Sunday, February 28, 2010

Foreign Minister of Sweden: reforms are more important for Ukraine than membership in EU

Kyiv Feb 23 2010 (UNIAN news agency) Foreign Minister of Sweden Carl Bild believes that Ukraine’s EU membership prospects are less important than reforms in Ukraine. He expressed this opinion in a talk with an own UNIAN correspondent in Brussels today. “Today reforms are more important”, he said answering a question about possibility of giving a EU membership prospect to Ukraine. Speaking about possibility of providing assistance to Ukraine, Carl Bild noted that first of all Ukraine should resume cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, which should promote to overcome crisis consequences in economics. Moreover, according to the words of the Minister, Ukraine and EU should accelerate negotiations concerning agreement on association, which provides forming of overall and deep free trade zone.

Ukrainian Canadian busker plays the Bandura at Toronto subway station

Out in the west end at Royal York station, you’ll often find TTC busker Yarko Antonevych calmly plucking away at a strange lute-like instrument. The scene so charming and anachronistic that it’s no wonder commuters are instantly drawn to him. “What is that you’re playing?” they’ll ask, and it has become such a common question that Yarko has the bandura's history hard-wired into his brain for anyone who cares to know. Humble Yarko says he is but a bandurist and not a kobzar, or a traveling Ukrainian minstrel who would historically entertain and teach those around him. But if you ask me, with his natural storytelling capability and eagerness to share what he knows, there is no description that better fits him than that of a modern-day kobzar.

Read the whole article about bandura player and listed to the famous Ukrainian Cossack's instrument at

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Yanukovych is about to visit Moscow on March 5

President of Ukraine Victor Yanukovych is about to visit Russia on March 5. “We came to an agreement about this with President of the Russian Federation Dmitriy Medvedev”, said V. Yanukovych at the meeting with Speaker of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Boris Gryzlov and head of Administration of the President of Russia Sergey Naryshkin, the press service of the President of Ukraine reports. According to the words of V. Yanukovych, “the main aim of this visit is to stir up considerably the relations with Russia, particularly in economic sphere”.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Two cybercriminals have been detained in Poltava

Nearly every bank in Ukraine runs its operations on an internal network connected with the Internet. Although the local banks claim that its security is virtually foolproof, our gifted hackers have already proved that any bank security system can be cracked. Ukrainian police detained two hackers in Poltava that invented an original way of siphoning money from a bank by sending a special worm-type virus into its internal network. These viruses delivered accounts’ information to hackers. Then hackers made a plastic cards to draw money from automatic cash terminal. Local police hold that hackers succeeded in siphoning of more than 100,000 USD within two months. Unfortunately Ukrainian State Legislation still makes no provision for such cybercrime. That is why these two crime suspects most probably will be convicted only for fraud.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Viktor Yanukovych sworn in as Ukraine president

Viktor Yanukovych, the opposition leader who won Ukraine's recent election, has been inaugurated as the country's new president. His electoral opponent, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, says Mr Yanukovych won through fraud and refuses to recognise his victory.
Both Mrs Tymoshenko and the outgoing president, Viktor Yushchenko, refused to attend the ceremony.
However international observers have said the election was conducted fairly. Mr Yanukovych swore the oath of office in parliament, in front of deputies and visiting foreign heads of state and representatives. There was a block of empty seats in the chamber where deputies belonging to Mrs Tymoshenko's and Mr Yushchenko's coalition of supporters would have sat. After taking the oath, Mr Yanukovych acknowledged the divisions in parliament and Ukraine's economic difficulties but said he could lead the country out of the crisis.

One page from his biography to say truly scares a bit. Here is a extract from President's biography published by Wikipedia:

...On December 15, 1967, at 17 Yanukovych was sentenced to three years incarceration for participating in a robbery and moderate assault. The sentence was later reduced to 18 months due to the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. The fact is that the court did not even excuse him as he was underage, although such practice was taking place especially for the first time convicted. At the process Yanukovych plead guilty and did not appeal his sentence even though he had the chance for the expense of the state. He served his sentence in the Kremenchuk (100km. away from Poltava) detention center, but was released after seven months for exemplary behavior. Yanukovych was also convicted on June 8, 1970 for causing a mild degree body injuries and was sentenced to two years imprisonment which he as the previous sentence did not appeal. While in prison he received the nickname "Kham" (the boor) from other inmates. Also there are some rumors that the second cases was first trialed as a rape under the Article 118 of Criminal Code of Ukrainian SSR and later changed to the mild degree body injury. It is unknown where Yanukovych served his second sentence, but some residents of Yenakieve claim that it was in the local correctional-labor institution ITL #52. On July 18, 1973 after serving a year of his sentence, the people's court of the city Yenakieve stripped off the both convictions of Yanukovych....

