war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.



This section considers issues of discrimination and inequality in Ukraine on the grounds of race, colour, citizenship, ethnic origin and language. Discrimination on the grounds of religion and gender is considered in the sections devoted to freedom of religion and to women’s rights.

1. A brief summary of the problems of discrimination and inequality

The following problems, where discrimination and inequality can be an issue, are typical for Ukraine.

1. Equal rights of access to education

Inequality in enjoying the right to education is connected exclusively to family income and the ability to pay for education.

2. Non-discrimination in the school curriculum

– the presentation of the role of minorities;

– the program for different subjects, in particular history.

The totalitarian legacy makes itself felt in the humanities where the role of the national majority and the roles of national minorities and ethnic groups are involved.

3. Equal rights in employment, in particular:

– access to the labour market;

– conditions of work;

– the possibility of access to all levels of employment;

– conditions of dismissal.

This problem involves to a certain degree people once deported who have returned to Ukraine, as well as the members of some ethnic or national groups, for example, those originally from the Caucasus, from parts of Asia or of Africa, the Roma, etc.

4. Equal rights to ownership and housing conditions, especially:

– compensation for lost property;

– access to former property (reinstatement of rights);

– access to and quality of temporary accommodation in the case of the loss of property, damage of property or occupation of property

– privatization of land

This problem is, perhaps, most acute for members of the formerly deported peoples. It is worth noting that they are on an unequal position to descendants of those once deprived of their property as «kulaks»[1], who, at least in theory, have the right to get their property back in accordance with the Law of Ukraine „On the rehabilitation of victims of political repression «. There are grounds for speaking about inequality in distributing land in the Crimea, where a large number of Crimean Tatars cannot participate in the process of privatization.

5. Equal access to social services

– access to social welfare and care (including for mothers and children, pensions, etc);

– access to basic services such as water, electricity and plumbing;

– equal rights to social and communal services.

– quality of services and facilities

One of the consequences of the return of families of those formerly deported is lack of equality in living conditions and access to communal services. This problem also affects certain groups of those repressed on political grounds, but not rehabilitated. In particular, a large group of those convicted by Soviet courts before 1991 for refusing to do military service on religious grounds. These people do not receive compensation and benefits foreseen for those rehabilitated. The same applies to former soldiers in the Ukrainian Resistance Army (the UPA)[2] who have not to this day been rehabilitated.

6. Equality of access to economic projects, in particular, participation in development projects

Thieligion of the prisoners. This violates the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, European penal regulations and other international documents.

There is also no legislation which would allow the activity of priests of all religions in other restricted institutions, for example, chaplains in ports.

The lack of legal regulations for the activity of chaplains in the Armed Forces of Ukraine remains a problem, leading to abuses and discrimination on religious grounds.

One should note that law enforcement bodies frequently avoid resolving inter-confessional conflict in accordance with legislation, or even help one of the sides «convince» the other with the use of force.

2. An overview of cases involving the violation of the right to freedom of religion and worship[5]

2.1. Registration of religious organizations

From surveys taken of specialists and of the population with respect to cases that they knew of unsubstantiated refusals to register a charter, the following results were obtained[6]:

– 95 % in the East had not even heard of this;

– 89 % in the Crimea had also not heard of this;

– 42 % of those surveyed in the West said that they had heard of such cases.

In the Odessa region in the village Chabanka-Gvardiyske, there is still conflict between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC KP) and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church under the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP), with the authorities having delayed the registration of the community of the UOC KP contributing to the continued conflict. This was reported in June last year.

The Parish and priests of the Ukrainian exarchate of the «True Orthodox Church» headed by Metropolitan Benedikt, the Exarch of Ukraine, informed in their letter, that the department for religious affairs of the Donetsk Regional State administration is delaying registration of their community.[7]

Representatives of Progressive Judaism in Kharkiv inform that their application for registration was considered for a year before a positive decision was taken.

On 16 May 2004, the senior priest of the Svyato-Pokrovsk Parish (the city of Malin, in the Zhytomyr region), Father Vasily (V. Demchenko) addressed an appeal to the Head of the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on human rights, national minorities and inter-ethnic relations, Gennady Udovenko, to inform the mass media that, with the acquiescence of the local State administration, attempts were being made to forcibly place the community of this parish under the jurisdiction of another diocese. The Svyato-Pokrovsk Parish has been under the jurisdiction of the Zhytomyr Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church since 1992. In March 2002, at a joint meeting of the community a decision was taken to transfer to the jurisdiction of the Crimean Diocese of the Russian True-Orthodox Church (RTOC). The relevant amendments to the charter of the community were registered by resolution of the Zhytomyr regional State administration.

Two years later, the new head of the Zhytomyr regional State administration, Sergiy Ryzhuk issued a resolution declaring the amendments to the charter invalid, as they «were registered with violations of current legislation. There was no court decision establishing such violations, and at present the community is defending its rights in court.

At the same time, the Malin district State administration has begun to play an active role, with its officials, in contravention of legislation, checking whether the members of the Parish meetings exist. According to Father Vasily, there are attempts to force his community to accept the authority of the Ovruts Parish of the UOC MP. The members of the community, who have been subjected to the ‘check’, have reported pressure from the officials carrying out the check, in particular, from L.G. Shklyarskaya, who, despite being obliged to remain neutral, has been trying to convince believers that the RTOC is a schismatic church. Father Vasily is certain that the checking of numbers of members of the Parish meetings is being carried out in order to prove that the decision of the community does not have legal force.

Refusals to register Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) Canonical (the UAOC is sometimes also called Synodic)[8], in particular its religious communities have continued into a second year. In this, the State is clearly playing a part in hindering the development of this Church. Without becoming involved in this inter-religious discourse, it must be said, that the given Church does indeed have many religious communities, and some communities of other Orthodox Churches have openly decided to transfer to the UAOC Canonical. However the State authorities on various, often fabricated, grounds refuse to register them.

For example, in Kyiv a State representative claimed in court that one of the grounds for turning down the application for registration were grammatical mistakes in the charter which contravene the law on language.

However the authorities also apply better thought-out arguments which are based on the already mentioned shortcomings in our so-called liberal legislation. A religious community submits for registration a charter of a religious community of the UAOC Synodic, and the registering body claims that there is no such Church in Ukraine, or, more accurately, there is no registered religious centre or religious administrative body and by law, the State recognizes subordination only to registered religious centres or religious administrative bodies (Part 2 of Article 8 of the Law on religious organizations).[9] In this way, the State executive body, by its arbitrary interpretation of legislation, creates a logical vicious circle, where the community is not registered because there is no Church, and the Church does not exist because it has no registered communities. The argument as regards the voluntary nature of registration of communities also does not have validity as legislation does not entitle unregistered communities to create religious centres or religious administrative bodies, this being direct discrimination against these communities.

On the other hand, registration of yet another Orthodox Church is a departure from the strategic goals of the State Committee on Religious Affairs in creating a Single Local Church. According to unofficial information, the retention of the post of the present head of the State Committee on Religious Affairs has been made directly dependent on whether or not another Orthodox Church is created. There are therefore well-founded grounds for asserting that in this case the executive body is clearly an interested party and wants at any price to make the registration of new Orthodox Churches impossible.

2.2. The rights of aliens to worship in Ukraine

In February of last year, a Buddhist monk from Japan, a participant in many non-violent movements for peace, Dziunsei Terasavi, was refused entry to Ukraine with no explanation given. He was informed of this at the airport «Borispil» (Kyiv). According to unconfirmed information, the reason for this may have been the ‘lists’ of the Russian special services to which his name had been added after public actions against the war in Chechnya. At the end of the year, he was however able to visit Kyiv.[10]

In March thirty State Deputies of Ukraine approached the State Committee on Religious Affairs with an appeal not to allow the persecution of a pastor of the religious organization «Embassy of God», Sunday Adelaja. In their opinion, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine was illegally refusing to give him a residence permit, and his permit had expired on 14 March.[11]

As problem concerns weakened ethnic groups, who are unable to obtain the financial assistance for their social, national, cultural and other needs, as well as to the Crimean Tatars, who, on the contrary, present substantiated demands for the allocation of financing on a level which the State is unable to provide.

7. Equality in issues involving citizenship, in particular, conditions for obtaining it.

One of the five conditions for receiving Ukrainian citizenship, proof that the person is not a citizen of another country, is quite often simply impossible to satisfy because of the threat to a person’s life if he or she returns for the documents required to the country where they previously lived, or because of prohibitive fees for renouncing one’s previous citizenship.

Equality in exercising the right to return (linked with the reinstatement of citizenship and travel documents, security, housing, employment, access to social services, reconciliation)

This problem again concerns members of deported groups who have returned to their original home.

9. Equal treatment from law enforcement officers;

– freedom from intimidation and the use of physical force;

– treatment in the course of arrest;

– treatment while in custody.

The important problem in general of torture and cruel treatment of detainees is exacerbated when those involved are from the Caucasus, Asia, Africa or are members of certain ethnic groups such as the Roma.

10. Equal treatment in pre-trial detention centres and in penal institutions

– the conditions of imprisonment;

– treatment by the personnel in places of deprivation of liberty.

The staff of pre-trial detention centres and prisons are more brutal in their treatment of immigrants from the Caucasus, Asia, Africa or towards members of certain ethnic groups such as the Roma.

11. Equality in exercising the right to safety and personal security

– state protection against violence, harassment, intimidation

– freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention.

