Kyiv must act on improving how the country is run KYIV – Last year, foreign technocrats and Western-educated Ukrainians represented the government at the annual Yalta European Strategy, the pre-eminent event that gathers high-profile officials and business leaders to discuss the country’s place in a constantly changing world. This year, they were replaced by political stalwarts like Prosecutor General Yurii Lutsenko, former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and technocrats who’ve left government like Natalie Jaresko, who was serving as finance minister in 2015, but now chairs the Aspen Institute in Kyiv. Taking place for the third time in Kyiv instead of Yalta because of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, the yearly meeting sent a clear message to the Ukrainian panelists and speakers: Kyiv cannot count on Western support if it doesn’t improve how the country is run, especially in rule of law and how government institutions function. Speaking on a panel titled, “Changing Elites in Ukraine,” Mikheil Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia and current governor of the Odesa Oblast, likened Ukraine to a joint-stock company in which the nation’s oligarchs are the shareholders, the ministers are the management executives, and the Verkhovna Rada is simply the supervisory board. He accused ex-President Leonid Kuchma, the father-in-law to the event’s organizer, oligarch Victor Pinchuk, of setting up the allegedly oligarch-run system during his rule in 1994-2005.
WASHINGTON – To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence in Washington, the Embassy of Ukraine in the U.S. chose a venue whose name has symbolic meaning for the country – the Institute of Peace, which is located in the very center of downtown. There were over 500 guests at the Embassy’s reception, among them U.S. officials and foreign diplomats, American political analysts and NGOs activists, representatives of international financial institutions and U.S. business, the local Ukrainian community and the media. In his welcome address to the audience, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the U.S. Valeriy Chaly expressed gratitude to the U.S. for its firm support of Ukraine in counteracting Russian aggression and American leadership in consolidating the world’s joint response to Russia’s violations of international law. He emphasized that Ukraine appreciates U.S. assistance in implementing reforms in the defense and security sector, as well as in the social and economic sphere. Acknowledging the efforts of the U.S. Ukrainian community, on behalf of the president of Ukraine the ambassador decorated Dr. Ihor Voyevidka, president of the Omelian and Tetiana Antonovych Foundation, with the Order for Merit (third Degree).
In the international sports competition arena these days, the United States, Russia, China and Great Britain are almost always atop the leader board. Every four years the above four countries rule the medals tables at the Olympics and Paralympics. The last dozen years have seen one underdog nation turn into a world superpower once the Paralympics begin. Sixth in Athens (2004), fourth at both Beijing (2008) and London (2012), Ukraine went one better in 2016, finishing a remarkable third in the medal table at Rio – a position Ukraine held for most of the competition. Ukraine proudly accumulated 117 total medals, including 41 gold, 37 silver and 39 bronze.
Antonov, Ukraine’s only designer and manufacturer of aircraft, has severed all ties with Russia, which had been its main market and partner for decades (Ukrayinska Pravda, September 10). This was unavoidable, given the de facto war waged by Moscow, which prompted Kyiv to stop Ukrainian military-technical cooperation with Russia and join Western sanctions in 2014-2015 (see Eurasia Daily Monitor, September 12, 2014). Antonov has been struggling to replace Russian components in its aircraft with parts made elsewhere. It also has also not been easy for the company to find a replacement to the Russian market, although Antonov pins high hopes on Asia, and China in particular. The state-owned Antonov is famous for having designed the world’s largest transport aircraft, the AN-225 Mria and the AN-124 Ruslan.
“Despite the progress that we made together in the aftermath of the Cold War, Russia’s actions in recent years – with its violations of Ukrainian and Georgian territorial integrity, its unprofessional behavior in the air, in space and in cyber-space, as well as its nuclear saber-rattling – all have demonstrated that Russia has a clear ambition to erode the principled international order that has served the United States, our allies and partners, the international community, and in fact Russia itself. … “It lashes out, alleging that it fears for its own viability and future, even though no nation – not the United States, not the United Kingdom – seeks to defeat it or constrain its potential. …Let me be clear, the United States does not seek a cold, let alone a hot war with Russia. We don’t seek an enemy in Russia.
Choosing a life insurance policy is an important decision. In addition to traditional insurance company information, numerous online resources now also help educate consumers. However, to help them make the right decision about the type and amount of life insurance to purchase, consumers still turn to a professional – an insurance agent. Within the two basic categories of insurance, permanent and term, there are a variety of options. When consumers have questions – such as “Should I buy a term policy for five years, or for 10?” or “How do I calculate how much I will need for final expenses?” – they seek the advice of an experienced agent.
On September 18, Russia held national elections to the Duma, the lower house of its Parliament. Among the places where the voting took place was Ukraine’s Crimea, the peninsula illegally annexed by Russia in the spring of 2014. To be sure, there are Russian citizens in Ukraine (80,000, according to Russian election officials), and they, of course, should have the right to cast their votes at designated polling places such as the Russian Embassy and Russian Consulates. But that is entirely different than invading someone else’s territory, occupying it, declaring it a part of your country and conducting elections there. On September 16, the presidents of Ukraine and Russia made statements that demonstrate clearly their opposing positions regarding Crimea.
