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.

Politics and human rights

Is the planned referendum legitimate?

In my opinion, the answer is ’No’. Here are the reasons.

Any changes in the Constitution must be carried out only according to the Constitution, namely to its Part 13 ’Making changes in the Constitution of Ukraine’. Part 13 does not stipulate entering any changes to the Constitution by way of a referendum. The only mention of a referendum in this part is made in Article 156: ’An all-Ukrainian referendum confirm changes to Parts 1, 3 and 13 of the Constitution after the adoption of the law about the changes in the Supreme Rada by two thirds of the Constitutional composition of the Rada. Since all the six amendments, which figure in the referendum, change the Constitution and since the Supreme Rada did not consider a law about changing the Constitution, holding the referendum violates the Constitution.

It should be noted that the questions of the referendum are such that only the last question can be answered by ’yes’ or ’no’ - all other questions are complicated and actually contain several questions. Especially striking is the President’s desire to disband the Supreme Rada, if it does not shape a steady parliamentary majority during a month. As to me, this is a typical demonstration of the totalitarian ideology. Not a single European constitution contain a similar norm. From all sides it is obvious that the ’people’s initiative’ is organized from the top, and the policy of pressure and coercion that dominated during the Presidential election is continued. Here is one example. To the parents of a friend of mine a doctor from the district hospital telephoned and asked them to sign a referendum form. The poor woman explained that she got an order to give in four such forms, otherwise she will be fired.

I do not object to a referendum as such. Referendums are needed when it is necessary to answer a simple non-ambiguous question, which concerns everybody and which is difficult for MPs to answer. If the President suggested a public discussion about the ownership of land or immediate privatization of all profitable Ukrainian enterprises, I would myself collect signatures for holding such a referendum, since, in my opinion, these questions have top priority for the acceleration of the social progress. I would support the reduction of the Supreme Rada and introduction of the second chamber of the Parliament, since the interests of regions are not sufficiently represented in the Supreme Rada. In general, I believe that our Constitution is archaic, that it stabilizes the stagnation and requires many amendments. That is all true, but why to violate the legal procedure? The President seems to believe that forceful pressure and intensification of control can improve the situation and reform both economy and society. Such hopes are futile. In my opinion, such policy will lead to more stagnation and more numerous emigration of those who are able to work efficiently.

By the way, all decisions of the majority (of the population, not of MPs) are, in my opinion, non-legitimate and must be confirmed by the full composition of the Supreme Rada. According to Article 82 of the Constitution, the Supreme Rada is plenipotentiary under the condition if not less than two thirds of its constitutional composition have been elected. It follows from here that the parliamentary majority of 226 votes is not plenipotentiary. Why not to count votes then by telephone questioning? Article 3.2.2 of the Regulations of the Supreme Rada states that a law is considered adopted, if after its discussion at the plenary meeting it is confirmed by the majority of the actually present number of MPs. I believe that this article is violated. The Regulations state that a law may not be adopted without listening to the minority, if even this minority is leftish. Neglect of procedures, the substitution of the right by the political expediency is the direct road to violating human rights.

Will Kuchma become the Big Brother?

The only obstacle to becoming our president the Big Brother can be the principal position of the West. The threat of a default due to the inability of Ukraine to pay her internal and external debts in the current year enables the West to take an unusually stern attitude to Ukraine. The question is what Ukraine and the West are ready to sacrifice to guarantee ’the constructive dialog’. The voting on the Chechen problem in the PACE showed that a compromise is possible to reach in rather wide boundaries. Perhaps, Kuchma hopes to reach a compromise too.

President Kuchma issued a decree on holding the all-Ukrainian referendum on 16 April. The Central Election Committee has already recognized the validity of more than three million signatures collected by 379 initiative groups. The collection of the signatures was carried in the worse traditions of an authoritarian state. The top administration sent down quotas, and local bureaucrats lined up their subordinates, made them to subscribe ASAP and reported on the ’people’s will’. Workers of budget organizations were forced to sign under the threat of sacking. In several days the needed number of signatures - more than three million - was collected.

MPs responded by adopting, on 11 January, a new law ’On temporary moratorium of holding all-Ukrainian and local referendums’. The law reads that referendums must not be held because of the complicated social and economic state and of the absence of the needed legal base.

’The main thing is the will of the people’, said the President through the mouthpiece of his press secretary, and disregarded the new law. Moreover, the President declared that the referendum would be held by all means, and its results will have the direct action.

