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Stealing of Ukrainian GTS is now called ‘consortium’

Posted by the Editor on October 4, 2011


Analytics / 4 October 2011 | 18:19

Stealing of Ukrainian GTS is now called 'consortium'

Stealing of Ukrainian GTS is now called ‘consortium’

The authorities promise to sign the agreement on formation of gas transportation consortium among Ukraine, Russia and EU in November.

At the same time, this consortium would make sense if ‘South steam’ really posed any threat to Ukraine. However, this project is at the stage of deadlock preceding collapse.

Firstly, the price for energy carriers is dropping. Under such conditions Russia won’t be able to shake out tens of milliards euro from investors.

Secondly, the EU has adopted the so-called Third energy package, according to which all gas suppliers have accesses to gas pipes on the territory of the EU. For example, Qatari gas easily gets into the Russian pipe. This situation is a nightmare of Gazprom. In addition, gas suppliers and gas transportation companies must be separated, which means Gazprom’s pipelines will never enter the EU.

Recently the European Commission representatives conducted searches in Berlin and Czech representative offices of Gazprom, as well as in offices of other gas companies in ten countries in order to prevent violation of antimonopoly law. Only this is enough for ‘South stream’ to remain on paper.

Besides, there is position of Turkey, which does not want to lose its key role in gas trade in that region. There is no point for Turkey to give permission for ‘South stream’ to pass through its territorial waters and it does not.

There are also competitive projects, and construction of ‘Transcaspian gas pipeline’ is one of them. “‘We would like to import gas from Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan at first hand,” European commissioner on energy Gunther Ettinger declared.

And on top of that, ‘South stream’ project is disrupted by new technologies, including processing of shale gas and development of terminal net for Qatari or any other Middle East gas.

Hence, ‘South stream’ unlike the ‘North stream’ is nothing but a fiction and expensive one. But ‘North stream’, the first branch of which has been built, cannot take the main part of transit routs of Ukraine because it is directed to North European consumers.

So what do we have at the end? Formation of the consortium means sharing of income. If current milliard of income is divided by three, what will have Ukraine? – pennies. It would be more profitable to sow the soil, allotted for the gas pipes.

Another important question is who the participants of the consortium are. The European Union or private companies? If the latter, they will easily sell Ukraine ‘for a candy.’

At the same time, European Commission spokesperson Marlene Holzner said the Commission did not get any propositions regarding the three-sided consortium. “We did not see any details regarding the consortium, only some reports in the press,” she said. As they say, EU has been given away without its O.K.

What does Ukraine need from the consortium? Obligations from Russia not to build ‘South stream’? Let them be, anyway they will not finish it in this century. Money for modernization of the gas transportation system? It is doing just fine for now. And why don’t we take this money from the income of the very GTS? Why do we always need some ‘foreign uncle’, who first takes money from Ukraine and then gives little part for repair?

The problem is that such ‘uncles’ are very costly, as much as lack of brains.

The wisest decision for the authorities to make is not to hurry. Oil prices are dropping. IMF will not let us down. Technological progress is on our side – liquefied gas and shale have already led to gas price fall in US by 50% and in EU by10-20%.

Ukraine should speak less and act more. If the authorities speak about reduction of gas consumption, it must be reduced practically. If the matter concerns own gas extraction, the corresponding programs must be financed by the budget. And if they steal less, the country will live in clover.

Oleksandr Paliy

ForUm

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Unconventional sexual orientation: that’s love or threat to national security?

Posted by the Editor on September 30, 2011


Analytics / 30 September 2011 | 18:18

Unconventional sexual orientation: that's love or threat to national security?

Unconventional sexual orientation: that’s love or threat to national security?

Talks about people’s rights to unconventional sexual orientation are old as hills. Some countries allow same-sex marriages, give a right to gays and lesbians to become priests and adopt children; other countries still consider such people an outcast.

In Ukraine opinions vary. The relevant committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is about to consider a draft bill from Communist party MP on children’s rights on secure information, which provides among others for prohibition of homosexuality promotion.

Punishment for violation is from 2 to 5 years of imprisonment, light punishment – suspension from work with children for the term from 3 up to 7 years.

ForUm asked politicians, human rights activists and public figures whether Ukraine really needs this kind of law and whether such law violates the rights of sexual minorities.