You can learn more about biography of the newly elected President of Ukraine at

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


In Moscow Mr Yanukovich’s victory is seen as a victory over the West, and a belated vindication of Vladimir Putin’s decision to back him five years ago. Mr Yanukovich is more at home in Moscow than in Brussels. He will almost certainly offer Russia’s Gazprom (along with a European firm) a deal to form a long-term consortium to operate Ukraine’s gas pipeline system in the hope that this will reduce gas prices and dissuade Moscow from building an alternative pipeline to bypass Ukraine. That said, Mr Yanukovich will zealously guard the interests of Ukraine’s own tycoons, who see their future in the European Union, not in Russia. As one senior Ukranian diplomat put it, “A good relationship with Russia is also what Europe wants from us.” Ukraine’s politics may be operatic, but do not expect a great redemption or a terrible retribution. The next scene is likely to be a muddle, with the protagonists making the best of a bad job.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Reuters, Stockholm, Sweden, Feb 22, STOCKHOLM - Sweden's Swedbank said on Monday it had appointed an expert in bank reconstruction and problem loans to help it handle soured credits in the Baltics, Sweden and other countries. Swedbank plunged to a 9.5 billion Swedish crown ($1.32 billion) operating loss in 2009 as it was forced to take massive provisions against bad loans in the Baltic region - where it is a top player - and Ukraine.
Swedbank said it had appointed Arne Berggren, a former government official who played a key role in Sweden's response to its banking crisis in the 1990s, as head of Financial Reconstruction and Recovery. Berggren has also been a senior advisor to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Swedbank has set up teams in Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Russia to handle a mountain of bad debts triggered by the global financial crisis. The bank has also created a unit to manage and sell repossessed assets.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Russia plans massive Victory Day display of military might

MOSCOW, February 4 (RIA Novosti) Russia will mark the 65th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany with its biggest ever post-Soviet demonstration of military hardware, a respected daily said on Thursday. On May 9, 165 combat aircraft will fly over Red Square, with some of them grouping to form the number 65, Kommersant said, referring to a Defense Ministry official. Preparations for the event have already started. The aircraft will include Tu-95MS Bear strategic bombers and supersonic Tu-160 Blackjacks, Tu-22M3 Backfire long-range bombers and Il-78 Midas aerial tankers from airbases from across Russia, the paper said, citing Col. Alexei Kuznetsov, head of the ministry's press service. Kuznetsov also said there would be more ground-based military hardware in the parade this year than at previous events. Col. Oleg Storozhuk, a military pilot who holds the title of Hero of Russia, confirmed the figures, saying the aircraft would also include new Su-34 Fullback fighters, which are still to enter service, as well as helicopters, the paper reported. This year will see "the most spectacular and captivating air show," the pilot told the paper. Parades to mark victory in WWII, referred to as the Great Patriotic War in ex-Soviet states, are accompanied by a large military orchestra and comprise a personnel march pass, followed by sophisticated hardware, and a fly over by combat aircraft. The revived tradition of massive military Victory Day parades with tanks and other hardware rolling through the center of Moscow has been seen by some in the West as a sign of Russia's growing militarism. Moscow has resisted attempts to challenge the Soviet Union's role in World War II, which claimed the lives of 27 million Soviet nationals, according to official figures. Ex-Soviet republics and satellite states, including Ukraine, the Baltic countries and Poland, have seen Stalin's Russia as an aggressor.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Newly elected President of Ukraine has gotten blessing

