Yevhen Fedchenko, director of the Mohyla School of Journalism and co-founder/chief editor of StopFake.org.

Russian propaganda buster Fedchenko keeps going with StopFake group

KYIV – Among the first people to pinpoint that Russia engages in lies on an industrial scale packaged as actual news was Yevhen Fedchenko, 41, director of the Mohyla School of Journalism.

He and his colleagues noticed the practice during the Revolution of Dignity that ended in February 2014. That month, disgraced Kremlin-backed President Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia after leaving behind a dry treasury and a graft-infested, dysfunctional government, along with 100 civilians killed by his law enforcement personnel.

Verkhovna Rada passes more laws to meet IMF and Maidan demands

KYIV – Ukraine’s reformist yet occasionally obdurate legislature, the Verkhovna Rada, moved ahead this week with more bills to further enhance a constantly overdue pro-European agenda on the back of promises of the 2014 Revolution of Dignity.

A more representative electoral bill was approved in the first of two readings on November 7. It foresees replacing half of the nation’s 225 voting districts, in which single candidates got elected based only on who receives the most votes, with regional political party lists, whereby candidates get elected based on the proportion of votes their party receives.

Odesa-born Amina Okuyeva, 34, an ethnic Chechen, Donbas war veteran and overt critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was fatally shot in the head on October 30 in Kyiv Oblast, allegedly on the orders of the Kremlin. 

Assassinations, abductions show Kremlin’s war on Ukraine extends beyond borders of Donbas

KYIV – A day after an Odesa-born medic and sniper of Chechen heritage who fought in the Donbas war was fatally shot, the Security Service of Ukraine detained the alleged Kremlin-guided assassin of one of their own high-ranking officials.

It was the latest reminder for this war-weary country of 42.5 million people that the conventional battle in the easternmost regions of the Donbas is being waged also nationwide asymmetrically through alleged Moscow-controlled cells of agents, provocateurs and trained assassins.

Acting Health Minister Ulana Suprun reacts in Ukraine’s Parliament on October 19 after reforms she has pushed to overhaul the nation’s health care system were passed by the legislature.

Ukraine’s health care system to get comprehensive overhaul

KYIV – Ukraine adopted a crucial legislative health care package on October 19 that is designed to improve the health of its people and remove Europe’s largest country from the list of nations that have the world’s highest death rates. It is the first comprehensive change to the country’s Soviet-era health care system since Ukraine gained independence in 1991.

Prof. Alexander Motyl

INTERVIEW: Prof. Alexander Motyl on Ukraine’s struggle with survival

CONCLUSION
(Go to Part I)
KYIV – Rutgers University-Newark political science professor Alexander Motyl is known for swimming against the tide when it comes to speaking about post-Maidan Ukraine. All is not lost and not everything is “doom and gloom,” his writings and observations often say. On October 13, the professor, novelist and poet spoke with The Ukrainian Weekly via an online messenger service, just five days before political opposition groups, including one led by Mikheil Saakashvili, former Georgian president and ex-Odesa Oblast governor, staged a rally in Kyiv’s government district to call for the creation of a separate anti-graft court, election reform to make ballots open to the public and the stripping of immunity from prosecution for members of Parliament. Prof. Motyl makes the case for “evolutionary,” not “revolutionary” change. 

After earning his Ph.D. at Columbia University in 1984, Prof. Motyl embarked on an academic and teaching career. The Ukrainian American has earned a reputation for having expertise on “Ukraine, Russia and the USSR,” according to the World Affairs Journal.

Prof. Alexander Motyl

INTERVIEW: Prof. Alexander Motyl on Ukraine’s struggle with survival

KYIV – Rutgers University-Newark political science professor Alexander Motyl is known for swimming against the tide when it comes to speaking about post-Maidan Ukraine. All is not lost and not everything is “doom and gloom,” his writings and observations often say. Unlike many of his Ukrainian and Western contemporaries, Prof. Motyl insists that Ukraine is historically in the best position since the 17th century to forge a stronger state entity, one that can consolidate democracy in five years, to become economically and socially prosperous, and Westernize in the coming years. 

On October 13, the professor, novelist and poet spoke with The Ukrainian Weekly via an online messenger service, sharing his views on Ukraine’s new law on education, the situation in the Donbas and Ukraine’s options in the ongoing war being waged by Russia. After earning his Ph.D. at Columbia University in 1984, Prof. Motyl embarked on an academic and teaching career. The Ukrainian American has earned a reputation for having expertise on “Ukraine, Russia and the USSR,” according to the World Affairs Journal.

Kyiv moves to label Russia as aggressor in Donbas war

KYIV – Ukraine last week took a legislative step closer to reflect the fact that Russia is waging war against this nation of 42.5 million people – an unprovoked invasion that saw Crimea annexed and 3 percent of the easternmost Donbas region occupied by Kremlin-led forces nearly four years ago.

On October 6, the Verkhovna Rada passed a law in the first of two readings that names Russia as an aggressor state pursuant to international conventions and enables the armed forces to better defend the nation’s sovereign territory.

Holly Palance holds the ritual bread with which she was greeted in her ancestral village of Ivane-Zolote, Ternopil Oblast, with her cousin Lida Palahniuk (second from left), the local school’s principal (right) and a schoolteacher (left).

Daughter of Oscar winner Jack Palance talks about heritage during first visit to Ukraine

LVIV – As Holly Palance neared her ancestral village of Ivane-Zolote in Ternopil Oblast on September 15, she couldn’t help noticing how much the lush green, hilly countryside resembled the rural coal-mining area of Pennsylvania where her father grew up and once worked, and where she would visit her grandparents on trips from Los Angeles. “In those days, in the 1950s-1960s, in the mines [in rural Pennsylvania]… there were a lot of Ukrainians. It was a very different world,” she told The Ukrainian Weekly in Lviv on September 18, as she spoke of her Ukrainian ancestry. To her surprise, standing at the entrance to the hamlet of 450 people, was the village head of Ivane-Zolote, educators from the local school and its pupils, who were eagerly awaiting her arrival. They were all dressed in traditional Ukrainian attire holding a ritual bread known as “korovai, nestled on an equally elaborate embroidered “rushnyk,” or ritual cloth.

Poroshenko to make repeat bid for U.N. peacekeepers in Donbas

KYIV – Historically, Ukraine has been in the top tier of contributors to United Nations peacekeeping missions in conflict zones worldwide. Now, one of the intergovernmental body’s truce contingents might land in eastern Ukraine, where Russia has waged an unprovoked war since April 2014, a month after it illegally annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was to leave Kyiv on September 15 to attend the 72nd session of the U.N. General Assembly, and he plans to address the U.N. Security Council next week. At the podium, post-Soviet Ukraine’s fifth president is scheduled to repeat the proposal he made more than two years ago: to send U.N. peacekeepers to the war-torn easternmost regions of Donetsk and Luhansk amid two internationally brokered ceasefires that never took hold since February 2015. Then, the West, namely Germany and France – which were integral in cementing a truce between Kyiv and Moscow – weren’t keen on the idea.

Vasyl Bondar, 42, spent nearly nine months in the frontline town of Shyrokyne in Donetsk Oblast in a marine unit during his yearlong tour of duty.

Ukraine’s Donbas war veterans fight invisible foe of post-combat stress

KYIV – Vasyl Bondar faced a new foe when he came home from a tour of duty in a Ukrainian naval forces unit that included nearly nine months in the frontline Donetsk Oblast town of Shyrokyne where he often faced shelling from Russian-led forces.

Returning to civilian life in November 2016, the 42-year-old native Kyivan started fighting an enemy that was at once invisible and elusive.