New

Ukraine Government - History

Ukraine Government - History



We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

UKRAINE

Ukraine is an emerging democracy. The President who is directly elected is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government. The unicameral legislature is elected directly.
CURRENT GOVERNMENT
PresidentKuchma, Leonid
Chmn., Rada (parliament)Lytvyn, Volodymyr
Prime MinisterYanukovych, Viktor
First Dep. Prime Min.Azarov, Mykola
Dep. Prime Min. for Agroindustrial ComplexKyrylenko, Ivan
Dep. for Fuel & Energy ComplexHayduk, Vitaliy
Dep. for Humanitarian AffairsTabachnyk, Dmytro
Min. of AgricultureRyzhuk, Serhiy
Min. of Culture & ArtsBohutskyy, Yuriy
Min. of DefenseShkidchenko, Volodymyr, Gen.
Min. of Ecology & Natural ResourcesShevchuk, Vasyl
Min. of EconomyKhoroshkovskyy, Valeriy
Min. of Education & ScienceKremin, Vasyl
Min. of Emergency SituationsReva, Hryhoriy
Min. of FinanceAzarov, Mykola
Min. of Foreign AffairsZlenko, Anatoliy
Min. of Fuel & EnergyYermilov, Serhiy
Min. of HealthPidayev, Andriy
Min. of Industrial PolicyMyalytsya, Anatoliy
Min. of Internal AffairsSmirnov, Yuriy
Min. of JusticeLavrynovych, Oleksandr
Min. of Labor & Social PolicyPapivey, Mykhaylo
Min. of TransportationKirpa, Hryhoriy
Sec., National Security & Defense CouncilMarchuk, Yevhen
State Sec. for the Cabinet of Ministers
Chief, Presidential AdministrationMedvedchuk, Viktor
Chmn., National BankTyhypko, Serhiy
Chmn., Security ServiceRadchenko, Oleksandr
Chmn., State Property FundChechetov, Mykhaylo
Procurator GeneralPiskun, Svyatoslav
Ambassador to the USHryshchenko, Konstantin
Permanent Representative to the UN, New YorkKuchynskyy, Valeriy


Ukraine Government, History, Population & Geography

Climate: temperate continental Mediterranean only on the southern Crimean coast precipitation disproportionately distributed, highest in west and north, lesser in east and southeast winters vary from cool along the Black Sea to cold farther inland summers are warm across the greater part of the country, hot in the south

Terrain: most of Ukraine consists of fertile plains (steppes) and plateaus, mountains being found only in the west (the Carpathians), and in the Crimean Peninsula in the extreme south

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
highest point: Hora Hoverla 2,061 m

Natural resources: iron ore, coal, manganese, natural gas, oil, salt, sulfur, graphite, titanium, magnesium, kaolin, nickel, mercury, timber

Land use:
arable land: 58%
permanent crops: 2%
permanent pastures: 13%
forests and woodland: 18%
other: 9% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 26,050 sq km (1993 est.)

Environment—current issues: inadequate supplies of potable water air and water pollution deforestation radiation contamination in the northeast from 1986 accident at Chornobyl' Nuclear Power Plant

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Law of the Sea

Geography—note: strategic position at the crossroads between Europe and Asia second-largest country in Europe

Population: 50,125,108 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 19% (male 4,852,461 female 4,656,688)
15-64 years: 67% (male 16,096,737 female 17,481,600)
65 years and over: 14% (male 2,284,960 female 4,752,662) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: -0.64% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 9.53 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 16.31 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: 0.43 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.48 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 21.8 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 65.84 years
male: 60.08 years
female: 71.89 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.35 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Ukrainian(s)
adjective: Ukrainian

Ethnic groups: Ukrainian 73%, Russian 22%, Jewish 1%, other 4%

Religions: Ukrainian Orthodox—Moscow Patriarchate, Ukrainian Orthodox—Kiev Patriarchate, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox, Ukrainian Catholic (Uniate), Protestant, Jewish

Languages: Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian, Polish, Hungarian

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
male: 100%
female: 97% (1989 est.)

Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Ukraine
local long form: none
local short form: Ukrayina
former: Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic

Government type: republic

National capital: Kiev (Kyyiv)

Administrative divisions: 24 oblasti (singular—oblast'), 1 autonomous republic* (avtomnaya respublika), and 2 municipalities (mista, singular—misto) with oblast status** Cherkas'ka (Cherkasy), Chernihivs'ka (Chernihiv), Chernivets'ka (Chernivtsi), Dnipropetrovs'ka (Dnipropetrovs'k), Donets'ka (Donets'k), Ivano-Frankivs'ka (Ivano-Frankivs'k), Kharkivs'ka (Kharkiv), Khersons'ka (Kherson), Khmel'nyts'ka (Khmel'nyts'kyy), Kirovohrads'ka (Kirovohrad), Kyyiv**, Kyyivs'ka (Kiev), Luhans'ka (Luhans'k), L'vivs'ka (L'viv), Mykolayivs'ka (Mykolayiv), Odes'ka (Odesa), Poltavs'ka (Poltava), Avtonomna Respublika Krym* (Simferopol'), Rivnens'ka (Rivne), Sevastopol'**, Sums'ka (Sumy), Ternopil's'ka (Ternopil'), Vinnyts'ka (Vinnytsya), Volyns'ka (Luts'k), Zakarpats'ka (Uzhhorod), Zaporiz'ka (Zaporizhzhya), Zhytomyrs'ka (Zhytomyr)
note: oblasts have the administrative center name following in parentheses

Independence: 1 December 1991 (from Soviet Union)

National holiday: Independence Day, 24 August (1991)

Constitution: adopted 28 June 1996

Legal system: based on civil law system judicial review of legislative acts

Suffrage: 18 years of age universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Leonid D. KUCHMA (since 19 July 1994)
head of government: Prime Minister Valeriy PUSTOVOYTENKO (since 16 July 1997), First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoliy HOLUBCHENKO (since 8 August 1997), and three deputy prime ministers
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president and approved by the Supreme Council
note: there is also a National Security and Defense Council or NSDC originally created in 1992 as the National Security Council, but significantly revamped and strengthened under President KUCHMA the NSDC staff is tasked with developing national security policy on domestic and international matters and advising the president a Presidential Administration that helps draft presidential edicts and provides policy support to the president and a Council of Regions that serves as an advisory body created by President KUCHMA in September 1994 that includes chairmen of the Kiev and Sevastopol city councils and the chairmen of Oblast
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term election last held 26 June and 10 July 1994 (next to be held NA October 1999) prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president and approved by the People's Council
election results: Leonid D. KUCHMA elected president percent of vote—Leonid KUCHMA 52.15%, Leonid KRAVCHUK 45.06%

Legislative branch: unicameral People's Council (before 1996 the Supreme Council) or Narodna Rada (450 seats under Ukraine's new election law, half of the Rada's seats are allocated on a proportional basis to those parties that gain 4% of the national electoral vote the other 225 members are elected by popular vote in single mandate constituencies all serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 27 March 1994 with repeat elections continuing through December 1996 to fill empty seats (next to be held 29 March 1998)
election results: percent of vote by party—NA seats by party—Communists 91, Rukh 22, Agrarians 18, Socialists 15, Republicans 11, Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists 5, Labor 5, Party of Democratic Revival 4, Democrats 2, Social Democrats 2, Civil Congress 2, Conservative Republicans 1, Party of Economic Revival of Crimea 1, Christian Democrats 1, independents 225 note—most recent repeat election held in April 1996 filling 422 of 450 seats as follows: independents 238, Communist 95, Rukh 22, Agrarians 18, Socialist 15, Republicans 11, Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists 5, Labor 5, Party of Democratic Revival 4, Democratic Party of Ukraine 2, Social Democrats 2, Civil Congress 2, Conservative Republicans 1, Party of Economic Revival of Crimea 1, Christian Democrats 1, vacant 28 (in February 1997 there were 35 vacant seats)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court Constitutional Court

Political parties and leaders: Communist Party of Ukraine [Petro SYMONENKO] Hromad [Pavlo LAZARENKO] Ukrainian Popular Movement or Rukh [Vyacheslav CHORNOVIL, chairman] Socialist Party of Ukraine or SPU [Oleksandr MOROZ, chairman] Peasant Party of Ukraine or SelPU [Serhiy DOVAN] People's Democratic Party or NDPU [Valeriy PUSTOVOYTENKO, chairman] Reforms and Order Party [Viktor PYNZENYK] United Social-Democratic Party of Ukraine [Vasyl ONONENKO] Christian Democratic Party of Ukraine [Vitaliy ZHURAVSKYY] Christian People's Union [Victor MUSIYAKA] Ukrainian National Assembly [Oleh VITOVYCH] Democratic Party of Ukraine or DPU [Volodymyr Oleksandrovych YAVORIVSKYY, chairman] Agrarian Party of Ukraine or APU [Kateryna VASHCHUK] Liberal Party of Ukraine or LPU [Volodymyr SHCHERBAN] Party of Labor [Valentyn LANDYK, chairman] Social Democratic Party of Ukraine or SDPU [Yuriy BUZDUHAN] Interregional Reforms Bloc [Volodymyr HRYNYOV Republic Christian Party [Mykola POROVSKYY] Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists or KUN [Yaroslava-Anna STETSKO] Ukrainian Conservative Republican Party or UKRP [Yuriy VOSKOVNYUK, chairman] Ukrainian Republican Party [Bohdan YAROSHYNSKYY] Green Party of Ukraine or PZU [Vitaliy KONONOV, leader] Progressive Socialist Party [Natalya VITRENKO] State Independence of Ukraine [Roman KOVAL] All-Ukrainian Labor Party [Leonid VERNIYHORA] Regional Revival Party of Ukraine [Volodymyr RYBAK] Liberal Democratic Party of Ukraine or LDPU [Andriy KOVAL, chairman] Ukrainian Peasant Democratic Party or USDP [Viktor PRYSYAZHNYUK] Ukraine Regional Revival Party [Volodymyr RYBAK]
note: approximately 30 parties are registered to take part in the 29 March 1998 elections

Political pressure groups and leaders: New Ukraine (Nova Ukrayina) Congress of National Democratic Forces

International organization participation: BSEC, CCC, CE, CEI, CIS, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, MINUGUA, NSG, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIBH, UNMOP, UNMOT, UNPREDEP, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Yuriy Mykolayovych SHCHERBAK
chancery: 3350 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 333-0606
FAX: [1] (202) 333-0817
consulate(s) general: Chicago and New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Steven Karl PIFER
embassy: 10 Yuria Kotsubynskoho, 254053 Kiev 53
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [380] (44) 244-7345
FAX: [380] (44) 244-7350

Flag description: two equal horizontal bands of azure (top) and golden yellow represent grainfields under a blue sky

Economy—overview: After Russia, the Ukrainian republic was far and away the most important economic component of the former Soviet Union, producing about four times the output of the next-ranking republic. Its fertile black soil generated more than one-fourth of Soviet agricultural output, and its farms provided substantial quantities of meat, milk, grain, and vegetables to other republics. Likewise, its diversified heavy industry supplied equipment and raw materials to industrial and mining sites in other regions of the former USSR. Ukraine depends on imports of energy, especially natural gas. Shortly after the implosion of the USSR in December 1991, the Ukrainian Government liberalized most prices and erected a legal framework for privatization, but widespread resistance to reform within the government and the legislature soon stalled reform efforts and led to some backtracking. Output in 1992-97 fell to less than half the 1991 level. Loose monetary policies pushed inflation to hyperinflationary levels in late 1993. Since his election in July 1994, President KUCHMA has pushed economic reforms, maintained financial discipline, and tried to remove almost all remaining controls over prices and foreign trade. Implementation of KUCHMA's economic agenda is encountering considerable resistance from parliament, entrenched bureaucrats, and industrial interests and an environment of corruption continues to discourage foreign investors. One signal achievement has been the reduction of the inflation rate to 10% by yearend 1997. If KUCHMA succeeds in implementing aggressive market reforms during 1998, the economy should reverse its downward trend, with real growth occurring by late 1998 and into 1999.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$124.9 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: -3.2% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$2,500 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 14%
industry: 30%
services: 56% (1997 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 10% (yearend 1997 est.)

