Orange Revolution
Democracy Emerging in Ukraine

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CONTENTS:
  • Ukraine's Kuchma mourns ex-aide
  • Ukraine's ex-president flies home
  • Gongadze killed to discredit me: Kuchma
  • "We knew the country was in bad shape"
  • Ukraine president to receive Kennedy courage award

 


Ukraine's Kuchma mourns ex-aide

A funeral service has been held in Ukraine for ex-Interior Minister Yuri Kravchenko, who was found dead with two gunshot wounds to the head on Friday.

Ukrainian officials say he shot himself hours before he was due to appear before prosecutors investigating the high-profile murder of a journalist.

At the funeral, former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma insisted that Kravchenko played no part in the crime.

The killing of Georgiy Gongadze in 2000 triggered anti-Kuchma protests.

Kuchma under pressure

Mr Kuchma defended his former minister on Monday, saying "under no conditions can I believe that he gave a criminal order".

 

GONGADZE CASE

Sept 2000 - Abducted. Headless body is found weeks later

Jan 2001 - Tape recordings apparently implicating President Kuchma emerge

Feb 2001 - EU calls for murder inquiry

May 2001 - US forensic tests confirm headless body is Gongadze's

Dec 2004 - Viktor Yushchenko elected president, promises to solve case

1 March 2005 - Suspected killers arrested

"The question to be answered is - who stood to gain from it? He answered that question by saying he was not guilty and I hereby confirm that," said Mr Kuchma.

He himself is expected to be questioned by prosecutors this week, amid allegations that he was implicated in the murder.

Mr Kuchma returned to Ukraine at the weekend after a holiday in the Czech Republic.

Kravchenko is reported to have left a suicide note blaming Mr Kuchma for Gongadze's death.

He described himself as "a victim of the intrigues of Kuchma and his entourage," investigators say.

Mr Kuchma denies any involvement in the killing of the journalist.

Political scandal

More than 100 people filed past Kravchenko's open coffin at a theatre in central Kiev, commiserating with his widow.

He was found dead on Friday at his home in the exclusive Kiev suburb of Konche Zaspa.

President Viktor Yushchenko has pledged to find out who abducted and killed Gongadze, who reported on high-profile corruption scandals.

A proper investigation was among the main demands of the pro-Western opposition, which staged the "orange revolution" that brought Mr Yushchenko to power in January following disputed elections.

Ukraine's chief prosecutor said earlier this week that the authorities knew who had ordered Gongadze's killing.

The discovery of Gongadze's headless body in a wood near Kiev triggered a political scandal, especially after the emergence of a secret recording that allegedly implicated Mr Kuchma.

In the tapes, Mr Kuchma was heard to complain about Gongadze's reporting and allegedly ordered Kravchenko to "get rid of" the journalist.

Mr Kuchma says the tapes were edited to distort his words.

According to Ukrainian law, the former president has no immunity against criminal prosecution.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/4325891.stm

Ukraine's ex-president flies home

The former Ukrainian President, Leonid Kuchma, has cut short his holiday a day after his former interior minister was found dead.

Yuri Kravchenko, who was due to testify about the murder of a journalist, is reported to have left a suicide note blaming Mr Kuchma for his death.

Mr Kuchma denies any involvement in the killing of the journalist, Georgiy Gongadze, five years ago

However, correspondents say he could still face questioning.

Mr Kuchma made no comments as he flew into an airport outside the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, on Saturday afternoon.

But before leaving the Czech Republic, where he had been at a spa, he said he realised he would be called before prosecutors, AFP news agency reported.

Political scandal

Mr Kravchenko was found dead at his home in the exclusive Kiev suburb of Konche Zaspa an hour before he had been due to give evidence to prosecutors.

He had a gun in his hand, and officials say his death was probably suicide. But several media reports say he had more than one gunshot wound.

 

GONGADZE CASE

Sept 2000 - Abducted. Headless body is found weeks later

Jan 2001 - Tape recordings apparently implicating President Kuchma emerge

Feb 2001 - EU calls for murder inquiry

May 2001 - US forensic tests confirm headless body is Gongadze's

Dec 2004 - Viktor Yushchenko elected president, promises to solve case

1 March 2005 - Suspected killers arrested

Ukraine's chief prosecutor said earlier this week that the authorities knew who had ordered Mr Gongadze's killing.

