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Old 19th May 2014, 15:07
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Kyiv's Bid To Ban Communist Party Could Provoke 'Radical Opposition'
Ukraine May 19, 2014
'Reflecting Range Of Opinions'

The Communist Party holds 32 seats in the 450-member Verkhovna Rada. Its support in the 2012 parliamentary election rose to 13.2 percent, following a showing of just 5.4 percent in 2007. The majority of its backing comes from the southern and eastern regions that are currently in the grip of turmoil as the government battles pro-Russian separatists and militants.

With the collapse of the Party of Regions after former President Viktor Yanukovych fled Ukraine in February, the Communist Party is now the main voice in Kyiv of the restive regions of the east.

"The south and the east are losing practically their last political representation," says Ruslan Bortnik, director of the Institute of Analysis and Management Policy in Kyiv. "The Party of Regions doesn't represent them anymore, but the Communists, at least to some extent, reflect the whole range of opinions in those regions. Such a step, definitely, would prompt the Communists to initiate more radical forms of resistance. And the Communists have the necessary human and financial resources."

Bortnik adds that it would make more sense to let the people of Ukraine decide the fate of the Communist Party's fate at the ballot box in future elections.

Political scientist Ihor Reiterovych argues it is unfair to ban an entire party, elected into the legislature, for acts or statements by individuals.

"If the security organs have documented violations of existing laws, then individual deputies can be deprived of their mandates and prosecuted," he notes.
Kyiv's Bid To Ban Communist Party Could Provoke 'Radical Opposition'
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Old 19th May 2014, 17:49
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Current parliament may be dissolved – Poroshenko
19.05.2014 | 14:49 UNIAN
Candidate to post of President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko believes that the current Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine may be dissolved.

According to an UNIAN correspondent, he said this at presentation of results of the research “European President” carried out by Institute of World Policy.

Poroshenko noted that if he is elected as President of Ukraine he is ready to rely on those in the Ukrainian parliament, who were not involved in adoption of the laws on January 16, but on those, who carried out struggle against tyranny, murders and corruption.

According to the words of Poroshenko, there are a lot of such people in the parliament, but unfortunately, they do not make up a majority.

According to his words, absence of majority in the VR does not give a possibility to realize an Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU and ensure security of the country.

Poroshenko said that dissolution of the parliament is a forced step, which is supported by 85% of Ukrainian population.
Current parliament may be dissolved – Poroshenko : UNIAN news
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Old 30th May 2014, 18:21
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May 29, 2014 Atlantic Council By Irena Chalupa
As Ukraine Builds a Stronger Government, Parliamentary Elections Will Be Necessary – and Difficult
Ukraine’s election of a new president on May 25 was an essential first step in building a Ukrainian government with enough democratic legitimacy to lead the country through the crises it faces. But establishing a government with a strong enough mandate to make painful economic reforms and resist Russia’s assault on Ukraine’s independence also will require a new parliament. http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs...-and-difficult
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Old 17th September 2014, 15:06
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Protesters burn tires outside Ukraine parliament to support lustration law
Sept. 17, 2014, 9:53 a.m. |Kyiv Post

Clashes with police erupted during rallies organized by civic activists in central Kyiv to demand Ukrainian lawmakers to adopt a "lustration" law that stipulates a purge of governmental officials accused of corruption or affiliated with the Soviet-era KGB. The law passed parliament.

The law on lustration passed after a third attempt. A total of 231 out of the 246 members of parliament registered in the session hall voted for the bill, an Interfax-Ukraine correspondent said. The head of the working group which finalized the bill on lustration, Yuriy Derevianko, said that the adopted document differed from the bill considered by the parliament at first reading.

He said that the provisions that contradict the current Constitution were removed from the bill.

"All elected posts such as MPs, the commissioner for human rights, judges of the Constitutional Court have been excluded from this law (the law doesn't apply to them)," the lawmaker said.

Derevianko also noted that the family circle of an official, who are to submit their assets and income declarations, has been reduced to those family members who live with the official and share a common household.

