EU perspective for these states. Romania and Bulgaria at that stage, not to mention the turbulent Western Balkans, were in no better shape than Ukraine after the Orange

Thus, the EU’s decisions were shaped first of all by political concerns. Some new wording appeared in the 2008 declaration: “Ukraine, as a European country, shares a common history and common values with the countries of the European Union.” The new agreement would strengthen “political association and economic integration between Ukraine and the European Union.”

The question, though, is how to fill the association with concrete steps mentioned in the declaration: “further convergence between Ukraine and the EU on foreign policy and security issues,” which includes cooperation within the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP); “a deep and comprehensive free trade area with large-scale regulatory approximation of Ukraine to EU standards will contribute to the gradual integration of Ukraine to the EU Internal Market”; liberalization of visa policies and “establishment of a visa-free regime for short stay travel between the EU and Ukraine as a long-term perspective.”

According to President Yushchenko, three-fourths of the document is ready. However, it is clear now that these negotiations will not be finished in time for the EU-Ukraine summit on December 4, 2009 in Kyiv, first of all because more work needs to be done in the area of free trade.

A new push may surface after Ukraine’s presidential elections. Ukraine’s ambassador to the EU, Andriy Veselovsky, commented to the newspaper Den that “we want to believe that no matter who becomes president in 2010 he will apply to the EU for membership in the spring of next year.” And while it could seem overly optimistic, it is clear that the Ukrainian movement towards Europe will continue. The only question is how quickly.

[30] QUESTION: Visa issue: test of the EU’s good will

[Page 51] After the Orange Revolution, visas to Ukraine for EU citizens were abolished. The newest members of the bloc, Bulgaria and Romania, received the same visa waiver in January 2008. At the same time, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland joined the Schengen zone and introduced Schengen entry requirements for Ukrainian citizens in December 2007 that made it more difficult for Ukrainians to gain entry into those countries.

In January 2008, two EU-Ukraine agreements, one on visa facilitation and one on readmission, took effect. It was a kind of “package deal.” Ukrainian critics of the readmission agreement worried that it would make Ukraine a “dumping ground for illegal migrants.” (Nevertheless, the agreement provided for special financial assistance and a two-year postponement for the return of third-country nationals.).

As for the visa facilitation agreement, it was supposed to make it easier for Ukrainian citizens to get short-stay visas and simplify the criteria for multiple-entry visas for students, businessmen, journalists, and close relatives.

However, according to monitoring by the Center for Peace, Conversion and Foreign Policy of Ukraine in 2009, 55% of respondents have the potential right to obtain long-term visas, but only 20% received visas for more than 5 months. Only 0.5% of respondents received visas with a term of more than one year (for 2-3 years), and most of them were issued by Poland. About 15% of the respondents waited for a consular decision for more than 10 days (as defined by the agreement).

Therefore, the mutually proclaimed goal of establishing a visa free zone for short-stay travel between the EU and Ukraine appears to be a long-term one. Moreover, at this point, there is no roadmap for reaching this goal. The first step is to make the visa facilitation agreement work.

[31] QUESTION: Can Ukraine stay neutral/non-aligned?

[Page 52] Theoretically yes, and there are proponents of this status in Ukraine. In 1994, Ukraine got rid of its nuclear weapons. On December 5, 1994, the Budapest Memorandum was signed by Russia, the United Kingdom and the U.S. (France and China joined later).

The parties agreed to respect Ukraine’s borders, to abstain from the use or threat of force against Ukraine, to support Ukraine where an attempt is made to place pressure on it by economic coercion and to bring any incident of aggression by a nuclear power before the UN Security Council.

But the 1994 Budapest “Memorandum on Security Assurances in Connection with Ukraine’s Accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons” provided only “security assurances,” not “guarantees” to Ukraine, and ongoing territorial claims and provocative statements by Russian politicians did not contribute to Ukraine’s sense of security. So Ukraine appeared in the socalled “grey zone of (in)security” or “vacuum zone”.