KIEV, UKRAINE. FEBRUARY 21, 2010 (ITAR TASS news agency). Ukraines President-elect Viktor Yanukovich (Right) is blessed by Metropolitan Vladimir of Kyiv and All Ukraine (Left) at the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra monastery. (Photo ITAR-TASS / Vladimir Sindeyev)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Timoshenko Drops Appeal, Cedes Victory to Yanukovych

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko withdrew her appeal against the Feb. 7 presidential election result in the country’s Supreme Administrative Court, ceding victory to Viktor Yanukovich. Timoshenko decided to give up her fight for the presidency after the court rejected her request for a recount of votes and questioning of witnesses, the premier said in a statement on her Web site today. Yanukovych had been declared winner by the Central Election Commission and is due to be sworn into office on Feb. 25.
“There is no sense” in continuing the hearing, Timoshenko said in the statement. “The court has refused to find out the truth and I wanted to stop this performance that has nothing in common with justice.” The Kiev-based court agreed to accept Timoshenko’s retraction and will not consider the case, said the court’s spokeswoman Maria Shvynko, adding that the court rejects Timoshenko’s accusation. International observers have said the vote met democratic standards and the U.S., European Union, Russia and NATO have recognized Yanukovych’s victory. The Kremlin’s press service said in an e-mailed statement that President Dmitry Medvedev spoke with Yanukovych, congratulated him again and agreed that Yanukovych will visit Moscow in the first ten days of March. Still, Timoshenko claimed she had evidence that more than 1 million votes were falsified.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A rumour that Presidential Election in Ukraine is over has proved to be overestimated grossly.

19-02-2010 11:43 (The National Radio Company of Ukraine) Ukraine's Supreme Administrative Court has set to consideration upon an appeal of presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko against the Central Election Commission (CEC).Tymoshenko is asking the court to declare illegal the actions of the CEC regarding the release of the presidential election returns, to declare invalid the February 14 protocol of the election authorities and oblige the CEC to set a rerun. The election authorities declared Party of Regions' leader Viktor Yanukovych a winner of Ukraine's presidential election on February 14. The Ukrainian parliament scheduled a swearing-in ceremony of Ukraine's newly elected president for February 25.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Will Russia send anybody to inauguration?

Feb 18, 2010 (UNIAN) Russia has not decided yet whether its high-ranking officials come to inauguration of Victor Yanukovych. Lawmaker of the State Duma of the Russian Federation Sergey Markov said to UNIAN. “It is still open to question. It will depend on the situation, on how stable it is by that time” , said S. Markov. At the same time S. Markov noted that they have enough time to make decision before the inauguration.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New heavy snow storm plays havoc with Ukrainian roads

Feb 15, 2010 (Interfax) A new heavy snowfall in Ukraine brought dozens of trains to a halt and blocked major roadways, the Interfax news agency reported. The worst snowstorms were reported in the southern Odessa, Luhansk, and Mykolaiv provinces, where accumulated snowfall reportedly exceeded 30 centimetres in some areas. Temperatures as low as minus 10 Celsius were complicating the rail and road clearance effort, the Transportation Ministry said.
Photo below shows one of blocked Ukrainain roads.

Monday, February 15, 2010

21st anniversary of Soviet troops' withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The Soviet War in Afghanistan, also known as the Soviet–Afghan War, was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan at their own request, against the Islamist Mujahideen Resistance. The mujahideen found other support from a variety of sources including the United States, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt and other Muslim nations through the context of the Cold War. The initial Soviet deployment of the 40th Army in Afghanistan began on December 24, 1979 under Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. The final troop withdrawal started on May 15, 1988, and ended on February 15, 1989 under the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
After the war ended, the Soviet Union published figures of dead Soviet soldiers: the total was 13,836 men, an average of 1,512 men a year. According to updated figures, the Soviet army lost 14,427.
Foto: Afghanistan War monument in Donetsk.

