ISSUE 24 - NOVEMBER 9, 2018

Transatlantic Task Force on Ukraine's 2019 Elections Launched  
By Adrian Karmazyn, U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, Nov 6, 2018  

Orest Deychakiwsky (left) and Jonathan Katz at the launch of the Transatlantic Task Force on Elections and Civil Society in Ukraine at the German Marshall Fund in Washington, DC.  Photo credit:  Adrian Karmazyn.

With Ukraine's 2019 Presidential and Parliamentary elections now on the horizon Ukrainian, American and European experts gathered for the inaugural event of a year-long project aimed at supporting a fair and democratic election process in Ukraine.  The launch of the Transatlantic Task Force on Elections and Civil Society in Ukraine took place on October 30th in the format of a three-way video bridge between Washington, Kyiv and Brussels.
The session was moderated by Jonathan Katz, Senior Fellow at the German Marshall Fund, and Orest Deychakiwsky, Board Vice Chair of the  U.S.-Ukraine Foundation.  They are co-chairs of the  Friends of Ukraine Network (FOUN) Democracy and Civil Society Task Force and organizers-along with the Reanimation Package of Reforms (RPR)-of this transatlantic initiative.
As noted by Jonathan Katz-a former deputy assistant administrator for the Europe and Eurasia Bureau at USAID-the idea is to create a new platform to enable the Ukrainian NGO sector to better inform Western supporters of Ukraine about reform progress:
"One of the things we really want to do is to institutionalize the engagement of civil society in Ukraine with U.S. policy makers, opinion makers, think tanks, [and] civil society organizations that are focused on Ukraine and focused on Ukraine's transatlantic integration and democracy. One of the gaps that we saw that existed in forming this effort was one of communication between Kyiv and Washington and Kyiv and Brussels.  And looking at what's happening on the ground in real time."
Jonathan Katz also underscored that the U.S. Congress, the Administration and Ukraine experts in general are paying close attention to the conduct and possible outcome of the Ukrainian election as it "could challenge the trajectory of US policy in the region."
"The importance of this" effort, he added, "is to benefit civil society in Ukraine, which has really taken the lead over many years but also since the Maidan at moving Ukraine in the right direction" and to strengthen U.S.-Ukraine relations and support the government's reform efforts.
In his remarks, Orest Deychakiwsky, a former senior policy advisor with the Helsinki Commission, noted the generally positive international assessment of Ukraine's last election and presented an overview of many of the election-related issues that are of concern to Washington today, for example, the question of whether Ukraine will move to an entirely proportional parliamentary election system with open party lists.  Also, "you have issues of media coverage, especially given [some] media's reliance on oligarchs-access of candidates and parties. The role of money. And more mundane but essential things like election administration," he said.
One of the most urgent concerns, he noted, is the problem of "physical attacks on civil society, especially anti-corruption activists and journalists or efforts to obstruct their work.  We've seen well more than 50 attacks since the beginning of the year, according to recent Human Rights Watch and Freedom House and Amnesty International reports.  This is very disconcerting; it needs to be taken seriously.  Ukrainian authorities at all levels need to see civil society as an ally and not as an adversary."  And Orest Deychakiwsky stressed that it's incumbent on "all of Ukraine's friends to monitor and encourage the exercise of civil and political rights in advance of these elections."
The U.S. government and experts are also focusing particular attention on Russian election interference and cyberattacks in Ukraine, including on election infrastructure.  "Ukraine has a lot to teach us here-in terms of countering disinformation," said Orest Deychakiwsky, referring the audience to a recent  Washington Post article on Ukraine's efforts in 2015 to warn Facebook management about the Kremlin's spreading of disinformation through this hugely influential social media network.

CLICK  to read more

Adrian Karmazyn is Vice-Chair of the Friends of Ukraine Network Democracy and Civil Society Task Force and is a former Chief of the Voice of America's Ukrainian Service.


Delegation of Ukrainian Journalists Travels to Mid-Terms in Wisconsin
By  Alida Blendonohy, U.S.-Ukraine Foundation,  Nov 7, 2018

A group of Ukrainian journalists visits USUF on their way to covering the the U.S. mid-term elections in Wisconsin. Photo by Adrian Karmazyn.

The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (USUF) recently hosted a discussion with six Ukrainian journalists in Washington, here to further their understanding of the U.S. mid-term elections.  The visiting journalists were Olena Blizniakova (Suspilne), Oleksii Homon (Suspilne), Oleksandr Kokhan (Hromadske TV), Ostap Yarysh (Hromadske), Viktor Ohiienko (Apostrof) and Sergiy Sydorenko (Yevropeyska Pravda).

The reporting tour is sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv and the  Media Co-Ops Program  of the State Department's Bureau of Public Affairs.  The delegation met with a colleague from the New York Times and after visiting USUF headed to Milwaukee. Wisconsin, to further explore the electoral environment and process.

