Ліві та лівоцентристські партії в Україні

The publication was sponsored by the International Renaissance
Foundation and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom
ISBN 978-966-8009-89-1
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers /Authored and edited by
Dr. Olexiy Haran, University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy (Kyiv: Stylos
Publishers, November 2009). — 72 pp.
Answers on pp. 23—25, 30—32, 45—48 co-authored by Petro Burkovsky,
answers on pp. 25—30 written by Volodymyr Dubrovskiy.
This publication seeks to provide answers to questions foreigners often ask
about Ukraine. In explaining the fundamentals of Ukraine’s foreign policy, it
also provides an introduction to Ukraine’s domestic politics. It argues that
Ukraine’s culture, political system and geopolitics are much closer to Europe
than to Eurasia and, therefore, drive the country back towards Europe.
© Olexiy Haran, 2009
© Map design: Dmytro Vortman, 2009
© Cover design: Alyona Kaminsky, 2009
English-language editor: Brigid McCarthy
Layout: Halyna Shalashenko
Special thanks to Dr. Roman Solchanyk, formerly a senior research
analyst at the RAND Corp., for commenting on and reviewing
the final drafts of the text.
UDK327 (4+477)
BBK 66.4(4Ukr)
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List of Questions ………………………………………………………………………………………………….3
Chronology of Ukrainian History ……………………………………………………………………6
Basic Data …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..10
Questions and Answers ……………………………………………………………………………………11
Conspiracy theories tell us about the West’s and especially
the U.S. “dream” of the USSR’s dissolution. What was
the West’s position vis-à-vis Ukrainian independence? …………..11
Why, in contrast to some other Soviet republics, were
there no interethnic conflicts as Ukraine moved towards
Given the depth of Russification of eastern Ukraine, the CIA’s
sensational report in early 1994 speculated that Ukraine
could “split” in two. Why didn’t this happen? ……………………..14
What is the present ethno-linguistic situation? Is the Russian
language under threat? ………………………………………………..15
Despite profound regional differences, there is no federalization
of Ukraine. Why? ……………………………………………………….16
Why doesn’t Ukraine recognize Kosovo? ………………………………..17
Why was Ukraine a founder but not a member of the CIS? …………18
What is the “tapegate scandal” and how has it influenced
Ukraine’s politics?……………………………………………………….19
How was the country deliberately polarized by Kuchma’s
administration during the 2004 presidential elections? …………..20
What were the reasons for the success of the Orange Revolution?
Was it a Western plot? ………………………………………………..21
What were the results of the Orange Revolution? ……………………..22
Why did the Party of Regions reemerge and why
did Yanukovych return as prime minister in 2006? ………………23
Ukrainian politics seem to be very turbulent, but eventually
result in compromises. Why is that? What is “pluralism
by default”? ………………………………………………………………24
What are the main achievements and disappointments
of the Ukrainian economy? …………………………………………….25
What is the influence of the world economic crisis of 2008-2009
on Ukraine? ………………………………………………………………29
What are the directions of constitutional reform? ……………………30
Is it necessary for Ukraine to return to a single mandate
electoral system? …………………………………………………………31
During the 1990s, the Communists were the strongest party
in the parliament. Are they still as influential? ……………………32
How decisive is Russia’s influence in Ukraine? ……………………….32
Creation of an “enemy image” of Ukraine ………………………………33
Why is Ukrainian Orthodoxy split? What are the prospects
for a canonic, autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church? ……..34
Divisive history issues ……………………………………………………..35
Why do Ukrainians consider the 1933 famine
as constituting genocide? ………………………………………………36
Divisive history: the Organization of Ukrainian
Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent
Army (UPA) ………………………………………………………………37
Soviet and Russian propaganda portrayed the Ukrainian
national liberation movement as anti-Semitic. It promoted
this stereotype in the Western media as well. What
is the real history of Ukrainian-Jewish relations? ………………..40
Can Russia repeat the South Ossetian/Abkhazian scenario
in Crimea? ………………………………………………………………..43
“Gas wars”: what happened between Russia and Ukraine
in the winters of 2006 and 2009?……………………………………..45
What was the EU reaction to the Russia-Ukraine “gas war”
in winter of 2009? ……………………………………………………….47
Is the EU ready to recognize the prospect of Ukraine’s
membership? …………………………………………………………….48
Visa issue: test of the EU’s good will ……………………………………51
Can Ukraine stay neutral/non-aligned? ………………………………….52
There is a stereotype that the policy of joining NATO
was formulated by President Yushchenko after the Orange
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
Revolution. However, it is President Kuchma who argued
that Ukraine should join NATO ……………………………………….52
Yanukovych once actually “scheduled” Ukraine’s entry into
NATO in 2008. So, is the Party of Regions really anti-NATO? ….54
NATO promised that “Ukraine will become a NATO member,”
but refused to offer a Membership Action Plan (MAP).
How could this happen? ………………………………………………..55
How will the results of the 2010 presidential elections influence
future Ukrainian politics? …………………………………………….57
1. Breakdown of Ukraine’s Exports of Goods …………………………..58
2. Breakdown of Ukraine’s Imports of Goods …………………………..59
1. Nations in Transit 2009. Ratings and Democracy
Score Summary …………………………………………………………..60
2. Democracy Score. Year-To-Year Summaries …………………………62
1. Kyivan Rus circa 1000 ………………………………………………….64
2. East Slavic Lands circa 1450 …………………………………………..65
3. Ukrainian Lands, 1649 ………………………………………………….66
4. Ukrainian Lands circa 1750 …………………………………………….67
5. Ukraine, 1914 …………………………………………………………….68
6. Ukraine, January 1919 ………………………………………………….69
7. Ukraine, 1937 …………………………………………………………….70
8. Ukraine circa 1970 ……………………………………………………….71
9. Ukraine, 2009 …………………………………………………………….72
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
Chronology of Ukrainian History
Early 6th century AD Slavic tribes first mentioned in historical
Late 9th —
early 10th century
Formation of Kyivan Rus state
988 Kyivan Rus accepts Christianity under
prince Volodymyr (Vladimir) the Great
1054 Catholic-Orthodox schism
12th century Disintegration of Kyivan Rus into
separate principalities
1187 “Ukraine” as a toponym first used in
1237—1264 Reign of Danylo of Halych. The rise
of the Principality of Galicia-Volyhnia
1240 Mongols sack Kyiv
13th century Formation of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
1330s—1360s Southern Rus lands incorporated into
the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
1349 Poland occupies Galicia
1569 Union of Lublin, creation of Rzeczpospolita
(Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth),
Ukrainian lands become part of Kingdom of
1570s—1580s Formation of Zaporozhian Sich, military
center of Ukrainian Cossacks
1596 Union of Brest, creation of Uniate (Greek
Catholic) Church
1648—1654 Great Rebellion (“Cossack Revolution”) led
by Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky,
creation of the Cossack State (Hetmanate)
1654 Treaty of Pereiaslav, Hetmanate accepts
protectorate of Tsardom of Russia
1686 The Eternal Peace Treaty, Cossack Ukraine
divided along Dnieper between Russia and
1708—1709 Hetman Mazepa fails to get rid of Russian
protectorate during war between Russia and
1772 First partition of Rzeczpospolita.
Habsburgs occupy Galicia
1764—1782 Russia abolishes Hetmanate
1775 Russian army destroys Zaporozhian Sich
1783 Russia eliminates the Crimean Khanate
and annexes its territories
1793—1795 Second and third partitions of Rzeczpospolita,
Russia occupies Right Bank
Ukraine and Volyhnia
First half of 19th century Formation of modern Ukrainian national
self-consciousness, 1840 — Taras
Shevchenko’s book of poetry Kobzar
1861 Abolition of serfdom in the Russian
Empire, start of “Great Reforms”
1863 Valuev circular, publications in Ukrainian
(except for fiction) prohibited in the
Russian Empire, existence of a separate
Ukrainian language denied
1876 Ems Decree bans all publications, public
readings and stage performances in
Late 19th — early 20th century
Ukrainian cultural aspirations transformed
into political movement
1905—1907 First Russian revolution
1914—1918 World War I
1917 (Feb) February revolution in Russia
1917 (Mar) Ukrainian Central Council (Central Rada)
set up
1917 (Nov) October revolution in Russia, Ukrainian
People’s Republic (UNR) proclaimed
1917 (Dec) First Soviet Ukrainian government
controlled by Moscow
1918 (Jan 22) Ukrainian People’s Republic (UNR)
declares independence
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
1918 (Nov) West Ukrainian People’s Republic (ZUNR)
1919 (Jan 22) Act of Unity between UNR and ZUNR
1918—1920 UNR struggles with Bolsheviks and Russian
White forces, ZUNR struggles with Poles
1921 Treaty of Riga, Western Ukraine comes
under Polish control, the rest of Ukraine
(Ukrainian SSR) controlled by Bolsheviks
1922 Ukrainian SSR joins USSR
1923—1933 Ukrainization campaign in Soviet Ukraine
(support to formerly discriminated
Ukrainian language and culture to create
“Ukrainian working class and new intelligentsia”
and to legitimize Soviet rule in
Ukrainian eyes)
1929 Formation of the Organization of
Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN)
1930s Purges in Soviet Ukraine, Ukrainization
1932—1933 Great Famine in Soviet Ukraine
1939—1945 World War II
1939—1941 First Soviet occupation of Western
1941 German invasion of the USSR, OUN
declares imdependence, Nazi repressions
against OUN
1942—1954 UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army)
1944 Second Soviet occupation of Western
1954 Khrushchev transfers Crimea from
Russian SFSR to Ukrainian SSR
1960s Dissident movement for human rights and
against Russification begins
1976 Ukrainian Helsinki Group, since 1988 —
Ukrainian Helsinki Union
1986 Chornobyl nuclear plant explosion
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
1989 First Congress of Rukh, broad national-democratic
opposition movement
1990 First Ukrainian parliamentary elections
1991 (Aug 24) Ukrainian parliament declares
independence after failed Moscow coup
1991 (Dec 1) Referendum confirms independence,
Kravchuk elected president
1994 Kravchuk loses presidential election to
Kuchma, launch of economic reform
1996 New constitution, introduction of national
currency (hryvnia)
1997 Friendship Treaty with Russia, Partnership
Charter with NATO
1999 Kuchma reelected president, Yushchenko
appointed prime minister
2000 (Fall) Journalist Gongadze murdered, “tapegate
scandal” follows
2001 (Apr) Fall of Yushchenko government
2004 (Nov-Dec) Presidential election falsified in favor
of Yanukovych, Orange Revolution,
constitutional reform, Yushchenko elected
2005 (Sept) First split within Orange forces,
Yushchenko dismisses prime minister
2006 (Jan) First “gas war” between Russia and
2006 (March-Aug) Orange forces win parliamentary election.
Because of their internal conflicts,
Yanukovych is able to form a coalition and
becomes prime minister
2007 (Sept-Dec) Early parliamentary election, formation of
the second Tymoshenko government
2009 (Jan) Second “gas war”, Europe suffers
2010 (Jan-Feb) Next presidential election
Based on Andrew Wilson’s The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation (New
Haven—London: Yale Nota Bene, Yale University Press, 2002). Supplemented
by Olexiy Haran and Dmytro Vortman.
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
Land area: 603,700 sq km
Population: 46.0 million (2009)
Ethnic structure (December 2001 census): Ukrainians (77.8%),
Russians (17.3%), Belarusians (0.6%), Crimean Tatars (0.5%),
Bulgarians (0.5%), Moldovans (0.5%), Romanians (0.3%), Hungarians
(0.3%), Poles (0.3%), Jews (0.2%), Armenians (0.2%), Greeks (0.2%),
Germans (0.1%)
Official state language: Ukrainian
Constitution: approved by parliament on June 28, 1996
President: Viktor Yushchenko elected by direct popular vote in December
2004; sworn in on January 23, 2005; head of Our Ukraine party.
Next presidential election in 2010 (January 17 — first round, February
7 — runoff)
Parliament (Verkhovna Rada): 450 deputies elected on party slates with
a 3% electoral threshold
Last election: September 30, 2007, next scheduled parliamentary
election: September 2012
Next scheduled local elections: May 30, 2010
Chairman (speaker) of parliament: Volodymyr Lytvyn (since December
Governmental coalition (since December 2008): Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc
(156 seats), Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defense (72 seats), Lytvyn Bloc
(20 seats)
Opposition: Party of Regions (175 seats), Communist Party of Ukraine
(27 seats)
Prime minister: Yulia Tymoshenko (since December 2007)
Conspiracy theories tell us about the West’s and especially the
U.S. “dream” of the USSR’s dissolution. What was the West’s
position vis-à-vis Ukrainian independence?
Until the 1990s, Ukraine was to a great extent terra incognita in
the West. The history of Ukraine was distorted by Soviet
propaganda and many important documents were off limits to the
public and most scholars. Western Sovietologists tra ditionally
viewed events in Ukraine from Moscow’s perspective. For more
than forty years, relations with the Soviet Union defined
American foreign policy, and direct contacts between U.S. and
Soviet leaders only reinforced these misperceptions.
