Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
NATO update. Russia lays down two more Gorshkov-Class FFGs – as they retire most larger surface combatants. Belarus update – POL crisis expands – if it was sabotage Russia has been successful but will accelerate Lukashenko’s intended transition to non-Russian crude, plus iSANS report. Notably, the architects of the Ukraine invasion in 2014, Surkov and Glazyev, have been pulled away from Ukraine to work Belarus. A dozen reports on Russia’s ongoing descent – the regime has truly disconnected itself from reality and cares not about the domestic instability it is creating, as it pours kerosene on every smoldering ember across the Empire.
Fifty articles and tweets, from Ukrainian and Western sources, on the Vozhd’s Donbas passport decree (eq. Exec Order). Criticisms by State, Sen Inhofe of SASC, Amb Volker, EU, UK, and all significant players in Ukraine – Pres-elect Ze’s statement has been widely propagated by Western media. Given the immense popularity of Ze in the Western media and political circles, the timing of the decree could not have been more foolish, as the media have like a global megaphone propagated everything said by both Ze and Pres Poroshenko, wrecking more of the Russian propaganda tropes embedded in the minds of clueless Western media players. Needless to say, even Western media could figure out this was a play to test Ze and see how he copes with a headache.
The appropriate Western response is actually to provide Ukraine with a few billion dollars worth of free lethal military aid in a short timeframe like the next few months – gear that further pushes up the cost of any Russian military action. Minsk and Ukraine-NATO updates, and a selection of Russian propaganda, including the Vozhd’s comments on the decree.
Donbas and industry updates.
The Rada passed the long-debated language bill, that is a major blow to Russian agendas for displacing Ukrainian with Russian. Zakharova has already produced a tirade of complaints. Ze stated he will review the legislation, notably, it has already been reviewed by numerous entities outside the parliament. Politics reports mostly around Ze’s intended changes.
We are still seeing a tail of media reports on the election. Lithuanian FM Linkevicius meets with Ze in Kyiv, and Dutch PM Rutte calls him, as does Erdogan, to congratulate. Some interesting reports on the ramifications of Ze’s Jewish heritage, especially in Israel. Some Russian propaganda items included.
An update on religious persecution in Russia.
Two U-2S ultra-high altitude reconnaissance aircraft belonging to the US Air Force crossed the Atlantic from mainland US and landed at the Fairford airfield in England on Tuesday, Interfax-Ukraine reports. The planes transferred from the Beale Air Force Base in California are named DRAGON86 and DRAGON88 and have the registration numbers 80-1071 and 80-1094 respectively. No official reason for the transfer of these two aircraft to Europe has been disclosed. Until recently, the Fairford airfield has been used to deploy U-2S aircraft, which can perform surveillance at altitudes of more than 21,000 m, in the Middle East. For the purpose of gathering intelligence along the Russian border, the Pentagon has primarily been using RC-135s with various modifications, RQ-4B Global Hawk long-range unmanned surveillance aircraft, and P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine planes deployed in Europe. On 1 May 1960, an earlier U-2 model of the US Air Force piloted by Francis Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union by a surface-to-air missile while performing a reconnaissance flight. The pilot was able to eject from the plane, but was arrested when he landed and charged with espionage. In March this year, the US transferred six strategic bombers to Europe.
The two new warships were officially laid down at the Sevmash shipyard in northern Russia on April 23.
Russia unveiled one of its nuclear superweapons on Tuesday launching its first submarine capable of firing high-speed underwater drones.
Chris is on a beach somewhere soaking up the rays, so this week George Mason’s Trevor Thrall joins the podcast. The gang discusses NATO Secretary General
According to media reports in recent weeks, Romanian Armed Forces decided to buy five F-16 fighter jets from Portugal. Romania will buy five more F-16 aircraft from Portugal and the acquisition procedure could be completed this year, according to Romanian defense minister Gabriel Les. Romania Insider has reported on 19 April that Romania bought 12 F-16 multirole aircraft from Portugal in 2013 and will buy five more to have a complete squadron of 17 fighters, the minister also said, local Radio Europa Libera Romania reported. The five F-16s will be second-hand, modernized in Portugal. Commenting on the news that the U.S. is considering selling F-35 fighters to five new nations, including Romania, Gabriel Les said that, at the moment, this would be “a bit too much” for Romania. Minister Les also said that “in two-three weeks” he would make an announcement to unblock the procedure for the acquisition of four corvettes for the Navy. The public procurement procedure for the EUR 1.6 billion contract for the purchase of four new corvettes was suspended in January this year due to alleged irregularities. Once this transfer is completed, Romania will seek to add 36 more F-16s via transfer from U.S. or other friendly nation stocks. In the longer term, Romania hopes to procure a fifth-generation fighter, which would then serve as a replacement for the F-16s.
Lithuanian Armed Forces have announced that it received a batch of upgraded M14 rifles for use in Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Forces. An image of a US production M14 rifles in advanced configuration was posted on the Lithuanian Armed Forces’ official Twitter on 8 April. “Lithuanian Armed Forces and Lithuanian National Defence Volunteer Forces have received upgraded weapons – US production M-14. More than 400 rifles were upgraded with the use of support legs and a modern optical target. The project used the financial support funds from citizens allocated in 2016.,” announced in a Twitter post. M14s are used for ceremonial purposes by the Lithuanian army and as a designated marksman rifle M14 L1. Small quantity is in the new modernization process. The M14 is the last American battle rifle issued in quantity to U.S. military personnel. It was replaced by the M16 assault rifle, a lighter weapon using a smaller caliber intermediate cartridge. The M14 rifle remains in limited service in all branches of the U.S. military as an accurized competition weapon, a ceremonial weapon by honor guards, color guards, drill teams and ceremonial guards, and sniper rifle/designated marksman rifle.
The foreign affairs commission of Latvia’s parliament, the Saeima, has given its support to a report by the Foreign Ministry which considers the Soviet Union’s deportation of Crimean Tatars in 1944 a genocide, TV-net reports. In addition, the commission has ratified a draft statement by Janis Dombrava, a member of the right-wing National Alliance, that “the USSR in the 20th century deliberately carried out a genocide against all the peoples and ethnic groups residing in the occupied territories”. The only commission member to vote against the document was Nikolai Kabanov from the Social Democratic Party “Harmony”. The Saeima will vote on the resolution in a plenary session on 16 May. Latvian Parliamentary Secretary of the Foreign Ministry Zanda Kalnina-Lukasevica said during a discussion of the document that the Crimean Tatars are currently being subjected to harsh repression that frequently borders on human rights violations.
Poland and Belarus have stopped accepting shipments of Russian oil through the Soviet-era Druzhba pipeline, saying Western buyers in Poland and Germany cannot accept the Russian crude because it is…
Poland stopped the admission of the Russian oil through oil pipeline Druzhba due to its organochlorine pollution as Belarusian part of the pipeline reported. Starting from 10 p.m. at Warsaw time, the Polish side stopped to admit the oil at Adam drop-off point. The main reason for the stop is the refusal of the oil refineries connected to Druzhba oil pipeline to admit oil with 30-times exceeding of the norms of the mass concentration of organochlorine. At the same time, the transit of the oil through Ukraine for the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary continues. PERN, the operator of the Polish part of Druzhba stated that the continuation of the supplies of the polluted oil creates the risk of the industrial accident at the oil refineries and logistics system. Earlier Belarus has temporarily stop the export of the light oil products to Ukraine, Poland and Baltic State. The reason is the supply of the poor-quality oil from the Russian Federation.
President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko has requested the government to work out the issue of the alternatives of the oil supply through Baltic countries instead of Russia as BELTA reported. It is planned to finish the upgrading of two Belarusian oil refineries in 2019, and it will become possible to purchase oil for further processing from other destinations, not only from the Russian Federation. “I have requested this task to be completed for a long time ago and it is necessary to solve it: to open the alternative oil supply through Baltic ports. If Lithuanians do not agree, then we will agree with Latvians and purchase oil. We will process it at Novopolotsk refinery and provide the Baltic States with oil,” Lukashenko said. According to him, it will be cheaper for the Baltic States than now, when they buy oil products at world prices.
Belarus has suspended the export of light oil products to Ukraine and several other of its neighbors, in a move that could affect fuel prices in these countries. Minsk halted the exports due to the low quality of the oil supplied by Russia, Sergei Grib, deputy general director of the Belarusian Oil Company, said on April 23 at a conference in Minsk, according to the BelTA news agency. The news came as a surprise to Ukraine, where Belarusian light oil products make up around a third of the fuel market. Minsk has also suspended exports to Poland and the Baltic countries. “At the moment (our) contractual obligations are at a halt until we resolve the issue with Russian oil,” Grib said. By the end of the year, Minsk plans to start importing oil from other countries, he added. According to the A-95 energy consulting group, in 2019 Ukraine has so far imported 160,000 tons of Belarusian diesel fuel per month on average – a 34.5-percent share of the market.
