NCSEJ
Ukraine Update #54: Khmelnytskyi and Mariupol Jewish communities report

WASHINGTON, D.C. October 14, 2014


TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

FROM: Stephen M. Greenberg, NCSEJ Chairman;
Alexander Smukler, NCSEJ President;
Mark B. Levin, NCSEJ Executive Director
  

 

Ukraine Update #54

  

Today, the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) passed a series of anti-corruption laws. Under the new laws, a National Anticorruption Bureau will have investigative authority over Ukraine's top government leaders, including the judiciary, president, members of the parliament, and local officials.  The laws also detail plans to reform the judicial system, fund elections more transparently, reform the civil service system, and make other sweeping changes aimed at combating rampant corruption.

 

As the laws were being passed, clashes erupted near the parliament building. Hundreds of demonstrators attempted to storm the building, demanding that the Rada include on its agenda a bill recognizing the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army as national heroes. These resistance groups fought for Ukrainian independence during World War II; they were also implicated in attacks on Jews and other crimes against civilians.

 

There have been continuous attempts to legitimize the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. NCSEJ and other organizations continue to work with the Ukrainian government to make sure that these groups don't gain historical legitimacy.

 

The protests were disbanded by Ukrainian authorities later today and dozens of demonstrators have been detained.

 

Meanwhile, in Mariupol, seven civilians were killed and seventeen were injured as a result of a shelling attack by pro-Russian separatists.

 

Despite breaches of the ceasefire between the pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government, the agreement continues to hold in principle. On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin pulled Russian troops from the border with Ukraine, easing tensions.

 

President Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko are expected to meet on the sidelines of an annual Asia-Europe summit, to be held in Milan later this week.

 

NCSEJ spoke today with the representatives of the Jewish community of Mariupol, who reported that despite the unrest, the community has held festive celebrations for Sukkot. Many community members gathered on Sunday evening at the local synagogue, and had a festive meal in the sukkah they built.

   
Sukkot in Mariupol

Sukkot in Mariupol
Sukkot in Mariupol

Sukkot in Mariupol

The Jewish community of Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyi, in the Kyiv region, held a commemoration ceremony last week for the local Jews killed by Nazis in 1941-1943. Chief Rabbi of the Religious Association of Progressive Judaism in Ukraine Alex Dukhovny opened the ceremony with a prayer, and gave a sermon at the mass grave of Jews shot by the Nazis.

 

Commemoration in Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyi

Commemoration in Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyi
Commemoration in Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyi

Commemoration in Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyi
About NCSEJ
Founded in 1971, NCSEJ represents the organized American Jewish community in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, including the 15 successor states of the former Soviet Union. 
 
Website: www.ncsej.org   
Email: ncsejinfo@ncsej.org 
Phone: 202-898-2500 
 
 
NCSEJ is a beneficiary of The Jewish Federations of North America and the National Federation/Agency Alliance through its network of Federations. 
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