UKRAINIAN WEEKLY SUNDAY, DECEMBER
polarized. A complicated election law as well as voterburn-out — some went to vote nine times — made itcumbersome to elect people's deputies.The eastern regions elected a majority ofCommunists, Socialists and Agrarians, while the west–ern lands put democrats from myriad parties into office.Although there were 15 parties represented in the parlia–mentary elections held in spring, many of the candidatesran as independents. Once elected, the deputies formednine factions, including the Communist, Socialist,Agrarian, Yednist, inter-Regional Bloc, Center, Reform,National Rukh and Statehood (Derzhavnist). The largestfaction was the Communist bloc, followed by theAgrarians, thus the left continued to hold the mostpower in the new Parliament. Nonetheless, the irre–versible political restructuring of Ukrainian society hadbegun.it came as no surprise that Oleksander Moroz waselected Parliament chairman on May 18; the head of theSocialist Party won handily over vasyl Durdynets, gar–nering 171 votes. (He needed 170 to win the position.)Left forces also captured key positions in theParliament, chairing such influential committees as for–eign relations (Communist Boris Oliynyk) and defense(Socialist volodymyr Mukhin).Once elected, Mr. Moroz vowed to began the processof conciliation. "The one word by which 1 explain myfeelings is responsibility. І hope that we will be able towork to resolve the critical issues that have put thiscountry in the dire situation it is in," he said. But, withMr. Moroz at the helm, the leftist bloc in Parliamentcontinued to postpone discussing issues to energize theeconomy.The left wing managed to put a freeze on privatiza–tion before the Parliament adjourned for the summerholidays, and that moratorium was not lifted until earlyDecember. Privatization vouchers were delivered toUkraine on December 2, and Ukraine's citizens willbegin investing their privatization certificates in stateenterprises in early 1995.Democrats did have one significant victory onNovember 10, when the powerful Communist Party ofUkraine, registered as a new political organization inOctober, 1993, claimed that it was the successor of theCPU, the Communist Party of Ukraine which wasbanned during the coup of August 1991. The new CPUwanted to inherit the property and funds of the firstCPU, but the democrats managed to ban the first CPU,putting the issue to rest once and for all. The victory didnot come easily, as the issue was reviewed twice inParliament with the democrats charging violations invoting procedures.
The election of Leonid Kuchma
Leonid Kuchma was elected Ukraine's second presi–dent on Sunday, July 10, beginning a new era — forbetter or worse — in Ukraine, it was a close racebetween Mr. Kravchuk and Mr. Kuchma, defined by astark regional divide: the industrialized east pulled forcloser ties with Russia, while the nationalistic westpushed for independent Ukraine's acceptance into theEuropean community.Democrats worried that Mr. Kuchma would seekcloser ties to Russia. Although he said he wanted tobuild a strong, independent Ukraine, the more national–istic population in the western and central regions ofUkraine feared that once an economic union was signedwith Ukraine's northern neighbor, a political union,once again putting Ukraine under Moscow's watchful
could not be far behind."As president
Ukraine, 1 will always work in theinterests of Ukraine as a whole, not in the interests ofseparate regions," said the president-elect, just one dayafter his victory.
thing 1 want
is national reconciliation.What has been done
this presidential marathon isa crime. To say there is confrontation between the westand east is a political game."