Oles Buzina, writer:

– This draft bill is right. Homosexuality cannot be promoted. I believe homosexuality is pathology. The nature provides for people to reproduce, otherwise humans as a kind will cease to exist.

Homosexuality is a disease, and a cure will be found one day.

I don’t say that gay people must be put in jail. It’s not their fault if they were born like this. But those who promote such style of life endanger children’s psyche.

I don’t think that this draft bill violates the rights of sexual minorities. I just believe that gay people must be limited in their choice of profession. Gay people just cannot be teachers!

Homosexuality is a sin and pure evil. If a sick person does not take antibiotics, a virus will kill him eventually. This draft bill is a kind of antibiotic against homosexuality.

Denis Bogush, political strategist:

– Excuse me, how do you define promotion or propaganda? For example you drew a picture on which two men are holding hands. Should it be considered a promotion of homosexuality?

National publishing company ‘Soyuzpechat’ issues a journal “One of us” for homosexual people. Does it promote homosexuality? Should it be closed?

How about members of the parliament? In fact, some of them have actually become MPs due to their sexual orientation. Does this deputy promote homosexuality? Should he be imprisoned?

The question is not whether to adopt such prohibition, but to define what promotion is. And who will define what promotion is? There are more questions than answers. I believe this law is inapplicable.

Oleksandr Holub, MP (Communist party faction):

– Our position is that the society must protect its moral values. As for the crimes against children, such offenders must be submitted to death sentence.

I cannot say whether there is a promotion of homosexuality in Ukraine at the level of children. If there is, obviously it must be prohibited. Anyway, Ukraine has bigger problems to solve.

Lilia Hryhorovych, MP (Our Ukraine faction), secretary of VR health care committee:

– I believe we need this law. The fact is that homosexuality can be congenital and acquired. If a child was born like this, he will remain like this, and the draft bill does not violate any rights of sexual minorities. But acquired homosexuality is a result of such propaganda, when a child sees similar example.

A case in point. A Ukrainian woman went to the United States to see her grandchildren. One day she went out with them for a walk, when they saw a gay parade. The girl got scared, but the boy did not say a word. Later in response to the question what he wants to become, the boy answered – a gay. He did not know what it means; he just saw a bright festival. Having compared it with the routine of the parents he made conclusions.

That’s why the promotion of such things must be prohibited, and congenital form should not be showed off. Hence, not violating the rights of sexual minorities we just don’t want popularization of forms of unconventional sexual orientation.

Oleksandr Zinchenko, manager of the center for gay people “Our world”:

– In our country homosexuality is not a criminal action or deviance. It is absolutely illegal to introduce administrative or criminal responsibility for promotion of homosexuality.

What is this propaganda? After the adoption of this law I won’t be able to speak about the work of my organization with my straight friend, I won’t be able to tell my straight brother that I am a gay just because it would be considered as promotion and I’ll be persecuted fro this.

To protect its rights our organization works within the legal field and attracts foreign colleagues. The adoption of this draft bill will result in another problem with Europe. As far as I know PACE is already preparing a disapproving resolution.  

ForUm

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Biometric passports: Usefull know-how or unnecessary expenses?

Posted by the Editor on September 26, 2011


Analytics / 26 September 2011 | 13:36

Biometric passports: Usefull know-how or unnecessary expenses?

Biometric passports: Usefull know-how or unnecessary expenses?

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Law “On Identification Documents and Documents certifying Citizenship of Ukraine” In particular, 257 MPs voted in support of the law.

The law regulates legal relations connected with the establishment of a single form, and the procedure of manufacture, issue, exchange, prolongation, sending, withdrawal, temporary return to the state, invalidation and liquidation of the documents certifying citizenship of Ukraine, identifying the person or their special status.

The law guarantees realization of constitutional rights for the freedom of movement, free choice of residence in Ukraine, as well as the rights and obligations of the persons.

Access to the information, contained in the document, is determined by laws of Ukraine.
The law confirms that information in the documents is liable for machine processing and is kept in a format enabling identification of a person in order established by the legislation and no longer than necessary for a purpose the data has been gathered.