Immigrants from the Caucasus, Asia, Africa and members of certain ethnic groups such as the Roma are particularly vulnerable.

12. Equality in exercising the right to freely vote and to be elected, and the right to take part in the government or bodies of local self-government.

Representatives of the Crimean Tatars and some national minorities and ethnic groups complain that they do not have equal rights in this area, and demand the introduction of special quotas in the electoral system.

13. Equality in exercising the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion

In different regions of Ukraine, different branches of the Orthodox and Greek Catholic Churches feel that they do not have equal rights. There is a lot of talk about discrimination; however the issue involved is more one of property than of freedom of conscience. There are some grounds for speaking of discrimination with regard to non-traditional religions, with this inequality varying from region to region.

15. Equality of national culture and languages

– the use of one’s native language in public and private life;

teaching one’s own language

studying in one’s native language

access to cultural values.

This problem has the greatest resonance, and requires attention both at the ethno-political level and with amendments to legislation.

2. Specific features of the ethno-political status of Ukraine

The present ethnic and national structure of Ukrainian society according to the last census (2001) can be described as follows. The largest group is that of Ukrainians, the national majority with a population of 37.5 million. Russians form the largest minority with 8.3 million people. Eight national minorities have populations from 100 thousand to half a million: Byelorussians (275 000), Moldavians (258 600), Crimean Tatars (248 200), Bulgarians (204 600), Hungarians (156 600), Rumanians (151 000), Poles (144 100), Jews (103 600). Eight national minorities or ethnic groups have populations from 30 – 100 thousand. Armenians (99 900), Greeks (91 500), Tatars (73 300), the Roma (47 600), Azerbaijanis (45 200), Georgians (34 200), Germans (33 300), Gagauzy (31 900). Other ethnic groups are represented by less than 30 thousand people.

One should stress that the most characteristic tendency in Ukraine’s ethnic and national development in the years since independence (1991) has been the decrease in the general population from 52 to 48.5 million, and the drop in numbers of a range of ethnic groups (among them Russians, Jews, Byelorussians, Poles) against a rise in the number of Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars, Armenians, Georgians and Azerbaijanis.

The main feature of settlement of ethnic groups is their dispersed nature. There are only a few regions with a strong presence of non-Ukrainian ethnic groups: Odessa, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk regions (where Russians comprise from 20 to 39 percent of the overall population); the Chernivetsky region with Rumanians and Moldavians (12.5% and 7.3%, respectively); the Transcarpathian region (where Hungarians make up 12,1% of the total population). In the Crimea, Crimean Tatars comprise 12 % of the population of the Peninsula; Bulgarians are concentrated in the Odessa region (where they make up more than 6% of the total population).

In these and other regions there are places with more concentrated settlements of Greeks, Gagauzy, Germans, Poles and the Roma.

It should be noted that the legal concept of national minorities given in Article 3 of the Law «On national minorities in Ukraine» is imperfect. It does not reflect the true ethnic situation in Ukraine, or the tendency which has prevailed since the Second World War of ethnic heterogeneity, which foresees possibilities of self-identification of ethnic groups. The Crimean Tatars, Gagauzy, Krymchaks and Karaims, whose ethnic origins were on the territory of modern Ukraine, cannot be classified as national minorities. These ethnic groups have no state formations outside Ukraine. In our opinion, considering the number of Crimean Tatars (there are around 260 thousand), their sense of self-identification and unity, as well as other features, they should be identified as a people. Karaims and Krymchaks have a special status, and could, we believe, be considered indigenous peoples.

On the whole, population size is not a leading parameter. The model «national majority – national minorities», typical for western countries, can be applied to Ukraine with significant reservations. It can apply to the western part of Ukraine, however the situation in other regions of the country is quite different. There one still feels the old vector of the national policy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union with its pronounced Russian dominant, according to which the peoples of so-called «sovereign» republics were, in fact, national minorities, whose rights were, in practice, consistently ignored. The Ukrainian ethnic group, having been weakened by 350 years of «Russification», continues to feel itself a national minority, as it once was in the USSR. At the same time, Russians cannot reconcile themselves with the status of national minority and do not wish to adapt to new circumstances, particularly since in many regions of Ukraine, together with Russified Ukrainians, Jews, Bugarians, Byelorussians, Greeks, etc, they form a socially dominant component.

As a consequence of these specific features, one could expect violations of national rights in two directions: in Halychyna (Western Ukraine), there could be encroachments upon the rights of national minorities – Russians, Poles, Jews, etc (for example, when seeking employment), whereas in the East and South the rights of the ethnic majority – Ukrainians – are infringed (the right to educate one’s children in one’s native languag Dean of the Roman Catholic Church, Father Volodymyr Sovinsky (a citizen of Poland) was summoned to the Department of Visas and Registration and informed of some problems in processing his documents giving him the right to engage in pastoral activity in Ukraine. In particular, the State Committee on Religious Affairs had taken more than two months to give their permission to his activity in Ukraine, by which time his permit to be in the country had expired. Numerous appeals to State bodies were fruitless, and he was forced to leave for Poland at the demand of the State authorities.

In Dniepropetrovsk, Kharkiv and other cities foreign nationals are often asked to provide a second permit for their religious activity, despite existing agreements received by the religious centre from the State Committee on Religious Affairs.

In the Crimea, the permission procedure for foreign nationals invited to come by Muslim communities has become more complicated. In contravention of Article 24 of the law on religious organizations, each time they need to have such permits processed in Kyiv, and not in the State body which registered the charter of the organization.

The Department of Internal Policy in Sevastopol banned lectures by a teacher from Canada giving as their grounds that not everyone would understand or would be willing to communicate with a foreigner.

2.3. The allocation of land for the construction of religious buildings and conflict over the use of religious buildings

A representative of the State Committee has stated that around 4 thousand religious buildings have already been returned to Churches, and that another 300 buildings cannot be returned immediately because adequate premises need to be found for those institutions presently using the buildings. There are also a lot of buildings of cultural significance, and therefore their status is regulated by separate legislation on the protection of cultural heritage.

The Kyiv City Council refused to allocate land to Ukrainian Lutherans, giving no reason.[12]

After a demonstration of «Embassy of God» which gathered seven thousand people, on 2 April, the head of the Department of land resources of the Kyiv City Administration stated that the authorities would allocate them 2,3 hectares of land in order to build a church in the Oskorky district in Kyiv.[13]

The Luhansk City Council refused to allocate the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC KP) land for building a church. Deputies of the City Council called the construction of churches of the UOC KP «pure provocation», «an attempt by divisive elements to drive a wedge into society».[14]

In the town of Rozhenky (Luhansk region) land already allocated to the Church «The Word of Life» to build a church, was without prior warning and at the decision of Deputies of the State Council used to build a sports ground. Fencing which had marked off this land allocated back in 1993 was removed. The Police in all of this took no action.[15] Certainly, the necessary construction work of the church had not taken place for over ten years however this does not deprive the religious community of the right to the land.

On 24 December actions of the City Council in Donetsk led to protest actions from the Christian Church «The Word of Life». For over 14 years they have not been able to get land in order to build a church. They were therefore forced to gather in rented premises, but then the City Council raised the rent, and also transferred premises which the Church had already rented and renovated on 100 Tkachenko Street to other individuals. It was only on 21 January that a compromise decision was reached on fulfilling the following four demands of the Church:

1) to submit copies of documents, signed by the Mayor, about the review of the issue of transferring the property rights of the building to a session of the City Council in February;

2) to withdraw the application from the court for stopping a rally of the Church;

3) to include representatives of the Church in a commission for reviewing this issue and to give prior warning of the dates of sittings of the commission and of sessions of the City Council at least two weeks in advance;

4) to take a decision on 26 January at a meeting of the executive committee about changing the method of calculating rent, taking into account the demands of religious organizations.

An argument about a church in the Kherson region was settled through the courts. The Kherson Appeal Court on 10 February 2004 declared the claims of the Eparchy of the Moscow Patriarch to the right of ownership of the church in the village Kalininskye unfounded.[16] This decision put an end to a conflict lasting several years between churches which had been accompanied by fights, demonstrations and publications in the press.

On 29 October 2004, the Kharkiv Regional State Administration passed Resolution №436 on the transfer of a part of the premises of the Uspensky Cathedral in Kharkiv to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (OUC MP), with subsequent (by 1 January 2006) full transfer of the premises of the Cathedral to this Church. The situation is complicated by the fact that both the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate were laying claim to these buildings. The Cathedral’s premises include a Hall for organ and chamber music. For a long time the return of the Cathedral to religious communities was put off due to the cost of moving the organ. However the Regional State Administration has informed that a solution has been found for this problem. According to unofficial sources, such a sudden transfer of the Cathedral is connected with the support given by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate to V. Yanukovych.[17]

In Sevastopol, for several years now there has been no success in resolving the issue around the return to the Roman Catholic community of St Clement of a church building on 1 Schmidt Street which presently houses a cinema «Druzhba». This has continued despite many appeals from Catholics and from religious leaders of other churches asking that the church be given to the Catholics. The Sevastopol Human Rights Group on 10 March published an open letter with a demand toe, to use the State language, etc). Thus, in order to maintain harmonious inter-ethnic peace, Ukrainian ethno-politics, legislation and administrative practice must stipulate the protection not only of the rights of national minorities and ethnic groups, but also of the weakened national majority. While the latter remains weakened, society will not be guaranteed from conflict.