[32] QUESTION: There is a stereotype that the policy of joining NATO was formulated by President Yushchenko after the Orange Revolution. However, it is President Kuchma who argued that Ukraine should join NATO

[Page 52] During his election campaign in 1994 Leonid Kuchma referred several times to the so-called Eurasian space. Two central issues in his campaign were increasing cooperation with Russia, first of all in the economic sphere, and official status for the Russian language. Both Ukrainian national-democrats and Western experts warned of the danger of Ukraine going “back to Eurasia”.

However, very soon after his election victory Kuchma began to solve the problems of strengthening the Ukrainian state better than the first president, Leonid Kravchuk, had done. He did so by restructuring Ukraine’s debt to Russia, weakening the separatist forces in Crimea, and in 1997 signing the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership with Russia, which finally recognized Ukraine’s borders.

Balancing between Russia and the West and pursuing a policy of “multi-vector diplomacy,” he began to move cautiously towards the West. Kuchma followed the logic of state-building. While distancing himself from his predecessor, whose policies were judged to be “nationalistic” by the more Russified eastern Ukraine, Kuchma at the same time had to take into consideration the position of those who had voted for Kravchuk in western and central Ukraine.

The gradual process of expanding relations with NATO was initiated. Ukraine became the first CIS country to join NATO’s Partnership for Peace program in 1995. The terms “non-aligned status” and “neutrality” did not appear in the new 1996 Constitution. In 1997, the NATO-Ukrainian Charter on distinctive
partnership was signed at the NATO Madrid summit, where the decision to name new candidates for NATO membership was made (the so-called “first wave of NATO enlargement”).

Thus, Ukraine’s role in European security was stressed. That same year the first-ever NATO Information and Documentation Center was opened in Kyiv and a NATO-Ukraine Commission was established.

In the new geopolitical situation after the terrorist attack on the U.S. on September 11, 2001, the West has concentrated on dealing with Putin, and Kyiv faced the danger of slipping into Russia’s shadow. Therefore, it was extremely important for Kyiv to remind the West about its European aspirations. The Ukrainian leadership also tried to use further NATO-Russian rapprochement (which resulted in the creation of the NATO-Russia Council on May 28, 2002) to declare on May 23, 2002 “the beginning of a practical realization of the course to join NATO.”

In the context of the Russia--NATO rapprochement, the arguments of the Ukrainian adversaries of NATO about its “anti-Russian” character diminished in importance. After the optimistic results for democratic forces in the 2002 parliamentary election, some Ukrainian and Western analysts called for forward
movement in launching a Membership Action Plan for Ukraine.

However, the “tapegate” revelations had a negative effect on Ukraine’s NATO aspirations. Nevertheless, at the NATO enlargement summit in November 2002 the NATO-Ukraine Commission adopted a Ukraine-NATO Action Plan.

Kyiv made the argument that Ukraine was a contributor to European and international security. Ukraine participated in peacekeeping missions in the Balkans from the very beginning of international operations there (in Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia and Kosovo). Ukrainian peacekeepers were involved in international forces in Lebanon and Sierra Leone within the framework of the UN.

From 2001-2003, Ukrainian military transport aircraft were required to move European military units and equipment to Afghanistan. Ukraine was involved in military operations in Iraq, having had the fifth largest contingent there. Partially, this was explained by Kuchma’s desire to improve relations with the U.S. because of the “tapegate scandal”. After Yushchenko’s election, Ukrainian troops left Iraq in keeping with his electoral platform.

[33] QUESTION: Yanukovych actually once “scheduled” Ukraine’s entry into NATO in 2008. So, is the Party of Regions really anti-NATO?

[Page 54] All of the above mentioned steps were supported by Prime Minister Yanukovych and his Party of Regions. Moreover, in the Strategy for Ukraine for 2004-2015 prepared under the auspices of Yanukovych, the deadline for joining the alliance was 2008!