At the same time, in 1959 President Dwight Eisenhower signed
the Captive Nations Resolution, which was unanimously passed by
the U.S. Congress. It stated that the independence of nations
under Communist control (including Ukraine and the other Soviet
republics) was in the vital interest of the United States. It also
called for an annual week of commemoration of “Captive Nations”
to be held during the third week of July. The resolution
established a certain commitment by the United States to the
“Captive Nations.” Western Europe, in contrast, had no such
resolution and did not emphasize the issue of human rights in
East-West relations.
However, it is widely acknowledged that the Captive Nations
Resolution was mostly rhetoric and had little influence on actual
foreign policy. President Richard Nixon’s national security
advisor, Henry Kissinger, told Soviet Ambassador Anatoliy
Dobrynin on June 12, l969 to ignore “separate public critical
statements by the president on one East European country or
another, since this is only a tribute to some layers of the U.S.
population which play a role in American elections.” 1
1 Serge Schmemann, “Soviet Archives: Paper Trail of a Rigid,
Authoritarian System,” The New York Times, February 8, 1993, p. A8.
In 1990—1991, before the dissolution of the USSR, the West
underestimated the strength of the national liberation move –
ments, especially in Ukraine. This is perhaps because the West
sought above all to preserve good relations with Soviet leader
Mikhail Gorbachev with regard to nuclear disarmament and global
security and feared the balkanization of the Soviet Union. In
1990, on a visit to Kyiv, British Prime Minister Margaret
Thatcher compared Ukraine to California. And on August 1,
1991, less than three weeks before the failed coup d’ tat that
derailed Gorbachev’s plan for new Union Treaty, U.S. President
George H.W. Bush unequivocally supported the Union Treaty,
which was designed to preserve the USSR, and criticized “suicidal
nationalism.” This speech, which President Bush delivered to the
Supreme Soviet of Ukraine in Kyiv, has become known derisively
in the West as the “Chicken Kyiv speech.” In November 1991, a
group of nuclear security specialists argued that “the United
States still has an incentive to prefer as little disintegration as
possible… the United States may have little leverage on the
disintegration question. But it can try to create incentives for
union rather than independence.” 1
Up until the last minute, Western politicians hoped that it
would be possible to preserve the Soviet Union in some form or
another. But during the referendum on December 1, 1991, over
90% voted for the independence of Ukraine; a majority was
registered in every region, including Crimea and Sevastopol.
Ukraine’s peaceful move towards independence prompted
Western leaders to change their policy. Canada and Poland were
the first countries to recognize Ukrainian independence, on
December 2. The United States recognized independent Ukraine
as well as some other former Soviet republics only after
Gorbachev’s resignation on December 25, 1991. Germany
recognized Ukraine’s independence on December 26, France on
December 27, and the United Kingdom on December 30, 1991.
1 Soviet Nuclear Fission: Control of the Nuclear Arsenal in a
Disintegrating Soviet Union, CSIA Studies in International Security,
No.1 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1991), pp. 69—70.
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
Therefore, it is not surprising that even after Ukraine gained
independence the “Russia-first” approach continued to hold sway
in Western countries. Some Western analysts started to talk
about the possibility of interethnic conflicts. The CIA con –
templated a “split of the country” as one possible scenario in
Ukraine. Even in 1995, Jack Matlock, Jr., former US Ambassador
to the USSR in 1987—1991, wrote an article on Ukraine titled
“The Nowhere Nation.” But the situation started to change in
1994 after Ukraine relinquished its nuclear weapons (it had the
third largest arsenal in the world!). After presidential and
parliamentary elections the same year brought about a peaceful
change of power, it became clear that, despite any fears, there
would be no returning to any form of union with Russia.
Why, in contrast to some other Soviet republics, were there no
interethnic conflicts as Ukraine moved towards independence?
Under the Soviet regime, Ukrainians, Jews, and Crimean Tatars
all suffered Russification and national and religious dis cri –
mination. Dissidents of different nationalities learned the real,
not declared (Soviet-type), internationalism in Soviet prison
camps. For decades the Polish migr journal Kultura promoted
the idea of Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation. Poland’s “Solidarity”
movement influenced Ukraine’s aspirations for independence and
supported the creation in 1989 of the Ukrainian nationaldemocratic
movement Rukh, which in turn appealed to Ukraine’s
different ethnic groups to support mutual national revival. Thus,
modern Ukrainian nationalism is a territorial not an ethnic one
and “inclusive” rather than “exclusive.” The tolerant position
of the national-democrats towards national minorities influenced
the national-communists, who were led by independent Ukraine’s
first president, Leonid Kravchuk (1991—1994).
Although a law passed in 1989 proclaimed Ukrainian as the only
official state language, Russian continued to play an extremely
important role in the country (see below). As for the question of
citizenship, Ukrainian leaders adopted in October 1991 a “zero
variant.” Everyone living in Ukraine was eligible for citizenship
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
without any conditions. Thus, Ukrainian citizens’ socio-economic
and political opportunities were not limited or circumscribed by
ethno-linguistic criteria.
Given the depth of Russification of eastern Ukraine, the CIA’s
sensational report in early 1994 speculated that Ukraine could
“split” in two. Why didn’t this happen?
Ukraine did not split even in the most difficult year of 1993 when
inflation soared to 10,000%. Polls taken in early 1994 showed
that only 1% of respondents in Lviv and 5% in Donetsk (the main
cities in the west and the east of Ukraine, respectively) wanted
Ukraine to cease to exist as a united nation.
Ethno-linguistic boundaries within Ukraine are blurred, and
the Russian and Ukrainian languages are closely related. In fact,
the very division of Russian- and Ukrainian-language speakers is
rather exaggerated because most of the population is bilingual.
The youngest generation of Ukrainians knows Russian even if
half of them do not study it at school given that Russian TV
programs are broadcast in Ukraine and most radio programs in
Ukraine are still conducted in Russian or in both languages.
In its preamble, Ukraine’s 1996 Constitution defined “the
Ukrainian people” as “citizens of Ukraine of all nationalities.”
Russian-speaking politicians do not feel excluded from the
political process in Kyiv, and they feel that it is more realistic to
compete for power and resources in Kyiv rather than in Moscow.
Ukraine’s independence elevated the status of what had
previously been a provincial elite and became one of the values
for the political and business elites whatever language they
speak. Characteristically, Ukraine’s second President, Leonid
Kuchma (1994—2004), relearned Ukrainian (which he had
forgotten during his years at the university and in the missile
industry). He even wrote a book (published in Russian) titled
Ukraine Is Not Russia.
Although the electoral divide between the south and the east,
on the one hand, and the west and the center of Ukraine, on the
other, has persisted in every election since 1990, there are signs
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
that major players are moving into the regions that traditionally
supported their opponents. At the same time, radical nationalist
forces (both Russian and Ukrainian) do not exceed the 3%
parliamentary threshold.
What is the present ethno-linguistic situation? Is the Russian
language under threat?
The results of the 2001 census (the first one in independent
Ukraine) showed a slow Ukrainization of Russified Ukrainians.
Compared to 1989, the number of ethnic Ukrainians increased
from 72.7% to 77.8% and the number of ethnic Russians
de creased from 22.1% to 17.3%, which was basically a return
to the 1959 census. But the number of those who consider
Russian as their “mother tongue” is higher — 29.6%. The
Russian language still dominates in the eastern and southern
parts of the country.
Towards the end of the Soviet regime, in 1990, only 45% of
pupils studied in Ukrainian, and in higher education about 90%
of subjects were taught in Russian. In independent Ukraine, the
Russification of education has been halted. Nevertheless, in
2008—2009 17.6% of pupils were studying in Russian, and if one
considers those who study the Russian language as a subject the
figure increases to 46.6%.1 (Compare to Russia: there are 2.49
million Ukrainians there, but no Ukrainian schools and the
Ukrainian language is studied by only 205 pupils).
In higher education, 14—17 % of Ukraine’s students (as of
2007) studied in Russian, but the actual figure is higher (it is
difficult to determine exact figures as one professor can teach in
Russian, another in Ukrainian).
The numbers for education in Ukrainian drop dramatically in
the eastern and southern regions. In Crimea, Ukrainians comprise
24%, but only 7% of pupils are taught in Ukrainian. In
vocational schools in Crimea all (!) subjects are taught in Russian.
1 Most figures here are taken from Zerkalo nedeli, August 15, 2009
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
42% of all books in circulation are in Russian (as of June 2009)
and two-thirds of the country’s newspapers are in the Russianlanguage!
The biggest challenge, therefore, is how to promote
Ukrainian-language publications in the media market. The
Russian language still dominates in business and in mass
entertainment. Despite the law, many members of parliament do
not bother to learn Ukrainian, the only official state language,
and continue to speak Russian in the parliament.
Given centuries of overt Russification (culminating in the 1876
Ems Decree that banned all publications in Ukrainian as well as
public readings and stage performances) and subtle Russification
in post-war USSR, making Russian the second official state
language, as some politicians advocate, will threaten the existence
of the Ukrainian language. We can return to this idea only in the
future, when the country is stable and prosperous and the status
of the Ukrainian language is secure.
Despite profound regional differences, there is no federalization
of Ukraine. Why?
The idea of federalization for Ukraine was put forward in 1989 by,
among others, Vyacheslav Chornovil, a former dissident and then
the head of Rukh, the main national-democratic opposition
movement. However, during Ukraine’s move to independence the
Soviet apparatus tried to use this idea to polarize the country and
organize separatist movements. During the first years of in de pen –
dence it became clear that federalization, attractive as a model for
a democratic and multicultural society, could encourage centrifugal
tendencies in Ukraine. Therefore, Chornovil rejected the idea. It
may be seen only as a prospect for a future stable democratic
society. It is important to note that the l996 Constitution rejected
the idea of federalization as well as official state status of the
Russian language. The fact that the national-democrats (the right)
were joined by centrists and even part of the left-wing deputies
was instrumental in the adoption of the Constitution.
During and after the Orange Revolution the Party of Regions
also used the idea of federalization to secure its position in its
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
electoral strongholds to challenge the Orange authorities in Kyiv
and also as a campaign slogan. Given the regional polarization of
the country, the absence of administrative-territorial reform and,
therefore, a weak financial basis for self-government, fede –
ralization could lead not to development of self-government but
to regional “feudalization” of the country. The key issue for the
time being is to strengthen self-government at the local level:
village, town, rayon (district). The country’s main political forces
agree on the necessity of this. Characteristically, the Party of
Regions has also decided to avoid mentioning “federalization” in
its program.
Why doesn’t Ukraine recognize Kosovo?
The current Ukrainian borders were formed during World War II
(including as a result of the Soviet invasion of Poland and the
threat of force to Romania following the Molotov-Ribbentrop
Pact). After 1991, ultra-radical forces in Poland, Hungary and
Romania put forward some territorial claims on Ukraine, not to
mention Russia’s claims to Crimea. This could have created a zone
of instability along Ukraine’s borders. However, these territorial
claims were not dominant in the political life of most of Ukraine’s
neighbors. The leaders of the Ukrainian state and its nationaldemocratic
opposition were in favor of the inviolability of
postwar borders despite the fact that the borders (including the
Russian-Ukrainian border) did not correspond to ethnic lines.
(Under Communist rule, some Ukrainian territories were included
in Russia and Poland).
This is seen as a sine qua non of Ukrainian foreign policy.
Despite changes of presidents, it has shaped Ukraine’s policy
towards Georgia and Moldova. (Even though Moldovans comprise
only 32% of the self-proclaimed Transnistrian Moldovan Re –
public, while Russians make up 30% of the population there and
Ukrainians 29%; before 1940 this region was part of the
Ukrainian SSR.). It also explains why Ukraine did not recognize
Kosovo. Nor have countries such as Spain, Romania, Greece,
Slovakia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Russia, China, India and others
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
with separatist movements or potential territorial disputes of
their own.
Why was Ukraine a founder but not a member of the CIS?
After the break-up of the Soviet Union, many Western and
Russian analysts thought that sooner or later the union of postSoviet
states would be restored in a new form. However, despite
three centuries of shared existence in one state with Russia,
Ukrainian politics cannot be explained by its intertwined history
and culture (or the “clash of civilizations” approach according to
which only Western Ukraine belongs to Western civilization) or
even by its economic dependence on Russia. Ukrainian politics is
the result of the correlation of domestic political forces and the
position of the Ukrainian elites.
Moscow and Kyiv viewed the future of the Commonwealth
of Independent States (CIS), created on December 8, 1991, from
opposite perspectives — as “reintegration” or a “civilized
divorce,” respectively. Ukraine has not ratified the CIS
Charter. Therefore, despite being one of its founding states,
Ukraine is not formally a member of the CIS, thereby avoiding
binding political commitments. Ukraine also refused to sign
the 1992 Tashkent Treaty on Collective Security in order to
avoid the possibility of becoming involved in military conflicts
within the CIS.
Ukrainian diplomacy avoids discussions about supranational
integrationist structures and instead focuses on developing
bilateral relations within the CIS and on Russia’s ratification of
the 1994 CIS free trade agreement (which is still pending!).
For the same reason, Ukraine decided only to have observer
status in the Eurasian Economic Community (into which the
CIS customs union was transformed in 2000). It did formally
join the Single Economic Space with Russia, Belarus, and
Kazakhstan in 2003, but limited its participation to support
for creating a free trade zone, but not the custom union, as
this conflicted with its official aim to join the European Union
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
What is the “tapegate scandal” and how has it influenced
Ukraine’s politics?