Present were Nadia McConnell and Adrian Karmazyn of the U.S.- Ukraine Foundation, who provided insights on the upcoming U.S. mid-term elections as well as the 2019 Ukrainian presidential and parliamentary elections through the lens of the Washington policy community. Topics discussed included the U.S. perception of Ukrainian presidential candidates and the dynamics between the Republican and Democratic parties in the U.S. in relation to Ukrainian affairs.

Nadia McConnell, President and Co-founder of the Foundation, delineated the mission of the organization, describing the work of the Friends of Ukraine Network task forces (which are a USUF initiative) and necessary preparation in anticipation of the new Congress.  From the viewpoint of USUF it is crucial that vibrant U.S. support for Ukraine remain a strongly bipartisan issue. Among the news stories from Ukraine that are most troubling are reports of intimidation of civil society.  Over 50 violent attacks against Ukrainian activists-many of whom were investigating corruption-have been recorded this year.

The visiting journalists were interested in discussing the public perception of Yuliya Tymoshenko and incumbent candidate Petro Poroshenko. They invoked their personal experiences when discussing voter demographics in an election that will be significant to the further development and trajectory of Ukraine. Some accredited the success of Tymoshenko with the younger generation to her refined usage of social media platforms, her charismatic personality and the reality that many younger voters do not have have memories of her past scandals. In contrast, the falterings of Poroshenko are wounds more freshly imprinted in the minds of older Ukrainian voters. Cited was a recent poll indicating Tymoshenko's lead.

When discussing the impact of critical news stories, the delegation alluded to the role of oligarchs, who are able to sway the country's political narrative through their influence on the newsrooms of the national television stations that they own.

During their election-period trip to the United States the Ukrainian journalists will gain a unique perspective on the role of the media in the U.S. election, which will help them in their work covering the Ukrainian elections next year.

Alida Blendonohy is a student intern at the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation.


Getting away with murder: Law enforcement fails to identify, 
prosecute murderers of activists, journalists in Ukraine  
By Oksana Grytsenko, Kyiv Post, Nov 9, 2018 

Kateryna Gandziuk, who died on Nov. 4 as a result of an acid attack, is the 10th name on a grim list of Ukrainian activists and journalists who have been killed since the EuroMaidan Revolution that overthrew the corrupt regime of President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014.

Mourners  pay last respects to Kateryna Gandziuk on Nov 7 in southern Ukrainian city of Kherson. A whistleblower municipal official, Gandziuk died on Nov 4 as a result of injuries suffered in an acid attack on July 31.

The list was prepared by the Human Rights Information Center and fact-checked by the Kyiv Post.

Police have named suspects in the murders in only six of 10 cases. None of those who ordered the murders have ever been identified, and no convictions have been secured ... 


RFE/RL Reports Increased Attacks On Its Journalists
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Nov 2, 2108

WASHINGTON -- On the UNESCO International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) has  documented an expanding use of restrictive acts and intimidation targeting its journalists in no fewer than 12 countries where RFE/RL reports.

 ... Over the last year, RFE/RL has been subject to state-sponsored, frontal attacks on its operations that have gone unchecked.

... Ukrainian journalists with RFE/RL's anti-corruption program Schemes have been subject to assault, slander and harassment by government officials ...  CLICK to read 


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is supporting peacebuilding and conflict prevention in eastern Ukraine by facilitating improved service delivery, decentralization, economic recovery, rebuilding and reduction of inequality and by strengthening the rule of law and building respect for human rights. 
Though there has been progress, Ukraine is continuing to face massive socioeconomic challenges. 
It is UNDP's understanding that increasing personal and community security and providing access to justice will lower tensions and prevent conflict. 
The UNDP conducted its first assessment of citizens' knowledge of, attitudes toward and experience with justice and security issues in the conflict-affected areas of eastern Ukraine in 2017...  W ith the reforms still in process and many challenges still ahead, a new assessment was conducted this year. This assessment - which is presented in this document - is expected to serve as an important tool in planning initiatives to bring justice and stability to the people of Ukraine ...    To read the report, click on the image above or HERE
Russia's Ongoing Violations in Ukraine 

Ongoing Violations of International Law and Defiance of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation in Ukraine
As delivered by Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Gregory Macris
to the Permanent Council, Vienna, November 8, 2018

Last week, members of this Council pressed Russia for answers regarding the Special Monitoring Mission's (SMM) long-range UAV that was downed on October 27 over Russia-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine. We, along with the rest of this Council, have yet to hear Russia's explanation of its role in an incident that occurred in territory it controls.

The October 27 downing of the UAV deprives the SMM of one of its most useful assets. The United States reaffirms its support for the SMM as the world's eyes and ears in Ukraine. We denounce all attempts to restrict the Mission in its duties and remind other participating States that the SMM's mandate calls for safe and secure access throughout the entirety of Ukraine, to include its internationally recognized border with Russia.

