The leaking of a 271-page report compiled by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Competition, which describes violations of European legislation by the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, recently became a sensation. It’s not, however, because the report reveals any previously unknown facts. It’s simply that these facts confirm that Russia is using gas as a political weapon.
On April 4, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced that Ukraine will receive two American ‘Island’ class boats, which previously were in the service of the US Coast Guard. This offer dates back to 2014.
According to Poroshenko, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense is currently working on “internal procedures for the completion and approval of a draft contract.” The president announced that a meeting between the parties will take place in May 2018 to finalize the details.
This statement follows the March 30 airing of a “Schemes” investigation, a joint project of RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service and UA:Pershyi TV Channel.
Why is it taking so long for Ukraine's leadership to finalize the deal?
Bizhan was among Donbas veterans participating in the “Voice of War” project, which teaches writing skills so that veterans can share their experiences about the war in eastern Ukraine.
We met them and talked about their memories. Their stories are a mosaic of danger, difficulties, heroism, friendship, and work. Here are some.
During an official state visit to Istanbul, Poroshenko met with Patriarch Bartholomew on April 17. The two leaders held seven hours of closed-doors discussions before the president announced “Ukraine is as close as ever to the emergence of its own Unified Orthodox Church.” Poroshenko refused to divulge the details of the agreements he reached with the Ecumenical Patriarch. Opposition members of parliament claim that Poroshenko’s efforts are a charade designed to help the president’s party at the polls next year. While electoral politics may have influenced the exact timing of the talks in Istanbul, they represent the culmination of many years of efforts to have the Kyiv Patriarchate recognized. Two hundred sixty-eight parliamentarians voted to endorse Poroshenko’s efforts, far more than the 132 members of the president’s party.
We meet at Gursky’s stunning new 500-square meter co-working space in Kyiv’s tallest commercial building to discuss Ukraine’s unique start-up potential.
“We want to export products, not people,” Gursky says.
Ukraine has a major problem. It’s hemorrhaging its most talented workforce. Seven percent of the country’s workers are abroad, which worries economists, experts, and the government. Ukrainians can easily make four times more in neighboring Poland, where the language is similar and the physical distance is nothing.
Gursky admits that most of his Ukrainian friends and classmates live abroad, in New York, Washington, and Silicon Valley, and he too lived in Washington for a time. Yet he remains bullish on Ukraine.
The thirty-three-year old founder of the NGO SocialBoost says that there’s no other place where he could go from a street activist who organized hackathons to an adviser to the prime minister in two short years.
Even as his Ukrainian friends make their lives abroad, he asks them with a straight face, “Don’t you have FOMO [fear of missing out]?”
Solontay, an educator and former city and regional council deputy, is betting that a new generation of Ukrainians—and more than a few of their elders—are ready for a party built on the democratic principles of grassroots activism, long-term vision, transparency, and true independence.
“We have a lot of parties in Ukraine officially. In reality, we have practically none,” Solontay said, describing them instead as virtual “fan clubs” with little ideology or internal debate about party platforms.
While Ukraine has committed to joining Euro-Atlantic institutions and embarked upon structural reforms, the overall situation in Ukraine remains uncertain. Even now, next year’s presidential and parliamentarian campaigns are already impacting decision making.
Given society’s widespread distrust of most current political parties and their leaders and the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, radicalism is growing quickly.
In response, an independent group of Russian-speaking immigrants has released a letter that disputes these claims. Well-known human rights activists, filmmakers, writers, journalists, lawyers, scientists, engineers, university professors, medical doctors, artists, professionals in various areas, and ordinary Russian-speaking Americans have signed the response, which says that the Congress of Russian Americans (CRA) does not represent them or their values. Calling the CRA letter "yet another act " in Russia's ongoing info war against the United States, its 144 signatories say that they are "are appalled by the CRA’s audacity in their attempt to create an impression they speak for the entire Russian-speaking community."
A copy of the letter follows.
But now, the Presidential Administration and independent lawyers say that the law is invalid and unenforceable, based on a 2012 Constitutional Court decision. No one can be forced to publicly submit information about their private life without their consent.