Labor force:
total: 22.8 million (yearend 1997)
by occupation: industry and construction 32%, agriculture and forestry 24%, health, education, and culture 17%, trade and distribution 8%, transport and communication 7%, other 12% (1996)

Unemployment rate: 2.6% officially registered large number of unregistered or underemployed workers (December 1997)

Budget:
revenues: $18 billion
expenditures: $21 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997 est.)

Industries: coal, electric power, ferrous and nonferrous metals, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food-processing (especially sugar)

Industrial production growth rate: -1.8% (1997 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 52 million kW (1997)

Electricity—production: 177 billion kWh (1997)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 3,431 kWh (1997)

Agriculture—products: grain, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, vegetables meat, milk

Exports:
total value: $15.2 billion (1997 est.)
commodities: ferrous and nonferrous metals, chemicals, machinery and transport equipment, food products
partners: Russia, China, Belarus, Turkey, Germany (1997)

Imports:
total value: $20.2 billion (1997 est.)
commodities: energy, machinery and parts, transportation equipment, chemicals, plastics and rubber
partners: Russia, Turkmenistan, Belarus, Germany, China

Debt—external: $9.6 billion (including $2.1 billion to Russia) (yearend 1997 est.)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $220 million (1993)
note: commitments, 1992-95, $4.5 billion ($4.1 billion drawn)

Currency: on 2 September 1996, Ukraine introduced the long-awaited hryvnia as its national currency, replacing the karbovanets (in circulation since 12 November 1992) at a rate of 100,000 karbovantsi to 1 hryvnia

Exchange rates: hryvnia per US$1ק.9359 (February 1998), 1.8617 (1997), 1.8295 (1996), 1.4731 (1995), 0.3275 (1994), 0.0453 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Telephone system: system is unsatisfactory both for business and for personal use 3.56 million applications for telephones had not been satisfied as of January 1991 electronic mail services have been established in Kiev, Odessa, and Luhans'k by Sprint
domestic: an NMT-450 analog cellular telephone network operates in Kiev (Kyyiv) and allows direct dialing of international calls through Kiev's digital exchange
international: calls to other CIS countries are carried by landline or microwave radio relay calls to 167 other countries are carried by satellite or by the 150 leased lines through the Moscow international gateway switch satellite earth stations—NA Intelsat, 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean Regions), and NA Intersputnik

Radio broadcast stations: 2 radio broadcast stations of NA type

Radios: 15 million (1990)

Television broadcast stations: at least 2

Televisions: 17.3 million (1992)

Railways:
total: 23,350 km
broad gauge: 23,350 km 1.524-m gauge (8,600 km electrified)

Highways:
total: 172,565 km
paved: 163,937 km (including 1,875 km of expressways) note—these roads are said to be hard-surfaced, meaning that some are paved and some are all-weather gravel surfaced
unpaved: 8,628 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 4,400 km navigable waterways, of which 1,672 km were on the Pryp''yat' and Dnistr (1990)

Pipelines: crude oil 2,010 km petroleum products 1,920 km natural gas 7,800 km (1992)

Ports and harbors: Berdyans'k, Illichivs'k, Izmayil, Kerch, Kherson, Kiev (Kyyiv), Mariupol', Mykolayiv, Odesa, Reni

Merchant marine:
total: 202 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,498,653 GRT/1,709,393 DWT
ships by type: barge carrier 3, bulk 13, cargo 122, chemical tanker 2, combination bulk 1, container 3, multifunction large-load carrier 2, oil tanker 19, passenger 7, passenger-cargo 4, railcar carrier 2, refrigerated cargo 6, roll-on/roll-off cargo 13, short-sea passenger 5
note: Ukraine owns an additional 41 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 515,743 DWT operating under the registries of The Bahamas, Cyprus, Liberia, Malta, Panama, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (1997 est.)

Airports: 706 (1994 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 163
over 3,047 m: 14
2,438 to 3,047 m: 55
1,524 to 2,437 m: 34
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 57 (1994 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 543
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 16
914 to 1,523 m: 37
under 914 m: 476 (1994 est.)

Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Air Defense Force, Internal Troops, National Guard, Border Troops

Military manpower—military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 12,431,318 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 9,733,193 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 367,160 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: 1.71 billion hryvni (Ukrainian Government's forecast for 1998) note - conversion of defense expenditures into US dollars using the current exchange rate could produce misleading results

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: NA%

Disputes—international: dispute with Romania over continental shelf of the Black Sea under which significant gas and oil deposits may exist agreed in 1997 to two-year negotiating period, after which either party can refer dispute to the International Court of Justice has made no territorial claim in Antarctica (but has reserved the right to do so) and does not recognize the claims of any other nation certain territory of Moldova and Ukraine—including Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina—are considered by Bucharest as historically a part of Romania this territory was incorporated into the former Soviet Union following the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1940

Illicit drugs: limited cultivation of cannabis and opium poppy, mostly for CIS consumption limited government eradication program used as transshipment point for opiates and other illicit drugs to Western Europe and Russia


Contents

The system of Ukrainian subdivisions reflects the country's status as a unitary state (as stated in the country's constitution) with unified legal and administrative regimes for each unit.

Including Sevastopol and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea that were annexed by the Russian Federation in 2014, Ukraine consists of 27 regions: twenty-four oblasts (provinces), one autonomous republic (Autonomous Republic of Crimea), and two cities of special status – Kiev, the capital, and Sevastopol. The 24 oblasts and Crimea are subdivided into 490 raions (districts) and city municipalities of regional significance, or second-level administrative units. The average area of a Ukrainian raion is 1,200 square kilometres (460 sq mi) the average population of a raion is 52,000 people.

Populated places in Ukraine are split into two categories: urban and rural. Urban populated places are split further into cities and urban-type settlements (a Soviet administrative invention), while rural populated places consist of villages and settlements (a generally used term). All cities have certain degree of self-rule depending on their significance such as national significance (as in the case of Kiev and Sevastopol), regional significance (within each oblast or autonomous republic) or district significance (all the rest of cities). City's significance depends on several factors such as its population, socio-economic and historical importance, infrastructure and others.


The roots of fascism in Ukraine: From Nazi collaboration to Maidan

Rioters face off with Ukrainian riot police, a shield displaying white pride and Nazi logos. Photo: Sergei Supinsky / AFP / Getty Images

In recent years Ukraine has popped up in the mainstream media due to explosive political developments. Starting with the “Orange Revolution” in November of 2004, to the Euromaidan coup d’etat that was carried out by multiple fascists organizations and was propped up and propagated by the US government.

With the recent surge in Ukrainian ultra-nationalism and the rise of fascist groups both within the Ukrainian political sphere as well as the upper echelons of military hierarchy, it is crucial to understand its historical origins, beginning with Ukrainian collaboration with Nazi Germany during World War II. On June 22, 1941 the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union began under the name Operation Barbarossa. The original purpose of the operation was to conquer the western Soviet Union to implement “Lebensraum,” or “living space,” for ethnic Germans to relocate and repopulate former Soviet territories. The Slavic people already living there were to be used as slave labor to aid the Axis powers and to seize the agricultural production available in this portion of the Soviet Union (Norman, 1973). The extermination and genocide of Slavic peoples, due to their designation as “sub-human,” was also to be carried out to facilitate the relocation and repopulation efforts of ethnic Germans in Slavic lands.

Operation Barbarossa was initially highly successful, with the brunt of the offensive being taken by the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. At the beginning of the war the population of Ukraine was at 23.2 million however, in what could accurately be described as Ukraine’s own holocaust, by the end of the war 3,000,000 Ukrainians and other non-Jews had been executed, with an additional 2,300,000 Ukrainians being deported to allow for the “Germanization” of Ukrainian territory (Gregorovich, 1995).

Following the initial opening of Operation Barbarossa, on July 17, 1941 Hitler issued an official decree defining how Nazi-occupied Ukraine would be governed by a Nazi-appointed civilian regime known as the Reichskommissariat Ukraine (RKU) and overseen by Nazi Party regional East Prussian branch leader Erich Koch (Eher, 1946). The RKU was tasked with the pacification of Ukraine, the extermination of political dissidents and those who would interfere with the process of Nazi post-war expansion, as well as the general exploitation of the Ukrainian resources and people to further the goals of the Third Reich.

In addition to the establishment of the RKU, Heinrich Himmler personally saw to the formation of the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police (UAP) (Shapiro et. al., 2005). That UAP itself was split into two different categories. The first, known as the “Schutzmannschaft” or “protection team”, was tasked with carrying out anti-Jewish atrocities along with combating pro-Soviet partisan resistance throughout most of Ukraine. The second group was simply referred to as the “Ukrainian Police,” which operated under the guidance of the infamous Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS) and was given special autonomy from the RKU (Bewersdorf, 2008). The UAP were the major perpetrators in the portion of the Holocaust that occurred in Ukraine. In the region of Volhynia alone, the Ukrainian police units exterminated 150,000 Jews in addition to the murder and deportation of countless other non-Jewish Ukrainian nationals (Statiev, 2010).

Lastly and perhaps most infamous in the history of the Nazi occupation of Ukraine was the figure of Stepan Andriyovych Bandera. Bandera was a Ukrainian ultra-nationalist born on January 1, 1909 in Austria-Hungary. Bandera served as head of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) in Galicia. In the early months of World War Two OUN leader Andriy Melnyk alongside Stepan Bandera were recruited by a Nazi intelligence organization to commit espionage and sabotage against the Soviet Union. They agreed to this work under the pretext that Ukraine would be given autonomy following the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. The OUN was even supportive of the extermination and forced relocation of Jews, Tatars, Roma people, and Poles in Ukraine (Mueller, 2007). With the arrival of Nazi soldiers in Ukraine following Operation Barbarossa, on June 30th, 1941 Bandera and the OUN issued the Act of Proclamation of Ukrainian Statehood which declared Ukraine an independent state from the Soviet Union. This proclamation stated an independent Ukraine would “work closely with the National-Socialist Greater Germany, under the leadership of its leader Adolf Hitler which is forming a new order in Europe and the world and is helping the Ukrainian People to free itself from Moscovite occupation” (Snyder, 2003). Despite all of Bandera’s crimes (not only against the Ukrainian and Jewish people, but humanity as a whole) and open collaboration with Nazi Germany, Bandera is still seen as a hero to the Ukrainian government and their far-right followers. On January 22, 2010 Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko awarded the deceased Bandera the title of Hero of Ukraine (Economist, 2010) which is the highest title any Ukrainian citizen can receive.

It is within this context of Ukraine and Stepan Bandera’s history and the relationship of the current ruling junta to the RKU during the dark years of Nazi occupation, that today’s Ukraine must be understood. In February of 2014 a Ukrainian minority began protesting in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv (this movement would become known as Euromaidan). There were three primary intentions behind these demonstrations: 1) to remove the democratically-elected President Viktor Yanukovych from power (ignoring the constitutional process in effect) 2) to help bring attention to the possibility of Ukraine joining the European Union and 3) to alter the constitution to restore it to as it was between 2004 and 2010. The first demonstrations promoting the message of Euromaidan began in 2012, but did not gain much traction until 2014 when right-wing organizations Svoboda (“Freedom”) and Right Sector effectively seized control as the militant tactical leadership of the demonstrations in Kiev.