Yanukovych Officially Declared Winner; Tymoshenko Vows To Fight

Kyiv Feb 13 (RFE/RL) Ukraine's Central Election Commission has officially declared Viktor Yanukovych the winner of the presidential election held on February 7, but Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is claiming fraud and has pledged to take the case to court. The election commission today confirmed the results that showed Yanukovych beating Tymoshenko by a 3.48 percent margin, or some 888,000 votes. The announcement comes three days ahead of the deadline for releasing the final official results of the vote. The announcement came after Tymoshenko said she plans to challenge the official result in court in a televised statement late on February 13. "Today I can firmly tell you that Ukraine's elections were falsified, and this is not a political declaration but a clear legal assessment by lawyers," Tymoshenko said. Tymoshenko's supporters are now expected to lodge an official appeal against the results and present evidence of fraud to a Kyiv high court. Reports say the court is expected to take several days to consider the evidence presented. The prime minister claimed more than 1 million votes had been falsified or miscounted, and she named the Crimean peninsula -- a Yanukovych stronghold -- as the site of "shocking" irregularities. International monitors described the election as “an impressive display of democracy.” The European Union, the United States, and NATO leaders have congratulated Yanukovych. But Tymoshenko said Yanukovych “will never become the legitimately elected president of Ukraine." However, she pledged not to call out her supporters for mass protests like those of the 2004 Orange Revolution.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The road from Poltava to Gadyach has turned into the snow trap for thousand cars, tracks and buses.

Not far from the Monument to the Swedish warriors killed in the Battle of Poltava there is a big depression that has been marked on the old Swedish maps related to the battle as “Stora Ouvragen”. During the winter time there is a lot of snow there. Unfortunately Poltava local authority has forgot about this potential snow trap because the last time such a snowy winter happened was in 1980s. About 150 vehicles have been trapped in snow drifts in the depression close to the village Pobyvanka late evening February 12th. The Emergency Control Ministry’s quick reaction force came in time to relieve helpless local road service. A big tent has been installed to warm frozen driver and offer them a hot tea. Many cars and buses have been released by powerful tractors and snow plows. Up to the morning the length of the traffic jam has reached 10 kilometers. It took one day to release all vehicles and clear the road.
On the photo below you can see a panorama of the “Stora Ouvragen” taken by the author on summer 2009.

91 year-old Ukrainian Canadian, Olga Kotelko, appointed for Olympics 2010 Torch Relay

Olga Kotelko, known as the oldest long jump competitor in the world, was nominated as one of the 12,000 XXI Winter Olympic Games Torch Bearers. She will hold history in her hands, carrying the Olympic flame in the Vancouver 2010 Torch Relay. Olga will carry the torch on Wednesday, February 10 at 7:45 p.m., on Marine Drive in West Vancouver between 15th and 17th Street.
“I am so very happy and so overwhelmed to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said an emotional Kotelko. “Carrying the Torch represents inspiration, dedication, hope, perseverance and community spirit. To me, this Flame is a shining symbol saluting good health and well being.”
This diminutive and personable former teacher from Burnaby, B.C., Olga is a role model for youngsters, masters and seniors. Since 1997, at the age of 77, Olga Kotelko has been running, jumping and throwing – and breaking Canadian and World records in the W80, W85 and W90 age categories.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Number of Yanukovych's supporters outside Central Election Commission increases

Kyiv 08.02.2010 The number of Regions Party leader Victor Yanukovych's supporters rallying outside the building of the Central Election Commission in Kyiv has increased to 3,000, an Interfax-Ukraine reporter has said. Those supporters who attended a rally on Feb. 9 afternoon have been replaced by other participants. The protesters are moving around the square to keep warm, and dancing to music coming from a stage. Some participants in the rally are warming themselves in the underground crossing of the Pechersk subway station, while the others remain inside the subway station itself. Kyiv's main police department told Interfax-Ukraine that 116 buses with 4,150 supporters of the Regions Party had arrived in the Ukrainian capital during the day.

Ukrainian Election 2010: Many trials probably lie ahead

09.02.2010, Kyiv 10:13a.m. Ukraine's Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko plans to legally challenge the results of the presidential runoff that opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych appears to have won, her campaign said Tuesday. Tymoshenko has canceled two planned appearances since the polls closed Sunday night. Her allies say she will not concede until appeals have run their course and recounts have taken place at a number of polling stations.
10.02.2010, Kiev 01:10 p.m. Ukraine's Central Election Commission has tallied 100 percent of the electronic protocols submitted by regional polling stations. According to the final count, leader of the Party of Regions Viktor Yanukovich secured 48.95 percent of votes cast in the second round of the presidential election, while Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko came in close behind with 45.47 percent of votes. Some 4.36 percent of Ukrainians chose not to support either candidate. Voter turnout stood at 69.15 percent, the commission reported. According to Ukrainian law, the new president must take office within one month from the official announcement of the election results.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Oranges and lemons in Ukraine" by Gideon Rachman

