Books on Ukraine
Update No: 287 - (09/12/04)
The stakes in Ukraine's presidential elections have been
almost incalculably high. Rarely has so much depended on the outcome of the
ballot box. The Supreme Court has now adjudicated that there should be a re-run
of the second round, since it, and indeed the first round, were marred by
It became very clear in the course of the campaign that three key events
occurring in the last weeks of the campaign were tipping the scales in favour of
the opposition challenger.
Mass rally for challenger
Firstly, tens of thousands of supporters of Ukrainian presidential candidate and
challenger, Viktor Yushchenko, filled Kiev's main square on November 6th as part
of protests planned nationwide against alleged election fraud in the first
round. Yushchenko, who faced Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych in the
presidential election's Nov. 21 second round, prophetically told the crowd of
30,000 that victory was at hand. "We stand a few steps before the final
victory of democratic forces," said Ukraine's top opposition leader, whose
appearance on stage before supporters waving orange flags - his campaign colour
- sparked screams of "Yushchenko!"
Some of this ex-Soviet republic's top rock bands had performed for the crowd
before Yushchenko's arrival. Organizers claimed more than 100,000 people had
gathered; police put the number at 10,000. The key thing is that the
demonstrators kept up the pressure, remaining in the city centre.
Kiev's mayor Oleksandr Omelchenko had threatened to ban the rally, but a local
court gave Yushchenko the go-ahead to hold the rally. No major police presence
In the western city of Lvov, more than 4,000 people also peacefully rallied in
support of Yushchenko. Protests were also planned in other cities around this
nation of 48 million.
Neither Yushchenko nor Yanukovych, running in a crowded field with 22 minor
candidates, received more than 50 percent of the votes on October 31st 's
election, which Western governments and election observers said was flawed,
pointing to media bias in favour of Yanukovych and state interference.
The election was seen as pivotal for the democratic future of Ukraine, flanked
to the west by NATO countries and to the east by Russia, which still wields
great influence over Ukraine's economic, political and military affairs.
Deal with the socialists the key; the communists staying neutral
Some percipient political analysts rightly reckoned that Yanukovych, seen as
more inclined to cultivate strong ties with Russia, would attract significantly
less of the minor candidates' vote than would Yushchenko. This, indeed, turned
out to be the case.
For the second decisive event was that Yushchenko secured the support of
Oleksandr Moroz, leader of the Socialist Party, who came in third in the first
round with 5.83 percent of the vote. In exchange for Moroz's backing, Yushchenko
pledged Nov. 6 to carry out political and constitutional reforms to redistribute
power between the president, parliament and the government, effective in 2006.
Their deal also calls for the eventual withdrawal of 1,600 Ukrainian troops from
the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq where they serve under Polish command. Nine
Ukrainian soldiers have died in Iraq and 20 have been wounded. Authorities
announced earlier this year that the country's military presence in Iraq would
be gradually phased out.
On Nov. 8, Yushchenko won the support of former prime minister, Anatoly Kinakh,
who got less than 1 percent in the first round. In a knife-edge result every one
per cent can count.
Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko refused to back either finalist, leaving
another potentially key 5 percent of the first round vote uncertain.
The real significance of the result; a profile of the clans
Ukraine's opposition always stood a real chance of winning. Its opposition
groups have for over a decade helped forge a civil society and healthy political
parties far beyond anything seen in President Vladimir Putin's Russia.
Yanukovich represents the Donetsk clan, one of several geographically defined
oligarchic groups that compete to dominate Ukrainian business and politics. He
has little sway over either the Kiev clan, led by Viktor Medvedchuk, Kuchma's
chief of staff, or the Dnepropetrovsk clan of Viktor Pinchuk, Kuchma's
son-in-law. But both oligarchs preferred Yanukovich to Yushchenko, who has vowed
to "end corruption" and send "bandits" to jail.
