Tag Archives: Verkhovna Rada

Zelensky party wins absolute majority

President Vladimir Zelensky‘s ‘Servant of People‘ party is winning the snap parliamentary election in Ukraine with 43.16% of the votes, the Central Election Commission (CEC) informed after all 100% of the ballots have been counted.

Four other parties have overcome the 5% threshold. Opposition Platform – For Life received 13.05% of the votes, former prime minister Yulia Timoshenko‘s Batkivshchina – 8.18%, former president Pyotr Poroshenko‘s European Solidarity – 8.10%, and singer Svyatoslav Vakarchuk’s Golos – 5.82%.

According to CEC, more than 6.3 million people supported Zelensky’s party, the Opposition Platform – For Live secured support of more than 1.9 million people, Batkivschina was backed by almost 1.2 million people, while European Solidarity – by 1.18 million. About 851,000 people voted for Golos in the snap parliamentary election.

Now, the Central Election Commission is to sum up the results no later than on August 4, officially publishing them in the newspapers Holos Ukrayiny (Voice of Ukraine) and Uryadovy Kuryer (Governmental Courier) before August 9. The new Rada is meet for its first session no later than on September 9. Prior to its opening, the parliamentarians will take the oath.

A snap parliamentary election was held in Ukraine on July 21. Voter turnout stood at 49.84%, the lowest ever in the history of Ukrainian parliamentary elections with more than 14.7 million people skipping the poll.

Hungary considers Ukraine language law “unacceptable”

Péter Szijjártó, Hungary Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade called the Ukrainian language law voted on Thursday (April 25) “unacceptable“.  The law is violating the rights of the Hungarian national community and evokes the spirit of the outgoing President, Petro Porosenko, who pursued anti-Hungarian policy, Szijjártó said.

The Ukrainian voters however, by a large majority, elected another president – Volodymyr Zelensky – and ended the Porosenko era, noted Peter Szijjártó, who is currently with an official visit in Beijing.

We hope that, on the basis of mutual respect and with the intention to find a solution, we will be able to clarify with the overwhelmingly elected new president the situation following the laws affecting the rights of the Hungarian national community” the Minister said.

He added that the first statements of the new Ukrainian president could give hope, so after  Mr.Zelensky will enter in office, “we will do our utmost to restore the relationship between Ukraine and Hungary” to re-establish the earlier period when the two countries could express positive statements on their relationship.

Our goal is to be friends with Ukraine, and the latest Ukrainian presidential election results give us some hope,” said Péter Szijjártó to Hungarian news agency.

Image above: Péter Szijjártó (archive)



10 years of prison for bilingualism in Ukraine

The voted in the Ukrainian parliament law on official language (nr.5670)  significantly impacts the state policy in use of the Ukrainian, according to the authors ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language. It also proposed to fine officials, deputies, and other officials if they decline speaking the state language at work place. But the introduction of this responsibility  has been postpone for three years.

Failure to comply with the requirements of the law (nr.5670 leads to fines, and there is an annex, directly indicating that attempts to introduce bilingualism or multilingualism, or grant official status to any other language in the whole country or in a particular region, is considered to be an overthrowing the constitutional order. This crime is punished for long sentences, amounting to 10 years in prison in accordance with section 109 of the Criminal Code.

All citizens of Ukraine and all officials at workplace, including the president, the chairman of parliament and his deputies, the prime minister and deputy prime ministers, the heads of all ministries and public institutions, deputies, civil servants, officials of local authorities, judges and lawyers, teachers and health workers,  – all state offices are obliged to speak Ukrainian language exclusively. There are a few exceptions made to speak another language if the decision is consensual.

It is a law on forced, in fact, total Ukrainization. Its provisions provide for significant restrictions, and in many cases, direct bans on the use of the Russian language and minority languages in various spheres of public life” spokesperson of Russian Foreign Ministry Maria #Zakharova wrote in her Twitter micro blog.

As recorded in the 2001 census, the minority groups in Ukraine include Russians, BelarusiansMoldovans, Tatars, Bulgarians, Poles, Jews, Romanians, Armenians, Hungarians, Greeks,  Roma,  and other nationalities. While a subsequent census was supposed to be conducted in 2011, it has been repeatedly postponed and is now scheduled to take place in 2020.


Ukraine language law against minorities

Ukrainian parliament – Verkhovna Rada – adopted the law “Providing the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the official one,” which discriminates all the other languages in the country. This decision was backed by 278 MPs.

Ukraine’s neighbors have a right to criticize a new Ukrainian law banning schools from teaching in minority languages beyond primary school level, the Venice Commission concluded.

The Ukrainian language is a symbol of our people, our state and our nation,” Poroshenko wrote. “It is another important step on the way toward our intellectual independence, Poroshenko wrote.