In September 2000, internet journalist Georgiy Gongadze, who
had written critical articles about the government and oligarchs,
disappeared, and in early November he was found murdered. In
late November, one of the opposition leaders, Socialist Party
leader Oleksander Moroz, released tapes allegedly recorded in
Kuchma’s office shortly before Gongadze’s disappearance. In the
recordings, the President and his entourage appear to be
discussing Gongadze’s kidnapping and murder. The recordings
were made by one of the president’s former security officers, who
was later granted asylum in the United States.
The opposition organized rallies and marches demanding
Kuchma’s resignation. In early 2001, the Russian and Ukrainian
media controlled by pro-Kuchma “oligarchs” claimed that the
scandal was masterminded by the U.S. in order to undermine
Russian-Ukrainian relations and to make pro-Western Prime
Minister Viktor Yushchenko the president. However, these claims
were not substantiated by subsequent developments. In fact,
Ukraine’s relations with the West quickly deteriorated in the
wake of the scandal. In April 2001, the parliament dismissed
Prime Minister Yushchenko. In contrast, Russian President
Vladimir Putin supported Kuchma and intensified Russia’s
activity in Ukraine. This fed rumors that Russian special services
stood behind the scandal.
However, because closer ties with Russia threatened the power
of the Ukrainian elite, Kyiv tried at the same time to improve
relations with the West, especially the U.S. Kuchma sacrificed
the very term “multi-vector policy” (balancing between Russia
and the West) in favor of European integration and even sent
Ukrainian troops to Iraq. Despite these efforts, he was unable to
restore his reputation in the West after the “tapegate scandal.”
During the 2004 presidential campaign, Yushchenko promised
to find the people responsible for Gongadze’s killing and bring
them to justice. But five years later, the investigation continues
(as does the investigation of Yushchenko’s near fatal poisoning
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
during the 2004 campaign). In March 2005, just hours before he
was to provide testimony as a witness in the Gongadze case,
former Interior Minister Yuriy Kravchenko allegedly committed
suicide. A court sentenced three former officers of the Interior
Ministry to 12—13 year prison terms, but it was not until July
2009 that one of the chief suspects, General Oleksiy Pukach, was
arrested. It is still not clear who ordered the kidnapping and
killing of Gongadze, how the recordings in Kuchma’s cabinet were
made, and, finally, what forces were behind the making and
release of the tapes.
How was the country deliberately polarized by Kuchma’s
administration during the 2004 presidential elections?
The main force of the opposition, former Prime Minister
Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine bloc, included not only the traditional
national-democratic opposition, but also former state executives
who opposed Kuchma’s crony capitalism.
Among politicians loyal to Kuchma, Viktor Yanukovych, the
Prime Minister since November 2002 and representative of the
Donetsk group, had the highest personal rating (because of his
administrative power). His past, especially his two terms of
imprisonment, weakened his position. But from Kuchma’s
perspective, this only enhanced Yanukovych’s appeal, because a
weaker candidate could be more easily controlled.
Throughout the election campaign, Kuchma’s administration did
everything possible to prevent Yushchenko from winning the
elections. Its main strategy was to present Yushchenko as a radical
nationalist who would “oppress” the Russian-speaking population,
whereas Yanukovych was portrayed as a great friend of Russia.
Yanukovych’s Russian and Ukrainian consultants also promoted the
idea of a “schism” in Ukraine between the “nationalistic” West and
“industrial” East. Their posters depicted Yushchchenko in fascist
uniform or Ukraine divided into three segregated parts. They also
started to wage an anti-Western, anti-American campaign. Russian
authorities openly supported the Yanukovych campaign, and
President Putin twice congratulated Yanukovych on his “victory.”
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
The results of the vote were falsified. Exit polls showed that
Yushchenko won the elections by 9% in the run-off, but the
changes in favor of Yanukovych comprised almost 12% (and in
the center of the country — 17.4%)!
In the course of massive, non-violent protests, which came to
be known as the Orange Revolution, the Supreme Court ordered
a new runoff. This time Yushchenko won 52% of the vote and
Yanukovych 44%. However, the country emerged from these
elections extremely polarized. The rivals reached a compromise by
changing the Constitution to limit the power of the future
president (see below).
What were the reasons for the success of the Orange Revolution?
Was it a Western plot?
The West’s continuous support of civil society during
Ukrainian independence was extremely important for its
development, but the dominant factors of the Orange Revo –
lution were domestic. It was no secret that the opposition was
prepared to call people to the streets. But even Yushchenko and
his allies did not expect such gigantic, continuous, non-violent
rallies all over Ukraine, which combined the celebration of the
“orange” victory (the color of Yushchenko’s campaign) with
protests against falsifications. The main factors leading to the
success of the peaceful protests were:
1) weakness of the regime and relative pluralism of Ukraine’s
political system compared to Russia and most post-Soviet
2) support from small and medium-sized businesses (the middle
3) split within large business groups dissatisfied with
Kuchma’s growing authoritarianism;
4) maturity of civil society;
5) international condemnation of the falsifications and the
West’s demand that Kuchma renounce the use of force.
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
What were the results of the Orange Revolution?
The Orange Revolution appeared to be an event of crucial
importance for the entire post-Soviet space. Despite support
from Moscow, Kuchma did not manage to pass power to his
designated “successor” and to repeat the “Yeltsin—Putin
The main accomplishments of the Orange Revolution are
political freedoms (including freedom of the press) and free and
fair elections. After the elections of 2006, Ukraine was recognized
in the ratings of Freedom House as the only free country in the
CIS. The results of the elections have been accepted in Ukraine by
those who lost, and since 2004 the reigns of government switched
hands three times. This means that elections in Ukraine do matter
and no political force can monopolize power.
On the other hand, many aspirations of the Orange Revolution
were not realized, especially fighting corruption, strengthening
the rule of law, judicial reform, etc. Hence, many voters were
frustrated, especially those who voted for Yushchenko in 2004
and his political bloc Our Ukraine in 2006 and 2007. There were
several obstacles to implementing reforms:
1) the constitutional reform which weakened the role of the
presidency, leaving Yushchenko only one year to implement
reforms (see below);
2) the country within a year shifted from presidential elections
to a scheduled 2006 parliamentary campaign, hence the
growing populism in Ukrainian politics;
3) divisions and internal disagreements within the broad
coalition in power.
The emerging democracy and the chain of elections (2006, early
2007 parliamentary elections, and the 2010 presidential elections)
made Ukrainian politics populist, in general, and the Orange
forces, in particular, the hostages to electoral democracy. Thus,
the Orange Revolution appeared to be only a first step towards
fundamental economic and political reforms.
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
Why did the Party of Regions reemerge and why did Yanukovych
return as prime minister in 2006?
Political freedoms made it easier for opponents to exploit the
missteps of the Orange government. And the press had the free –
dom to criticize the government. Although the elections of 2006
and 2007 gave Orange forces a majority in the parliament, the
constant fighting between Viktor Yushchenko and his former ally
Yulia Tymoshenko (she became prime minister after the Orange
Revolution) strengthened the Party of Regions. It reemerged as
the largest single faction in the parliament. In 2006—2007, it even
formed the governmental coalition, which Yushchenko had to
accept. As the Party of Regions gained seats in free elections and
recognized the results, it became a legitimate political player. The
party and its leaders (including business elites) presented
themselves in a more civilized, “gentrified” manner. It also
formed tactical alliances with former Orange forces (both with
Our Ukraine and the Yulia Tymoshenko bloc) and negotiated with
them over so-called “grand coalitions.”
During electoral campaigns, Yanukovych makes pro-Russian
pronouncements to mobilize his electorate, which then limits his
possibilities to maneuver in relations with Russia. But it is a
simplification to consider Yanukovych and his Party of Regions as
“pro-Russian.” For example, Ukraine was ahead of Russia in the
process of joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) when the
Russian side demanded “coordination” (disclosure of the Ukrainian
documents signed with the WTO countries, which contradicts WTO
practice). But the Yanukovych government refused this request.
When Russia laid territorial claims to the tiny but strategically
important island of Tuzla in the Kerch straight in October 2003,
this provoked stormy protests in Ukraine, including from
Ukrainian officials. Even more im por tant: it was clear that the
Donetsk group would defend first of all their own interests which
often clashed with the interests of more powerful Russian oligarchs
and state-controlled mono polies. Although not a supporter of
Yushchenko’s course to join NATO, Yanukovych during his second
premiership continued to deepen cooperation with NATO (see
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
below). Despite electoral promises, it is clear that the Party of
Regions cannot and is not going to change the Constitution and
make Russian the second official state language (the procedure
demands two-thirds of MPs and a nationwide referendum, which
makes this possibility highly unlikely).
This and the next answer co-authored by Petro Burkovsky (School
for Policy Analysis, University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy)
Ukrainian politics seem to be very turbulent, but eventually
result in compromises. Why is that? What is “pluralism by
Since perestroika, political development in Ukraine has evolved so
that the country’s most important decisions are reached by
compromise. In fact, Ukraine stands in contrast to many other
former Soviet republics in that it gained its independence peacefully
and without interethnic conflict. This was a result of a compromise
between the national-democratic opposition and nationalcommunists.
Ukraine also became the first country of the CIS where
democratic elections in l994 changed both the president and the
composition of the parliament. Ukraine’s new 1996 Constitution
was the result of a compromise between the pre sident and the
parliament, as opposed to Yeltsin’s “revo lutionary” approach, which
involved an armed assault on the Russian parliament.
Compromise was also a necessity. Ukraine, in contrast to its
post-Communist western neighbors, faced enormous challenges
after independence. It had to build a nation-state, civil society,
democracy, and market simultaneously. None of this could be
achieved overnight, and it demanded compromises with the
country’s post-Communist nomenclature. The drawback to Uk –
raine’s system of power-sharing and political compromise was
that it preserved the influence of the Communist past, which,
compared to Poland, Hungary, and the Baltic countries, was not
radically restricted.
Ukraine is also too regionally and politically diverse to allow
one force to monopolize power (also known as “pluralism by
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
default”). Even when President Kuchma’s administration grew
increasingly authoritarian, he was never able to implement the
results of the 2000 referendum, which would have given him
more power. Kuchma submitted six questions to voters, but the
Constitutional Court deemed two of them unconstitutional (a
situation which is difficult to imagine in Yeltsin’s or Putin’s
Russia). Moreover, the Constitutional Court stipulated that the
results of the 2000 referendum should be implemented through
proper constitutional procedure, that is, by approval of two-thirds
of MPs, which Kuchma failed to achieve.
Another difference in Ukraine’s political culture, compared
to Russia’s, is a stronger tradition of individualism, private
ownership of land, and the absence of broad public support for an
authoritarian leader.
The country’s political and business elites want to prevent
further polarization of the country, which could lead to de –
stabilization and thus threaten their interests. They also do not
want concentration of power in the hands of one leader.
As a result, the 2004 Orange Revolution, with its slogan “bandits
to prison,” also ended in compromise. The runoff (or “third round”)
resulted in Orange leader Viktor Yushchenko’s victory in exchange
for the constitutional reform, which shifted power from the
president to the parliament. In 2006, as a result of a new coalition
in the parliament, Yushchenko had to appoint Viktor Yanukovych,
his rival in the 2004 elections, as prime minister. The next year,
Yanukovych had to agree to early parliamentary elections and accept
the results, which again placed him in opposition.
The flip side of all these compromises (especially when they are
not open to the public) is that they cause gridlock and postpone
radical reforms. All of this makes the road to achieving European
standards longer and more winding.
What are the main achievements and disappointments of the
Ukrainian economy?
Ukraine formally belongs to the world’s lower-middle income
countries, with a per capita GDP of $3,920 in 2008. But it does
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
not share many of the common features and problems that
characterize this level of wealth. This is due to the country’s
exceptionally uneven and unnatural path of development during
the 70 years that it was part of the Soviet Union.
Ukraine’s main competitive advantage is its skilled and
remarkably flexible labor force and a relatively strong capacity
for innovation. In addition to full literacy over the last two
generations, the country has the ninth largest higher education
enrollment rate in the world. Ukraine has made huge strides in
its transition from a centrally planned economy to a market
economy, but the process is not complete.
In spite of a fairly problematic entrepreneurial climate (rated
142 out of 183 by the World Bank’s and International Financial
Corporation’s “Doing Business 2010” report), Ukraine has about
30 business entities for every 1000 citizens,1 which is comparable
to many of the EU countries. Still, most of the private sector
consists of very large financial-industrial groups. Ukraine is the
only European post-Communist country (besides Russia) with
powerful domestic big businesses that have significant influence
on politics and mass media (so called “oligarchs”). Ukrainian
firms constitute 52 out of 500 largest companies of Central and
Eastern Europe (CEE), and two are in the top ten (according to a
rating published by Deloitt in 2009). According to Forbes
magazine, seven Ukrainians were billionaires in 2008, while the
wealthiest of these billionaires ranked among the 127 richest
people in the world.
Nevertheless, inequality remains remarkably low. The poorest
10% of Ukrainians hold 3.8% of the national income while the
richest 10% possess 22.54%, a ratio of only about 6. (These
figures are from 2005; since then, the situation has most probably
improved.). This is much better than in Russia, where the same
ratio is 11, and even better than in the most of the CEE countries
(6.12 in Belarus, 7.6 in Romania, 9 in Poland, and so on) not to
mention 62.7 in Venezuela or 31.6 in Argentina.
