Tag Archives: Ukraine

Ukraine Struggles With Rising Hate Crimes

The Ukraine government’s dream is to one day be accepted into the European Union, but increasing evidence of hate crimes in the nation might increase difficulties into being accepted in a union which says hate crimes are not to be allowed. Nigerian medical student George Itoro Ebong was simply waiting for a bus in the central part of Kyiv when three young men ran up and shouted, “Go back to Africa, you’re a monkey,” and then proceeded to hit him over the head with a bottle. Ebong has learned from sad experience the only safe place for him in Kyiv is the safety of his dormitory at the university. “It is safe in the university and the dormitory, but on the street it is not safe, on the metro, even on the bus it is not safe.”

A report issued by Amnesty International warns of an “alarming rise” in racist attacks in the Ukraine. The organization says at least sixty people were killed last year as a result of racist violence and more than 30 people have been the victims of racism since the first of this year. Most of the violence is blamed on ultranationalist groups like the Ukrainian Labor Party whose leader, Evhen Herasymenko has called for purging of the nation of “sludge.” He recently told the Associated Press attacking dark skinned foreigners is like “the immune system–the reaction of a healthy body to the infection that got into it.”

Many human rights groups blame government inaction for allowing hate crimes to persist. The Ukraine obviously had no contact with dark skinned people in its history but some Ukrainians appear fearful of the presence of a person with dark skin. The US Embassy has alerted Americans of the presence of hate crime in the Ukraine.

Russia Threatens Ukraine Over NATO

The Cold War has been over for nearly two decades but remnants of the old struggles continue impacting nations in eastern Europe. The Ukraine’s bid to join NATO has frightened and created anger within the Russian government which fears having a powerful military forces on its borders. Prime Minister Putin warned the government of the Ukraine not to go through with its proposed membership in NATO if it wishes to continue having strong economic relations with Russia. After the split up of the Soviet Union, the Ukraine inherited a large military and electronics industry that was geared towards supplying the Russian military. It is state run, under-funded and unable to readjust their production for other nations other than Russia.

There is no logical reason why the Ukraine should enter NAT) other than issues of prestige. Putin is acting in his normal manner as a bully, but the stakes are too high to pursue the NATO bid which provides no security to the Ukraine. The best security for the Ukraine i

Don’t Insult Putin Or Else, Says Russia!

The Russian Foreign Ministry is upset because a Ukranian politician had the audacity to insult the beloved and always correct Vladmir Putin. Russia told the Ukranian government it did not wish people in its country “who damage the Russian Federation by action or word.” The Russians were particularly upset because the city of Kiev refused to allow Moscow’s Mayor Yury Luzhkov to enter the Ukraine, no doubtedly, because of his urging that Russia assume control over the Black Sea seaport of Sevastopol which belongs to the Ukraine.

The war of words between Russia and the Ukraine, which was once part of the Soviet Union, continues in all its fury. Russia claims the Ukraine’s first deputy justice minister had insulted Putin, but then again, every dissident who believes in free speech, a free press or a free election has insulted Putin. The underlying causes stem from a desire on the part of Russia to force the Ukraine to heed close to Russian foreign policy and to reject membership in either the European Union or NATO. The Ukraine, in turn, is furious at the blatant attempts by Russia to use its energy supplies to force the Ukraine to be more obedient.

Hitler “Doll” That Never Was: The Media In Inaction

The recent story which hit the world media about sale of “Hitler dolls” in the Ukraine is a classic example of how the media spreads misinformation. The story began two weeks ago when Andriy Kapustin wrote an article in a Ukranian newspaper under the deliberately shocking headline: “Undress Hitler or BarbieFuhrer as a gift.” He claimed to have found the doll in a Kyiv shop and said the price was “1200 hryvnias” which is rather expensive. It appears a few such dolls were made in Taiwan but there is no evidence Ukrainians were actually buying them. Kasputsin was being ironic since such a doll would hardly be sold for such a high price in a city that lost 60% of its residents in WWII.

The “story” was picked up by a Russian newspaper where Oles Buzina, who is known for his dislike of the Urkraine, wrote that what else could one expect from Ukrainians and sonn every child will be given a Hitler doll. The BBC then picked up the story from Buzina and presented it as though factories in the Ukraine were producing Hitler dolls.

Within days stories were appearing in British newspapers about Ukranian toy manufacurers who most probably were going to put out a toy version of a concentration camp. The BBC was told by Ukranian sources its story was spurious and it did remove the story but never issued an apology. The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail which printed the story have never issued a retraction.

Naturally, the story is still circulating on Internet and other such media outlets, and, given time, it will live on as an example of how Ukranian manufacturers were willing to use Hitler to make a buck.

Putin-Bush — Is Their Conflict Really Over?

President Bush enjoys pushing his ideas in a rather aggressive manner as was evident during the recent NATO meeting in Rumania. He pushed for admittance of the Ukraine and Georgia into NATO despite opposition from leading European nations to this move which they regarded as unnecesarily hostile to the Russian government. President Putin had on his pleasant face during the meeting even though he was furious at the American plan for missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. In one of his encounters with the American president, Putin commented, “do ou understand, George, the Ukraine is not even a state?” Putin hinted if the Ukraine joined NATO, the nation of the Ukraine might not continue existing as a viable state.

George Bush wanders through the world believing he is in full possession of information and this attitude more often than not eventually results in disaster. President Putin is perfectly capable of encouraging a secession element of Russians who live in the eastern area of the Ukraine which would divide the nation. If push comes to shove, the Russian leader might play his card of secession.