Founded in 1991, Svoboda cast itself as a Social-National Party of Ukraine while spewing a hard line on Ukrainian nationalism and anti-communism, a stance which led many Russian, Jewish, and other international organizations to denounce Svoboda as a fascist organization (Stern, 2013). Directly following the success of Euromaidan, multiple Svoboda members would gain positions within the Ukrainian government (Stern, 2012). The Deputy Prime Minister, Agrarian Policy and Food Minister, Environment and Natural Resources Minister, governor of Poltava, Ternopil and Rivine ‘Oblast all were members of Svoboda while holding office in the Ukrainian government.

Svoboda took a strong leadership position in the Euromaidan coup that grew from a non-violent protest to a militant takeover of the country when far-right organizers began attacking, and eventually killing 17 while injuring nearly 300 law enforcement and anti-EU demonstrators. Since 2004, Svoboda has been led by a man named Oleh Tyahnybok. His career in Ukrainian politics has been one built upon a platform of hate (against Jews, Russians, Communists, all non-Orthodox Christians, and any ethnic minorities in the country) and ultranationalism. As of 2017, Oleh has submitted 36 motions to the Ukrainian parliament, all of them promoting hate. These include opposition to the adoption of regional languages, support for further recognition of Nazi collaborator groups during World War II, the regulation of political involvement for communist officials, and demands to make communism in Ukraine illegal (Shekhovtsov, 2011). His personal conduct, while unsurprising to those familiar with his politics, underscore his true loyalties as well in 2004, while at the grave of a Nazi sympathizer of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, Oleh made televised remarks such as “[You are the ones] that the Moscow-Jewish mafia ruling Ukraine fears most” (Kuzio, 2004) and “They were not afraid and we should not be afraid. They took their automatic guns on their necks and went into the woods, and fought against the Muscovites, Germans, Jews and other scum who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state” (Shekhovtsov, 2011). Despite Oleh’s revolting history, he has still been welcomed with open arms by multiple American politicians, most notably and frequently U.S. Senator John McCain (Taylor, 2013).

The two foremost paramilitary organizations with close relationships to Svoboda and Euromaidan (and personally connected to those with Nazi sympathies during World War Two) are known as Right Sector and Azov Battalion. Right Sector is a far-right political party and paramilitary organization which arose after the merging of six Ukrainian nationalist, religious fanatic, anti-communist, and Eurosceptic organizations (Anderson et. al., 2015). United as Right Sector, the organization led the most violent street brawling against Ukrainian police during Euromaidan, recognizable due to their use of the symbols of Bandera and the RKU. Such Right Sector (and Svoboda) demonstrations visibly display numerous flags and photos featuring Stepan Bandera’s face in addition to the red and black flags of the fascist Ukrainian Insurgent Army (which now also serves as the current flag of Right Sector). The Ukrainian Insurgent Army was formed in November of 2013 by Dmytro Yarosh and on December 27, 2015 a majority of the group left entirely claiming that Right Sector had done its job ‘as a revolutionary structure’ and was no longer needed. Yarosh said that he didn’t support continued revolutionary rhetoric and didn’t want to push anything that might weaken or question the current Ukrainian government’s hold on power (Melkozerova, 2016). After the majority of Right Sector declared their mission complete, they would go on to join the fascist-sympathetic and largest volunteer battalion of the Ukrainian Armed Forces: the Azov Battalion.

The Donbass War arose in 2014 when the residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts took up arms against the Ukrainian junta and declared themselves independent republics (known as the Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic, respectively). As of 2017 this war is in a period of stalemate due to a tenuous ceasefire. This ceasefire, however, offers very little to the people of Donetsk and Lugansk. For instance, it has been documented that the ceasefire was violated 17 times on Sept. 7, 2017 alone. The Ukrainian government and its NATO allies continue to push the false narrative that the rebel combatants are entirely Russian regular infantry. This baseless position was actually refuted by the words of Ukrainian Chief of Staff Viktor Muzhenko, who acknowledged that “Right now the Ukrainian army is not engaged in combat operations against Russian regular units,” ironically proving the claims of both the Donetsk and Lugansk rebels and the Russian government.

With that all being said, Azov Battalion has taken part in numerous major battles and offensives in the Donbass War, through which it achieved particular notoriety. Azov Battalion was the only military unit that was able to defend itself against rebel advances on the Western front of the conflict, even with significant U.S. military aid in the hands of the entire Ukrainian junta. As a result of these successes, Azov Battalion acquired the reputation on both sides of the conflict as being the most effective fighting force in the war.

Azov has also gained itself a reputation far beyond its military exploits as a unit however. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR, 2016) declared Azov Battalion guilty of war crimes on multiple accounts. In 2014 Azov was documented engaging in mass looting from civilian homes in the down of Shyrokyne, as well as targeting civilian areas with artillery and small arms fire. The OHCR report also detailed the rape and torture of a mentally disabled man, claiming “A man with a mental disability was subject to cruel treatment, rape and other forms of sexual violence by 8 to 10 members of the ‘Azov’ and ‘Donbas’ battalions in August-September 2014. The victim’s health subsequently deteriorated and he was hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital.” In a later report from 2015, it was reported that a captured suspected supporter from the Donetsk People’s Republic was tortured via electrocution and waterboarding until he confessed to allegedly spying for the rebel governments.

Azov Battalion also has strong ties to fascism and uses neo-Nazi symbolism. Azov Battalion members were filmed displaying neo-Nazi and SS symbols and iconography, In one widely-circulated instance, the German ZDF television channel filmed an Azov fighter who had a swastika and SS symbol engraved into his helmet (NBC News, 2015). Azov Battalion has had so much coverage associated with their unapologetic following of Nazi ideology that in 2015 both the United States military and Canadian forces stated that Azov would no longer be directly trained by the two respective nations (Conyers, 2015). Tellingly however, these conditions were quickly removed when Azov became a regular military unit in the Ukrainian armed forces, as opposed to the militia status they had been operating under beforehand (Sokol, 2016).

With the overthrow of the Soviet Union, Ukraine became entirely independent in 1991, yet the complex and dark history of Ukraine is one that can be traced back decades. The shadow of Ukraine’s past is one that looms over the entire region to this day.

The evidence against the Ukrainian government’s internal fascist sympathies and support for fascism in the ranks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is undeniable. The only conclusion is for the workers of all countries to stand in solidarity against the crimes of the Ukrainian government, and say that we won’t allow fascists to occupy Ukraine as they did in WWII.

References

Andersen, Johannes, Huijboom, Stefan, & Johannes, Olena. (2015). “Equal rights for gays still distant dream in Ukraine.” Kyiv Post. http://www.pressreader.com/ukraine/kyiv-post/20150612/281500749876472.

Bewersdorf, Arne. (2008). Hans-Adolf Asbach. Eine Nachkriegskarriere.

Conyers, J.R. (2015). “U.S. House Passes 3 Amendments By Rep. Conyers To Defense Spending Bill To Protect Civilians From Dangers Of Arming and Training Foreign Forces.” https://conyers.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/us-house-passes-3-amendments-rep-conyers-defense-spending-bill-protect.

Economist. (2010). “Viktory for the blue camp.” Economist. http://www.economist.com/node/15501625.

Eher, Franz. (1946). “Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume IV Document No. 1708-PS.” The Avalon Project. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/1708-ps.asp

Gregorovich, Andrew. (1995). “World War II in Ukraine: Jewish Holocaust in Ukraine.” Infoukes. http://www.infoukes.com/history/ww2/page-25.html.

Kuzio, Taras. (2004). “Yushchenko Finally Gets Tough On Nationalists.” The Jamestown Foundation. https://jamestown.org/program/yushchenko-finally-gets-tough-on-nationalists.

Melkozerova, Veronika. (2016). “Yarosh launches a new movement, leaves Right Sector.” Kyiv Post. https://www.kyivpost.com/article/content/ukraine-politics/yarosh-launches-a-new-movement-leaves-right-sector-408646.html.

Mueller, Michael. (2007). Canaris: The Life and Death of Hitler’s Spymaster. Naval Institute Press.

NBC News. (2014). “German TV Shows Nazi Symbols on Helmets of Ukraine Soldiers.” NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ukraine-crisis/german-tv-shows-nazi-symbols-helmets-ukraine-soldiers-n198961.

Rich, Norman. (1973). Hitler’s War Aims: Ideology, the Nazi State, and the Course of Expansion. W.W. Norton.

Sokol, Sam. (2016). “US Lifts Ban on Funding ‘Neo-Nazi’ Ukranian Militia.” The Jerusalem Post. http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/US-lifts-ban-on-funding-neo-Nazi-Ukrainian-militia-441884.

Shapiro, Paul (Ed.) (2005). The Holocaust in the Soviet Union. Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies.

Shekhovtsov, Anton. (2011). The Creeping Resurgence of the Ukrainian Radical Right? The Case of the Freedom Party. Europe-Asia Studies, 63(2), 203-228.

Snyder, Timothy. (2003). The Causes of Ukrainian-Polish Ethnic Cleansing 1943. Past and Present, 179(1), 197-234.

Statiev, Alexander. (2010). The Soviet Counterinsurgency in the Western Borderlands. Cambridge University Press.


Rise of Soviet power

1917 - Central Rada council set up in Kyiv following collapse of Russian Empire.

1918 - Ukraine declares independence. Numerous rival governments vie for control for some or all of Ukraine during ensuing civil war.

1921 - Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic established when Russian Red Army conquers two-thirds of Ukraine. Western third becomes part of Poland.

1920s - The Soviet government encourages Ukrainian language and culture within strict political bounds, although this process is reversed in the 1930s.

1932 - Millions die in a man-made famine during Stalin's collectivisation campaign, known in Ukraine as the Holodomor.

1939 - Western Ukraine is annexed by the Soviet Union under the terms of the Nazi-Soviet Pact.

1941 - Ukraine suffers terrible wartime devastation as Nazis occupy the country until 1944.

More than five million Ukrainians die fighting Nazi Germany. Most of Ukraine's 1.5 million Jews are killed by the Nazis.

1944 - Stalin deports 200,000 Crimean Tatars to Siberia and Central Asia following false accusations of collaboration with Nazi Germany.

1954 - In a surprise move, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transfers the Crimean peninsula to Ukraine.

Armed resistance to Soviet rule ends with capture of last commander of Ukrainian Insurgent Army.

1960s - Increase in covert opposition to Soviet rule, leading to repression of dissidents in 1972.

1986 - A reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power station explodes, sending a radioactive plume across Europe. Desperate efforts are made to contain the damaged reactor within a huge concrete cover.


History – The Past that Shaped Present Day Ukraine

Ukraine has a long and troubled history. Early in the Christian era the Ukranian steppes were overrun by various invaders, among which were Huns, Goths and Avars. From the 4th to 7th centuries the first Slavic community was established in the area. A Varangian dynasty from Scandinavia settled in Kiev in the 9th century and proceeded to free the Slavs from Khazar domination and then unite them in them in Kievan Rus. The Ukrainians and their land formed the nucleus of Kievan Rus. Thereafter, Ukraine's history followed a series of changes in power and domination of one group over the other.

Notably, in the mid-14th century, Lithuania began to extend its borders and took over the rule of Ukraine, which proved to be reasonably beneficial for the Ukrainians. However, in 1569 Poland and Lithuania formed a union which disrupted the relative peace that the Ukrainians had been enjoying. The peasants soon found themselves subject to serfdom and persecution was brought upon the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In 1596 the Bishops of the Ukrainian Church, to preserve their own identity and not be assimilated into Polish Catholicism, established the Greek Catholic faith. They acknowledged the authority of the pope, but kept their Orthodox rites.