On April 18, 2019, the Russian Government has adopted Resolution No. 460-25, according to which Russia prohibits the import of crude oil, bitumen, and bituminous mixtures to Ukraine. In addition, from June 1, 2019, the export of coal, gasoline and diesel fuel is allowed only with the special permission of the government. The list of positions also includes “other liquefied gases.” According to experts, the position may apply to autogas. Russian media, citing Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, said this was a response to Ukraine’s trade sanctions, imposed against Russia last week. Restrictions on imports to Russia will also affect Ukrainian engineering products, light industry, and metalworking, the cost of which, according to Medvedev, totaled almost $ 250 million over the past year. The list of Ukrainian goods banned for import has been supplemented with pipes, paper, cardboard, shoes, suits, women’s underwear, enamelware. The most disturbing are energy-related products. This is the first case of such a systematic complex impact, simultaneous with respect to all strategically important types, Serhiy Sapegin, Director of the Psyche Scientific and Technical Center, assures. What will happen if Russia imposes a ban on the export of fuel? The effect might be very noticeable if the Russian government does not give anyone permission to supply autogas and diesel fuel after June 1. Crude oil is not supplied to Ukraine from Russia. Also, the supply of gasoline from the Russian Federation is insignificant. “The deliveries of autogas from Russia account for a little less than half of all import deliveries – up to 50 thousand tons per month is imported under term contracts,” Serihy Kuiun, A-95 expert, states. The diesel market is also dependent on Russia. Last year, imports of diesel fuel increased by 10.7% to 5.81 million tons, breaking an absolute record. Russia has become Ukraine’s largest supplier of diesel fuel, ousting Belarus, a long-term leader in this area, the OilMarket outlet reported. A complete ban on the supply of diesel and autogas will provoke a huge shortage and, as a result, a boom and a speculative price increase on the Ukrainian market. Moreover, growth, according to experts, will occur in the segment of gasoline, which is an alternative to autogas. The demand for it will increase dramatically. In addition, the volume of supply of gasoline from the main supplier of gasoline to Ukraine Belarus might be reduced. Russian Federation reduced the quota for the supply of crude oil from 22 to 15 million tons to Belarus, and, if necessary, it can reduce them more significantly, Sapegin said.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 17 – Last month, a group of foreign policy and security analysts from Europe and the United States assembled in Warsaw as the International Strategic Action Network for Society (iSANS) to compile and discuss a 120-page report on what it called Russia’s ‘creeping attack” on Belarusian sovereignty, moves intended to end with Moscow’s absorption of that country. Because so many of the participants have close ties with governments in the region and because the situation is so fluid, the conference and the report were “off the record.” But participants have allowed Belarusian opposition journalist Aleksandr Otroshenkov to publish excerpts of it (reform.by/isans-dlya-russia-pogloshcheniye-belarus/). Below are the key points of the report, which has attracted a great deal of attention in the Russian patriotic media, that the Belarusian journalist has published in what he describes as the first installment. When he posts more online, Window on Eurasia will do a follow on to include them as well. · “Russia is exerting active, serious and growing pressure on the information and social space of Belarus through various channels.” · “In recent months, this attack has acquired the character of ‘a hybrid war.’ Governmental, quasi-private, and non-government initiatives form a broad system of influence directed at so-called ‘deep integration.’” · “Pro-Russian influence is being conducted in a directed and coordinated fashion by the Presidential Administration of Russia. It is being financed from government and private sources and carried out by Russian and Belarusian actors, united in several networks.” · “The organizers and executors of the anti-Belarusian action are mostly politicians and activists who promote an imperial, Russian-nationalist, sharply conservative, extreme right and anti-Western ideology. Many of them took an active part in the preparation and carrying out of aggression in Ukraine and in earlier conflicts in which Russia was a participant.” · This effort along with economic pressure will grow in the runup to the Belarusian presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019-2020. The absorption of Belarus is to take place no later than 2023-2024, but it may occur earlier. · “Lukashenka is not a real guarantor of the independence of his country. He is an irrational player who holds onto power as a guarantee of his own security and does not wish to carry out any real reforms.” · “However toothless it seems at present, the Union State to a large extent provides legal cover for the carrying out of various projects and activities, the final goal of which is the incorporation of Belarus” into the Russian Federation and “in fact, the restoration of the Russian Empire in new borders.” · Among the means Moscow is using to support this drive are the corruption of local elites and military officers, the deployment of pro-Russian activists within Belarus, massive financing of pro-Russian groups there, massive propaganda attacks via Russian television, and “the establishment of a propaganda network around and within the state being attacked consisting of a large number of propagandistic sites, pages, and account sin social networks for promoting a pro-imperial ideology.” · A turning point in this effort came in December 2011 when Grigory Rapota, a senior KGB general and foreign intelligence operative with great experience of work in the western direction” became secretary of the Union State. It is interesting that his successor in his former place of work – as plenipotentiary for the Volga Federal District – then became Mikhail Babich, the current Russian ambassador in Belarus.” · Moscow’s effort against Belarus has been designed by the same people who took the lead in designing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including most prominently Vladislav Surkov and Sergey Glazyev. · “If between 2014 and 2016, the situation in Belarus often was treated in public in Russia together with the ‘Ukrainian’ question, over the last two years, one must note that Belarus has become ever more a separate subject.” And in recent months, it has been subject to especially harsh and even scurrilous attacks. · Such attacks started in the nationalist and imperialist media but have become mainstream, with memes promoted earlier only by marginal groups now at the center of discussion in state media.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 24 – A month ago, a group of foreign policy and security analysts from Europe and the US met in Warsaw as the International Strategic Action Network for Society (iSANS) to compile and discuss a 120-page report on what it called Russia’s ‘creeping attack” on Belarusian sovereignty, moves intended to end with Moscow’s absorption of that country. Because so many of the participants have close ties with governments in the region and because the situation is so fluid, the conference and the report were “off the record.” But participants have allowed Belarusian opposition journalist Aleksandr Otroshenkov to publish excerpts of it on the Reform.by portal. His first excerpt was posted online ten days ago (reform.by/isans-dlya-russia-pogloshcheniye-belarus/) and is discussed at windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/04/isans-report-about-moscows-creeping.html. His second has now been posted at reform.by/isans-v-belarusi-ispolzuetsja-shema-po-raskolu-obshhestva-ispytannaja-ranee-na-vostoke-ukrainy/).Below are the key points of this part of the report, one that has attracted a great deal of attention in the Russian patriotic media, that the Belarusian journalist has published in what he describes as the second installment in a series. When he posts more online, Window on Eurasia will report on them as well.y In it, Otroshenkov highlights three main aspects of the Russian effort to subvert Belarusian sovereignty and independence: its use of official structures like the Union State, the Russian embassy, and the Russian Orthodox Church, its identification of key groups to influence via soft power, and its promotion of cross border ties between Belarusian and Russian regions. The official structures Moscow is using in this effort earlier served different purposes, but now the Russian government is using them against Belarus certain that Minsk cannot go very far in objecting to them because it has already signed off. That gives these three institutions added flexibility and opportunities for influence. The embassy is especially active and influential. According to the report, Moscow is now focusing on the following groups: young people with few prospects, workers in failing plants who haven’t been paid regularly, military personnel who do not feel they are being supported by the Lukashenka regime, those who do not speak Belarusian, parishioners of the Russian Orthodox Church, and officials at various levels. Much of the financing for both official and “unofficial” influence operations in Belarus passed through the Russian embassy in Minsk, the report continues. The amount of money involved is large, but Moscow has been cutting back on the release of figures, suggesting that it is spending more and in ways it doesn’t want anyone to know. But especially important in recent months has been Moscow’s effort to promote cross-border cooperation between Russian oblasts and adjoining Belarusian ones. Financing for this is easier to hide, and, because the effort is distant from Minsk, it is typically ignored both by Belarusian officials and the West. And the report says that “according to certain assessments, in the course of the realization of this project in Belarus are being employed the structure of work for splitting society, earlier tested in the east of Ukraine. Indeed, the rhetoric … of essays really recalls the activities of por-Russian propagandists in Ukraine before 2014,” involving as it does the falsification of history, playing on language issues, and “aggressive nationalism.”
A new law allows the Kremlin to spy on, filter, and control the country’s online activity, alarming human-rights watchdogs.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 24 – The first applications of the new Putin law imposing fines and potentially jail time on those who insult key Russian institutions and officials is backfiring in a variety of ways. Polls show Russians oppose the law three to one, are forming flashmobs against it, are discussing just how to describe Putin, and are asking some inconvenient questions. Perhaps the most inconvenient of these as far as the powers that be in Moscow are concerned is relayed by the Forum.MSK portal. In the wake of the Ukrainian presidential elections, it says, Russians are now asking: “If it were a choice between Zelensky and Putin, whom would you vote for?” (forum-msk.org/material/news/15595016.html). The first conviction under the new law has sparked a flashmob with people using as their hashtag Putin is “a fairytale [fool],” the actual term being unprintable. It comes from a 2001 Russian film, Down House (based on Dostoyevsky’s novel The Idiot) in which it referred to someone with Down Syndrome (vedomosti.ru/newspaper/articles/2001/03/12/idiot-dlya-dembelskogo-alboma). Participants in this action made the situation worse, at least for the regime, by speculating that the problem with the post may have been that it called Putin “a fairytale” unprintable rather than simply a real one. Others said that the law itself showed that only a fool could have signed it given that it used punishments to get respect. One participant said that deciding what Putin is must be “an issue of state importance, while yet another said that the man who had been convicted hadn’t in fact insulted Putin but rather revealed a state secret, a reprise of a Soviet joke about Brezhnev (znak.com/2019-04-24/zhiteli_rossii_zapustili_v_socsetyah_fleshmob_na_temu_putin_skazochnyy and kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5CC039A17DFC9). Russia’s leading caricaturist has even proposed that the word “fairytale” should become the epithet for Putin, analogous to Terrible for Ivan or Great for Catherine (twitter.com/Sergey_Elkin/status/1120968732870942720). And in Yezhednevny zhurnal, Igor Yakovenko suggests this discussion will spread across the country (ej.ru/?a=note&id=33695). Meanwhile, the man convicted has announced that he is going to appeal: he intends to appeal, all the way to the European Court for Human Rights (snob.ru/news/176084). Russia and Putin are going to be dealing with this issue for some time. The question will soon become: can Putin unlike many other dictators survive if he is being laughed at by his own people?
