Anonymous expert compilation, analysis,and reporting.
President-elect Zelensky is worrying some with his apparent quest for absolute power a la his television series. He is already exploring ways to dissolve the Parliament. I can’t be sure if this is more hype or fact.
Russia’s obstinacy in the UNSC continues. Wunderwaffe propaganda continues. Anti-sanctions bill introduced. Crimean IADS EX to scare away NATO ISR assets. Four articles on the descent. Eight articles on Russian meddling in Europe – they are having some success again. Bulgarian Air Force reported reluctant to procure F-16C and may procure former Italian AF Typhoons or new Gripens.
WSJ reports on Russia’s covert false flag campaign using proxies to stir up animosity between Ukraine and other nations, especially Hungary and Poland – this is significant as dummies in Western media have spent five years mindlessly propagating toxic Russian propaganda produced by this campaign.
With the inauguration scheduled for Monday, Pres Poroshenko spent his last day in office doing his final duties, dispensing advice to the incoming President, and putting statements on the record, especially arguing the case for the new language law. Concurrently, Russia calls for an urgent UNSC meeting over the very same law – yet another truly bizarre stunt to support their propaganda effort.
It is the 75th anniversary of Stalin’s 1944 deportation of the Crimean Tartars to Siberia and Central Asia, resulting in the death of up to 200,000 men, women and children. Pres Poroshenko and Ze make statements on this tragedy, and Russia’s current persecution of Tartars in Crimea.
Inauguration update, and Pres Poroshenko’s comments to Ze on NATO and EU policy. US delegation expected to be led by SECENERGY who appears to be a major fan of Ukraine.
Donbas and Crimea updates. Good article by Peterson. Neptun ASCM and Vilkha GMLRS live fire test updates.
Politics update – maneuvering around the parliamentary election date, Pres Poroshenko’s key appointments are all resigning. Nice JTA history article.
The Beeb interviews OCU Head Epifaniy – long and detailed exposition of the challenges in rebuilding a church. ROC update – Yekaterinburg is producing major upheavals across Russia.
Acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Cohen said Russia and Syria were responsible for the attacks on the health centers
Russia on Thursday presented a draft resolution to the Security Council accusing the UN’s chemical weapons watchdog, the OPCW, of politicization just before a new probe begins of chemical attacks i…
Peresvet is a high-energy laser, whose specific data and purpose have remained secret.
The Russian State Duma introduced a draft bill that would ban media and Internet sources from disseminating information that could lead to sanctions being introduced against Russia, reported RIA Novosti. It was clarified that the draft bill was introduced to meet the “increasingly relevant need to counter sanctions.” “It seems appropriate to impose a direct legislative ban on information that could lead to sanctions, on information related to sanction violations and on information related to conditions for lifting sanctions, spread through both media as well as information and telecommunication networks,” read an accompanying explanatory note. The bill proposed to ban the dissemination of information which discloses the failure of an organization or individual, under sanctions or previously under sanctions implemented by a foreign state, to comply with sanctions. The ban does not apply to persons who, within the framework of fulfilling their official duties or fulfilling the obligations of a civil law contract or other legal agreement, carried out actions aimed at removing and mitigating the effects of sanctions levied against the organizations and individuals set forth in the article, as well as the protection of assets, organizations and individuals from the proliferation and (or) expansion of sanctions, it was clarified in the draft bill.
During a meeting on defense in Sochi, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that for three years the launches of 150 ballistic missiles were …
The Russian Air Forces conducted a training exercise to destroy a foreign reconnaissance aircraft in the Crimea, which “violates the state border in the airspace over the Crimean Peninsula,” reported the press-service of the Russian Ministry of Defense. It also reported that the so-called “the Wall” tactic was practiced during the training. “The joint command involved equipment of radio reconnaissance and air defense of more than 30 warships, six divisions of Coastal Missile Systems Bal and Bastion, as well as 35 aircraft of tactical aviation,” the report said. According to the Ministry, the training was conducted as part of the operational readiness testing of the aviation units in the Crimea. Earlier, the crews of ships of the Black Sea Fleet of Russia conducted a training session to cover the team site from a massive missile airstrike of a conventional enemy in the direction of the Crimea. Russia conducts regular military training exercises in Crimea after the annexation of Peninsula in 2014. General Staff of Ukraine calls actions of the Russian military in the Crimea illegal.
The Russian oil company Rosneft has abandoned its plans to invest in the Eastern Petrochemical Complex (EPC) in the Far East, the company’s …
More than 12 billion rubles ($185.6 million) in rubles, dollars, euros, and valuable material assets have reportedly been found in the possession of Federal Security Service colonel Kirill Cherkalin and two of his subordinates, Dmitry Frolov and Andrey Vasilyev. All three men have been jailed as their embezzlement and bribery cases proceed.
Russia’s economy slowed sharply in the first quarter, with the government placing the blame on reduced consumer demand following an unpopular hike in value-added tax (VAT).
Paul Goble Staunton, May 16 – Dmitry Kaunov, a graduate student at Moscow’s Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, says that “it is difficult to specify the number of supporters of ‘the post-Russia idea,’ but one must not ignore the presence of ‘the post-Russian’” in either the Russian Federation or Belarus. In the new issue of the social-political journal Ostrog, he describes what this idea consists of, drawing on the ideas of Astrakhan commentator Dmitry Altufyev who has been promoting it since 2014, and then considers how they are evolving in the two Slavic countries (vk.com/doc354704131_500798951?hash=5ee532997da269d804&dl=81c751ea28e8b3cc59). Kaunov summarizes Altufyev’s ideas, which the latter developed in a 2016 book by that title, in the following way. “The Russians are not an ethnos but an otherwise unformed ‘mass,’ which was formed with the aide of ideological solidarity and serviced over the course of centuries the needs of the Russian state.” “Various ethnic groups – Slavic, Finno-Ugric, Turkic and others – were mixed together in the Russian ‘sand,’ leading to the rise of an atomized mass inclined to statism and one that comes apart outside of the boundaries of the state.” Ideas surrounding Orthodoxy and now “’the Russian world’” are all about trying to prevent it from completely falling to pieces. In this context, Kaunov continues, “’post-Russians are either those who up to now consider themselves ethnic Russians but in fact are part of ‘the faceless Russian masses’ and are looking for a new identity or they are those who understand that Russianess now is not at its basis an ethnic term.” “More than that,” he says, “’post-Russian’ consciousness was expressed already in the Soviet identity [of the Soviet people] which in the end deprived Russians of their ethnic characteristics,” leaving them “a de-ethnicized mass” for whom rossisky and sovetsky are synonyms, terms referring to subordination to the state rather than membership in a nation. A manifestation of this, Altufyev argues according to Kaunov, is centrality of Moscow as a value for those who live in that state. “Consequently, a revision of the role of Moscow in history must begin with an understanding of the fact that relations of Moscow and Russia at present are based not on the model of capital and provinces but of metropole and colonies.” Because of these views, Kaunov continues, Altufyev and other advocates of “post-Russian” identity have no time for contemporary great power Russian nationalism which simply reinforces the power of the state over the masses rather than works to promote a sense of commonality among the population itself. “The goal of the Russian variant of the ‘post-Russian’ project is to show that those who consider themselves Russians” have invested in an idea which defined as an ethnic nation has no future and that they must free themselves from that and from the centralist and inevitably anti-people attitude of the Russian state. The Belarusian variant of “post-Russianism,” Kaunov suggests, is both similar and different. Similar in focusing on the population rather than the state but different in having an identity of that kind to go back to, the Litvin one based on being the heir of the traditions of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The development of that idea, the Moscow ethnographer says, can become Belarus’ contribution to the development of a post-Russian identity, one that stresses ethnicity over statehood and thus provides the basis for the rise of nation states because it will help create things that don’t now exist, real nations, rooted not in ethnicity alone but separate from the state.
