cj#1062> IAC: IS US BEHIND ‘QUIET COUP’ IN UKRAINE?

2000-02-08

Richard Moore


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Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2000 13:06:57 -0800 (PST)
From: Joe Ferguson <•••@••.•••>
Subject: IAC special report: U.S. behind 'quiet coup' in Ukraine?
To: •••@••.•••

Hi Richard,

The website I've seen for this org is:

http://www.iacenter.org

- Joe
         ====================================================
        [Joe - the site has lots of good stuff - thanks - rkm]
         ====================================================

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To: "International"<•••@••.•••>
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2000 14:22:06 -0500
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Subject: IAC special report: U.S. behind 'quiet coup' in Ukraine?

INTERNATIONAL ACTION CENTER SPECIAL REPORT

IS US BEHIND 'QUIET COUP' IN UKRAINE?

Ramsey Clark, IAC Protest Move to Set Up Presidential Dictatorship

KIEV, Ukraine--US officials and Ukrainian president Leonid
Kuchma are collaborating in an effort to break up Ukraine's
parliament and concentrate power in the president's hands,
Ukrainian opposition leaders told International Action
Center representatives last week. IAC members Larissa
Kritskaya and Bill Doares were in Kiev to attend a hearing
of the International Peoples Tribunal on NATO War Crimes in
Yugoslavia (English translation; see accompanying dispatch).
It appears that Washington's goal is to bring Ukraine into
NATO and to smash parliamentary resistance to the
privatization of land and other measures demanded by the
International Monetary Fund.

This former Soviet republic now has two rival parliaments in
the wake of an attempt by Kuchma to illegally oust
parliament speaker Oleksandr Tkachenko and deputy speaker
Adam Martynyuk. The two have accused Kuchma of falsifying
the results of last November's presidential election. Their
charges were borne out by European Union electoral
observers.

GORE AND KUCHMA--PARTNERS IN CRIME The regime's action came
on the heels of a private meeting in Washington between
Kuchma and US vice president Al Gore. Kuchma was first
elected in 1996 with considerable support from the
CIA-linked Soros Foundation.

To engineer Tkachenko and Martynyuk's removal, rightwing
Verkhovnye Rada (parliament) deputies and their allies held
an extralegal gathering in a nongovernment building Jan. 21
at the same time as an official Rada session was in
progress. The unconstitutional gathering voted to oust
Tkachenko and Martynyuk and replace them with Kuchma allies
and to abolish the basic democratic right of parliamentary
immunity. It also named a new head of the central bank.
Tkachenko and Martynyuk were not invited to the session or
told of the charges against them. The only record of the
vote and attendance at the rightwing gathering is the claims
of its organizers. Previous attempts to remove Tkachenko and
Martynyuk by constitutional means had failed.

As of this writing, Tkachenko is refusing to leave his
office. His phone and fax have been disconnected and state
television is refusing to air his statements. His official
security has been removed and he is being guarded by
Communist, Socialist and Peasant Party deputies. Tkachenko
is a member of the Peasant Party and Martynyuk is in the
Communist Party. The confrontation may come to a head Feb. 1
when the Rada is scheduled to reconvene after winter recess.

"There has been considerable pressure to forcibly Westernize
Ukraine," speaker Tkachenko told the IAC. "The presidential
election was determined by force and now the president wants
to use force against parliament. He is trying to create an
artificial majority in order to concentrate power in his
hands. Our constitution has been violated at every step."

Kuchma's ultimate aim is to abolish the existing
single-chamber Rada where many "reforms" demanded by US
bankers and Kuchma's wealthy allies have been blocked. He
wants to replace it with a a smaller, two-chamber body with
an upper chamber comprising regional governors appointed by
himself. To achieve this, he has ordered a "popular
referendum" that will presumably be as controlled as last
year's presidential election.

WALL STREET RULES With nearly 50 million people, Ukraine is
the second-largest former Soviet republic. It was one of the
USSR's most productive agricultural and industrial regions.
Today, like other former Soviet republics, it has been
devastated by "economic restructuring" dictated by the
International Monetary Fund. Since the fall of the USSR,
Ukraine's industrial production has dropped 70 percent. Its
population has fallen by 2 million in just the past two
years. The old-age pension is $13 a month and millions of
workers are not being paid. While hunger stalks many
regions, one-third of the state budget goes in interest
payments to Western banks. The country's debt has risen 30
times since Kuchma took office in 1996.

The Kuchma regime has tried to create a fascist-like
atmosphere by exploiting divisions similar to those used to
break up Yugoslavia. It has whipped up Ukrainian nationalism
on an anti-Russian basis (one- quarter of the population is
Russian). Soviet-era books have been burned in public
squares and opposition activists attacked by fascist gangs.
The regime's alleged nationalism does not stop Wall Street
from dictating its economic policy. It has agreed to raise
food and fuel prices, rents and gas and electricity rates on
a schedule dictated by the International Monetary Fund.

"It is obvious that the United States has designed the
Ukraine's political landscape," Oleg Grachev, Kiev regional
secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU), told
Kritskaya and Doares. "You cannot speak about injustice and
electoral falsification in this country without speaking of
the domination of the International Monetary Fund."

MARKED BALLOTS AND HAND GREANDES KPU general secretary Petro
Simonenko, who calls for Ukraine to withdraw from the IMF,
was the runner-up in November's presidential election. He
got an official 38 percent of the vote. The KPU brought
evidence of marked ballots, ballot-box stuffing and
vote-buying to Ukraine's criminal court but was told such
matters were outside the court's jurisdiction. In the first
round of the presidential election, Progressive Socialist
Party candidate Natalia Vitorienko, who also condemns the
IMF, was injured by a hand grenade tossed into a rally she
was addressing.

"Kuchma is trying to make a coup to gain absolute power,"
said Ukraine Socialist Party leader Pavel Moroz. "He is
acting on behalf of powerful private groups that support
him. Since Kuchma came to office, Ukraine has gotten poorer
but his friends have gotten rich. They now want to get even
richer by selling shares in land and grabbing control of
basic industries like steel, petrochemicals and even oil and
gas, which is now forbidden to be privatized."

On Jan. 29, workers across Ukraine marched to protest the
IMF- Kuchma program and to demand unpaid back wages.  Jan.
29 is the anniversary of the 1918 uprising by Kiev's Arsenal
workers that was drowned in blood by the Western-backed
regime that then ruled Ukraine. The opposition has called
for mass demonstrations outside parliament on Feb. 1 in
support of Tkachenko and Martynyuk.

Former US attorney general and IAC founder Ramsey Clark sent
letters of protest to president Kuchma and the Rada.

An IAC statement said, "Like the war against Yugoslavia, the
attempted presidential coup in Ukraine is part of the
NATO-Pentagon drive to the east, which carries great danger
for all humanity. The US corporate media, which so
obediently repeated Pentagon-State Department lies about
Kosovo, appears to have imposed an information blockade on
the events in Ukraine and US involvement there. We must
break that blockade. The democratic forces in Ukraine
deserve the support of antiwar and justice-loving people in
this country and around the world."

Letters of support can be faxed to Deputy V.N. Romashenko at 011
380 44 293 2792 or 011 380 44 229 7228.


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