The MPs also adopted an amendment according to which individuals, who refuse to put data on non-contact media in accordance with their religious beliefs, should process their identification documents in order established by the Cabinet of Ministers.

After the adoption speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn noted that the parliament had made all necessary decision to get the EU visa free negotiations moving.
ForUm asked experts and MPs whether Ukrainians really need super modern documents.
 
Oleh, Zarubinsky, MP, head of parliamentary committee on human rights:

– The passport card will have the same printed information as in current passports: name, date and place of birth, when issued, by which authority and till when is valid. But it also provides for electronic chip with biometric data, determined by the Cabinet of MInisters.

I can say that the coutnries, which have biometric passports, use fingerprinting, iris image, interpupillary distance as biometric data.

As for the current valid passports, they will be in circulation until expiry. But those, who were born after December 31, 2011, will get an electronic passport with all the data. It will help to decrease the number of lost children and will prevent human traficking.

As for other important documents, such as pensioner tickets, certificates of disabled persons and social cards, these documents will also have an additional protection signs and will be given to the citizens at the cost of the state budget.

Hence, there will no more internal passport and foreign passport, but a single passport card.
 
Eduard Bagirov, human rights activist, chairman of the public council under Interior Ministry of Ukraine:

– This document conceals interests of commercial structures and is adopted for a certain commercial project.

If this law gave a choice to get normal or biometric passport, it would be adequate. But is turns out that after the expiry of my passport I will be obliged to buy(!), not to get for free a new one from a certain commercial enterprise. I believe that my rights as of a citizen of Ukraine are violated.

Besides, this document violates the anti-monopoly legislation, because the new passports will be issued by a monopolist. The law on consumers’ rights is also violated, as a consumer has a right to choose goods, but in our case it is not possible.

The idea of biometric passports is good, but the law on it does not care about interests of citizens.

Volodymyr Ohryzko, former Foreign Minsiter of Ukraine:

– If we look from the point of European aspirations of Ukraine, I say we must fulfill our obligations, because the visa free regime depends on it. The fact that the law has been adopted is very positive. It is a step forward.

I also want to remind that biometric passports are not the only condition for visa free regime.

Ostap Semerak, MP from BYuT, member of the budget committee of the parliament:

– As far as I know the state budget 2012 does not include any expenses for transfer to biometric passports system. We should start with test series, try out and reveal weak points. Only then we can start full-fledged introduction. Anyway, I believe the transfer to the biometric system will take two-three years or more.

In general, this question must be taken easy. We set rapprochement with EU as our priority. For this we need to adopt European passport norm. The world is changing and we must change with it.

Oleksandr Paliy, expert, political scientists:

– Biometric passports are progressive technology. They facilitate the travel procedure. Such documents are difficult to forge.

But it is important that our habit to earn on everything could not be applied in this case. The state must guarantee simple and free of charge procedure of issuing, without involvement of private enterprises.

Tetyana Montian, lawyer:

– There is no point in introduction of biometric passports. It is not the time. The only goal of this innovation is to earn money on citizens, as this procedure is rather costly affair.

The majority of Ukraine’s population does not need it. Tell me what does a granny from a village need this passport for.

For Christ’s sake, let those who want it have it. But the country and citizens have more urgent problems and expenses than biometric passports.

ForUm

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Intolerant Ukraine: Why don’t we like strangers?

Posted by the Editor on September 22, 2011


Analytics / 22 September 2011 | 14:06

Intolerant Ukraine: Why don't we like strangers?

Intolerant Ukraine: Why don’t we like strangers?

It is necessary to strengthen the fight against manifestation of anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance, speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn said opening a meeting of the inter-parliamentary coalition on fight against anti- Semitism, ForUm’s correspondent reported.

In particular, he pointed out four priorities for legislative and executives bodies. “It is necessary to work out as soon as possible a program on implementation of laws concerning the fight against anti-Semitism, racism and religious intolerance,” Lytvyn said.

The speaker also believes it is necessary to work out teaching materials on Holocaust, racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination. According to him, these materials must be implemented into school teaching program.  

In addition, Lytvyn proposes to introduce a procedure of voluntary-compulsory viewing of materials on crimes against humanity for those, who spread or support misanthropic ideology. “I believe that those, who spread such ideas, should not be just called to tolerance, but also forced to view a corresponding video chronicles,” the speaker said.

