Friday, March 18, 2011

Poll: Ukrainians see 70th anniversary of Great Patriotic War as key jubilee in 2011

KYIV, March 18, 2011(UKRINFORM). The most important dates in 2011 for the Ukrainians are the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great Patriotic War (53%), 25th anniversary of the Chornobyl accident (37%) and 20th anniversary of Ukrainian independence (34%), according to a survey conducted by Research & Branding Group. Meanwhile, the poll found that 18% of respondents believe the most important anniversary is 50 years after Gagarin's space flight, 9% - 20 years from the date of the first Ukrainian presidential election and referendum on the independence of Ukraine, 5% - 20 years from the date of the referendum on the preservation of the USSR. According to the poll, 7% of those surveyed named other anniversaries, 9% said there are no such dates, and 5% are undecided. The significance of the anniversary of the Great Patriotic War increases depending on the age of respondents with 39% for young people to 64% for the older generation, while that of the anniversary of Ukraine's independence raises with 27% for the older generation to 40% for the youth.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why do Ukrainians still prefer to buy their food and clothes on the street?

Most Ukrainians shop at the markets which have thrived since the early 1990s. But as the economy grows, will they disappear? Locals doubt it. There is an expression in Ukraine, "buy from babushkas", a synonym for homemade and organic. This is one of the main reasons people come here for food. Recently Ukrainian shops and supermarkets have started selling imported vegetables and people haven't warmed to the idea. There are potatoes from Egypt, beetroot, apples and carrots from Poland and even blackberries from Mexico. Most of the vendors who buy and sell here have known their customers for years. Sometimes sellers don't even need to ask buyers what they want. Some people who sell at the market do it to boost their 700 hryvnia ($88) per month pension. For most young people who live in the countryside, growing and selling food is the only way to earn a living. Going to market on Sunday is like a special ceremony, it is an opportunity to meet friends, hear news and catch up on gossip, which is exactly what many Ukrainians are doing. Ukrainian markets operate all week long - with the exception of Mondays, Easter and Christmas - but the busiest market days are usually Saturday and Sunday. Many foreign tourists were amazed to see a man trying to fit a wriggling piglet into a sack. Many believe that markets in Ukraine might disappear in just 5 years because small entrepreneurs can't compete with big retailers. But many hope that markets in Ukraine will develop into something more civilised and comfortable for the customers, instead of disappearing completely.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

President approves plan to conduct military exercises this year

KYIV, March 12,2011 (UKRINFORM). Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has issued a decree approving the plan of conducting multinational exercises in Ukraine involving the Ukrainian Armed Forces and ensuring their participation in multinational exercises outside Ukraine in 2011. The plan was approved given the need to maintain at a proper level the state's defense potential and the combat readiness of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to carry out their tasks.
In particular, in June-October, it is planned to hold in Ukraine the Ukrainian-U.S. Sea Breeze 2011 military exercises involving 2,450 servicemen, in July-September - the U.S.-Ukrainian Rapid Trident 2011 military exercises (up to 1,500 servicemen), in June-September - the Ukrainian-U.S.-Polish Safe Sky 2011 military exercises (up to 350 servicemen), and in June and November - the Ukrainian-Romanian drills (up to 80 soldiers). In May-August, it is also planned to conduct in Ukraine the Ukrainian-Russian Fairway of Peace 2011 military exercises (up to 400 servicemen), in June-October - the Ukrainian-Belarusian-Russian military exercises (up to 300 servicemen), and in April-October - the Ukrainian-Russian and the Ukrainian-Belarusian exercises involving air defense troops. In addition, it is planned to conduct four multinational exercises. The Ukrainian Armed Forces will take part in military exercises in Poland, Georgia, Germany, Romania, France, Hungary and Bulgaria.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


This spring there will be a new monument in Kyiv... a pair of worn down shoes. Each shoe is 70 cm in length. The material chosen for the sculpture is almost noble – bronze.
"The shoes are now ready and just waiting to be picked up by the customer" - says the sculpture’s co-author Peter Ozyumenko. The memorial will be erected outside of one of Kyiv’s metro stations. The shoes are dedicated to the insurance agent, who wore them out in order to satisfy all of his customer demands.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Drunk Manager rammed the Parliament of Ukraine

March 8, 2011 (UNIAN). Drunken manager of one of Kiev firms hit by car in the building of the Parliament of Ukraine, UNIAN news agency reports quoting the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The incident occurred around 3:00 on March 8. 22-year-old man in the Volkswagen Passat lost control, and then knocked down the fence around part of the Verkhovna Rada and crashed into a building.
The driver received a closed head injury, trauma of the chest and abdomen. Man hospitalized, his condition is assessed as satisfactory. How serious is the damage the building of the Verkhovna Rada, not reported.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

In several years, Ukraine to double grain production

March 6, 2011 (UNIAN). By 2015, Ukraine plans to realize two national projects devoted to essential and dynamic improvement of indicators of agricultural commodities production, informed Nikholay Prysiazhnyuk, Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food, on March 1, according to
According to him, the Ministry has two national projects: “Effective cattle breeding” and “Grains of Ukraine”. The ambitious task of the projects: by 2015, agrarians have to increase grain production to the level of 80 mln tonnes per year, oilseeds production – 15 mln tonnes, meat production – 4 mln tonnes, added the Minister.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Yanukovich's First Year