The Ukrainian people have no other place, except Ukraine, where they can exercise their right to self-determination. The assertion that the national character of Ukrainian statehood automatically leads to the infringement of the rights of national minorities is the result of long standing anti-Ukrainian propaganda, on which it is quite inadmissible to build the future of Ukraine. On the contrary, the longer the Ukrainian people are denied the right to build their own State, the more acute will be the forms of their protest. For this reason, the rights of national minorities can be reliably protected only if they acknowledge the national character of the Ukrainian State. In their turn, radical Ukrainian political groups must realize that the rights of the Ukrainians cannot be defended through the violation of the rights of other nationalities.

A general principle of State ethno-politics, in our opinion, should be the guarantee for all inhabitants of Ukraine without exception of a certain level of enjoyment of civic, political, social, economic and cultural rights, together with a broad program to promote the development of the culture and language of those ethnic groups which were artificially weakened in the past (Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars and others), on the condition that such support does not impinge upon the rights of other ethnic groups.

3. The status of formerly deported peoples

As mentioned above, members of different ethnic groups in Ukraine were affected by the deportations of the 1940s. The problems of deported peoples have specific regional and local features. The most likely to lead to conflict is that in the Crimea, and therefore we provide here a short analysis of the situation of formerly deported peoples in the Crimea. In addition, we briefly consider the situation with Krymchaks and Karaims who require urgent State assistance.

A major influence on the present position of the Crimean Tatars, who were deported en masse in 1944, has been the incomplete process of their return to their ethnic homeland – the Crimea. The return was impeded by the reaction of the regional authorities of the Crimea, by the absence of an effective state policy for the settlement of repatriates and by a deep economic crisis which lasted for 15 years (1987-2002). According to various estimates, the number of Crimean Tatars, who were living on the territory of the former Soviet Union and wished to return, was around 450-500 thousand, of whom only around 260 thousand have actually been able to return to the Crimea. This means that there are fairly large groups of Crimean Tatars who are forced to live separately from each other in different post-Soviet countries.

Social and humanitarian position

As of the end of 2002, of the number of Crimean Tatars who had returned to the Crimea, approximately 120 000 people, or about 30 000 families (out of 70 000), that is, 43% still did not have homes. Of 136 623 people of working age, 71 379 Crimean Tatars do not have jobs. The majority of Crimean Tatars returning move into 300 new settlements. The Tatar settlements are 75% supplied with electricity, 43% supplied with running water (via pipelines), and no more than 3% with gas. There is virtually no plumbing or heating, and only about 5% of the roads are sealed. There are no schools in these settlements or medical centres. The lack of basic living conditions has led to a dramatic decline in the state of health of the Crimean Tatars, and also to a rise in mortality among those who have returned.

For 45 years, the Crimean Tatars were deprived of the right and the opportunity to teach their children in their native language and to develop their native culture. In many cases the renaissance of the Tatars’ self-identification comes with the beginning of repatriation. In order to open schools with lessons taught in the Tatar language, textbooks in the Tatar language (which had not been written for 50 years) need to be created and published, and teachers of the Tatar language need to be trained. At present there are only 9 such schools in the Crimea. The level of Russification of the Crimean Tatars has reached critical proportions.

Only two newspapers are published in the Crimean Tatar language in the Crimea, they are issued once a week with small print runs. The total TV and radio broadcasting in the Tatar language constitutes only a few hours a week.

Legislative provisions of the repatriation process and restoration of the rights of the Crimean Tatars.

This is one of the most immediate and, at the same time, unresolved aspects of the Crimean Tatar situation. Not a single law has yet been passed in Ukraine to regulate the legal procedures connected with the process of return of the Crimean Tatars and restoration of their rights. The la the city authorities to stop violating the rights of Catholics in Sevastopol, and to take measures to return the church which is owned to them, and warning against discrimination on religious grounds.

In Sevastopol places of worship have been returned to followers of Orthodox Christianity and Islam. However Catholics are openly and consistently being denied the restoration of their rights and the return of their church. With the consent of the city authorities, in the altar area of the church, an open and constantly working public pay toilet has been installed. In the actual church, which was reequipped as a cinema, low-quality films (erotic and action films) are shown, and game machine are also available. In this way, a house of worship has been turned into an entertainment area.

Also in Sevastopol, there is a problem with the allocation of a place to build a mosque, although here the argument is raging less about the allocation itself, but around specific places. The authorities of Sevastopol approved a plan for locating Churches, which did not allow for Mosques. The city authorities now, therefore, are trying to allocate a place for the Mosque outside the city or in an inconvenient place, whereas the Muslim community is demanding a better place for their building.

Human rights organizations have received a copy of the General Plan for the city of Sevastopol, «Plan for the location of Orthodox Churches», agreed with the Head of the City Council and blessed by the Arch Bishop of Simferopol and the Crimea, and also the by the Beneficial of the Sevastopol district. This is a documentary example of the discriminatory policy of the authorities as regards the allocation of land for new places of worship. It also confirms that the city authorities, in allocating land to any community, consult with the representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate.

In Sevastopol a place has also been allocated for building a church of the Greek Catholic community. It is true that the place is on a transfer road, virtually outside the city, and yet the community cannot build there either due to the obstacles place by neighbouring businesspeople.

The special sub-division «Berkut, according to the Head of the political and legal administration of the Medzhlis of the Crimean Tatars, Hadir Bekirov, have forced the Muslim community of the town Nikita (Crimea) to vacate premises which were in the past a Mosque. The building is 114 years old. It is formally under the administration of the State Committee for Natural Resources, and recently it was transferred to the State enterprise «Pivdenecogeocentre»[18] However for the last years it has stood empty and abandoned. Bekirov asserts that the mosque building was used for keeping hens and breeding snakes, and at night, rather suspicious types, looking like criminals, used it as a gathering place. The court supported the enterprise and evicted the community, despite the position of the State Committee for Religious Affairs, which had suggested adding the Mosque to the list of objects of cultural heritage, which are subject to return to the community. This yet again demonstrates the impotence of departments of the State Committee for Religious Affairs in the regions when it comes to resolving disputes over property.[19]

In Lviv representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOP MP) complain that they are not being allocated land to build a cathedral and a building for eparchial administration. They accuse the authorities of deliberately dragging out the process. However the authorities claim that they are offering options which the UOP MP reject, since they do not suit them.

More than 500 believers from the UOP MP picketed the Rivne Regional State Administration on 2 June demanding that they be allocated the Rivne Svyato-Voskresensk Cathedral together with the premises of the former eparchial administration. Representatives of the Church stated that, in accordance with court decisions taken from 1995 – 1997, premises of the eparchial administrations should belong to them. However the decision of the court has not been implemented since the building is presently occupied by the eparchial office and seminary of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (OUC KP). Representatives of the authorities have called for negotiations with the OUC KP, and have offered to act as mediators.

The premises of the Synagogue of Orthodox Judaism in Uzhhorod, which now houses the local philharmonic orchestra, have not been returned. This despite the community having nothing against neighbouring with the philharmonic orchestra, and, it would seem, are ready to seek a compromise solution.[20]

Parishioners of the Vinnytsa Roman-Catholic Parish of the Mother of God, Antohelska, have appealed to the Prime Minister with a request to return the buildings of the Caputsinsky Monastery to the community. They had previously approached the City Mayor, O. Dombrovsky, but had had no response.

The most urgent issue remains that of representation of Crimean Tatars in the elective and executive bodies of the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea. The importance of resolving these problems for the Crimean Tatars is obvious since, during their enforced stay in the places they were deported to, the Crimea underwent fundamental demographic and ethnic transformations. The majority of non-Tatar inhabitants of the Crimea still hold anti-Tatar stereotypes. Consequently, a large number of questions related to their development, which are vital to them, are not supported by local executive bodies. During the formation of representative bodies of the Crimean Autonomous Republic, representatives of the Crimean Tatars have virtually no chance of being elected to these bodies under a normal system of elections, since the authorities settled the returning Crimean Tatars in such a way as to ensure that they would not form a majority in relation to the rest of the population in any region of the Crimea.

Any proposals from the Crimean Tatars aimed to creating legal mechanisms to ensure real representation of the Crimean Tatar people in the Crimean bodies of power, are boycotted by the ethnic majority. Accordingly, the deliberate policy of not admitting Crimean Tatars into the bodies governing the life of the autonomy is contributing to the self-isolation of the Crimean Tatars and leading to increasing estrangement among people and a tendency towards confrontation.

The lack of laws establishing the principles for the restoration of the rights of the Crimean Tatars creates new problems which could have been avoided. These problems arise in questions of citizenship, land reform, privatization of State property, the restoration of cultural values and in other spheres. This all takes place against the background of no legislative definition for the forms, mechanisms and time periods for compensation for the material damage inflicted both on the Crimean Tatar people as a whole, and on each deported person or his / her descendants. One need only mention that during the deportations from the Crimea, more than 80 thousand houses were illegally confiscated. A large number of these buildings are still standing however they were passed by the State to other individuals.