The head of the parliament also declared that the Ukrainian authorities must not only fight xenophobia, but try to prevent it. “We must learn to predict the world and to make responsible decisions,” Lytvyn summed up.

ForUm decided to ask famous experts whether the situation around various forms of intolerance is that serious.

Volodymyr Paniotto, PhD, director general of the Kyiv international sociology institute, professor of Kyov Mogylyanska academy:

– In fact, the level of anti-Semitism in our country has been presented during all years of independence, but recently the situation stabilized.

According to some indirect indices, the level of anti-Semitism in Ukraine is higher than in the US or some European countries, but lower than in Russia.

What should Ukraine do in this situation? I think the country should better guarantee the rights of different ethnic groups. As for the legislation, the problem lies not in it, but in its usage.

Volodymyr Vyatrovich, historian:

– Ukrainians are a tolerant nation. In different times there were conflicts between Ukrainians and Polish, Ukrainians and Russians, Ukrainians and Jewish, but such conflicts existed in many countries. However, the period of peaceful existence of Ukrainians with other nations was much longer than enmity.

The violation of the balance and increase of intolerance are caused to some extend by authorities, who try to promote Russian chauvinist nationalism, which suppress national positions and culture of not only Ukrainians, but other nations as well.

Oleksandr Paliy, expert:

– National intolerance in Ukraine is at very low level. As a proof I give you an example: all three leaders of the latest presidential run are not ethnical Ukrainians. There are no ethnical Ukrainians among oligarchs as well.

Ukraine as a country appeared in the result of union of representatives of different nations. We don’t have intolerance on the genetic level. The main characteristic of our nations is loyalty.

Volodymyr Kornilov, director of Ukrainian branch if the Institute of CIS countries:

– Of course there is intolerance in Ukraine. Anti-Semitism has strong historical tradition.

Unfortunately, bashing and persecution of Jewish on the territory of Ukraine lasted for decades.
Population of Lviv and some regions of Galychyna appeared due to such ethnic cleanup with participation of Ukrainian nationalists, collaborationists, Banderovites. The fact that the previous authorities, Viktor Yushcnenko and Co., tried to hide it does not make any good.

We need to open archives, to hold exhibitions concerning persecution of not only Jewish, but also Polish and other nations.

ForUm

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Parties and politics not allowed on Gongadze’s memorial day

Posted by the Editor on September 19, 2011


Analytics / 19 September 2011 | 18:12

Parties and politics not allowed on Gongadze's memorial day

Parties and politics not allowed on Gongadze’s memorial day

Some of these days Kyiv commemorated Georgiy Gongadze ‘murder anniversary’ – 11 years. ForUm joined the action to learn the moods and opinions of the people.
 
September 17, the day of Gongadze’s disappearance, Vladimirsky Cathedral served requiem in the memory of 65 journalists, died because of their professional activity during all years of Ukraine’s independence.

 
About 200 people gathered on Maydan square, mostly journalists. Participants of the action held posters ‘Georgiy, we remember’, ‘Murderers, go to jail’, Ukraine, shame on you’. 

 
When everybody lit candles with names of the deceased, people went to the Administration of President, blocking one side of the street. However, police did not interfere.

During the march, people chanted ‘Criminals, go away’ and ‘Gia is in our heart’.

“It’s been 11 years we are yelling this and no result. we should invent something more creative,” someone from the crowed said.

Near the Administration of President the participants of the action expressed their doubts in the official version of murder contractor, as well as voiced their suspicions regarding political games around Gongadze’s case and demanded fair and transparent trial.

“For me this is a memorial day of a man I knew personally, and of a journalists I respected professionally, – Andriy Kulikov, the presented of ‘Freedom of Speech’ TV show told ForUm. – This data underlines that our profession is not only dangerous, but very needed.”

“For me this is a memorial day on that how a word can mean death and life at the same time – death for a person and new life for the whole country,” Svytoslav Schegolko, a presenter of Channel 5, shared his opinion with ForUm.

Ex-major Mykola Melnichenko, the main character of the Gongadze’s case, also appeared at the place, but refused to comment on his participation in this action, referring everybody to his lawyer.