In the 16th century, the term ‘Ukraine’, which is translated as ‘borderland’ or ‘at the border’, came into use. Poland-Lithuania was now struggling against the growing principality of Moscow for control of the area of Ukraine. Many Ukrainians fled beyond the area of the lower Dnieper rapids in order to escape the religious persecution and serfdom that harsh Polish rule had brought upon them. These fugitives established a military order known as Cossacks, or Kozaks, being taken from the Turkic ‘kazak’ which means ‘adventurer’ or ‘outlaw’. The Cossacks waged a successful revolution against Polish domination in 1648.

Ukraine was unable to stand alone though, and a treaty was concluded with Moscow, acknowledging their superiority, but allowing Ukraine a large measure of independence. Russia did not respect the terms of the treaty however, and treated the Ukrainians with contempt, referring to them as ‘little Russians’. Ukraine concluded a treaty with Poland in 1658 which resulted in the Russo-Polish war and the partitioning of Ukraine. Thereafter followed years of domination, treaties and unrest in Ukraine until after the Bolshevik Revolution, when Ukraine declared complete independence in January 1918.

This situation was fairly short-lived though, when after much conflict in the area, Soviet troops gained control of Ukraine, which became one of the republics of the USSR in 1922. This inclusion into the USSR under communist rule resulted in much hardship for the Ukrainians, and so during World War II when Germany invaded Ukraine, many saw them as liberators. However, the Nazis viewed all Slavs with contempt and treated them very harshly during their occupation of Ukraine.

After the devastation of World War II Ukraine still suffered much unrest on their way to independence. In July 1990 a declaration of sovereignty was passed by the Ukrainian parliament, and in August 1991 Ukraine was declared to be independent of the Soviet Union. Leonid Kravchuk became the first president of Ukraine in December 1991.

Related Page

Swimming and Sunbathing

Of all the activities that tourists might expect to enjoy, swimming and sunbathing in Ukraine may not be at the top of their list. Most of us tend to associate Ukraine with the cold winters of Russia, but the fact is that Ukraine enjoys warm and pleasant summers. Since Ukraine is situated a little further south than most of European Russia, its climate is generally slightly warmer and one .

St Yura Church

Lviv is a city that has become famous for being home to many different religious groups. This famous Ukrainian city has been home to Catholic and Greek Orthodox worshipers who have lived in harmony with Jews and members of other religious groups. This somewhat unique blend of religion and culture is clearly reflected in the city’s architecture, since each temple or church has employed a .


Ukraine government announces official commemorations marking 80th anniversary of Babyn Yar massacre

KYIV, Ukraine , June 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal , announced today at a joint press briefing alongside the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (BYHMC), that an official state event to mark the eightieth anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacre will take place on 6 October, 2021 in Kyiv .

33,771 Jewish victims were shot at Babyn Yar by the Nazis during just two days, 29 and 30 September 1941 . Tens of thousands of Ukrainians, Roma , mentally ill and others were shot thereafter at Babyn Yar throughout the Nazi occupation of Kyiv . The estimated number of victims murdered at Babyn Yar is around 100,000, making it Europe's largest mass grave. Babyn Yar has become a powerful symbol of the 'Holocaust by Bullets,' the estimated 2.5 million Jews who were murdered near their homes in similar Nazi mass shootings across Eastern Europe , 1.5 million of them in Ukraine alone.

The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center announced earlier this year for the development of a museum complex, which will stretch over an area of 150 hectares, making it one of the world's largest Holocaust memorial centers. A dozen buildings will eventually be erected as part of the complex, including a symbolic synagogue, which was recently completed. Two additional structures, both memorial installations, will be unveiled to coincide with the state commemoration on 6 October.

The "Crystal Wall of Crying," by conceptual and performance artist, Marina Abramović will be one of the biggest art installations constructed in Europe during the last decade. "Kurgan of Memory" will be the first museum building on the site. The architecture takes the shape of a kurgan, a type of tumulus or burial mound raised over a final resting ground, significant to the history of Ukraine .

Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine , Andriy Yermak noted that the state is preparing a significant action plan regarding the 80th anniversary of the Babyn Yar tragedy.

"It is very important for us that after 80 years since this deplorable tragedy took place, and on the 30th year of Ukraine's Independence, President Volodymyr Zelensky has become the one who has finally taken personal control over this issue. And we have really started building the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, the first stage of which will be opened this year."

Yermak said that President Zelensky has established a task force to complete the entire memorial within a few years and start operating as a museum complex.

"Historical justice and historical memory, without which humanity cannot develop, are really very important for Ukraine . This is a global event to emphasize once again that such tragedies should not be repeated. On the other hand, it will once again demonstrate that Ukraine is a country of tolerance, a peaceful country."

Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that the Cabinet of Ministers plans to approve an action plan for the 80th anniversary of the Babyn Yar tragedy as soon as possible. He commented, "Implementation and support of the initiatives to commemorate the events at Babyn Yar is testament to our sadness and awareness of the greatest tragedy on the European continent during the last century."

Human rights activist Natan Sharansky, Chair of the supervisory board of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, told today's briefing, The 80 th anniversary of this dreadful massacre is the ideal opportunity to right an historic wrong, for the sake of Ukraine , the Jewish People and indeed the world. It is a chance to tell the stories of those who were murdered, to honor their memories and to learn the lessons of this terrible tragedy."

Ilya Khrzhanovsky, BYHMC's Artistic Director, who is developing the museum complex along with an international artistic board comprising world renowned architects and artists said, "Our goal is to create a space that makes the history of Babyn Yar close and relevant to anyone, no matter the nation, gender, age or religion. We want people to feel and understand that the story of Babyn Yar is their story, the story of their neighbours, their city, their nation, their world. Babyn Yar is a place of death for many victims - Jews, Roma , Soviet prisoners, psychiatric patients, Ukrainian nationalists, communists. All those who died there must be remembered and commemorated. All of them deserve to have a voice to tell the story of Babyn Yar. In this way, Babyn Yar is a polyphonic story, made up of the many stories of the people who died there, witnesses and survivors, of the tangible, cultural and natural objects that call this history."


Fascism in Ukraine: the conspiracy of silence

These days, the mainstream media does not have much to say about Ukraine. And when Ukraine is mentioned, the main focus tends to be on Ukraine as it relates to the latest American political scandal, rather than on Ukraine itself. Six years ago, the revolt in Kyiv put Ukraine at the top of the news agenda, but now the papers have gone quiet.

This lack of interest in Ukraine is surprising, because Ukraine has some big stories that you would expert journalists to be reporting. The country has been going through a violent upheaval, and the fighting in Ukraine’s eastern region still continues.

Supposedly, the reason for all the bloodshed was to secure Ukraine’s European future? So how’s that project going today? Not well. Ukraine is still a long way from full membership of the European Union, and remains one of Europe’s poorest countries.

The ruins of Donetsk airport, December 2014 (Photo: Wikipedia)

Clearly, Ukraine is not working out. Of course, the nationalist uprising in Kyiv did achieve one of its core objectives: the termination of the old partnership with Moscow. But the uprising also aimed to end corruption in Ukraine and curb the power of the oligarchs. On both counts, Ukraine’s political elite has performed badly. Ukraine’s corruption rating is still poor, while Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s current president, was helped into power by the influential billionaire, Ihor Kolomoisky.

All in all, Ukraine’s “bright future” seems further away than ever, and the biggest losers from Ukraine’s pro-Western course have been the Ukrainian people. But the Western press long ago settled on the story that Vladimir Putin is the big bully, and Ukraine has been cast in the role of his victim.

Because Vladimir Putin is labelled as the bad guy, and criticism of the Ukrainian government is thought to serve his agenda, Ukraine has become a no-go area. The powers that be don’t want to admit how bad things are inside Ukraine, so The Guardian’s “fearless investigative journalists” don’t get to write about it.

Mikhail Bulgakov. During his lifetime, his work was censored by the Soviets. In 2014, the new Ukrainian government banned a TV dramatization of his novel, The White Guard. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Instead, the truth is being swept under the carpet. And the truth is that the nationalist forces that took control of Ukraine are bringing shame on their country. Ukraine has given way to crude nationalistic resentment, to the extent of vandalizing Soviet war memorials and banning books, TV dramas and films. And in its search for new national heroes to replace the Soviet heroes it is rejecting, Ukraine is glorifying the most despicable characters from its fascist past.

The Lviv pogrom, 1941 (Photo: Wikipedia)

The historical background is complicated. In the 1930s, Ukraine was oppressed by the Bolsheviks and millions died of famine. Then, during World War II, the German invasion of the USSR gave Ukrainian nationalists the opportunity to push for independence, in an uneasy alliance with Nazi Germany. By collaborating with Nazi Germany, the Ukrainian nationalists hoped that they would be rewarded with their own Ukrainian state.

As Ukraine fashions a new identity for itself, Ukrainians have been seeking inspiration from Stepan Bandera, Roman Shukhevych and the other Nazi collaborators who piggy-backed on German military victories to advance the Ukrainian nationalist cause.

Torchlit procession of Ukrainian nationalists (Photo: Wikipedia)

The trouble is that these Ukrainian nationalists, who proclaimed statehood in Lviv in 1941, were committed to more than just a tactical alliance with Nazi Germany. Their organization sympathized with Nazi ideas, too.

The Nazis regarded Jews, Poles and Russians as subhuman, and so did Stepan Bandera. The Ukrainian nationalists massacred Poles, perpetrated pogroms and were willing participants in the Holocaust. They even had their own division in the SS, the SS Galicia.

A photo of Stepan Bandera displayed during the Maidan uprising, January 2014 (Photo: Wikipedia)

The dark side of Ukraine’s wartime history has become a point of reference for the new, post-Maidan regime. As monuments to Soviet commanders are demolished, new monuments to Ukrainian fascists are going up.

The Ukrainian government has designated 1st January, Stepan Bandera’s birthday, as a national holiday. Statues of Bandera and Shukhevych have appeared in many cities, and streets are being named after war criminals. Ultranationalist organizations are invited to schools to give children a “patriotic” education. Nazi symbols are openly displayed at concerts and football matches, and antisemitic literature is sold on market stalls.

Meanwhile, monuments commemorating the Holocaust have been desecrated, and synagogues have been attacked.

“Death to the Yids”: graffiti beside a synagogue in Odessa. The sign is a Wolfsangel, a common Nazi symbol. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Old poisons are rising to the surface. The figures openly praised by Ukrainian leaders are the scoundrels and fanatics who threw in their lot with Hitler. The new Ukraine is obsessed with its own national grievances, but it shows little respect for any of the non-Ukrainian victims of history. With its sickly blend of romanticism and self-pity, Ukraine is now a breeding ground for racism and extremism. But this is something the Western press is not yet ready to admit.

Instead, the press has been colluding in a conspiracy of silence and shutting its eyes to the danger. By putting up statues of fascists from the past, Ukraine is giving a green light to fascism today.

Can you spare $1.00 a month to support independent media

Unlike the Guardian we are NOT funded by Bill & Melinda Gates, or any other NGO or government. So a few coins in our jar to help us keep going are always appreciated.

Our Bitcoin JTR code is: 1JR1whUa3G24wXpDyqMKpieckMGGW2u2VX

the vast ignorance is unsurprising (read posts)–pogroms occurred in Ukraine, Poland Georgia—not Russia…of course the Ukrainian language is rarely heard–largely in western central villages—not in cities, except Lviv..since 2014 5 million have sought asylum in Russia…the amerikan coup, one of hundreds produced by USA has reduced Ukraine to a 4th world nation and permanently severed Crimea and likely Novorissiya from Ukraine….when ruling oligarchs listen to amerikans the regret transforms into the need for amerikan military intervention…US military actively funds, trains Nazi battalions Above, Praviya sektor,etc… Ukraine’s largest export today is prostitutes, having lost the most productive industrial areas where coal, steel, locomotives r produced

In this 24 Dec 2019 video, Andrey Vadjra says much the same thing. You might want to watch it in full-screen mode so as to be able to read the English subtitles.