"......At first sight, the prospect of a Viktor Yanukovich presidency in Ukraine looks like part of a depressing pattern for democracy around the world. Mr Yanukovich was the “bad guy” during Ukraine’s Orange Revolution in 2004. He was backed by Russia and accused of electoral fraud. The western world cheered when he was swept aside in favour of the heroic, pro-western Viktor Yushchenko.

But now Mr Yanukovich is back and history seems to have gone into reverse...".

The full text of this article is available at:

Current results

February 8, 2010 4:42 p.m.
Current results of election of President of Ukraine

Victor Yanukovych - 48.96%
Yulia Tymoshenko - 45.47%
Against everybody - 4.36%
Bulletins processed: - 99.98%

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Times: Ukraine braced for conflict as polls signal end of Orange Revolution

TIMESONLINE ".....Ukraine faced the prospect of renewed political confrontation on the streets after exit polls predicted that the man closely allied to Moscow was heading for victory in the fiercely contested presidential election last night.
According to exit polls published immediately after voting ended, Yuliya Tymoshenko, the glamorous, firebrand leader of the Orange Revolution and Prime Minister, was narrowly beaten by Viktor Yanukovych, her bitter rival.
The margin of defeat, however, was as little as 3 percentage points, paving the way for a potential challenge in the courts — and in the streets, if her campaign alleges widespread ballot fraud.
Two polls gave her 45.5 per cent against 48.7 per cent for Mr Yanukovych, while two others put him at between 4 and 5 percentage points ahead. All four polls gave the election to Mr Yanukovych, and the first official figures, based on just over 25 per cent of the votes counted, put him eight points ahead....
.....Hundreds of Mr Yanukovych’s supporters were gathering outside key government buildings in Kiev last night as well as the Central Election Commission. The Interior Ministry disclosed that his Party of Regions had submitted plans to gather 50,000 people outside the election commission for a demonstration today.
The election had been billed as a verdict on the pro-Western revolution led by Ms Tymoshenko and her former Orange ally, Viktor Yushchenko, against Mr Yanukovych’s fraudulent, Kremlin-backed victory in 2004. History may now repeat itself if the ballot-box verdict is challenged on the streets...."
Read a full story at

Yanukovich wins Ukraine election: preliminary results

Viktor Yanukovych is a winner of Presidential race in accordance with exit polls

Viktor Yanukovych, leader of the Party of the Regions and seen as pro-Moscow, has defeated prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko in the February 7 2010 second round of presidential elections in Ukraine, according to various exit polls, media reports from Kyiv said. Russian news agency Itar-TASS said that the Research and Branding Group exit poll gave Yanukovych 50.26 per cent and Tymoshenko 44.3 per cent. Exit polls gave Yanukovych a three to six point lead, the BBC said. The National Exit Poll, a consortium partly funded by Western embassies, said Yanukovych had secured 48.7 per cent of the vote against Tymoshenko's 45.5 per cent. Another exit poll, by ICTV, said he took 49.8 per cent of the vote against her 45.2 per cent, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said. Incumbent president Viktor Yushchenko lost in the first round. If confirmed, it would be a remarkable comeback for Yanukovych, who was swept aside five years ago by the peaceful "Orange Revolution", RFE said. However, the Tymoshenko camp said that it was too early to concede and irregularities could not be ruled out. Russia’s RIA Novosti quoted the head of the delegation of observers from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe as saying that the elections had been transparent and the loser should accept the result.

You can trace a vote counting on the official site of the Central election commission of Ukraine at

Sunday, February 7, 2010

President Yuschenko thinks Ukrainians will be ashamed for their choice at the presidential election, he has told after casting his own ballot

"I think Ukrainians will be ashamed for their choice, but this is democracy," he said. In his opinion, now Ukraine's number one task is holding fair and licit election to prove the world community that Ukraine is capable of a democratic demise. As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the Central Electoral Commission allowed for the presidential election runoff Viktor Yanukovych, the leader of the Party of Regions, and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko as the two candidates who won most of others votes in the first round of the election on January 17. In the first round 35.32% of the electorate voted for Yanukovych and 25.05% for Tymoshenko with 100% of original protocols from precinct election commissions counted.