With nearly half of young Russians having never heard of the mass political repressions carried out by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, a Moscow museum has produced a graphic novel aimed at sharing stories from some of Russia’s darkest times.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 24 – The Ingermanlanders are the only nation subjected to total deportation by the Soviets that has not been rehabilitated even now. Any reference to them unlike to the other punished peoples was in fact banned until 1991, Moscow still hasn’t recognized the genocide it conducted against them, and it still persecutes the nation’s leaders. On the Russkaya semerka portal, historian Yaroslav Butakov discusses who the Intermanlanders are, why the Soviets persecuted them to the point of mass murder, and something about the status of this nation at the present time (russian7.ru/post/respublika-severnaya-ingriya-za-chto-s/). The Ingermanlanders are sometimes confused with the Izhors, but the only reason they are sometimes considered related is that their names derive from the Swedish name for the reason in which they live. The Izhors have been known since the end of the 12th century when they were part of the Novgorodian state until that entity was absorbed by Muscovy in the 15th. The Izhors have retained their language which is closely related to Finnish, Butakov says; but they converted more or less en masse to Orthodoxy. In the 17th century, the Swedes settled among them two ethnic groups, the Evremeys and the Savakots, who became the ancestors of the Ingermanlanders. They too spoke and speak a Finnic language, but they remained separate from the Izhors because they were Lutherans. After the 1917 revolution, there lived approximately 16,000 Izhors and about 160,000 Ingermanlanders. In addition, there were about 1,000 Ingermanlanders in Siberia to which they had been exiled after a rising in 1804. The Ingermanlanders were powerful affected by the rise in national self-consciousness during the Russian Civil War. Because of their links to the Finns and anti-Soviet White Russian forces, “Lenin and the Bolsheviks were suspicious of the attitudes of the Ingermanlanders, who lived in a compact mass next to Petrograd,” the historian continues. In May 1919, he Bolsheviks began the forced mobilization of Ingermanlanders into the Red Army. In response, the Ingermanlanders rose and in July 1919, they proclaimed the North Ingria Republic. The Finns supported that effort but in October 1920, Finland concluded a peace treaty with Moscow. The republic collapsed and many of its supporters fled to Finland. Other Ingermanlanders joined the anti-Bolshevik White Army of General Yudenich; but after his defeat, they settled in Estonia. The total demographic losses of this nation during the Russian Civil War – deaths and emigration — amounted to about 50,000 people. But worse was to come. For Moscow, the Ingermanlanders were “an unfavorable people,” and the Soviet regime deported them over the course of several actions. The first wave, which carried off 18,000 Ingermanlanders hit at the time of collectivization. The second, which occurred in 1935-1936, deported 41,000 more. In addition, 10,600 of them were condemned as “Finnish spies” – and Butakov adds that 80 percent of these people were simply shot. Moscow organized plans to deport all remaining Ingermanlanders away from the northern capital, but the speed of the German advance in 1941 prevented the Soviets from carrying this out. At the end of the war, more than 63,000 Ingermanlanders fled to Finland, but Soviet pressure on Helsinki meant that “more than 43,000” of these were forced to return to the USSR, where many of them were forcibly resettled away from their historical homelands. As a result of these persecutions, fewer than 25,000 Ingermanlanders now live near Petersburg. Despite this oppression or perhaps also because of it, the Ingermanlanders have articulated their own national movement. They have created several Internet portal, includingfreeingria.org/, but Moscow has worked to shut this down and has forced its editor Pavel Mezerin to emigrate to Lithuania. But that Russian pressure may be backfiring on Moscow. Mezerin has taken the leader in forming ties with the Russian liberal emigration, something that gives up that the Ingermanlanders will obtain justice because they now have more people speaking up on their behalf. (See windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/04/russian-regionalists-liberals.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/02/stop-feeding-moscow-will-be-slogan-of.html.)
Paul Goble Staunton, April 24 – Given the significant majority of Russians who have a positive view of Stalin, it is no surprise more have a negative view of perestroika than a positive one, 48 percent as against to 39 percent, a more negative balance than the Levada Center found in 2008 but one less dramatic perhaps because Russians admit they did get some positive things from it. Indeed, while they were critical of perestroika as such, those the Center surveyed said that “in comparison with Soviet times, now it has become easier to say what you think, to join any organization you like, or take part in politics, all things that perestroika made possible (levada.ru/2019/04/23/perestrojka/). Accompanying its presentation of the poll results, the Nakanune news agency offered the judgments of three experts as to why Russians have these mutually contradictory views (nakanune.ru/articles/115088/). Sociologist and commentator Boris Kagarliltsky said that the survey had not asked enough questions to get at these contradictions and so people could give one answer for a period as a whole and quite a different one concerning its subsequent impact on their lives. Moreover, he says, most Russians look back at the Soviet period as a positive one and blame almost all their current problems not on it or even on what has happened since 1991 but on perestroika which they blame for the demise of the Soviet system and the disintegration of the USSR – even when they welcome specific positive things that have occurred. Andrey Gudkov, an independent specialist on social policy says that things were much worse in Soviet times. Now one can say what one thinks without risk of prison. Now, you may be killed “but on the other hand, it will be done quietly.” And commentator Dmitry Agranovsky stressed that “freedom” is a very elastic category that means different things to different people at different times. Thus comparing it over time is difficult if not impossible. At the very least, polls about changes in these things over time are anything but objective. In certain ways, he says, “freedoms really have become more. You want to drink, you drink; you want to die, die, you want to change jobs, you can on you own because no one needs you.” But these aren’t the only freedoms that matter, especially as they leave the individual alone and abandoned. “All declared ‘freedoms,’” Agranovsky says, “are restricted to within specific limits and one can be punished more harshly than in the Soviet period.” That explains the comments of deputy Elena Mizulina that “rights are the main limitations on freedom and that bans are a form of freedom. The main thing now is ‘not to interfere with the strong of this world.” According to Agranovsky, “the most real human rights, the most real freedoms are the right to labor, freedom from fear of tomorrow – all these things, of course, have been liquidated.” As a result, he concludes, today “we simply live in hell in comparison with Soviet times.”
Paul Goble Staunton, April 22 – Demography, it is often said, is destiny only over the long term; but for Russia’s regions, it may matter more immediately because of the enormous difference between those federal subjects population and thus their clout in Moscow and those gaining it making greater demands on the center and sparking conflicts with their neighbors. The Novosti news agency commissioned a report on demographic developments in Russia over the last three years. For the country as a whole, the report found, the natural decline in the indigenous population had not been compensated for by immigration, both because births declined and immigration slowed (ria.ru/20190422/1552915389.html). But that overall picture concealed radical differences among the regions, differences that in many cases have had significant economic and even political consequences. The regions that lost the most population were those in Siberia, the Far East and central Russia, all predominantly ethnic Russian areas and all suffering relative decline in influence at the center.. The regions that gained the most, excluding Sevastopol in occupied Crimea which led the list, were Ingushetia which saw its population grow 5.2 percent and Chechnya which saw its increase by 4.5 percent. Such population growth goes a long way to explain the pressure on land behind the explosive issue of border changes. The other regions with large percentage increases were either oil and gas centers or the megalopolises of St. Petersburg and Moscow, all of whom gained more population largely because of immigration rather than higher than average birthrates, although the two capitals were among the leaders of natural growth because their mortality rates were lower. Fifty-nine regions saw the outflow of population exceed the inflow, including Daghestan in the North Caucasus which is suffering from both economic problems and rural overpopulation, Omsk and Orenburg in Siberia, the Komi Republic and Altay Kray.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 24 – In recent months, Russian deputies and senators have tpeppered executive branch officials making their reports with question after question. But when Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova spoke on demography and health care, she was met by “a deafening silence,” Moskovsky Komsomolets reports. Despite the importance of her subjects, she was not asked a single question, something so unusual that the Moscow paper felt compelled to call attention to it and ask why (mk.ru/social/2019/04/23/deputaty-i-senatory-vstretili-demograficheskiy-doklad-golikovoy-oglushitelnym-molchaniem.html). It seems unlikely that “everything is clear” as those chairing the meeting declared after no one rose to ask her a question. And that suggests three possibilities: First, of course, the issues Golikova discussed may seem so sensitive that deputies feared that asking questions could attract unwelcome attention to themselves by the powers that be. Better to let things ride. Second, the deputies are increasingly suspicious of talking about any official numbers – and statistics dominated the deputy prime minister’s report – because they are aware of the yawning gap between “government reports” and the real world (rosbalt.ru/posts/2019/04/23/1777715.html). Or third, the parliamentarians may think the issues Golikova is talking about are either not significant to them or are completely beyond their control. If either of these explanations is the case, then the deputies are almost as distant from the population as Rosstat statistics are from the real world.
Notoriously conservative Russian Senator Elena Mizulina has offered her latest defense of the federal prohibitions adopted by the State Duma in recent years. Speaking at an Internet security forum, Mizulina argued that freedom is actually restricted by civil rights. The senator then explained that rights “are when you can act, but only according to the way it’s written in the law.” “The more rights you have, the less freedom,” she concluded.
The Federation Council has approved a new bill allowing for the isolation of the Russian sector of the Internet. Now, the bill awaits Vladimir Putin’s signature. The last law of this caliber to regulate Internet use in Russia was called “Yarovaya’s Package.” It was introduced into the State Duma three years ago and approved. The measure was supposed to take full effect on July 1, 2018 — almost a year ago.
A court in the Novgorod region’s Chudovsky District has fined a local man 30,000 rubles ($470) for violating Russia’s new law against insulting state officials on the Internet. The defendant, Yuri Kartyzhev, later uploaded a recording of the verdict being read out, where Judge Igor Ivanov says, “On March 31, 2019, at 6:45 p.m., Kartyzhev… shared on the social network VKontakte two notes with text that read ‘Putin is an unbelievable fuckwit,’ along with a graphic image of Russian President [Vladimir] Putin.”
On April 22, a court in the Novgorod region fined local resident Yuri Kartyzhev 30,000 rubles (about $470) for violating Russia’s new law against insulting state officials. The man was found guilty of sharing two posts on the social network VKontakte where he allegedly wrote “Putin is an unbelievable fuckwit.” Kartyzhev’s sentence marks the first known enforcement of this new curtailment of free speech.
