A draft bill proposing to give government real control over the Internet has been shelved. The amendments to the notorious Public Morality Act would have made it possible to close down sites within 24 hours, and the possibilities for abuse were clear. Unfortunately, despite the positive signal for journalists and the public, expressed by ruling party lawmaker Volodymyr Oliynyk, it seems unlikely he pulled the bill because of its dangers. A virtually identical bill had been proposed less than a year ago, and aroused the same opposition before being rejected. Both then and now, the “Internet bill” drew public attention away from other questionable legislative moves.
In contrast to fascism, nationalism is not best conceived of as a type of regime, political system, or state (on the same order as fascism, democracy, authoritarianism, dictatorship, oligarchy, totalitarianism, and the like) for two very simple conceptual reasons. First, a nationalist regime, political system, or state would have to be a set of political institutions that are fundamentally different from those that characterize fascism, democracy, authoritarianism, dictatorship, oligarchy, or totalitarianism. But there is no such distinctly different nationalist regime, political system, or state with its own distinct political institutions. Instead, every supposedly nationalist regime, political system, or state is always just a variant of fascism, democracy, authoritarianism, dictatorship, oligarchy, or totalitarianism.
Editor’s Note: Kyiv public relations specialist Zhanna Kobylinska's “Good News Ukraine” blog sticks to uplifting news and steers clear of controversy. Readers can send news items to Kobylinska at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In recent years, the phenomenon of illegal company takeovers has unfortunately reached a significant scale in Ukraine, greatly hindering the government’s efforts to implement reforms designed to strengthen the economy and increase the flow of foreign investment.
There is a new threat brewing in parliament that could severely hinder the public's right to peaceful assembly. Currently going through the approval procedures, it will markedly limit constitutional rights, and will cause mass protests in the steet.
More than twenty years after the fall of the Soviet Union, a closer look at opinion polls in four Eastern European states show two common trends: convergence on the level of values but divergence on the level of governance. While there is a growing tendency to embrace the rule of law, democratic institutions and even human rights among citizens, there is an absence of democratic institutions that could reflect the gradual shift in value preferences. Partly due to this lack of credible democratic institutions, individual (economic) goals have remained the key priority for Eastern Europeans.
This paper describes current trends based on available public opinion polls in four Eastern European countries (Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) in order to provide deeper analysis of the transition process taking place in these countries. It arguesthat the democratic transition in the post-Soviet countries should not be viewed only in terms of changes in the political elite, but also in terms of changes in the attitudes of citizens.
With Ukraine’s judges largely cowered or enticed into line, an offensive has been underway for the past eight months against the country’s advocates. The weapons deployed are increasingly reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984, and appear to be targeting all vestiges of freedom of speech and independence of views.
Last week, an American friend of mine received two mysterious white envelopes in the mail.
On opening them, he found that each contained a black and white photo of his car, each taken secretly, in the middle of the night. Below each photo was printed: his name, his employer and his home address.
No, this was not the U.S. National Security Agency tracking down a runaway American who owes money on his student loans.
Moscow now has secret traffic cameras. The cameras caught my friend, speeding home from his girlfriend’s apartment at 1 am. In two 80 km an hour zones, he was clocked at 100 km an hour.
Ukrainian “nationalism” has been in the news these last few years. As usually happens with words that have seeped into our daily vocabulary, nationalism in general and Ukrainian nationalism in particular have come to mean just about anything. Its detractors, many of whom believe that Adolf Hitler’s National Socialism demonstrates that nationalism and fascism are inextricably connected, insist Ukrainian nationalism is a form of fascism. Its supporters, who often invoke Giuseppe Mazzini, say it’s noble and empowering.
Ukraine must get off the fence when it comes to its relations with Russia and the European Union.
Hopes that an EU-Ukraine association agreement, including a deep and comprehensive trade agreement, might be signed at the November Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius are fading.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s negotiations to become an observer in the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus have just been concluded. Brussels sees any arrangement with Russia on trade as incompatible with the association accord, as it would hamper the proper implementation of crucial liberalisation provisions.
On July 1, Croatia will become the 28th member of the European Union. For the first time, a country that was deeply embroiled in the Balkan Wars of the 1990s will take a seat in Brussels.
Ever since accession negotiations began in 2003, successive Croatian governments, despite wavering support from their domestic public, were determined to complete the talks quickly.
For politicians in Zagreb, joining the EU was about drawing a line under the wretched and bloody past of recent civil war. It was also about proving to the EU, as well as to Croatia’s western Balkan neighbors, that the country was not condemned to crouch outside the EU’s door.
Croatia’s accession has immense strategic implications for the EU. The most important question is what will happen to the enlargement policy, one of the bedrocks of the EU, after Croatia’s entry.
There is an unofficial consensus that enlargement will come to a full stop for several years. This is not good news for the western Balkans or for Europe’s Eastern neighbors.
Those European leaders who connect the EU-Ukrainian Association Agreement with the fate of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko are doing Ukrainian’s democrats a huge disservice. No doubt, their subtle hints and explicit statements are driven by good intentions. Tymoshenko’s seven year sentence for abuse of power was clearly politically-motivated; and the reopening of the long-dormant murder case, in which Tymoshenko now appears to be one of the main suspects, vividly demonstrates the growing paranoia of Viktor Yanukovych’s regime.
On June 2 Ukraine held 117 pre-term elections of town and village heads, as well as by-elections to local councils of various levels. The most explosive of the lot was the mayoral election in Vasylkiv, Kyiv Oblast.
For much of the last decade, Georgia and Ukraine stood out among post-Soviet nations for their pursuit of liberal democracy and integration with the West following popular uprisings against authoritarian governments. The United States and the European Union devoted considerable resources and diplomacy to encouraging their sometimes-halting progress and to fending off attempts by Russia to undermine it. Sadly, all that work is close to being undone. Since winning power in a democratic election in 2010, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has overseen the prosecution and imprisonment of his chief opponent, prompting the European Union to put an association agreement on hold.
The Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit that will take place in November in Vilnius, Lithuania, is already generating buzz. Set to be a major milestone in the EU’s relations with the Eastern Partnership states, the summit is expected to reach a crescendo with the signing of an Association Agreement with Ukraine. The announcement of the end of talks on or even the initialing of similar agreements with Moldova and Georgia may be additional high notes.