Wiesenthal ranks prosecution efforts

PRAGUE - The Simon Wiesenthal Center on July 23 released its third annual "Worldwide Investigation and Prosecution of Nazi War Criminals" report, which ranks 39 countries based on their efforts from April 1, 2002, to March 31, 2003, in dealing with Holocaust perpetrators. Only the United States and Germany received the highest grades of "A" and "B," respectively. Among the seven countries in category "C" (minimal success that could have been greater; additional steps urgently required) are Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Estonia is among the 14 countries in category "D" (insufficient and/or unsuccessful efforts), along with Croatia, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. Norway and Sweden are the only European states to receive an "F" for total failure. Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, as well as Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Czech Republic and Yugoslavia, were placed in category "X," which is made up of the 13 states that failed to respond to the center's questionnaire and "show no activities to prosecute." (RFE/RL Newsline)

President sacks two oblast leaders

KYIV - President Leonid Kuchma signed decrees on July 29 dismissing the chairmen of the Poltava and Chernivtsi oblasts, Yevhen Tomin and Teofil Bauer, respectively, Interfax reported, quoting the president's press office. The Ukrainian government last week recommended that the president dismiss the Dnipropetrovsk, Chernivtsi and Poltava oblast chairmen based on its analysis of the agricultural and economic sectors. The government also decided to sack the heads of the State Foodstuffs Department and the government's Pricing Department, and the deputy heads of several regional administrations responsible for the agricultural sector. (RFE/RL Newsline)

Crackdown urged on illegal employment

PRAGUE - Ukraine's Consul Igor Krushnin said in Prague on July 25 that Czech laws do not allow for the strict enforcement of measures to counter illegal migration, CTK reported. He said one of the biggest problems is that the Czech state does not sufficiently punish firms that hire illegal Ukrainian labor. Zdenek Kral of the Czech Interior Ministry agreed that fines for employers are too low. "The punishments for them are insufficient to prevent the hiring of an illegal immigrant from being advantageous," Mr. Kral said. The Czech Republic and Ukraine signed a treaty last month that allows for the transfer of social-security payments for Ukrainians who are legally employed. "It is, therefore, much more advantageous to work legally," Mr. Krushnin said. "That is another way of fighting the illegal labor market." (RFE/RL Newsline)

Internet journalist attacked in Kyiv

KYIV - Two unidentified men on July 24 attacked Oleh Yeltsov, a journalist reporting on corruption in government and business for the Ukraina Kryminalna (Criminal Ukraine) website (, Ukrainian media reported. The pair ambushed Mr. Yeltsov with a stun gun and a metal pipe as he was leaving his apartment in Kyiv. Mr. Yeltsov was hospitalized, according to Ukraina Kryminalna. Police have opened an investigation into the incident. (RFE/RL Newsline)

Ukrainian presidential aide dies

KYIV - Yurii Dahaiev, chief of the presidential administration's property-management department, died at the age of 53 on July 22, Ukrainian news agencies reported. Mr. Dahaiev, a former vice minister of internal affairs, had served in the presidential administration since March 2000. (RFE/RL Newsline)

Construction at Babyn Yar is protested

KYIV - Representatives of several Ukrainian right-wing organizations signed a statement on July 21 protesting the planned construction of a Jewish Social and Cultural Center at the Babyn Yar memorial site near Kyiv, the UNIAN news service reported. The statement called on President Leonid Kuchma and other senior officials to "give peace to the slain." The signatories warned that Babyn Yar risks becoming a site of interethnic "discord" as a result of "ill-considered decisions." Babyn Yar is widely perceived as a symbol of the mass murder of Jews in World War II. On September 29-30, 1941, Nazi soldiers killed some 33,000 Jews at Babyn Yar. The ultimate death toll at Babyn Yar during World War II, including Ukrainians, Jews, Roma and others, is estimated at 100,000. (RFE/RL Newsline)

Tiraspol decrees free-trade with Ukraine

TIRASPOL - Transdniester separatist leader Igor Smirnov on July 19 signed a decree establishing a free-trade regime with Ukraine, ITAR-TASS reported. The legislation would make it impossible for Moldova to impose taxes on Ukrainian goods reaching the country via Transdniester. Observers cited by the Russian news agency said the step will aggravate the already tense relations between Chisinau and Tiraspol. (RFE/RL Newsline)