1 Legal persons only, excluding micro businesses, self-employed persons,
and farmsteads.
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
Ukraine was the Soviet Union’s most industrialized republic,
with a share of industrial output in the country’s GDP as high as
50% in 1991. However, in the post-industrial world this was not
an advantage. Most of Ukraine’s plants were smoke stack, equipped
with obsolete technology, and military-oriented. Moreover, many of
them, as almost the entire oil-refining industry, nitro-fertilizer
producers, aluminum works, and an absolute majority of the
machinery and defense industry, were technologically connected to
counterparts that remained in the other former republics of the
USSR, mostly in Russia. Even worse, those “firms” did not develop
as market enterprises. They lacked any kind of market-oriented
corporate culture. Their management was oriented towards
“producing goods for the Motherland” instead of selling them on
the open market. In exchange, these enterprises benefited from
complete state paternalism. This arrangement involved a nonmarket
structure of prices that did not change for decades. Not
surprisingly, few of the products of those enterprises could be
competitive in a free market. A large share of them — about 15%
by some estimates — were worth, at market prices, less than the
material inputs used for their production.
Due to the collapse of central planning across the former USSR,
in 1992 the Ukrainian government had to follow Russia in an
abrupt price liberalization. But other reforms necessary for
establishing a functioning market economy (first of all,
privatization and elimination of state paternalism towards
enterprises) were postponed. Awkward attempts to keep postSoviet
industry afloat at any cost resulted in hyperinflation: in
1993 prices shot up more than 10,000 percent. By 1995, Ukraine
had lost half of its pre-transition GDP (although the latter was
largely artificial). Still, there was no starvation, mostly due to the
large informal economy and small-scale agriculture. Infra –
structure did not collapse as one might have expected. Millions of
people changed occupations and many migrated within the
country or abroad. Hundreds of thousands of new firms were
established. Market-oriented industries that were absent under
the Communist regime or played a very different role (such as
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
banking or insurance) emerged from scratch. The more entre –
preneurial directors of state-owned enterprises privatized them
and made their first steps in real business.
In the mid-1990s, economic conditions started to improve.
Under difficult circumstances and with the support of
international financial organizations (primarily the World Bank
and the IMF), the Ukrainian government cut subsidies to
enterprises in order to curb inflation. In 1995 mass privatization
started. The next crisis came in 1998, forcing the government (in
2000) to eliminate huge-scale implicit subsidies to enterprises.
Ukraine’s partial economic transition gave it one of Europe’s
highest rates of growth — 7.45% on average in 2000—2007. By 2004
it had “restored” most of its Soviet era economic potential. After
2004 growth was driven mostly by an un precedented increase in
world prices for raw materials. Ukraine benefited from selling
energy-intensive commodities that were produced using cheap
Russian natural gas supplied at preferential conditions, as well as
domestic natural resources. In addition, the country enjoyed an
increase in foreign investment and foreign credit after the Orange
Revolution. Domestic credit grew 28 times from early 2000 to
August 2008, while real household incomes rose more than five
times. Not surprisingly, the economy became overheated. Inflation,
which was in the double digits since 2004, hit 23.8% in 2008. A
bigger problem was that the government used the country’s
economic prosperity to avoid or postpone further institutional pro –
gress. The business climate did not improve, monopolization
flourished, and corruption remained rampant. Moreover, the hard
currency revenues from exports of raw materials and byproducts,
along with capital inflows, kept the national currency appreciating
despite high inflation. Combined with rapidly increasing salaries,
this caused problems for the labor-intensive industries that became
increasingly non-competitive. All of these factors made the Uk –
rainian economy especially vulnerable to the world economic crisis.
The author of this and the next answer is Volodymyr Dubrovskiy, CASE
Ukraine, Senior Economist and member of its Supervisory Board
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
What is the influence of the world economic crisis of 2008-2009
on Ukraine?
Ukraine looks like one of the worst victims of the crisis. Between
January 2008 and January 2009, industrial output fell more than
30%, real wages contracted 10% (between July 2008 and July
2009), and retail turnover dropped 24.4% (from the second quarter
of 2008 to the second quarter of 2009). The GDP decline is expected
to reach 16% by the end of 2009. The national currency, the
hryvnya, has depreciated more than 60%. A $16-billion loan from
the IMF helped to finance the budget deficit and prevent a banking
crisis. Nevertheless, the budget is fragile, and bad loans keep
increasing. But for the time being the overall situation is not as
disastrous as it seems. There have been no corporate defaults;
pension and wage arrears are modest; industrial output has
stabilized and even shows some signs of recovery. Still, Ukraine has
suffered more than most of its neighbors. In fact, all of its growth
over the last two years has been wiped out. Why?
First of all, the country’s economy was already overheated. The
global crisis has coincided with an almost inevitable domestic one.
For example, the construction sector started to fall a year before
the rest of economy due to the burst of a speculative bubble.
Secondly, Ukraine heavily depends on the world market for
steel and chemicals. Exports constituted about 48% of its GDP (in
2008), while ferrous metals for the last three years made up 34%
of total exports. However, both business leaders and political
officials fell victim to very short-term thinking. During the “good
times” of 2004—2008 they did not set aside surplus funds to
cushion them in the event of a downturn. Neither were most of
these profits wisely invested in diversifying or in technological
modernization. The same is true for capital inflows.
Thirdly, the world crisis prompted Russia to raise its natural
gas prices to the European level. Thus, Ukraine has lost its source
of cheap energy, which it had enjoyed since independence.
And finally, the lingering government crisis may be making
the country’s economic troubles worse. The politically unstable
government has not responded by enacting a new wave of
economic reforms, as it did in l994 and l999.
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
Nevertheless, the Ukrainian economy has once again de –
monstrated its remarkable flexibility. The labor market has
reacted immediately with socially acceptable wage cuts and
arrears, which has kept the unemployment rate from growing.
Unemployment has actually decreased slightly during the crisis
because people have been taking jobs that they previously were
unwilling to consider. Businesses are cutting costs and extending
credit to each other to substitute for the shrunken banking credit.
Most importantly, currency depreciation has already made
domestic production more competitive and imports more ex pen –
sive, so the country’s trade balance has been restored. There are
signs that some lessons from this crisis are being learned, at least
by the business sector.
What are the directions of constitutional reform?
One of the main impediments for the Orange team to start radical
economic and political reforms in the country grew out of a
contradictory compromise reached in the Ukrainian parliament in
December 2004. (This was hammered out between the fraudulent
second round of presidential elections and the runoff.). The reform
was designed to weaken the role of the presidency and, consequently,
increase the importance of the March 2006 parliamentary election.
This made the pro-Kuchma forces less anxious about the prospect
of Yushchenko’s victory and thus eased the way for the runoff. And
while Yushchenko was elected with a broad scope of authority, the
constitutional reform reduced his power within a year. The prime
minister would rely on a parliamentary majority and the president
could not remove him/her, unlike before. This was something that
had been demanded by democratic forces for many years. On the
other hand, the reform appeared to be hectic and inconsistent. The
president and prime ministers (both Yanukovych and Tymoshenko)
were trying to secure separate and sometimes parallel structures of
There was a debate over whether to cancel the 2004 reform, as
the Constitutional Court did not approve several constitutional
changes in advance. However, a return to Kuchma-type
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
presidential rule does not seem very likely as Ukrainian political
and business elites are afraid of authoritarianism. The move to a
parliamentary model is possible, but as the parties are weak this
model can be unstable. On the other hand, if one party receives a
majority it could monopolize power. So some kind of balance is
needed. Moreover, Ukrainians would like to retain the right to
elect the president. Perhaps one can expect some kind of mixed
model where executive power is not split and is under the control
of the cabinet, but is balanced by a directly elected president (like
the Polish model). According to the Constitution and Ukrainian
political realities, these changes can emerge only as result of
compromise between the country’s main political forces. It creates
an opportunity to achieve a balanced system.
This and the next answer co-authored by Petro Burkovsky
Is it necessary for Ukraine to return to a single mandate
electoral system?
Until 1998, Ukraine had an electoral system with 450 single
mandate districts that allowed for a runoff election between the
two top finishers (if neither of them succeeded in gaining an
absolute majority). Because the country’s political parties were
weak, after the 1994 elections 50% of MP’s were non-party
deputies. This led to unstable parliamentary factions. Deputies
were subject to pressure from the Kuchma administration and
could easily move from one faction to another, so by the end of
every term there were about a dozen factions. In the 1998
elections, Ukraine switched to a mixed (majoritarian-pro por –
tional) system and since 2006 to a purely proportional system
with a 3% threshold. It resulted in five political forces in the
parliament. This outcome structured the Ukrainian parliament
more along party lines.
But there is a lot of criticism of the current system because voters
must choose between closed all-national party lists, and they cannot
influence the composition of the party slate. It also concentrates
power in the hands of party leaders who compose the list. Despite
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
popular support for a return to a majoritarian or mixed system,
most analysts agree that the best way to support party development
is to introduce open and regional party slates.
During the 1990s, the Communists were the strongest party in
the parliament. Are they still as influential?
In the 1998 parliamentary elections, the Communist Party list
received 24.7% of the vote. In the 2002 elections they received
20%, but finished behind Yushchenko’s center-right bloc Our
In the 2004 presidential election and the 2006 and 2007
parliamentary elections, the Communist Party won between 3.7%
and 5% of the vote. Although their position is still important for
parliamentary voting and coalition building, the trend of
shrinking electoral support is not likely to be reversed.
How decisive is Russia’s influence in Ukraine?
The “Russian factor” continues to play an important role in
Ukrainian domestic politics. However, most analysts agree that
its importance has decreased compared to 1994, and now
Ukraine’s political development is shaped by domestic dynamics
among Ukrainian elites. Moscow could not prevent Yushchenko’s
election in 2004 or the 2007 early elections, which removed
Yanukovych as prime minister. The two countries in their
institutional designs are moving in different directions. It is also
evident that Ukrainian business groups do not want to come
under Moscow’s control again, as they would face competition
from more powerful Russian business groups.
Ukraine’s economic dependence on Russia has decreased (see
pp. 58—59). The most critical issue remains Ukraine’s dependency
on Russia for energy (see pp. 45—47).
The Russian mass media continues to wage propaganda
campaigns against Ukraine. But this sometimes works against
Russian in te rests, as it demonstrates that Moscow’s imperial
impulses are alive and well.
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
Creation of an “enemy image” of Ukraine
If before 2004 Russia was determined to discredit the independent
Ukrainian state, since 2004 it was a matter of principle for Putin
to discredit Ukrainian democracy both for his domestic and foreign
audience. Russia has attempted to persuade key European states
that Ukraine is a divided country with an unpredictable future.
During his visit to Germany in April 2005, Russian President
Vladimir Putin said “if Ukraine enters the Schengen zone one
certain problem will emerge. In Ukraine, as far as I know, no less
than 17 percent of the population is Russian. That will mean the
division of a nation! That will resemble the partition of Germany
into the Eastern and the Western part!” In October 2005, Russian
Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov delivered a speech at the
French Foundation of Political Studies. He said “bear in mind that
half of its (Ukrainian) population is ethnic Russian.” Unfortunately,
the Western media sometimes repeats Russian statements that half
of Ukraine’s population is ethnic Russians (i.e. The New York
Times, Jan. 14, 2009), which is entirely false.
As prime minister, Putin visited the grave of White Guard
leader Anton Denikin and quoted Denikin’s words that it was
“impermissible to even think about the division of Russia and
especially about the separation of Ukraine.” Yurij Luzhkov,
mayor of Moscow, and a high-level member of the pro-Putin
“United Russia” party, while visiting Crimea, declared on several
occasions that Sevastopol is “a Russian city.” Russia’s Ministry
of Foreign Affairs actually defended his position, saying that he
had simply expressed the views of many Russians. The “Russian
Journal,” a web-site with intellectual pretensions and which is
edited by the Kremlin’s consultant Gleb Pavlovsky, has posted
articles such as one discussing military plans for the occupation
of Ukraine, including “the detonation of a nuclear device in the
marshes of northern Ukraine” in order to blackmail Kyiv.1
1 “Operation ‘The Mechanical Orange’. If you want peace?”, Russian
Journal, April 21, 2008 (http://russ.ru/pole/Operacija-Mehanicheskijapel-sin).
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
According to a poll conducted by the Russian Levada Center in
January-February 2009, 62% of Russians view Ukraine
negatively. Ukraine appears third on the list of “unfriendly
states” after the U.S. and Georgia. At the same time, 90% of
Ukrainians have a positive attitude towards Russia.
Why is Ukrainian Orthodoxy split? What are the prospects for
a canonic, autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church?
One of the most remarkable scenes of the Orange Revolution was
a daily common prayer by tens of thousands of protesters on the
Maidan (Independence Square in Kyiv). Clergy from all of the
main confessions in Ukraine participated: Orthodox, Catholic,
Protestant, Judaic and Muslim.
Most Ukrainian believers are Orthodox. The Kyivan Rus state
accepted Christianity in 988. It was the canonical territory of the
Constantinople Patriarchate until 1686 when the Ottomans, in
coordination with Moscow, pressured the Patriarch of Con s –
tantinople to transfer the Orthodox Church of Kiev and all Rus
from the jurisdiction of Constantinople to the Patriarch of
Moscow (which was established a century earlier).