President Viktor Yushchenko has pledged to find out who abducted and killed Gongadze, who reported on high-profile corruption scandals.

A proper investigation was among the main demands of the pro-Western opposition, which staged the "orange revolution" that brought Mr Yushchenko to power in January following disputed elections.

The discovery of Mr Gongadze's headless body in a wood near Kiev triggered a political scandal, especially after the emergence of a covertly recorded tape that allegedly implicated Mr Kuchma.

In the tapes, Mr Kuchma was heard to complain about Gongadze's reporting and allegedly ordered Mr Kravchenko to "get rid of" the journalist.

Mr Kuchma says the tapes have been edited to distort his words.

According to Ukrainian law, the former president has no immunity against criminal prosecution.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/europe/4321963.stm

  

 

Gongadze killed to discredit me: Kuchma
 

Mon Mar 7,11:41 AM ET

KIEV (AFP) - Ukraine's ex-president Leonid Kuchma said the murder of opposition journalist Georgy Gongadze that shook his regime may have been staged to harm his own image, and once again denied any involvement in the killing.

 

 

"I have already said that this is all a game that began in 2000, when some people did not like president Kuchma," he told reporters while attending a memorial service for his former interior minister, who apparently committed suicide Friday on the day he was due to testify in connection with the 2000 murder.

Former interior minister Yury Kravchenko left a suicide note saying that he never ordered the murder of Gongadze -- whose body was found beheaded after his investigations into alleged corruption under Kuchma's rule -- and that he was a victim of political intrigues.

"I am not guilty of anything," police have quoted Kravchenko's note as saying. "I have become a victim of political intrigues of president Kuchma and his entourage. I am leaving you with a clear conscience."

Kuchma himself has repeatedly denied involvement in the case, although his name was mentioned in the suicide note.

He left the Czech Republic and flew to Kiev on Friday pronouncing himself ready to answer prosecutors' questions.

It was not immediately clear whether Kuchma would be called in for questioning this week, although some officials said that this was likely as the pro-Western regime of his successor Viktor Yushchenko presses on with a case that has blotted Ukraine's image in the West.

Kuchma joined some 100 of Kravchenko's friends and family as well as several lawmakers -- though none from the current government -- in a theatre in central Kiev for the funeral service.

Both men were implicated in the journalist's death after a former bodyguard released tapes that allegedly featured Kuchma ordering Kravchenko to take care of the persistent reporter.

At one stage in the tape -- which has been studied but never verified as authentic in the United States -- the alleged voice of Kuchma is heard saying that Gongadze should be "handed over to the Chechens."

Kuchma has said he is innocent of any involvement in the crime, saying the tape was doctored by his enemies, and also defended his former minister.

"Under no conditions can I believe that he gave a criminal order," Kuchma said.

"He said that he is not guilty, and I confirm this," Kuchma told reporters.

Kuchma however was evasive when asked whether if he would be questioned in the case, saying: "I have already said that this is all a game that began in 2000, when some people did not like president Kuchma.

 

 

 

Ukraine's ex-president Leonid Kuchma stands in front of Yury Kravchenko's coffin during the funeral ceremony in Kiev. Kuchma said the murder of opposition journalist Georgy Gongadze that shook his regime may have been staged to harm his own image.(AFP/Sergei Supinsky)

 

Mon Mar 7,11:41 AM ET

 

 


Ukraine's ex-president Leonid Kuchma stands in front of Yury Kravchenko's coffin during the funeral ceremony in Kiev. Kuchma said the murder of opposition journalist Georgy Gongadze that shook his regime may have been staged to harm his own image.(AFP/Sergei Supinsky)

 

 

  

 

Heorhiy Gongadze, 31, a Ukrainian opposition-minded journalist and the editor of the Internet newsletter Ukrainska Pravda, is seen with his wife  Myroslava and girl twins Nona and Sofia on this undated family  photo made in Ukraine's capital Kiev. Gongadze was abducted in downtown Kiev in September 2000. His decapitated body was later found buried in a forest outside the capital. President Viktor Yushchenko said Tuesday 'Gongadze's killers were detained and they are giving information to the investigators,'  (AP Photo/family photo)