Bush Bumbles On In Bucharest NATO Meeting

A sophisticated approach to foreign policy has never been among the strongest qualities of President George Bush. He enjoys talking from the hip in typical Texas bravado which ignores history or the concerns of other nations. In preparation for the upcoming Bucharest meeting og NATO, the president visited the Ukraine where he made another of his stirring calls for democracy. “Helping the Ukraine move toward NATO membership is in the interest of every member in the alliance and will help advance security and freedom in this region nd around the world.” His comments were bound to infuriate Russian President Putin whose nation fears the presence of strong military forces on its border.

Germany and France most probably will veto the applications of the Ukraine and Georgia in order to avoid arousing the anger of Russia. President Bush simply can not grasp that Russia was twice invaded in the 20th century and there is fear when any military bloc atempts to gain strategic areas on the border of its country. It would be preferable to have these countries in the European Union and avoid creating new tensions with Russia.

Perhaps, President Bush is expecting great help from the armies of the Ukraine and Georgia in the war in Iraq. Who knows, he might even get them to send about 500 troops from each nation. That definitely would be a “defining moment” in the war in Iraq.

Germany And US Increasingly Diverge On Policy

A few weeks ago, American officials bluntly told the German government it was not doing enough to fight in Afghanistan and were just as bluntly told to mind their own business. James Goldgeier, who served in the Clinton administration told Der Spiegel: “I m amazed at how openly the current diffeerences between berlin and Washington are being aired. In Feburuary it was the German role in Afghanistan. Now, it’s about the issue of NATO expansion in which Germany quite openly orchestrated the resistance to Ukraine and Georgia. This is relatively unusual in advance of this sort of summit.” German opposition to the expansion stems from considering the political ramifications of such action. German leaders recognize the newly elected President Dimitry Medvedev should be accorded some breathing room and an opportunity to establish positive relations with the West before being forced to issue public opposition to the incorporation of the Ukraine and Georgia.

President Bush is enthralled with glowing speeches about the spread of democracy and lacks sensitive understanding of the need to walk lightly with a new president in Russia. Germany is also aware many Ukranians do not wish to becom part of NATO and Georgia has many internal problems. The German government prefers to watch and wait unlike th tpical Bush charge ahead without any long term policital thinking.

Ironically, George Bush is now the moderate in dealing with Russia while Senator McCain has become the headstrong radical. McCain has deliberately insulted Putin by saying things like seing only three letters in the eyes of Putin –K G B.

Ukraine A Major Source Of Human Trafficking!

During the Ukraine’s initial fifteen years as an independent nation, it is estimated nearly 110,000 people were victims of human trafficking according to figures released by the International Organization for Migration. About 5 percent were teenagers and nearly 18% were men targeted for forced labor. Ukrainians have been sent to virtually every part of the globe by these traffickers in human misery. Ukrainians are mainly sought for construction, agricultural tasks, fishing industries, domestic work and prostitution. Last month the UN Forum to Fight Human Trafficking was held in Vienna in an attempt to create international processes to protect people who are trapped in such forms of modern slavery.

The end of communism in eastern Europe was all too often accompanied by women being trapped in poverty which opened the door for human traffickers to get them headed to many parts of the world where they wound up in prostitution.

Does the UN have a role to play in dealng with sex tourism? Can the UN develop methods both to identify and assist victims? How can UN efforts deal with the plight of street children? These are among the host of questions which must be addressed in the coming years in order to halt this vicious traffic in human flesh.

Russia Warns Ukraine About EU Membership

At a meeting witht the prime minister of the Ukraine, Russia’s President Putin addressed the issue of American missiles that would soon be based in Poland and the Czech Republic. He warned the Ukrainian leader that seeking membership in the European Union would undoubtedly result in a changed Russian attitude toward his nation. “I am not only terrified to utter this,” said Putin, “it is scary to think Russia… could have to target its offensive rocket systems at the Ukraine.” If the Ukraine enters the European Union it might well have the United States place its missile systems on their territory.

At the meeting, Russia’s foreign minister warned that a declaration of independence by Kosovo could result in a “chain reaction” throughout the region. Russia is always fears that parts of its nation might also seek to declare independence.

There is no justifiable grounds for installling American missile defense systems in Poland or the Czech Republic. Claims about possible missiles from North Korea or Iran are ridiculous. If that is the fear, why didn’t the United States accept the Russian offer that it could establish missile defense systems on its territory? Russia is closer to Iran and North Korea than Poland and the Czech Republic. The real reason lies in the warped mind of George Bush who lacks any understanding of international relations. We are living in 2008 when there is no threat of a Russian attack and Bush thinks he is living in 1958.

President Sarkozy Heads East To Confront Russia

France’s President, Nicolas Sarkozy, is headed for his first trip to Russia, but along the way he intends talking with nations that have rocky relations with their Russian neighbor. He will meet with Ukranian president Viktor Yuschchenko who led the Orange Revolution against Moscow’s man in the Ukraine, and the French president will also meet with Poland’s president Lech Kaczyinski who has continually expressed his concerns about Russia. Sarkozy will meet with Czech leaders who are supporting American efforts to place missiles in their nation, an action, which has resulted in negative reactions from Putin.

Sarkozy has a tendency to regard himself as more knowledgeable than other leaders in dealing with international issues and concerns. He apparently enjoys throwing his weight around to prove France is still a powerful nation in the world. He will be meeting with President Putin who is a mirror image of the French president in believing in his personal power to dominate and control. It will be interesting to observe the outcome of a meeting between two arrogant men.