At first, few people took the initiative of holding the referendum seriously, considering that it was rather a means of pressure on the semi-red Parliament. However, Leonid Kuchma decided that it was not worthwhile to stop in midway. Rather important questions will be solved by this referendum: on making amendments to the Constitution by way of holding a referendum, on distrust to the present composition of the Supreme Rada, on the right of disbanding the Rada by the President, on widening the list of reasons for disbanding the Rada, on canceling the deputies’ immunity. Thus, the President decided how to amend the operating Constitution through the referendum. Now this is the only way of changing the Constitution, since it is certainly impossible, bearing in mind the present composition of the Parliament, to change anything, since such a procedure demands two thirds of the nominal composition of the Parliament. President’s reasons and planned corrections arise great doubts. One of the corrections is to create a two-chamber Parliament. This model is typical for federal states, and in the unitary Ukraine it seems senseless.

According to the President’s plan, the upper chamber of the Supreme Rada must consist of the regional leaders. There is a great difference with the situation in Russia, where the regional leaders are elected by the population, while in Ukraine they are appointed by the President. After the first stage of the Presidential election, Leonid Kuchma dismissed three governors (of the Vinnitsa, Poltava and Kirovograd oblasts), who appeared unable to guarantee him the victory in their regions. Thus, if this point is supported at the referendum, a part of the Parliament will be appointed by the President. (The question of electing regional bosses by the population does not enter the referendum.) Then we shall have in Ukraine a Constitutional model by Lukashenko, which the majority of democratic states and interstate unions refused to consider democratic. And what will be the attitude of the same states and organizations to Kuchma?

Lord David Russel, the PACE chairman, is said to have directed a letter to Leonid Kuchma with a request to suspend the all-Ukrainian referendum until the Venice Commission prepares the conclusion on its agreement with the principles of European democracy. Very soon the delegation of the monitoring committee of the Council of Europe will come to Kyiv, and the members of the Commission must make their conclusions concerning the Parliament opposition and the referendum in Ukraine.

On 28 January the US embassy in Ukraine spread its declaration concerning the referendum. It reads: ’While Ukraine is solving questions of forming the structures of her democratic institutions, this process must be rightful and must guarantee the equilibrium between different branches of power, since this is very important for a democratic society’. ’Many questions about holding the referendum remain rather fuzzy’ for the USA.

A rather careful and vague reaction on the side of the Western countries to the actions of Kuchma and oligarchs standing behind his back is well explainable. An open support of Kuchma’s antidemocratic activities on the side of the Western distributors of democracy is impossible. On the other hand, it is the first time when it is possible to isolate the left from power in Ukraine. At last, the non-leftish majority of the Supreme Rada of Ukraine is capable to take decisions without looking back at the left revanchists. An illustration to this situation is the revocation of the state holiday, of 7th November, the day of the bolshevik revolution in Russia.

Nine years of imitation of reforms drove the country to the catastrophic economic state. Now it is obvious for everybody. Only the will of the strong administration to pass radical reforms is able to return somehow the minimal trust of the world financial institutions. Yet, permanent compromises with the left forces whittle all the efforts. But it is a delicate question where lies the boundary between strong power and dictatorship. As the German magazine ’Welt’ writes: ’The logic of the Ukrainian President is such: either the reforms will be realized by authoritarian methods, or there will be no reforms at all.’ Such a way of development is very dangerous, especially so that the rightist opposition is very weak and the power is corrupted.

Sympathizing with Kuchma’s political struggle with the left opposition, the majority of MPs, including those who support democratic principles, are noticeably slip to the support of unlimited authoritarian power of Leonid Kuchma and his oligarchic camarilla. The Ukrainian politologist Mykhaylo Pogrebinsky comments on the current events rather coolly: ’Frankly speaking, democracy in our country has not yet begun, so it will be an exaggeration to say that it is ending’. Another well-known politologist Mykola Tomenko thinks that the referendum will lead the society to a dead-end when ’the President and the people will find the operating Constitution illegitimate’. In his opinion, ’at the first stage of independence oligarchs grabbed the people’s money, and at the second stage the will of oligarchs will become the will of the people’.