One of the proudest items on the wall of the U.S. ambassador’s office in Kiev from 2006-2009 was a world map showing the Freedom House ranking of free, not free and partly free countries around the world. Visitors could clearly see that Ukraine ranked as the only free country among the post-Soviet states.
Today, however, the Freedom House map shows Ukraine as only partly free. President Viktor Yanukovich, concluding his first year in office, should carefully consider what this means for his oft-expressed goal of integrating his country into Europe.
Ukraine has held a half dozen parliamentary, presidential and nationwide local elections since the Orange Revolution in late 2004. International observers judged all to be generally free and fair — that is, until the October 2010 election, the first conducted under the Yanukovich administration. President Yanukovich made some last-minute attempts to fix the election law, but the ballot fell short of the standard set by previous elections and was widely condemned as flawed.
Another troubling sign is the apparent effort by prosecutors to target officials from the previous government of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Her minister of the interior, Yuri Lutsenko, sits in jail awaiting trial. Her minister of economy, Bohdan Danylyshyn, was granted political asylum by the Czech Republic — a friendly country that wants to see Ukraine succeed — on the assumption that he would be unfairly prosecuted by a corrupt, politically-driven judiciary in Ukraine. The former prime minister, still a formidable politician, is being questioned extensively by the prosecutor-general and banned from international travel.
At a Feb. 14 public talk in Washington, Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko offered an eloquent defense of Ukraine’s recent record on democratic practices. To his credit, he also engaged with Freedom House the next day on the question.
The truth likely lies somewhere between the picture drawn by Ukrainian diplomats and that drawn by President Yanukovich’s domestic critics. But the fact that the foreign minister felt he had to focus his comments on Ukraine’s domestic political scene is a reflection of the impression in Europe and the United States that Ukraine has turned away from European-style democracy.
This carries significant implications for Kiev’s foreign policy. Ukraine under its previous president, Viktor Yushchenko, and under President Yanukovich has sought to integrate fully into Europe, including someday joining the European Union. Ukraine certainly ought to have the chance. Reaching that goal, however, means reforming the economy, restructuring laws, and raising standards to meet E.U. requirements.
While all understood that the process was sure to be long, the effort was seen to be worthwhile and achievable, with time and determination. The U.S. government fully supported this effort. Developments in Ukraine, however, cause Europeans and others to question Ukraine’s commitment to broadly-accepted European norms of political behavior.
If President Yanukovich is committed to European integration and E.U. membership, his administration’s domestic actions make achieving that goal much tougher. The European Union has turned its focus to internal issues and shows little enthusiasm for integrating neighboring states. To the extent that Europeans see Kiev adopting a more autocratic model of government, it will be that much easier for them to ignore Ukraine’s desire to integrate.
So President Yanukovich faces a choice. He can continue, or allow the continuation of, current domestic policies and watch his chances of integrating Ukraine into Europe fade. Or he can strengthen democratic institutions — which, by the way, resulted in his own election last year — and restore positive momentum to the relationship between Ukraine and Europe.
For its part, the West can help crystallize this choice. European and American officials should make clear to the president — in plain terms, so that nuance is not misread — that the policies of his administration look like democratic backsliding. They should make equally clear that continuing this course will disappoint Ukraine’s well-wishers around the world and produce a growing divide between Ukraine and Europe.
Steven Pifer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and William Taylor, a senior vice president at the U.S. Institute of Peace, served as the third and sixth U.S. ambassadors to Ukraine.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Number of unemployed Ukrainians rise 40,000 in January

KYIV, March 1, 2011 (UKRINFORM). In January the number of the officially unemployed in Ukraine increased by 40,700 people and as of February 1, 2011 stood at 585,600 (544,900 as of January 1, 2011), according to the State Statistics Service. At the same time, the number of unemployed registered at the State Employment Service as of February 1, 2011 amounted to 610,300. In January, 121,800 people went to the State Employment Service asking to help find job, which is 38,600 less than in December 2010 (160,400). 76.5% of people with a status of the unemployed received unemployment benefits in January 2011.
Experts with the State Statistics Service believe that every second unemployed Ukrainian used to hold the position of a worker, every third - a position of the office worker and the rest had no professional training.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ukrainian-Russian An-140 aircraft to be assembled under license in Kazakhstan

KYIV, February 28, 2011 (UKRINFORM). Ukraine and Kazakhstan have signed preliminary documents for the licensed assembly of Russian-Ukrainian An-140 aircraft, Deputy General Designer of the Antonov State Enterprise Oleksandr Kiva has said. He said that Kazakhstan was currently studying a number of investment projects to build an assembly plant in the country. Kiva noted that the country's top leadership "has a political interest in the development of aviation technology, plus they see that aircraft are in demand." According to experts, he added, the domestic aircraft market is over 90 planes. The Kazakh side, Kiva said, opted for the An-140, "after looking how airplanes operate in Yakutia, with minimal post-sales support." He added that state-owned enterprises in that country could also serve as customers for An-140s. Asked about possible aircraft production in Kazakhstan, Kiva noted that according to experts, the first plane could be assembled next year. In the beginning, he added, the issue will concern the final assembly of aircraft from units produced in Ukraine and Russia.