The Sukhoi Superjet 100 airplane that caught fire upon landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on May 5 did not accelerate during touchdown as previous reports had claimed, but it was carrying a 1.6-ton overload, presumably of fuel. RIA Novosti journalists reported on multiple new developments in the investigation of the fire after reading a document prepared by Russia’s federal aviation agency. The document also indicated that, contrary to ordinary procedures, the airplane’s wing flaps were not extended during landing. Meanwhile, the pilot of the plane “actively toggled” the airplane’s steering control, causing its nose to move up and down continuously. New data regarding the handling of the fire onboard also came to light in the report. Fire alarms on the SSJ 100 turned on at 3:30:34 PM, four seconds before the airplane stopped. The plane’s fire extinguishing systems turned on at 3:30:58, but its engines continued working for at least seven more seconds afterward, at which point the plane’s engine tracking systems stopped recording.
Foreign ministers from the council’s 47 member states voted overwhelmingly to support a declaration saying all members are entitled to equal participation
At a meeting in Helsinki, more than 30 member state ministers of foreign affairs in the Council of Europe decided to pave the way for Russia’s return to the PACE following an emergency procedure, as reported by Ukrinform. Member states should have the right to participate on an equal footing in the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly according to the decision rendered on Friday. At the same time, the ministers stressed that member states have the fundamental obligation to pay into the Council of Europe’s budget. In addition, the ministers of foreign affairs said that they would welcome it if all member states could take part in the PACE session in June, noting the importance of electing the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the judges of the European Court of Human Rights. The ministers also discussed the importance of better coordinating the decisions of the Committee of Ministers and the PACE in order to “strengthen the organization’s ability to respond effectively to situations in which a member state violates its statutory obligations or does not comply with the standards, fundamental principles and values of the Council of Europe.” Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klimkin ignored the ministerial meeting in Helsinki. Since 2014, the Russian delegation to the PACE has been deprived of basic mandates. At a meeting on October 9, 2018, as in 2017, the PACE did not reinstate Russia’s voting rights, choosing to postpone making a decision to 2019.
Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache has resigned following the release of a secret video in which he is seen offering government contracts to a potential Russian benefactor in exchange…
A video secretly filmed before the 2017 elections showed him promising government contracts to a woman claiming to be the niece of a Russian oligarch and plotting to do away with press freedom.
Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius is against the “unconditional return” of Russia to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Since June 2017, the Russian Federation has not paid contributions to the Council of Europe.
Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to discuss the situation in Ukraine and the return of the wreckage of the TU-154M plane to Poland. — Ukrinform.
Russia and the Netherlands settled a multiyear dispute over the 2013 seizure of a Greenpeace ship during a protest at a Russian oil-drilling platform in the Arctic.
The European Union has adopted a new legal tool to slap penalties on those found responsible for cyberattacks on the bloc’s member states, as well as third countries and international organizations.
WARSAW, Poland — Bulgaria may walk away from negotiations with the U.S. for the purchase of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70 fighter jets, according to Bulgaria’s defense minister, instead turning to Sweden or Italy for new combat aircraft. As part of Bulgaria’s tender to acquire eight new fighter jets for its military, Italy offered the Eurofighter Typhoon and Sweden offered the Saab JAS 39 Gripen. The Bulgarian Air Force aims to replace its outdated Soviet-era Mikoyan MiG-29 fighter jets with Western-made aircraft. Krasimir Karakachanov told local broadcaster Bulgarian National Radio that government authorities were not expecting to receive “anything for free [from the U.S.], but [to be offered aircraft] at normal prices, taking into account the prices offered to other countries, for example, Slovakia.” Last year, the Slovak Cabinet signed a contract worth about €1.59 billion (U.S. $1.78 billion) to acquire 14 F-16 Block 70/72 fighters from the United States. The minister did not disclose the value of the offer made by the American side. However, Bulgarian officials noted the acquisition is expected to be worth about 1.5 billion leva (U.S. $859 million).
Russia’s efforts to keep Ukraine in its orbit have included invasions, targeted assassinations and economic coercion. Less prominently, Moscow has directed a clandestine campaign of vandalism and hate crimes aimed at spoiling Ukraine’s relations with its western neighbors, Ukrainian and European officials say. An ongoing court case in Poland has shone a light on the varied cast of provocateurs that the officials say the Kremlin has employed to try to stir up ethnic passions on territories where it used to call the shots. Two…
The Russian Federation asks to convene a meeting of the UN Security Council in connection with the adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the law “On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language,” spokesperson for the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations Oleg Nikolenko has said.