Twitter representatives have submitted an appeal to Moscow’s Tagansky Court regarding a decision on the part of the Russian government’s censorship agency to fine the company 3,000 rubles (almost $47).
Morgan Ortagus on Twitter: “The U.S condemns today’s decision by President Putin to provide expedited Russian citizenship to Ukrainians living in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine. Russia, through this highly provocative action, is intensifying its assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty & territorial integrity.… https://t.co/s7dSBLKVnr”
Jim Inhofe on Twitter: “Another blatant attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty shows that Putin is not serious about peace. The United States must continue to stand by Ukraine and impose costs on Putin’s Russia for its aggression. Read: https://t.co/cT0LKKe8cG”
Kurt Volker on Twitter: “Donbas is 🇺🇦 and the people there – regardless of preferred language – are Ukrainian. Russia’s recent decision to issue passports is highly provocative & is straight from its “occupation playbook” and undermines efforts to implement Minsk & restore Donbas to Ukrainian control.”
U.S. Embassy Kyiv on Twitter: “Crimea is Ukraine. Donetsk is Ukraine. Luhansk is Ukraine. We condemn Russia’s recent absurd and destabilizing decree about Russian passports for Donetsk and Luhansk residents and affirm our strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
United States Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker has said Russia’s recent decision to issue passports in Ukraine’s Donbas is straight from its “occupation playbook.” Volker considers Russia’s decision to issue passports to be highly provocative.
Russian order undermines the efforts to implement Minsk agreements
The U.S. State Department has slammed an order by Russian President Vladimir Putin to simplify the procedure for people living in parts of eastern Ukraine held by Russia-backed separatists to obtain Russian citizenship.
British Ambassador to Ukraine Judith Gough has called the decision of President Vladimir Putin to simplify the procedure for obtaining Russian passports by residents of the occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions as another attempt to destabilize Ukraine. “Russia’s decision to grant expedited citizenship to Ukrainians in Donbas is another brazen attempt to destabilize Ukraine. Instead of erecting barriers to peace, Russia should implement Minsk in full and bring a swift end to the conflict,” Gough wrote on Twitter.
The signature by President Putin of a decree entitling, inter alia, people who permanently reside in certain areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions to apply for Russian citizenship in a simplified manner, is another attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty by Russia. The timing of such a decision immediately after Ukraine’s Presidential election, which demonstrated Ukraine’s strong attachment to democracy and the rule of law, shows Russia’s intention to further destabilise Ukraine and to exacerbate the conflict. We expect Russia to refrain from actions that are against the Minsk agreements and impede the full reintegration of the non-Government controlled areas into Ukraine. All parties must fully implement their commitments under the Minsk agreements. The European Union remains steadfast in its support to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin to simplify the procedure for obtaining Russian passports by residents of the occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions is another attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty by Russia. — Ukrinform.
The European Union (EU) has said Russia’s recent decision to issue passports in Donbas is another attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty. The EU says such a move shows Russia’s intention to further destabilize Ukraine.
Putin, of course, denies this is an aggressive, provocative action. Putin denies Russia is provoking Ukraine with passports move – media Unian 25 April 2019 Russia does not do these type of actions altruistically, nothing is truly done to benefit Russians, those of Russian heritage, or those speaking Russian and living in Ukraine without a price being paid. This is a Russian provocation, clearly. This is intended to undermine Ukraine by taking citizens from Ukraine and adding to the numbers in Russia which are declining. This is intended as a de facto annexation of the citizens of Donbas, to be followed by a vote annexing the land itself. Putin lies, Russia lies. </end editorial>
In a new challenge to Ukraine on Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin offered Russian passports to residents of eastern Ukraine. In a new challenge to Ukraine on Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin offered Russian passports to residents of eastern Ukraine. Putin did so in order to consolidate his control over Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk provinces (they call provinces “oblasts”) and give Russia a pretext to escalate against Kiev should it desire. Putin’s timing here is not surprising. Coming just a few days after the election of Volodymyr Zelenskiy as Ukraine’s next president, Putin is shaping the ground in eastern Ukraine so as to set the negotiating ground in his favor. He’s venturing that the outgoing Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is now a lame duck and will not risk escalation against Russia or the rebel forces it supports in Donetsk and Luhansk.
President Vladimir Putin simplified citizenship for people in separatist-held regions of Ukraine — a move that could intensify the five-year conflict in the country’s east.
Decree issued by Moscow causes anger in Kyiv and will be challenge for Volodymyr Zelenskiy
Russian president Vladimir Putin on Wednesday signed a decree to allow residents in the eastern Ukraine territories, held by Moscow-backed rebels, to obtain Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure. The move piles pressure on Ukraine’s president-e…
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Moscow of crossing a “red line” by signing a decree to ease the process of obtaining …
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order on Wednesday simplifying the procedure for obtaining a Russian passport for residents of separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine, prompting calls from Kiev for more international sanctions.
Days after Ukrainians took to the polls to elect a new comedian and actor as president, the Russian bear is already roaring.
Kiev urges residents not to apply for the Russian documents after Moscow streamlines the process for east Ukrainians.
The new decree makes it easier for people living in separatist-controlled parts of eastern Ukraine to obtain Russian citizenship. Ukraine’s president-elect has called for more international sanctions over the move.
US OFFICIALS have condemned Russia’s move to offer fast-tracked Russian citizenship to Ukrainians living in eastern Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has sparked anger in Kiev by offering Russian citizenship to residents of areas in eastern Ukraine which are held by Russian-backed separatists.
Volodymyr Zelensky (main) called for sanctions after Russian president Vladimir Putin (inset) made it easier for people living in Ukraine’s separatist territories to gain Russian passports.
Putin’s new order letting people in separatist-controlled regions of Ukraine obtain Russian citizenship could inch the Kremlin closer to annexing them.
On Day Of Ukrainian Presidential Election Confirmation, Putin Makes Further Moves To Absorb Donbas. Moscow Makes It Easier To Obtain Russian Citizenship.
RUSSIA’s reluctance to congratulate Volodymyr Zelensky on his Ukraine presidential election victory has sparked fears the comedian’s “inexperience” could be taken advantage of.
Russia’s move is an early test for the Ukrainian president-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who won a landslide victory in Sunday’s presidential election and has pledged to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. Zelenskiy said Putin’s action showed Russia was waging war in Ukraine and brought
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow will grant Russian citizenship to people in eastern Ukraine’s rebel-held regions, days after Ukraine’s presidential election.
The Kremlin’s decision to simplify the procedure for obtaining Russian citizenship by residents of the occupied territories of Donbas destabilizes the situation in the region. — Ukrinform.
Ukraine is outraged by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decree to simplify the procedure for residents of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk …
Guterres expresses his opinion on situation with issuance of Russian passports to Donbas people
The team of Volodymyr Zelensky urges the international society to strengthen sanctions against the Russian Federation
The team of Volodymyr Zelensky, a Ukrainian showman who recently secured a sweeping win in the presidential election runoff, said that with a decree on issuing Russian passports to Ukrainians living in the territories temporarily beyond Ukraine’s control, Russia recognized its responsibility as an occupying state. The statement says Ukraine will do everything in its power to protect the rights of its citizens in the temporarily occupied territories.
The order on the issuance of the Russian passports to the Ukrainian citizens on the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk is the attempt to justify and legitimize the military presence of Russia in Donbas. President Petro Poroshenko stated this, broadcasted by 112.Ukraine. “Illegal issuance of passports of the Russian Federation under the so-called South Ossetia and Transnistrian scenarios is an attempt to justify and legitimize Russia’s military presence in the occupied part of the Ukrainian Donbas,” Poroshenko pointed out. Poroshenko outlined that Russia wants to cease the Mins agreements. “No doubt that Russia’s categorical refusal to support the initiative of Ukraine and the OSCE in introducing the Easter Armistice starting from April 26 is not a coincidence. The purpose of Russia is obvious – to cease the Minsk agreements, which clearly set out their commitment to stop the shelling, to withdraw their troops, to free Ukrainian hostages, and to return control over occupied territories to Ukraine. Moscow yearns to get rid of those conditions as well as the sanctions,” President emphasized. President called on the international partners not to let the worse scenario, to condemn severely the destructive and criminal actions by the Russian authority and to strengthen the regime of the international sanctions. Poroshenko called the issuance of the Russian passports to the Ukrainian citizens on the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk interference in the internal affairs of the Ukrainian state.
Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Turchynov said that the Russian president’s decree on simplifying the procedure for issuing Russian passports to residents of the temporarily occupied areas of Donbas creates legal conditions for the official use of the Russian armed forces against Ukraine. The NSDC secretary called the move a deliberate escalation of aggression and pressure on the leadership of Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decree on the simplified procedure for obtaining Russian citizenship for residents of the occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions is nothing but a deliberate escalation of aggression against Ukraine, Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Oleksandr Turchynov has said. — Ukrinform.
The Russian president’s decree making it easier to get Russian citizenship for people from the occupied areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions is a deliberate attempt to escalate aggression and the pressure on the Ukrainian leadership, Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov has said.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko made a statement as regards another interference of the Russian Federation in the internal affairs of Ukraine.
“The purpose of Russia is obvious: to annul the Minsk agreements, which clearly state its commitment: to stop the shelling, withdraw its troops and armaments, free Ukrainian hostages, return control over the state border to Ukraine. Along with the Minsk commitments, Moscow is planning to get rid of sanctions,” President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko stated.
The decree of the President of the Russian Federation on a simplified procedure for acquiring citizenship of the Russian Federation by Ukrainian citizens living in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions is another unprecedented interference of the Russian Federation in the internal affairs of an independent state, a brutal violation of sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine and a complete trampling upon its obligations in the framework of the Minsk agreements.
