Archive for February, 2010

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Ukraine not to join the Customs Union…….

February 28, 2010

Interfax-Ukraine First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration, Iryna Akimova has said that Ukraine does not intend to join the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus in the near future.

“Since the customs union contradicts and will greatly complicate Ukraine’s membership in the WTO, this matter cannot be raised today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, it is absolutely out of question,” she said on the Inter TV channel on Friday evening.

At the same time, Akimova said that Ukraine will build its customs policy so as to help other CIS countries – not members of the WTO – to join the tripartite customs union.

Yeh, dear readers, I know you had no idea who this woman was until she was mentioned in this article, so here’s a brief background.  She is 40 years old and from Kharkiv.  She is a pretty switched on lady in the sphere of economics……if there is such a thing as a switched on economist given recent global history…….and has  degrees in economic sciences with the added bonus…..if it is a bonus…….of international experience outside of Ukraine.  She has worked in Magdebury University and also Warsaw University’s Center for Economic Research where she held some high up position,  The lady was also the General Director of  Bureau of Economic and Social Technologies in Kyiv until she became an PoR MP in 2007.

Still, as her first official statement from within President Yanukovych’s new Presidential Administration……she is actually right……which makes a change for a Ukrainian politician considering most don’t know what they are talking about.

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The Bandera Issue……Morals, Politics and the EU

February 27, 2010

Brussels, February 25 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The European Parliament has criticized a decision by ex-president of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko to award Stepan Bandera the title of Hero of Ukraine and expressed hope the new leadership would reconsider this.

This is stipulated in paragraph 16 of a European parliament resolution on Ukraine, which was supported by the European MPs in Brussels on Thursday.

The European parliament said it deeply deplored the decision by outgoing President of Ukraine Viktor Yuschenko to posthumously award Stepan Bandera, a leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), “which collaborated with Nazi Germany, the title of National Hero of Ukraine.”

The European parliament expressed hope, in this regard, that the new Ukrainian leadership would reconsider such decisions and would maintain its commitment to European values.

Well this statement is a little late in coming from the EU in my opinion.

Why has it taken the EU so long to make this statement when Mr Yushenko made this controvercial award on 22nd January……over 1 month ago!

It did not take the Simon Wiesenthal Foundation longer than a few days to condemn the award, or the jewish leaders in Ukraine…….and yet it takes the EU 5 weeks to make the statement on the day of inaugeration of a new President to make it?

Where they worried about criticising Mr Yushenko at the time……despite having already been summarily voted out of office by the Ukrainian nation 15 days before he made the award and it being obvious there would be a new leader?

Was the delay because they wanted to see if Ms Tymoshenko would win and they did not want to upset her core voters in Western Ukraine by expressing thier distaste over an award more favoured by Tymoshenko voters than Yanukovych voters?

If Tymoshenko had won, would they still have made this statement on the day of her inaugeration and started any new relationship with bad blood between her and the EU……after all she could hardly overturn the award having won on the back of Western Ukrainian votes who have a more pro-Bandera mindset.

Of course, PoR were against the award and appealled to Yushenko to overturn it immediately…….but when they are trying desperately to form a new coalition which will have to include those who hail from more pro-Bandera regions and parties, overturning this now will have a detrimental effect on any chnce they have of forming a coalition…..even if the EU have now come out and said they find it “distasteful”.

The question is, would it have been better to be morally upright at the time of the award, particularly with an out-going President than to drop yet another divisive issue on a new President which needs to try and unite a nation and get a political consensus to change anything here within parliament?

If the award is so abhorrent to the EU then surely condeming it at the time was not only morally the right time to do it, but also would only inflict damage on an out-going President and not dump an additional divisive issues on a new one…….which ever it would have turned out to be.

I would like to hear the reasoning behind making such a statement on the inaugeration day of a new president from the EU big-wigs rather than doing it at the time!

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A Neutral Ukraine?

February 26, 2010

Well dear readers, as some will know from my historical posts, this is something I have considered and have concluded would be the most beneficial move for Ukraine…….

Interfax-Ukraine – In its draft coalition agreement for factions in the Verkhovna Rada Ukraine’s Party of Region suggests recording the non-aligned status of the country.

The draft agreement posted in the Ukrayinska Pravda Web publication on Wednesday provides for the continuation of constructive cooperation with NATO “on all matters of mutual interest.”

The foreign policy part of the draft also speaks for composing the agenda of bilateral relations with Russia based on strategic partnership, friendship and neighborliness as well as mutually-beneficial trade and economic cooperation.

The Party of Regions also proposes economic integration throughout the former Soviet Union with due account for Ukraine’s interests and WTO principles, and mutually-beneficial cooperation with CIS countries.