Last year, on September 28, 2015, hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the United Nations building in New York City in a rebuke of the world body’s welcome of President Vladimir Putin for the 70th session of the U.N. General Assembly meeting. It was the first time in 10 years that the Russian president addressed the U. N. General Assembly. Protesters outside the building, co-organized by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), included a mix of nationalities and human rights advocates who chanted “No more vetoes for Putin,” “Crimea is Ukraine” and “Justice for MH17.” The American European Solidarity Council, founded by leaders of the United Ukrainian American Organizations of New York, helped to coordinate the protest with UCCA. Joining the protest were members of the International Circassian Council, Solidarni 2010 and others, such as the Belarusian Congress Committee of America, the Lithuanian American Community (New York district), the American Latvian Association and the Crimean Tatar community. Additional representatives were present from the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, the World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations, Razom for Ukraine, the Estonian Association, Music Lovers United Against Putin’s Aggression, Russians Against the War, and RUSA LGBT (a Russian-speaking American LGBT rights group).
Following are excerpts from the statement by the President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine during the General Debate of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 21. The text was released by the Presidential Administration of Ukraine. …In these days, the world has been driven to more and more instability. Some have been affected more, some less. But never since the end of the Cold War have international norms and principles been unilaterally defied on such a scale and with such brutality.
The following appeal, signed by political leaders and intellectuals, was released on September 15 by the First of December Initiative Group. Prior to almost every great historical change in Europe, there was a period of exhaustion. A tiredness of being conscientious. This rule was especially profound in the 20th century. This tragic pattern takes away the right to be silent now, when that uncertainty and insecurity once again dominate in Europe.
BOSTON – The Ukrainian American community of greater Boston and eastern New England began its celebration of the 25th anniversary of Ukraine’s declaration of independence with three days of events centered around August 24, which was the date of the Ukrainian Parliament’s actual vote for independence. All of the festivities were under the auspices of and hands-on coordination of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, Boston branch, in conjunction with a number of local organizations and a host of volunteers. The various events included a number of formal church services, a ceremonial flag-raising at Boston’s City Hall, a photo exhibit showing Ukrainian life in Boston over the last 130 years, a reception hosted in the City Council Chambers, a three-hour boat cruise in Boston Harbor, cooking classes featuring varenyky and holubtsi, and a traditional Ukrainian picnic on the spacious nine-acre grounds of Christ the King Ukrainian Catholic Parish. In all, more than 1,500 people attended some part of the celebration, and, it should be noted, a very high percentage of those who took part were fairly young, wore Ukrainian embroidery (vyshyvanky), and were members of the fourth wave. The events began with the morning celebration of a liturgy for Ukraine and the Ukrainian nation at Christ the King Church by its pastor, the Rev. Dr. Archpriest Yaroslav Nalysnyk.
TORONTO – The Toronto Branch of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC Toronto) welcomed over 10,000 people to the 25th annual Ukrainian Independence Day celebration on Saturday, August 20, at Centennial Park in Toronto. A full day of greetings, festivities and entertainment was enjoyed by all. This Independence Day celebration marked not only a quarter century of Ukraine’s independent statehood, but also commemorated three additional historical milestones of the Ukrainian Canadian community: the 125th anniversary of Ukrainian settlement in Canada, the 160th anniversary of the birth of Ivan Franko, and the 75th anniversary of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, which represents the Ukrainian Canadian community across Canada. The event was attended not only by thousands of returning visitors, but also by many government representatives who joined the celebration. Mayor John Tory, wearing a “vyshyvanka,” gave inspiring congratulations and further announced the proposed plans for the Holodomor Memorial to be erected in the city of Toronto on the CNE grounds.
WATERVLIET, N.Y. – On August 24, Ukraine celebrated 25 years of independence. That milestone anniversary was recognized on Saturday, August 27, during the Ukrainian Festival of Independence celebrated at the Ukrainian-American Cultural Center in the historic pioneer neighborhood of Watervliet. “An afternoon-long program was dedicated in part to celebrate Ukraine’s 25-year Independence Day anniversary after the break-up of the Soviet Union,” said Ukrainian–American Cultural Center President John Uruskyj, who led the committee that organized the celebratory festival. The cultural celebration kicked off at 2:15 p.m. with the singing of the U.S. and the Ukrainian national anthems in the park adjacent to the Capital District School of Ukrainian Studies. The program included prayers, singing, poetic recitations and dancing, and involved a wide cross-section of the local Ukrainian American community living in the Capital Region that encompasses a number of small cities around Albany, including Amsterdam, Cohoes, Troy and Watervliet.
HORSHAM, Pa. – The Ukrainian and American flags danced in the brilliant sunshine and mild breezes of another delightful summer afternoon at the Ukrainian American Sport Center Tryzub. The intense and complex thoughts, prayers and emotions of the gathering crowd were palpable this Sunday, August 28. Ukrainians, haling, directly or through ancestry from nearly all regions of Ukraine, demonstrated solidarity with their homeland and its people through their spirited attendance, clothing and accessories: Beautiful embroideries and folk costumes, flags, tryzubs, Ukrainian sports and thematic jerseys and the sound of the beautiful language affirmed the presence of Ukraine’s immortal spirit in the festival glade, well before the concert had even started. They came to celebrate Ukraine’s independence and the liberating force of the Maidan movement, Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity.
KYIV – Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko met on September 20 with the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. The president’s press service reported: “The Ukrainian head of state emphasized that Ukraine today fights for freedom and democratic values, which unite the whole democratic world. The interlocutors agreed that consolidated trans-Atlantic unity and solidarity with Ukraine is important in resisting Russian aggression. Also noted was the effectiveness of the sanctions policy against Russia. Petro Poroshenko thanked Hillary Clinton for continuous and firm supportive stance on Ukraine.