The Party of Regions unanimously voted in 2003 for the Law on the Fundamentals of National Security, which clearly stated that Ukraine’s aim is to join NATO. And in 2006 it also voted for the Memorandum with NATO on participation of Ukraine’s strategic transport aviation in NATO operations.

This demonstrates that the current anti-NATO campaigns by the Party of Regions are, first of all, designed to mobilize their electorate and, secondly, that this position could be changed, especially given the fact that a secure climate for business is provided in the Western-style democracies, not by Russian “sovereign democracy”.

[34] QUESTION: NATO promised that “Ukraine will become a NATO member,” but
refused to offer a Membership Action Plan (MAP). How could this happen?

[Page 55] After the Orange Revolution, Ukrainian authorities finally decided to apply for the MAP. In April 2005, cooperation between NATO and Ukraine was spurred by the adoption of the Intensified Dialogue, a preparation for the acceptance of the MAP. However, the possibility was lost after the 2006 election when the Orange forces failed to form a new coalition.

After the second Orange coalition was formed, President Yushchenko, Prime Minister Tymoshenko and speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Arsenij Yatsenyuk signed in January 2008 an official letter of request to the NATO Secretary General confirming Ukraine’s wish to join the MAP. Ukraine wanted to receive it during the NATO Bucharest summit in April 2008.

Among the strongest supporters of this step were the U.S., Canada, Poland (the main European lobbyist for Ukraine in NATO and the EU), the United Kingdom, and the Baltic States. However, opponents of this step within NATO (primarily France and Germany) used several arguments:

       [1] Powerful opposition to MAP within Ukraine: the Party of Regions blocked the parliament.

Nevertheless, a compromise was found: the main political forces agreed that joining NATO could happen only after a referendum, and that MAP is not equal to membership. Moreover, as mentioned above, the Party of Regions subordinates this issue to its tactical plans and, therefore, could change its position. Finally, opposition to join NATO existed in Western countries as well - i.e., German social democrats in 1950s, Spanish Socialists, including Javier Solana, the future NATO Secretary General (!). But this did not prevent these countries from joining NATO.

       [2] Low public support

According to polls conducted by the prestigious Razumkov Center in August 2008 (that is, during the Russian-Georgian war), support for joining NATO was 22.3% (while 52% were opposed), while in June 2002 (that is, under Kuchma) the number of supporters and opponents was equal (32.0% and 32.2%,

The figure of 32% actually was a good start for an informational campaign even compared with some Central and East European countries (i.e., Slovakia or Bulgaria) or Spain (when it joined NATO in 1982 public support stood at only 18%). [Footnote 1, Page 56]

The decrease in public support can be explained by the following: on the eve of the 2004 presidential campaign an intensive anti-Western, anti-American campaign supported by Russia and key figures in Kuchma’s entourage was initiated; after that the issue became highly politicized in Ukrainian domestic affairs. In short, an adequate informational campaign could increase the number of supporters. It is important to stress that up to 90% of Ukrainian
security experts are in favor of joining the Alliance.

       [3] Therefore, perhaps the most important argument was openly acknowledged by France and, in a more subtle way, by Germany - Russia’s negative

However, it contradicts the official NATO position: “no new division of Europe” and “no country could have a veto on others’ foreign policy”.

So, although no MAP was offered to Ukraine in Bucharest, the final statement said that “Ukraine and Georgia will become members of NATO” — very strong language. The next possibility for MAP was scheduled to be reviewed by NATO in December 2008.

However, by that time disagreements among Ukrainian authorities became the main reason why the question of MAP was postponed again.

At the same time, on December 3, 2008, NATO decided that the Annual National Programs would be developed by Ukraine under the NATO-Ukraine Commission. Their content would be similar to what is in the MAP but without formally referring to the MAP.
To move forward, Ukrainian authorities would need political will, stability, and a broad informational campaign.

[35]  QUESTION: How will the results of the 2010 presidential elections influence future Ukrainian politics?

[Page 57] Since 2004, elections in Ukraine have been free and mostly fair. Control over the government (cabinet of ministers) has switched from the party in power to the opposition three times. This demonstrates that no political force in Ukraine can monopolize power. Results of the runoff of the 2010 presidential elections could be very close and the loser may try to challenge them.