Many hold that such statement of the President of Ukraine could be regarded as evidence that our country is at the beginning of the long way to the real democracy. It is inadmissible to say such things about decision taken by tens of millions of his countrymen. Another question is what these millions think about 5 years of Ushchenko's presidency? Probably many could also say that President has to be ashamed for these wasted 5 years....

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Difficulty of Being Ukraine

This article was written by Mark Medish, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment, served as senior director for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian Affairs on the National Security Council under President Clinton and published in New York Times on December 22, 2009. Here are some cuitations taken from this article that currently available at

"......The country of 46 million has been one of the hardest hit by the global financial meltdown, suffering a sharp currency devaluation and a projected 14 percent drop in G.D.P. this year.
President Viktor Yushchenko, once the Orange hero, is now polling in low single digits. Much like Lech Walensa in Poland a generation ago, the out-of-touch Mr. Yushchenko has unceremoniously morphed from national icon of change into political footnote.
The January ballot is likely to lead to a run-off between Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a feisty populist, and Viktor Yanukovich, a drab but steady former prime minister and Yushchenko rival, whose Party of Regions boasts the strongest organization.
Both are pragmatic leaders. But whichever wins will face enormous challenges, foremost restarting the anti-crisis program with the I.M.F., which suspended its $16 billion lending facility last month due to the bitter political impasse between Mr. Yushchenko and Ms. Tymoshenko.
The winner will also need to remember that to lead Ukraine is to balance East and West. This imperative reflects the pressures of both external geopolitics and internal demographics.
Russia and the United States tend to view Ukraine as a key battleground in a cosmic proxy war between East and West. Both have a bad habit of trying to pick winners in Ukrainian politics. These interventions, naïve in their own ways, tend to backfire, often at Ukraine’s expense.
Russian meddling fueled the Orange backlash against the mediocre Leonid Kuchma and his cronies and ended in a series of crippling winter gas cut-offs and sabre-rattling over Crimea.
Meantime, the U.S. expected far more from Mr. Yushchenko than he could deliver, deepening his isolation at home. The curse of U.S. foreign policy idealism, whether neoconservative or liberal, is to make the best the enemy of the good.
By putting more emphasis on the symbolism of a failed NATO membership bid than the unglamorous work of energy reform, the U.S. did no favor for Ukraine’s security. It should be clear that an independent Ukraine must not consume Russian-sourced energy as though it were still part of the Soviet Union.
By contrast, Russia’s designs on Ukraine are hardly idealistic. At the NATO summit last year, Vladimir Putin reportedly remarked to former president George W. Bush, “You understand, George, that Ukraine isn’t even a country. What is Ukraine? Part of its territory is Eastern Europe, and part of it, a significant part, was given by us.”
Political bullies can be clever at implanting a grain of truth in their predatory barbs. Like other European nations, Ukraine’s ethnicity is mixed and its borders were not God-given. These things emerged through collisions of tribes, ethnic intermingling and considerable bloodshed over centuries.
Western Ukraine — Galicia and Bukovina — were Hapsburg lands and never part of the czarist empire. The Crimean peninsula was transferred from the Russian Republic to Soviet Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev in 1954, when both were part of the Soviet Union.
Ukraine faces deep identity issues. Ethnic Russians are roughly 20 percent of the population, and many more Ukrainians speak Russian. The languages are close, like High German and Bavarian or Danish and Swedish.
Europe prides itself on what Freud called “the narcissism of small differences.” However, Ukrainian nationalists would be wise not to overplay their hand, as Mr. Yushchenko often has done on sensitive language and historical issues.
In the 21st century, Ukraine needs to pursue its own path as a pluralist democracy and emerging market, balancing Western integration with a respect for its older cultural roots and affinities. Despite the present economic crisis and wide dissatisfaction with the political elite, Ukraine has a bright future. It has fertile land, solid industry and well-endowed human capital....."