The representatives of Ukraine believe this is an attempt of Russia to change the UN into the evening show, like the first channel of the Russian propaganda
The Russian Federation has asked the President of the UN Security Council to convene a meeting over the adoption by Ukraine’s parliament of the law on the Ukrainian language. The law on the Ukrainian language was enacted by the president on May 15, 2019.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko called on the new authorities to adhere to the law “On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as an official one”, which was approved by the Verkhovna Rada and yesterday signed by the Head of State. It was stated by Petro Poroshenko during the closing ceremony of the XIX International competition on the Ukrainian language named after Petro Jacyk. “Yesterday, on May 15, the day, which will go down in history forever, I had the honor and pride of signing the Law of Ukraine “On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as an official one”. It was really a remarkable event and it was very touching to see the tears of public activists who did not believe it was possible at all. We have done it with you,” Petro Poroshenko said. The President stresses that the given law strengthens the official status of the Ukrainian language, ensures the constitutional right of Ukrainian citizens to speak their native language and hear it in the public space. “This right will be implemented in accordance with the European model of language policy,” he added. The Head of State stressed that the law had been elaborated for several years, there had been a very broad discussion throughout Ukraine and beyond, a reasonable compromise had been found on many issues and preparations for the second reading had lasted several weeks of the plenary work of the Verkhovna Rada. The President also believes that “the decision of the Parliament’s leadership to schedule the work on the bill so that the final voting and signing by the President takes place after the presidential elections was correct”. “This is a vivid proof that this law was not a subject of political circumstances for us. This is a matter of state-building,” Petro Poroshenko said, adding that the document had been verified so that no political force had grounds to initiate its revision. He underscored the high level of support of the law in the Parliament, as 278 people’s deputies voted for the given document. “This is a vivid testimony to the fact that the law unites Ukrainian society, unites the state despite the attempts of the Kremlin and the fifth column to frighten us,” he said. The President added that both the authorities and the opposition, all political forces that did not look back at Moscow, had voted for that law. “This allows us to predict a very long life of our law. I hope that the new authorities will support its spirit and its letter after carefully studying the text of the law,” Petro Poroshenko emphasized. The President also emphasized that “accusations that this law suppresses the rights of citizens speaking other languages are totally unfounded”. According to him, these citizens have a law on the languages of national minorities and the Constitution of Ukraine protects their rights. “The law is solely stimulating and motivating. It was developed, discussed and adopted in conditions when the aggressor country made the humanitarian policy one of the key elements of its Russian expansion. And therefore the question is not only about the way of communication. The question is about the Ukrainian content. And it can be best communicated in Ukrainian,” he said. The Head of State also quoted Ukrainian writer Oksana Zabuzhko: “Language is not only a “means of communication”, that is, the transfer of “ready-made thoughts”, as we all were taught in the imperial school. Its more important mission is to be a way of giving birth to those thoughts: when “there is no language”, a person simply “has nothing to think with”.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko stresses that the Ukrainian language is the basis of Ukrainian identity and Ukrainian statehood. It was stated during the closing ceremony of the XIX Ukrainian language international competition named after Petro Jacyk. “Look how beautiful the Ukrainian language is. The Ukrainian language, which has united us for hundreds of years, distinguished from other nations. The Ukrainian language, which forms our cultural and spiritual identity, sets our worldview and moral guidelines,” the President emphasized. Petro Poroshenko stressed: “Language is the basis of our identity. Language is the foundation of our Ukrainian statehood. Any suggestion to bracket the language out of state-building means dismantling the Ukrainian statehood”. “And we cannot diminish its consolidating role in building a political Ukrainian nation,” the Head of State said. According to him, it was not by accident that the constitutional norm appeared according to which the Ukrainian language is the official language in Ukraine. “For centuries, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Moscow again oppressed, banned, tried to root out the Ukrainian language. This was the main direction of Ukraine’s colonization by the Russian Empire. And even in the years of independence, Russian occupation of the Ukrainian information space continued, which is as dangerous as military occupation,” he added. Petro Poroshenko stressed that we had started to correct the situation in 2014: “I am proud that during the five years of my presidency we have conducted a very balanced, restrained, but clear and consistent policy of revival of the Ukrainian language. The policy of strengthening its positions in all spheres of public life”. “It was during these years that our Ukrainian language finally got a worthy place on Ukrainian television, Ukrainian radio, in Ukrainian book publishing and revived national cinematography,” the President emphasized and noted that it had been achieved through targeted and effective legislative decisions with a broad public support. At the same time, he emphasizes that these decisions in no way violate the rights of people speaking other languages.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko took part in the solemn closing ceremony of the XIX Ukrainian language international competition named after Petro Jacyk. “Our Ukrainian language is immortal as the soul of our people,” the Head of State emphasized. “Today it is impossible to imagine Ukraine without this ceremony. Without hundreds of thousands of pupils and students, including far beyond Ukraine, participating in this event every year, which is named after a prominent man, a patron, a great Ukrainian Petro Jacyk. Who, if you may say so, invested in the most valuable – in Ukrainian science, in Ukrainian culture, in the development of native language,” the President said. The Head of State reminded that the competition had been held for 19 years. “This is the life of a generation. More than 15 million young Ukrainians and not only Ukrainians participated in it. After all, as far as I know, representatives of other ethnic groups competed in the knowledge of the Ukrainian language and were among the winners,” Petro Poroshenko said and recalled his recent meeting in Avdiivka with teacher of Ukrainian language Mariya Marchenko, whose students repeatedly participated in the contest. “I congratulate all the winners. You are an example for peers in the first place, but also for all Ukrainian citizens of how one should know the Ukrainian language. And not only to know – you show how to love, honor and learn it. The Ukrainian language is a treasure that we must convey to the descendants. It will never be a language of discord. The Ukrainian language is a language of love, peace and unity,” the Head of State emphasized. The President recalled the words of the Ukrainian hero, dissident murdered by the Soviet system, native of the Ukrainian Donbas Oleksiy Tykhyi: “Language is one of the key features of the nation. Language is the foundation of culture. Native language is the most valuable treasure of the people. Native language is the foundation of intelligence, native language is the basis of patriotism. Native language must be protected, developed by every person. Dying language means dying culture. When culture dies, progress stops and the history starts to be written by Nero, Bismarck, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin”. The President is hopeful that “with a new law and the results achieved in recent years, we are passing the point of no return”.
“Voluntary over-fulfillment of language quotas by radio stations indicates that their implementation is fully in line with the Ukrainian society’s demand for a cultural product in Ukrainian,” President Petro Poroshenko said during the closing ceremony of the XIX Ukrainian Language international competition named after Petro Jacyk. The President recalled the decision to introduce quotas on the Ukrainian-language product on radio, television and in book publishing. “The most vivid changes take place in the media due to the introduction of language quotas,” he said. “The volume of broadcasts in the official language on radio stations exceeds 89%. I would remind you that the quota was 60%. Without any pressure from the state. And Ukrainian-language songs on the air now exceed 57%. I emphasize that the quota was 35%. And in 2013, before the introduction of quotas, the share of Ukrainian songs was 5%. 5% and almost 60% – this is the distance we’ve passed in five years,” he said “The share of books published in Ukrainian is increasing gradually. The reader chooses the Ukrainian-language product more and more year by year and pays for it from his own pocket. And each of you can be convinced of this at the Lviv Forum or Kyiv Arsenal. And today it’s not fashionable not to attend the Book Arsenal, the Lviv Forum. The only thing you leave it overloaded with Ukrainian books. Qualitative, fantastic books you simply cannot but buy,” Petro Poroshenko noted. According to him, Ukrainian is becoming more and more widespread in the TV production. In particular, the number of series created in Ukraine, in Ukrainian and on Ukrainian topics is increasing. “And this is extremely important, since not only upmarket works form a cultural matrix. Perhaps the information product aimed at the mass-market consumer is even in the first place,” the Head of State emphasized.