The attitude of the authorities to repatriation. Difficulties of dialogue

The communist political elite which ruled in the Crimea, actively exploiting the separatist mood of Russian settlers who had arrived on the peninsula in the post-war years, succeeded in persuading the central State authorities in Kyiv to provide the Crimean region with autonomous status. The new powers gained were actively used by the Crimean authorities to limit the possibilities with regard to political, socio-economic and cultural integration of those Crimean Tatars who were returning. Only after the position of the authorities of independent Ukraine in the Crimea strengthened (after 1994), did the number of openly anti-Tatar statements by the Crimean authorities decrease significantly.

Relations between the Crimean Tatars and the official State authorities at different stages of development of the independent Ukraine may be described as mixed. However the key element remained the wish of the State to encourage the return of the Crimean Tatars to their native lands and the practical actions by the government in providing assistance during the process of repatriation. The discussions about the legal status of the Crimean Tatars in Ukraine are quite another matter. In this question there is a fairly wide range of opinions amongst the Ukrainian political elite – from wanting total assimilation of those Crimean Tatars who return, to supporting the idea of national-territorial status of Crimean autonomy within the Ukraine, as a form of self-determination of the Crimean Tatar people within Ukraine.

A narrowing of differences in seeking the best solution for all parties in such a many-sided issue as the return, settlement and restoration of the rights of an integrated people, has been hampered to this day by the unwillingness of State bodies to recognize de jure traditional elective national institutes of the Crimean Tatars: the Kurultay and Mejlis (formed by Kurultay) as bodies which can represent the interests of the Crimean Tatar people until such time as the State creates effective mechanisms for such relations which ensure the preservation and development of Tatar original culture, language, traditions and religion within the Ukrainian state.

It should be noted here that the most productive and consistent relations between State bodies and the Meijlis have been achieved by the President of Ukraine and structures connected to the Cabinet of Ministers. At the same time, representative bodies of the Crimean Autonomous Republic demonstrate an especially negative attitude to working together with Crimean Tatar national institutions. Inf="#_ftn21" name=_ftnref21 >[21]

In Poltava, the Zhovtnevy district court satisfied the claim of the OUC KP, acknowledging their ownership of the Svyato-Mikolayivsk Church, this following a two-year conflict between the community of the OUC MP and the former head of the community of the OUC KP who, against the wishes of the community, had transferred to the jurisdiction of the OUC MP and had used property of the community for his own business purposes. The decision declares illegal the continued retention by the former Senior Priest of the Church, Sergiy Znamensky, of the official stamp, the treasury and the accounting documents of the religious community of the OUC KP. The court has decreed that he must return this property, as well as the keys to the Church, and has prohibited the former head of the community, Znamensky, from calling himself the head of the Parish of the community of this Church. The Svyato-Mikolayivsk Church was, from May 2002 until the decision of the court about its ownership illegally sealed. In May 2002 representatives of the OUC MP provoked a fight with parishioners of the OUC KP in Poltava, and in May 2002, Parishoners of the OUC KP accused the OUC MP of having seized the Svyato-Mikolayivsk Church in Poltava. In all of this, the law enforcement agencies, Prosecutor’s office and Department for religious matters of the Poltava Regional State Administration took no appropriate action to stop the conflict. The law enforcement agencies, in particular, did not even launch a criminal case concerning the clear abuse of his official position in the past by the then head of this religious community, this contributing to the development of the conflict and the violation of people’s right to practice their religion. The best that the State representatives could think of was to seal up a religious building, thus depriving people of the right to collectively practice their religion, and making it impossible to use the Church for more than two years. This despite the fact that the conflict had in general arisen not between different communities over the Church, but between the members of the community and their head, a single individual. We consider that in this case the State bodies yet again neglected their obligation to solve such conflicts using the rule of law.

The Spiritual Council of Christian Confessions supported the appeal of the believers of the Evangelical Christian Baptists of Odessa sent on 8 November to the President of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma, in which the authors of the document ask him to help them restore justice and the legal rights of the Odessa Church of the Evangelical Christian Baptists «Resurrection» to a place of worship.

The Church «Resurrection» and the joint stock company «Odessa Tourist» signed a lease contract on 30 June 2002, with subsequent right of purchase of the half-ruined 676 metre squared building at the address: Odessa, Gagarinske plateau, 5 with surrounding territory of 0,5 hectares. A month after this contract was signed, the said building was, in accordance with an order of the General Director of «Odessa Tourist» № 14 of 30 September 2000, transferred to the closed stock company «Antarctic Tourist». The «Resurrection» Church had renovated this building and paying all rent on time, as well as other payments and contributions in accordance with the contract. When the «Resurrection» Church declared their intention to buy this building, the joint stock company «Odessa Tourist» – the former owner of the building turned to the Commercial Court of the Odessa Region demanding that the lease agreement be dissolved and the «Resurrection» Church evicted. The Commercial Court of the Odessa Region ruled in favour of the joint stock company «Odessa Tourist». The Appeal Commercial Court of the Odessa Region on 5 May 2003 annulled this decision as having had no legal basis. In a second appeal by the joint stock company «Odessa Tourist» to the Commercial Court of the Odessa Region, a decision was once again made in favour of the «Resurrection» Church.

2.4. Incitement to religious hostility

In Simferopol local skinheads have been accused of persecuting Crimean Tatars. This was reported by the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars, who demanded that the organization of skinheads be disbanded. In his words, it is specifically they who destroyed the Monument to the Victims of the Deportation in Simferopol. Law enforcement officers not only deny the existence of skinheads in the Crimea, but take no steps to look for them.[22]

Representatives of the OUC MP attempted to interrupt a religious service in the Church of the Holy Martyr Joseph Petrogradsky in Dzherzhynsk (Donetsk region), which belongs to the True Orthodox Church (TUC). The Moscow Fathers stated that only the OUC MP has the right to serve parishioners in this region. Previously, on 18 April during a Service for the Dead at one of the cemeteries of the city, priests from the TUC were attacked by clergy from the UOC MP. The next day their telephones and electricity were cut off. On the application of the eparchiate, the city authorities have demanded that the dome and cross be taken from the Chur the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine there is openly expressed opposition to the restoration of the rights of the Crimean Tatars from certain left-wing factions, in particular, from the Communist Party of Ukraine. Right-wing and right-of-centre factions are in favour of seeking constructive dialogue with the Crimean Tatars

3.2. Other deported ethnic groups of the Crimea: Bulgarians, Armenians, Greeks, Germans

Like the Crimean Tatars, these ethnic groups were also deported en masse, in what was, effectively, a policy of ethnocide. In 1941, 51 thousand Crimean Germans were deported (in Ukraine as a whole there are around 450 thousand ethnic Germans), in the summer of 1994 – 38 thousand Bulgarians, Armenians and Greeks. According to official data, as of 1 January 2000, of those previously deported, 536 Germans, 1865 Greeks, 306 Bulgarians and 320 Armenians were now living in the Crimea. According to unofficial data (including information from civic organizations of these ethnic groups), about 12 thousand formerly deported Bulgarians, Germans, Greeks and Armenians live on the peninsula.

These ethnic groups suffer from many difficulties, which we have already mentioned in connection with the Crimean Tatars. Yet, there are essential differences. These ethnic groups never had such well-organized national movements as the Crimean Tatars during Soviet times. That is why, during the mass repatriation (late 80s – early 90s), they could not create sufficiently powerful civic organizations to defend their rights. Their organizations are of a purely cultural nature and they are entirely dependent on State institutions when it comes to resolving problems. The regional authorities have used this situation, cultivating their wary attitude to the Crimean Tatars, who take an active position in defending their own rights. The position of the authorities in constantly suggesting that Armenians, Bulgarians, Greeks and Germans show more loyalty fosters a psychological perception, and in some fields, actual inequality and discrimination in the relations between Crimean Tatars and other formerly deported Crimean ethnic groups.

3.3. Krymchaks and Karaims

There are approximately 1200 Karaims (800 out of them in the Crimea) and 550 Krymchaks in the Ukraine. Over the last 100 years, their numbers have decimated. These peoples, in terrible conditions, remain without any educational or cultural institutions, have almost lost their languages and are close to dying out as a people, yet they still preserve a sense of ethnic identity.

These peoples need extremely careful attention to their languages, cultural and religious establishments and values from both the State and from other ethnic communities. These groups are in such a critical position, where indifference also becomes a form of discrimination and permanent inequality, since they themselves already have no potential for ethnic renaissance.

Of particular urgency is the passing of special legislative acts aimed at preserving the dwindling numbers of these groups and their cultural heritage (for example, their architectural constructions). The issue of the national sanctuary of the Karaims – Chufut-Kale, needs to be resolved, as well as the Kenas (place of worship) in Simferopol and two Kenas on the territory of the Bakhchiserai reserve.

4. The problem of xenophobia in Ukraine

4.1. General comments

In our opinion, the level of xenophobia in Ukraine is no higher than in other post-totalitarian countries. It is, moreover, lower than in Russia, Rumania, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia. Nonetheless xenophobic incidents directed at Russians, Jews, Crimean Tatars, the Roma and immigrants from the Caucasus, Asia and Africa are fairly frequent. We have witnessed acts of vandalism against Russian and Jewish sacred places and symbols; sometimes these acts of vandalism are carried out against Ukrainian sacred places and symbols. In some publications we have met texts with clear xenophobic overtones. There are, in general, small groups of people (one could call them «professionals Ukrainians / Russians / Jews», or, using the term coined by the well-known Russian philosopher, Grigory Pomerants, «nationally concerned»), who insult one another on the pages of their own newspapers which are printed in very small numbers. As a rule, the exchange of offensive articles is accompanied by law suits defending honour and dignity. In our opinion, the courts deal with these claims adequately.