ForUm

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Tymoshenko: Freedom of speech, that for 11 years has been associated with the name Georgiy Gongadze, will return to Ukraine

Posted by the Editor on September 16, 2011


Analytics / 16 September 2011 | 17:36

Tymoshenko: Freedom of speech, that for 11 years has been associated with the name Georgiy Gongadze, will return to Ukraine

Tymoshenko: Freedom of speech, that for 11 years has been associated with the name Georgiy Gongadze, will return to Ukraine

Today it seems that Gia was number one in Ukrainian political journalism at the time – the symbol of an era. But no, he became a symbol later. Back then he was simply one of those who spoke the truth. And he was killed for the truth, not because he was the most influential or was privy to some terrible secrets.

The country in 2000 knew very little about the Internet, and Ukrayinska Pravda wasn’t the main source of information for most, as the vast majority of the population got its information from television channels that, just as now, are controlled by the government.

Georgiy’s colleagues were mostly journalists, not politicians, and after his disappearance they went out into the streets and demanded that he be found. Everyone suspected that the government had done something bad, while the authorities regularly reported that someone somewhere allegedly saw Gia, either in Georgia or Lviv. But everything was quiet and peaceful until the “cassette scandal.”

The country exploded with Georgiy’s name. For the first time in a decade, the all-powerful government was at a loss for what to do. The civilized world turned away from the Ukrainian president. Journalists for the first time admitted there was censorship. The democratic opposition forces united. The country took a step towards the Orange Revolution. The path was irreversible…

Some now say it was provocation against Ukraine. No, it wasn’t provocation. This was the establishment of authoritarian rule through the ritual killings of messengers of freedom. In a nation’s history there are mechanisms of self-preservation and survival, even when this trigger is a murdered journalist. Gia died but he was able to raise the nation to a struggle for self-preservation. He was a courageous man who survived the horrible war in the Caucuses, he wasn’t afraid of threats or “advice” to stay silent. But I don’t think that he woke up every morning with a readiness to give his life for the truth…Sometimes fate deals you a card to play an Important Role in history, even against your own will.

I don’t know if “Ukraine without Kuchma” or the Orange Revolution would have happened with Georgiy Gongadze. Maybe, but not as soon.

But that’s not the issue. What’s important is that society didn’t stay silent, didn’t come to terms with his brutal murder. The country responded not to repressions, not to persecution of the opposition, not to the numerous cases of corruption and abuse, but to the death of a Man who dared to speak the Truth. Ukraine made a decisive step towards democracy when it lost a messenger of freedom of speech.

Since then, the democratic struggle in Ukraine has been a struggle for freedom of speech, and the main achievement of the Maidan wasn’t Yushchenko’s victory, it was freeing the television channels from censorship.

…Today we are again losing this pained freedom of speech. To learn the truth we again have to turn off the television, switch on the computer and go to Ukrayinska Pravda…just like 11 years ago.

Again there are temnyky, instructions, directions…

As a politician, I don’t always like what is written about me. There were times when I was angrier at Mustafa Nayem or Serhiy Leshchenko than at Yanukovych and Azarov combined. These are emotions and there’s no escaping them.

But I clearly know that the country I’m fighting for and the country I was to see is one where you can safely speak the truth and not be afraid.

It’s a shame that we so quickly forgot the price we paid for free speech, because the real loss of independence begins not with a drop in GDP or inflation, this loss begins with the first temnyk, the first silenced news program, the first manipulation, the first executed order to “Be Silent!”

I ask everyone: let’s not lose our Freedom. Let’s preserve is as a great, real value, let’s not adjust it to certain interests, because no “stability” and “growth” is worth even one lost free word. I want on this September 16 for every journalist, before going on air or sitting behind his computer, to think of Georgiy for at least a minute, remember what freedom of speech means to us all…

If we can preserve freedom of speech, if we can bring back that desire to speak only the truth, all other problems associated with the battle against dictatorship will be solved rather quickly. The regime can fight opposition politicians, can erect fences between them and the people, can break up a peaceful demonstrations, but “freedom of speech” is a virus that kills a dishonest government and it has no immunity against it.

I believe that Ukrainian “freedom of speech” that for 11 years has been associated with Gia’s name – a brave and honest boy from Georgia – will return to the country, and this will happen much faster than anyone expects.