 

Tue Mar 1,10:59 AM ET

 

AP


Heorhiy Gongadze, 31, a Ukrainian opposition-minded journalist and the editor of the Internet newsletter Ukrainska Pravda, is seen with his wife Myroslava and girl twins Nona and Sofia on this undated family photo made in Ukraine's capital Kiev. Gongadze was abducted in downtown Kiev in September 2000. His decapitated body was later found buried in a forest outside the capital. President Viktor Yushchenko said Tuesday 'Gongadze's killers were detained and they are giving information to the investigators,' (AP Photo/family photo)

 

 

A record 199 candidates have been nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize including Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the ailing Pope. Yuschenko addresses a press conference at the NATO summit in Brussels, February 22, 2005.  Photo by Francois Lenoir/Reuters

 

Thu Feb 24,12:12 PM ET

 

 


A record 199 candidates have been nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize including Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko, former Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) and the ailing Pope. Yuschenko addresses a press conference at the NATO (news - web sites) summit in Brussels, February 22, 2005. Photo by Francois Lenoir/Reuters

 

 

 

 

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko (L) and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana hold a joint news conference after a meeting in Brussels, February 23, 2005. The two men were discussing an 'Action plan' approved this week to bring Ukraine closer to the EU with a view one day to securing membership.   REUTERS/Yves Herman

 

Wed Feb 23, 8:30 AM ET

 

 


Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko (L) and European Union (news - web sites) foreign policy chief Javier Solana hold a joint news conference after a meeting in Brussels, February 23, 2005. The two men were discussing an 'Action plan' approved this week to bring Ukraine closer to the EU with a view one day to securing membership. REUTERS/Yves Herman

 

 

 

U.S. President George W. Bush (R) shakes hands with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko  at NATO headquarters in Brussels, February 22, 2005.  Yushckenko was invited to a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission on Tuesday, as heads of state and government from 26 NATO countries met for a discussion on transatlantic issues at the highest level.        REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

 

Tue Feb 22, 7:15 AM ET

 

 


U.S. President George W. Bush (news - web sites) (R) shakes hands with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko at NATO (news - web sites) headquarters in Brussels, February 22, 2005. Yushckenko was invited to a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission on Tuesday, as heads of state and government from 26 NATO countries met for a discussion on transatlantic issues at the highest level. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

 

  

Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko (L) and parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn attend a mourning ceremony at the monument to Soviet soldiers killed during the war in Afghanistan, in Kiev February 15, 2005. Ukraine marks on Tuesday the 16th anniversary of the Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.  REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

 

Tue Feb 15, 9:03 AM ET

 

 


Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko (L) and parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn attend a mourning ceremony at the monument to Soviet soldiers killed during the war in Afghanistan (news - web sites), in Kiev February 15, 2005. Ukraine marks on Tuesday the 16th anniversary of the Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

 

 

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko (L) greets U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Az), wearing Yushchenko's campaign scarf, during their meeting at the presidential residence in Kiev, February 11, 2005. The delegation of the U.S. Senators arrived in Ukraine on Friday on a one-day visit to meet top state officials and discuss further cooperation between the countries.  REUTERS/Sergei Supinsky/Pool

 

Fri Feb 11, 7:35 AM ET

 

 


Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko (L) greets U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Az), wearing Yushchenko's campaign scarf, during their meeting at the presidential residence in Kiev, February 11, 2005. The delegation of the U.S. Senators arrived in Ukraine on Friday on a one-day visit to meet top state officials and discuss further cooperation between the countries. REUTERS/Sergei Supinsky/Pool

 

 

 

"We knew the country was in bad shape"

A leader of Ukraine's orange revolution, Yuliya Tymoshenko, 44, has been a successful businesswoman and a political prisoner. Now she's the country's new Prime Minister. She spoke to TIME's Yuri Zarakhovich at her office in the Cabinet building in Kiev.