However, since the middle of 2002, the number of publications with xenophobic overtones has increased, and they have begun to be published in newspapers with big circulation. For example, on 15 November 2002 the newspaper «Silski visti» (with a circulation of around half a million) published an article by Professor Vasyl Yaremenko «The Myth about Ukrainian anti-Semitism». The author in particular writes: «The State and the public must regulate the mass infiltration of particularly dangerous Zionist elements into higher State executive bodies, the financial sphere and the mass media». The Anti-Fascist Committee of Ukraine responded by applying to the court to withdraw State registration of this newspaper. Court consideration of such cases usually takes a long time. On 28 January 2004 the newspaper «Silski visti» was closed down by the Shevchenkivsky District Court in Kyiv. On 26 November 2004, the Appeal Court in Kyiv reversed the ruling of the court of first instance as unfounded, and sent the case back for further consideration. This case, provocative in character, has brought about an increase in xenophobic tendencies in Ukrainian society (more details below).

Results of sociological research also suggest that the level of isolationism and xenophobia, beginning from 2002, has increased[3]. Whereas from 1992 to 2001 there had been a gradual decrease in the average indicators for general national estrangement, in 2002 there was a sudden burst, a sharp increase in «the sense of estrangement» from practically all nationalities. The overall results of the research must be a matter for concern: as Natalya Panina writes, «in ten years of independence the relative percentage of psychologically open (inclined to national tolerance) people has decreased by more than 3.5 times; virtually half the population now consists of people with isolationist attitudes as far as inter-ethnic relations are concerned; particularly worrying is the rise in xenophobic attitudes: the number of people expounding these has quadrupled in the last ten years».

The reaction of State executive bodies toch, and representatives of the Executive Committee have demanded that they cease their religious activity in the city.[23]

The activity of so-called anti-sectarian organizations have led to waves of inter-confessional tension. In legislation there are no legislative norms regarding the definition of «sects» or «non-traditional religion». Furthermore, all organizations are equal before the law and none should be given precedence. In such conditions the activity against so-called sectarian organizations, which are in fact recognized and active religious organizations in Ukraine, should be qualified as incitement to religious hostility and punished in accordance with the law. Unfortunately, the law enforcement agencies not only do not react to illegal activities aimed at inciting religious hostility, but sometimes even support such behaviour and take part in their activities.

In this area, the public activity of the Moscow «Fighter of Sects», O. Dvorkin, and the Help Centre for Victims of Destructive Cults «Dialogue», particularly stand out. The founders of such organizations are often representatives of OUC MP, which use such mechanisms to consolidate their own position. The overt support of OUC MP for anti-sectarian organizations is also demonstrated on the official Internet website of OUC MP in the section «Sects». In it we find information about non-Christian religions, and occasionally the OUC KP is also named a sect or schismatic movement.[24] Such organizations particularly focus on charismatic Christian Churches. They hold conferences and seminars, distribute printed or electronic material which overtly turn people against this or that religious organization which is officially recognized in Ukraine. After this, there are cases of conflict or scuffles on religious grounds, religious services are illegally stopped, and moral and physical pressure is exerted on representatives of religious organizations which, in the view of the «Dialogue» Centre, are sects.

In particular, as a result of such «educational work» by the «Dialogue» Centre, inter-religious conflicts occurred on 13 and 14 May in Donetsk and Horlivka.[25]

We consider that the authorities should react properly to overt demonstrations of incitement to inter-religious hostility and incitement to conflict.

2.5. Other violations

In Dnipropetrovsk the Regulation on holding mass actions in the city of Dnipropetrovsk which was approved by a decision of the executive Committee of the Dnipropetrovsk City Council on 21 August 2004 № 2207 remains in force. The illegality of this legislative act is accounted for by several factors, more about which can be read in the section on freedom of peaceful assembly. However it is interesting that this Regulation stipulates specific rules for the holding of peaceful assemblies by religious organizations which contravene the law on freedom of conscience and religious organizations, and also establishes discrimination on religious grounds. Paragraph 16 of the Regulation states that: «Religious actions outside the places and buildings foreseen by the Law of Ukraine «On freedom of conscience and religious organizations» are held each time on having gained the permission of the Executive Committee of the City Council after a review of the purpose and program of the action to be held by the Office of internal policy of the City Council».

Human rights activists have sent a complaint to the Prosecutor’s office for the city of Dnipropetrovsk concerning the contravention by this Regulation of norms of the Constitution and laws of Ukraine, however they have received no response.

Representatives of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church have pointed to obstacles being placed in their way when seeking to satisfy the religious needs of military servicemen, and have also drawn attention to cases, when, in order to hold religious services in prisons, they were forced to seek permission from priests of the OUC MP.

Cases have been recorded of the violation of people’s labour rights because of their religious convictions: people have been dismissed or forced to work on religious holidays, etc.

On cases of xenophobia has, we believe, been too slack. This confirms the need to prepare and implement special measures aimed at preventing xenophobia; these measures must be planned taking into account specific regional and local features.

4.2. The Roma

According to the 1989 census, the number of Roma people comprised 47,900, with 12,131 living in Transcarpathia. However, the findings of special research carried out by the Uzhhorod Regional Council suggest that the number of Roma people in Transcarpathia is in excess of 20,000, that is, 1.6% of the population of the region. The results of the 2001 census were as follows: 47 600 indicated their Romani ethnic origin, 14,000 of whom lived in Transcarpathia. According to the data of the civic organization «The Romani Yag», the number of Roma people in Transcarpathia is over 40,000. In Odessa, there are more than 4,000 Roma people (according to the census of December 2001.

Attitudes within society to the Roma remain negative, and sociological surveys suggest that prejudice against the Roma is more widespread than against people from other national minorities. Studies into national tolerance applying the Bogardus scale[4], which were carried out several times during the 90s by the Institute of Sociology showed that the level of intolerance registered more than 5 on this scale. This suggests that in the mass perception, the Roma are not considered permanent residents of Ukraine. To characterize the attitude to the Roma, we could cite the following examples. On a television program «Seven days» (4 March 2001, 21.00 channel «UТ-1») viewers were asked: «Do Ukrainian citizens want to see camps of beggars or gypsies on Kreshchatik Street?», on 5 March in the program «Accents», the TV presenter V. Lapicur named the activists from the tent camp on Kreshchatik «political gypsies». In an open letter to the president of the National Television and Broadcasting company of Ukraine, Vadim Dolganov, representatives of the Transcarpathian Roma voiced their protest against the «offensive use of the name of their ethnic minority» in programs of TV Channel One (UT-1), and demanded that the UT-1 journalists of «publicly apologize to the Roma community». Unfortunately, no apologies were heard.

The Roma experience the highest degree of intolerance and suffer greatly from social discrimination. The level of unemployment among the Roma is, on average, the highest, their living conditions are worse than those of other ethnic groups. They experience more difficulty with access to education, medical services and the judicial system. School attendance figures for Roma children remain low.

In Transcarpathia, where the number of Roma people is the largest, intolerance towards them is also very widespread. This attitude is one of the reasons why Roma people do not have work. Many of them live below the poverty line. According to the most recent sociological studies in Transcarpathia, 87.5% of Romani families had not been engaged in agricultural work in the last 9 years. 50% of family members had been unable to find other sources of income besides salary, and only 25% had small additional sources of income[5].

The Roma discuss issues related to the right to own land. Among non-Roma, one of the most fixed stereotypes about the Roma is the notion that historically they have never worked on the land, and that they don’t care whether they are allocated land. The results of research have shown that more than 62.5% of Romani people would like to own land and make a living from agriculture. It is to be regretted that during our visits to Roma camps (128 in the region) we found only a few Romani people who had been allocated their own land. This situation creates tension in the country given that several thousand Romani families will soon depend entirely on State social assistance and there is usually a large number of children in Romani families. The mistake of State policy is that it leaves a large part of the rural population (among them Roma) without any opportunity to earn their own living. During the first Czechoslovakian republic, the majority of Romani people owned land, had horses, cows and agricultural equipment. This gave them the opportunity to petition from a priest of the Moscow Patriarchate in the village Muraf, Krasnokutsk region, in January 2004, the Kharkiv regional department of education demanded that the director of a school in Muraf dismiss a priest of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, Mikhailo Mironov, who had begun teaching English in the village (Father Mikhailo Mironov studied at the faculty of foreign languages). The formal reason given was the teacher’s incomplete higher education. Now students in the village will not learn English at all due to the unwillingness of bureaucrats to allow a priest of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church to engage in teaching work. Father Mikhailo Mironov appealed for assistance to the Head of the Commission of the Verkhovna Rada on Cultural Issues, Les Tanyuk, and the Human Rights Ombudsperson Nina Karpachova..[26]

3. Participation of religious organizations in the election campaign for President of Ukraine[27]

The election campaign of 2004 was marked by the mass use of religious organizations with the aim of influencing citizens’ choice through their religious convictions. On the whole, this can be explained by the fact that, according to results of sociological research, religious organizations at the beginning of 2004 enjoyed the greatest degree of trust from the population. What took place was effectively a deliberate manipulation of people’s freedom of conscience. Moreover, the State authorities took no measures to stop such activity.

In a democratic society it is inadmissible to use religious organizations for political campaigning, this being undoubtedly an intrusion into the private life of citizens and a violation of their freedom of opinion and religion.