Friday, February 5, 2010

Princess Ingegärd Olofsdotter of Sweden

Princess Ingegärd Olofsdotter of Sweden (1001–1050) was a Swedish princess and a Grand Princess of Kiev, the daughter of Swedish King Olof Skötkonung and Estrid of the Obotrites and the consort of Yaroslav I the Wise of Kiev. Princess Ingegärd was born in Sigtuna, Sweden, and was engaged to be married to Norwegian King Olaf II, but when Sweden and Norway got into a feud, Swedish King Olof Skötkonung wouldn't allow for the marriage to happen. Instead, Ingegärd's father quickly arranged for a marriage to the powerful Yaroslav I the Wise of Novgorod. The marriage took place in 1019. Once in Kiev, her name was changed to the Greek Irene. According to several sagas, she was given as a marriage gift lake Ladoga and adjacent lands, which later received the name Ingria (arguably a corruption of Ingegerd's name). She set her friend jarl Ragnvald Ulfsson to rule in her stead. Ingegärd initiated the building of the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev that was supervised by her husband, who styled himself tsar. Ingegärd had the following children:
Elisiv of Kiev, queen of Norway
Anastasia of Kiev, queen of Hungary
Anne of Kiev, queen of France
(Disputed) Agatha, wife of Edward the Exile
Vladimir of Novgorod
Igor of Volynia
Vyacheslav of Smolensk.

On the attached photo you can see 11th-century fresco of the St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev representing the daughters of Ingegärd Olofsdotter of Sweden and Yaroslav I, with Anna probably being the youngest (1), Yaroslav I the Wise’s forensic facial reconstruction (2) and his sarcophagus in St. Sophia Cathedral in Kiev (3).

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Outgoing President Viktor Yushchenko has signed into law a change in Ukraine's electoral legislation three days before the vote on his successor

The amendment allows vote-counting at polling stations across Ukraine to go ahead whether or not representatives of both candidates are present. PM Yulia Tymoshenko said the change would help supporters of her opponent, Viktor Yanukovych, to commit fraud. Mr Yanukovych said his rival's complaints were a sign of weakness. Sunday's vote is a run-off, between the winner and runner-up of the first round on 17 January. President Yushchenko was ejected in the first round.
Mrs Tymoshenko has called on her supporters to take to the streets if she is defeated in Sunday's poll, saying the protests could be larger than those of 2004's Orange Revolution, which swept Mr Yushchenko to power. "If we are unable to guarantee the honest expression of the people's will and honest results, we will mobilise the people," said Mrs Tymoshenko in Kiev on Thursday. "I ask you not to allow Yanukovych to rape our democracy, our election and our country!"
But former Prime Minister Mr Yanukovych, who finished 10% ahead of his rival in a first round of voting last month, said her threat was merely an act of desperation. "This is a sign of her weakness and an indication that she is losing," he said during a penultimate day's campaigning in central Ukraine. "If people go (to the protests), it will just be a handful, lovers of the same kind of meals that Tymoshenko loves to cook - filth, lies and slander."

EU castigated over Ukraine visa issue

Ukraine's deputy foreign minister has launched a scathing attack on EU member states for refusing to discuss the thorny issue of visa liberalisation.

At present, Europeans wishing to visit Ukraine do not need a visa and Kiev eventually wants reciprocal visa-free facilities for its citizens travelling to the EU.Speaking at a breakfast briefing in Brussels on Thursday, Kostiantyn Yelisyeiev stressed, "We are not asking for the immediate introduction of a visa-free regime because we realise we have to take certain measures."But what we are saying is that the EU should be doing much more to help facilitate this."He singled out four member states – Germany, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands – for particular criticism, saying they were obstructing the start of "serious" negotiations on the issue.Yelisyeiev, who is in Brussels for meetings with commission officials, said it was "unfair, selfish and unjust" that the "free movement" of Ukrainian citizens was being restricted.In particular, he said it was "humiliating" that some EU embassies seek personal health details, such as whether a visa applicant has HIV."This needs to be corrected as soon as possible," he added.He said that pending the introduction of a full visa-free regime, arrangements should be put in place to ease travel restrictions for certain groups.These include people wishing to visit Europe for tourism purposes, members of religious minorities and NGOs."We have been trying to talk to the commission about this for 18 months but the EU seems to want to avoid the matter," he said. He said it was wrong for the EU to cite the supposed threat of illegal migration as a reason for keeping existing visa restrictions in place.The issue, he said, would be one of those under discussion at the EU-Ukraine summit in Kiev on 4 December. Other issues will include climate change, the eastern partnership and the agreement of association between Ukraine and the EU.On this, he said there had been "significant progress."Speaking at the same briefing, Ukraine's EU ambassador Andri Veselovsky said he was optimistic his country would "be ready" for consideration for EU membership by next spring."It will then be time to start talking seriously about this issue," he said.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Heavy snowfall hit Poltava