Why the U.S. Democrats need Ukraine

I wonder if your playing Devils Advocate with this essay?

Were the Soviets a better option to the Ukrainian people? I would suggest they were no better an option than to the people of Bulgaria, or other Eastern countries after 1945. Never mind the fact that those red shields were oppressing the Ukraine even earlier.

Today, the MSM is mute for other reasons – primarily quid pro quo Joe and the fact that Soviet loving Oligarchs sponsor most of the agendas if these MSM’s from their perches.

Sponsoring regime change against Mr. Putins’ agenda is what these Oligarchs wished for and in the end they got none of it right. The US failed, the EU gave up. Who won? Russia won and the national movement in the Ukraine won. Now they want change.

Stop with all the Nazi BS from the past. Do you want another Germany with its balls cut off? Whimpering at every turn, being held hostage ?

If the people truly want it then let them have it. Democracy I think its referred to.

Mr.Kolomoisky has perhaps seen the light or shall we say Mr.Putin showed it to him in the form of a check mate. He was first to offer the olive branch in the form of Mr. Zelensky, whom the people democratically ( and rightly so ) elected, over that of many other imbeciles running. The MSM is mute. Its game over for them.

To instill them to “report” would mean they would be reporting against one of their own.

The people of Ukraine are not so stupid. They are trying to sort this as best they can. The Soviet Era had no hero’s for the Ukrainians. The monuments of oppression should have been torn down long ago.

The long disrupted Russo-German alliance has instead mutated into an even bigger EurAsian -EU evolving counter to the now old Anglo 5+1 eyed horror.

The world sighs in relief. As the Westphalian model of robbery of peoples finally bites the dust.

”Stop with all the Nazi BS from the past.”

Yes, that was a rather squalid little episode best kept hushed up, bad PR. It is easy to understand why certain people don’t wish to be reminded of minor little episodes such as the Volhynia massacres with its death toll of and estimated 100,000 Jews, Poles and Russians. These outrages, generally unknown in the west, are still remembered in Tel Aviv and Warsaw.

The trouble is that the descendants of Bandera, Shukhevych et al., are still pursuing the same goals of their murderous predecessors. Biltesky, Paruiby and Yarosh this second neo-nazi generation swagger around Kiev and Lviv generally armed to the teeth. Ukraine is de facto presently ruled by an oligarch-neonazi coalition and your apologia just doesn’t obscure this rather embarrassing fact.

How about stopping with all the neo-nazi BS from the present.

Many horrific anti-Semitic acts took place in Nazi Germany (e.g. Kristallnacht 9-10 November 1938) with the enthusiatic support of people from more or less the same demographic that supports the populist right-wing movements of our day. However, I don’t hear the crass argument that this means all Germans are fascists and always will be. Perhaps the number of Ukranians I know is too small to be representative, but I find them to be balanced, reasonable people who simply aspire to the right to self-determination, which to them means freedom from Russian imperialism. Of course, fascism must be fought wherever it rears its ugly head, but the strength of the far right in the country does not delegitimize the Ukranian people’s wish for self-determination

That coalition is their current way out of a mess that was caused by the same people who sit and judge from afar.

If you really want the Ukrainian people to succeed , then living in the past is not going to solve the present – neither are a bunch of mislead youth gangs who give rise to accusations that will certainly hinder the process further.

My key question still remains the same as the author’s – why are the MSM ignoring all this and its something that I have a thought on in my response – what is your explanation ?

”If you really want the Ukrainian people to succeed , then living in the past is not going to solve the present – neither are a bunch of mislead youth gangs who give rise to accusations that will certainly hinder the process further.”

Looks like I have to make the point again. The present is in the past, or rather a continuation of the past. The re-nazifcation of this failed state continues apace with street-names changed, statues pulled down or erected this is what living in the past looks like. Moreover, the litany of opponents, jailed, tortured, disappeared or ‘liquidated’ as the fashion suits seems in lock-step with past practices of the 1940s. Then comes the belligerent foreign policy made in the Pentagon, taken up with considerable alacrity by Kiev, and obviously aimed at Russia, and it goes without saying, complete subservience to the US – yet another vassal ‘state’ in the service of the US AZ empire. As colour revolutions go the Maidan was a snip at $5 billion, at least according to Victoria Nuland. The notion that this state qua state, is sovereign is frankly ludicrous. It is ruled by an oligarch-neonazi alliance either living in the past and past glories ‘glory to the ukraine’ (sic) and a group of oligarchs simply intent on looting whatever is left of the country.

I wish you luck with the reconstruction.

Your playing both ends, much like the author above.

You have no solution, you really do not care if there is one or not.

Ukraine, according to you, is now a brown shirt state so lets do what ? Generalize and abandon and hate. Just like the people you have disregard for.

Oddly, there seems to be three sides to this affair.

Fascism and Nazism don’t give you any choice. They hate you and want you dead or expelled, so you die or run-or fight. Simple choice. The apologias for true fascist violence are a real feature of the current dominance of the Right in the West.

“failed state”
Your bias is showing

Fascist death-squads, training-grounds for killers from across Europe, are ‘..mislead youth gangs’ are they?

Your side seems to be to excuse what has been happening in Ukraine since February 2014 and to deliberately suggest the current actions of the Ukrainian government and its institutions (the SBU in particular) have no precedent in the actions of the Ukrainian ultranationalists who collaborated with or worked for Nazi Germany and then later the CIA and MI6.

your ignorance is spectacular

Well Yuri care to explain it to me with factual information or shall we just play the game like everyone else. Please I would like to know where my ignorance comes into play.

Seems I have gotten it all wrong.

You’re surprised that the corporate media that supported the fascist violent overthrow of the democratically elected legitimate government of the Ukraine is not critically reporting on the crimes of the fascist regime it helped the US to establish. I would be surprised if the corporate media were pointing out its crimes.

I’m Ukrainian and I just want to say that this is bullshit. Nationalist ideas in Ukraine are no more on the rise than anywhere in the world – that’s just a global trend. But it hasn’t become a dominant ideology. On the contrary, since the revolution of 2013-2014 the situation with minority rights, national or otherwise, has become way, way better than when we were “friends” with Russia, because xenophobia is basically their national idea. For example, we’ve had a successful Kyiv Pride for several years in a row which was impossible to imagine during the pro-Russian president Yanukovich rule. Also Jews and Muslims were a big part of the revolution and many of them are still fighting Russian troops alongside with ethnic Ukrainian people.

And what you’re doing here is spreading Kremlin propaganda. I hope you’re being paid for this at least and not just being a true moron.

Nationalist ideas in Ukraine are no more on the rise than anywhere in the world.

Yes, here in the UK we also have large crowds of young men parading with flags and torches with Nazi emblems, on a regular basis. NOT.

Moslems were involved in the fascist putsch and subsequent death-squad operations in eastern Ukraine, but mostly Chechen jihadists, killer-thugs like the Ukronazi vermin you represent. As for Jews, they would be the oligarchs like Kolomoisky, who own the rapidly depopulating Ukraine dystopia, and control both Zelinsky, the puppet ‘President’, and the Azov and other death-squads.

A few Muslim Tatars, paid for with CIA dirty money, were the only minor problem for the 96% ethnic Russian pro-independence forum in Simferopol. This small Muslim minority have equal social and linguistic rights, like they always did, as a tiny minority in Crimea.

The Maidan Coup of 2014, which at its peak totalled 200,000, represented less than 10% of the population of Kiev, much less the 45 million UA citizens.. Many of the Maiden rioters were Lviv hooligans paid to attend. The self-confessed snipers shooting at everyone were Georgians linked with Saakashvilli, a wanted criminal whom Interpol strangely hasn’t arrested..

Ukraine is now a corrupt Jewish oligarchy owning everything, strangely left untouched by the real-time anti-Semitic mob who are strangely never prosecuted for every crime imaginable.. A basket case, as always..

The Maidan rioters, trained at NATO bases in Poland and Lithuania, were on $25 a day from the US embassy, plus free booze, free drugs, and free prostitutes. All part of Nuland’s $5 billion.

The truth hurts, doesn’t it,’eddie’.

Hang on, eddie. What you said about the Tatars was the truth, then you attacked paul for telling the truth as well. I’m confused.

the Maidan hooligans, trained by NATO in Poland & Lithuania? free booze, dope, pussy?
why don’t you run along, little boy, and cease polluting this site?
this forum went downhill after your drivel arrived

Jeez, eddie-a bit over the top, or what? Off your meds are you?

The thing with lumpen fascists is that they are dumb, pig ignorant and easily manipulated by appeals to hatred.

Yes, things are going so swimmingly in Ukraine that it is now the poorest country in Europe and the country is literally bleeding people as those who want to leave and who are heading west at the rate of 100,000 per month. There are millions working in Russia and Poland quite simply because they can’t make a living in their own bankrupt homeland. The population in 1990 was 52 million, now it is 42 million. That is a demographic disaster in anyone’s language, and it isn’t Russian propaganda. It’s easy enough to check out the figures.

But you do of course have heavily protected gay marches. I think this is called grasping at straws.

There are NO Nazis in Ukraine!
All those people in SS regalia with swastikas are just on their way to a fancy dress party.
And black shirts are de rigueur this year for upwardly mobile middle management.
But there are NO Nazis in Ukraine!!

The reburial of Ukrainian soldiers 14 Waffen-Grenadier-Division SS «Galizien» (World War II)

Celebration and glorification of the establishment of 14 Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS «Galizien» (World War II) http://vk.com/video132487837_171239341 2013-2015

Ukrainians celebrating 75th anniversary of the Nazi SS Galician Division

“War Diary” project | Lvov, Ukraine | April 20th 2018

There’s the real kernel of all Rightist psychopathology-‘ The main thing is to hate’. The rest is commentary.

Ah, but at least the kids are getting some fresh air, and staying fit, doing activities. What’s a little hate between friends ?

Also Jews and Muslims were a big part of the revolution and many of them are still fighting Russian troops alongside with ethnic Ukrainian people.

That is a blatant lie – there are no Russian troops whatsoever in the Ukraine, not even in the Donbass, there never were any. And in view of the openly anti-Semitism expressed by the equally openly neo-Nazi organisations and political parties, as well as battalions, such as Svoboda, Pravy Sektor and Azov, it is highly unlikely that there are any Jews fighting imaginary Russian troops in the Ukraine.

Ooops, the second paragraph should not have been a quote, it is my comment.

I’m giving you a thumb up. This has definitely been one of the best works of sarcasm since the works of Jonathan Swift. Well done.

Andrey Vadjra: Dogma of Ukrainian Neo-Nazism

Andrey Vadjra: Thoughts of Ukrainian Nazism

Andrey Vadjra: The Faces of Ukrainian Nazism

Andrey Vadjra: Political Pedophilia of Ukrainian Neo-Nazism

Sorry, my bad. I’m new here and I thought this was an actual international site. Now I only have one question: how’s the weather in Olgino, dear propaganda professionals? How come you can speak English at even a moderate level? I didn’t think they knew how to teach it in Russia.

And how is the weather in Kiev, dear mendacious professional Banderite propaganda professional?

My command of the Bard’s language is nigh on perfect, I obtained the highest score possible in English Language in my GCSE and GCEAL exams.

Iryna, please explain this to me:

So, to me, and I know I am stepping toes, this is an western created force, using the legitim confusion and anger coming from the Ukrainians as an batling ram where they shamelessly used Ukrainian nationalisis to give the same group, nationalists an bad name, like the Norwegian Brevik, all to paint anyone whom is political conervative and fights for their own people and nation.
Ukraina, well, like Poland, have an history, witch is rearly tuched, but this Nazi yapping is getting tiredsome, and infact an divertion of what happened with Ukraina, before ww2 and the after math when the Comunist ruled their land, and nobody bothers to debate that, but jumps on the Hitleri bandwagon to have an sort of argument.
There is an reason for the pereverted onesidedness in our “eminet” MSM, witch screams and whines everytime an someone paints an swastica on whatever and anyone whom is for the Palestinians as an anti-semit and if you are against Globalism you are an neo-nazi but somehow, the same press, dont tuch the Orcs, huh, do you even know why, I know, but do you.