Earlier on Sept. 16, Ukrainian MPs failed to pass this legislative initiative, to which the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Oleksandr Turchynov said that lawmakers will not leave the session hall until the bill is adopted.

The document envisages the establishment of a lustration authority.
Protesters burn tires outside Ukraine parliament to support lustration law KyivPost
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What is lustration and is it a good idea for Ukraine to adopt it? - The Washington Post
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Until Ukraine fully adopts the new lustration laws, corruption will continue to be the mainstay of Ukrainian politics.
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Old 17th September 2014, 16:36
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Europe NY TIMES
Under Pressure, Ukraine Leader to Seek Aid on U.S. Visit
By NEIL MacFARQUHARSEPT. 16, 2014

KIEV, Ukraine — Seeking elusive military and economic aid from the United States, President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine headed to North America on Tuesday, while also facing increasingly skeptical questions both here and abroad about the slow pace of change.

A White House meeting with President Obama and an address to a joint session of Congress on Thursday are likely to generate fresh moral support, if little else, for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.

“It is a clear sign of solidarity and support from the United States,” Pavlo Klimkin, the foreign minister, said in a brief interview before leaving.

Photo opportunities alone are enough to help Mr. Poroshenko domestically, although given its raft of problems, Ukraine would like more. Winter looms with gas supplies from Russia cut off; it is unclear that limited self-rule for Russian-backed separatists regions is enough to satisfy the Kremlin; and the country is spending itself toward bankruptcy.

Ukraine’s leaders tried to put a celebratory face on new laws pushed through Parliament on Tuesday, even if they were mostly symbolic at this stage. One ratified closer economic and political ties with Europe, while the second tried to cement a recent truce with the separatists by supporting temporary self-rule for the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.

“We are fixing the 350-year-old mistake: Ukraine is Europe,” Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, the prime minister, told Parliament, known as the Rada. “It’s a shame that this agreement is sealed with blood. But that was the choice. That was the price of independence.”

Despite the warm public embrace Mr. Poroshenko can expect in Washington, behind closed doors there will be questions about whether the February revolution is slouching toward the same failure as the 2004 Orange revolution, with public demands for change smothered by the personal ambitions of its staggeringly wealthy, isolated political class.

“There are too many signs of politics as usual, Ukrainian style,” Thomas O. Melia, the deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Law, said at a weekend conference here.

The February overthrow of Viktor F. Yanukovych, the previous president, and the May presidential election were expected to usher in a transition period to address significant issues of corruption and economic reform, he noted.

“So that is where we are after six months? We almost have our first major law through the Rada, but not yet,” Mr. Melia said.

“In order to keep the coalition intact to defend Ukraine from military aggression, you have to make progress on the domestic reforms,” he added. “It is not two different battles; it is the same battle. If the domestic institutions and habits don’t get fixed now, then the consensus and support for defending Ukraine against Russian aggression will disappear.”

Mr. Poroshenko sought to portray the laws passed Tuesday as triumphs for Ukraine. But in reality Russia holds the keys to both.

Because of Kremlin opposition, the measure on forging closer economic ties with Europe will be delayed for at least 15 months. The autonomy measures will be meaningless without Russian approval, since Ukraine does not actually control the territory addressed by the law. Separatist leaders in Donetsk and Luhansk reacted by stressing that they would still seek independence.

Political critics accused the government of abandoning the southeast in the face of Russian aggression, with the death toll above 3,000 people. Russia denies direct involvement, but President Vladimir V. Putin seems bent on keeping Ukraine destabilized to prevent it from moving out of Moscow’s orbit.

In an embarrassing blow to the Ukrainian president, Parliament failed to pass what Mr. Poroshenko had advertised as the cornerstone of his anti-corruption campaign: laws meant to establish an anti-corruption bureau.