Meanwhile, in Lugansk the supporters of Ukrainian Rukh (the part split from the Rukh of Ukrainian people) began to collect signatures for including to the referendum one more question: making Leonid Kuchma the President for life. If they succeeded and the question were answered positively, Ukraine could become the second in Europe (after Belorus) state where MPs are appointed by the President and Leonid Kuchma would become another lifelong President after ’the great leader of all Turkmens’ Turkmenbashi Saparmurad Niyazov.

Heil Kuchma!

The right to life

Court and punishment, justice and mercy - it is all for God, not for us

The referendum, among others, puts the question of the capital punishment. It is obvious that the answers will vary. The decision of the Supreme Rada to cancel the death penalty has recently been confirmed by the Constitutional Court. This solution was, perhaps, the most far-sighted of all adopted in Ukraine. Certainly, many people will try to earn some political capital by airing their views on this problem.

The interest to the problem is evident. Which right can pretend for greater attention than the right for life? International instruments signed by the representatives of the USSR were approved as long ago as 10 December 1948. The document was signed by O. Vyshinskiy, the General Prosecutor of the USSR. This very Vyshinskiy, who was responsible for the famines of 1933 and 1947, for the GULAG. The Declaration of human rights asserts: ’Every human being has the right for life, for freedom and for the personal inviolability’. Having signed the document, the leaders of the Soviet Union were abusing this agreement every day. Millions of the convicted to death ’by the simplified court procedure’, or just without any verdict, made those who remained alive the obedient tool of building communism. Vyshinskiy and his colleagues certainly did not intend to abolish the death penalty.

In 1986 the USSR supported the International Pact on civil and political rights. It read: ’Nobody may lose his life without reason’. Nonetheless, death penalties were ruled even by telephone messages from the Kremlin, where the headquarters of ’honor and consciousness of our epoch’ was located. In those years few people doubted the justice of the party and state. The majority did not know about the signed and supported documents, since they were forbidden to be printed.

The civil society, when fulfilling these decisions, puts under control the executions after the simplified court procedure or without any procedure.

Those who oppose the abolition of the death penalty reason that serial murderers should not be left alive. The former also refer to the absence of the article on incarceration for life. I want to remind people that even in fairytales, myths and legends the evil demon penetrates into the murderer’s soul. But you will kill not the demon, you will kill a human being.

Some of the opponents of the abolition of the death penalty cynically refer to God’s Commandments. First, one must not snatch quotations from the text and, secondly, to interpret the Holy Scriptures is permitted only to clerics. Father Victor from Kharkiv says that the injured soul must turn to a priest, to a physician or to a psychologist. Jesus Christ taught to hate sins, not sinners. Court and punishment, justice and mercy - all of them belong to God. One of my opponents writes that he likes the American democracy where a deadly injection is made to the murderer with the victim’s relatives present. It reminds shoo ting for transportation without a ticket that was practiced in Germany under Hitler. ’Pardon them, Father, for they do not know what they are doing’.

In Ukraine, like in the rest of the modern world, the negative attitude to the death penalty is spreading. More than 80 countries of the world do not apply the capital punishment. There are many arguments against the death penalty. Here are the most important of them:

First of all, the state has no right to take human life, because it was not the state who gave it. If a state keeps the death penalty, the society becomes more cruel.

Secondly, the abolishment of the death penalty, as confirmed by the experience of other countries, does not increase the crime rate. So, in the Great Britain they temporarily abolished the death penalty for murder in 1965. During next five years the dynamics of murders did not change. Recently the Parliament has cancelled the death penalty forever.

The last, but not least, this is the threat of a court mistake or moving away of eyewitnesses, which leads to condemning innocent people. How many innocents have been executed as serial murderers. Court mistakes are inevitable, however, perfect are the judicial procedures. For instance, from 1900 to 1985 in the USA were executed 25 innocent people. Courts in Ukraine used to rule out more than 200 capital punishments per year.

Everybody must choose his place in this life and guard his soul. May anyone kill another living person?

PL commentary. The Council of Europe plans to make amendments in Protocol 6 to the European Convention of human rights and freedoms: to ban the death penalty for military crimes. On adopting these amendments the abolishment of the death penalty in the crime justice of member-countries of the Council of Europe will become absolute - the death penalty will be not applied for any crime at all.

Themis defends Onoprienko

So, the impossible became possible: the Constitutional Court made a royal New-Year gift to the serial murderer Onoprienko (who killed at least 52 persons) and his brothers in spirit by canceling the death penalty in Ukraine, even during a war. Fantastic! So, Onoprienko and other 409 condemned to death will sooner or later be released, because we have not incarceration for life. Maybe they will meet my grandchildren in a dark alley.