When Ukraine was part of the Rzeczpospolita (the PolishLithuanian
Commonwealth), the first split in Ukrainian
Orthodoxy occurred in 1596: some of the Orthodox priests
accepted the supremacy of the Pope while keeping their rite
(hence the name, Greek Catholic Church or Catholic Church of
the Eastern Rite). The Orthodox Church viewed them as traitors
and an instrument of Polonization, and Greek Catholics were
wiped out except in Western Ukraine. However, the historical
paradox is that in Western Ukraine the Greek Catholic Church
became an important factor in protecting Ukrainians from
Polonization and it actually evolved into a national church.
The Greek Catholic Church was forcibly “reunited” with the
Russian Orthodox Church in 1946. Its head, Metropolitan Josyf
Slipyj, was sent to the Gulag, and only in 1963, after political
pressure from Pope John XXIII and President John F. Kennedy,
was he freed and arrived in Rome. In Ukraine, Greek Catholics
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
emerged from the underground only at the end of 1980s. At that
time, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC)
reemerged as well (it existed in Ukraine since 1920—1921 but was
suppressed in the 1930s).
The Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine split after inde pen –
dence, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church—Kyiv Pat riarchate
(UOC-KP) emerged (joined also by part of the UAOC). It supports
the idea of a united Ukrainian Orthodox Church independent
from Moscow. However, this church is not recognized by canonic
Orthodox Churches nor by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
under the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), which is still the
largest church in Ukraine (but it is worth mentioning that polls
show most Orthodox believers in Ukraine identify them selves
with the Kyiv Patriarchate).
Russia is trying to use the Ukrainian Orthodox Church —
Moscow Patriarchate as an instrument of its policy towards
Ukraine. At the same time, the UOC-MP enjoys autonomy,
including the right to form its own synod and appoint bishops
without formal approval of the Moscow patriarch. Some of its
bishops support the idea of a united, autocephalous Ukrainian
Orthodox Church. Between 2007 and 2009, the UOC-MP and Kyiv
Patriarchate opened a cautious dialogue. In November 2008, the
UOC-MP synod pronounced the Great Famine in Ukraine (1932—
1933) to be a genocide of the Ukrainian people, which strongly
contradicts Russia’s position. But these are only initial steps. The
road to a united Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which would receive
autocephaly from Moscow or from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of
Constantinople, will be long and difficult.
Divisive history issues
On May 19, 2009, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev issued a
decree establishing a presidential commission to combat efforts to
reinterpret history in ways that damage Russia’s interests.
Commission members include the head of the president’s
administration along with the chief of staff of the armed forces,
the deputy minister of foreign affairs, the deputy secretary of
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
the Security Council, representatives from the Foreign
Intelligence Service, Federal Security Service, and other
ministries. Russian members of parliament also prepared a draft
law to counteract the “rehabilitation” of Nazism and “its
accomplices” on the territory of the former USSR republics. The
draft law imposes sanctions against states (!) where this
“rehabilitation” is deemed to have occurred. This includes
expelling ambassadors and severing diplomatic relations and three
years of imprisonment, which could actually make it impossible
for some public figures from other states to visit Russia.
Why do Ukrainians consider the 1933 famine as constituting
The 1948 UN Convention On the Prevention and Punishment of
the Crime of Genocide (Article II) clearly states that “genocide
means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy,
in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group,
such as:
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life
calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in
In 1932, Ukraine’s grain harvest was better than in previous
years, but food-collection quotas exceeded the actual harvest.
The Soviet state exported much of the grain harvest in exchange
for imported machinery, which the government’s policy of
in dustrialization required. But the famine evolved into an
organized persecution of the peasantry (whose absolute majority
was ethnic Ukrainian) because it resisted collectivization.
Moscow also viewed the peasantry as a dangerous source of
Ukrainian nationalism. Ukrainian cities and towns (where most
of Ukraine’s Russians lived) suffered less, as they were provided
with a rationing system; at the same time peasants were not
allowed to move into the towns and outside Ukraine. The
estimates of the number of victims of the famine of 1932—1933
vary widely: from 3 to 10 million in Ukraine, with some Russian
sources placing 4 million in the category of “exceptional
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
mortality” in Ukraine, 2.3-2.4 million for Russia, and 1 million
for Kazakhstan. The index of the death rate in 1933 (compared
to the average death rate in 1932 and 1934) was the highest in
Ukraine — 3.2, in Kuban (populated at that time mostly by
Ukrainians) — 2.6, in the Lower Volga (including the Volga
German Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic) — 2.75, and the
average in Russia was 1.44. However, the Soviet government
rejected any proposals of external aid and insisted that the
famine was a slanderous fabrication by the “enemies of the
This section is based on information from the “Internet Encyclopedia
of Ukraine” prepared by the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at
the University of Alberta. See also the data of the Russian Academy of
Sciences (http://demoscope.ru/ weekly/2003/0101/ tema 03.php).
Divisive history: the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists
(OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA)
Russian and Ukrainian historians have radically different
perspectives on many issues. But perhaps the most contentious
historical issue is Ukraine’s nationalist movement during World
War II. Most Ukrainians fought in the Red Army. Others fought
for Ukraine’s independence in the ranks of the OUN and the
UPA. Soviet and Russian propaganda routinely characterized
them as Nazi collaborators. Having gained access to formerly
classified documents, historians now confirm that the OUN and
UPA fought both the Nazis and Soviets.
The OUN was found in 1929 with the aim of fighting for an
independent Ukrainian state. It rejected all party and class divisions
and presented itself as the leading force in the Ukrainian national
movement. The OUN was based in Western Ukraine and used
violent tactics against Polish authorities in Western Ukraine (for
example, the assassination of the Polish minister of internal affairs
in l934). After OUN leader Yevhen Konovalets was murdered in
l938 by a Soviet agent in Rotterdam, the organization suffered its
first split. The largest faction, OUN(B), was led by Stepan Bandera.
Members of the OUN thought that they could use the war between
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
Germany and the USSR to establish an independent Ukrainian state.
Because the Soviet Union controlled all of Ukraine after l939, the
OUN viewed the Soviets as their main enemy. After World War II
started, the OUN(B), with German approval, formed two battalions
of about 600 men that they thought would become the nucleus of a
future Ukrainian army. When Germany invaded the USSR in 1941,
the OUN(B) proclaimed Ukrainian independence on June 30, 1941
in Lviv. However, the Nazis had no intention of allowing an
independent Ukraine and they immediately arrested Bandera and
several of his associates. They were imprisoned in a German
concentration camp until 1944. Many other OUN members were
killed by the Germans. As a result, the OUN went underground
throughout all of the territory of Ukraine now controlled by the
In 1942, the first units of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army
(Ukrainska povstanska armiia [UPA]) appeared in Western
Ukraine. They were organized independently as self-defense
forces against the Germans and Soviet partisans.1 Soon the
OUN(B) became the dominant force in the UPA, although the
UPA included people of various political and ideological
convictions. The UPA fought on both fronts, against the Germans
and the Soviets. It included several units composed of other
nationals who had previously served in the Red Army, the largest
of which were the Azerbaijani, Uzbek, Georgian, and Tatar.
1 During WWII, Ukrainians and Poles also waged a bloody struggle over
control of the region. The Nazis and the Soviets, who wanted to divide
and weaken the resistance forces, often provoked the violence. In July
2003, Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski and Ukrainian President
Leonid Kuchma attended a ceremony in the Volhynian village of
Pavlivka, where they unveiled a monument to victims and issued a
statement on reconciliation (although some historians and public figures
in both countries remain divided over these controversial events).
It is important to stress that contrary to historical grievances over
the centuries, Polish-Ukrainian strategic relations are often compared
now to France and Germany’s post-WWII reconciliation, and the Polish
leadership (despite changes of parties in power) actively promotes
Ukrainian integration into Europe.
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
According to historians of the UPA in the West, at its peak in
1944 the army had between 25,000 and 40,000 men. However,
Soviet and German sources claimed as many as 200,000 people
were involved in UPA activity between 1944 and l946.
In this struggle, the OUN’s ideology changed from radical,
authoritarian nationalism to what some researchers call a
“democratic nationalism.” At its Third Extraordinary Grand
Assembly in August 1943, the OUN(B) condemned both fascism
and communism and recognized democratic freedoms and the
rights of national minorities. Moreover, a kind of all-Ukrainian
representative body, the Ukrainian Supreme Liberation Council
(UHVR), was formed in July 1944. The majority of those at the
founding meeting were not OUN members, and 10 out of 20 were
from northwestern and central Ukraine. Encircled by Soviet
forces, the UPA nevertheless continued its armed struggle against
the Soviets in Western Ukraine until 1954.
Although the OUN split into three factions after World War II,
Soviet authorities were so afraid of OUN activity that they had Soviet
agents assassinate two more OUN leaders in the West: Lev Rebet in
1957 and Bandera in 1959. The Soviet machine also waged
propaganda warfare to discredit the Ukrainian liberation move ment.1
Nevertheless, the OUN continued its political activity in the West,
and with other diaspora organizations it drew the attention of the
international community to the situation in Soviet-controlled Ukraine.
This part is partially based on information from the “Internet
Encyclopedia of Ukraine” prepared by the Canadian Institute of
Ukrainian Studies. The classic study of this topic is John
Armstrong’s Ukrainian Nationalism (New York: Columbia Uni –
versity Press, 1963).
1 In these attempts the Soviets used, for example, the controversial story
of the Division Galizien (14 Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS, Galizische
Nr 1), which was organized in 1943—1944 by the Germans to fight on the
Soviet front as part of a program of creating foreign (e.g. French, Dutch,
Walloon, Russian, Estonian, Latvian) formations of the Waffen SS (that
is combat, not punitive formations). Why did 15,000—18,000 Ukrainian
soldiers from Western Ukraine join the Division Galizien when it was clear
that the Germans were losing the war? They wanted to receive military
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
Soviet and Russian propaganda portrayed the Ukrainian
national liberation movement as anti-Semitic. It promoted this
stereotype in the Western media as well.1 What is the real
history of Ukrainian-Jewish relations?
There were painful periods in Ukrainian-Jewish relations when
both ethnic groups were discriminated against, divided, ruled
over and killed. During the Cossack war against Polish rule in
l648—l654, Cossacks also targeted Jewish civilians, whom they
perceived as re pre sen tatives of the Polish landlords. Ukraine’s
Jewish po pu lation was vic timized by periodic pogroms under
Tsarist Russia, during the civil war in 1918—1920, and largely
exterminated du ring the Ho lo caust.
At the same time, there are many examples of Jews and
Ukrainians supporting each other. Jewish parties in the Central
Rada voted in 1917—1918 for the creation of the Ukrainian
People’s Republic (UNR). The short-lived UNR created a
Ministry for Jewish Affairs, and Yiddish was one of the
languages used by the Central Rada on its official currency and
training in order to fight the Red Army approaching Western Ukraine
(because of their initial experience of Soviet rule between 1939 and l941)
and to serve as the core of what they hoped would be a future Ukrainian
national army. In the summer of 1944, the division was destroyed at the
battle of Brody during the Soviet offensive. After that, many of its
remaining soldiers joined the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.
It is important to stress that the OUN (B) did not support the creation
of the Division Galizien because it did not want to be accused of
collaboration with the Germans. But that is exactly what happened.
Regardless of the motives and actions of the soldiers of the Division
Galizien, Soviet and now Russian propaganda have used it to brand the
entire Ukrainian national movement during World War II as Nazi
collaborators. Despite Soviet allegations, a special Canadian commission
concluded that “the Galicia Division should not be indicted as a group.
The members of Galicia Division were individually screened for security
purposes before admission to Canada. Charges of war crimes of Galicia
Division have never been substantiated”.
1 See, for example, Moses Fishbein, “The Jewish Card in Russian Special Ope –
rations against Ukraine” (http://maysterni.com/publication. php?id= 35257).
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
in proclamations. There was a Jewish Battalion in the
Ukrainian Galician Army, and a substantial number of Jews
joined the anarchist army of Nestor Makhno, who made a
special proclamation denouncing pogroms. But during
Ukraine’s losing battle for independence, the White Army,
peasant bands and partisan groups all committed atrocities
against Jews. This is partly because these groups regarded Jews
as pro-Bolshevik (Jews were quite numerous among the Red
Army’s commissars and security forces.). Red Army and
anarchist units also victimized Jewish civilians.
The Ukrainian People’s Republic and army high command (both
headed in 1919—1920 by Symon Petliura) issued orders imposing
courts martial for those involved in pogroms and even executed
some perpetrators. (Still, it was impossible to control many of its
units.). The government also assisted pogrom survivors. In 1921,
Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the father of Revisionist Zionism, signed an
agreement with one of Petliura’s representatives on the formation
of a Jewish gendarmerie to protect Jews from pogroms. But
Soviet propaganda was effective in the West. When Petliura was
murdered in Paris, allegedly by a Soviet agent, a French court
ruled the assassin, an ethnic Jew, not guilty because the assassin
accused Petliura of involvement in pogroms.