A recent Gallup report found that one in three Ukrainians had been asked to pay a bribe last year, and that eight out of 10 paid. Even after 23 years of independence, Ukraine still has a highly centralized, Soviet-style government. Farmers must ask government permission to change their crops, for example, while universities won the right to order their own supplies — like pencils — only in July. Rebuilding the judiciary and the police is considered essential.

“The bribes start with payments to the local doctor and end with bribes to the president,” said Tamara Trafenchuk, a retiree who was touring the opulent estate built by the former president, Mr. Yanukovych, on Kiev’s outskirts. “We want more decisive steps on corruption and economic reforms.”

n their own defense, government officials have said they are trying to carry out a herculean task: delivering radical reforms while fighting a war, even as the economy collapses. A gas dispute with Russia and lack of coal from the separatist areas means winter fuel supplies are uncertain.

The International Monetary Fund, which has agreed to lend Ukraine about $18 billion over two years, estimates that the economy will shrink by more than 6.5 percent this year.

The top Democratic and Republican senators on the Foreign Relations Committee introduced a proposal to increase aid to Ukraine and impose more sanctions on Russia. The bill will be voted on by the committee within hours of Mr. Poroshenko’s speech to Congress, according to its sponsors, Senators Bob Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, and Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee.

But Mr. Obama is not expected to go beyond the $70 million in training and nonlethal aid like night vision goggles that has already been pledged.

Given the deepening crisis, Ukrainian political leaders issue frequent calls for national unity. But each key leader is running a separate slate for Parliament.

Some analysts have suggested that the war might actually abet the reform process, because military veterans will insist on reforms so that their fellow soldiers will not have died in vain.

“If you want to die for this country, you will work honestly in Parliament,” said Capt. Pavlo Kyshkar, a candidate on the slate of an independent party. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/17/wo...ef=europe&_r=1
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Old 25th September 2014, 23:33
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Lyashko’s party set to win seats with radical populism
Sept. 25, 2014, 11:19 p.m. | Oksana Grytsenko

Oleh Lyashko is serving a third consecutive parliamentary term. He has had no memorable legal initiatives, and voters know him for bringing a cow to parliament, eating soil at the podium, and brandishing a pitchfork that later became a part of his brand.

But perhaps the most fascinating thing is that his theatrical strategy seems to be working well with Ukrainian voters. Over the past year, the popularity of his Radical Party has shot from less than 2 to 14 percent among those who say they’ll vote in the Oct. 26 snap parliamentary election, according to a SOCIS poll published on Sept. 15.

President Petro Poroshenko’s bloc is the only party ahead of Lyashko’s at the moment, with 25 percent of voters favoring it. The 41-year-old politician would not provide commentary on this story.

Political experts say that Lyashko’s success is the result of skillful play on people’s emotions that run high during times of political turbulence and warfare.

“In times of war people tend to analyze less and tend to be lured more by loud statements,” says Artem Bidenko, a political analyst who consulted Lyashko up to 2012, and who now heads the advertising department of the Kyiv city administration.

There is no political program available on the party site. In fact, Google says the website may be hacked, and only the top 10 candidates for parliamentary elections have been announced. Lyashko heads the list, followed by his personal friend Andriy Lozovyi, the commanders of Aidar and Luhansk 1 volunteer battalions, pop singer Zlata Ognievich and Olympic medalist Denys Silantiyev.

Lyashko is the only one listed with political experience. He unsuccessfully ran for president in May, receiving 1.5 million votes. During the campaign he promised to “free Ukraine from ‘parasites’; occupiers, separatists, embezzlers and corrupt officials.”

He was born in the city of Chernihiv and spent his school years in an orphanage. He worked as a journalist early on in his professional career, and served a prison term for embezzlement of public funds. Former President Viktor Yushchenko publicly accused him of featuring in several embezzlement cases.

He denies the charges.

The outspoken politician was first elected to parliament on Yulia Tymoshenko’s party ticket in 2006, but was kicked out of her faction in 2010. The official reason was cooperation with a rival political camp, but his expulsion came in the wake of a sex scandal.