Following Russia’s move to facilitate the procedure for granting Russian passports to Ukrainians living in the temporarily occupied parts of Donbas, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko called on Western powers to tighten the sanction regime earlier imposed on Russia. The incumbent president stresses Russia violates international humanitarian law, which prohibits the occupation authorities from changing the citizenship of the inhabitants of the occupied territories.
Notably, both parties, the EU and Ukraine, damned Putin’s attempt to break the Minsk Agreement and issue Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens living in Donbas. </end editorial> 25 April 2019 – 18:10 President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko met with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius. The President expressed gratitude for Lithuania’s consistent support…
The decision of the Russian president to start issuing Russian passports in the occupied territories of Donbas is a continuation of aggression against Ukraine and interference in its internal affairs. — Ukrinform.
The decision of the Kremlin to facilitate the procedure for issuing Russian passports to residents of the temporarily occupied areas of Donbas in eastern Ukraine is aimed at destabilizing the internal political situation in Ukraine in the post-election period, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine said in s statement handed over to UNIAN. Ukraine demands that the Russian Federation reverse this “shameful” decision, while urging the international community to respond by tightening political, diplomatic, and sanction pressure on the aggressor state.
A former representative of the Ukrainian president in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, public and political figure Borys Babin, wrote this on Facebook. “The Russian Federation has launched the Abkhaz scenario in the east of Ukraine. Russian citizenship to residents of the occupied territories is its first formal stage. When the aggressor state recognizes the ‘independence’ of the ‘people’s republics’ is an open issue. But, in fact, it has already been resolved by the Kremlin, apparently after [the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election on] March 31 and especially after [the runoff vote on] April 21,” Babin wrote. In his opinion, tactically, this is a fiasco of the policy of the Minsk agreements, and strategically, this is the recognition by Russia of the impossibility of having a puppet government in the whole of Ukraine in the near future. In this context, he put a rhetorical question to Ukraine’s foreign minister: “Why don’t we sever diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation?” “A new ruling team will have to resolve this issue,” Babin said. According to Russian media, Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 24 signed a decree under which residents of the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions temporarily occupied by Russia have the right to apply for Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure.
The Verkhovna Rada has appealed to a number of international organizations, countries of the European Union, the U.S., Canada, diplomatic missions of foreign states in Ukraine with a call to strengthen sanctions against Russia because of the decision of the Russian leadership to naturalize citizens of the ORDLO under a simplified procedure.
On Wednesday, April 24, the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UN appealed to the United Nations Security Council regarding Putin’s decree on simplifying the procedure for issuing Russian passports in the occupied territories of Donbas. — Ukrinform.
Putin has signed a decree simplifying the procedure for people living in parts of eastern Ukraine held by Russia-backed separatists to obtain Russian citizenship
Analogies with the issue of passports to South Ossetians and Abkhazians as the excuse for Russia’s war against Georgia in 2008 are not only inevitable, but seemingly deliberate –
A meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on the peaceful settlement of the situation in eastern Ukraine has begun in Minsk, Belarus. — Ukrinform.
The Russian side in Minsk has refused to discuss the issue of the release of Ukrainian political prisoners and prisoners of war. — Ukrinform.
The Ukrainian delegation to the Tripartite Contact Group on Donbas settlement at today’s talks in Minsk called on the Russian Federation to stop blackmailing Ukraine with the issue of hostages and to unblock their release, according to First Deputy Chair of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s humanitarian envoy to the TCG, Iryna Gerashchenko. Russian representatives say that the release is off the table until the “trial” of POW sailors is completed.
Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) Ambassador Martin Sajdik has said the TCG on the settlement of the situation in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, will meet in Minsk, Belarus, on May 22. Video conferences may be held before, if necessary.
The team of Ukrainian president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky has announced that the new administration will continue to support cooperation between the Ukrainian army and NATO. “The security and defense forces will continue intensive cooperation with NATO and relevant EU organisations. We will clearly support the implementation of the measures stipulated by the annual NATO-Ukraine national cooperation programme,”said Ivan Aparshyn, a security adviser on Mr Zelensky’s team. Commenting on the Ukrainian army’s organisational structure, the security advisor denounced the military draft law implemented during Petro Poroshenko’s presidency. “The army will be professional and voluntary, without the disgraceful mandatory draft. It will be reinforced with permanent reserves and territorial defence systems. Officers with a combat record, who are focused on victory and on preserving their soldiers’ lives, will be invited to the army’s command,” Mr Aparshyn said. Mr Zelensky’s adviser also announced reforms at Ukrainian state defence company Ukroboronprom. “A central state executive body will be set up to take responsibility for formulating and implementing the military-industrial policy,” he told the Ukrainian press.
25.04.19 14:17 – NATO member countries increasing support to Ukraine through trust funds NATO member countries are increasing their contributions to a number of trust funds to support Ukraine, Support Partnership Branch Chief at NATO Frédéric Peugeot has said. View news.
The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, has passed a resolution to host the spring session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) in Kyiv on May 22-25, 2020. It is envisaged to establish an organizing committee to prepare and hold the NATO PA spring session.
25.04.19 13:20 – Rada votes for Kyiv to host NATO Parliamentary Assembly in 2020 Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada adopted a resolution on holding the spring session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Kyiv in the period from May 22 to 25, 2020. View news.
Head of Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service Petro Tsyhykal has accused Russia of hampering the passage of ships visiting Ukrainian ports in the Kerch Strait. Head of Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service Petro Tsyhykal has accused Russia of hampering the passage of ships visiting Ukrainian ports in the Kerch Strait. “There is constant inspection of vessels in the Kerch Strait which visit Ukrainian ports for economic purposes… There are virtually no such vessels which don’t get inspected, especially those bound for Ukraine. An artificial queue is being created, and our vessels take much longer to inspect and are the last to be let go,” Tsyhykal was quoted by his agency as saying on Wednesday. He also asserted that Russia’s coastal guard comes too close to the Ukrainian shores of the Sea of Azov. “The situation is being aggravated by the sea being considered an inside one between two countries. So it is difficult to determine clear boundaries of territorial waters,” Tsyhykal said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has rejected international criticism about his decision to ease the process of granting Russian citizenship to Ukrainians in territory of eastern Ukraine that is he…
25.04.19 15:18 – Putin claims Russian passports move to be humanitarian measure Russian President Vladimir Putin has defended a provocative decision to grant Russian passports to residents of Russia-controlled territories in Donbas, saying he doesn’t see what the problem is. View news.
25.04.19 15:18 – Putin denies Russia is provoking Ukraine with passports move Russian President Vladimir Putin has defended a provocative decision to grant Russian passports to residents of Russia-controlled territories in Donbas, saying he doesn’t see what the problem is. View news.
Russia’s decision to facilitate getting Russian passports for residents of Ukraine’s breakaway regions has caused an angry reaction in Kiev, which condemned the “aggression” and even filed a complaint with the UN Security Council.
Ukrainian president-elect Zelenskiy called for the international community to threaten Russia with more sanctions.
Putin’s decision creates a serious obstacle to the implementation of the Minsk agreements and the reintegration of the Donbas region, the US Department of State said
The top Ukrainian diplomat has called on Ukrainian citizens in Donbas not to get Russian passports
Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed an order creating an expedited path to Russian citizenship for residents of the war-torn Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. The order allows for citizenship applications from the region to be evaluated within the course of three months. It will take effect on the day that it is officially published.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 24 – Vladimir Putin has set a mousetrap for the new Ukrainian president, the same one that he has set for Vladimir Zelensky’s predecessors: “the more Ukrainian presidents struggle with [him] the more their ratings depend on the Kremlin,” according to St. Petersburg historian Daniil Kotsyubinsky. Unfortunately, judging from Zelensky’s own declarations and those of his aides, the incoming Ukrainian president does not appear to understand that this is the case, something that gives Putin even greater advantages than he had with Petro Poroshenko over the past five years (gorod-812.ru/rossiyskaya-myishelovka-dlya-ukrainyi/). Zelensky has said that his first tasks in office will be to free the Ukrainian sailors Moscow holds and to identify and hold responsible those who failed in the Donbas. That suggests, the Russian historian says, that Zelensky and his team are “promising something like ‘the June attack operation’ which war minister A.F. Kerensky presented to Russia in 1917.” There is just “one unfortunate aspect” of this approach both then and now. Then, Russia faced an order of magnitude more powerful coalition of Germany and Austro-Hungary and the attack soon collapsed as did the rating of Kerensky. After than came the Kornilov putsch and then the Bolshevik one. Now, “Ukraine is opposed by an order of magnitude more powerful nuclear power, with which no one will be able to negotiate, neither the eccentric con man Trump nor the much more moderate and acceptable European Union,” Kotsyubinsky says. And the most likely outcome is disastrous. That is because “the only way for Zelensky to fulfill even part of his ‘offensive’ promises, freeing the sailors and getting Sentsov released, is for him to please Putin. That is, de facto, become his partial vassal” since “if Putin wants to, he can free the sailors and boost Zelensky’s rating with the voters. But if he doesn’t, he won’t – and will show the Ukrainian leader to be an empty buffoon.” The incoming president is thus walking right into a trap. The only way he could avoid it would be to [give up] Crimea and the Donbas and “calmly begin to integrate with the EU and even NATO,” he argues. “But judging from the militant pose of the new Ukrainian leader and his command, neither they nor most Ukrainian voters are yet prepared for such a creative approach.”
Russia’s hybrid military forces on April 24 mounted 14 attacks on Ukrainian army positions in Donbas, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as wounded in action. Two invaders were killed and another three were wounded on Wednesday, intelligence reports say.
25.04.19 15:12 – Ukrainian forces destroy enemy infantry fighting vehicle in JFO area. VIDEO Ukrainian soldiers with a guided missile destroyed the infantry fighting vehicles of the Russian invaders in Donbas. View video news.
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has approved the law on the ratification of a framework agreement between the governments of Ukraine and France on the official support of the project on drinking water supply in Mariupol. — Ukrinform.