Володимир Зеленський on Twitter: “Today – The 75 anniversary of the beginning of deportation of Crimean Tatars. Now they are victims of repression again-as those who remained committed to Ukraine in the occupied Crimea. I believe we will liberate their homeland from occupation. We’ll do it together!… https://t.co/Y4RuhDSN4X”
Today is the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the deportation of crimean tatars. This day reminds us that you can destroy people, but the spirit of the whole people is never. The Crimean Tatars are back in the historical homeland. And now they have become victims of repression again – like those who stayed loyal to Ukraine in the occupied Crimea. Our support, our efforts, our thoughts are with them every day. I believe that we will liberate the homeland of Crimean tatars from occupation. And let the long be the way to return the Crimea, we will pass it together with the Crimeans. We’ll do it together. Don’t forget that even the last night ends with Dawn!
President-elect of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, on the day of the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the deportation of Crimean Tatars, expressed hope that Ukraine would be able to liberate Crimea from occupation.
President-elect Volodymer Zelensky expressed the hopes that Ukraine will manage to liberate Crimea from the occupation on the Day of the anniversary of 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars. Zelensky stated this on Twitter. “Today is the 75th anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars. Now they are the victims of the repressions again, as those who remained loyal to Ukraine in the occupied Crimea. I believe that we will liberate the homeland of the Crimean Tatars from the occupation. We will do this together,” Zelenske stated.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko stated that Ukraine will never forget the crime of the Soviet regime against the Crimean Tatars, and the current criminals will be punished for the occupation of the Crimean peninsula. Petro Poroshenko wrote on Facebook. “75 years ago, May 18, 1944, is the tragic date in the history of the Crimean Tatars. The witnesses are perishing away, but the memories of the genocide inflicted by Moscow will always stay in the history of the Crimean Tatars and in the history of the Ukrainian nation. The pain of the Crimean Tatars is our common pain. We will never forget the crime of the Soviet regime. And the current criminals will serve their punishment for the occupation of the Crimean peninsula, for tortures and cruelty over the Crimean people,” Poroshenko wrote. Besides, the President added that he was convinced that “the right of the Crimean Tatars to live freely on their homeland will be resumed”. Today, on May 18, Ukraine marks the anniversary of the 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars. The deportation of the Crimean Tatars was the ethnic cleansing of at least 191,044 Crimean Tatars on 18-20 May 1944; one of the crimes of the Soviet totalitarian regime. That day, the Soviet authorities deported the Tatars from the Crimean peninsula to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan. Small groups of people were also sent to the Mari Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, to the Urals and to the Kostroma region of Russia.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine called on international partners to honor the victims of deportation of the Crimean Tatar people and to recognize the 1944 deportation as genocide. — Ukrinform.
In the United States of America they call on the Russian Federation to immediately stop the persecution of the Crimean Tatars and the occupation of the Crimea. As Censor informs. NOT with reference to UNIAN , this is stated in the video message of US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent about the 75th anniversary of the Soviet deportation of the Crimean Tatars, published by the US Embassy in Ukraine on Twitter. “75 years ago, on May 18, 1944, the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin ordered the NKVD units to commit a crime against humanity: to deport an entire Crimean Tatar people in cattle cars to Central Asia. About half of the Crimean Tatars died during the first year of exile, among them was grandmother my wife Maube, “said Kent. He stated that today the Crimean Tatars are again being persecuted by order of the Kremlin in the occupied Crimea. “The Russian occupying authorities resort to threats, intimidation, biased and illegal searches of homes, physical attacks and unreasonable harassment and detention of the Crimean Tatars and other residents of Crimea,” said Kent. In this regard, he recalled that more than 70 Crimeans are political prisoners. Kent added that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo clearly stated the unequivocal position of the United States expressed in the Crimea Declaration that the United States does not recognize and will not recognize the annexation of Crimea by Russia. “We urge Russia to immediately stop all abuses and end the occupation of the Crimea. We welcome the dignity, resilience and strength of the Crimean Tatar people in the face of constant persecution from Russia,” said Kent. Источник: https://censor.net.ua/n3127580
This is no formal remembrance of a tragedy somewhere back in the distant past. 75 years after Stalin’s monstrous act of genocide, many Crimean Tatars are once again in forced exile, others imprisoned in occupied Crimea or Russia for their civic activism or simply for their faith –
On May 18, 1944, the Soviet government deported the entire population of Crimean Tatars from their homeland as a form of collective punishment for alleged collaboration with the Nazis.
Ukraine and the rest of the world are on May 18 honoring the victims of genocide against the Crimean Tatar people and are marking the Day of Struggle for the Rights of the Crimean Tatars. Ukraine recognized the Crimean Tatar people’s deportation as genocide.
Володимир Зеленський on Twitter: “Dear Ukrainians! According to regulations, I will take the presidential oath in the Hall of the Verkhovna Rada, before the MPs. Though I would like to be in front of you. Therefore, I invite you to the morning of May 20 at Mariinsky Park, from where I will go to parliament. There, in the park, will broadcast the inauguration.”
The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine has received confirmation of participation of the presidents of the Baltic countries, Georgia and Hungary in the inauguration ceremony of Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky. — Ukrinform.
The U.S. delegation will visit Zelensky’s inauguration
The U.S. Department of State suggested that William Taylor, who worked as an ambassador in Kyiv in 2006–2009, become charge d’affairs to Ukraine, the ZN.UAedition reported referring to sources in Washington. According to the ezine, the temporary envoy will tentatively head the U.S. Embassy for at least a year, or even until the presidential elections in the United States in 2020. “ZN.UAnotes that Taylor is familiar with the situation in Ukraine, he constantly keeps abreast of the defense sphere, knows the situation in Donbas and understands economic issues. As reported, in early May it became known that U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch finishes her work on May 20.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel expects to meet with Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky in the near future, but a date for such a meeting in Berlin has not been announced yet. — Ukrinform.