The main participants in the election campaign were the OUC MP, the «Embassy of God», Jewish communities[28] and other organizations.

Human rights organizations[29] published an open appeal on 19 November[30], in which they stressed that such practice violates legislation and freedom of conscience and religion.

The Sevastopol Human Rights Group, in an open appeal on 15 September drew attention to the fact that the headquarters of V. Yanukovych in Sevastopol were coordinating their actions together with religious organizations, and had stated this directly at their opening.[31]

The Administration of the OUP MP came out with explanations as to pastoral practice in the framework of the presidential campaign, in which it found the twisting of legislation admissible. In particular, in these explanations the main focus was on the prohibition of campaigning exclusively on the premises of churches or during religious services, which narrowed the general prohibition, established by legislation. However, practice showed that even this demand was not adhered to.

Cases of campaigning by representatives of the churches were reported, from the OUC MP, in Sevastopol, Luhansk, Kirovohrad, Sarny, Odessa, Sumy, Zaporizhye, Poltava, Donetsk and many other cities and villages. The campaigning took place both in the Churches themselves after religious services, and in separate interviews, appearances and public statements.

In Eastern Ukraine, including in the church buildings themselves, illegal leaflets without information about their source were distributed in support of Presidential candidate, V. Yanukovych. These contained clear elements of incitement to religious hostility and intoleranceprovide for their own families and not resort to begging as is extremely common now. In response to the question: «What were the main reasons for your migration from your city or region?» 75% of Romani people answered that they had lost any hope of living in normal conditions, while 12.5% said that the reason had been the impossibility of practising their traditional professions. 62.5% replied that they had never looked for work outside Ukraine, while 12.5% travel as migrant workers several times or once a year. The results of our research show that the Roma have suffered most from the economic crisis and that for them it is especially difficult to benefit from market reforms[6].

The number of tuberculosis patients among the Roma in Transcarpathia is rising all the time. In one of the Uzhhorod camps, 25% of the 300 inhabitants have contracted tuberculosis. The regional Health Department has confirmed that 80% of the Romani children in Transcarpathia are ill with tuberculosis[7].

Many cases have been recorded of violence, discrimination and bad treatment of Romani people. This also applies to officers of law enforcement bodies. The most blatant examples are given below:

1. On 28 October 2001, the European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) demanded that the Ukrainian authorities investigate the deaths of five members of a Romani family in Kriukov (district of Kremenchug, Poltava region). According to the ERRC, Major Ivanov of the Kriukov District Police Unit and two unidentified individuals had set fire to the home of Yuri Fedorchenko with seven family members inside. The five who died were aged from 3 to 25. Two members of the family survived. One of the survivors, 50-year-old Yuri Fedorchenko, claimed that Major Ivanov had set fire to the house because the family had refused to pay a bribe each month of 215 UH (approximately $40) to ensure Ivanov’s protection for drug dealing, which Fedorchenko’s daughter had previously been involved in. The police detained two individuals and dismissed Major Ivanov, although no legal action was taken against him[8].

2. To: The General Prosecutor of Ukraine,

S. Piskun

Cc: Ministry of Internal Affairs, Yu. Smirnov

On 6 July, 2002, Kalman Kalmanovych Buchko, a Roma, was beaten to death by a group of drunk adolescents in the Shakhtsky district of Uzhhorod. His mother’s family has been left without their only breadwinner. The Uzhhorod police launched a criminal investigation and the case was returned to Uzhgorod where the Roma community expected an objective ruling. However, those detained were released from prison and the charges were dropped. Even the person who dealt the fatal blows to Kalman Buchko’s head with a metal pipe and who has admitted his guilt was released and only told not to leave the country. In the past three months, the eight Ukrainians accused of Kalman Buchko’s death have been freed. We, the leaders of the Roma organizations in Uzhhorod are disappointed that the Roma continue to be jailed for minor offences, whether collecting metal or stealing a chicken, crimes which do not endanger the lives of other Roma or non- Roma people. The young Ukrainian who committed the crime against Buchko used the fact that his father works in legal department of the local Transcarpathian State executive body and the law does not apply to him. It is difficult to understand how Ukraine can continue to claim that there is no discrimination against Romani people in this country. We demand that those who were involved in the death of Kalman Buchko be brought to justice no matter, and were also direct campaigning by the OUC MP for its candidate.

The OUC MP held a number of religious processions in support of Presidential candidate, V. Yanukovych, this being a form of direct campaigning and, accordingly, illegal activity for religious organizations.

In the program «Closed Zone» on «Channel 5», cassette recordings were made public which proved the participation of the OUC MP in campaigning for Presidential candidate, V. Yanukovych. In particular, on the day after the first round of voting on 6 November, there was a conversation between Father Vitaly Kosovsky and one of the leaders of the headquarter of V. Yanukovych, Yury Levenets. The cassette records a conversation in which they discuss payment to priests for their campaigning services. In their words, special meetings have been organized with priests, at which they are handed campaigning material and also given ‘breakdowns’ about the payment for their services. After this conversation, mass distribution of campaigning literature in support of Yanukovych, and against Yushchenko, began in all churches belonging to the OUC MP.

Later the Mass Media and Internet publications were inundated with reports of cases of direct campaigning by priests of the OUC MP for one of the Presidential candidates.[32]

On 23 November, a cleric of the Church of St Feodosiy Chernihivsky, Archpriest Sergiy Ivanenko-Kolenda made a public statement in which he disclosed cases where in the churches of the Chernihiv eparchate of the OUC MP, a lot of priests, due to pressure from the authorities and church leadership, had undertaken election campaigning for the Presidential candidate, V. Yanukovych. In particular, current legislation had been flagrantly violated by the Archbishop, rural deans and very many priests, through open campaigning, with the use of churches, where direct calls were heard to vote for one candidate only, and where untruthful information was spread about the other candidate. Leaflets and newspapers with a campaigning direction were also distributed in churches. This information was circulated in the Troitsky and Spassky Cathedrals of Chernihiv,churches of Horodnye, Berezny, Korbyukivky, Kulikivky and many villages. The Bishop of Chernihivsky and Nizhynsky OUC MP, Ambrozy (Polikopa) personally made addresses in 17 district newspapers of the region in support of Yanukovych. As a result of the publication of these facts, Archpriest Sergy was subjected to threats, demands that he «repent», withdraw his statement and lead the city. After the priest refused to do this, the Bishop of Chernihivsky, Ambrozy issued an order on 3 December forbidding him from conducting religious services.[33]

In its turn, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) published a special instruction as to how priests should act during the pre-election period. Priests could not organize political meetings, but could take part in these as citizens, but their presence should be reasonable and justified. They were also not to indicate support for a specific candidate, drawing attention to critical thinking, caution in their utterances and encouraging people to fulfil their civic duties.

The Synod of Bishops of the Kyiv-Halytska Metropolity of the UGCC has forbidden priests from standing for election to state executive bodies at all levels. It allows them to stand for election to bodies of local self-government with the consent of the local eparch, and in this, they must not represent any particular political party.[34]

During December, the religious organization «Embassy of God» created a special campaigning stage on Independence Square in Kyiv, from where they campaigned for the Presidential candidate V. Yushchenko. Songs like «Jesus is our Lord» were interspersed with chants of «Yes to Yushchenko!» They also distributed special campaigning material.

The behaviour of the special State executive body on religious matters was interesting. The State Committee simply distanced itself from the whole problem[35], stating that it had no levers of influence on the situation.[36] It concluded that the law must be changed. As though it had no authority to stop organizations which were carrying out such activities. Yet, the point here is that the State Committee did not even make a public statement on this subject, it sent no warnings to organizations and in general took no action at all, which still further strengthens the arguments in favour of disbanding it.

We consider it to be unacceptable to force people to vote for the President of Ukraine under the pressure of the clergy and under threat of being refused Communion. We believe the cases of moral coercion and intimidation of believers in the Church from some priests and bishops to be inadmissible, and to be a grave violation of the right to a free vote, which is the foundation of the election process. Under such psychological pressure, people lose their freedom of choice, and the very coercion has nothing in common with the fundamental idea of the holding of free elections.

Such practice violates not only the principle of the neutrality of the State, which is affirmed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the principle of separation of Church and State, guaranteed by the Constitution of Ukraine, but also the Law of Ukraine «On the freedom of conscience and religious organizations» which not only stipulates that religious organizations must not take part in the activities of political p whose children they are. We await justice and objectivity in resolving this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Aladar Adam

President of the Association of Roma Community Organizations «Unity»

Aladar Pap, Head of the Roma Cultural-Educational Organization «Rom Som»

Josyp Adam, Head of the Roma Organization « Roma»

Omelian Pap, Head of the regional Roma Organization «Amaro Drom"[9]

3. On 8 September, 2002, a fight arose between local Romani and non-Romani youth in the village Petrovka near Odessa. It resulted in the death of a non-Romani boy. Romani people living in the village fled it, fearing violence. The village council declared that «people of Gypsy nationality» must leave the village. There was massive destruction to the Roma settlement in the village with non- Roma villagers burning 10 Roma buildings. Villagers who were interviewed on television claimed that the youths had been drawn into drug dealing by the gypsies. Villagers demanded that they be removed from the village. Five Roma youth gave themselves up to the police several weeks after the incident. Local authorities temporarily called in police teams to maintain the peace; however, there were no reports of subsequent violence[10].

