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Thread: Ukraine (closed; covers till August 2014)

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    Council Member Beelzebubalicious's Avatar
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    Default Ukraine (closed; covers till August 2014)

    I've been here for a year with one to go. Just wondering if anyone on this board is out here or if anyone knows anyone who is...Not that I'm lonely, but am just curious. Political situation here is interesting and I'm always looking for fresh perspectives on it.

    By the way, this probably slipped by (as it's largely rumor) most people, but an interesting story potentially linking recent assasination to Yuschenko poisoning. Story is full of "funny" information...

    http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle...a13000365.html

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    Council Member Beelzebubalicious's Avatar
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    Default anniversary of the creation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army

    On Sunday, Ukrainian partisans celebrated the creation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) on the main square (the Maidan) in Kyiv despite attemps by the Socialists and Communists to prevent them. This anniversary is the first time that UPA has been able to celebrate with the full approval of the Ukrainian government. Previous celebrations devolved into violence, but a large police presence provided for a more peaceful celebration this year...Full story at:

    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5g...5VStwD8S9BTO00

    More interesting is the debate over whether the UPA are patriots or traitors and whether they should receive full social and medical benefits (equal to veterans of the red army, for example). President Yuschenko is in favor of providing them full benefits. Anyway, it's an interesting history. For more information, check out:

    Wikipidia UPA page
    Chronicles of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army


    UPA Appeal Poster

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    Council Member Beelzebubalicious's Avatar
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    Default Ukraine government falling apart

    Several stories in major news sources about pending collapse of government in Ukraine. Not a new story, in many ways, since the government always seems to be on the verge of collapse and the current coalition was weak to begin with. It is a bigger story with the situation in Georgia, the Black Sea Fleet parked in the crimea, the large Russian and Russia-leaning population in Ukraine and the Prime Minister Tymoshenko and former PM and opposition leader Yanukovych kow-towing to Russia. Where does that leave Ukraine? Victor Yuschenko seems to be the only person still openly and fully supporting Western ties (NATO, EU, etc) but he has limited and dwindling power.

    I've heard through friends that several ministers have resigned and that Tymoshenko is trying to strengthen her position as Prime Minister through making changes to the Constitution. Meanwhile, Yuschenko's own party is voting to leave the coalition government. In addition, GasPutin has pressured Turkmenistan to increase the cost of gas to Ukraine, further pressuring the leadership into concessions.

    Still not clear if the US has a plan to respond and if so, what it is. EU is pouring money into Ukraine and working on changing laws, standards, etc but that's a slow process and the Ukrainians can string that out as long as they like. Not a pretty picture.

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    Council Member Beelzebubalicious's Avatar
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    And to make matters worse, the Ukrainian military is buying Geely-brand cars from China because they are "economic and mobile" but also the "kitting-up, equipped with special sound and light signals". Hmmm....in the crash test world, it's called the "death vessel". The automobiles are being made in the Kremenchuk Automobile Assembly Plant (KrAAP). Says it all

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Beelzebubalicious View Post
    And to make matters worse, the Ukrainian military is buying Geely-brand cars from China because they are "economic and mobile" but also the "kitting-up, equipped with special sound and light signals". Hmmm....in the crash test world, it's called the "death vessel". The automobiles are being made in the Kremenchuk Automobile Assembly Plant (KrAAP). Says it all
    Interesting, Estonians are driving their old USA and European cars to Odessa via Moldova, selling them at some flea market, and taking the train back after a weekend on the Black Sea.

    Other than the descriptions of life on the beaches , I can think of little reason to even go to The Ukraine.

    You should'a never left... Look what happened
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Go Ukraine?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Other than the descriptions of life on the beaches , I can think of little reason to even go to The Ukraine.
    I would differ. I've had two excellent holidays there, once in Western Ukraine, centred on Lviv / Lvov (an old Polish city, with pre-1914 architecture) and then the Crimea - where Sevastapol is all new build since WW2. Loads of history, much of it grim alas; friendly people and good food in privately owned places. Yes, the lack of hot water in a hotel can happen.