State-owned Ukroboronprom Concern, in cooperation with Motor Sich JSC and private defense companies, is planning to manufacture Ukrainian combat helicopters, according to Ukroboronprom CEO Pavlo Bukin who made the announcement during his visit to the Zaporizhia-based Motor Sich, the Concern’s press service reports. Ukroboronprom-led defense enterprises have already created two gyro-stabilizing platforms for Mi-type helicopters.
SE “State Kyiv Design Bureau” LUC “together with the Turkish military company Aselsan have developed the anti-tank combat module Serdar ATMLS and successfully implement it on foreign markets. This was written by Anton Pashynsky, director of the department of the DPPD “Spetstechnoexport” on his Facebook page , reports Defense Express The new Aselsan Serdar Anti-Tank Missile Launching System (ATMLS) is equipped with a 12.7 mm machine gun and four ATVs in one version, or two machine guns (12.7 mm main and 7.62 additional) and two guided missiles in another. According to Anton Pashinsky: “Today, the first contract for the supply of more than a hundred of these modules to a third country (probably Qatar – the Defense Express) is already in progress.” The version developed by the Turkish company, together with the “Luch” LCC, is equipped with 2 or 4 launchers under 130 mm, the domestic guided missiles of the LCD-2C (similar to those used in the Ukrainian complexes “Skif” and “Stugna-P”), which can accurately affect the target at the distance in more than 5 kilometers. The rocket with the tandem cumulative combat part of the RC-2C can break through 800 mm of armor with dynamic protection. And the RC-2OF-guided missiles with a detachment-explosive combat unit, effective against the fortifications and live forces of the enemy. The two-launcher system, RK-2C, was integrated into the special version of the remote-controlled Serdar combat module supplied by Aselsan to the needs of Qatar’s armed forces. The Turkish company acted as a weapon developer and integrator. In turn, “SpetsTechnoExport” provides the supply of laser guidance systems and missiles developed and manufactured by LC “Luch”. Earlier, these combat modules were installed on the Turkish lightweight armored vehicle Ejder Yalçın III manufactured by Nurol Makina ve Sanayi A.Ş. were demonstrated during a military parade in honor of the National Day of Qatar , held in Doha on December 18, 2018. Then more than three dozen BBMs with Aselsan Serdar modules drove through the capital of Qatar.
Ukrainian lawmakers have approved a language law that seeks to increase the use of Ukrainian in a country where Russian is also widely used.
Ukraine’s parliament has approved legislation that its authors say will “secure” the use of Ukrainian as the official “state language.”
The Supreme Rada on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to support the bill which will force increased use of Ukrainian in the media and in public administration
The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, has adopted the draft law on ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the national language. Some 278 Members of Parliament backed the decision, according to an UNIAN correspondent. Who is subject to the Ukrainian language law? The law defines persons who are obliged to speak the national language and use it while performing official duties. Among them are: – leaders of the state, lawmakers; – judges, prosecutors; – employees of the National Bank of Ukraine; – officers who are in military service under the contract; – teachers, doctors of state and municipal health care institutions. This law is not applicable to the sphere of private communication and religious ceremonies. What is the influence of the law on ordinary citizens? The law provides that every citizen of Ukraine is obliged to speak Ukrainian as the language of his or her citizenship. It is noted that the state shall organize Ukrainian language courses for adults and provides an opportunity for citizens of Ukraine to learn the national language free if they had not this opportunity. This law comes into force one month from the date of its publication, except for a number of provisions whose entry is postponed for several years. According to the law, a person seeking Ukrainian citizenship is obliged to pass a Ukrainian language test. However, individuals who perform military service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and are given a state award and those whose citizenship of Ukraine is of state interest for the country have the right to acquire Ukrainian citizenship without taking the language test, but are obliged master it within one year from the date they are granted Ukraine’s citizenship.
Parliament passes law on Ukrainian language. “This is a historical moment that Ukrainians have been awaiting for centuries.” Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
Incumbent Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said the adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of the draft law on ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the national language is a historic decision. Poroshenko says the Ukrainian language is a symbol of the Ukrainian people and statehood.
The adoption of the law on ensuring the functioning of Ukrainian as a state language is a truly historic decision. — Ukrinform.
The draft law on ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the national language adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on April 25 obliges all print media to have the Ukrainian version. The draft law provides that Internet websites must be first loaded in Ukrainian, but may also have other versions.
Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Culture Committee Mykola Kniazhytsky promises the law on the protection of languages of national minorities and indigenous peoples will be adopted in six months. Kniazhytsky said the relevant law “being fair to Ukrainians, in no way demeans any national minorities.”
The Ukrainian language is the only national language in the country, but its development should be driven by incentives and success stories, and not through prohibitions and punishments, Ukraine’s President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky has said.
Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky said his team will thoroughly analyze the legislation on the Ukrainian language just passed by the parliament once he takes office in order to see whether it fully ensures the people’s constitutional rights and interests. “After I take presidential office, this legislation will be thoroughly analyzed so as to make sure that it complies with all constitutional rights and interests of all citizens of Ukraine. Based on the outcomes of this analysis, I will take action in line with the constitutional powers of the Ukrainian president and in the people’s interests,” Zelensky’s press service quoted him as saying.
Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation evaluated the newly-passed law on the Ukrainian language. Mariya Zakharova, the spokeswoman of the Ministry claimed that the law foresees ‘total Ukrainization’ and contradicts the basic law of Ukraine, the country’s constitution. TASS news agency quoted the official on April 25. ‘It is basically the law on forced Ukrainization, in fact, a total Ukrainization. Its provisions foresee considerable limitations, and in some cases, even a direct ban of the use of the Russian language and those of national minorities in various areas of social life’, reads the message. Related: Zelensky to analyze language law after inauguration Zakharova added that certain provisions of the law contradict a number of legal norms and the Constitution of Ukraine. On April 25, the Ukrainian Parliament supported the law on the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language. 278 MPs voted for the bill, which has been discussed and amended during the last two months. The document includes 2,500 amendments. It foresees that the President, Parliamentary Speaker, ministers, officials of all levels, teachers, judges, and doctors are obliged to know Ukrainian perfectly well. The law enforcement agencies and courts are bound to use Ukrainian, too. The document also concerns law enforcement agencies. Those breaking the law will face fines up to USD 377.
Zelensky’s Advisor Oleksandr Danylyuk stated that a person among the activists should hold the post of the Prosecutor General
The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO) must quickly demonstrate the result, otherwise their leadership will be reshuffled, the member of the team of president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky, former Finance Minister Oleksandr Danyliuk has said.
The intervention of a new president of Ukraine in legal cases on the nationalization of PrivatBank will have an adverse impact on Ukraine’s credit rating. — Ukrinform.
Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine Eugene Enin has submitted a letter of resignation. He invited all journalists to a briefing at the entrance of the prosecutor’s office at 14:00 on April 25 to give more details on his resignation.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry states that Germany’s support and assistance to Ukraine in preserving territorial integrity and implementing reforms is very important. — Ukrinform.
The Constitutional Court of Ukraine plans to declare unconstitutional the Article of the Criminal Court of Ukraine on falsifying income declarations, a source in the Constitutional Court has told UNIAN. A source has handed over to UNIAN a copy of draft CCU decision on the matter.