During World War II, some local auxiliary (police) units
participated in Nazi genocidal actions, which was also the case in
other occupied countries. At the same time, Yad Vashem in Israel
has identified 2,323 “righteous” Ukrainians, citizens who risked
their lives to save Jews. The Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Greek
Catholic Church, Andrey Sheptytsky, also harbored Jews in his
residence and in Greek Catholic monasteries and convents. Pope
John Paul II beatified Father Omelyan Kovch, who was sent to the
Maidanek concentration camp for saving several hundred Jews
and was murdered there in 1943. Some Jews participated in the
UPA, and there are documented cases when the UPA saved the
lives of Jews.1
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
1 Among the “righteous” was Fedir Vovk, Vice President of the Ukrainian
Supreme Liberation Council and OUN member. One of the UPA leaflets
In the 1970s—1980s, the Ukrainian dissident movement was
supported by Yosyf Zisels (a member of the Ukrainian Helsinki
Group), Semen Gluzman, Yakov Suslensky, and other Soviet
Jewish dissidents. Many Jews participated in the creation of
Rukh in the late 1980s. In turn, Rukh issued a special appeal to
Jews and formed a Council of Nationalities within Rukh.
In contrast to Russia’s notoriously anti-Semitic group Pamiat,
no anti-Semitic movements with significant public support have
emerged in independent Ukraine. When Oleh Tiahnybok, one of the
members of parliament from Viktor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine bloc
made anti-Semitic and anti-Russian statements in 2004, he was
expelled from the parliamentary faction. Still, as in other countries,
one can hear anti-Semitic statements from marginal politicians or
find them in certain newspapers with limited circulation. The fight
against anti-Semitism is an ongoing one. But it is important that
official Kyiv demonstrates its attention to the country’s Jewish
minority and the role of Jews in Ukrainian history.
This part is based on the declassified documents of the Security Service
of Ukraine, information from the “Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine”
prepared by the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies and the article
by Moses Fishbein (see the footnote on p. 40).
proclaimed “Long live the state of Israel and friendship between the
Ukrainian and Jewish nations!”. In 1942—1943, Natalia Shukhevych,
wife of UPA Commander-in-Chief Roman Shukhevych, hid a Jewish
girl named Ira Reichenberg in her home. General Shukhevych
prepared a fake passport for the girl in the name of Iryna Ryzhko
(www.ssu.gov.ua/sbu/control/uk/publish/ article?art_ id= 77689&cat_id= 39574).
Jewish participation in the UPA was particularly visible among its
medical personnel. Dr. Abraham Kum received the UPA’s Golden Cross
of Merit. Stella Krenzbach, the daughter of a rabbi, joined the UPA as
a nurse and intelligence agent. She was arrested by the Soviets and
sentenced to death, but was liberated by the UPA. In her memoirs,
written in Israel, she wrote “I attribute the fact that I am alive today
and devoting all the strength of my thirty-eight years to a free Israel
only to God and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army… In our [UPA] group
I counted twelve Jews, eight of whom were doctors.” (See, Fishbein,
op. cit.)
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
Can Russia repeat the South Ossetian/Abkhazian scenario in
Crimea is the only region in Ukraine where Russians comprise a
majority (58%). It’s also the historic homeland of the Crimean
Tatars, who were deported by Stalin in 1944 and were only allowed
to return after 1989. (They constitute 12% of Crimea’s population.).
Russia’s military naval base in the Crimean city of Sevastopol
(leased until 2017) remains an instrument of pressure on Ukraine.
The Russian consulate has been giving passports to Ukrainian
citizens in Crimea, although dual citizenship is prohibited by both
states. Nevertheless, it does not seem likely that Russia can repeat
the South Ossetian/Abkhazian strategy in Crimea.
First, the rights of Russians are not under threat in Crimea
(although this is often mentioned by Russia and pro-Russian
forces in Crimea). And it is the Ukrainian language and culture
that need support in Crimea, not Russian (see p. 15).
A second factor is the position of Crimean elites. Paradoxically,
the election of Crimea’s first (and only) president Yurij Meshkov
in 1994 divided Crimea’s pro-Russian political groups. Political
infighting among these groups prompted Ukrainian President
Kuchma to intervene and reduce the scope of power of the Crimean
authorities. Kuchma abolished the Crimean presidency (Meshkov
now lives in Moscow) and stabilized the situation in Crimea. In
Crimea today there is a continuous struggle for power and for
control over the process of privatization among influential groups
associated with the Crimean “party of power.” But it is much more
profitable for the Crimean elites (most of whom are already
members of all-Ukrainian parties) to stay within Ukraine and to
bargain with both Kyiv and Moscow. If they were part of
authoritarian Russia, they would lose this bargaining position.
A third factor is the position of the Crimean Tatars. Their
national hero is Petro Hryhorenko, a former Soviet general
turned dissident and one of the founders of the Ukrainian
Helsinki Group. He defended the return of the Crimean Tatars
from deportation and was imprisoned by Soviet authorities for
five years in a “special psychiatric hospital.” Since the end of the
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
1980s, the Ukrainian national movement Rukh and the Crimean
Tatars have supported each other. Crimean Tatars were elected to
the Ukrainian parliament on the party list of Rukh and
subsequently on the list of the Our Ukraine bloc. Crimean Tatars
supported these political forces during elections.
But if Crimean Tatars feel their rights are not protected, first of
all in being given land to build homes, this could strengthen radicals
outside the Mejlis (the Crimean Tatar parliament), which for decades
has managed to keep the movement non-violent.1 And even though
Crimea was part of the Russian Federation when the Crimean Tatars
were deported, now it is part of Ukraine, which means that Kyiv
now bears the main financial burden of their resettlement. In
general, Ukraine’s attitude towards Crimean Tatars is in sharp
contrast to the spread of anti-Muslim rhetoric in Russia.
A fourth factor is that large-scale conflict over Crimea would
provoke a strong reaction from the international community,
which would damage Russian interests.
However, Moscow can exploit the situation in Crimea to de –
stabilize the region in order to pressure Kyiv and hinder Ukraine’s
domestic and foreign policy. That is exactly what happened when
Ukraine applied for NATO’s Membership Action Plan: immediately
anti-NATO demonstrations were organized in Crimea. Hardliners
in Russia could organize clashes between Crimea’s Russian
population and Crimean Tatars over land or with Ukrainian
nationalist organizations over the Sevastopol naval base.
The 1996 Ukrainian Constitution stipulated that there should be
no foreign bases on Ukrainian soil. But the Constitution contained
“transitional clauses,” including a special article on “temporary”
foreign bases. In 1997, Russia and Ukraine reached a compromise.
Russia recognized the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the latter
agreed to lease the Sevastopol base to Russia until 2017. Politically,
it will be extremely difficult for any Ukrainian president to extend
1 The head of the Mejlis, Mustafa Abd lcemil Q r mo lu (Cemilev,
Jemilev), spent 15 years in Soviet prisons, labor camps, and exile. He
went on the longest hunger strike in the history of the human rights
movements, lasting 303 days, and he survived due to forced feeding.
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
the lease after 2017, and the Russians gradually seem to understand
the inevitability of having to leave Sevastopol. But to make this
transition smooth Russia and Ukraine need to start negotiations on
a timetable now rather than waiting until the last moment. In the
meantime, Moscow refuses to discuss the matter.
“Gas wars”: what happened between Russia and Ukraine in the
winters of 2006 and 2009?
The issue of gas supply shapes Russian—Ukrainian bilateral
relations to a great extent and influences Ukraine’s domestic
policy. Ukraine’s gas transit system remains the backbone of gas
supplies to Europe. 80% of Russia’s gas exports to the European
Union and 20% of the gas consumed by the EU flow through
Ukrainian pipelines. Despite pressure from the Russian gas
company Gazprom to control these pipelines, the Ukrainian gas
transport network remains fully state owned.
Russia’s energy strategy, formulated in 2003, clearly states:
“Russia possesses significant reserves of energy resources and a
strong fuel and energy sector, being the basis of development of
the economy, and a tool for both domestic and foreign policy.”
Specifically, Russia has not hesitated to use its gas exports as a
political weapon in its relations with Ukraine.
President Yushchenko’s most stinging rebuke in his relations
with Russia was in the energy sector, particularly his inability
to build transparent and reliable relations regarding gas
transport. In No vem ber—December 2005, Russia and Ukraine
opened very tense ne go tiations on gas supplies and their transit
to EU countries. The Russian side politicized the gas issue
through a mass media cam paign, accusing Ukraine’s Orange
government of being un re liable. De spite existing agreements,
Gazprom announced it was raising the price of gas from $50
per 1,000 cubic meters to $160, but then suddenly increased
the price even more — to $230. On January 1, 2006, Gazprom
reduced the pressure in the pipelines, which dramatically
diminished Russian gas flowing to Ukraine and Eu rope.
President Yushchenko tried to respond by threa tening to sue
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
Russia in the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal for violation of
com mer cial contracts.
But on January 4, 2006, representatives of the two govern –
ments suddenly resolved their dispute. Russia agreed to deliver
gas to the Russian-Ukrainian border at $95 per 1,000 cubic
meters, where it would then be bought by RosUkrEnergo (RUE),
a Swiss-registered trading company half owned by Gazprom and
half owned by two Ukrainian businessmen. RosUkrEnergo would
buy Russian gas on the Russian—Ukrainian border to transmit to
Europe and the market in Ukraine. Through this non-transparent
scheme, RUE could then pressure the Ukrainian side on both
economic and political issues. The price of gas continued to rise
over the next two years despite the formation of the Yanukovych
cabinet, which was considered more sympathetic to Russia. By
2008, it had reached $180 per 1,000 cubic meters.
A new “gas war” started when Moscow and Kyiv could not
reach an agreement on gas prices and supplies for 2009. On
January 7, 2009, Russia halted all gas flowing through Ukraine
to Europe. Several EU countries were seriously affected. Cutting
Europe off from Russian gas supplies was never used by
Moscow, even during the Cold War. In subsequent negotiations,
the Russian media conducted a propaganda war accusing Ukraine
of being untrustworthy and unstable. Russian Prime Minister
Putin publicly used such wording as “we will throw documents
submitted by Ukraine into the fire,” and “we will deprive the girl
of her illusions.” The Russian government also insisted on a new
transit route through Ukraine, which, if implemented, would
have cut off gas supplies to the eastern regions of Ukraine.
Gas supplies were fully restored only on January 21, 2009, after
negotiations between Prime Ministers Vladimir Putin and Yulia
Tymoshenko. Both sides reached an agreement for a ten-year period.
On the one hand, the non-transparent intermediary, RUE, was
removed and specific formulas for calculating gas price and for
transit tariffs were finally introduced. This was a principal
achievement for the Ukrainian side. Without these formulas, Russia
could impose gas prices that were not based on concrete calculations
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
tied to the energy market. On the other hand, the so called “basic
price” for calculation was one of the highest in Europe ($450 per
1,000 cubic meters) and the “basic price” for transit tariffs — one
of the lowest at $2.04 for 1,000 cubic meters for 100 kilometers.
Also, the Naftogaz company of Ukraine faces serious penalties if it
reduces the country’s gas consumption, while Gazprom faces no
penalties if it supplies less than the agreed upon amount of gas to
Ukraine. Therefore, this agreement can be used by Moscow to
pressure Kyiv. To alter it will be the task for the next Ukrainian
president. The next president will also need to reduce Ukraine’s
dependence on Russian gas, diversify energy sources, and conduct
energy-saving reforms to reduce the country’s energy consumption.
This and the next answer co-authored by Petro Burkovsky
What was the EU reaction to the Russia-Ukraine “gas war” in
winter of 2009?
At first, EU countries portrayed it as a commercial dispute
between two countries and were not going to intervene. Some
Ukrainian analysts likened this position to a “new Munich.” But
once Europe faced a serious energy threat, the EU sent in groups
to monitor the gas metering stations between Russia and Ukraine
and actually started to act as a mediator. It is important to stress
that the EU did not confirm Russian accusations that Ukraine
had been illegally siphoning off Russian gas.1
The “gas war” prompted the EU to take a more active role in
stabilizing the flow of Russian gas through Ukraine. On March
23, 2009, a Joint EU-Ukraine International Investment
Conference on the Modernization of Ukraine’s Gas Transit System
was held in Brussels. A Joint Declaration was signed by the
Ukrainian government, the EU Commission, the European
Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development, and the World Bank. Ukraine was promised
1 For more on Russian stereotypes of Ukraine in this sphere, see the journal
of the Razumkov Center National Security & Defence, No.4, 2009, pp. 25—
26 (http://uceps.org.ua/eng/files/category_journal/NSD108_eng_3.pdf).
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
international financial support, while Kyiv was to reform its gas
sector. The declaration mentioned “Ukraine’s intention to join
the Energy Community and in particular to permit gas to be
purchased in Ukraine or at its Western or Eastern borders.” This
was perhaps one of the reasons why the Russian side, which
participated in the negotiations, boycotted the conference.
The signing of the declaration was a positive step in EUUkraine
relations in the energy sphere, as it was designed to make
the transit through Ukraine less vulnerable to Russian pressure.
However, its future fulfillment will depend on both Ukraine and
the EU, and its success remains to be seen.
Is the EU ready to recognize the prospect of Ukraine’s
Ukraine’s desire to join the EU was formulated under President
Kuchma long before the Orange Revolution. It was always
understood within Ukraine that potential EU (as well as NATO)
membership was conditional on positive changes in the country.