Kuchma began his presidency by showing thathe was serious about economic reform. Just days afterhe assumed the country's top post, he met with MichelCamdessus, managing
of the international
Monetary Fund, who hailed the
election of Mr. Kuchma
said: "We now have a clear window of opportunityfor
director said that during the next two
months the fund would work
with Ukrainian govern–
ment officials to help them deal
with such problems as
the inflation rate, stabilization
of the economy and liber–
alization of prices, in return for
unifying the exchange
rate, lifting export restrictions and raising energy prices,
the 1MF gave Ukraine a S365 million portion of apromised S730 million ''systematic transformation facil–ity" loan. Ukraine still is waiting for a "standby arrange–ment," which imposes stricter conditions but would giveUkraine another Si billion in exchange for the full free–ing of prices and a reduction of the budget deficit to 5percent of the GDP or less. (Currently the deficit isabout 20 percent.)it was not only the 1MF that wanted to help with eco–nomic reform, the G-7 (U.S., Great Britain, France,Germany, italy, Canada and Japan) leaders meeting inNaples on July 8-Ю, offered Ukraine an aid package ofS4.2 billion, including monies to shut down Chornobyland provide the young country with the opportunity toqualify for large loans from the 1MF and the WorldBank. Promoted by President Clinton, the packageawarded to Ukraine was conditioned on the implemen–tation of comprehensive economic reforms.By late October, President Kuchma had secured aSi.2 billion package in assistance from the G-7 coun–tries during a special economic conference held inWinnipeg. Another S2.2 billion could be forthcoming inthe new year, as the world's leading economic powershelp move Ukraine from a centrally planned economyto a market-driven capitalist system.Part of the success Mr. Kuchma has enjoyed in get-ting Western aid for the beleaguered Ukrainian econo–my was due to the fact that he is a stubborn and prag–matic leader who presented a program of radical reformto the Parliament — and had it approved.He won the support of a number of Western leaders,among them U.S. Yice– President Al Gore, who arrivedin Kyyiv on August 2, soon after Mr. Kuchma's elec–tion. Although his visit to Ukraine was only six hourslong, it was enough time to reaffirm America's commit–ment to Ukraine and extend an invitation from PresidentClinton for Mr. Kuchma to visit Washington in lateNovember."There is a new intensity being brought to the mutualeffort to improve the bilateral relationship between thetwo countries. A strong and prosperous and independentUkraine is a stabilizing force for peace in Central Europeand throughout the entire region," said Mr. Gore.vice– President Gore's visit to Ukraine was followed aweek later by a high-level U.S. delegation. The group,headed by Assistant Secretary of State James Collins andAssistant Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, spent twodays, August
outlining concrete programs for secu–rity and economic cooperation between the countries.in order to reaffirm America's commitment toUkraine's independence, the American-UkrainianAdvisory Committee met in Kyyiv on September 24.The committee, which boasts such members asZbigniew Brzezinski, Henry Kissinger and GeorgeSoros on the American side and Deputy ForeignMinster Boris Tarasiuk, Deputy Prime Minister viktorPynzenyk, Economics Minister Roman Shpek and eco–nomics adviser volodymyr Lanovy on the Ukrainianteam, issued a communique that praised PresidentKuchma's "courageous decision to take charge of eco–nomic policy."A major step toward these long-delayed reformscame on October 19. After nearly nine hours of debate,a vote of 231-54 cleared the way for free marketreforms previously blocked by Communist lawmakers,and allowed Ukraine to free prices, reduce state subsi–
overhaul the tax system and push ahead with pri–vatization, including private land ownership."There is no going back to the Soviet Union,"President Kuchma warned Parliament members, in anhour long speech, he told lawmakers that Ukraine "is onthe verge of catastrophe," and there is no option otherthan his proposed program.Marking his first 100 days in office, he said onOctober 31: "1 will be uncompromising on two issueswith the Parliament: 1 will not back down from the radi–cal reform program and 1 will insist on strong executivepowers."Mr. Kuchma said that Ukraine would suffer throughits last, most difficult testing period and then promisedthat it would emerge as a country "worthy of our labor-loving people, our grand past, our children and ourgrandchildren."With inflation running over 70 percent in November,the karbovanets trading at 130,000 to the dollar (itshould be noted that the official bank rate of exchangeand the street market rate were merging as the yearended), unemployment up and industrial productiondown, the citizens of Ukraine wished that the testingperiod was nearing a close.