    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Beelzebubalicious's Avatar
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    Stan had the unfortunate luck to visit Ukraine in the 90s when things were a bit hairier and a little less friendly. I tried to get him to come visit when I was there, even tried to entice him with the opportunity to blow things up, but he held his ground. Then again, if you're going to take a vacation, I wouldn't go to Ukraine, either. In fact, when I had the chance, I left Ukraine. It has a lot to offer, as you mentioned Mr. bfpo, but for the cost and hassle, there are a lot of other better choices.

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    EDM, 8 Sep 08: Crisis in Ukraine
    Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is ready to call an early parliamentary election as his party, Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defense (NUNS), withdrew from a coalition with Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s Bloc (BYT). According to Ukrainian laws, NUNS has time until September 13 to change its mind; otherwise, either a new coalition will emerge or Ukraine will see a third parliamentary poll in four years. Russia, self-confident after the events in Georgia, may play some role also in Ukraine as both Tymoshenko and her possible ally in a new coalition, Party of Regions (PRU) leader Viktor Yanukovych, have apparently been seeking Moscow’s support.

    The crisis in Ukraine has both domestic and international roots. On the one hand, both Yanukovych and Tymoshenko rejected Yushchenko’s condemnation of Russian behavior in Georgia. This prompted Yushchenko to accuse them of betraying the country’s national interests. On the other hand, rivalry between Yushchenko, who wants to run for a second term in 2010 but is weakened by constitutional reform and low popularity, and Tymoshenko, who views her tenure as prime minister as a springboard to presidency, has reached its climax.....

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    Default J'accusé -- et j'accusé ;

    but ...my last accusation is bigger than your prior accusation - and I have the prosecutor's ear.

    Then:

    Ukraine's PM accuses president of self-interest
    REUTERS
    Reuters North American News Service
    Sep 06, 2008 09:05 EST
    KIEV, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Ukraine's Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko accused President Viktor Yushchenko on Saturday of putting his political ambitions before the national interest, adding to the bad blood between the former allies. .....
    http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=332954

    and two days later:

    Ukraine president Viktor Yushchenko accuses PM Yulia Tymoshenko of treason
    Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko has accused Yulia Tymoshenko, the Prime Minister, of high treason amid a bitter political struggle over whether the country's future lies with the West or with Russia.
    By Bruno Waterfield in Brussels
    Last Updated: 8:06PM BST 08 Sep 2008
    Miss Tymoshenko has revealed that she has been summoned by prosecutors to answer the president's charge of treason as Ukraine's two rulers battle it out for power ahead of a 2010 presidential vote over their country's future direction. ....
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...f-treason.html

    May have to reference my old Soviet law books on the conduct of "state trials".

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    Default A Viewpoint by Doug Bandow

    Here is one view of US policy and the Ukraine. Draw your own conclusions.

    No Dog in This Fight
    by Doug Bandow
    09.09.2008
    Washington has become an ugly place. Eight years of bitter Republican attacks on Bill and Hillary Clinton have been followed by eight years of bitter Democratic attacks on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. But this venom cannot compare to the tidal wave of political hatred that has recently overwhelmed Ukraine’s capital of Kiev.....
    ....
    Doug Bandow is the Robert A. Taft Fellow at the American Conservative Defense Alliance. He is a former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan and the author of several books, including Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire (Xulon).
    http://www.nationalinterest.org/Article.aspx?id=19810

    See also DB's wiki bio

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doug_Bandow

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    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Question hMM INTERESTING

    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    but ...my last accusation is bigger than your prior accusation - and I have the prosecutor's ear.

    Then:



    http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=332954

    and two days later:



    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...f-treason.html

    May have to reference my old Soviet law books on the conduct of "state trials".
    One would imagine there would be two different types of legal precedence under which the PM could be tried that which would have existed under Soviet rule or a western type approach

    Wonder which one PM would prefer?