In a video released by an unknown person, Lyashko confesses during an interrogation by a prosecutor to having a sexual relationship with a man called Borya. Since being gay is still taboo in Ukraine’s politics, Lyashko spent the following years posting photos of his wife and daughter, as well as manly pictures of himself on Facebook.

He founded the Radical Party, and soon began playing the firebrand role. In November 2013, when Russia started banning Ukrainian products, Lyashko brought locally-made cheese to a news briefing given by Russian chief health inspector Gennady Onishchenko.

In January he brought baseball bats and helmets to protesters who were standing up to police on Hrushevskoho Street. In May, Lyashko featured in a video where, dressed in a black military uniform, he interrogated a handcuffed man who was only dressed in underwear. The man was a high-ranking member of the self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic.

Lyashko’s popularity grew as he frequently visited the war zone, taking plenty of photo opportunities with volunteer battalions. In August, Amnesty International, the human rights watchog, accused him of numerous human rights violations in report.

“Oleg Lyashko is supposed to be a lawmaker, but he has taken the law into his own hands,” the organization said.

He has been involved in many fist fights in parliament, most recently on Aug. 14, when he received a blow from independent lawmaker Oleksandr Shevchenko.

Much of his popularity comes from traveling to the regions, speaking in down-to-earth, simple, colloquial Ukrainian language, as well as being a regular guest on the country’s most popular talk shows for the past few years. Inter TV channel, co-owned by former President Viktor Yanukovych’s chief of staff of Serhiy Lyovochkin, has been giving him regular air time frequently. Lyovochkin himself is accused of financially supporting Lyashko. Lyovochkin declined to comment on the issue, and Lyashko denies any connection, preferring to call himself a “people’s project.”

But his lifestyle is not that of a commoner. An investigation by 1+1 TV channel aired on Sept. 22 showed that he rides in an S class Mercedes and a private jet, has a luxurious private home in a Kyiv suburb, and travels with at least five bodyguards.

Lyashko’s spokesperson Veronika Yakovleva would not comment on his lifestyle, saying the 1+1 expose was no more than a smear campaign “successfully carried out by Ukrainian oligarchs.”

Over the last month the rating of Radical Party dropped from almost 20 percent in August to less than 14 percent in September, according to SOCIS. Iryna Bekeshkina, director of Democratic Initiatives Foundation and a trained sociologist, says it’s because of growing competition in the macho candidate niche.

But she said Lyashko’s leftover popularity will be enough for his party to piggy-back to parliament.
Lyashko’s party set to win seats with radical populism
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Old 28th September 2014, 18:59
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Poroshenko Bloc, Radical Party, Batkivschyna, Civil Position to win seats on parliament - poll
26-09-2014 13:43

The Bloc of Petro Poroshenko, Oleh Liashko's Radical Party, the Batkivschyna All-Ukrainian Union and the Civil Position party will win seats in the next Verkhovna Rada, according to a survey conducted by Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) at the request of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).

KIIS Director General Volodymyr Paniotto said at a press conference on Friday that the public opinion poll was conducted from September 5 to September 13. At the same time, 1,613 respondents were interviewed throughout Ukraine, apart from Donbas. In addition, 361 respondents in Donetsk and Luhansk were interviewed through personal interviews or by phone. According to the survey, among "very likely voters," i.e. those who will come to the polls and decided for whom to vote, 26% will support the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko, 11% the Radical Party, 8% Batkivschyna, and 6% Civil Position. Some 4% of those polled are ready to vote for the Svoboda Party, 8% for other parties, and 36% were undecided. Director of Monitoring, Evaluation and Public Opinion Research at IFES Rakesh Sharma said that the study had been conducted before the announcement that the People's Front Party will participate in the elections, so this political force was not included in the survey results. The study was conducted with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Under the law, the Ukrainian parliament is composed of parties that overcome a five percent electoral threshold.Poroshenko Bloc, Radical Party, Batkivschyna, Civil Position to win seats on parliament - poll < News < Home
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