Events from November 22 to December 1, 2003
Ukrainian peacekeepers arrested Saddam’s general
The Ukrainian peacekeepers in Iraq arrested former Husein’s general Hakmet Kadum Salman Jugeishi (December 1) in Es-Suveita town during operation. Jugeishi was transmitted to U.S. peacekeepers.
Reaction of Ukraine and the CIS to the events in Georgia
A meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of 11 CIS countries was held in Kiev on November 25. The subject of the extraordinary meeting was the events in Georgia. The choice of the venue is explained by the fact that at present Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Konstantyn Hryshchenko heads the CIS Council of Ministers, while President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma heads the Council of the CIS Heads of State.
After the meeting the Council of Ministers announced that it confirmed its "adherence to the high principles of democracy and superiority of law, which stipulates that in a democratic state the change of power may take place exclusively by a constitutional way without the use of methods of pressure and outside interference into internal affairs of a state".
The Verkhovna Rada passed the state budget and failed to vote for dispatching Ukrainian peacekeepers to Liberia
On November 27 the Verkhovna Rada voted for the state budget proposed by the Government for the second hearing; the state budget's revenue being UAH60.7 billion, expenditures UAH64 billion and the deficit UAH3.4 billion.
Given all the significance of the economic aspect of this event it is obvious that first of all it is of paramount political importance. The Government demonstrated that it enjoyed the support by the majority of the members of parliament which is sufficient even for taking decisions not popular in society (the draft budget was seriously criticized for allegedly understating some social standards, in particular, the minimal wage).
The opposition was defeated not only in parliament, but outside its walls as well - it failed to engineer any serious protest actions against adoption of the budget despite substantial efforts.
On the other hand, the Government did not secure for itself the support of the most influential trade union of the country - the miners' trade union, which was active against the adoption of the budget providing for substantial increase of appropriations for the coal sector.
Adoption of the budget in Ukraine was effectively always accompanied by the aggravation of Ukraine's political situation. But despite the approach of the presidential elections, in the current year the opposition's efforts to use the opportunity were seriously thwarted. Compared with previous years adoption of the budget proceeded smoothly and within the terms provided for by the law.
The budget voting results showed weakness of the opposition. It is obvious that at present neither any serious protest actions of social nature nor a profound political crisis in Ukraine cannot be on the agenda (statements of individual representatives of the Our Ukraine bloc about a possibility of a "Georgian variant" are hardly taken seriously by the authors of the statements themselves).
Given all the complexity of the country's socio-economic situation the continuous presence within 4 years of a sustainable economic growth cannot but produce a positive impact or be reflected on the population's "social well-being".
For several years Our Ukraine played up the theme of Viktor Yushchenko's government's successes. But after the resignation of this government the economic growth rates accelerated, inflation radically went down, an appreciably higher, than under Yushchenko, growth of incomes, wages and pensions was achieved. Viktor Yanukovich's government has become the first Ukraine's government, which ensured 100% fulfillment of the budget, social payments including.
No doubt these factors may determine the outcome of the presidential elections in 2004 at which V.Yushchenko's victory does not seem to be that unquestionable.
On the same day parliament once again voted for the support of President Kuchma's proposal to send Ukrainian peacekeepers to Liberia. Viktor Yushchenko's faction Our Ukraine, Yuliya Tymoshenko's bloc, the Communists and the Socialists voted against. In addition, some 20 lawmakers of the parliamentary majority voted against as well. Thus, the proposal for the second time running failed to gather the required number of votes and was not passed.
Following the appointment of Gennadii Vasiliev Prosecutor General of Ukraine he left his position of the first vice speaker in parliament. On November 18 Adam Martynyuk (the faction of the Communists) was elected to this position.
The 5th Congress of the Labor Party of Ukraine was held in Kiev on November 28. Serhiy Tyhypko, Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, one of the potential contenders for the presidential post at the 2004 elections, was reelected.
U.S. Ambassador in Kiev John Herbst said that today it is a favorable moment for Ukraine to submit an application for withdrawing the status of a country with non-market economy.
On November 22 Ukraine and the world marked the Remembrance Day for Great Famine Victims. This hunger artificially engineered by the Communists in 1932-33 caused the death of several million of Ukrainians.
According to the data of the Ukrainian Center for Political and Economic Research (UCPER) based on a poll among the leaders of Ukrainian non-governmental analytical centers, such centers are bank-rolled mainly (approximately by 60%) at the expense of foreign sponsors. Most often this is the center "Vidrodzhenya" (Revival) sponsored by George Soros - 36.3%, "Freedom House" (the U.S.) - 22.7%, "Poland-America-Ukraine Cooperation Initiative" - 22.7%, USAID - 22.7%, NED (the U.S.) - 18.2%, the World Bank - 13.6% (the total percentage exceeding 100%, since the respondents often named several sponsors).