Incumbent President Petro Poroshenko wrote on Facebook after the announcement of the voting results, calling today’s decision a historic one, comparing it to the reconstruction of the Ukrainian army and the reception of independence of Ukrainian Orthodox Church from Moscow.

“Today was a truly historic event. 278 Parliamentarians adopted the law “on ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a government”. Thanks to the people’s Deputies for the very important law for Ukraine, for a clear state-owned position!” the President wrote in his Twitter micro blog.

As of 2015, Ukraine had 621 schools that taught in Russian, 78 in Romanian, 68 in Hungarian and five in Polish, according to education ministry data. According to different polls Russian is the native language of 30% of Ukraine‘s population.

Previously in December 2017 a leading European rights watchdog – the Venice Commission said “…The strong domestic and international criticism drawn especially by the provisions reducing the scope of education in minority languages seems justified,”

Image: children in folk costumes, Lvov, Ukraine.

Ukrainian MP arrested in absentia for Russian diplomatic mission attack

Four Ukrainian nationals, including member of the parliament – Verkhovna Rada -Vladimir Parasyuk, have been arrested in absentia in Russia for attacking Russian diplomatic missions in 2014-2016 and put on the international wanted list, Russian Investigative Committee Spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko.

“The investigation has established that Ukrainian citizens Vladimir Romantsev, Alexey Bakay and Vladimir Nazarenko were actively involved in the willful damage of the property of the Russian diplomatic mission, while the latter also took part in desecrating Russia’s national flag,” she said.

Petrenko added that member of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada Vladimir Parasyuk was involved in the attack on the Russian Consulate General in Lvov in March 2016 and the abuse of Russia’s national flag.

“The above-mentioned individuals have been put on the international wanted list and, at the request of investigators, the court has imposed in absentia a pretrial restraint in the form of custody on them,” Petrenko added.

Commenting on Moscow’s actions  member of Rada Parasyuk said he is not the first, neither the last to be arrested in absentia in Russia. “No need to pay attention to it, – Parasyuk said. – One should continue his life. I have no plans to go to Russia”. He also added that he is waiting to see what further steps would be taken, and to which instances the arrest warrant will be submitted.



Special status of Donbass prolonged

Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (parliament) has passed a law “On creating conditions for a peaceful settlement of the situation in separate districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions” extending the special status of the Donbass region by one year. However, it contains the provisions, according to which the special status will come into force only after “all illegal armed units and military equipment, along with militants and mercenaries” are withdrawn from these territories. The bill in this form was supported by 229 lawmakers (with 226 required votes).

The validity period of the Law on granting special self-government status to separate districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions passed back in 2014 expires on October 18. It is the key document for a political settlement in eastern Ukraine. Representatives of the self-proclaimed Donbass republics have said on numerous occasions that the refusal to extend it will be tantamount to refusal to implement the Minsk agreements.

Having extended the special status for another 12 months, Kiev, nevertheless, added to the text of the law the reservation, which actually blocks its coming into effect until it gains full control over the region.

Having extended the special status for another 12 months, Kiev, nevertheless, added to the text of the law the reservation, which actually blocks its coming into effect until it gains full control over the region.

This effectively cancells all Contact Group negotiations on local elections in the Donbass region and the special self-government status as part of Ukraine’s constitutional reform and the agreement reached by the “Normandy Four” on the mechanism of enactment of the special status law in accordance with the “Steinmeier formula” (proposed by Frank-Walter Steinmeier who served as German Foreign Minister from December 2013 to January 2017).



General Prosecutor seat for a billion? – Shokin case

The Front News International news agency published leaked documents on alleged intervention of US officials in the internal affairs of Ukraine, describing an episode of then the US Vice President Joe Biden conditioning President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko for a $ 1 billion loan with the replacement of Attorney General Viktor Shokin.  The application of pressure could be explained by the position of Biden’s son in the British company Burisma, which belonged to fugitive Minister of Ecology Nikolai Zlochevsky, against whom the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine led the money laundering investigation. After the replacement of Shokin by Yuri Lutsenko, accusations against Zlochevsky were reduced to tax evasion, and in 2016 charges against him and his company were dropped.

The NGO “Association of International Law” lawyers in Ukraine presented the results of an examination of Biden’s statements, which, according to US media, he made during a conversation with Poroshenko.The story of Biden’s attempt of influence on August 22, 2016, The Atlantic published material “the Biden Doctrine” in which journalist Steve Clemons cites a fragment of talks on the replacement of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General between US Vice President and Poroshenko.

“He (Biden) describes, for example, a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, whom he calls Petro,” Clemons writes.

