360° Coverage : Washington Sits On The Sidelines While Ukraine's Democracy...

2 Updates
Washington Sits On The Sidelines While Ukraine's Democracy Slips Away

Washington Sits On The Sidelines While Ukraine's Democracy Slips Away

Jan 17 2014, 11:47am CST | by

U.S. lawmakers carefully watch Ukraine’s political turmoil after Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych changed the country’s course from Europe to Russia last fall. Washington even considered...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

32 weeks ago

Washington Sits On The Sidelines While Ukraine's Democracy Slips Away

Jan 17 2014, 11:47am CST | by

U.S. lawmakers carefully watch Ukraine’s political turmoil after Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych changed the country’s course from Europe to Russia last fall. Washington even considered imposing visa bans and other sanctions against Ukrainian officials involved in crackdowns on anti-government protesters. However, nothing stopped the Ukrainian government from approving anti-democratic legislation this week, creating an environment that makes fair and democratic presidential elections in 2015 impossible.

On Thursday, January 16th, the Ukrainian Parliament approved a bill that violates numerous civil rights of the country’s citizens. It imposes harsh restrictions on rights activists, journalists, NGOs, criminalizes various forms of peaceful protests, and gives more power to Ukrainian courts. All on-line media is now required to register with the government and citizens must provide passports when purchasing SIM cards for mobile phones. The Yanukovych’s Party of Regions approved such legislation via a controversial vote, without debates and participation of the opposition.

“There is no hope for free and fair elections in Ukraine anymore,” Olga Belkova, a Member of the Parliament from Vitali Klitschko’s opposition party, UDAR, wrote to Forbes. “There is no hope for a free and fair life for anybody in Ukraine for that matter. Especially for those who are in disagreement with the current people in power.”

It happened right after the U.S. Senate foreign policy committee held a January 15thhearing in Washington on the Ukrainian turmoil. Victoria Nuland, Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for European Affairs, said that the possibility of sanctions on human rights abusers in Ukraine is very real and the U.S. is watching how the anti-government protesters are treated. Yanukovych’s efforts to poison Ukraine’s democratic policies, intimidating NGOs, journalists, activists, dismantle the structures of the free electoral environment, haven’t gone unnoticed.

Does this mean that the U.S. could impose the sanctions “and other tools” mentioned in Nulad’s testimony before Senators in Washington? It’s unlikely, says Charles Kupchan, foreign policy expert with the Council on Foreign Relations. “The U.S. generally focuses sanctions on specific violations,” he explained in a phone interview with Forbes. It would be unusual if the US would implement the policy measures against the legislation. Even with the sanctions, in order to really put them in place, the U.S. would need to have proof that specific oligarchs or politically exposed individuals are tied to acts of violence or criminal deeds.

But lawmakers in Washington may already have enough reason for immediate sanctions based on what has already happened in Ukraine since the protests broke on November 21st as numerous violent attacks on the activists and journalists have taken place.

The U.S. State Department issued an immediate statement about the anti-democratic bill: “We call on the Government of Ukraine to ensure its legislation reflects Ukraine’s democratic commitments to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the wishes of its people to exercise their fundamental freedoms of speech, assembly, and association. Both the process and the substance of the Rada’s (Ukrainian parliament – Forbes) actions today cast serious doubt on Ukraine’s commitment to democratic norms.”

As the old Persian saying puts it, the dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on. Disapproving statements by the U.S. have little or no effect on the actions of Ukraine’s government, as the past few years have proven, since the West demonstrated its outrage over the imprisonment of Ukraine’s ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

There’s no doubt that Ukraine matters to the United States a great deal, according to consistent statements by policymakers in Washingon. It’s in the country’s national security interest to have Ukraine among its list of solidly democratic allies and therefore to help Ukrainians to preserve their chance for European integration. But strong support from the likes of Senators John McCain and Bob Corker aside, U.S. foreign policy can sometimes be a plodding march.

“The U.S. wants to engage with Russia and Ukraine and sometimes pragmatism requires holding your nose and working with the regime you have rather than waiting for the regime you want,” Kupchan said.

He explained why the U.S. didn’t interfere more aggressively during the economic war that Russia had with Ukraine when Yanukovych was going to sign the Association Agreement with the EU.

“The west wasn’t able to play the hardball,” Kupchan said. Putin had sources of influence that neither the U.S. nor European Union could match, such as gas and the ability to forgive Ukraine’s debt.

