Zelenskyy’s trip to New York employs diplomacy as damage containment

KYIV – President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s trip to New York on September 24-26 for the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly and events surrounding it witnessed a whirlwind of activity and a barrage of commentary. The question in Kyiv is how has Mr. Zelenskyy emerged from this diplomatic baptism of fire and what it bodes for Ukraine.
It was a very difficult time for the Ukrainian leader to go to the U.S. and the stakes remain high. Given the intensification of the political infighting between the Democrats and the Republicans in the U.S., controversy around the Trump-Zelenskyy connection overshadowed everything else. Understandably, perhaps, but there was also more to it all than this.

U.S. diaspora organizations celebrate 125 years with conference, banquet

Ukrainian National Association in the spotlight

Ukrainian National Association in the spotlight
NEW YORK – Ukrainian diaspora organizations in the United States were recognized and celebrated for having flourished for more than 125 years with a conference and banquet at the Princeton Club in New York on September 21.
The event, attended by more than 100 participants, was sponsored by the Center for U.S.-Ukrainian Relations (CUSUR) and the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), as well as the Ukrainian National Association (UNA), which this year celebrates its 125th anniversary of its founding.

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Zelenskyy warns about Russia’s war
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on September 25 kicked off the second day of speeches at this year’s United Nations General Assembly by warning world leaders that they won’t feel safe as long as Russia is waging war “in the center of Europe.” In a globalized world “there is no such thing as someone else’s war,” Mr. Zelenskyy said in his first address before the world body. “Every leader shares responsibility for the destiny not only of their country but of the whole world.” Moscow continues to back separatists in eastern Ukraine in a conflict that has killed more than 13,000 people and displaced almost 2 million people since April 2014.

Putin overplays hand with Normandy summit, inadvertently rescues Zelenskyy from the brink

The Kremlin has derailed the summit of the Normandy group’s (Russia, Germany, France, Ukraine) leaders, which was supposed to be held on September 16, in Paris. Apparently, Russian President Vladimir Putin determined at the last moment that his far-reaching objectives for this summit could not be fully achieved at this point. The Normandy group had not held a summit in the last three years. The derailed heads-of-state/government gathering is still expected to be held in Paris, but without a substitute date as yet.

Russia-controlled Donbas “republics” remove Ukrainian language from schools

Although Russia repeatedly claims that Russian speakers were under threat in Crimea and Donbas, it is the Ukrainian language that has come under attack as soon as Russia took actual or effective control. That is the case also with Ukrainian history and culture. In the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” (DPR and LPR), there are no Ukrainian classes anymore, with the Ukrainian language taught as a subject for one hour a week. This is very clearly a Russification program, with the textbooks for schools being brought into occupied Donbas by the so-called “humanitarian” convoys from Russia.

Alexander Motyl honored with Antonovych Foundation award

WASHINGTON – This year’s Omelian and Tatiana Antonovych Foundation award was presented on September 13 at the Embassy of Ukraine to Alexander Motyl, professor of political science at Rutgers University, who also taught at Columbia, Harvard and other universities.
As Dr. Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak, who chairs the Antonovych award nomination committee that selected him for this year’s award, noted during the ceremony, Prof. Motyl had focused much of his attention over the past few decades on Ukraine’s development of its independent course after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Ukrainian economy doing much better than that of Russia, says economist

The spate of bad economic news in Russia has led Moscow to try again what it has done so often in the past: tell Russians that no matter how bad things are in their country, the situation in the “non-existent state” of Ukraine is worse. But now, Moscow has a problem: the situation in Ukraine isn’t worse but better, economist Vladislav Inozemtsev says.
Despite all the problems economic and otherwise Ukraine faces, the Moscow analyst says, in the second quarter of this year, Ukraine had the highest rate of GDP growth in the last three years (4.6 percent), salaries rose by 10 percent, capital investment by 17.8 percent, and construction by 21.2 percent.

Mark von Hagen, scholar and tireless promoter of Ukrainian studies, 65

Mark von Hagen, one of the leading U.S. historians working on Ukrainian themes, past president of the International Association for Ukrainian Studies (2002–2005), and past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (now ASEEES, 2010), died on September 15. He was 65.
With the death of Prof. von Hagen, the academic community, and Ukrainian scholarship in particular, has lost a distinguished historian, a brilliant intellectual, and a leading figure in the furthering of Ukrainian studies in the U.S. and abroad.

Zelenskyy and Trump

For days now, Ukraine has been on the front pages of our newspapers and in the lead stories on our news networks. Normally, that would be good news, but not so much in this case. Unfortunately, Ukraine has become a political football in the U.S. as the 2020 presidential election draws nearer.
At the center of the news is a July 25 telephone conversation between Donald Trump and Volodymyr Zelenskyy in which the U.S. president – directly after hearing from Mr. Zelenskyy that Kyiv is ready to buy more Javelins – appears to be pressuring the Ukrainian president into doing him a “favor.” Mr. Trump says he would like Mr. Zelenskyy to find out what happened with CrowdStrike (an Internet security company that looked into the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s servers back in 2016 and determined that two groups connected to the Russian government were responsible), adding that it’s believed Ukraine has one of the servers.