But the EU consistantly avoided any mention of such a
possibility, even in the distant future. That is why the European
Neighborhood Policy (ENP), developed by the EU in 2004, was
not satisfactory from Ukraine’s point of view. Moreover,
according to the ENP, Ukraine formally appeared in the same
category as North African and Arab nations (including Libya,
Palestine, Syria etc.) that are not eligible for EU membership.
The most positive signal was sent to Ukraine right after the
Orange Revolution on January 13, 2005. The European
Parliament passed a resolution on the results of Ukraine’s
election, which, in particular, proposed to consider “giving a clear
European perspective for the country and responding to the
demonstrated aspirations of the vast majority of the Ukrainian
people, possibly leading ultimately to the country’s accession to
the EU” (emphasis added — Ed.). It also recalled “the provisions
of Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union, which states that
EU membership is an option for all European countries that
satisfy the relevant conditions and obligations; looks forward
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
to a sustained transition process in Ukraine that would bring
the country towards this objective, and commits itself to
assisting and supporting Ukraine in this process.”
However, even these formulations were not developed further in
the EU-Ukraine Action Plan for 2005—2007, which was adopted in
February 2005. It was prepared when Kuchma was in power and
many analysts in Brussels believed that Prime Minister Yanu –
kovych would succeed him. It was not substantially revised even
when a new team came to power after the Orange Revolution.
There were certain promises from the EU side in the Action Plan:
that work would be stepped up on agreements on Ukrainian exports
of steel and textiles to the EU and analyses would begin toward
establishing a free trade zone. (This goal was formulated in the
Partnership and Cooperation Agreement signed between the EU and
Ukraine in 1994 and ratified by the EU countries only by 1998.) The
EU supported Ukrainian aspirations to join the WTO. When
Ukraine became a member of the WTO in May 2008 it was able to
start official talks on the creation of a deep and comprehensive
Ukraine-EU free trade area. The EU became Ukraine’s largest
foreign investor and trading partner. Between 2000 and 2007 the
EU’s trade in goods with Ukraine more than tripled: exports rose
from 5.5 billion euros to 22.4 billion, while imports increased from
4.8 billion euros to 12.4 billion. Nevertheless, given the potential of
the two sides, this increase did not go far enough.
In general, the EU limited itself to formulations that it
“recognizes Ukraine’s European aspirations and hails Ukraine’s
European choice.” It limited the influence of the EU on
developments in Ukraine to the extent that did not utilize its
most powerful foreign policy instrument — namely, the
conditionality of the accession process.
On May 7, 2009, the EU initiated the Eastern Partnership in
Prague. It covers Armenia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Mol –
dova and Ukraine. The idea was first suggested by Poland and
Sweden. As an instrument of deepening cooperation, visa
facilitations, free trade zones and partnership agreements, it will
be helpful in bringing these countries closer to EU standards. At
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
the same time, the Eastern Partnership diplomatically avoids the
question of accession to the EU.
During the EU-Ukraine summit in Paris in September 2008, a
Joint Declaration on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement was
adopted. Negotiations are currently underway. The Ukrainian side
would like to clearly outline Ukraine’s prospects for EU mem –
bership, which enjoys broad support within Ukraine. Polls in recent
years show that more than 50% of the public supports the idea. It
is widely believed that a clear European perspective will serve as a
catalyst for reform and a unifying motive for the Ukrainian political
elite (as it was in Central and East European countries). It will also
help to overcome stereotypes such as “Nobody is waiting for us in
Europe,” which opponents of EU integration like to claim.
Unfortunately, it seems that this agreement will not resemble the
“European association agreements” that the EU signed with many
Central and East European states (from Poland to Romania in the
first half of 1990s to the Western Balkans by the end of the 1990s),
which offered an EU perspective for these states. Romania and
Bulgaria at that stage, not to mention the turbulent Western
Balkans, were in no better shape than Ukraine after the Orange
Revolution. Thus, the EU’s decisions were shaped first of all by
political concerns. Some new wording appeared in the 2008
declaration: “Ukraine, as a European country, shares a common
history and common values with the countries of the European
Union.” The new agreement would strengthen “political association
and economic integration between Ukraine and the European
Union.” The question, though, is how to fill the association with
concrete steps mentioned in the declaration: “further convergence
between Ukraine and the EU on foreign policy and security issues,”
which includes cooperation within the European Security and
Defense Policy (ESDP); “a deep and comprehensive free trade area
with large-scale regulatory approximation of Ukraine to EU
standards will contribute to the gradual integration of Ukraine to
the EU Internal Market”; liberalization of visa policies and
“establishment of a visa-free regime for short stay travel between
the EU and Ukraine as a long-term perspective.”
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
According to President Yushchenko, three-fourths of the
document is ready. However, it is clear now that these
negotiations will not be finished in time for the EU-Ukraine
summit on December 4, 2009 in Kyiv, first of all because more
work needs to be done in the area of free trade.
A new push may surface after Ukraine’s presidential elections.
Ukraine’s ambassador to the EU, Andriy Veselovsky, commented
to the newspaper Den that “we want to believe that no matter
who becomes president in 2010 he will apply to the EU for
membership in the spring of next year.” And while it could seem
overly optimistic, it is clear that the Ukrainian movement
towards Europe will continue. The only question is how quickly.
Visa issue: test of the EU’s good will
After the Orange Revolution, visas to Ukraine for EU citizens
were abolished. The newest members of the bloc, Bulgaria and
Romania, received the same visa waiver in January 2008. At the
same time, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland joined the Schengen
zone and introduced Schengen entry requirements for Ukrainian
citizens in December 2007 that made it more difficult for
Ukrainians to gain entry into those countries.
In January 2008, two EU-Ukraine agreements, one on visa
facilitation and one on readmission, took effect. It was a kind of
“package deal.” Ukrainian critics of the readmission agreement
worried that it would make Ukraine a “dumping ground for illegal
migrants.” (Nevertheless, the agreement provided for special
financial assistance and a two-year postponement for the return
of third-country nationals.). As for the visa facilitation
agreement, it was supposed to make it easier for Ukrainian
citizens to get short-stay visas and simplify the criteria for
multiple-entry visas for students, businessmen, journalists, and
close relatives. However, according to monitoring by the Center
for Peace, Conversion and Foreign Policy of Ukraine in 2009,
55% of respondents have the potential right to obtain long-term
visas, but only 20% received visas for more than 5 months. Only
0.5% of respondents received visas with a term of more than one
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
year (for 2-3 years), and most of them were issued by Poland.
About 15% of the respondents waited for a consular decision for
more than 10 days (as defined by the agreement).
Therefore, the mutually proclaimed goal of establishing a visa
free zone for short-stay travel between the EU and Ukraine
appears to be a long-term one. Moreover, at this point, there is
no roadmap for reaching this goal. The first step is to make the
visa facilitation agreement work.
Can Ukraine stay neutral/non-aligned?
Theoretically yes, and there are proponents of this status in
Ukraine. In 1994, Ukraine got rid of its nuclear weapons. On
December 5, 1994, the Budapest Memorandum was signed by
Russia, the United Kingdom and the U.S. (France and China
joined later). The parties agreed to respect Ukraine’s borders, to
abstain from the use or threat of force against Ukraine, to
support Ukraine where an attempt is made to place pressure on
it by economic coercion and to bring any incident of aggression
by a nuclear power before the UN Security Council. But the 1994
Budapest “Memorandum on Security Assurances in Connection
with Ukraine’s Accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation
of Nuclear Weapons” provided only “security assurances,” not
“guarantees” to Ukraine, and ongoing territorial claims and
provocative statements by Russian politicians did not contribute
to Ukraine’s sense of security. So Ukraine appeared in the socalled
“grey zone of (in)security” or “vacuum zone”.
There is a stereotype that the policy of joining NATO was
formulated by President Yushchenko after the Orange Revolution.
However, it is President Kuchma who argued that Ukraine should
join NATO
During his election campaign in 1994 Leonid Kuchma referred
several times to the so-called Eurasian space. Two central issues in
his campaign were increasing cooperation with Russia, first of all
in the economic sphere, and official status for the Russian language.
Both Ukrainian national-democrats and Western experts warned of
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
the danger of Ukraine going “back to Eurasia”. However, very soon
after his election victory Kuchma began to solve the problems of
strengthening the Ukrainian state better than the first president,
Leonid Kravchuk, had done. He did so by restructuring Ukraine’s
debt to Russia, weakening the separatist forces in Crimea, and in
1997 signing the Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership
with Russia, which finally recognized Ukraine’s borders. Balancing
between Russia and the West and pursuing a policy of “multi-vector
diplomacy,” he began to move cautiously towards the West. Kuchma
followed the logic of state-building. While distancing himself from
his predecessor, whose policies were judged to be “nationalistic” by
the more Russified eastern Ukraine, Kuchma at the same time had
to take into consideration the position of those who had voted for
Kravchuk in western and central Ukraine.
The gradual process of expanding relations with NATO was
initiated. Ukraine became the first CIS country to join NATO’s
Partnership for Peace program in 1995. The terms “non-aligned
status” and “neutrality” did not appear in the new 1996
Constitution. In 1997, the NATO-Ukrainian Charter on dis tinctive
partnership was signed at the NATO Madrid summit, where the
decision to name new candidates for NATO membership was made
(the so-called “first wave of NATO enlargement”). Thus, Ukraine’s
role in European security was stressed. That same year the first-ever
NATO Information and Documentation Center was opened in Kyiv
and a NATO-Ukraine Commission was established.
In the new geopolitical situation after the terrorist attack on
the U.S. on September 11, 2001, the West has concentrated on
dealing with Putin, and Kyiv faced the danger of slipping into
Russia’s shadow. Therefore, it was extremely important for Kyiv
to remind the West about its European aspirations. The Ukrainian
leadership also tried to use further NATO-Russian rapprochement
(which resulted in the creation of the NATO-Russia Council on
May 28, 2002) to declare on May 23, 2002 “the beginning of a
practical realization of the course to join NATO.”
In the context of the Russia—NATO rapprochement, the
arguments of the Ukrainian adversaries of NATO about its “antiRussian”
character diminished in importance. After the
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
optimistic results for democratic forces in the 2002 parliamentary
election, some Ukrainian and Western analysts called for forward
movement in launching a Membership Action Plan for Ukraine.
However, the “tapegate” revelations had a negative effect on
Ukraine’s NATO aspirations. Nevertheless, at the NATO
enlargement summit in November 2002 the NATO—Ukraine
Commission adopted a Ukraine—NATO Action Plan.
Kyiv made the argument that Ukraine was a contributor to
European and international security. Ukraine participated in
peacekeeping missions in the Balkans from the very beginning of
international operations there (in Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia and
Kosovo). Ukrainian peacekeepers were involved in international
forces in Lebanon and Sierra Leone within the framework of the
UN. From 2001—2003, Ukrainian military transport aircraft were
required to move European military units and equipment to
Afghanistan. Ukraine was involved in military operations in Iraq,
having had the fifth largest contingent there. Partially, this was
explained by Kuchma’s desire to improve relations with the U.S.
because of the “tapegate scandal”. After Yushchenko’s election,
Ukrainian troops left Iraq in keeping with his electoral platform.
Yanukovych actually once “scheduled” Ukraine’s entry into
NATO in 2008. So, is the Party of Regions really anti-NATO?
All of the above mentioned steps were supported by Prime
Minister Yanukovych and his Party of Regions. Moreover, in the
Strategy for Ukraine for 2004—2015 prepared under the auspices
of Yanukovych, the deadline for joining the alliance was 2008!
The Party of Regions unanimously voted in 2003 for the Law on
the Fundamentals of National Security, which clearly stated
that Ukraine’s aim is to join NATO. And in 2006 it also voted
for the Memorandum with NATO on participation of Ukraine’s
strategic transport aviation in NATO operations.
This demonstrates that the current anti-NATO campaigns by the
Party of Regions are, first of all, designed to mobilize their elec –
torate and, secondly, that this position could be changed, es pe cially
given the fact that a secure climate for business is provided in the
Western-style democracies, not by Russian “sovereign democracy”.
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
NATO promised that “Ukraine will become a NATO member,”
but refused to offer a Membership Action Plan (MAP). How
could this happen?
After the Orange Revolution, Ukrainian authorities finally decided
to apply for the MAP. In April 2005, cooperation between NATO
and Ukraine was spurred by the adoption of the Intensified
Dialogue, a preparation for the acceptance of the MAP. However,
the possibility was lost after the 2006 election when the Orange
forces failed to form a new coalition. After the second Orange
coalition was formed, President Yushchenko, Prime Minister
Tymoshenko and speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Arsenij Yatsenyuk
signed in January 2008 an official letter of request to the NATO
Secretary General confirming Ukraine’s wish to join the MAP.
Ukraine wanted to receive it during the NATO Bucharest summit
in April 2008.
Among the strongest supporters of this step were the U.S.,
Canada, Poland (the main European lobbyist for Ukraine in NATO
and the EU), the United Kingdom, and the Baltic States.
However, opponents of this step within NATO (primarily France
and Germany) used several arguments:
• Powerful opposition to MAP within Ukraine: the Party of
Regions blocked the parliament.