4. Letter to the editor of the «The Romani Yag» bulletin

Dear readers of «Romani Yag»,

It is very difficult for me to write this but I feel that it is my duty to describe the attitudes of policemen towards the Roma in the city of Brovary, Ukraine. On 26 December, 2002 police in Brovary decided to «hunt down the Gypsies».

The policemen walked the streets at night and asked dwellers where the Gypsies live and took all the men and some women of the gypsy community to the police station. By the end of the day there were more than 50 Gypsies in isolated cells.

What was their reason?

Three prisoners had escaped three days before and one was known to have some link with the gypsies. The police decided to detain the gypsy men to force the «baron» to «give up» the escaped prisoner.

Respected citizens, how long will our nation be the scapegoat for others? We are all citizens of Ukraine, and I stress «we» because the Romani Gypsies have lived in Ukraine for more than two centuries. Yet the attitudes towards them, as can be seen by what happened in Brovary, have not improved. It is painful to see that non-Romani Gypsies do not look at Romani Gypsies as human beings.

Is it so difficult for educated people living in the modern world to understand that the traditional gypsy way of life and the system of barons does not exist anymore? That every Gypsy family lives separately? That Romani Gypsy children study alongside Ukrainian children in schools, that Gypsies work alongside Ukrainians in industry and business? Why should Romani Gypsies have to suffer this? JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE ROMANI GYPSIES?! It is unfortunate that many feel that the Roma are of a lower race.

Ludmila Kravchenko, Brovary, member of the Roma Youth organization «Terni Zor»[11].

5. According to the Uzhhorod-based Romani organization «Romani Yag», on 17 December,2002, following the killing of a non-Roma woman in the town of Mukachevo, the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine, the police used physical violence against some Roma who had been unlawfully detained for questioning. «Romani Yag» claims that, on the same day, Mukachevo police raided the town’s Roma neighbourhood and, at approximately 5 o’clock in the evening, sev­eral Roma were forced into police cars and brought to the town police station. It is reported that many of those detained were lightly dressed, as they had not been given the opportunity to take warm clothes with them. Following their arrival at the police station, some of the Roma were kept in the yard and some in the corridors of the police building. It was minus 10 degrees Celsius. The Roma held in the yard were forced to stay there for three cold days, during which time hey were brought inside intermittently for questioning. After three days, the group was finally al­lowed inside the building corridors. «Romani Yag» also informed the ERRC that most of the Roma, who were questioned, had various bodily injuries as a result of physical force applied by police officers. According to victims’ testimonies, police officers beat them with sticks and fists. Accord­ing to «Romani Yag», approximately fifty Roma were questioned in the course of the first day alone. The questioning lasted until December 26, 2002, when the Roma were re­leased without any charges being laid.

«Romani Yag» stated that the perpetrator of the crime was sub­sequently identified and detained. However, the Mukachevo police never apologized to the Roma for the groundless and unlawful detentions, nor the physical beatings, nor have any disciplinary measures been taken against officers who abused their powers. On 28 December, 2002, «Romani Yag» sent a letter in con­nection with the events of 17-26 Decem­ber, 2002, to the General Prosecutor, S. Piskun. On 28 Febru­ary, 2003, «Romani Yag» re­ceived a response from the office of the Chief Prosecutor of Mukachevo in which the prosecutor informed «Romani Yag» that al­legations of police abuse of their authority had been found to be unsubstantiated. Therefore, the prosecutor’s office rejected the appeal to initiate criminal proceedings against police officers of the Mukachevo police department

Responsibility for the violation of Article 5 of the Law on religious organizations is fairly clear. In Part 3 of Article 16 of this law, it is stipulated that in the case of political campaigning by these religious organizations (a violation of the demands of Article 5), such religious organizations should be dissolved by the court. The court is authorized to consider such cases on the application of the body which registered the religious organization (the State Committee for Religious Affairs, local administrations), or the Prosecutor’s office.

However, not one executive body has shown any desire to stop such practice. This entirely applies to the local authorities, who could have used judicial procedure to forbid mass actions (processions, rallies and demonstrations) by religious organizations.

4. Recommendations for improving the situation

1. To bring Ukrainian legislation into compliance with the demands of Articles 9 and 11 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in the light of the court case law of the European Court of Human Rights, in particular, as regards ensuring the neutrality of the State, the possibility for a religious community to receive legal entity status and to freely practice their religion..

2. In drawing up a new version of the law on religious organizations to move the focus from checking out organizations at registration stage to monitoring their activity: to accordingly shorten and simplify the registration of religious organizations, making the procedure at least analogous with the registration of civic associations.

3. To eliminate discrimination when registering the charters of religious communities and to clearly define the grounds for refusing to register or for cancelling the registration of the charters of religious communities.

4. State bodies must not interfere in internal church matters, in particular, those concerning the creation of a single Local Orthodox Church.

5. To introduce effective mechanisms for avoiding discrimination on religious grounds, particularly in the penal system, the social sphere and in the area of labour relations.

6. Law enforcement agencies must react appropriately to cases of incitement to religious hostility, especially from dominant religious organizations, and parties fighting organizations which they consider to be sects.

7. In order to eliminate discriminatory administrative practice and conflict between churches, to pass clear legal norms with regard to the grounds, procedure and time periods for returning church property. It would also be expedient to draw up a detailed plan for returning religious property with these procedures and the time taken for each object defined. Where it is impossible to return such property, provision of some compensation should be stipulated, in particular, for the construction of new religious buildings.

8. To simplify the access for priests of all religious to penal institutions, the Armed Services of Ukraine, and to introduce access of chaplains to all ports of Ukraine, in accordance with international norms.

9. Local State executive bodies should review legislative acts they have passed which establish discriminatory provisions, and also additional limitations, not foreseen by the law, on freedom of religion when holding peaceful gatherings, renting premises, allocating land and returning religious buildings.

[1] Громадська думка про релігію і Церкву в Україні // Національна безпека і оборона / Public opinion on religion and the Church in Ukraine / National Security and Defence, No. 3, 2004, p. 39

[2] A draft of the concept is published in the journal National Security and Defence, № 3, 2004.

[3] ECHR,: Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia and others v. Moldova, 2001

[4] The decision of the Verkhovna Rada in this matter can be found on the web-page of the Internet publication on human rights RUPOR:

[5] This overview is not intended to provide a comprehensive list of all violations of the right to freedom of conscience and religion. All cases are presented in order to provide an example of violations, their character and scale, as well as effective mechanisms for defending the violated right..

[6] The state of religious freedom and level of tolerance in the regions of Ukraine// Religious Panorama, № 8-9, 2004, p. 83.

[7] Religious Panorama. № 4, 2004, p. 17

[8] For more details, see the official wA title="" href="#_ftn12" name=_ftnref12 >[12].

4.3. Discrimination of immigrants from the Caucasus, Asia and Africa

We believe that the status of these groups must be considered in the context of racial discrimination. Members of these groups may not leave home without documents, or they risk being detained by police to establish their identity. The police have often detained people with a different colour skin to check their documents, whereas it is rare for them to check the documents of aliens of European descent. Although the authorities have disciplined representatives of the police who resorted to force, when these incidents have been brought to their attention, such behaviour remains widespread. Representatives of these groups are the first to be suspected when a crime is committed, they are treated more brutally by police officers and the staff of prison institutions. Reports of the US State Department on Human Rights in Ukraine for 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 have spoken of a rising number of complaints of racial discrimination against people of Asian or African origin. Reports of racially motivated incidents of violence against people of Asian or African origin, as well as against «individuals from the Caucasus» have also become more frequent. Representatives of these groups have complained that employees of the law enforcement agencies have consistently ignored, or sometimes even supported acts of violence against them.

Here are several examples.

1. On a clear April evening, two Iranians, Amir Kabini and Askhin were having a walk near the hostels of the medical university on Pekarska street. Both men are trained doctors. Amir, a cardiologist, is 36 years old. He came to Lviv three months ago to do post-graduate studies. Amir Kabini gave his account to the newspaper «Gazeta»: «It happened in the evening, about 7 p. m. Four thuggish types walked up to us and asked where I was from. Unfortunately, I don’t know Ukrainian very well yet, so I couldn’t understand what he was asking. But they immediately began attacking us.

Amir and Askhin tried to run, but the assailant quickly caught up with them. Both were beaten up. Amir’s leg was broken in three places. Both men were robbed: Amir had his jacket, mobile telephone and a wallet with 200 UH taken, while 32ebsite of the Church:

[9] The situation is even more complicated where the subordination of a religious community is to an individual, who is not a centre. This is possible with charismatic religious organizations however the State refuses to officially recognize such relations.

[10] A Buddhist monk is to come to Kyiv on 21 December 2004 // Information on the Internet:

[11] The Internet website of the Religious Information Service of Ukraine:

[12] Religious panorama, № 5, 2004 , p. 14.

[13] Religious panorama, № 4, 2004 , p. 23.

[14] Religious panorama, № 3, 2004 , p. 12.

[15] Religious panorama, № 8-9, 2004 p. 16.

[16] The Appeal Court has resolved the dispute over property between two religious organizations in the Kherson Region // RUPOR

[17] See more about this on the Internet:;;;;;;

[18] Southern ecological and geological center

[19] «Crimean authorities wage an anti-Muslim Dzhihad» // Обком,

[20] Religious Panorama, № 10, 2004 , p. 28.