According to the information published in the press, six judges voted against this decision. I and many other people wonder what are the names of these six judges and ten their opponents, who demonstrated the state wisdom. They used as a shield a statement of our Constitution that protects human life. This is a known attitude: the sixth Commandment orders: you shall not kill. But it does not say: you shall not kill a killer. On the contrary, the Bible says: who will strike a man so that he will die, the killer shall be killed; or: if someone will plan to kill his neighbor in a sly way, then you shall take him from my altar and lead him to death. And again: eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

The killed have no hopes, no future and even no past, and for his relatives there remains eternal grief and bitter memory, a photo in the album and a mound on the cemetery.

Now they will also have to feed and to dress the murderers of their dear children, parents or friends. I read a note in the late newspaper ’Vseukrainskiye vedomosti’ of 5 June 1997: ’In Texas a death injection was made to Patrick Roger, who killed a policeman. The verdict was executed at the presence of the victim’s relatives’. I like this kind of democracy.

Those who adopted this anti-people decision are wagging their tails before Europe, the same Europe that we, soldiers of the former Soviet state, lifted from their knees on which they fell before the European fascism. Now our leaders are breathless with pride: we are patted on the head and acknowledged by Europe! We got much from Europe: AIDS, drug addicts, striptease, corruption, mafia, ordered murders, sex maniacs.

I am sure that the question about the capital punishment must be decided only by the people through a referendum.

Taken from the newspaper ’Vechirni Cherkasy’, 20 January

Prohibition of discrimination

Dripping people’s money to the budget holes

A small sensation among the population of the town of Ternopil was caused by the decision of the local council to increase the cost of running water and canalization by 2 - 3 times since 1 February. The oblast council of trade unions protested against the decision and turned to the prosecutor’s office of the town. In this protest it was noticed that the rise in the costs of communal services will lead to the further increase of the population debt, enormous as it is now, and further fall of the living standard.

In the discussion of the local authorities’ initiative the head of the oblast council of trade unions Roman Zamkovy remarked that such innovations contradict to the operating law of Ukraine ’On making changes in the Ukrainian law on prices and setting prices’, according to which any increase of prices for living and communal services is prohibited until the pay arrears of wages, pensions and stipends are liquidated. Besides, the increase of prices for communal services contradict the common sense, since the living standard of the population of Ternopil is falling. The mean wages in 1999 equaled Hr 112 in the oblast (and less than Hr 80 for workers of culture). According to the new prices, a family living in a two-room flat must pay about Hr 160 - 170, while those who reside in a three-room flat must pay more than Hr 200 per month.

Where shall we take money? - ask the town dwellers. They express the desire to have some food as well and to purchase some clothes, to say nothing about the bills for telephone and electricity, which are not included in the communal services.

Some poorest people have subsidies, that is right. But in the town of Ternopil the local legislation permits to give subsidies only to those, who have jobs, so if one lost a job and remained absolutely without means, than one may not dream about any subsidies. The fight with debtors is cruel: if one has got into debts, wait for a summon to the prosecutor’s office, where they worn: either pay, or your property will be confiscated.

Every year the prices for communal services soar, and nobody knows when the growth ends. Nobody knows either, what is the actual cost of these services. Some officials, God knows how, fabricated the number 250. Presumably this is the number of liters of water that a town dweller consumes per month. Now other 50 liters are added to this quota without any measurements.

There is another aspect of this problem. Rising the cost for communal services, nobody takes to attention the quality of the services. The fact that hot water happens only at nighttime and that cold water hardly drips from faucets on the upper stories is never taken into account, as well as the color of the water: very often, instead of being clean and transparent, the faucets produce a rusty brown liquid with the stench of road puddles. Nonetheless, the crystal clear water and this liquid must be paid with the same money.

Certainly, such a situation with the communal services exists not only in Ternopil. Such abuses of elementary human rights occur in every oblast. The local authorities, loudly complaining at the grave economic conditions, create their own laws and try their best to fill their budgets, full of holes, by the drops from the beggars’ purses. The Cabinet of Ministers knows well about this problem, but it does not try to give well-grounded calculations of the costs of communal services. So, the fantasies of the local authorities have no restrains.