President Poroshenko to the elected Head of State: Create all conditions for Ukraine to apply for a full-fledged membership in the European Union by 2023 and sign the NATO Membership Action Plan — Official website of the President of Ukraine
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko is hopeful that the new Head of State will continue the course of Ukraine to the European Union, as most Ukrainians support this direction of state development. “The new President of Ukraine will take up duties the day after tomorrow. I firmly hope that he will continue the course of Ukraine to the European Union. This cannot be ignored, as the absolute majority of Ukrainians stand for these positions,” Petro Poroshenko said on Europe Day. The Head of State stressed: “This is a vector that is undoubtedly supported by all Ukrainian people. This is a course that is firmly enshrined in the Ukrainian Constitution pursuant to my proposal. This is a path that is fully consistent with the national interests of the Ukrainian state”. Petro Poroshenko also gave several recommendations to his successor in the implementation of the state strategy and foreign policy. “First, preserve the trust and solidarity of the European Union with Ukraine. This achievement is of a very high value. Second, strengthen the pro-Ukrainian international solidarity of the world, the international coalition in the world in support of Ukraine, which opposes Russian aggression and supports Ukrainian reforms,” he said. The Head of State also emphasized the importance of strengthening the sanctions’ pressure on the Russian Federation, “which must liberate the Ukrainian land, ensure the restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty over the occupied territories and territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state, ensure the return of Crimea”. “Continue and effectively implement the Association Agreement with the EU and the deep and comprehensive free trade area with the EU – Ukraine must finally enter the EU’s internal market. Continue sectoral integration with the EU in the directions already fixed in the summit decisions. This is the Digital Union, Energy Union, Customs Union and Schengen Union. I am sure that these directions should be implemented already this year,” he also noted. “And last yet the most important, create all conditions for Ukraine to meet the criteria for membership in the European Union and have an opportunity to apply for a full-fledged membership in the European Union and sign the Action Plan on Ukraine’s membership in NATO by 2023,” Petro Poroshenko said. “This is a completely clear program that Ukraine is capable of fulfilling,” the President noted. He also emphasized that security cooperation, a course towards NATO is an integral part of the Euro-Atlantic strategy. “A few days ago, I met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and we clearly declared once again: NATO’s doors are open to our state and in 2023 we will be able to get the Membership Action Plan. And already in December this year, at the NATO Summit in London, we will be able to formally inform NATO members that we insist on the MAP and have a strong intention to join this defense military-political alliance,” Petro Poroshenko emphasized. “As always in history, we have great opportunities, but this is a time of great challenges. But the winner is the one who sees a clear European goal. I wish all of us strength. I thank each of you for the support I felt over the past five years in the European course of our state. Without your support, there would be nothing. I thank our partners for the great achievements that Ukraine has today,” the Head of State summed up.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has said that in December, at a NATO summit in London, Ukraine should officially declare its desire to receive an action plan for membership in the Alliance (MAP). “And already in December this year, at the NATO Summit in London, we will be able to formally inform NATO members that we insist on the MAP and have a strong intention to join this defense military-political alliance,” Poroshenko said on Europe Day in Kyiv on Saturday, enumerating the tasks of the new Ukrainian government in the context of implementing the course set forth in the Constitution of Ukraine for the European and Euro-Atlantic integration of the country.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has called on the team of the new president to continue the movement of Ukraine to the European Union, to preserve the international coalition against Russian aggression and to seek strengthening of sanctions against Moscow until the full restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine. “The new President of Ukraine will take up duties the day after tomorrow. I firmly hope that he will continue the course of Ukraine to the European Union. This cannot be ignored, as the absolute majority of Ukrainians stand for these positions,” Poroshenko said on Europe Day in Kyiv on Saturday. He also advised those who tomorrow “will embody the state strategy and implement Ukraine’s foreign policy,” to preserve the trust and solidarity of the European Union and Ukraine, and the pro-Ukrainian international coalition that opposes Russian aggression. “Strengthen the sanctions pressure on the Russian Federation, which should liberate the Ukrainian land, to ensure the restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty over the occupied territories,” said Poroshenko. He also called on the new government to effectively implement the Association Agreement with the EU and the Free Trade Area. As reported, the inauguration of President-elect of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky will begin at 10:00 on Monday, May 20, in the session hall of the parliament.
Incumbent President Petro Poroshenko is proud that during his presidency Ukraine and the EU have become closer than ever. — Ukrinform.
Ukrainian ports have lost $400 million in potential revenue from Russia’s seizure of Crimea and its chokehold on a key shipping passage with a bridge that connects the peninsula to mainland Russia, The Financial Times reported. President Vladimir Putin inaugurated the $4 billion bridge on May 15, 2018, with a ceremonial truck ride across its 18-kilometer span. The United States and Europe, which recognize Crimea as legally Ukrainian territory, had condemned the Russian bridge for impeding the navigation of ships into Ukraine from the Sea of Azov.
Russian occupation forces violated ceasefire seven times, using weapons banned under the Minsk agreements four times, in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas over the past day. — Ukrinform.
The Ukrainian side of the JCC informs about the shelling by the armed formations of the Russian Federation of the peaceful settlement of Zolotoe Popasnyansky district of the Luhansk region. Censor informs about this. NO with reference to the OS press center . Наемники РФ из 122-мм артиллерии обстреляли жилые кварталы Золотого на Луганщине, – СЦКК 01 It was established that on May 17 around 7 am, armed forces of the Russian Federation from the direction of the occupied Pervomaisk carried out shelling of the Zolotoe-1 settlement using 122 mm artillery systems. In the course of the survey, a mobile group US STSKK recorded that down the street Lesia Ukrainka from falling into the house and rupture of an artillery shell of 122 mm caliber the roof was destroyed, the ceiling, sanitary extensions, corridor and kitchen, windows in the bedroom were partially damaged. The owner of the house said that during the shelling, he went outside, and this saved him from death. Источник: https://censor.net.ua/p3127593
In the last year, Ukrainian military forces retook 24 square kilometers (about 9.3 square miles) of territory in the country’s embattled Donbas region.
This week, 15 Ukrainian soldiers have been brought to the clinics of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Germany – the Bundeswehr – for treatment, who were injured in Donbas hostilities.
In 2019, the Government of Japan, the Government of Ukraine and the United Nations system in Ukraine continue partnership in addressing humanitarian needs and support recovery in conflict-affected areas of eastern Ukraine. In this regard, US$2.8 million of assistance provided by the Government of Japan will be used to address humanitarian needs, support vulnerable groups of population and recovery of eastern regions in Ukraine through implementation of four projects by four UN agencies. Japan-funded projects will be implemented by four UN agencies, funds and programs.