Currently, the average monthly wage
S10and S15; few people who work at state enterprises canafford to put meat, at S2.50 a kilo, on the dinner table.in order to move forward with economic reform,President Kuchma has placed heavy emphasis onstronger executive powers, issuing a draft law on divi–sion of powers, delineating the responsibilities of theexecutive, legislative and judicial branches of govern–ment, as well as local government, in effect, he hasdrafted a Small Constitution for Ukraine.Before it becomes legally binding, the document hasto be approved by the Parliament. This will be a majorissue in 1995, for it is unlikely the Parliament will allowthe president to be so powerful that he rules essentiallyby decree.Mr. Kuchma is determined, however, to have a newConstitution adopted, if not by the Parliament, then byreferendum. A Constitutional Committee, with repre–sentatives from the Parliament and the president, wasestablished on November 10 to move this process along.in the realm of economic policy, Mr. Kuchmaappointed viktor Pynzenyk, who served as the deputyprime minister under Mr. Kuchma's prime ministershipin 1992-1993, as first deputy prime minister in chargeof economic reform.Gennadiy Udovenko, who served as ambassador tothe United Nations during the days of the UkrainianSSR and as Ukraine's ambassador to Poland during thefirst years of Ukraine's independence, was named asUkraine's foreign minister on August 25 and confirmedby the Parliament when it resumed its sessions onSeptember 15. A senior statesman, he replaced AnatoliyZlenko, who was transferred to New York, where heassumed the post of ambassador to the United Nations.Dr. Yuriy Shcherbak was appointed ambassador tothe United States on October 21, after serving two and ahalf years as Ukraine's ambassador to lsraei. He left forWashington just weeks before President Kuchma's statevisit to the White House.President Kuchma also appointed Ukraine's first civil–ian to the post of defense minister, valeriy Shmarov, whohad served as Ukraine's deputy prime minister in chargeof the military industrial complex and defense conver–sion, was approved by the Parliament in October.Mr. Kuchma also decided to seriously tackle the prob–lem of corruption on a large scale; he appointed YevhenMarchuk, who had been the former minister of Ukraine'sSecurity Service (the renamed KGB), as deputy primeminister in charge of fighting crime and corruption.Recognizing the escalating problem of corruption on highlevels and the increasing crime rate, the UkrainianMinistry of internal Affairs addressed these issues, aswell as drug trafficking, during a weeklong internationalconference in mid–August.Among the first alleged criminals involved in gov–ernment corruption is Mr. Kuchma's successor as primeminister in 1993, Yukhym Zviahilsky, who is accusedof embezzling S25 million in state funds. Mr.Zviahilsky, currently in lsraei for medical treatment,was stripped of his legal immunity by the Parliament onNovember 15. The Ukrainian government is beginningto crack down on other officials; an investigation ofOleksander Tkachenko, the deputy chairman ofParliament, is currently in progress.Deputy Prime Minister Marchuk was busy also withthe issue of the Crimea and the Black Sea Fleet in thesecond half of 1994. The trouble on Ukraine's restivepeninsula began in January, when Yuriy Meshkov waselected president of the Crimea. He began his tenure bycalling a referendum on the Crimea's independence dur–ing elections to the national Parliament on March 27.Although the Ukrainian government labeled the referen–dum unconstitutional and President Kravchuk issued adecree on March 15, Mr. Meshkov continued to takesteps to get closer to Russia, including decreeing thatthe peninsula's clocks run on Moscow time.Although Mr. Meshkov began what seemed to be asuccessful campaign for secession from Ukraine, hestarted losing ground as Russian senior officials refusedto meet with him when he traveled to Moscow inFebruary. And the world community was on the side ofUkraine, as at least eight countries sent messages ofsupport to Ukraine, suggesting that the Crimean issue isan internal problem for Ukraine to resolve.By late May, Mr. Meshkov and the CrimeanParliament were working to adopt a Constitution that theCrimea, an autonomous republic of Ukraine, had original–ly approved in May 1992, but which had been suspendedby order of the Ukrainian parliament four months later.This charter would allow Crimea to form its own militaryforces, and to deal with Ukraine on the basis of treaties, as
introduce Russian as the state language.