And the winner may try to call early parliamentary elections to build more support in the new parliament. But unlike the 2004 elections, which both sides viewed as a winner-take-all contest, the post-Orange experience has shown that all the main political forces can make compromises.

Therefore, despite all the drama and scandals of the ongoing presidential campaign and the potential dangers connected with the struggle for power, some degree of power sharing seems almost inevitable. Ukraine’s business elites are gradually becoming more interested in operating under a stable and
predictable set of rules.

The global economic situation is likely to compel them to adopt reforms, especially in the energy sphere (where they need to reduce their dependence on Russia.) At the same time, the country needs European-style political parties based not on a single leader, but rather on a specific set of programs and values.

During every electoral campaign presidential candidates in Ukraine appeal to the electorate in the vote-rich east of the country and declare their desire for mutually beneficial relations with Russia. But that doesn’t mean that the next president will be willing to defer to Russia and relinquish his/her authority or
freedom to maneuver in foreign policy. So, the tone of Ukrainian-Russian relations is likely to improve and become more pragmatic, but geopolitical logic will continue to push Ukraine (even despite any zigzags) towards the West.
NOTE: To See and Read the Charts, Tables and Maps go to the
following link:,
and scroll down to pages 58-72.

1. Breakdown of Ukraine's Exports of Goods ...............................................58
2. Breakdown of Ukraine's Imports of Goods ...............................................59

1. Nations in Transit 2009. Ratings and Democracy Score Summary............60
2. Democracy Score. Year-To-Year Summaries ..........................................62

