вторник, 11 ноября 2008 г.

Galician Ethnic Dictatorship Crisis

Viktor PIROZHENKO (Ukraine)

The current situation in Ukraine's political life again highlights the problem with the Kiev authorities. It is very likely to undermine the civil peace in Ukraine and cast doubt on the existence of the Ukrainian state.

1) there are factors which may heat up interethnic tensions

2) further language discrimination of Ukrainian citizens, which is turning into a real war between the authorities and the nation

3) the most important historical and cultural values and traditions of Ukraine are being reconsidered by the supporters of the Galician ethno-nationalism.

At the Second European Congress of Carpathian Ruthenians, which took place in the city of Mukachevo on October, 25th, the delegates approved a pact to restore the Ruthenian nationhood and grant it the status of the Subcarpathian Ruthenia. In response, the Kiev authorities threatened to open cases against the Ruthenian activists for their 'separatist' attempts. The official Kiev did not even try to begin a dialog with the Ruthenian organizations, though it appears to be the only means to avoid serious conflicts.

Amid an acute financial-economic crisis and the increasing public discontent the Ukraine`s nationalist regime fails to make the home policy more flexible at least in what concerns such principal issues. Any ideas to recognize autonomy of minor ethno-cultural territories are rejected at once, to say nothing about such necessary and truly salutary federalization. Ukraine would have found it useful to follow in Russia's footsteps here but Yushchenko`s regime of ethnic dictatorship excludes any decisions which could really help people protect their civil rights and freedoms.

Recently some Russian TV channels were banned from broadcasting in Ukraine, including the Russian programs in cable networks. Soon after the Ukraine's National Council on TV and Radio issued the ban, the move was widely discussed in various political and public circles. The nationalists took the ban for granted, while the advisor of the Premier Julia Timoshenko, who serves as a political technologist at her Block, announced on November, 5th, that those who would violate the instructions and resume Russian broadcasting, would be deprived of license for ever.

Then the Council allowed the programming providers for some time rebroadcast Russian “Channel One”, REN TV and the “World net”. It happened after the leadership of the aforesaid channels yielded to Ukrainian blackmail and expressed their readiness to 'adjust' broadcasting to Ukraine's legislation.

Although the Council denied all allegations of having used the ban for political reasons, that is-to violate the rights and freedoms of the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine, their major goals was to establish a monolingual and monocultural state.

Another aim was not to let people know an alternative point of view on the events happening in their country and abroad, so that the presidential brainwashing propaganda was more successful. In summer of 2008, President Viktor Yushchenko held a special meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDCU) to discuss the problems of information security and the role of foreign (he meant Russian) radio and TV programs in Ukrainian social life.

The nationalist policy aimed at ousting the Russian language from Ukraine's media, especially from TV, is devoid of all legal foundations. The Council explained it was guided by the 'European Convention on Transborder Broadcasting”, though Ukraine did not ratify the above mentioned document. The Russian TV channels are demanded either to get the advertising license by their own or let the Ukrainian lawyers to do that. But the Article 23d of the Bill “On Television and Radio broadcasting” sets down definite norms, and under these norms the foreign channels cannot get license in Ukraine. Russia observers another Ukrainian Bill “On advertising”, which says that all advertising clips broadcast on foreign channels must be paid for in Ukraine. The National Council did not comment somehow why other channels, including “Eurosport” or “Euronews” do not meet such strict requirements.

Along with the aim of several Ukrainian organizations to seize control over the national advertising market, there are also plans to boost discrimination of the Russian-speaking population and impose censorship upon alternative sources of information ahead of the parliamentary and presidential elections.

The country's security services are being more frequently used as means of psychological pressure. The organization is becoming more like an analog of Hitler`s gestapo (secret state police). Currently its major function is to deal with the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and pursue and blackmail the opposition. Recently, the security services announced the beginning of investigation into the separatist activity of the Ruthenian communities. Such an approach had more than once been tried with the activists in northern Donetsk region and some other anti-nationalist groups in south-east. Still the documents of the Ruthenian groups contain no indication at possible autonomy from Ukraine.

Nowadays the Ukraine's security services are considering the cases of a few public and political organizations from the Crimea. The “Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic” organization was banned. The acting chairman of the national security agency Mr. Nalivaichenko, has been pursuing the activists from the Russian public and political bodies. Persecution for non-conformist thinking has become an everyday practice in Ukraine.

It is easy to predict that the reaction of the society will be even tougher since they are left no more other ways to stand up for their rights. The Reverend Dimitri Sidor, the leader of the Soim, Ruthenia`s unrecognized assembly, said that if the local authorities in the Zakapatsky region won`t recognize the Ruthenians`s right for autonomy by December, 1st, they would announce their independence unilaterally.

As the Russian population in the Crimea faces even greater pressure, it is very likely that such moves aimed to combat with the ongoing nationalization will be a common thing in Ukraine.

Still there are some peaceful means to protect one`s rights in Ukraine, for example through judicial procedures. Thus, the “Impulse” cable TV organization from the Donetsk region managed to win back its right to rebroadcast the Russian channels. The court decreed that the list of TV and radio programs that should be banned from broadcasting even in cable networks had no legal basis.

However, the Yushchenko regime undermines even this civilized method to protect one's rights. Since 2007 the courts have either announced politically motivated decisions or sabotaged them. There is a very illustrative example of how the regional administration court in Kiev was abolished after it had declared Yushchenko`s decree on early election illegal.

The ethnic dictatorship regime favors some violent scenarios as well. As the Ukrainian citizens are becoming more isolated form the authorities, the latter have fewer chances to rule the country. According to a poll conducted by the “FOM,-Ukraine” company in October, less than 4,3% of the respondents were ready to elect Yushchenko as president once again. In some other polls the result was 10,4%.

Summing up:

1) The violation of civil rights and freedoms under Yushchenko points to the rise of the Galician Ethnic Dictatorship.

2) The current political regime in Ukraine is viewed by the citizens as the end to the rule of law.

3) The society wonders what is the point of Ukrainian independent state if it fails to protect the rights and interests of its citizens and begins repressions against the majority of the Ukrainian population.


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