Yushchenko's promises resonate across Ukraine. Even though the oligarchs control
all but one of the main television stations, he remains popular. Actually, the
normal fare on these stations is so tedious that their support for the
establishment camp may have been counter-productive.
Under President Kuchma, the economy started to boom -yet thanks partly to
Yushchenko's brief, reformist stint as premier four years ago. But the
oligarchs' grip has grown tighter. In June, a consortium led by Pinchuk and
Rinat Akhmetov, a Donetsk magnate, bought a state-owned steelworks in an auction
allegedly rigged to specifically exclude foreign bidders offering two or three
times as much. The move was probably more than just another property grab; it
also suggests an effort to forge an inter-clan alliance for the post-Kuchma
Such an alliance makes Yushchenko's rule more difficult - and he knows it. So he
is cagey about plans to confront the oligarchs. "I don't exclude
investigations of the clans behind Medvedchuk or Yanukovich, but the rest of
business wants clear rules," he says. By leaving Pinchuk off this list,
Yushchenko may have been hinting that he wanted a truce with Ukraine's most
powerful magnate should he become president, which he now almost certainly has.
Ukraine collects record high grain harvest, premier says
Ukraine has collected 45m tonnes of grain this year, Prime Minister Viktor
Yanukovych said at a 'Cabinet of Ministers' meeting recently. "This is the
biggest harvest since independence, this is a big victory of our farmers,"
he said, ITAR-TASS news agency reported.
The figure looks especially high compared to last year's bad harvest, when
Ukraine collected only 20.2m tonnes of grain.
"We have never had a harvest like that. And 45 million would have been a
good harvest even for those good old days when agriculture financing was much
better. This year we have obtained this result only because we continued
introducing new approaches to agricultural reform," Yanukovych said.
AVIATION & SPACE
Ukraine, Russia to launch satellite in December
Ukraine and Russia are planning to launch the Sich-1M satellite, designed to
study Earth, in December 2004, a source in the National Space Agency of Ukraine
said, Interfax-AVN Military News Agency web site reported.
The project for the joint development and usage of the Sich-1M satellite is
among the priority Russian-Ukrainian space exploration programmes. The Sich-1M
is a modification and an upgrade of another Sich-1M satellite that was
successfully launched in 1995.
The Sich-1M will have devices that would allow it to monitor Earth and space in
optical, infrared and microwave spectra, which makes monitoring in cloudy and
dark conditions more efficient. In addition, devices that will allow for the
satellite's use in scientific studies of the earth and the oceans in terms of
geology, climate and ecology, will be installed on the Sich-1M. The information
received from the satellite will be used to resolve economic issues of Ukraine
The Sich-1M will be fitted with a radio communications line of the same
frequency as that of foreign satellites, that may serve as a foundation for
international cooperation and presenting the Sich-1M's information to the
international market within the committee for earth-observing satellites. The
launch will also be part of a programme for the creation of a micro satellite to
resolve local tasks of scientific and economic character.
Russian oil company buys stake in Ukrainian gas firm
The Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine has allowed the Russian oil company,
Alyans, to buy a stake in the authorized capital of the Ukrainian gas company,
Alyans-Haz, UNIAN News Agency reported.
The purchase will allow the Russian company to have an excess of 50 per cent of
votes in the company's top management body.
The main activity of the Russian oil company Alyans is the exploration and
extraction of oil and gas.
The Alyans-Haz company (Simferopol [Crimea]) has not been carrying out any
economic activities of late.
Russia to keep Ukraine oil supplies stable in 2005
Supplies of Russian oil to Ukraine in 2005 will be the same as in 2004, at
least, Industry and Energy Minister, Viktor Khristenko said, Interfax News
He said there will be no problem with signing a protocol to the agreement on oil
supplies between Russia and Ukraine, containing these parameters. "There
will be no problem with signing, 22 million tonnes - this figure will not be
less for next year," he said.
Oil supplies to Ukrainian refineries in 2003 increased 15.8 per cent
year-on-year to 24.62 million tonnes. Supplies of Russian oil increased 28.9 per
cent to 21.32 million tonnes.