Yulia Tymoshenko

ForUm

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European Integration of Ukraine is the main task, which unites government and opposition

Posted by the Editor on September 14, 2011


Analytics / 14 September 2011 | 12:41

European Integration of Ukraine is the main task, which unites government and opposition

European Integration of Ukraine is the main task, which unites government and opposition

In connection with the new political season, which began not only in the Ukrainian Parliament, but also in the European Parliament, delegation of MPs of Ukraine from the Party of Regions arrived on an official visit to Strasbourg. Delegation members are Chairman of the Party of Regions parliamentary faction Olexander Yefremov, Deputy Chairman of the Party of Regions for International Affairs Leonid Kozhara, First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information Olena Bondarenko, member of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Finance, Banking, Tax and Customs Policy Vitaliy Kaliuzhny.

Today, September 13, in the European Parliament took place a public meeting on “The Future of EU-Ukraine Relations and Ukraine’s Internal Political Situation”, where the Chairman of the Party of Regions parliamentary faction Olexander Yefremov informed about the current situation in Ukraine.

Particular attention Olexander Yefremov paid to reforms, which are being carried out by authorities. “Over the past year and a half great changes took place in Ukraine. Unfortunately, in Europe, few people know what is actually happening in the country. The country’s leaders held a number of reforms – this is pension and judicial reforms, adoption of anti-corruption legislation and the new Tax Code,” the politician said.

“Now we are preparing such global documents as a bill on the land market, new Criminal Procedure, Housing and Communal and Labour Codes. In Ukraine these laws have a long history, they are not modernized. And, unfortunately, over the 20 years of existence of Ukraine as an independent state, no one worked on them. It is our task. Therefore we have a lot of work to do. And as you can see, we are working very hard,” said Olexander Yefremov.

MEPs stressed the importance of the visit of Ukrainian parliamentarians because now it is a key moment in relations between the EU and Ukraine, and Europe needs first-hand information.

Olexander Yefremov reminded that in 2009 Party of Regions started with very bad starting positions. “When we conducted an audit of the national economy, it was found that in 2009 we began with minus 15% of GDP. It was a disastrous number. And we had to find quickly the tools for economic growth, to overcome the economic crisis. However, our operational work and the actions that we undertook, gave a good positive result. 2011 we are to finish with 5% increase of our economy,” he stressed.

Representatives of the European Parliament agreed to this. They noted how significantly increased the intensity of work of Ukrainian Parliament and adopted documents.

According to Olexander Yefremov, today the government command faces many challenges. And one of the most important is the European integration of the country. “And at the moment it is one of the uniting issues for opposition and authorities. There is no dissent and no opponents here. Everyone understands that we need to work on this common goal,” said Olexander Yefremov.

Answering the question, what Ukraine will choose: Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with Europe or the Customs Union, Olexander Yefremov said that our first priority is the EU, but at the same time we want to maintain good relations with Russia, if that’s possible from its side. “In turn, we declare that we want to be a part of civilized Europe,” said the politician.

The head of the Party of Regions parliamentary faction got stronger conviction that there is practically no opponent of integration between Ukraine and EU, everybody is trying to help, to give an advice; no one wants to see Ukraine worse or poorer, or further from the EU; everybody is trying to support it.

MEPs, in turn, said that Europe would like to see Ukraine developing further and happy people living in Ukraine. The MPs acknowledged that Europe knows very little about what is actually happening inside the country.

In addition, Olexander Yefremov said that judging by the questions he was asked about Tymoshenko case, there is a significant lack of information about the topic. That is, people know about it, but nobody goes into details, and, as a rule, the very essence is hidden in details.

He reminded the gist of the charges against ex-Prime Minister of Ukraine. “In January 2009 Tymoshenko was in talks with Russia on gas supplies. Under the Law “On International Treaties of Ukraine” the authority to negotiate and to sign international treaties is granted by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine as a collective body. The Prime Minister can not alone authorize someone to negotiate on behalf of the Government.

When negotiations with Russia began, most of the ministers at the Cabinet of Ministers session refused to support Tymoshenko’s personal position, as evidenced by minutes of meeting. Despite of this, she provided the Ukrainian negotiators a document entitled “Directives of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine”, which contained the signature of Tymoshenko and official government seal. Thus, the ex-Prime Minister is charged with single-handed decision and document forgery,” said Olexander Yefremov.

