Weekly News Update 
WASHINGTON, D.C. January 9, 2015


TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

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

It has been a quieter time in the countries of the former Soviet Union because of the extended holiday celebration of the New Year and Orthodox Christmas.


However, for people in Ukraine, Russia and elsewhere in the region, the holiday season comes as their countries continue to undergo deep economic and other crises. In Ukraine, over a million people have been driven from their homes because of the conflict in the east, in what aid agencies are calling a near "humanitarian catastrophe."


According to estimates, over five million Ukrainians remain in a de facto war zone and need assistance as they confront financial problems, lack of basic services, and harsh winter conditions.


The EU has offered another $2.12 billion in loans to Ukraine, if it continues on the path of reform. The Ukrainian government has a lot of work ahead of it to fulfill these conditions, which include cutting government spending, increasing efficiency, and combatting corruption.


The conflict in the east continues to take a heavy toll on Ukraine as a whole. A new round of peace talks is expected to take place next week, as leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France agreed to meet on Thursday in Kazakhstan to discuss potential solutions to the crisis.


The plunge in the Russian ruble is affecting other countries in the region. Many still heavily depend on trade with Russia, and on remittances from their countrymen who work in Russia.


I would like to highlight a Washington Post article about Armenia's decision to join Russia's Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), and the repercussions for Armenia's future. The update also includes a number of articles analyzing the EEU, which came into effect this year.


Finally, I would like thank all of those who are supporting our annual Chanukah Appeal. For those who haven't done so, it is not too late to contribute. Please visit us online ( or email for more information.



Mark B. Levin

Executive Director

Please visit  
for NCSEJ's Weekly News Update.

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. 
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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