Supplies of Russian oil to Ukrainian refineries in January-September this year
amounted to 15.73 million tonnes, or 86.9 per cent of total supplies.
Gazprom, Naftogaz sign deal on pipeline consortium
Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrainy signed an agreement on cooperation in the
investment phase of the international gas pipeline consortium project, Interfax
News Agency reported.
Alexei Miller, the Russian gas monopoly's CEO, and Yury Boyko, head of the
Ukrainian oil and gas company, signed the deal in Kiev in the presence of the
presidents of both countries.
Ukrnafta to increase oil production 2.3% in 2005
Large Ukrainian oil production company OAO Ukrnafta plans to produce 3.07
million tonnes of oil in 2005, up 2.3% from the target for 2004 of 3 million
tonnes, company department chief, Volodymyr Doroshenko, said at the
international conference Oil and Gas 2004 in Kiev recently, New Europe reported.
Gas production in 2005 is planned at 3.35 billion cubic metres, the same as this
year. Ukrnafta produced 2.845 million tonnes of oil and 3.274 bcm of gas in
2003. The company accounts for 93% of all oil produced in Ukraine, 40% of gas
condensate and 18% of gas. Naftohaz Ukrayiny owns a stake of 50% plus one share
in Ukrnafta, and a group of companies controlled by PrivatBank controls another
42% of the company.
Foreign investment in Ukraine up 14.9 per cent in January-September
Foreign direct investment [FDI] grew by 14.9 per cent or US$1bn in Ukraine over
January-September 2004, the State Statistics Committee said recently. By 1
October, FDI in Ukraine's economy amounted to US$7.76bn [since 1991],
corresponding to US$163 per capita, Interfax-Ukraine News Agency reported.
In January-September 2004, FDI in Ukraine equalled US$1.321bn, including
US$51.9m from the CIS countries (3.9 per cent of the total FDI) and US$1.269bn
from other countries. Over the same period, foreign investors withdrew
MINERALS & METALS
Primary aluminium output up
Ukraine raised its primary aluminium output 7.3 per cent year-on-year to 70,850
tonnes in January-September, Serhy Hryshchenko, board chairman of the
Ukrtsvetment concern said at the Metals 2004 conference in Kiev, Interfax News
Production grew 10.2 per cent to 1.16m tonnes of alumina, 10.2 per cent to
15,880 tonnes of aluminium wire and 46.8 per cent to 24,300 tonnes of
semi-finished goods made from copper and copper alloys, Hryshchenko said.
Non-ferrous output in value was 5.04bn hryvnias, he said. In 2003 Ukrainian
non-ferrous exports fell 31.4 per cent to 260,000 tonnes (US$636m), Hryshchenko
said. Copper and aluminium products accounted for 90 per cent of the exports
compared with 80 per cent in 2002, he said. "The same tendencies can be
seen this year as well, and prices have risen on foreign markets for the goods
which Ukraine produces, namely unprocessed aluminium, aluminium alloys, copper
and brass bars and rods, ferronickel and others," he said.
Ukraine, Russia sign accord to launch high-speed rail link
The Russian and Ukrainian transport ministers, Igor Levitin and Heorhiy
Kyrpa, recently signed a memorandum to organize a high-speed passenger railway
link between Moscow and Kiev, in the presence of the two countries' presidents,
ITAR-TASS News Agency reported.
At present, it takes almost 13 hours to get from Moscow to Kiev, using the
current accelerated train service. Customs proceedings take up about one hour of
the trip's duration.
The Russian Transport Ministry told an ITAR-TASS correspondent that when the
memorandum enters into force, "the work of border guards and customs
officers will be intensified using contemporary logistics and advanced
In addition, the parties will unite efforts to repair the tracks and railway
equipment, which will allow the speed of the trains travelling between the
Russian and Ukrainian capitals to be increased to 180 kph and to reduce the
trip's duration to just eight hours.
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