As to the situation in Ternopil, the local bosses have suspended their efforts under the pressure of trade unions. Surely, they will resume their activities very soon. They will do so because the state budget for the current year, as well as related laws, do not plan any grants in this sphere and the demands of the IMF must be fulfilled. It is and will be done at the expense of the pauperized population.

Is the people’s patience infinite?

How minimal is the minimum?

The minimum consumer’s basket price in the Kharkiv oblast has increased by Hr 14 during January. According to the data of the Social-Economic Department of the oblast trade unions, it reached Hr 443 per capita per month. The main contribution to the growth, according to specialists, is made by the growth of the costs of living and communal services. By the way, according to the recent data of the oblast Directorate of Statistics, the mean wages for November equal Hr 203 in the Kharkiv oblast.

Our informant

Children’s rights

Problems of gypsies in Ukraine

Ukrainian gypsies are mentioned in mass media mainly when some offence or crime committed by gypsies is described. Such an attitude to gypsies, full of suspicion and animosity became a stereotype of the majority of the Ukrainian people. Gypsies, a people with many-thousand-years history, one of the oldest ethnoses in Ukraine, has always been persecuted, and in еру 20th century has been practically exterminated by German fascists.

During the census of 1989 only 48 thousand of Ukrainian citizens called themselves gypsies, but experts of State National Committee believe that the real number of gypsies is 2 - 2.5 times more. The most gypsies live in Transcarpathia, in Southern and Eastern regions of Ukraine. They mostly live in suburbs in difficult living conditions, which is the cause of high infant mortality rate. The education level of gypsies is the lowest in the country. By expert estimates 20% of gypsies of Transcarpathia are illiterate. Inadequate education and professional training, together with distrust resulted in almost 100% unemployment of gypsies.

Nomadic gypsies are especially unprotected; they often have no propiska (residential permit) and other documents. Svetlana Davida, a lawyer from the ’Association of young gypsies’, told me about a great number of complaints at the cruel and humiliating treatment which they experience from law-enforcers.

Recently in one small Czech town the local authorities built a high wall around a district where gypsies live, thus making of their district a typical ghetto. A wave of protests, that rolled through Europe, made the local authorities to destroy the wall. Now the authorities plan to demolish the district too. Historically it has happened that gypsies have no state of their own, so, in any country they will belong to the ethnic minority. This does not mean that they must be citizens of the second sort: citizens of the second sort inhabit only second sort countries.

Women’s rights

Will our courts ever become independent of corruption?

In one of his interviews before the presidential election President Kuchma, answering the question ’Will our courts ever become independent of corruption?’ said the following: ’What happens in our courts today is inadmissible. The court must guard the law, but not distribute positions and material means... Some court decisions cause not only surprise, but indignation. This is not execution of laws, this is execution of orders. Reforming the court system is extremely necessary, and I shall do everything to reform it.’

One would like to believe the President’s promise. During several recent years the talks about the court reform are actively rumored, but no reforms are visible. The only changes are the increase in the staff of courts. I would like to add concrete details to the President’s assessment of the court system, by describing in details one example from the work of Chernomorskoye district court and the Collegium on civil cases of the Supreme Court of the Crimea.

In the Chernomorskoye district court, according to my observations, the judges are masters of red tape; besides, they often rudely violate the law and rule out blatantly illegal and ill-grounded decisions. There are judges, who, violating the Constitution of Ukraine, forbid the use of dictaphones in the courtroom, falsify minutes of the court session, and always remain unpunished.

In the newspaper ’Chernomorskiye izvestiya’ of 20 January 1998 a report was printed about the meeting of citizens with the former representative of the President in the Crimea. The report read that one of the citizens said: ’We must analyze the work of the Chernomorskoye district court, which is corrupted to the marrow’. Certainly nobody did anything. The court knew about this publication, but never tried to refute this notion. Certainly, this is the matter for the court to decide how to react on the newspaper publication. Although, I think that it would be more solid to refute the insinuation in court.

One of the members of the Chernomorskoye district organization of human rights tried to make the newspaper ’Chernomorskaya zaria’ refute some false data on himself published in the newspaper. Getting no result, he turned to the Chernomorskoye district court with a claim against the editorial board and the author of the article.