1. Kyivan Rus circa 1000 .............................................................................64
2. East Slavic Lands circa 1450 ...................................................................65
3. Ukrainian Lands, 1649 .............................................................................66
4. Ukrainian Lands circa 1750 .....................................................................67
5. Ukraine, 1914 ..........................................................................................68
6. Ukraine, January 1919 .............................................................................69
7. Ukraine, 1937 ..........................................................................................70
8. Ukraine circa 1970 ..................................................................................71
9. Ukraine, 2009 ..........................................................................................72
1 [Page 11] Serge Schmemann, “Soviet Archives: Paper Trail of a Rigid, Authoritarian System,” The New York Times, February 8, 1993, p. A8.
1 [Page 12] Soviet Nuclear Fission: Control of the Nuclear Arsenal in a Disintegrating Soviet Union, CSIA Studies in International Security, No.1
   (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1991), pp. 69—70.
1 [Page 15] Most figures here are taken from Zerkalo nedeli, August 15, 2009 (
1 [Page 26] Legal persons only, excluding micro businesses, self-employed persons, and farmsteads.
1 [Page 33] “Operation ‘The Mechanical Orange’. If you want peace?”, Russian Journal, April 21, 2008
1 [Page 38] During WWII, Ukrainians and Poles also waged a bloody struggle over control of the region. The Nazis and the Soviets, who wanted to divide
   and weaken the resistance forces, often provoked the violence. In July 2003, Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski and Ukrainian President Leonid  
   Kuchma attended a ceremony in the Volhynian village of Pavlivka, where they unveiled a monument to victims and issued a statement on reconciliation
   (although some historians and public figures in both countries remain divided over these controversial events).
   It is important to stress that contrary to historical grievances over the centuries, Polish-Ukrainian strategic relations are often compared now to France
   and Germany’s post-WWII reconciliation, and the Polish leadership (despite changes of parties in power) actively promotes Ukrainian integration into
1 [Page 39] In these attempts the Soviets used, for example, the controversial story of the Division Galizien (14 Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS,
   Galizische Nr 1), which was organized in 1943-1944 by the Germans to fight on the Soviet front as part of a program of creating foreign (e.g. French,
   Dutch, Walloon, Russian, Estonian, Latvian) formations of the Waffen SS (that is combat, not punitive formations).  Why did 15,000-18,000 Ukrainian
   soldiers from Western Ukraine join the Division Galizien when it was clear that the Germans were losing the war? They wanted to receive military
   training in order to fight the Red Army approaching Western Ukraine (because of their initial experience of Soviet rule between 1939 and l941) and to
   serve as the core of what they hoped would be a future Ukrainian national army. In the summer of 1944, the division was destroyed at the battle of Brody
   during the Soviet offensive. After that, many of its remaining soldiers joined the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.
   It is important to stress that the OUN(B) did not support the creation of the Division Galizien because it did not want to be accused of collaboration with
   the Germans. But that is exactly what happened. Regardless of the motives and actions of the soldiers of the Division Galizien, Soviet and now Russian
   propaganda have used it to brand the entire Ukrainian national movement during World War II as Nazi collaborators. Despite Soviet allegations, a
   special Canadian commission concluded that “the Galicia Division should not be indicted as a group. The members of Galicia Division were
   individually screened for security purposes before admission to Canada. Charges of war crimes of Galicia Division have never been substantiated”.
1 [Page 40] See, for example, Moses Fishbein, “The Jewish Card in Russian Special Operations against Ukraine”
1 [Page 41] Among the “righteous” was Fedir Vovk, Vice President of the Ukrainian Supreme Liberation Council and OUN member. One of the UPA
   leaflets proclaimed “Long live the state of Israel and friendship between the Ukrainian and Jewish nations! ”. In 1942-1943, Natalia Shukhevych, wife of
   UPA Commander-in-Chief Roman Shukhevych, hid a Jewish girl named Ira Reichenberg in her home. General Shukhevych prepared a fake passport for
   the girl in the name of Iryna Ryzhko (
   Jewish participation in the UPA was particularly visible among its medical personnel. Dr. Abraham Kum received the UPA’s Golden Cross of Merit. 
   Stella Krenzbach, the daughter of a rabbi, joined the UPA as a nurse and intelligence agent. She was arrested by the Soviets and sentenced to death, but
   was liberated by the UPA. In her memoirs, written in Israel, she wrote “I attribute the fact that I am alive today and devoting all the strength of my thirty-
   eight years to a free Israel only to God and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army... In our [UPA] group I counted twelve Jews, eight of whom were
   doctors.” (See, Fishbein, op. cit.)
1 [Page 44] The head of the Mejlis, Mustafa Abd lcemil Q r mo lu (Cemilev, Jemilev), spent 15 years in Soviet prisons, labor camps, and exile. He went
    on the longest hunger strike in the history of the human rights movements, lasting 303 days, and he survived due to forced feeding.
1 [Page 47] For more on Russian stereotypes of Ukraine in this sphere, see the journal of the Razumkov Center National Security & Defence, No.4, 2009,
   pp. 25-26 (
1 [Page 56] The Spanish case is remarkable. Socialists opposed the decision to join NATO in May 1982, and during elections in October 1982 they
   promised a referendum on the question of remaining in NATO. However, after coming to power they changed their minds. The Socialist government
   conducted the referendum in March 1986. Despite strong anti-NATO feelings indicated by polls, 52.6% of the voters supported the government’s
   position to continue membership in NATO (39.8% voted against).
Ukraine’s culture, political system and geopolitics are much closer to Europe
than to Eurasia and, therefore, drive the country back towards Europe.
Authored and Edited by Dr. Olexiy Haran (
Answers on pp. 23- 25, 30- 32, 45- 48 co-authored by Petro Burkovsky,
Answers on pp. 25- 30 written by Volodymyr Dubrovskiy.
Sponsored by the International Renaissance Foundation and the
Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.
University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Kyiv, Ukraine
Kyiv: Stylos Publishers, November 2009. 72 pp.
English-language editor: Brigid McCarthy
Layout: Halyna Shalashenko
ISBN 978-966-8009-89-1
© Olexiy Haran, 2009
© Map design: Dmytro Vortman, 2009
© Cover design: Alyona Kaminsky, 2009
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