What many wont debate is, do the ukrainians have an reason, we may all be agreeing on certain actions witch will by everybody sees and evil, buring women and chilren alive, you cant fall lower as an human, but why, and nobody is willing to debate the centurys before, to me, the Nazi thing is an made up psy-op, created by Zionists, and then what the hell are we infact watching when they march, when they have been run by the very same oligarcs that are Jewish, armed and founded this so called Nazis, they are controlled oposition, nothing more or less, but do they represent average Ukrainians, no, but their hate against Russia comes from been occupyed and the Jewish, witch have an much longer history, from both Ukraina and Poland is never debated, and people wounder why the hate sticks so deep.

Again, this is not about legitimising the atrocitys, dont even try that against me, it dont work, but what I say is this, present Russia, have nothing to do with what was in the past, thats where the Psy-op comes in, like the hate Norwegian rightwingers have against the Russians, for reasons that have everything to do with been pimped full of idiot propaganda coming from the western MSM witch we all know about, coming from Yankikestan, I am one of the few whom have an reason for hating Russia, but I dont, because its not the presents cause, some aspects, yes, but not about the past, the sole reason for me to “attack” Russia is because they hide the past, lies about most of the events, and the reasons, and the sole problem lies in whom had the power, the Jews, Bolshewiks, they where behind the plundering of My peoples homeland, etc, and the Ukrainians have an much longer history of controverses, fights, economic issues, land thefts, usury, etc, aka treated like shit, with an upper class mainly consisting of Jews, and thats where Poland is to day, after lived with propaganda about WW1 and WW2 they to have realised something in the past is way out of line, and most is flatout lies to hide centurys of crimes comitted against this respective people but NOBODY is willing to take that debate, instead we end up with an hole bunch of total nonsense witch to an certain degree is justifyable but never the less an divertion.

I can understand them, not the Orcs armys the western backeed as to have an pack of idiots waving Nazi reliqvias, but the history is not what you know, and that is what is coming up this days, and to me, I am afraid its been taken into an direction that will damage more than anything than doing any good, and Ukraina must be more honest, repent and lett grown ups look into the past.
And again, mutch of the history, also from WW2 can be taken with an truck load of salt, period.
I feel more pity with the Ukrainians and Polaks, and hopes they realise that germany and europeans in general are as much victims as they are, and to round it up, everything, or must of what YOU debate regarding WW2 and Hitler is 100% bollocks, what some did was to take advantages of an period of turmoil and war, and in that sense, both nations, Poland and Ukraina have their own atrocitys comitted, nobody denies that.
The truth, will come, and I hope this will reflect the future.
WW2 was started by France, Britain and the UssA, with the estern Sovjet, and again, everything you know is lies, and why did France attack and invaded Germany in 39, I bet most of you dont even know that, and how to then debate what happened in other regions.
Finland was attacked because of Stalin, to have an bridgehead into Germany and Europa from the North.
And like in other imperial wars this days, its about resources, we had Nikel, an hughe cash machine even to day, and thats why, we where thrown out, even when we didnt do anything, and was replaced with Russians, is that what, and then in the Norway, the racial Eugenic program meant for people like me, was ended just 30 years ago, and when I was an child, Finnish language was forbidden, did you know that
Have an nice day.


This article answers the most frequent questions about the systems of government around the globe, Ukraine’s form of government, its weaknesses and strengths. What is wrong with Ukraine’s system of government and should it be reformed?

Author: Rostyslav Averchuk

The quality of the country’s political life and its form of governance often figure in the discussions of possible ways to improve the economic and social situation in Ukraine. The forthcoming presidential and, later, parliamentary elections add relevance to the question as to what system of government is most appropriate for Ukraine. Many leading politicians have expressed an intention to modify the Constitution and change the country’s system of government yet again.

In order to make it easier to assess the variety of differing proposals, this article provides brief answers to the most common questions about the systems of government in Ukraine and around the globe.

1. What systems of government are there?

Based on how constitutional powers are divided within and between the executive and the legislature, political scientists usually differentiate between the presidential, parliamentary, and semi-presidential systems (or forms) of government (Source: Åberg and Sedelius (2016)). A system is presidential if the people elect the president that then appoints and can dissolve the government (with little or no involvement of the parliament). If the government (the cabinet of ministers) is accountable only to the parliament (i.e. if its “survival“ depends on the legislature), while the formal head of the state is a monarch or an indirectly elected president, the system is a parliamentary one. If the people elect the president yet the government is accountable to the parliament, the system is classified as semi-presidential. Importantly, semi-presidential systems can be premier-presidential (also known as parliamentary-presidential) or presidential-parliamentary, depending on who plays the key role in appointing and dissolving the government.

Parliamentary and presidential systems are the most common ones (in place in about 65 and 50 states, respectively). European constitutional monarchies and some former British colonies are parliamentary systems, while the Unites States and many countries in Latin America, Central Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa are presidential ones. Presidential-parliamentary states (21) are located in Africa, some post-Soviet countries and in the Middle East. Parliamentary-presidential systems (31) are particularly common in France, some African and many Central-Eastern European countries, including Ukraine.

This classification does not cover all the countries. For example, many countries of the Arab Peninsula are absolutist monarchies, some countries (like Bosnia and Herzegovina) have uniquely designed systems, while others may be close to a parliamentary or presidential system yet share some of the features of the other system (without falling under the “semi-presidential” category). Being classified as one of the four main types does not necessarily mean that the country is a democracy where constitutional provisions are followed all or most of the time. For instance, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit, the presidential-parliamentary Russia and the presidential Venezuela are authoritarian states. However, even in these nondemocratic states political institutions and the constitutionally defined system of government may play a role.

2. Is there one best system of government?

* - from The Economist Intelligence Unit. ** - the latest values of the Presidential Powers Index (according to Doyle and Elgie) for Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Georgia are unavailable due to relatively recent constitutional reforms there

No form of government is indisputably the best one. They all have their limitations and strengths. Their impact is also modified by other elements of the political mechanism, such as electoral rules and party systems. Political scientists continue trying to determine the impact that various forms of government may have on a country’s economic and social development.

Earlier, presidential systems were believed to be particularly unreliable, since they were thought to involve excessive concentration and personalization of power, foster conflicts within the government and between the executive and the parliament, and to bring incompetent people into power, etc.

Other forms of government, however, also have certain limitations. For example, parliamentary systems that are conducive to one party parliamentary majorities usually ensure more resolute government actions but may concentrate even more power in the hands of the head of the executive branch and exclude the political interests of minorities. Parliamentary systems with multi-party coalitions are better at taking into account the diversity of interests and demands in society, but make it harder to create an efficient government. Semi-presidential systems provide for the mechanisms of reciprocal control among the president, the prime minister and the parliament, but they may combine the drawbacks of the presidential and the parliament systems and cause frequent political conflicts around the division of powers.

It is an undeniable fact though that the presence of presidential and presidential-parliamentary forms of government in post-Soviet countries correlates with excessive concentration of power, suppression of political competition and decline of democracy. Many leading experts argue that vesting too much power in the office of the president — especially in post-authoritarian society with no traditions of checks and balances — prevents the buildup of independent political parties and impedes the development of parliamentarism.

At the same time, one should be cautious when drawing conclusions about the direction of the causal relationship between the system of government and the regime’s performance. It is very hard to separate the influence of the system of government from other potentially important factors. For example, it has turned out that non-institutional factors, such as the political activity of military forces or geopolitical considerations, were largely responsible for the failure of presidential systems in Latin America and other regions. Against the backdrop of the economic and political instability in such countries as Chile, Mexico, and Argentina, the military developed the sense of political responsibility and thus repeatedly took power in the course of the 20th century. Having met with the conceived threat of the spread of leftist ideas in the region in the aftermath of the Cuban revolution, the United States turned a blind eye to numerous coups and sometimes played a certain part, economically and diplomatically, in the efforts to replace a regime.

Certain “political education” may also occur. For example, as time went by and rules were adjusted, the presidential systems in Latin American states became more stable. Previously, the hyperactivity and “messianism” of presidents went along with relatively weak powers. When a president was opposed by their parliaments, this often led to the paralysis of the state mechanism and long periods of confrontation, coups and military dictatorships. Therefore, e.g. in Brazil, in order to prevent this from happening again, presidential powers were expanded in 1988. Some difficulties persisted over the next few years, but the presidents eventually became more efficient in using the tools in their disposal and building coalitions in parliament. Coalition building policies generates some specific problems of their own, but allow presidents to implement their electoral promises without running into opposition all the time. Conflicts tend to occur less frequently and their consequences are less threatening to the regime’s stability.

One can also argue over whether it is the form of government in post-Soviet countries that has led to concentration of power in states with a strong president or, on the contrary, the respective form of government was chosen by politicians in those states where power had already been sufficiently concentrated and check and balances week. This point will be discussed later, but it is likely that both perspectives are to some extent correct.

3. What system of government does Ukraine have and how is it unique?

3.1. On February 21, 2014, Verkhovna Rada voted for a return to the premier-presidential form of government, which had also been in place earlier, in 2006-2010. Under that system, a parliamentary coalition appoints and dismisses the head of the cabinet and its ministers.

At the same time, Ukraine’s head of state retains a number of powers that separate him/her from other presidents of countries with a premier-presidential form of government. The president submits to the Verkhovna Rada the names of candidates for the positions of minister of defense and minister of foreign affairs, heads of the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Security Service. He also has a decisive influence on the appointment of the heads of regional (oblast and rayon) administrations, as well as a strong veto power (2/3 of votes needed to overrule it), and can suspend government decrees until the Constitutional Court checks its constitutionality, etc.

It is probable that Ukraine’s president has stronger constitutional powers than any other president does in the countries with the same form of government. While formally Ukraine’s president does not belong to the executive branch of powers, he/she is in charge of some sort of a parallel executive system. The strong veto power alone enables the president to take an active part in the legislative process.

Therefore, it is not surprising that Ukraine’s president, if supported by the majority in the parliament, while relying on a number of constitutional instruments and carrying the symbolic weight of being a popularly elected political leader, plays a much more significant role than provided for in Ukraine’s current premier-presidential Constitution.

3.2. Ukraine is not the only premier-presidential system where the president wields considerable influence. In France, the president holds a leading role in politics despite very limited constitutional powers if his/her political party wins the parliamentary majority, which is what usually happens. If he does not have the parliamentary majority backing him (which in fact only happened twice during the 70 years since the adoption of the 1958 Constitution), then the relevant provisions of the Constitution come into force and the executive power shifts to the prime minister and the political forces that support him/her in the parliament.

However, France’s arrangement persists due to certain political traditions as well as a specific electoral system — which provides for a small number of factions in the parliament and ‘punishes’ relatively radical political parties. For example, although the National Front’s Marine Le Pen received 21.3% of votes in the first round of the 2017 presidential elections, her political party, known for its eurosceptic and socially conservative attitudes, won only 7 out of the 577 seats in the lower chamber of the parliament.

Yet the institutional restrictions on the presidential authority in Ukraine do seem to work. The powers and the influence of the president are weaker than they were under the former presidential-parliamentary model (1996-2006 and 2010-2014). Meanwhile legitimate concern regards the compliance with the constitutional procedure during the formation of the coalition and the Cabinet of Ministers after the resignation of Arseniy Yatsenyuk's government in April 2016.