In addition, the MP informed about extremely unfavorable conditions for Ukraine, which are in the contract. This, above all, is the highest price, unreasonable amount of compulsory gas purchase (Ukraine consumes 40 billion cubic meters and must buy 52 billion cubic meters), and extremely inadequate penalties. If the country does not buy stated in the contract amount of gas, then there is the penalty 150% in summer, and in winter – 300%. “If such a contract was signed in the business between the two businessmen, one of them would be admitted to be crazy, that is absolutely inadequate and disadvantageous contract for the country,” said Olexander Yefremov.

Press Service of the Party of Regions

ForUm

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The Case of Ex Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko – Azarov

Posted by the Editor on September 5, 2011


Analytics / 5 September 2011 | 15:16

The Case of Ex Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko - Azarov

The Case of Ex Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko – Azarov

Brief summary

Ukraine has been independent for already 20 years, but only after the Presidential elections of 2010 the new Government began to carry out a broad programme of reforms in every aspect of state and civil life. This policy has met positive response from the international community. The downfall of the economy has stopped, macroeconomic indicators have changed into positive figures, enabling Ukraine to renew its programme of cooperation with the IMF.

A crucial element of the reform is the fight against corruption. As a result of anti-corruption measures more than 400 criminal cases were opened against top figures in the executive and self-governing bodies. Against this background criminal cases against persons from the past government are just an insignificant percentage of all cases opened so far.

The leadership of the country is aware of the great responsibility to the people of Ukraine and to the international community in relation to the resonance case of the former Prime Minister Mrs. Yulia Tymoshenko. This case is in fact the indicator of the maturity of democratic standards and institutions in Ukraine.

According to the Constitution of Ukraine and to the European democratic law principles the Ukrainian State functions on the basis of legislative, executive and judicial powers. That means neither President nor Government or Verhovna Rada shall have any straight influence over the functioning of the national judicial system, inter alia, in the case of the former Prime Minister. Mr.Yanukovich, President of Ukraine, stressed this several times in his public statements.

Of particular concern is the fact that the Mrs. Tymoshenko’s defense together with some political forces, realizing the seriousness of charges, began a loud and deliberate campaign in Ukraine and abroad to discredit the court and the trial itself.

The aim of this campaign is to disrupt the trial, to harm the national and international prestige of the current government on the eve of parliamentary elections in 2012 and, eventually, to try to recover much lost popularity ratings of Mrs. Tymoshenko. 

The defendant side actively imposes its opinion about alleged political motives of the “Tymoshenko case”, about biased investigation and the court, as well as about Ukraine’s leadership allegedly interfering into the case proceedings.

The aim of this non-paper is to remind some basic facts about this case Mrs. Tymoshenko should either confirm herself or should not confront in her public statements. It is necessary to keep in mind, however, that the last instance to make final conclusions is the Court.

 Clear facts about the substance of Mrs. Tymoshenko’s case.

1. According to the paragraph 4, Art. 6 of the Law on International Treaties of Ukraine, adopted in its initial version as early as in 1993 and based on the principles of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 1969, authorization to conduct negotiations and to sign international treaties on behalf of the Government of Ukraine is provided exclusively by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine as a collegial body. The Prime Minister herself could not authorize anybody to conduct negotiations on behalf of the Government.

2. The Government of Ukraine has been the only responsible side and a sovereign guarantor on behalf of Ukraine in the sphere of purchasing the Russian natural gas during all the 20 years of relations with the Russian Federation.

3. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine held two consecutive meetings on 19 and 21 January of 2009, dedicated to the negotiations with Russia on the natural gas deal and on the item of issuing relevant authorization (directives) to the Prime Minister. No respective decisions or directives whatsoever were issued at those meetings.

According to the official verbatim report of the meeting of 19 January 2009, the drafted directives have not been approved due to the position of the majority of the ministers, who were against the proposed formula of the gas price.

