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Eastern Promises



On Wednesday, Russian occupying authorities effectively closed ATR, the only Crimean Tatar language television channel in Crimea.  By not extending the license of the TV channel, the Russian regime sent a clear signal of imminent crackdown on the team of the independent channel financed by members of the Crimean Tatar community. Many Crimean Tatars anticipated the decision with dismay. Although few hoped for a miracle, the closure of the TV channel caused an outrage of the embattled ethnic group that is forced to live under the Russian occupation one year after the annexation of Crimea.... more
Ukrainian politicians had an intense, eventful Thursday, even by Ukraine’s hectic standards. President Poroshenko attended a football match for the first time in his term as President since June 2014. In a spectacular game, FC Dynamo Kyiv beat Everton Liverpool 5-2, much to the exhilaration of the president and his press team. Before that, Ukrainian MPs adopted a heap of important laws demanded by civil society and activists. One law passed in the first reading seeks to establish a public broadcaster; another law authorizes the Ukrainian government to delegate the right to purchase medicines to international organizations, such as the Red Cross.... more
Who would you say is the most unpopular person in Ukraine these days?Surprisingly, it is not a politician or an oligarch, but an unelected public servant. Ms. Valeriya Gontareva, chief of Ukraine’s National Bank, is vilified by some journalists and many ordinary citizens alike for “letting the hryvnia drop”. Some populist politicians, like the self-styled “radical” MP Oleh Liashko, have even demanded her immediate resignation. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk himself criticized her for mishandling the management of the national currency in a cabinet meeting last week. Ms.... more
Today Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian newspaper, published a text of a policy memo for Kremlin, which prescribes an Anschluss of half-Ukraine. The leaked “policy note on Ukraine” was reportedly drafted last year for the Kremlin by circles close to Russian billionaire Konstantin Malofeyev and submitted to Russian Presidential Administration betwee 4th and 12th February. The document, contains a number of policy steps to instigate the dissolution of Ukraine amid Maindan protests and to incorporate a number of Ukrainian regions into Russia.The breaking news behind Novaya’s publication is that the note was written at the beginning of February 2014, long before Yanukovych fled Ukraine.... more
On Sunday, the Ukrainian capital hosted foreign dignitaries, among them Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski and German President Joachim Gauck, to commemorate the first anniversary of the bloody shooting on the Maidan claiming the lives of over a hundred protestors. However, the solemn marches and prayers in Kyiv were overshadowed by a terrorist attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second biggest city located dangerously close to the Russian border. A heavy explosion at midday took the lives of 3 people - a policeman, an organizer of Kharkiv’s Euromaidan and a 15-year-old - and wounded another dozen participants of the peaceful rally in the city centre.... more
Following 14 hours of overnight talks, Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande, Petro Poroshenko and Vladimir Putin agreed on a draft document titled “Set of measures to implement the Minsk Agreements”. The text refers to the agreements, signed between representatives of Russia and Ukraine in September 2014, but which have not been implemented in full. The document is a mixture of the least controversial positions held by Ukraine and Russia and includes most of the provisions included in the previous, September agreement. This document will have to be signed by the member of the Trilateral Contact Group: OSCE representative Heidi Tagliavini, Ukraine’s representative (and second president) Leonid Kuchma and Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, as well as two private persons Zakharchenko and Plotnitsky without any mention of their DNR/LNR “affiliation”.... more
During his speech in the Polish parliament last week, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko pledged to submit to the parliament a bill repealing the lingering non-bloc status in order to resume the nation’s “course” for the Euro-Atlantic integration (a code word for “NATO” in Ukraine’s cryptic political rhetoric). The provisions of a Law on Internal and Foreign Policy (Ukrainian) passed by the parliament in 2010 under the Yanukovych presidency had sought to impose legal barriers for Ukraine’s integration with NATO. Today, Ukraine’s parliament passed a law repealing that status and paving the way for Ukraine’s bid to join NATO.... more


The Legacy of the Maidan

Jewgen Worobiow

Today Ukraine is marking the first anniversary since the beginning of anti-government protests that were instantly dubbed Euromaidan. The protest initially began as a relatively low-key rally of public intellectuals and students in Kyiv and some other cities in support of signing the Association Agreement with the EU, which did not happen in 2013. However, the protests soon grew into massive, mostly peaceful demonstrations across the country that lasted 94 winter days. They culminated in a bloody crack-down by the riot police that killed a hundred citizens and wounded many more.... more
The unannounced war with Russia is gradually changing how Ukrainians perceive the security of their country in the world. The silver lining of this ugly cloud is that now both politicians and ordinary citizens started to ask themselves how the country will defend its borders against an external threat that is unwilling and unlikely to go away. Their responses have been, however, rather different. While most Ukrainians now favour NATO membership, the current political class seems to be preparing Ukraine for a stand-alone defence doctrine outside the Alliance. Despite the fact that Ukraine has been an active member of the Partnership for Peace program, its road to an accession plan will be a long and arduous one.... more
While Ukrainian politicians simulate an active coalition-building process and Europeans talk generically of the need for reform, there's a counter-revolution brewing in Kyiv. It is being masterminded by the judges in the Supreme Court to overturn the lustration process started by civil activists and the Ministry of Justice. If the corrupt caste of top judges succeeds in disrupting the process, the consequences for Ukraine may be truly disastrous. Even during the Euromaidan, few Western analysts recalled one of the root causes of the anti-Yanukovych protests. In 2010, Ukraine’s Constitutional Court, under pressure from Yanukovych team, overturned the 2004 changes to the constitution.... more


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