    Conundrums,conundrums
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

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    Default SovCom Law & "Western Law"

    The old Soviet law was based on the continental European Code systems (e.g., French, German and Italian systems are the usual grist for study in a Comparative Law course). There were some Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist additions - to carry out the aims of the "dictatorship of the proletariat".

    That being said, the basic sustantive and procedural law was not that much different from what one finds in Germany. While somewhat different from the UK and US "common law" systems (which are filled with statutes and codes anyway), Russian law then (and probably now - I haven't kept up with the Russian and Ukrainian codes) was not that bad - in ordinary cases.

    In fact, in ordinary criminal cases, it sometimes could give better results than our system. Besides the prosecutor and defense lawyers (who were not always competent), the Russians had an independent legal office that reviewed the case in all aspects for errors by lawyers and judges. Many cases we read resulted in reversals of decisions because of that office.

    But, all such bets were off in a political case. If you were a political defendant, you were screwed - the only question was how much of a show would be produced. In all of the Great Purge Trials, the form of due process was observed, though the results were pre-ordained. Of course, those summarily executed in the Lubyanka cellers were spared that show. I suspect (but do not really know) that the old pattern may still prevail as to political trials (e.g., the fall of the oligarchs).

    So, as to Ms. Tymoshenko's options, it really wouldn't matter what legal procedures were used if the cards were stacked as they used to be in the good, old days.

    PS: Chinese law was even wilder - going from the Manchu system (based on the continental European Code systems in large part) to the Mao-based ChiCom system - a real innovative piece of work.

  13. #13
    Council Member Beelzebubalicious's Avatar
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    Default

    In my opinion, it's fairly pointless to talk about legal systems, traditions and such. They don't really matter in Ukraine. Ukraine uses the old Soviet law, which was basically designed to be contradictory and opaque so that the people with the power could protect their own interests and punish others. That's the tradition Ukraine inherited and works with today. It's presented to the world as if there's rule of law, but behind the scenes, it's anything but.

    Each party will try to defend themselves or attack the other using whatever tactics they can and will wrap it up with a legal justification. Last time a constitutional change was put forward, it was debated in the Constitutional Commission (forgot exact name) and there was a behind the scense free for all buying or coercing of votes. It will be the same this time.

    I agree with Bandow that the USG does not understand politics and reality in Ukraine very well, should not act hastily (for sure) but I don't think the USG can afford to sit on the sidelines. Russia isn't, that's for sure. USG, with European partners, needs to continue to push reform. I think many people understand that Russia, despite it's current economic strength and show of military force, is buried in the past and that the future for Ukraine lies in the West. In terms of safety and short term interests (and maximizing individual benefit as a result), the focus is on Russia, however. It's a long term fight.

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    Default A poll is not an election, ...

    but here is the poll:

    EDM
    SURPRISING AND CONTRADICTORY OPINIONS ON THE UKRAINIAN STREETS
    By Roman Kupchinsky
    Wednesday, September 10, 2008
    A number of recent public opinion polls in Ukraine reveal that regional differences toward Russia after the war in Georgia remain a factor but are not as extreme as some media reports present them to be.
    http://www.jamestown.org/edm/article...cle_id=2373355

    from same source
    The results of these polls would seem to indicate that the President of Ukraine, a firm advocate of Ukrainian membership in NATO and a strong supporter of Georgia, and the opposition Party of Regions are both out of touch with the views of the majority of the population. ...
    ....
    Only the Yulia Tymoshenko bloc has benefited from recent events by refusing to endorse the president’s pro-Georgian stance and limiting itself to statements supporting Georgian territorial integrity and by taking a neutral view of future membership in NATO.

    The greatest loser in the eyes of the Ukrainian public appears to be the Russian leadership, which failed to win overwhelming support from the allegedly “pro-Russian” eastern and southern regions of Ukraine for its actions in Georgia.....

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    Council Member Beelzebubalicious's Avatar
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    I am surprised by the reaction of Ukrainians in the East and South. I didn't expect that kind of reaction.