The United States joins with others in condemning the so-called "Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics" plan to hold illegitimate "elections" on November 11. These illegal elections, orchestrated by Russia, run counter to the Minsk agreements, obstruct efforts to end the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, and have no basis in Ukrainian law. The Minsk agreements state that the OSCE is to supervise elections, which are to be held in accordance with OSCE standards. This planned November 11 balloting will satisfy none of these conditions.

Mr. Chair, as temperatures fall and winter approaches, we call attention to the fact that Russia's manufactured conflict in Ukraine has developed into a humanitarian crisis the size of which the continent has not seen in a generation. Estimates are that 3.4 million Ukrainian citizens require humanitarian assistance or protection and over 1.5 million are internally displaced. This conflict wreaks death and destruction on civilians, regardless of what side of the contact line they are on, the religion they profess, the language they speak, or the political views they hold. We encourage all parties to allow affected civilians to have unfettered access to humanitarian aid, government services, and to guard against further civilian losses and damage to critical infrastructure. 

The United States greatly appreciates the efforts of France and Germany in the Normandy Format to push for implementation of the Minsk agreements. Unfortunately, Russia continues  ... CLICK


Published in George Weigel's weekly column The Catholic Difference on October 31, 2018

ROME. While Synod-2018 was trying to grasp the polyhedron-like character of "synodality" and wrestling with the differences among sexual inclination, sexual orientation, and sexual attraction, tectonic plates were shifting beneath the surface of world Christianity. Like similar shifts in geology, which can produce tsunamis and earthquakes, dramatic movement in the underlying structures of ecclesiastical life can lead to great historical consequences. The recent decision by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople to grant autocephaly to a unified Ukrainian Orthodox Church-which would mean that church's independence from the Russian Orthodox Moscow patriarchate-is precisely such a dramatic, tectonic shift, perhaps the greatest in Eastern Christianity since Constantinople and Rome formally severed full communion in 1054.

This is, then, a Very Big Deal. That it got virtually no attention during Synod-2018, either inside the Synod hall or in the Synod's "Off-Broadway" conversations, says something (not altogether edifying) about the self-absorption of Catholicism as it continues its seemingly endless wrestling with the ethics of human love, the exercise of authority in the Church, and a raft of sexual and financial scandals. But one Synod father was paying close attention to what was afoot 2,300 kilometers northeast of here, and that was the ever-more-impressive Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major-Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, largest of the Eastern Catholic Churches that are Byzantine in liturgy and polity but in full communion with Rome.

Many commentators, including your scribe, have viewed what may be the impending independence of Ukrainian Orthodoxy in terms of its potential to derail Vladimir Putin's attempts to recreate a simulacrum of the old Soviet Union in the name of a historic "Russian space" (Russkie mir).... 
CLICK to read more


Putin's 'Russian World' Rapidly Contracting in Ukraine and Elsewhere, 
Sokolov Says
By Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia -- New Series, Nov 9, 2018

Staunton, November 8 - The reason that the Kremlin and the Moscow Patriarchate are so alarmed by the prospect of an independent autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church is that it undercuts Vladimir Putin's drive to rewrite Russian history "from official imperial positions" and calls attention to the rapid disintegration of his "'Russian world,'" Boris Sokolov says.

In recent weeks, the Russian historian continues, Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill have become ever more hyperbolic in the expression of their fears about the meaning of Ukrainian autocephaly, lashing out not only at the Ukrainians but at the Universal Patriarch and his supposed work as an agent for the Americans.

In an important article in Kyiv's Den' newspaper, Sokolov makes it clear that this alarm in Moscow reflects not any concern about religious faith - the Moscow Patriarchate is ever more obvioiusly a state agency - but about the falling apart and contraction of the Russian sphere of influence in the region ...


Don't miss your opportunity to get in front of business executives, investors, industry leaders, government officials, and academic researchers next  July 8-11, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa - America's agricultural heartland!

We have made some exciting changes to our program themes this year, and are now accepting proposal submissions for the following categories:   Breakout Sessions,  Company and Technical Presentations and  Poster Presentations ... 

Contact biotech@usukraine.org for more information 

The 40 Hottest Technologies in the Advanced Bioeconomy 2018
Jim Lane, Biofuelsdigest.com, Nov 9, 2018  


CLICK on image above  ... Posted by 



  The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation seeks an Office Manager/Program Assistant to help with office management, communications, event planning, and other administrative functions.
The Office Manager/Program Assistant will work with Foundation staff in Washington, DC and Ukraine.
The Office Manager/Program Assistant will have wide ranging responsibilities, must be flexible and willing to assume varied duties and projects. Duties are primarily in-office and not tele-work.
Bachelor's degree
Ukrainian/English language skills very helpful
Effective oral, written and interpersonal skills to effectively interact with all levels of staff, U.S. and foreign government personnel, NGO community and the public
Capacity to work both independently and as a member of a team
Working knowledge of word processing and spreadsheet applications
Organizational skills and attention to detail
Ability to prioritize and manage multiple tasks simultaneously
Send your materials to the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation at email: info@usukraine.org.
No phone calls, please.








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