The document speaks for observing the Charter of Strategic Partnership with the United States and the development of mechanisms of strategic partnership.

The humanitarian part of the document suggests pursuing a language policy based on provisions of international law and the European charter of regional languages.

Nothing contrevercial in that lot and everyone externally and internally should be fairly happy with that. 

It takes the pressure off of the EU continually finding reasons not to allow Ukraine entry and stops Russian concerns about NATO membership.

It deals fairly and in accordance with European and International laws, the thorny issue of language and really you would be hard pushed to find a more accommodating position for anyone with an interest in Ukraine.

A full declaration of neutrality and international recognition would put the icing on the cake and make Ukraine, as both President Yanukovych and Mr Baross from the EU have said, a bridge between East and West…..with the added bonus of not being allowed or being forced to take sides.

No loss of sovereignty to the EU or the CIS, even Mr Yushenko would have to agree it would go some way to a Ukrainian identity simply by not being aligned or having designs one way or another which were internationally recognised.

This is much to much like common sense to get through the RADA of course……and I am biased, as it is what I have preached for a very long time.

UN membership (tick), WTO membership (tick), EU Association Agreement/Free Trade Agreement (to do), CIS Association Agreement but not ratified membership (kind of done, but needs clarification on areas of cooperation and has never been ratified), internationally recognised neutrality…….job done as far as major foreign policy is concerned!

Anyway allow me to bask in the fact that there are others in the country which see neutrality as the only real solution to satisfy, at least partially, the political and public desire to go……or not…… one way or another.

Then at last, with “direction” sorted……maybe someone will put the internal issues of Ukraine higher up the agenda.

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Building Confidence…..

February 26, 2010

Interfax-Ukraine President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovych has said that one of his first tasks is to achieve domestic stability and overcome corruption in order to restore confidence in the state among investors and international organizations.

“The obligatory condition for the restoration of confidence in Ukraine among investors and international financial institutes is ensuring domestic political stability, overcoming corruption, establishing clear and, most important, unchanging rules of relations between the state and business,” Yanukovych said during his inauguration speech in Kyiv on Feb. 25.

He said that this would be a rather difficult process.

“[But] I have enough political will so as to make this a reality,” Yanukovych said.

Ukraine’s president also said that his team has already drawn up a strategy of innovative development of the country.

Jolly good, but a small problem in the shape of Ms Tymoshenko who will fight you simply to fight you rather than fight you over legitimate issues.  Either you have to get her on board or get rid of her.  Failure to do either means five more wasted years…….won’t hold my breath!

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Operation Immigrant – 1st to 31st March 2010

February 25, 2010

Well dear readers, the nation of Ukraine……well actually the Ministry of the Interior, OVIR, Customs and Borders officials etc etc…….start Operation Immigrant on 1st March for the entire month.

Any foreigner caught having overstayed, breaching work permit laws, visa regulations, registration irregularities……or complete lack of registration……..will be locked up, handed a deportation order, put on a bus and thrown out of the country.

No excuses or any ignorance of the law will be acceptable……..you will go and not be allowed back for 6 months or a year!

So if you are here illegally, better buy a lot of cat food for your cat……..as if you are stopped at the Metro Station, Bus Station, Train Station, Airport……or even in the street……..you will be gone that day with nobody to feed your cat!

Even if you have all the apropriate stamps, visas, work permits in your passport checks at the issuing OVIRs can take place to confirm that all supporting documents are in order there………..so what price a filing error eh?

Proactive checks begin on 1st March for the entire month……..and maybe repeated later in the year also……so you have been warned!

Yeh, I know you haven’t done it as you don’t speak Russian or Ukrainian and didn’t know how to fill the forms in, the landlord wouldn’t register you, work permits are for others etc etc…….that’s why companies like Odessa-PA exist……to keep you here legally…….but of course you were never going to get caught so spent the money on beer and women instead.

Unfortunately for you, in a drive towards “European standards” of border control…….you now need to start to respect the immigration laws of Ukraine people!

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Ashton, Buzek and Fule attend Yanukovych inauguration

February 25, 2010

Interfax-Ukraine Three top EU officials will represent the European Union at the inauguration of Ukraine’s newly elected president, Viсtor Yanukovych.

EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Catherine Ashton, President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek and European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule will attend the event, Chairman of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee Ukraine Pawel Kowal said during a seminar on Ukraine in Brussels on Wednesday.

In addition, the EU is waiting for a confirmation of Yanukovych’s visit to Brussels, which was reportedly scheduled for March 1.

Now there is one good reason to have the EU hierarchy…….no need for 27 leaders from Europe to attend and no need for 27 lots of security!