Ukraine’s law enforcers are just about to eventually relinquish their long-time workhorse Kalashnikov assault rifles and carbines in favor of globally popular MP5 submachine guns designed by Germany’s Heckler & Koch. The agency for the first time publicly presented its new tool of imposing law and order on May 15, at a firing range in Kyiv, with top police chiefs not denying themselves a joy to fire some rounds too. The era of old Soviet 5.45×39-millimeter AKS-74Us carbines and other Kalashnikov family firearms draws to an end in Ukrainian police ranks: MP5s will become a new main weapon for most of Ukraine’s special police forces, and all guard and patrol units. “In the nearest time, all National Police units drawing their duties in the streets, in airpots, passenger stations, will be equipped with the MP5,” as the agency’s head General Sergiy Knyazev said during the presentation. According to the official, the Ukrainian police needs a less lethal and handier weapon adjusted to police action rather than exterminating enemy manpower in combat. “A Kalashnikov rifle is a firearm needed by an army soldier,” General Knyazev said. “It’s designed to be killing (combatants). A new kind of firearms is of preventive nature. A police officer using firearms as a last choice must halt an offender, give him a chance for life, and then put him to justice.” Incorporating these firearms was an essential practical phase of reforming Ukraine’s law enforcement sector, he added. Earlier, General Knyazev also asserted that the police’s rearmament program has an “ambitious goal” to get rid of most of traditional Soviet-era firearms, including all Kalashnikov rifles, and Makarov and TT pistols, in favor of “modern European firearms.” However, as he noted, police units deployed to the war zone of Donbas will not be empowered with submachine guns such as MP5s, and their firepower will be still ensured with Kalashnikov. Other than that, the police offered no detailed explanation into its desire to switch to a less deadly weapon — the internal security situation in Ukraine over past years have seen no clearly blatant surges of incidents involving killings of suspects during arrests or pursuits due to exceedingly deadly nature of weapons used by the police.
The Neptun missile complex and the modernized missile system “Vilkha”, which were created in close cooperation of enterprises of the cluster of high-precision weapons and ammunition of DK “Ukroboronprom”, will be the next stage of the tests. Thanks to the work of the enterprises, it will be held by the end of May at one of the testing ground in the Odessa region, that is, only a month and a half after the last tests. During launch, the conformity of the latest high-precision weapons with the declared tactical and technical characteristics, in particular flight range and the accuracy of the destruction of targets will be checked. The firing missile complex “Neptun” with the cruise missile R-360, capable of destroying targets at a distance of 300 km, will take part in the fire tests. During the launch, the test of the self-homing head of the cruise missile will be completed in conditions of complex maneuvering when the missile is pushed to the target. Recall that the missile complex “Neptun”, which includes a universal self-propelled launching unit, a transport vehicle for the transport of missiles, a transport-charging machine and a command-and-staff module, should become the basis of the mobile system of coastal defense of Ukraine. Also during the tests will be tested the work of “Vilkha-M” – a modernized version of “Vylcha”, which has a higher range of 130 km and increased accuracy. Vilkha-M is equipped with a new control system, navigation equipment, and launch control system. All this allows a significant increase in the combat effectiveness of this high-precision weapon.
Budget projects for the next year, which are now being considered by the US Congress, provide for an increase in support of Ukraine in the defense sphere in comparison with the current year. As Tsenzor informs. NO , Ukraine’s ambassador to the US Valeriy Chaly said this in an exclusive commentary to Ukrinform . “Issues are being considered now, and the approval process at the relevant committee in Congress has already passed the stage of increasing aid to Ukraine next year both through the Pentagon and the State Department,” the diplomat said. According to him, we are talking about military-technical assistance, including lethal weapons of a defensive nature, support for the Ministry of Ukraine for veterans’ affairs, as well as a number of reform programs. “The overall planning of the volume of these funds is expected to be more than this year – more than $ 700 million. This is a huge support. If we take other countries in the European region, we have the greatest support from the United States,” Chaly said. He stressed that the agenda of the bilateral partnership between Ukraine and the United States is very intensive both in the field of military-technical assistance, and in terms of supporting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of our country through strengthening the sanctions policy. “Now, by the time we are talking about the energy sector, there are great opportunities and prospects. We have a common position on many issues – not only in terms of bilateral cooperation, but also of Ukraine’s energy projects in Europe,” Chaly said. He also expressed the hope that after the transit period in Ukraine, the newly elected president, government and parliament will quickly move to meaningful work. “We would like the traditionally high intensity of visits to Washington, which is now a little suspended due to political events in Ukraine, to recover,” the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States concluded. Источник: https://censor.net.ua/n3127556
Kateryna_Kruk on Twitter: “Hey @Reuters you are wrong here! The coalition was dissolved intentionally to avoid early election, Rada has 30d for establishing a new one and no snap election can be called. After 30 days another law comes into play, ruling that Rada can’t be dissolved 6mnths before elections.… https://t.co/CHEZkycCTp”
Zelenskyi’s team mentioned several times that they planned to dissolve the Ukrainian parliament. Snap elections would give the biggest number of seats to Zelenskyi’s yet-non-existent party “Servant of the People,” which would ride the wave of Zelenskyi’s unexpected success at presidential elections and give him a majority in Parliament. However, many fear that Zelenskyi’s true goal for dissolving parliament is the desire for the absolute power he was shown having in the TV series in which he starred playing the role of president, “Servant of the People,” which includes the control of the Parliament and controlling judges. Now the Verkhovna Rada set the date for his inauguration, but it’s still unclear whether the President-elect will be able to dissolve it.
The team of President-elect of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky suggests introducing in Ukraine a system of democracy based on the principle of “direct democracy,” which will include fair and high-quality referendums, a mandatory response to popular initiatives and a “people’s veto” on decisions taken by key authorities.
This is the draft bill, and the final version has not been approved yet
Biryukov wants ‘to follow the trend’
Deputy head of presidential administration resigns. “We make space for a new team.” Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has dismissed Kostiantyn Yeliseyev from his post as deputy head of the Presidential Administration.
National security council secretary resigns. “I am ready to directly defend our country on military service in any military unit or military detachment.” Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
After yesterday’s statement by Oleksandr Turchynov about his resignation from the post of Secretary of the NSDC on the Internet, a video appeared on the results of his work: from the time of Maidan to the present day. As informs Tsenzor.NET, the corresponding video appeared in YouTub . Источник: https://censor.net.ua/v3127594
Ukrainian foreign minister tenders resignation. He is going into politics. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
The relevant decree was published on the website of the head of state. In addition, Poroshenko dismissed the following advisers (contract workers): Ihor Hryniv, Leszek Balcerowicz, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Serhiyi Kvit, Oleksandr Paskhaver, Maria Haidar, and Yuriy Biryukov. The head of state also dismissed Iryna Lutsenko from the post of president’s representative in the Verkhovna Rada and Iryna Gerashchenko from the post of president’s authorized representative for the peaceful settlement of the situation in Donbas.