Nevertheless, a compromise was found: the main political
forces agreed that joining NATO could happen only after a
referendum, and that MAP is not equal to membership. Moreover,
as mentioned above, the Party of Regions subordinates this issue
to its tactical plans and, therefore, could change its position.
Finally, opposition to join NATO existed in Western countries as
well — i.e., German social democrats in 1950s, Spanish Socialists,
including Javier Solana, the future NATO Secretary General (!).
But this did not prevent these countries from joining NATO.
• Low public support
According to polls conducted by the prestigious Razumkov
Center in August 2008 (that is, during the Russian-Georgian
war), support for joining NATO was 22.3% (while 52% were
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
opposed), while in June 2002 (that is, under Kuchma) the number
of supporters and opponents was equal (32.0% and 32.2%,
respectively). The figure of 32% actually was a good start for an
informational campaign even compared with some Central and
East European countries (i.e., Slovakia or Bulgaria) or Spain
(when it joined NATO in 1982 public support stood at only 18%).1
The decrease in public support can be explained by the following:
on the eve of the 2004 presidential campaign an intensive antiWestern,
anti-American campaign supported by Russia and key
figures in Kuchma’s entourage was initiated; after that the issue
became highly politicized in Ukrainian domestic affairs. In short,
an adequate informational campaign could increase the number of
supporters. It is important to stress that up to 90% of Ukrainian
security experts are in favor of joining the Alliance.
• Therefore, perhaps the most important argument was
openly acknowledged by France and, in a more subtle way, by
Germany — Russia’s negative position.
However, it contradicts the official NATO position: “no new
division of Europe” and “no country could have a veto on others’
foreign policy”.
So, although no MAP was offered to Ukraine in Bucharest, the
final statement said that “Ukraine and Georgia will become
members of NATO” — very strong language. The next possibility for
MAP was scheduled to be reviewed by NATO in December 2008.
However, by that time disagreements among Ukrainian autho –
ri ties became the main reason why the question of MAP was post –
po ned again.
At the same time, on December 3, 2008, NATO decided that the
Annual National Programs would be developed by Ukraine under
the NATO-Ukraine Commission. Their content would be similar to
1 The Spanish case is remarkable. Socialists opposed the decision to join
NATO in May 1982, and during elections in October 1982 they promised a
referendum on the question of remaining in NATO. However, after coming
to power they changed their minds. The Socialist government conducted the
referendum in March 1986. Despite strong anti-NATO feelings indicated
by polls, 52.6% of the voters supported the government’s position to
continue membership in NATO (39.8% voted against).
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
what is in the MAP but without formally referring to the MAP.
To move forward, Ukrainian authorities would need political will,
stability, and a broad informational campaign.
How will the results of the 2010 presidential elections influence
future Ukrainian politics?
Since 2004, elections in Ukraine have been free and mostly fair.
Control over the government (cabinet of ministers) has switched
from the party in power to the opposition three times. This
demonstrates that no political force in Ukraine can monopolize
power. Results of the runoff of the 2010 presidential elections
could be very close and the loser may try to challenge them. And
the winner may try to call early parliamentary elections to build
more support in the new parliament. But unlike the 2004
elections, which both sides viewed as a winner-take-all contest,
the post-Orange experience has shown that all the main political
forces can make compromises.
Therefore, despite all the drama and scandals of the ongoing
presidential campaign and the potential dangers connected with
the struggle for power, some degree of power sharing seems
almost inevitable. Ukraine’s business elites are gradually
becoming more interested in operating under a stable and
predictable set of rules. The global economic situation is likely to
compel them to adopt reforms, especially in the energy sphere
(where they need to reduce their dependence on Russia.)
At the same time, the country needs European-style political
parties based not on a single leader, but rather on a specific set
of programs and values.
During every electoral campaign presidential candidates in
Ukraine appeal to the electorate in the vote-rich east of the
country and declare their desire for mutually beneficial relations
with Russia. But that doesn’t mean that the next president will
be willing to defer to Russia and relinquish his/her authority or
freedom to maneuver in foreign policy. So, the tone of UkrainianRussian
relations is likely to improve and become more
pragmatic, but geopolitical logic will continue to push Ukraine
(even despite any zigzags) towards the West.
Ukraine in Europe: Questions and Answers
Economic (Dis)Integration
Although Russia remains Ukraine’s main trading partner, its share in Ukrainian trade has declined dramatically.
In 1994, according to the Ukrainian State Committee on Statistics, 47.5% of Ukraine’s foreign
trade was with Russia. By 2008, it had dropped to 23.05%. Ukraine’s exports to Russia fell from 37.4%
in l994 to 23.5% in 2008. In that same time period, imports from Russia dropped from 58.1% to 22.7%
chart 1
chart 2
But in absolute figures, the situation is different. Trade with Russia fell from $17.8 billion in 1994 to
$11.7 billion in 2001 (under President Kuchma). But then it increased in 2004 to $17.7 billion and in 2008
to $35.2 billion. So, contrary to what Russian leaders say about the Orange government’s alleged antiRussian
policies, trade with Russia doubled between 2004 to 2008. Ukrainian exports rose from $5.9 billion
to $15.7 billion (that is 2.7 times!) and imports from $11.8 billion to $19.4 billion.
Sources: State Statistics Committee of Ukraine (www.ukrstat.gov.ua).
Table 1.
Nations in Transit 2009
Ratings and Democracy Score Summary
Albania 3.75 3.00 3.75 4.25 2.75 4.25 5.00 3.82
Armenia 5.75 3.75 6.00 5.75 5.50 5.50 5.50 5.39
Azerbaijan 6.75 5.50 6.75 6.25 6.25 5.75 6.50 6.25
Belarus 6.75 6.25 6.75 6.75 6.75 6.75 6.00 6.57
Bosnia 3.00 3.50 4.50 5.00 4.75 4.00 4.50 4.18
Bulgaria 1.75 2.50 3.75 3.25 3.00 3.00 4.00 3.04
Croatia 3.25 2.75 4.00 3.50 3.75 4.25 4.50 3.71
Czech Republic 1.50 1.50 2.25 2.75 1.75 2.25 3.25 2.18
Estonia 1.50 1.75 1.50 2.25 2.50 1.50 2.50 1.93
Georgia 5.25 3.75 4.25 6.00 5.50 4.75 5.00 4.93
Hungary 1.75 1.75 2.50 2.50 2.50 1.75 3.25 2.29
Kazakhstan 6.75 5.50 6.50 6.75 6.25 6.00 6.50 6.32
Kosovo 4.50 4.00 5.50 5.25 5.25 5.75 5.75 5.11
Kyrgyzstan 6.00 4.75 6.25 6.50 6.50 6.00 6.25 6.04
Latvia 2.00 1.75 1.75 2.50 2.25 1.75 3.25 2.18
Lithuania 1.75 1.75 1.75 2.75 2.50 1.75 3.75 2.29
Macedonia 3.50 3.25 4.25 4.00 3.75 4.00 4.25 3.86
Moldova 4.00 3.75 5.75 5.75 5.75 4.50 6.00 5.07
Table 1 (continued)
Montenegro 3.25 2.75 3.75 4.25 3.25 4.25 5.00 3.79
Poland 2.00 1.50 2.00 3.25 2.00 2.25 2.75 2.25
Romania 2.50 2.50 3.75 3.75 3.00 4.00 4.00 3.36
Russia 6.75 5.75 6.25 6.50 5.75 5.50 6.25 6.11
Serbia 3.25 2.75 3.75 4.00 3.75 4.50 4.50 3.79
Slovakia 1.50 1.75 2.75 2.75 2.50 2.75 3.25 2.46
Slovenia 1.50 2.00 2.25 2.00 1.50 1.75 2.50 1.93
Tajikistan 6.50 5.75 6.00 6.25 6.00 6.25 6.25 6.14
Turkmenistan 7.00 7.00 7.00 7.00 6.75 7.00 6.75 6.93
Ukraine 3.50 2.75 3.50 5.00 5.25 5.00 5.75 4.39
Uzbekistan 7.00 7.00 7.00 7.00 6.75 7.00 6.50 6.89
Average 3.94 3.53 4.34 4.60 4.27 4.27 4.79 4.25
Median 3.50 3.00 4.00 4.25 3.75 4.25 5.00 3.86
NOTES: The ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 representing the highest level of democratic progress and 7 the
lowest. The 2009 ratings reflect the period January 1 through December 31, 2008. The Democracy Score is an average of
ratings for Electoral Process (EP); Civil Society (CS); Independent Media (IM); National Democratic Governance (NGOV);
Local Democratic Governance (LGOV); Judicial Framework and Independence (JFI); and Corruption (CO).
Nations in Transit 2009 is the 13th edition of Freedom House’s comprehensive, comparative study of democratic development
from Central Europe to Eurasia. Reprinted with permission of Freedom House.
Table 2.
Democracy Score. Year-To-Year Summaries
1999–2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
New EU Members
Bulgaria 3.58 3.42 3.33 3.38 3.25 3.18 2.93 2.89 2.86 3.04
Czech Republic 2.08 2.25 2.46 2.33 2.33 2.29 2.25 2.25 2.14 2.18
Estonia 2.25 2.13 2.00 2.00 1.92 1.96 1.96 1.96 1.93 1.93
Hungary 1.88 2.13 2.13 1.96 1.96 1.96 2.00 2.14 2.14 2.29
Latvia 2.29 2.21 2.25 2.25 2.17 2.14 2.07 2.07 2.07 2.18
Lithuania 2.29 2.21 2.21 2.13 2.13 2.21 2.21 2.29 2.25 2.29
Poland 1.58 1.58 1.63 1.75 1.75 2.00 2.14 2.36 2.39 2.25
Romania 3.54 3.67 3.71 3.63 3.58 3.39 3.39 3.29 3.36 3.36
Slovakia 2.71 2.50 2.17 2.08 2.08 2.00 1.96 2.14 2.29 2.46
Slovenia 1.88 1.88 1.83 1.79 1.75 1.68 1.75 1.82 1.86 1.93
Average 2.41 2.40 2.37 2.33 2.29 2.28 2.27 2.32 2.33 2.39
Median 2.27 2.21 2.19 2.10 2.10 2.07 2.11 2.20 2.20 2.27
The Balkans
Albania 4.75 4.42 4.25 4.17 4.13 4.04 3.79 3.82 3.82 3.82
Bosnia 5.42 5.17 4.83 4.54 4.29 4.18 4.07 4.04 4.11 4.18
Croatia 4.46 3.54 3.54 3.79 3.83 3.75 3.71 3.75 3.64 3.71
Macedonia 3.83 4.04 4.46 4.29 4.00 3.89 3.82 3.82 3.86 3.86
Yugoslavia 5.67 5.04 4.00 3.88 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Serbia n/a n/a n/a n/a 3.83 3.75 3.71 3.68 3.79 3.79
Montenegro n/a n/a n/a n/a 3.83 3.79 3.89 3.93 3.79 3.79
Table 2 (continued).
Kosovo n/a n/a n/a n/a 5.50 5.32 5.36 5.36 5.21 5.11
Average 4.83 4.44 4.22 4.13 4.20 4.10 4.05 4.06 4.03 4.04
Median 4.75 4.42 4.25 4.17 4.00 3.89 3.82 3.82 3.82 3.82
Non-Baltic Former Soviet States
Armenia 4.79 4.83 4.83 4.92 5.00 5.18 5.14 5.21 5.21 5.39
Azerbaijan 5.58 5.63 5.54 5.46 5.63 5.86 5.93 6.00 6.00 6.25
Belarus 6.25 6.38 6.38 6.46 6.54 6.64 6.71 6.68 6.71 6.57
Georgia 4.17 4.33 4.58 4.83 4.83 4.96 4.86 4.68 4.79 4.93
Kazakhstan 5.50 5.71 5.96 6.17 6.25 6.29 6.39 6.39 6.39 6.32
Kyrgyzstan 5.08 5.29 5.46 5.67 5.67 5.64 5.68 5.68 5.93 6.04
Moldova 4.25 4.29 4.50 4.71 4.88 5.07 4.96 4.96 5.00 5.07
Russia 4.58 4.88 5.00 4.96 5.25 5.61 5.75 5.86 5.96 6.11
Tajikistan 5.75 5.58 5.63 5.63 5.71 5.79 5.93 5.96 6.07 6.14
Turkmenistan 6.75 6.83 6.83 6.83 6.88 6.93 6.96 6.96 6.93 6.93
Ukraine 4.63 4.71 4.92 4.71 4.88 4.50 4.21 4.25 4.25 4.39
Uzbekistan 6.38 6.42 6.46 6.46 6.46 6.43 6.82 6.82 6.86 6.89
Average 5.31 5.41 5.51 5.57 5.66 5.74 5.78 5.79 5.84 5.92
Median 5.29 5.44 5.50 5.54 5.65 5.72 5.84 5.91 5.98 6.13
NOTES: The ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 representing the highest level of democratic progress and 7 the
lowest. The 2009 ratings reflect the period January 1 through December 31, 2008. The Democracy Score is an average of
ratings for Electoral Process; Civil Society; Independent Media; National Democratic Governance; Local Democratic Governance;
Judicial Framework and Independence; and Corruption.
Nations in Transit 2009 is the 13th edition of Freedom House’s comprehensive, comparative study of democratic development
from Central Europe to Eurasia. Reprinted with permission of Freedom House.