In any case, the stable balance of the distribution of power has not been achieved so far in Ukraine’s political system, which is perhaps not surprising in view of how frequently the rules of political competition have been changing.

4. How and why was the presidential office created in Ukraine?

When an attempt is made to explain the reasons for choosing a particular form of government in any given country, historical, cultural, or functional explanations usually fare worse than a simple principle: those who are confident of gaining power try to maximize it, while others try to reduce the risks of concentration of power in someone else’s hands (see, e.g. Frye 1997). Therefore, while any borrowings from domestic history or from other countries’ experience do play a certain role, they are substantially modified.

The introduction of the presidency in Ukraine may have been influenced both by the example from Moscow and by considerations of Ukrainian leaders. Mikhail Gorbachev, the last General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR, was the first to bring the idea of establishing the presidency back into the political discourse. He established the post of president (of the USSR) to obtain an independent political footing in the midst of the struggle with the leaders of the Communist Party. Later, Boris Yeltsin resorted to a similar logic. The most popular Russian politician at the time, he hoped that the presidency (in Russia) would make him less dependent on the communist majority in the Russian parliament and would reinforce his position in the confrontation with Gorbachev. Yeltsin succeeded in establishing the office by a popular vote though a referendum, yet the parliament made sure the president would have only very limited powers. It was only in 1993, after the armed suppression of the parliamentary resistance, that Yeltsin used his now undisputed real power to codify substantial constitutional powers, which later contributed to the creation of a super-presidential system in Russia.

By contrast, for example, in Belarus the office of president was created only in 1994. As Timothy Frye explains in his article, for a long period, no politician was popular and influential enough to be sure he would win potential presidential elections. Hence, nobody wanted to vest the lion’s share of power in a single office. The presidential office was nevertheless established later and granted considerable executive powers. However, the parliament protected itself by not empowering the president to dissolve it and restricting its veto power.

In Ukraine, the Constitution of the Ukrainian SSR was amended to create the presidential office on July 5, 1991, even before the parliament voted in favor of the country’s independence. Leonid Kravchuk, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of UkrSSR and arguably the most popular politician at the time, headed the commission entrusted with the drafting of the Concept of the new Constitution. Establishing an office with considerable authority outside the parliament was likely to make him less dependent on the parliament. Many representatives of the People’s Rukh and other democratic forces also hoped the president would be better able to escape the control by the communist majority in parliament and to be able to resolutely guide the required economic and social transformation.

However, neither Kravchuk nor the Rukh members had enough weight in the parliament to “push through” considerable presidential powers. The parliament agreed to establish the office of president only after securing control over his/her actions and ensuring significant barriers to his/her influence. Therefore, while the president did become the head of the executive branch, he/she had to get the approval of the Verkhovna Rada of their nominees for the positions of prime minister and some of the ministers for approval. The president lacked the power to dissolve the Rada and had rather limited appointment powers.

5. How have the president’s constitutional role and the system of government changed over the past 27 years?

In Ukraine, the drafting of the Constitution began as early as on October 24, 1990, when the respective commission was created, headed by Leonid Kravchuk. However, the balance of powers remained undetermined for a long time, while the struggle and negotiations around it continued. In June 1995, Leonid Kuchma pushed through a temporary Constitutional Treaty with the Verkhovna Rada, which was approved by a simple majority (240 MPs). The treaty significantly expanded the presidential powers. In particular, the president no longer required the immediate consent of the Verkhovna Rada for the appointment of the prime minister and the ministers (the Rada was to vote on the program of the government two months after its appointment). Appointment powers also expanded as the president obtained the right to submit for approval by the parliament his nominees for a number of posts, such as the Prosecutor General and the Chairperson of the Board of the National Bank of Ukraine. One year later, faced with the threat of the nationwide referendum on the adoption of the Constitution, the parliament did adopt the Constitution of Ukraine. The Constitution secured most of the presidential powers provided for by the Constitutional Treaty, yet the MPs succeeded in preserving the shared accountability of the Cabinet of Ministers to the Verkhovna Rada and the President. The presidential-parliamentary form of government was thus established in Ukraine.

The switch to the premier-presidential system in December 2004 happened in the wake of the Orange Revolution. The consent of the new President Viktor Yushchenko to a reduced scope of authority was probably one of the conditions the incumbents set forward in exchange to agreeing to a transition of power. The new Constitution came into force one year later, in 2006, but the inevitability of losing much of his constitutional power probably affected Yushchenko’s rule during the first year of his presidency.

One of the first political decisions that Yanukovych made in 2010 was to reinstate the 1996 Constitution through the Constitutional Court in order concentrate power and prevent even a hypothetical challenge from the prime minister and the parliament.

Therefore, the decision of the Verkhovna Rada to return to the premier-presidential Constitution of 2004 immediately after Yanukovych had fled from Ukraine is easy to understand. It implemented one of the demands of the Euromaidan, established a check against the concentration of power and signaled the rejection of Yanukovych’s policies.

6. Do the constitutional provisions that determine the system of government matter in the country with a weak rule of law?

As already mentioned, the choice of a particular system of government in itself reflects, to a certain extent, the existing balance of powers in the political system. Moreover, in a society with no rule of law formal rules are often foregone in favor of personal connections. Is it not naive to hope that constitutional provisions will have an essential impact on the behavior of politicians who routinely neglect or manipulate the law? The brief answer is no. There are good reasons to think that rules are often important even under such unfavorable conditions.

The very fact of frequent changes of the formal balance of powers and the struggle around them, as in the aforementioned examples from Ukrainian history, show that the institutions do have an influence. Informal political processes coexist with formal ones but do not replace them.

Henry Hale further argues that premier-presidential systems of government function differently from president-parliamentary or presidential systems even when formal constitutional provision hardly seem to influence actual politics.

Hale writes, “Presidentialist constitutions have their effect not so much because they are “followed” as because (all other things being equal) they signal that whichever patronalistic network captures presidential office is likely to be the most powerful one in the country and make the occupant of the presidency a singular focal point for elite coordination. Such signals better enable the president to set informal rules and practices and to selectively give life to formal rules that other networks must acknowledge or risk political or economic isolation, creating a strong tendency to single-pyramid politics. Conversely, divided-executive constitutions complicate this process, creating uncertainty as to which network will be dominant and incentivizing rivalry among networks based in top state executive offices, primarily the presidency and the premiership, a process that tends to promote political opening”.

As an example, Hale considers the contrasting political developments in the aftermath of the “color revolutions” in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. In both countries, two leaders that were backed by patronalistic networks of approximately equal strength obtained the positions of president and prime minister respectively. In Kyrgyzstan, the presidential group used its clear constitutional advantage within the presidential-parliamentary system and quickly consolidated power. The political system organized itself around a single pyramid again, and the prime minister lost any political support.

By contrast, after the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the parliamentary-presidential Constitution made it harder to consolidate power around a single political center. It is enough to recall that Viktor Yushchenko dissolved the Verkhovna Rada when, after the defection of a number of deputies from other factions, the coalition led by the Party of the Regions got close to gaining the constitutional majority. 2006-2010 thus became the only period in the history of Ukraine when, in spite of all the highly public political conflicts, international organizations recognized it as a democracy.

7. What is wrong with Ukraine’s system of government?

Figure 6. Some deficiencies of the system of government in Ukraine

The division of the executive power between two political institutions of approximately equal strength and the resulting uncertainty around the separation of powers often leads to conflicts between their leaders (the president and the prime minister) as well as between the president and the parliament. Internal political strife reached its peak during Yushchenko's presidency and probably weakened the government’s ability to counteract the raging financial crisis. Conflicts become especially pronounced in the absence of a pro-presidential majority in parliament, but even otherwise the separate institutional basis for the prime minister’s authority encourages tensions between the prime minister and the president. The fact that Ukraine’s president retains particularly significant powers further contributes to conflicts.

Political instability is detrimental to the level of trust that people have in the democratic political institutions and the state as a whole. A recent study found that semi-presidential varieties of the form of government have a negative impact on the level of confidence in the government and the parliament, which can have a further negative impact on the stability of young democracies. Looking back at the recent history of Ukraine, it is not surprising that Yanukovych's decision to return to the 1996 Constitution met no significant resistance, as the population was sick and tired of political strife after years of highly public conflicts between President Yushchenko and Prime Ministers Tymoshenko and Yanukovych.

It is possible that certain political traditions and expectations can develop over time and that more skillful politicians will help avoid conflicts. At present, however, research indicates that conflicts do not become less frequent over time in semi-presidential systems. The problem thus persists and is grounded in institutions.

The duality of executive power also raises the issue of accountability. If the division of powers is unclear, who is ultimately responsible for the government’s performance? A blurred division of responsibilities makes it harder for voters to hold politicians accountable.

Another problem is the lack of transparency as to the president's role in coalition-making. The president’s involvement in the process is not regulated in any way — and so there is ample room for informal exchange of political services in a patrimonial political system. Hence suspicions abound about the nature of the tools that the president uses to gain parliamentary support.

8. What do Ukrainian politicians offer?

Most of Ukraine’s leading politicians expressed, in greater or smaller detail, their views. Yulia Tymoshenko proposed to introduce a parliamentary republic of the “chancellor type” in which the winning party would receive a guaranteed absolute majority of parliamentary seats. The office of president will be abolished and its functions will be divided between the de-facto popularly elected prime minister (the leader of the winning party) and the “collective president” formed by a group of “moral leaders”.

The People's Front, represented by Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Arsen Avakov, has suggested that the premier-presidential system should be preserved but presidential powers, such as the right to appoint (with the Rada’s approval) the ministers of defense and of international affairs, should be significantly curtailed. Samopomich leaders also call for an increased role of the parliament within a reformed premier-presidential system. Oleh Lyashko and Anatoliy Hrytsenko have both spoken out in favor of the presidential form of government. Petro Poroshenko has so far offered no change to the existing constitutional balance of powers between the executive and the legislature.

9. Should Ukraine change its form of government?

The evident faults of the current system invite conversations about the need to reform it. Yet the weaknesses of a system are always plain to see, while its strengths can go unnoticed. For example, mass popular protests against an unpopular president took place twice under the previous presidential-parliamentary system in Ukraine. Under the current system, if the president becomes highly unpopular, it is more likely that the politician will cede real power to the Cabinet and/or the parliament — and the conflict will be resolved within the political system, thus avoiding potentially unpredictable and destabilizing effects.

We can only guess what else would have happened if the existing system were different. Moreover, the very fact that changes occur quite frequently leads to a certain cynicism about the rules. Certain political education may also take place over time, when political actors come to increasingly accept formal provisions as binding rules and, possibly, make them function more smoothly by complementing (yet not replacing) them with certain informal, yet widely accepted, traditions or informal rules. Finally, any system of government cannot be considered in isolation from other elements of the political system, such as the party system, the electoral system, the degree of the decentralization of political decision-making etc.

This is why, unsurprisingly, political scientists hold differing opinions as to whether it is necessary to change Ukraine’s system of government. You can read more on this here on VoxUkraine.

We believe in the power of words and that ideas have the main impact. VoxUkraine gatherers the best economists and help them to deliver their ideas to tens thousands of Ukrainians. Content VoxUkraine is free (and always will be free), we don’t sell ads and we don’t make lobbyism. For do more research, create new influenced projects and publish more quality articles we need clever people and money. We have people! Support VoxUkraine. Together we will do more!


A brief history of corruption in Ukraine: the dawn of the Zelensky era

Volodymyr Zelensky (president.gov.ua)

Volodymyr Zelensky’s inauguration as Ukraine’s sixth president on May 20, 2019 was as unorthodox as his profile as a presidential candidate. A political novice, he had made his name and his fortune as a comedian, actor and television personality. And for his debut as chief executive, he decided to infuse some drama and a little slapstick into politics.