With the new bill, however, the diplomatic approach aiming to assist Ukraine in preparation for fair and democratic presidential elections is too little too late.

“Ukrainian authorities are trying to copy the Putinite tactics of disgracing, damaging, and seeking to totally control non-governmental organizations that receive support from democratic countries and foundations,” writes Yevhen Bystritsky of the International Renaissance Foundation in the organization’s statement. “The bill brands such NGOs as ‘foreign agents,’ demands them to register and publicly identify themselves as such, and imposes additional taxation burden to limit financial support for civic activism.”

If Ukraine turns into an opaque and repressed state, joining Russia and Belarus, it will represent a defeat for the democratic West. Belkova, of UDAR, feels the frustration: “What’s happening in Ukraine is a threat not just to Ukrainian people but to the entire system of democratic values.”

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
2

3 days ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

4 days ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double tragedies ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Nigeria to get Japanese drug for Ebola treatment
Abuja, Sep 2 (IANS) Nigeria will soon get a Japanese drug to treat Ebola, the country's Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said Monday.
 
 
Japan to aid connectivity upgrade in northeast India
Tokyo, Sep 1 (IANS) India and Japan Monday decided to strengthen cooperation for improving connectivity and socio-economic development in northeastern states of India.
 
 
Three Ebola cases recorded in Nigeria oil hub
Abuja, Sep 1 (IANS) At least three cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been recorded in Nigeria's oil hub of Port Harcourt, where a fatality was confirmed last week, the country's Minister of Health Onyebuchi Chukwu said here Monday.
 
 
India, Japan to elevate strategic partnership
Tokyo, Sep 1 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said relations with Japan were of the "highest priority" for his government and announced a slew of initiatives, including turning the strategic partnership into a "special" partnership and a fast-track channel for Japanese investors.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

13 killed in Baghdad bomb blasts
Baghdad, Sep 2 (IANS) As many as 13 people have been killed in two explosions in Iraq's capital Baghdad Monday, a police source said. Thirteen people were killed and 45 others injured when two car bombs exploded in...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Rebels, Syrian forces clash near Golan Heights
Cairo, Sep 2 (IANS/EFE) Islamic rebels clashed with the Syrian forces near Israeli-controlled Golan Heights Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The observatory, in a statement, said that fighting...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Kelly Brook suffered second miscarriage
London, Sep 2 (IANS) Actress-model Kelly Brook has revealed that she suffered a second miscarriage while dating Thom Evans. The 34-year-old and the former rugby star lost their first child May 6, 2011 when Brook gave...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Russia may retaliate against fresh EU sanctions
Moscow, Sep 2 (IANS/EFE) Russia will take retaliatory measures to defend its legitimate interests if the European Union imposes new sanctions over Moscow's intervention in Ukraine, the country's foreign ministry said...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Britney Spears looking forward to dating
Britney Spears is looking forward dating again. The 32-year-old singer admitted during her 'Piece of Me' show at the Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas yesterday (08.31.14) that she's excited about meeting someone new...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Lindsay Lohan seeks hypnosis to quit smoking
Lindsay Lohan has reportedly been undergoing hypnotherapy to help her give up smoking. The 28-year-old actress has turned to psychotherapy in the hope of kicking her nicotine addiction before she performs in 'Speed-the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Ian Somerhalder and Nikki Reed spend $860 in sex shop
Ian Somerhalder and Nikki Reed allegedly spent nearly $1,000 in a sex shop yesterday (08.31.14). The new couple, who have been dating for the past few months, reportedly forked out $860 on a number of erotic toys -...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Robin Williams' daughter returns to Twitter
Robin Williams' daughter has returned to Twitter. Zelda Williams posted her first tweet on the social networking site tonight (01.09.14) almost three weeks after she abandoned her account when she received abusive...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Is Miley Cyrus dating Douglas Booth?
Los Angeles, Sep 2 (IANS) Pop star Miley Cyrus and British actor Douglas Booth are reportedly dating. The "Wrecking Ball" hitmaker was first rumoured to be romancing Booth in 2010 when they co-starred in teen drama "...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
UN chief alarmed by Israeli claim on West Bank land
United Nations, Sep 2 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Monday expressed alarm at the Israeli declaration of a 400 hectares area in the West bank as "state land". "The secretary-general is alarmed by yesterday's...
Read more on Politics Balla