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Biofuels Ukraine

February 24, 2010

http://www.interfax.com.ua/eng/eco/32898/

I do hope that due diligence has been done not only within Ukraine but also on either party by the other seeing as Landkom was not exactly a success story.

After all when you have a banker running agriculture the chances of outstanding success are about as equal to a farmer running a bank!

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Passports, scandals, assassinations and security!

February 24, 2010

Well dear readers, the issues of dual citizenship or the availability of genuine……let alone fake…..passports is not normally something which people think about…….at least until recently of course.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-refuses-to-help-britain-with-inquiry-into-fake-passports-1907388.html

Maybe twenty years ago, organised criminals in the UK had a “market” for passports stolen in domestic burglaries and once upon a time I could have taken you to places in Huddersfield, Leeds and Manchester where you could have bought an altered passport to meet your needs…..namely the photograph matched yours but the rest of the passport was as it was when stolen.

This was not because I was part of organised crime in the UK, far from it, I was on the other side, the side which sought to manage organised crime and spent much time on surveillence or under cover for various agencies in the UK.   Anyway that’s another story which will not be written…….at least here!

My point is simply that real, fake, altered, stolen passports have been a commodity in organised crime, terrorism and of course a tool in combating the same for decades.

David “006” Miliband has expressed “the profound concern that exists not just in Britain but all over Europe about this incident” whilst the EU has said “the assassination raised “profoundly disturbing” issues”……namely EU passports being used of course.

This is all very well, until you consider just how easy it is to have more than one genuine passport. 

We will take the case of a certain Slavic gentleman I know well.  He has a Russian passport from decades in Russia although born in Odessa.  He also has a Ukrainian Passport because he applied for it as his birth certificate shows he was born in Ukraine.  He also has a Greek passport as his grandmother was Greek.  Not one of these nations knows he holds any other passport than their own and yet he is legally entitled to hold each nations passport and broke no rules and paid no bribes to get them .

Yes it can be argued that Ukraine does not allow dual citizenship by way of constitution, but there is a contradicting law in the Statute which does allow it, and many of Ukraine’s elite make the most of this “legal ambigutity” with others I know holding Ukrainian and……Israeli or American or UK or Bulgarian or Czech passports as well…….all legally obtained with no laws broken in obtaining them.  Any laws broken thereafter, of course I have no idea about. 

I am entitled to take Ukrainian citizenship should I wish due to domestic circumstances and should I do so it is my responsibility, after getting my Ukrainian passport to surrender my UK one to the UK if I was to be led by the Ukrainian constitution.  This would also mean I would no longer need a Visa for Russia either.  The point is Ukraine cannot take my UK passport from me when issuing me theirs as it is property of HM Government so not theirs to take and it is incumbent on me to inform the UK of what I have done and return it…….Yeh……now you see how easy it is to hold 2 passports legally…….I simply do not surrender my UK passport or even mention to the UK I have a Ukrainian one. 

I didn’t take the route of getting a Ukrainian passport but took Permanent Residency instead of citizenship…….but I could have and quite legally.

Even if I didn’t have a legal rite to hold it through my domestic circumstances, I could still, for $100,000 simply buy Ukrainian citizenship from Ukraine quite officially as per the Ukrainian Government website.

If you know people in the RADA it is only $20,000……enough said.

It is also quite possible to buy, not only a geniune Bulgarian passport here in Ukraine, but also the Shengen borderless nations pass (like a credit card) to go with your Bulgarian passport for Euro 30,000 if you have the right connections.  No doubt there are others too which I have no personal knowledge about.

The fact is they are all genuine and not fake and would stand up to scrutiny without a problem……..because they are geniune!

I will admit, for the likes of you and I, this is probably a pointless exercise accomplishing nothing for us as individuals and the costs involved would also put many people off……..but if you are of a criminal mentality or worse…….or need a false ID for some reason…….like popping over to the Middle East to illiminate a problem…….then neither money nor reason are lacking.

There is obviously more outrage within Britain as even though Embassies world wide hold blank passports ready for issue, they are of course stored in a safe, in serial number order and regularly audited and signed off by the Embassy staff to combat the issuing of “dubious passports”.

That said, it is safe to say that given the connections and money, a blank of any nations passport can be “available”……particularly to national security organisations.

One of the reasons Ukraine is being held up from further EU integration is of course border security, however this incident quite clearly shows that border security is not what the public thinks it is……..then again, the public twenty years ago didn’t realise the market for stolen passports either!  

There is no such thing as 100% security, so you can only make it as difficult as possible, without making yourself a prisoner by surrendering too many personal rites in the process less you create another threat from within by depriving people of long held freedoms to sit along side the external threat as well.

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