Heavy snowfalls caused serious traffic problems in many Ukrainian cities and villages including Poltava. Our lovely land flowing with milk and honey is in a lack of snow-removal vehicles. That is why we can count only on primitive tractors and of course on our brave and courageous snowfighters i.e. street cleaners!

Quiz of the day!

Can you tell pictures taken in Ukraine from those taken abroad?
If you’re in trouble, just turn your monitor over and read an answer!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Government of Canada Announces Chief of Election Observer Mission to Ukraine

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(MARKETWIRE - Feb. 1, 2010) – It was announced today that Senator Raynell Andreychuk will be heading the independent Canadian election observer mission for the second round of Ukraine's presidential election. Ukrainians went to the polls on January 17th to elect a new president, triggering a final run-off vote on February 7th between the leading two contenders. The Government of Canada sponsored 66 election observers to travel to Ukraine for the first round of voting as part of a multilateral mission led by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Canada's contribution to the OSCE mission for the first and second rounds of voting also includes four Canadian embassy staff in Kyiv - resulting in a Canadian commitment of 70 observers that will participate in both rounds. Canada is sending an additional 200 observers as an independent Canadian observer mission for the second round of voting. The second mission is organized by CANADEM with funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Observers will monitor the electoral process to ensure compliance with OSCE commitments, international standards for democratic elections and national legislation, further to an official invitation from the Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Canada has a special historical relationship with Ukraine. More than 1.2 million Canadians trace their ancestry to Ukraine, and Canada was the first Western country to recognize Ukrainian independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Victor Chernomyrdin arrived in Kyiv because of election

Feb 1, 2010 (RIA Novosti news agency) Former Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Ukraine, special representative of President of Russia on economic cooperation with CIS countries Victor Chernomyrdin arrived in Ukraine. In the interview to RIA Novosti V. Chernomyrdin said that his visit is not connected with arrival of new Ambassador of Russia Mikhail Zurabov in Ukraine on January 25. “My visit was planned earlier, I wanted to visit the Ukrainian capital in a break between the first and second rounds of the presidential election. Arrival of M. Zurabov did not influence my plans”, said the interlocutor of the agency. V. Chernomyrdin also said that he would like to meet with Yulia Tymoshenko and Victor Yanukovych.

The Golden Gate of Kyiv

The Golden Gate of Kyiv is a historic gateway in the ancient city walls of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. This gateway was one of three constructed by Yaroslav the Wise, Prince of Kyiv, in 1037 and it’s initial name was Southern Gate. Soon the golden-dome Blahovist church which was established in the close proximity to the gate was built and consecrated. Since that time the gate was known as the Golden Gate of Kyiv. It was reputedly modelled on the Golden Gate of Constantinople, from which it took its name. In 1240 it was partially destroyed by Batu Khan's Golden Horde. It remained as a gate to the city (often used for ceremonies) through the eighteenth century, although it gradually fell into ruins. In 1982, the gate was completely reconstructed for the 1500th anniversary of Kyiv, although there is no solid evidence as to what the original gates looked like. Some art historians called for this reconstruction to be demolished and for the ruins of the original gate to be exposed to public view. In 1997, the monument to Yaroslav the Wise was unveiled near the west end face of the Golden Gate. It is an enlarged bronze copy of an experimental figuring by famous Ukrainian sculptor Ivan Kavaleridze.

Learn more about Golden Gate at,_Kiev