OLEG NIKISHIN/PRESSPHOTOS FOR TIME

 

 
Sunday, Mar. 06, 2005
Is the Orange Revolution a model for other countries in Russia's "near abroad"? The orange revolution stands for the faith of the people in their own strength. The dejection in post-Soviet — and not just post-Soviet — countries was bred by the feeling that the people couldn't change anything in politics. Georgia and Ukraine prove that when the people trust in themselves, the politicians grow compliant.

Is the drive behind the orange revolution fizzling out? The festive part is all forgotten. Our drive now is in working hard. It will likely take more time and effort to fix things than we ever supposed.

What are your priorities as Prime minister? We knew the country was in bad shape; we didn't know just how bad it was. We have to tackle the moral and financial degradation of the state — widespread corruption, shadow businesses, a stagnating economy — right away. Normal people who want to invest in Ukraine are scared to come. This fear must be overcome.

The government's opponents say that your reprivatization process will hurt investment in ukraine. All the properties that were commercially valuable were brazenly carved up by [President Leonid Kuchma's] entourage over the last decade. All the rest was left to rot. Everything that went through legal procedures established for privatization is inviolable. But whatever was handed out for free to the entourage of the previous President will be scrutinized. But it'll be done by a court, not by the government.

The President talked about 30 or 40 businesses; you talked about 3,000. The President was talking about an approximate number of strategic objects. I talked in terms of the number of businesses that the office of the Prosecutor General has scrutinized over the last 12 years and has found irregularities. Should the courts rule that a business must be auctioned again, the previous owners will be compensated. They can also keep their business, if they pay its real price.

How can you tell legitimate privatized businesses from illegitimate ones when you claim the office of the Prosecutor General is corrupt? There are honest, competent prosecutors who honestly did their work. But all the irregularities they discovered were hushed up.

Your opponents claim you benefited from improper privatizations in the 1990s. I left business in 1996; privatization began in 1998. The business that I launched was in trade. My past life does — and my future life will — show that I love my country and want to serve it.

Russia has put your name on the Interpol wanted list for alleged bribes to russian military officials. I'm sure that now all those corruption charges will crumble. Russia has placed itself in an awkward situation, but I'm quite willing to help Russia get out of this with the hope that our relationship will be equal and friendly.

How will you reassure people in Eastern Ukraine, where many regard you with suspicion, that you're working in their best interests?
People in the east lived in a tightly restricted, closed information space. So let's open their information space and replace propaganda with information. Then they'll understand that they have not lost the election but won, just like the rest of the country.

Should people invest in Ukraine right now? Rush! Ukraine's current beautiful image truly matches the reality.

From the Mar. 08, 2005 issue of TIME Europe magazine

 

 

 

Ukraine president to receive Kennedy courage award


By LOLITA C. BALDOR
Associated Press Writer



WASHINGTON—
Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko, who survived an assassination attempt last year and battled through three elections in three months, will receive the 2005 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

Yushchenko was told of the award Monday in a call from Caroline Kennedy, president of the JFK Library Foundation and the late president's daughter.

"Viktor Yushchenko has inspired citizens of the world with his extraordinary courage" said Kennedy in a statement released Tuesday. "His commitment to freedom and the democratic process is a powerful example of how one person can truly make a difference. Viktor Yushchenko is a true profile in courage who my father would have greatly admired."

The pro-Western leader was sworn in on Jan. 23, after a string of bitterly contested elections, weeks of mass demonstrations, court battles and a grisly detour to Vienna, where he was treated for a near-lethal poisoning that disfigured his face.

"Viktor Yushchenko amazed, awed and changed the world through one of the all-time great examples of political courage," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass. "He eminently deserves this award, and I only wish my brother could be with us at the library to honor him personally too."

A former central bank director, Yushchenko trailed in preliminary election returns, but the final results put him narrowly ahead of the 22-person field, including the Kremlin-backed prime minister Viktor Yanukovych.

Yanukovych won the subsequent runoff, but both elections were deemed fraudulent by international observers, and Yushchenko eventually won a third vote convincingly.

Yushchenko will be presented with the award later this spring by Caroline and Sen. Edward Kennedy.

The Profile in Courage Award is named for President Kennedy's 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, and it is presented annually to public servants who have withstood strong opposition to follow what they believe is the right course. Past recipients include former President Gerald Ford, Sen. John McCain and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.