Zelensky walked to the parliament building to take the oath of office, saluting and high-fiving his fans along the way, even taking selfies with them. He had a broad smile on his face his body language exuded elation. At one point he jumped up to kiss the bald head of an old friend from his comedy troupe.

“ My election proves that our citizens are tired of the experienced, pompous machine politicians who over the 28 years [of independence], have created a country of opportunities – the opportunities to bribe, steal and pluck the resources ,” Zelensky said in his inaugural address.

“We will build a country of other opportunities – one where all are equal before the law and where all the rules are honest and transparent, the same for everyone,” he said. And then, to the utter shock of onlookers inside the Verkhovna Rada, and awe of the crowds outside and watching on television, Zelensky dismissed the parliament and announced new elections.

Zelensky’s presidential campaign was a string of performances by his comedy troupe. In outlining his vision, his political program read somewhat like a television script.

“I will tell you about the Ukraine of my dreams. It’s the Ukraine where the only shots are fireworks at weddings and birthday parties. It’s a Ukraine where it only takes an hour to start a business, it takes 15 minutes to get a passport and it takes a second to vote in elections, via the Internet. [. ] Where doctors and teachers receive real salaries – and corrupt officials real jail time where it is the Carpathian forests that are untouchable, not members of parliament,” the program stated .

He could not have wished for a better result in the ensuing July 21 legislative elections. Zelensky’s new and haphazardly minted party, Servant of the People – named for his television show, in which he plays a reformist president – secured 254 seats in the 423-seat Verkhovna Rada, creating a single party majority for the first time in Ukraine’s history. In its very first session, the parliament appointed a 35-year-old technocrat, Oleksiy Honcharuk, as prime minister.

At that point, Zelensky enjoyed a 70 percent approval rating and Ukraine had the youngest president in its history (41-years-old), the youngest parliament (average age of 41), the youngest prime minister (35) and the youngest cabinet in Europe (average age of 39). The new cabinet was also quickly dubbed “the most liberal” in Ukraine’s history, and government leaders pledged 40 percent GDP growth over five years.

Oksana Markarova, the finance minister, said at the time that she felt Ukraine was “either on the verge of an epic breakthrough or an epic failure.”

Zelensky generally received plaudits for his first 100 days in office. But now, just over a year into his presidency, it is becoming painfully clear for many that the breakthrough scenario is not playing out.

The Kolomoisky challenge

One of the biggest questions about Zelensky has been his connection with Igor Kolomoisky, a prominent oligarch currently worth about $1 billion.

Kolomoisky controls multiple assets across various sectors in Ukraine, including heavy industry, oil and gas, media, ferrous metals and chemicals, agriculture and air transport. In the years prior to Zelensky’s presidency, Kolomoisky feared prosecution in Ukraine and resided in Switzerland and Israel.

Kolomoisky’s media empire supported Zelensky during the election and the two have had a close business and personal connection since 2012, when Zelensky’s company, Kvartal 95, signed a contract with Kolomoisky’s media holding, 1+1, for the production of sitcoms and films, most notably a comedy show also called Kvartal 95.

Kolomoisky has publicly acknowledged that he has continued to talk via telephone with Zelensky since his election, albeit “rarely.” During a televised debate two days before the vote, Zelensky vowed Kolomoisky would not get any preferential treatment during his presidency: “If Kolomoisky breaks the law, he will go to jail,” he said.

Kolomoisky’s luck seemed to turn in 2019 following Zelensky’s election. He returned home from exile and started winning a series of court cases related to the nationalization of PrivatBank, which he owned until 2016.

There are more than 400 suits and countersuits related to PrivatBank in multiple jurisdictions, including Ukraine, the UK, Israel, the U.S. and Switzerland, where the bank’s new management is trying to prove large-scale fraud and obtain compensation from the oligarch and his multiple companies. In turn, Kolomoisky is claiming $2 billion from Ukraine for what he considers an unlawful nationalization, or to grant him shares in a new, recapitalized bank. The National Bank has spent $5.5 billion propping up PrivatBank.

Meanwhile, Valeriya Gontareva, a former governor of the National Bank who is widely credited for cleaning up the sector, has experienced a string of traumatic episodes , including a strange hit-and-run traffic incident in London, arson attacks against her country home outside Kyiv and her daughter-in-law’s car in Kyiv, and a sudden search of her apartment by unidentified masked law enforcers in Kyiv. She has blamed Kolomoisky for her woes, but he has denied any involvement.

Unresolved issues surrounding PrivatBank clouded relations between Ukraine and the International Monetary Fund, whose financial assistance Kyiv badly needs. The fund preliminarily agreed to extend a fresh aid package in December 2019 but conditioned the money on Ukraine’s passage of legislation that would prevent former bank owners from challenging nationalizations and receiving compensation. It was swiftly dubbed the “anti-Kolomoisky law” in Ukraine.

Zelensky dragged his feet on the bill, and eventually had to make deals with other oligarchs, including his predecessor Petro Poroshenko and Ukraine’s richest man Rinat Akhmetov to see it passed in parliament with their help because part of his own faction, particularly the MPs with ties to Kolomoisky , tried to sabotage the bill. One of their tactics included filing more than 16,000 amendments to the bill, which would take more than half a year to debate if regular parliamentary procedure was applied.

“Zelensky sold himself as a fighter of oligarchs. He only had to take on one oligarch, but he had to align himself with others,” Tim Ash, a London-based emerging markets strategist from BlueBay Asset Management, said at an online conference on May 6. The IMF ultimately approved a $5 billion assistance package for Ukraine earlier this month.

Backsliding reforms

Zelensky’s ties to Kolomoisky seem to be just part of the challenge. The widespread public enthusiasm that accompanied Zelensky’s election is dissipating and reforms on multiple fronts are stalling. While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly upended plans, old patterns can also be seen in recent developments.

In early March, just before the pandemic started dominating news, Zelensky and his parliamentary majority drastically overhauled the cabinet. The nation’s youngest and most liberal government in history was replaced by more seasoned officials, some of whom had held senior jobs before, but failed to implement reforms. “The cabinet reshuffle was a disaster, there is no other way to describe it,” said Ash.

More disasters followed as the government struggled to deal with the pandemic. Initially, the government was unable to start national-level procurement of tests, ventilators and protective gear because the new health minister, Ilya Yemets, refused to sign off on the purchases until the national company set up specially for the purpose, Medical Procurement of Ukraine, appointed his recommended candidate as deputy director. The candidate, it turned out, had a criminal record for several instances of shoplifting, in which he was accused of stealing candy bars, canned cod liver, cheese, red caviar, cured meat, and a pot lid from a supermarket.

Yemets was replaced after only 26 days in his post, along with a colleague from the Finance Ministry, for ineffectiveness.

His successor, Maksym Stepanov, also made missteps, sabotaging the first competitive tender to buy protective suits for medical workers. Instead of buying suits at $9 apiece from a Ukrainian producer, he signed off on a non-competitive bid for similar Chinese suits at twice the price, imported through a Ukrainian intermediary company. The scheme that was widely condemned as corrupt and parliament’s anti-corruption committee ordered an audit of the Health Ministry.

The Poroshenko administration had taken steps to reform the medical procurement process, but as the COVID-related procurement debacles underscored, those measures were not entirely effective in altering influential officials’ behavior.

On May 4, Zelensky criticized healthcare reform as well, and Ukrainian media reported that he was preparing to reverse stage two of the reform process, which had launched on April 1. Stage-two reforms had been designed to channel funding to specialized clinics based on new metrics measuring quality of care and popularity among patients, rather than simpler criteria that had governed the process, such as number of beds and doctors.

Elsewhere, Economy and Agriculture Minister Ihor Petrashko said that the national e-procurement system ProZorro was “weird” because it did not prioritize Ukrainian producers and instead picked tender winners by price. His statement made several anti-corruption watchdogs sound an alarm , fearing that the system, which saves Ukraine an estimated 10 percent of the national procurement budget, might also be meddled with.

Zelensky has continued sacking newcomers on the reform scene. Many of those now departing are government officials who came to the civil service from the private sector through competitive procedures and were tasked to clean up their respective institutions, including the prosecutor’s office, the tax service and customs. As replacements for these and other senior posts, Zelensky is appointing seasoned politicians with sketchy pasts, including a some who were lustrated in the aftermath of the Euromaidan Revolution in 2014. Yemets, the fleeting minister of health, is a case in point: Prior to his appointment by Zelensky, he had served in the same position in the notoriously corrupt Yanukovych administration .

Reforms of the courts, police and the State Security Service have also stalled – bad news for a country where the justice system is often called the main obstacle for the country’s political and economic development.

On top of that, Zelensky’s new government drained money from local budgets to shore up the national budget. This move poses a risk to a reform initiative that empowers municipal government by decentralizing budgetary spending. The new budget also cut back planned revenues from privatization, suggesting that the large-scale sale of state property, which the previous liberal cabinet pushed, might also get paused.

The start of a land reform that would allow for the limited sale of agricultural land and which was one of Zelensky’s significant legislative achievements, was postponed until the summer 2021 in part because of compromises that had to be made in parliament before the final vote.

In yet another troubling development, Zelensky’s new Prosecutor General, Iryna Venediktova , appointed after the government reshuffle in March, amended the composition of a commission that vets prosecutors, throwing out independent and international experts. Civil society activists feared the move would stifle any chances for reform of the prosecutorial system.

Investigative journalist Oleksa Shalayskiy said that the first year of Zelensky’s presidency could be divided into two distinct eras: the first coinciding with the Honcharuk Cabinet, and the second with the government led by Denys Shmyhal , who took over as premier in March.

“Tactical steps did not discourage entrepreneurs, and top-level corruption decreased to an acceptable level. The real disruption happened during the reset of the executive branch,” Shalayskiy wrote on his Facebook page in May.

Despite numerous policy hiccups, Zelensky retains a relatively strong measure of popularity. According to data gathered by the Kyiv Institute of Sociology in June, about 38 percent of Ukrainians would still vote for Zelensky – a far cry from the support he had a year ago, but still much higher than any other politician in Ukraine. It’s worth noting, however, that Zelensky’s support stood at 43 percent in April, according to the institute’s data.

Does popular support mean Zelensky will fight corruption?

Zelensky, like most of Ukraine’s previous presidents, made the fight to contain corruption a central element of his campaign. And like his predecessors, he is falling short in fulfilling his promises.

“His heart is in the right place, he wants to change things. But Zelensky doesn’t really understand what is required for systemic reform,” said Ash, the economist.

Zelensky’s reform approach, along with his personnel choices, has seemed haphazard and often driven by polls. Civil society activists contend that such methods are the opposite of what is needed to achieve success in anti-corruption efforts for a country like Ukraine, where graft is wily, endemic and perpetuated by entrenched elites.

Some recent moves made by Zelensky and his government might actually serve to stimulate corruption. One new rule, for example, limits state salaries for civil servants and top management of state-owned companies to just $1,700 per month for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. The move has generated widespread criticism for alienating well-intentioned professionals who would like to help clean up the system.

In his popular TV series, Servant of the People, Zelensky played the role of a president who is spotlessly clean and relentlessly fights corruption. Zelensky’s supporters are still hoping to see more of that television character in real life. But given the flagging record of his first year, and with four years left in his term, many are starting to worry that Zelensky’s presidency may not have a happy ending in which all the loose ends are tied up.

Katya Gorchinskaya is a journalist and media manager in Ukraine. Twitter: @kgorchinskaya

Sign up for Eurasianet's free weekly newsletter. Support Eurasianet: Help keep our journalism open to all, and influenced by none.


Watch the video: Ρόλος στη νέα κυβέρνηση της Ουκρανίας για τον αρχηγό των Νεοναζί (September 2022).

Video, Sitemap-Video, Sitemap-Videos