Poroshenko grants Ukrainian citizenship to Sentsov’s cousin, Russian ex-MP. The ex-MP said he would use his new status to improve Ukrainians’ welfare. Political – LB.ua news portal. Latest from Ukraine and the world today
Ihor Kolomoisky, a business titan with close ties to Ukraine’s president-elect, returned from self-imposed exile just days before the inauguration.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko attended the “Ukrainian statehood: origins, stages of formation and development” exhibition, opened at the “Ukrainian House” National Center for Business and Cultural Cooperation. The President thanked the head of the exhibition, First Vice Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv, the team of authors, academicians and public figures who joined the creation of the exhibition. “I want to personally thank all members of society for preserving the historical memory of the Ukrainian people. It is about establishing the truth about our history. Our people have gained the right to know the truth – the truth, which is not created outside of Ukraine, in the Kremlin. The truth, on the traditions of which generations of Ukrainians will be raised,” Petro Poroshenko noted. “Without morale, without love for Ukraine, there will be no victory,” the Head of State stressed the importance of knowing the truth about the heroes of the Russian-Ukrainian war, about Russian occupation. “The exhibition that is taking place here today is a confirmation of that. These materials should be in every Ukrainian family, in every Ukrainian military unit, library, school,” the President said and added that it is important to create an electronic version of the exhibition, materials of which could be used by Ukrainians from around the world. I am among the like-minded people at this exhibition, among those who support the truth about Ukraine. Thank you very much for preserving Ukraine and not losing optimism and faith in the victory,” the Head of State summed up. The President got himself acquainted with the exhibition and had a conversation with the attendees.
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed the Decree “On ensuring conditions for the implementation of the system of mobile communication of the fifth generation”. The Decree sets out a schedule that will allow the launch of the 5th generation technology in 2020 and include a plan for the allocation of frequencies, coordination of the work with the Government and the necessary legislative initiatives of the Verkhovna Rada. The Head of State reminded that in 2014,Ukraine didn’t even have 3G standard and the first Presidential Decree on the introduction of the 3rd generation was issued in July 2014. “We have been trying to close Ukraine’s gap from the leading countries of the world,” the President said. He also mentioned that already in July 2015, a decree on the introduction of the digital standard of the 4th generation was signed. “Today, 3G and 4G connection is not a surprise either. It functions throughout the country,” the President said, emphasizing that Ukraine did this in 5 years, while for the most other countries it took more than ten years. “We have closed the lag that Ukraine had in 2014. We have managed to attract significant funds to the state budget. Billions of hryvnias. As for the fourth generation, it was 8 billion, as for the third generation, the amount exceeded 9 billion hryvnias. And 36 billion hryvnias of investments were provided to the economy of Ukraine,” the Head of State said. He also noted that “the organization of contests for the distribution of 3G and 4G frequencies was a model of anticorruption, openness, accessibility, which was noted by all investors”. “Today, on the World Radio Day, which is celebrated by the United Nations, we have a historic event. Realizing that 5G connection will work in most European Union countries in 2020. And now it’s already functioning in the USA and China, we’re not going to trail behind,” the President said.
The cultural appeal of an unlikely winner.
A Kiev prosecutor revives allegations that Ukraine worked with Democrats to damage the Trump campaign.
Ukraine’s pipeline operator Ukrtransnafta confirmed on Friday that Russian oil flows transiting it to Europe were suspended, but said normal oil transmission would resume from Monday.
Moscow is treating Ukraine and its newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, with the same implacable hostility as it did during Petro Poroshenko’s presidency. The Kremlin has not taken even a brief time-out that would have allowed it to assess Mr. Zelensky’s first decisions and the staffing of his administration in the wake of the April 21 presidential election (see Eurasia Daily Monitor, April 25).
KIEV, Ukraine (JTA) — Jews have lived in Ukraine for such a long time that their arrival here predates even the first recorded use of the country’s name. Starting in the ninth century, Jews began settling between Uzhgorod and Lugansk — respectively the westernmost and easternmost cities of what is now Ukraine, a landmass four times the size of New York state with 45 million residents. Historically, though, Jews haven’t had an easy life in Ukraine for most of that time. In the 17th century, thousands were brutally butchered by the Cossack army of Bohdan Khmelnytsky. Nonetheless, the area saw an influx of Jewish immigrants in the 18th century, when it became part of the Russian empire’s Pale of Settlement – a zone in which Jews were allowed to settle. Ukraine’s relative proximity to Moscow made it a preferred destination for Jews. By 1939, there were no fewer than 1.5 million of them in Ukraine. One was Sholem Aleichem, one of the world’s greatest Yiddish writers. Another was Chayyim Nahman Bialik, often seen as Israel’s national poet. Golda Meir, Israel’s only female prime minister, was born in Kiev. Zeev Jabotinsky, the ideological father of Israel’s Likud party, was from Odessa. Ukraine, which today has anywhere between 60,000 to 360,000 Jews, depending on the definitions of who’s counting, also became a huge spiritual center for Hasidic Judaism. It is dotted with the graves of luminaries, from the Baal Shem Tov, the father of Hasidism, in Medzhybizh to Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav’s grave in Uman, where 30,000 of his followers gather annually for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. So profound was the impact of Jews on Ukraine that Yiddish was one of three state languages on the paper currency of the Ukrainian People’s Republic — an attempt at independence from Russia that lasted four years until 1921. The Nazis and their collaborators – local and foreign – murdered about a million Ukrainian Jews, nearly all of them in killing pits. One of the pits, Babi Yar in Kiev, was so massive that it was filled with the bodies of more than 30,000 victims within two days. After the fall of communism, many thousands of Jews left for Israel and the United States. But many thousands stayed in Ukraine, setting in motion a cultural and religious revival that has braved adversities like the 2014 revolution and recession. The success is thanks in part to the highly intellectual and activist character of this Ashkenazi, post-Soviet community. Kiev has several Orthodox communities and a Progressive one. It recently received an American-style Jewish community center. And it has several Jewish cultural clubs for young adults. Odessa, which has Ukraine’s second-largest Jewish community, also has two JCCs and two Jewish book clubs in addition to a Jewish museum and Limmud FSU Jewish studies festivals that are usually booked to capacity. Even more remarkable is the Jewish community of Dnepro in the country’s east. Once a closed-off military city under communism, it has become something of an unofficial capital for Ukrainian Jewry due to the efforts of locally born oligarchs. In 2012, they built a 22-story cultural and business center called Menorah — the largest Jewish community center in Europe — at a cost of $100 million. The building is shaped like the Jewish candelabra for which it is named.But many thousands stayed in Ukraine, setting in motion a cultural and religious revival that has braved adversities like the 2014 revolution and recession. The success is thanks in part to the highly intellectual and activist character of this Ashkenazi, post-Soviet community. Kiev has several Orthodox communities and a Progressive one. It recently received an American-style Jewish community center. And it has several Jewish cultural clubs for young adults. Odessa, which has Ukraine’s second-largest Jewish community, also has two JCCs and two Jewish book clubs in addition to a Jewish museum and Limmud FSU Jewish studies festivals that are usually booked to capacity. Even more remarkable is the Jewish community of Dnepro in the country’s east. Once a closed-off military city under communism, it has become something of an unofficial capital for Ukrainian Jewry due to the efforts of locally born oligarchs. In 2012, they built a 22-story cultural and business center called Menorah — the largest Jewish community center in Europe — at a cost of $100 million. The building is shaped like the Jewish candelabra for which it is named.