Kyiv unaware of Transdniester decree

KYIV - Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Oleksander Horkov told journalists in Kyiv on July 22 that his office has not received any notification from Tiraspol concerning a "free-trade regime" with Ukraine that was decreed the previous week by separatist leader Igor Smirnov, Infotag and BASA-press reported. Mr. Horkov added that attempts are apparently being made to drag his country into a dispute that is a "purely internal Moldovan affair" over mutually inflicted economic sanctions. "As a mediator country," he said, "we have always advocated a compromise that would lead to settling the disputes in Moldova to the benefit of Moldovans residing on both banks of Dnister River," he said. Ukrainian companies, he added, will continue trading with Transdniester in accordance with current Ukrainian legislation. (RFE/RL Newsline)

Ukraine, Poland discuss Iraqi tasks

KRAKOW - Ukrainian and Polish Defense Ministers Yevhen Marchuk and Jerzy Szmajdzinski met in Krakow on July 16 to discuss the final stage of their military contingents' preparations for the international stabilization mission to Iraq, PAP and Interfax reported. Messrs. Marchuk and Szmajdzinski praised the Polish-Ukrainian battalion Polukrbat and discussed the legal grounds for further cooperation in military training, education and joint rescue missions. The Polish-Ukrainian cooperation program in 2003 includes 68 projects - 34 of which are to take place in Poland, 33 in Ukraine and one in Kosovo. (RFE/RL Newsline)

Kuchma appoints environment minister

KYIV - President Leonid Kuchma appointed Serhii Polakov as Ukraine's new minister of the environment on July 15, Interfax reported. Mr. Polakov was proposed by the National Democratic Party caucus in the Verkhovna Rada. He formerly served as coal-industry minister and Donetsk Oblast chairman. The president sacked Mr. Polakov's predecessor, Vasyl Shevchuk, in June, blaming him for "serious shortcomings" in his work. (RFE/RL Newsline)

'Reverse mode' for pipeline is rejected

GDANSK, Poland - The Odesa-Brody oil pipeline will be used exclusively to pump oil from Odesa to Brody -- and not vice versa - Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Serhii Yermilov announced in Gdansk on July 14, according to Ukrainian television. Ukrainian and Polish representatives thus dismissed a suggestion by Russia's Tyumen Oil Company and British Petroleum that the conduit be used in "reverse mode." Ukrainian and Polish officials and corporate representatives were meeting to discuss the "northern dimension for Caspian oil." Poland's Pern and Ukrtransnafta signed a protocol at the meeting on creating a joint venture to complete the Polish stretch of the pipeline. The meeting considered extending the pipeline to the port of Gdansk. "The European direction is the most profitable. ... It means 40 million tons of oil to be pumped annually, ... while the reverse use could transit only up to 9 million tons," Mr. Yermilov said. (RFE/RL Newsline)

UOC-MP honors Symonenko

KYIV - National Deputy Petro Symonenko, leader of the Communist Party, was awarded the order of St. Volodymyr the Great, Prince and Equal to the Apostles, for his outstanding service to the Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian state. Metropolitan Volodymyr Sabodan, head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), who honored Mr. Symonenko on his 50th birthday, emphasized the Communist Party leader's considerable support in solving Church-state problems. (Religious Information Service of Ukraine)

UOC-KP bishop calls award "hypocrisy"

KYIV - The faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) believe that the award given to Petro Symonenko, leader of the Communist Party, by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) for his outstanding service to the Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian people is "mere hypocrisy." This opinion was expressed by Bishop Paisii of Odesa and Balta of the UOC-KP on June 15. Bishop Paisii emphasized that the award is especially hypocritical during the 70th anniversary of the Famine that was orchestrated by the Soviet Communist Party and took the lives of millions. "It is a pity that we Ukrainians allow such events to take place in the very heart of Ukrainian spirituality, the Kyivan Monastery of the Caves," said Bishop Paisii. "I believe all who were involved in awarding the Communist Party leader are disgraced. The genocide that the atheistic regime started in Ukraine continues even today. Petro Symonenko leads the party that refused to vote in the Parliament to declare the famine in 1932 and 1933 in Ukraine a genocide against the Ukrainian nation. This is not the first and not the last case of such blatant disrespect towards Ukrainians on behalf of Moscow Patriarchate hierarchs." (Religious Information Service of Ukraine)

"Beheaded" to appear in Ukraine

READING, England - On the third anniversary of the kidnapping of the journalist Heorhii Gongadze, the book "Beheaded" by J.V. Koshiw will be published in Ukrainian. On September 16, 2000, Mr. Gongadze was kidnapped in the center of Ukraine's capital; two months later his naked body was found beheaded. The chief suspects in the crime continue to occupy the highest political offices. The book presents the evidence on who had ordered, organized and carried out the kidnapping. Basing the evidence on secretly recorded conversations in the president's office, the author explains the motivation behind the crime committed by the top officials and how the crime was covered up. (Artemia Press)

Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, August 3, 2003, No. 31, Vol. LXXI

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