4. However, in the course of negotiations, a document, entitled “Directives of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine” and having all necessary requisites of authorization to conduct negotiations and to conclude agreements, including Mrs. Tymoshenko’s signature and the official Governmental seal, has been delivered to the members of Ukrainian negotiating team. This document, taken as genuine, has finally determined the position of the Ukrainian side on the terms of the gas treaty with the Russian Federation, inflicting substantial damage to the national interests of Ukraine as well as significant financial losses.

 Conclusions:

  • Mrs. Tymoshenko and her accomplices have authorized the Ukrainian governmental team to negotiate with Russia by forging the decision of the Government, which in reality did not exist.
  • Mrs. Tymoshenko has abused her powers in negotiating with Russia, since she did not have the right to decide on her own about conferring any directives to the negotiators.
  • In case the Cabinet of Ministers would have approved the said powers to negotiate and to sign the agreement, there would be a place for the political responsibility of the whole Government. But in the situation where the Prime Minister made the decision alone, abusing her powers and forging necessary procedures, she clearly became liable to the criminal proceedings, and not to political responsibility.

 Clear facts about Mrs. Tymoshenko’s trial.

1. The Ukrainian Government and the Kiev City administration have guaranteed the unprecedented openness of the trial, permitting direct TV broadcast of the court hearings as well as permanent civil protest actions in the immediate vicinity of the court premises. The judge, who is considering the case, shows outstanding patience and tolerance to the parties in trial.

2. In spite of this, Mrs. Tymoshenko permanently and demonstratively humiliates the court, with insults and threats, especially during direct TV broadcasts. At the same time her supporters which gather near the court premises, day by day are disturbing the court by creating permanent noise and pressure on the trial participants arriving at the court. Among others, they assaulted the witnesses Mr. Shlapak and Mr. Yuschenko.

3. Permanent and grave violations of the norms of the procedural law and of traditional morality forced the court to rule to detain Mrs. Tymoshenko, who seemed to provoke the court to make such a rule with the aim of increasing her publicity.

Clear fact about damage to the national interests of Ukraine as the result of the agreements concluded by the former Prime Minister without proper authorisation.

As the result of the agreements made by the former Prime Minister, Ukraine has received perhaps the worst conditions on Russian natural gas imports among all consumer States.

1. The price of Russian gas imported by Ukraine has skyrocketed. In 2008 Ukraine paid $179,5 for the thousand cubic meters of Russian gas. In 2011 the average annual price will reach $309 for the thousand cubic meters (including the discount of $100 due to the Kharkiv agreements of 2010), and in the 4th quarter of the year it will reach $401. Just to compare, if the basic formula for the gas price calculation for Ukraine had been the same as for Germany, Ukraine would have paid in 2011 for the Russian gas only $233 for the thousand cubic meters.

2. The contracted basic price in the overall Russian gas price formula for Ukraine is established at the level of $450, which is significantly higher than the average price for the EU member states.

3. The price of transit of Russian gas through the territory of Ukraine is understated by almost a half. For example, in the first quarter of the year 2011 the trans
it tariff was $2,84 for the transportation of 1 000 cubic meters of gas for a distance of 100 km while the rationally required tariff should be at least $5,85.

4. According to the agreement signed by Mrs. Tymoshenko, Ukraine is obliged to purchase the yearly volume of 52 bln. cubic meters of the Russian gas, which significantly exceeds real demand, without the right to re-export it. For example, Ukraine intends to purchase only 40 bln cubic meters in 2011, more than enough for all its demands.

5. Consequently, if gas is not purchased in the volumes defined by the contract, a fine of 300 % of the contractual value that has not been purchased, is imposed on Ukraine.

6. Only in 2011 financial losses, inflicted by this agreement, are estimated at nearly $5 bln. Similar or even higher losses are expected for the following years.

Clear facts considering the possible conflict of interest in Mrs. Tymoshenko’s actions.

The Ministry of Defense of Russia in 1996 signed an agreement with the United Energy Systems Corporation, headed at that time by Mrs. Tymoshenko, on the barter operation of selling gas in exchange for goods for the need of the Ministry. The terms of the contract have never been fully met by the Corporation, and there is still a corporate debt of $405 mln on its part, as confirmed by the letter from the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation to the Prime Minister of Ukraine.

This puts a question mark on Mrs. Tymoshenko’s ability to impartially handle the gas negotiations while having such a substantial conflict of interests.

Official website of the Party of Regions

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