Euromaidan Press on Twitter: “The number of Ukrainians working in Poland tripled during the last 5 years and amounts to 75% of all foreigners in the country. Number of foreigners working in Poland is easing the tension on a labor market grappling with a record shortage of workers https://t.co/pPdQ8xuSiK”
Metropolitan Epiphanius, the head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in an interview with the BBC News Ukraine responded to the charges of honorable patriarch Filaret, told whether there was a Kiev patriarchate, and predicted how this confrontation would end. The last week in the Autocephalous Orthodox Church is hot – an open conflict between its predecessor Metropolitan Epiphanius and his former mentor, ex-primate of the UOC-KP Filaret, is continuing. The tension between them has been brewing long ago and the BBC has written in detail about these contradictions.
Just months ago, Ukrainians celebrated the creation of the unified Orthodox Church of Ukraine independent from the Moscow Patriarchate. Today, however, a power struggle within that new church is already prompting talks of a split. Patriarch Emeritus Filaret, a chief campaigner for the independent Ukrainian church, now says he should govern the new church while its elected head, Metropolitan Epiphanius, should represent it internationally. That was the agreement between him, Epiphanius, and President Petro Poroshenko last December, Filaret claims. The patriarch emeritus has also accused Epiphanius and Poroshenko of breaking their words and making him a ceremonial figure without power. “The agreement was verbal because I trusted Epiphanius and the president. But they betrayed me. I, as the patriarch, have to govern the Ukrainian church on the territory of Ukraine. But he (Epiphanius) governs and keeps me away,” Filaret told journalists on May 15, adding that he didn’t believe in the independence of Epiphanius. “He is being ruled.” Filaret also claimed that Epiphanius has avoided speaking with him. During five months in office, Epiphanius has never held a church service with him, he said. “In the beginning, I would give him recommendations on what had to be done. He would do the opposite. Now he doesn’t talk to me,” Filaret said. “In public, he says how much he respects the patriarch. It’s just words.” Poroshenko’s office couldn’t be reached to comment on the supposed agreement with Filaret. Metropolitan Epiphanius denied Filaret’s allegations. “Personally, I didn’t make any promises before the Unification Council,” he told BBC Ukraine. “The last agreement on Dec. 14, 2018 (the eve of the Unification Council) was put in writing in my absence. It was the final position. Perhaps, everyone had their thoughts but, at the end of the day, all agreements end with signing documents. That’s why saying that someone promised something to someone is irrelevant now.” Epiphanius said that Filaret wanted to return to an old way of governing the church by one person while the Unification Council chose a different management model: open and democratic where the church is governed by the Holy Synod and bishops’ council in accordance with the statute and provisions of the tomos, a decree granting official recognition of the new Orthodox Church’s independence from Russia. “I, as the primate, have no right to change the statute single-handedly,” he told BBC Ukraine. “If we return to the old order, it will violate the statute and the tomos. I have no right to violate the canonical order to satisfy a wish of one or another bishop of our church.”
The Russian president says plans for a church on green space in Yekaterinburg should be put to a public vote.
Workers in Yekaterinburg had fenced off a park, setting off clashes. Amid declining poll numbers, President Vladimir V. Putin is taking a softer stance on civil activity, experts said.
Four days of protests over a planned church have rocked the city of Yekaterinburg. Despite a concession from the city, activists vow to continue their campaign.
Yekaterinburg Mayor Alexander Vysokinsky has suspended the construction of a cathedral in October Square Park, delivering a surprising, if temporary, victory for demonstrators who have protested the project for four consecutive days. Vysokinsky says construction work will not resume unless the project wins the approval of local residents in a sociological survey.
Paul Goble Staunton, May 17 – Russians have been transfixed by the four days of protest by Yekaterinburg residents against the possible construction of a cathedral in a park in the center of their city, protests that the authorities have tried to crush and that even Vladimir Putin has had to weigh in by promising to survey opinion about the plans and follow the majority’s opinion. But there is growing evidence that the protests in the Urals city have become a model of residents of other cities across the country who are also going into the streets to challenge the plans of the Russian Orthodox Church and its allies among local officialdom to build churches on park land. Given that protests about one thing often grow into protests about others as participants come to feel that such actions can be effective, this spread of demonstrations about church construction could easily become, together with protests against plans for disposing Moscow’s trash in the regions, the basis for a new wave of demonstrations against the government. The Znak news agency provides a guide to the protests which have already occurred and suggests that more are on the way, as people in one place see that those in another have been willing to take to the streets and even for the powers that be to back down (znak.com/2019-05-17/vsled_za_ekaterinburgom_antiklerikalnye_protesty_ohvatili_drugie_goroda_rossii). Residents of Nizhny Novgorod have also begun protests against plans by the church and local government to build a church in the middle of a public square. They carried signs like “The church is taking squares throughout the country” and “squares for the people! The ROC can go to hell!” (kommersant.ru/doc/3968868). Nizhny residents are especially upset about these plans because there are already 14 typically empty churches in the same neighborhood. When public hearings were held about building a new church, some supporters sang hymns, but opponents responded by singing “The International.” Chelyabinsk residents too have taken courage from the events in Yekaterinburg. Earlier, they felt they could not block plans for a church in front of the South Urals Stat University; but now they are protesting, with appeals to the mayor asking “Do you want things to be like in Yekaterinburg?” (znak.com/2019-05-17/hotite_kak_v_ekaterinburge_aktivisty_chelyabinska_snova_podnyali_vopros_o_chasovne_yuurgu). Residents of Ulyanovsk too are now protesting plans to build a church in a park there, something activists say would require the destruction of 50 trees that they argue must be saved. At the very least, they demand the preparation of an environmental impact statement, something the church thought unnecessary (73online.ru/r/v_ulyanovske_nazrevaet_cerkovnyy_protest-68252). And people are protesting against not only church construction plans. In Ulan-Ude, they oppose building a patriotic center in the main park of the city (tayga.info/146503). And in Lyublino in Moscow, they have begun demonstrating against building more high-rise apartments on park land as well, Znak reports. Perhaps the most important aspect of this development is that protesters in one place aren’t following the lead of others by going on line as the Kremlin may suspect but rather by sending representatives of their city to Yekaterinburg to show support and learn what can be done in the streets to oppose those in power. In Yekaterinburg over the last few days, Ignat Bakin of Znak reports, people from St. Petersburg, Tomsk, Orenburg, Perm and other oblast centers have arrived. Presumably, they will return home with plans to take action “like in Yekaterinburg” as well.
A Chechen man helps Russians locate and repair their family graves in Grozny’s war-scarred and neglected Christian cemetery.