[21] Religious Panorama, № 8-9, 2004, p. 14.

[22] Religious Panorama. № 3, 2004 p. 24; № 4, 2004 , pp. 24-25.

[23] Religious Panorama.. № 4, 2004 , p. 17.

[24] Here is an example of such information in the section «Sects and heresies»: «02.04.2004. LUHANSK. Yet another provocation from schismatics foiled. At a recent session, the city council of the regional centre finally refused to allocate land in the city centre to the schismatic community of the «Kyiv Patriarchate» for the construction of a cathedral. An application addressed to the mayor of Luhansk, Yevgeny Burlachenko, with the help of whom the small (there are hardly 20-30 parishioners) community of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate representatives were actively trying to have land allocated, has infuriated the Orthodox community. Given that in the Luhansk region there are only two small schismatic communities which don’t have any influence on the development of religious life in the region, their claim to prestigious land seems even more unjustified. Believers of the Luhansk region in a few days gathered several thousands signatures against this intention, and they were taken into account by the city authorities». Source:

[25] For more details, see Religious Panorama, № 5, 2004 pp. 55-56.

[26] See the Internet website:

[27] We are not giving a comprehensive list of all incidents. More information about the role of religious organizations in the election process can be found in a selection of news items on the web-site of the Religious Information Service of Ukraine on the Internet:

[28] See, for example, the website:

<-year-old Askhin lost 500 UH.

Amir Kabini is now lying in his room in the medical university hostel:

«I came here to study», he says, «and instead I am lying here. It is just awful what is going on here! I called the police and what? They came, wrote something for a long time, and I never saw them again».

Attacks on Arabs are not rare in Lviv. «Gazeta» has more than once written about similar incidents. It would seem that this is becoming usual in our city.

A friend of Amir Kabini’s, 26-year-old gastroenterologist from Lebanon, Mohammed Nadjmeddin, was a victim of a racial attack in February 2004.

«Not far from the club «Lialka» several adolescents, who obviously saw themselves as militant skinheads, attacked me», – Mohammed told «Gazeta». «They yelled «Blacks, get out!».

As a result of this attack, the Lebanese doctor had serious concussion.

In a telephone conversation with a reporter from «Gazeta», the head of the Lviv City Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Mikhailo Kurocha, stated that a criminal case had already been launched into the attack on Amir Kabini. However Mr Kurochka refused to provide more details, saying that he had insufficient information on the case[13].

2. In Donetsk, an unplanned funeral procession consisting of 40 foreign students walked along Illych Avenue from the medical university to Lenin Square. This was not only a funeral ritual, but also a protest action against the murder of Indian student Mohammed Ahmed Sartadji.

The 25-year-old fifth-year student from the Donetsk National Technical University was brutally murdered last Thursday in the village of Kommunarovka of the Starobeshevskiy district. The students carried banners with the words: «We want justice!», «Why are we discriminated against?», «Do you have the right to murder me?» and others were written in Hindi, Arabic, English and Russian.

According to information from the Press Secretary of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Donetsk region, Irina Ankudinova,, the body of the student was discovered in Kommunarovka on Thursday evening, in the well of a private home. The young man had suffered brain injuries, and his genitals had been removed. The young man from India lived in this village with a 20-year-old local resident. According to preliminary reports, on that day, they had been visiting friends at some kind of celebration. During the festivities, a row began between Mohammed and a 26-year-old local resident, and a fight took place. An hour later, Mohammed’s body was found in the well. A suspect, accused of «murder with especial cruelty» has been arrested. The main versions of the criminal investigation are jealousy or revenge, but certainly not racism.

Representatives of the association of foreign students have met with Donetsk City authorities and agreed «after the holidays» to hold a joint meeting on «these and other similar cases»

Over the last few years, there have been three murders of Muslims. All victims were married to Ukrainian women. In the other two cases, the murderers have yet to be brought to justice[14].

3. There was a similar case in Odessa. The «skinheads» allegedly not only killed a Sudanese student, but as in the Donetsk murder, cut off his genitals. The journalists, covering this, referred to the accounts of his companions – Arab students studying in higher institutes of this port city. A few days ago, the students held a protest action where they demanded that measures be taken against skinheads who had got out of control.

In the police public information department of the Odessa region, «Sevodnya» was informed that they had no information about a Sudanese student being murdered. The Sudanese embassy, situated in Moscow, gave the same answer. The person we spoke to did, it is true, mention that from time to time students from Ukraine complain to them about attacks by neo-Nazis. The Pro-Rector for International Links, Nikolai Aryaev, told «Sevodnya» that they had specially turned to serious law enforcement bodies in order to check the rumours about the murder of a student, but that nobody had confirmed the information. According to Aryaev, law enforcement officers had spoken to the students who had organized the protest action, had listened to their grievances, and promised to look into each incident mentioned.

Studies into the level of national tolerance using the Bogardus scale, which have been carried out several times since 1992 by the Institute of Sociology of the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences, show that the level of intolerance towards these groups is over 5 on this scale. One can conclude from this that in the mass perception, these groups are not considered permanent residents of Ukraine.

It should be noted that, in some circumstances, law enforcement officials collect information about which ethnic group or group of immigrants a person belongs to. For example, they collect statistics on crimes committed by representatives of certain minorities. This data contains detailed statistics on criminal cases against Crimean Tatars, Roma people and immigrants from the Caucasus, Africa and Asia in different regions of the country. It would seem that this activity has no legal grounds and is not based on voluntary identification of individuals. The collection of personal information about whether a person belongs to certain nationalities, without his or her consent and in the absence of any legal guarantees, is a flagrant violation of the right to privacy which is guaranteed by the Constitution and by international standards.

4.4. Jews

According to the census of 1989, there were 486 300 Jews in Ukraine. During the 90s, this figure decreased significantly; according to the last census, there are now 103 591.

There has been some conflict over the placing of crosses in Jewish cemeteries. Conflict over such crosses in Sambir (Lviv region) and Babi Yar (Kyiv) have still not been resolved. In 2000, the Jewish community of Sambir, with foreign assistance, began construction of a memorial park at the site of an old Jewish cemetery, which was the scene of Nazi atrocities. Ukrainians had erected crosses on the site to commemorate Christian victims of Nazi terror, who are buried in a mass grave at the site. While the organizers of the memorial were in support of honouring all groups who had suffered from Nazi violence in Sambir, they were against the use of Christian religious symbols on the grounds of the Jewish cemetery. At the same time, local nationalist groups remained opposed to the use of Jewish symbols and Hebrew in the memorial partk. Jewish and Greek-Catholic leaders attempted to find a solution to this conflict. In spite of a proposal by the memorial’s foreign sponsor to move the crosses to another site at his expense, local government leaders still had not resolved the conflict by the end of 2002.

Local officials in Volodymyr-Volynsky (Western Ukraine) continued to support the construction of an apartment building on the site of an old Jewish cemetery despite a court ruling on 17 December, 2002 to halt construction.

Traditional everyday anti-Semitism exists in Ukraine, as in many other countries, but its manifestations, in our opinion, are not as menacing, as some Jewish organizations assert. Some ultra-nationalist organizations and newspapers continue to publish and distribute anti-Semitic materials. Such material is brought here from Russia and distributed without license. The following examples should be noted.

1. In 2002, the Lviv newspaper «Idealist» (the publication of the Organization of Idealists of Ukraine) published the slogan «Let’s adopt a law to deport the Jews from Ukraine!» Over many years, this newspaper had systematically printed anti-Semitic articles, such as «Jews are preparing our death!», «Jewish terror» and so on. In June 2002, «Idealist» printed a long list of Jews who, in the editors’ opinion, should leave Ukraine. The list included the names of many Ukrainian politicians. Oleksandr Feldman, State Deputy and President of the Association of National-Cultural Unions of Ukraine, directed an appeal to the General Prosecutor to take appropriate measures. On 31 July, 2002, the Prosecutor’s office of the Lviv region launched a criminal investigation under Article 295 of the Criminal Code (public calls to actions that pose a threat to public order, in particular, public calls to violent deportation of citizens). «Idealist» suspended its issue. However, the criminal investigation has still not ended, and new issues of the newspaper are printed from time to time.

2. Georgiy Shchokin, Rector of the reputable Interregional Academy of Human Resources Management (IAHRM), used the Academy journal «Personnel» to publish a large article «Zionism: the ideology of Untermenschen» devoted to criticism of Zionism. The author claimed that the Jews had provoked their own mass extermination by the German Nazis. The weekly «Capital news» responded to the flagrant intolerance with its articles «The new world according to Shchokin» and «Rector of the IAHRM steals from blind men». The authors attempted to start a criminal investigation under Article 161 of the Criminal Code, but the Prosecutor of the region refused to open a criminal case. Later theA title="" href="#_ftnref29" name=_ftn29 >[29] The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, the Sevastopol Human Rights Group, the Centre for Legal and Political Research «SIM» (Lviv) and the Kherson Regional Organization of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine.

[30] The text of the appeal is available on the human rights website RUPOR:

[31] See RUPOR:

[32] See, for example,;;

[33] See the human rights website RUPOR:

[34] Religious Panorama, № 7, 2004, p. 15.

[35] With the exception of a joint statement with the main violators of legislation, which ingenuously commented on the need to introduce amendments to legislation and establish liability for religious campaigning:

[36] The human rights website RUPOR:

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