Let’s begin with the United States, where no one annexed Alaska on the grounds that it is a “state of Russian maritime glory”. There is a clear law on counteracting “the enemies of America”, which clearly describes the algorithm for conducting sanctions policy, indicating the basic principles, responsible institutions, transparent regulations and procedures. A situation in which a group of landlords from Texas would approve sanctions against foreign companies buying Russian grain is impossible In America. The US sanctions policy is based on three principles. The first is the translational pressure on the opponent, at which the degree of sanctions gradually rises. The second is the concentration of the main strike on the most significant sectors of the enemy’s economy. In the case of the Russian Federation, this is the banking, military-industrial and energy sectors. And the third principle – do not harm yourself. That is, if space cooperation with the Russian Federation is beneficial for the Americans, the sanctions do not apply to operations with Russian enterprises in the industry. Our system of sanctions has the opposite shape, if it can be called the proud term “system” at all. If you take the financial sector, then Russian banks, both private and state-owned, quietly continued to work in Ukraine, with the loss of “one fighter” at the end of last year. Yes, we imposed “fake” sanctions against them, for example, in the form of a ban on the payment of dividends. This is really funny given that the group of these banks suffer losses and in general there is nothing to distribute. As for the energy sector, here all the diversification of risks and the search for alternative suppliers has been reduced to buying Russian gas through Luxembourg and Swiss firms. At the same time, a new dependency has emerged – coal. As well as traditional oil and petroleum products, because the source of hydrocarbons is the same – Siberia. Not to mention the eternal weeping, sounding from the “Naftogaz” in relation to the reduction of Russian gas transit through the territory of Ukraine. After all, if the sanction policy is honest, then you need to be ready for anything, including the fact that Russia in 2020 will reduce gas transit through the territory of Ukraine to critical, minimum volumes of 40 billion cubic meters per year. By and large, the Russian Federation, applying this or that arsenal of pressure on Ukraine, is not particularly embarrassed by the means. Now Moscow has embarked on a new stage in the solution of the “Ukrainian question,” which is called “controlled chaos,” with the maximum weakening of the basic state institutions. Such a way is a variant of “denationalization” of local politics. To implement this plan, they need to have the hidden levers of regulating the level of loyalty. Moscow no longer wantы to warm up those Ukrainian political forces who speak about Russian language and love for Pushkin, and then they watch the balance of personal accounts in Swiss banks: how many rent there are from business projects in Ukraine, including the use of competitive advantage factors derived from their love to Russia. Related: Issuance of passports is attempt to legitimize Russian military presence in Donbas, – Poroshenko From now on, the economic levers of influence on the corruption elites in Ukraine received a clear marking of “friends – enemies”, which was shown by the new sanctions imposed against Ukraine last year. At the same time, the Russian Federation is trying to always keep the formal side for its power actions. Moreover, both Ukraine and the Russian Federation are members of the WTO and before introducing new economic restrictions on the other side, they need to be adapted to the requirements of international law. The underestimation of the formal principle in Kyiv and the predilection for it in Moscow is bearing fruit. Ukraine has already lost three disputes with the Russian Federation in the framework of the WTO, and all because of appealing to emotional, rather than formal arguments. In this model of long-term confrontation, minds and senses win, and amateurishness and trivial mistakes lose. By and large, our task is to give Moscow as little as possible in matters of formal reasons for any “symmetrical” actions. And the Russian Federation decides to start a new wave of sanctions against Ukraine, then let them do it unmotivated. In this case, we still have chances of increasing international legal pressure. And the most important thing is that all time won by us must be used to search for new, diversified directions for the supply of critical imports, above all energy. Over the past five years, our government, even following the example of Lithuania, which rented a mobile terminal for receiving LNG in Klaipeda, could not do anything of the kind in Odesa, not to mention new directions for the purchase of oil and oil products. At the end of last year, the import of corn starch, glucose and syrup maltodextrin from Russia to Ukraine was banned. And it was not an economic blow to the aggressor, but a shot to us. After all, only some producers of this raw material benefited from this ban, but domestic consumers, who used this product on the basis of their technical specifications and technological maps, lost on the same occasion. And just recently, the Cabinet of Ministers decided to punish aggressor state in full: import of formalin and glassware from the Russian Federation was banned. Symmetrical response from Moscow came quickly. As a response, they banned the export of coal, oil and petroleum products to our country, and also banned some of the products of our engineering and light industry in the amount of $ 250 million a year. This is how our Ministry of Economic Development and Trade exchanged the glassware for Russian oil and oil products. Do you understand the scale of the decisions? It seems that our Cabinet turned into an arena for cockroach races. But as a result of their congenial decisions, much more significant “fraternal greetings” arrive in response. And if, following the ban on Russian oil and oil products, the Russian Federation blocks supplies of this raw material from Belarus, – in this case, against the background of spring demand, price tags at gas stations will have to be changed every day. After all, oil from the Russian Federation is the cheapest logistics for the pipeline, and oil products from Belarus are the most optimal in terms of price and the length of the transport arm. The search for other suppliers will only lead to an increase in the cost of logistics and a long-term increase in the price of gasoline and diesel. From now on, deliveries of petroleum products and coal from the Russian Federation to Ukraine are possible only when special permits are received in Moscow, which under current conditions become a kind of “Khan label for business.” And a tool for buying the political loyalty of individual financial-industrial groups. And the Russian Federation still has a couple of moves in reserve. Last year, according to Rosstat, the export of Ukrainian goods to the Russian Federation amounted to 3.62 billion dollars, and imports – to 5.86 billion, the negative trade balance – 2.24 billion dollars in favor of the Russian Federation. Related: Russia confirms its aggression with issuing passports to Donbas citizens, – Zelensky’s team If we estimate the structure of imports from Russia to Ukraine, then the supply of mineral products (mainly oil) amounted to $ 2.77 billion. As for our exports, the Russian Federation may block the supply of metal ($ 1.28 billion per year) and further tighten the purchase of our engineering products ($ 0.68 billion in 2018). Food industry is also at risk. The final “ban” of it can lead to the loss 670 million dollars annual export earnings. In order to activate the ban on our metal or food industry products, it is enough to ban, for example, the “cedar” from the taiga at the next meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers. And everything starts. How to live with aggressive neighbors? We can be taught by Israel, which very clearly shares the protection of national interests and the lobbying of the private “candle factory”. Although we have to admit that the sanctions of the Russian Federation themselves are not so terrible for us. Much more dangerous is the complete lack of professionalism of our government and the trade special representative in the context of forming adequate responses to the existing external challenges. Our officials have long lived according to the principle: “War will write off everything.”
Ukraine has offered the Chinese side a portfolio of joint projects for the development of transport infrastructure, alternative energy, and high technologies. — Ukrinform.
Linas Linkevicius on Twitter: “Held v.good mtng w #Ukraine’s President-elect V. Zelensky in Kyiv: congratulated on his landsliding victory in Presidential elections, reaffirmed #Lithuania’s continuous steadfast support to Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, reforms, European&Euro-Atlantic integration… https://t.co/0ejC5wq1UR”
Mark Rutte on Twitter: “Just spoke with upcoming Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to congratulate him on his electoral victory. Among other things, we talked about stability in the region and the importance of progress on the MH17 dossier. I look forward to working together.”
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has discussed the probe into MH17, a Malaysian Boeing shot down by Russian-led forces in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, in summer 2014, with Ukraine’s President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky. Rutte says he is looking forward to working with Zelensky.
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan has congratulated Ukraine’s president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky in a phone call. — Ukrinform.
The head of the Constitutional Court will in any case take part in the oath-taking ceremony for Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky in the Verkhovna Rada. — Ukrinform.
Volodymyr Zelensky, who won the presidential elections in Ukraine, declares that the CEC deliberately delays the official announcement of the voting results so that his inauguration would take place after May 27 and, as a result, I would not be able to dissolve the Verkhovna Rada. “There is victory, but no powers. Someone hides a mace from me. I’ll explain what is happening: the CEC is delaying the official announcement of the results so that the Verkhovna Rada could delay the appointment date for the inauguration. To appoint inauguration after May 27. Why? So that President Zelensky wouldn’t even have the opportunity to think about the dissolution of the Verkhovna Rada. It seems to me that this is unfair,” said Zelensky in a video message posted on his Facebook page on Thursday evening.
Key Takeaways Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky won the second round of the 2019 Ukrainian Presidential Elections on April 21. Zelensky may yet pleasantly surprise his critics and serve as an effective reform-oriented president. Until he does the U.S. should recognize the risks his presidency poses for Ukraine and the West. The Kremlin likely sees Zelensky as an opportunity to gradually regain economic and political influence in Ukraine. The West and Ukraine could risk mistaking the Kremlin’s likely shift in approach for a shift in the underlying goals held by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Other actors including oligarchs and allies of the former pro-Russian Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych also perceive an opportunity for a comeback under Zelensky. Their regressive agenda has the potential to disrupt critical reforms in Ukraine. Ukraine has much to lose, including its course towards a free and open society and its integration with the West. The ability of Ukrainian reformists to consolidate ahead of the October 2019 Ukrainian Parliamentary Elections will be key to Ukraine’s ability to preserve its gains since the 2014 Euromaidan Revolution. The West can also play a major role in helping preserve these gains. The West must nonetheless strike a nuanced balance between supporting reforms and not inadvertently enabling Russia’s interests in Ukraine. Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky won the second round of the 2019 Ukrainian Presidential Elections held on April 21. His presidency presents at least six key risks for Ukraine and the West.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a comedian outsider whose campaign served as an echo chamber for public discontent in Europe’s most consistently corrupt nation has won a landslide victory in the presidential race.
The landslide victory of comedic actor-turned-politician Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Ukraine’s April 21 presidential election has proven one of the most dynamic events in modern Ukrainian history. Five years after the country’s EuroMaidan Revolution, which ended the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych, the Ukrainian public has acted decisively and with surprising unity to choose the country’s next leader. The man in question is distinctly different from incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, who campaigned with the slogan “Army! Language! Faith!”: a non-politician and a Russian speaker who is reticent to discuss religion. Unsurprisingly, this has been controversial. It has led to a wave of recriminations from Poroshenko’s patriotic supporters, who express a sense that Ukraine is lost, the country is turning back toward Russia, and — likely, the worst response to the election — that over 70 percent of the country is morons and so-called ‘Little Russians.’ But once the heated emotions fade, Ukrainians who supported President Poroshenko in the election should see that they too are the winners of this historic event. It is too early to pass judgment on Volodymyr Zelenskiy as president. He is inexperienced and has worrying ties to oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky. He faces an ongoing war with Russia, entrenched corruption, and a weak economy. There are many reasons to be concerned about what his presidency will yield for Ukraine. But his election itself is a win for Ukrainian democracy and, yes, Ukraine’s European path.
JOKES ABOUT Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, come easily. He is, after all, a comedian. At times his campaign seemed too frivolous to be consequential.
The political plan of President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy is largely unknown. Will his presidency be as unique as his rise to power?