“Petro, you will not get your billion dollars … Well, okay, you can leave the Attorney General, just keep in mind that in this case we will not pay if you leave,” – quotes Biden’s words the journalist.

According to the scientific and legal findings of the study, “the statement of US Vice President Joseph Biden on the need to dismiss the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, V.M. Shokin, as a condition for allocating appropriate financial (economic) assistance to Ukraine, can be viewed as putting pressure on the president of Ukraine, and therefore this pressure can be qualified as an act of interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine by a foreign state, which violates one of the principles of international law (The UN Declaration on the inadmissibility of interference in the internal affairs of states, the protection of their independence and sovereignty – Ed.) “.

The Front International claims In March last year, three Americans came to the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine – two representatives of Blue Star Strategies Karen Tramontano and Sally Piinter, as well as a lawyer from New York, John Buretta, who, according to official information, arrived “to apologize for distributing untruthful information by certain US and Biden’s representatives regarding the activities of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine to investigate the “Zlochevsky case”. The company Blue Star Strategies is engaged in lobbying business in state bodies, continues Front News, and Tramontano and Piinter worked in the administration of US President Bill Clinton. Accroding to the news agency they managed to discover that Tramontano was a shareholder of Dutko Worldwide, which changed its name to Grayling USA, which also engages in lobbying business in state bodies and whose key activity is energy.

Investigation of the “Zlochevsky case”

Minister of Ecology, the time of the fugitive President Viktor Yanukovych, Nikolai Zlochevsky, issued for his own company – Burisma Holdings Limited, a special permit for the extraction of a third of the gas produced in Ukraine. Zlochevsky left Ukraine after Yanukovych. In the spring of 2014, the Prosecutor General’s Office opened a criminal case against him and his company upon a request of the UK prosecutor’s office, requesting assistance in the investigation of Zlochevsky alleged $ 35 million money laundering. The UK law enforcement officers blocked assets on the accounts of its companies for a total of $ 23.5 million.

Amid  EuroMaidan, Zlochevsky created the Board of Directors in Burisma, introducing son of US Vice President Hunter Biden, the appointment falling later under investigation of the Prosecutor General Shokokin,whose activities were interputed by his dismissal, after pressure applied by outside players, inluding Joe Biden.

The Front News International source in the General Prosecutor’s Office reported that Joe Biden promised twice to bring evidence about the alleged corruption of Shokin, which would have served as a reason for his dismissal, but not a single fact of corruption was provided. Another source close to investigation source said that the US Vice President asked to close the “Zlochevsky case” and offered Yuriy Lutsenko to the post of head of the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Answering the question about the legitimacy of dismissing Shokin, the president of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio in an exclusive comment to Front News International stated that all charges of this kind should be proven.

“Every accusation of this kind must be proven, with clear evidence,” Buquicchio said.

Shokin’s claim to reinstate the post of Prosecutor General

In early March 2017, Shokin appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine with a lawsuit against the Verkhovna Rada and the President about the recognition of his dismissal as illegal. Also, the lawsuit provides for the restoration of Shokin in an administrative position. However on February 20, the judiciary board of the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine, headed by Judge Moroz, left the claim without consideration. On the eve of the court session, the Ukrainian media disseminated information, claiming  on April 4 the General Prosecutor’s Office opened a criminal investigation into the fact that officials of the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine sent untrue statements to the automated document circulation system of the court, in the period from 2016 to 2017. The documents of the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine referred to the administrative claim of the “Association of Self-Organization Organizations of the Population of the City of Kiev” against the Kyiv City Council, which was also examined by Judge Moroz.

The lawyer of the “AKITO Law Firm” wrote a statement addressed to the director of the NABU Artem Sytnik that the officials of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine, using their official position, interfered with the legitimate activities of the judge of the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine Valentin Moroz.

“Officials of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine, in order to force the judges of the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine to make the necessary decision to refuse to satisfy the lawsuit of Shokin by any unlawful reasons, influenced the consciousness and will of the judges of the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine and personally of Judge Moroz during the consideration and decision on the case,” the lawyers said in a statement.

The statement also refers to the fact that officials of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine, abusing their official position, interfered in the activities of the judges of the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine and, in particular, of Judge Moroz, which resulted in an inappropriate decision on the administrative case.

Lawyers declare that by such actions the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine officers committed criminal offenses related to interference in the activities of the judiciary.

These conclusions are confirmed by the General Prosecutor’s Office of April 28, 2017 response, explaining that the Department of Special Investigations is actually conducting a pre-trial investigation on these facts about alleged interference into the work of the automated distribution of the appel in the case of the “Association of Self-Organization Bodies of the City of Kyiv to the Kyiv City Council.