    I was just wondering what a war with Russia might do to Ukraine. Their military is supposed to be woefully unprepared and under-resourced and in bad need of reform. If Russia crossed the border, it might stir up nationalist feelings, unite the country in opposition and spark investment in the military. If Ukraine isn't going to join NATO, the next best thing is to break with Russia.

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beelzebubalicious View Post
    I am surprised by the reaction of Ukrainians in the East and South. I didn't expect that kind of reaction.

    I was just wondering what a war with Russia might do to Ukraine. Their military is supposed to be woefully unprepared and under-resourced and in bad need of reform. If Russia crossed the border, it might stir up nationalist feelings, unite the country in opposition and spark investment in the military. If Ukraine isn't going to join NATO, the next best thing is to break with Russia.
    Hey Eric,
    Beside Palin's recent statements to the Kremlin, the political ramblings in Tbilisi seem to be moving in every direction, perhaps even the right one

    Would Putin dare cross the border now with all the rhetoric and our tub toys in the Black Sea ? Jeez, that's a darn good question !

    Regards, Stan
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

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    Council Member Beelzebubalicious's Avatar
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    USG seems ready to admit Ukraine in to NATO, but the Europeans seem less enthusiastic. Russia aside, what are the implications for Europe and NATO? I haven't really followed this closely. I'm more familiar with the implications for EU membership...

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    Default A no-brainer, and ...

    I do NOT mean Gov. Palin is a no-brainer.

    from Stan's link above

    Palin told interviewer Charles Gibson of ABC News that Georgia should be granted membership of NATO. When pressed on whether this would mean that the U.S. would be obliged to defend Georgia if Russian troops went into the country again, she replied, "Perhaps so. I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you're going to be expected to be called upon and help."

    "What I think is that smaller democratic countries that are invaded by a larger power is something for us to be vigilant against," Palin added. "We have got to show the support, in this case, for Georgia."
    So, what does the NATO Treaty say:

    Article 5

    The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

    Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security .
    http://www.nato.int/docu/basictxt/treaty.htm

    Now, admittedly, we can find weasel-words in Article 5 - "such action as it deems necessary". So, a NATO state could find "the use of armed force" to be "not necessary". A warning to little countries ?

    Bottom line: Gov. Palin's "Perhaps" was justified by the treaty's weasel-words; and the rest of her answer was substantially accurate as to NATO obligations.

    PS 1: My dog is not in this political fight - I support neither ticket - but, fair is fair.

    PS 2: Article 5 provides the implications for Europe and the US.

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    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Question Just out of curiosity

    Why exactly would it be surprising that the Ukrainians no matter their particular bend towards the Russia-Georgia deal would still as a strong majority less inclined to lean towards hoaving the same thing happen to them.

    IOW just because not all feel its worth their own skin to "back Georgia" doesn't mean they would be any less concerned about their own skin in relation to Russian intentions.
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

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    Council Member Beelzebubalicious's Avatar
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    Default Eggs and smoke bombs in parliament?

    Yes, it's Ukraine and it would be funny if weren't also sad. I like the fact that the speaker had an umbrella with him to shield him from the eggs....

    I do think the opposition is right, though. Yanukovych is selling the country out. The USG is so behind the curve. Russia has been buying up land and businesses in crimea for years. They've also been distributing propaganda and encouraging russian nationalism. In 2008, the USG figured out that it might be smart to put some money in and engage in crimea in an attempt to balance the equation somewhat (heading up to the election). They channeled existing and new project funds to crimea and attempted to show a good american face down there. People still voted en masse for Yanukovych and the russian option and now I'm sure the USG is kicking themselves for sitting on the sidelines for so long.

    Secondarily, I wonder whether recent events in Georgia and Kyrgyzstan and current realities in Ukraine (bad economy tentatively propped up by the IMF) might push people to respond with violence (beyond the usual paid mobs and such)? Time will tell, I guess.

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