The official start of the presidential election campaign was given on the last day of 2018. Now it is already finished, we know the results of exit polls, and the CEC began to count votes. So, for what, in fact, the candidates fought and what rights will the winner get? Brief theory The topic of presidential duties is extremely important because the electorate (and not only it, to be honest) often confuses who does what and who is responsible for this or that in the country. – At the moment in Ukraine we have mixed, parliamentary-presidential form of government. – Over the years of independence, the form of government has changed several times. – The Constitution, as amended by President Kuchma, provided for a presidential-parliamentary form of government. – In 2004, a constitutional reform was carried out, providing for a transition to a parliamentary-presidential form of government. Thus, the powers of the president were significantly limited. – In 2010, the Constitutional Court reinstated the “presidential-parliamentary” Constitution. – In February 2014, after the Revolution of Dignity, the Verkhovna Rada renewed the Constitution in the 2004 edition (with the parliamentary-presidential form of government). What the President of Ukraine can and can’t do He can – Submit two candidates from the Cabinet: the Minister of Defense and Minister of Foreign Affairs for approval of the Verkhovna Rada. He can’t Independently appoint or at least submit for the Verkhovna Rada approval all the others, and first of all the Prime Minister. According to the Constitution A coalition is being created in the parliamen. It proposes the candidature of the prime minister to the president. The president is obliged to return it to parliament for approval within 15 days. He cannot change the candidacy. By the way, the president cannot dismiss any of the ministers either. This is the prerogative of the Verkhovna Rada. He can As Supreme Commander, he can appoint the command of the army and secretary of the NSDC. He can’t President can’t appoint personnel of the Internal Troops and the National Guard. This is the prerogative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He can Form the leadership of regional and district state administrations. He can’t Do it himself. For this he needs a representation of the Prime Minister. He can With the consent of the Rada, he can appoint and dismiss heads of the Security Service of Ukraine and the Prosecutor General Office; on the proposal of the Prime Minister he can appoint the head of the State Border Service. He also can: – appoint and dismiss from the posts half of the composition of the National Bank Council; – appoint and dismiss from the posts half of the National TV and Radio Company; – appoint a third of the Constitutional Court composition; – send proposition of appointing members of the CEC to the Parliament. He can’t Form the leadership of the State Property Fund and the Anti-Monopoly Committee. This is the competence of the government and parliament. Summary: The majority of personnel decisions the president of Ukraine is obliged to coordinate with the Verkhovna Rada. Foreign policy The President leads the foreign policy of the country. That is, he could decide not everything, but most of it. Among other things, he can: negotiate and conclude treaties, make decisions on the recognition of foreign states, appoint and dismiss ambassadors in other states and international organizations, receive letters of credence and revocable diplomas of other countries. He also can Veto laws. Prematurely terminate the powers of the Verkhovna Rada. Initiate a declaration of a state of emergency in the country, present state awards, the highest military ranks, and assign diplomatic ratings. Make a pardon. Decide on the adoption of citizenship of Ukraine and the termination of citizenship of Ukraine, as well as the granting of asylum. But Rada can overcome the veto (this requires 300 votes). The president can terminate the powers of parliament only in three cases: if deputies cannot form a coalition within 30 days, if they cannot open a meeting of a regular session within 30 days and if they cannot form a Cabinet of Ministers in parliament for two months. Well, the declaration of a state of emergency (as well as of martial law) must be also supported by parliament.
Tablet’s Vladislav Davidzon gained special access to Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s enigmatic new leader who once played the president on TV. Here, Davidzon shares his impressions of Zelensky and his predictions for Ukraine’s political future.
Under threat from Russia, national identity in Ukraine has overpowered religious and ethnic differences. KIEV, Ukraine—The way Moshe Reuven Azman, the chief rabbi of Kiev, tells it, “a miracle” occurred on Sunday night. Or perhaps, Azman said smiling, it was merely that “God wanted to laugh a little bit.” For centuries, Jews were chased and slaughtered in what is now Ukraine by Cossacks, Nazis, and Russians. During the Holocaust, more Jews were executed in two days at Babi Yar, in Kiev, than in almost any other single Nazi massacre. And today, across Europe, anti-Semitism is on the rise. But on Sunday, Volodymyr Zelensky, who is Jewish, won Ukraine’s presidential elections with a crushing 73 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results. In a country where about 70 percent of the population follows some form of Christianity and priests literally blessed protesters who overthrew a Russian-backed president in 2014, Zelensky’s Jewish background was a footnote in his victorious presidential campaign. Zelensky is joined by Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, who is also Jewish. It means that Ukraine will be the first country besides Israel to have a Jewish president and prime minister. What changed for Ukrainians? First, Zelensky, who was one of the most popular comedians in the country, rarely spoke about his Jewish background during the campaign, and it is likely that many Ukrainians did not know or care to find out about his religious identity. “The fact that I am a Jew is in 20th place on the long list of my shortcomings,” Zelensky joked to the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy at one point. But even more important, according to experts, was that after Eastern Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula were overtaken by Russian-backed separatists in 2014, Ukrainians rallied around a national identity that transcended religion. That nationalism was fueled by a shared frustration over pervasive corruption that Ukrainians blamed on the incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko, ahead of Ukraine’s April 21 election. Zelensky trounced Poroshenko thanks to a near-universal name recognition, populist message, and slick social media campaign. “In America it matters what your religion and identity is. In the post-Soviet space, it isn’t so, because religious identity usually doesn’t say something important about you,” said Vyacheslav Likhachev of the National Minority Rights Monitoring Group, who is writing a book about Ukraine’s right wing. “Zelensky is not about the Jewish identity,” said Yaroslav Hrytsak, a history professor at the Ukrainian Catholic University. “People in times of war and crisis don’t care that much about who is what religion. They care about the agenda he or she represents.” The limits of religion as a tool for political organizing in Ukraine were displayed during Poroshenko’s campaign. As president, Poroshenko was one of the driving forces behind the breakaway of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Russian Orthodox Church, which occurred in December 2018. “This is a church with God. This church is with Ukraine,” the president said after the religious body’s independence. Poroshenko’s presidential campaign slogan even tried to identify himself with Christianity: “Army! Language! Faith!” But the message did little to boost his poll numbers. He lost by nearly 50 points. The question is, can such attitudes endure in a land so sodden with Jewish blood? Zelensky’s electoral rout is part of a stark reversal for Jews on Ukrainian territory. For centuries, Jews have been persecuted in what is now Ukraine. Perhaps the most well-known site is Babi Yar, a ravine in the capital city of Kiev.
Anti-Semitism is not the scourge it once was in Ukraine, but some Jews fear becoming targets as their prominence grows.
If you would have asked one of my grandparents or great-grandparents where we are from, they would have almost certainly said we’re Polish. Or if you had asked them in Yiddish, they’d probably have answered “Galitzianer.” And I was fine with calling myself a Polish Jew as well, though I’ve been to Poland only twice in my life. In the nearly a century since my ancestors left Polish Galicia, they’ve called Berlin, Geneva, Milan, Manchester and Jerusalem home, and I feel various degrees of love and connection to all of them, but a thousand years of flourishing Jewish life in Poland, no matter how it ended, is something I never wanted to cut myself off from. ……. It’s hard to decide what to make of Zelensky’s election. The landslide victory for a 41-year-old comic actor with no relevant experience can be seen as yet another manifestation of the populism sweeping democratic politics around the world. But the 73 percent of Ukrainian voters who supported him were united in rejecting the corrupt, Moscow-manipulated and oligarch-driven politics from which the country has suffered since it gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. It would be wise too keep any expectations that Zelensky succeeds where his predecessors failed suitably reserved. But his election is in itself historically significant. By voting for a Jew, Ukrainians were consciously rejecting part of their nation’s past. Historically, Jews from the western part of Ukraine considered themselves Polish and those from Odessa and the eastern provinces were Russian. “Ukrainian Jews” is a relatively new concept, but one whose time has come. I’m not quite ready to give up on my Polish roots, but I think it’s time for those of us whose families lived in what is today Ukraine to add it, as well, to our melange of identities. Le’shana haba’ah b’Buchach.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin commented on the results of the presidential elections in Ukraine. Putin said the results of the elections are the failure of Poroshenko’s policy, as TASS reported. Putin said that after the meeting with the leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un. “What to assess here? It is a complete, absolute of Poroshenko’s policy… I am sure that the new authority realizes that. Just look at Zelensky’s first steps: it is one thing to realize it, and another – to develop a realistic policy which meets the interests of the nation,” Putin said.
Today Ukraine is at the crossroads. A state in Eastern Europe is trying to puzzle out what went wrong in 2014. A revolution defined a Western vector of country’s development then. The country has signed the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement and declared its movement towards entering the European community in the future. Viktor Medvedchuk, Chairman of “Ukrainian Choice” However, the presidential elections have indicated that Ukrainian society is not satisfied with the current developments and requires changes. Serious economic challenges, the war in Donbas, political turmoil – Euromaidan had completely different expectations. In 2013, Ukraine got an alternative of joining the Eurasian Customs Union, offering prospects of better economic benefits for the country. Though this option was discarded, and many people now believe it was done wrongly. European Union or Eurasian Customs Union? The EU-CU dilemma came into the spotlight in early 2013. Ukrainian authorities turned their focus on integration with the European Union, but at the same time, they were out for comprehensive cooperation with the Eurasian Customs Union without entering it. In its turn, Moscow counted on Ukraine’s full-scale partnership in the CU. Kyiv was cautioned that simultaneous economic integration with several unions is quite complicated and might prove impossible for a big economy on the whole. Ukraine found itself on the horns of a dilemma. Serious discussions on the course of the country flared up. The basic argument of the opponents of the CU was that Ukraine might lose its sovereignty. Though more sensible politicians, like Viktor Medvedchuk, the then chair of the Ukrainian Choice organization and the current head of the political council of the Opposition Platform-For Life party, pointed out that the Eurasian Customs Union was an economic agreement of independent states. It would be an exaggeration to state that after rejecting the Russian vector, Ukraine preserved its sovereignty. Otherwise, the current candidates wouldn’t go for a bride-show to France and Germany hoping for approval. It’s just impossible to imagine Trump, Clinton, Macron or his competitor Le Pen in this role. However, it’s a reality in Ukraine, which has flouted Russia.
Today Ukraine is at the crossroads. A state in Eastern Europe is trying to puzzle out what went wrong in 2014. A revolution defined a Western vector of country’s development then. The country has signed the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement and declared its movement towards entering the European community in the future.
In Sunday’s election Ukrainian voters dealt a decisive rebuttal to the post-Maidan establishment. Yet well-organized nationalist forces represent a time bomb under the new president-elect.
Russians have been so obsessed with Ukraine for five years to the point of forgetting about their own country’s problems, Liliya Shevtsova says; and Moscow has done what it can to keep Russia at the center of Ukraine’s reality. But as the election of Vladimir Zelensky shows Ukraine has gotten over Russia. The question is: can Russia get over Ukraine? Russia’s obsession with Ukraine over the last five years says an awful lot about Russia, the political analyst says. It shows that Russia has no idea about how to consolidate itself, and it shows that hostility to Ukraine has become “an instrument for the legitimation of the authorities”
As congregants celebrated Annunciation in Verkhnebakansky, law enforcement officers stormed into their meeting house and halted the service.