According to the Civil-Procedural Code (CPC), the goal of the civil court is guarding rights and lawful interests of physical and juridical persons by way of considering civil cases in the complete correspondence with the operating laws. But this is theory. Let us look how these goals were achieved in practice by judge E. Stebivko and the Collegium on civil cases of the Supreme Court of the Crimea.

In accordance with Article 146 of the CPC, the preparation of the case to the analysis in court must last not more than seven days or, in extremely complicated cases, up to 20 days from the day when the claim was accepted. Such cases are treated by Article 7 of the CPC: demand to refute in a newspaper the data that are false and impinge on a dignity, business reputation of citizens or damaging their interests. Such cases are considered in the Chernomorskoye district court as especially complicated. That is why such cases are considered in the court during 20 days or longer; then three days more are taken for the composition of the motivated decision. Finally, the resolution part of the court decision is read at the court session.

I believe, it is incorrect to relate such cases to the category of especially complicated, since the preparation of such cases is not made more complicated by writs, observation of the place, where the crime was committed, as well as the composition of a long motivated decision (usually the text of the decision requires 1 - 2 pages). Since the law does not require to indicate the exact delay time, if the time for preparing the case to the court consideration is needed, the judges use this imperfection of the law for delaying the case infinitely.

In the Penal-Procedural Code (PPC) the term of the preliminary investigation is set. Article 120 of the PPC demands that the preliminary investigation must be completed during two months and that the prolongation of this term must be done by the prosecutor, if he gets a well-motivated request of the officer in charge of the investigation. It seems reasonable that in civil cases the procedure must be similar, and the request of the court must be well-motivated too. This norm, in my opinion, must be necessarily inserted to the CPC. That will substantially decrease red tape and increase the responsibility of judges.

In accordance with Article 143 of the CPC, judges are obliged to prepare the case to the court consideration, thus guaranteeing the just decision. In the Chernomorskoye district court the judges do not prepare the cases beforehand, which results in more red tape and issuing ill-grounded and illegal court decisions.

At the stage of preparing a case to the court consideration a judge must determine the norm of the material right, which regulates the conflict, which is done by comparing the facts relating to the object of the conflict, facts, suppositions and norms of the material right. The judge must specify the circle of facts lying at the basis of the claim and other facts, contradicting the claim, as well as the circle of available and possible proves. However, judge E. Stebivko did not prepare the case to the court consideration, thus disobeying Article 143 of the CPC. This naturally resulted in more red tape in the postponement of the court session. The judge wasted three months before the case was considered in court. At the court session the representative of the defendant declared that ’the object of the discussion is not determined’ and that the case must be postponed. Then for ’determination of the object of the discussion’ the judge postponed the consideration of the matter for three weeks. After the three weeks the defendant requested to read the text of the refutation which the claimant had sent to the editorial board in the proper time and had not got any response. It should be noted that the editorial board has the duty, according to part 9 of Article 37 of the law ’On press media of the mass information’, to respond and explain the reason for printing the refutation. Stating at the court session that the original of the refutation was lost, the defendant protested against reading at the court session a copy of the refutation presented to the court by the claimant. In spite of this protest the text was read and added to the materials of the case. After pleadings the judge did not remove to her office for taking the decision (as it is demanded by Article 197 of the CPC), but unexpectedly declared (giving no reasons) that the consideration of the case is delayed for almost a month. At the proper time the court session was not held because the judge was ill, and the session was delayed for three weeks more. At the appointed time the author of the article did not come to the court without mitigating reasons and the court session was delayed to 18 January 1999 (I remind the reader that the case was started on 20 January 1998). On this day the judge declared at the court session only the resolution part of the court decision. The resolution was to deny the claimant. The judge said that the claimant could get acquainted with the motives of the decision on 22 January. In fact, it became possible only on 26 January. The text occupied one and a half page of typescript, for which preparation the judge needed a week. This violates Part 4 of Article 209 of the CPC that states: ’In exceptional cases with especially complicated affairs the composition of the motivated decision may be delayed on the term not exceeding three days’.

Having not agreed with the decision of the court the plaintiff handed the appeal to the Supreme Court of the Crimea. The procedure there appeared even more cumbersome and abounded in a greater number of procedural violations.

The author is afraid to appear a pedant, but the court procedure certainly must be followed to a letter, otherwise the court procedure becomes a sequence of whims of a judge.

Court practices

Elks, crocodiles, and other brutes in army barracks

’In the army he will get more sense’, parents used to say long ago. The parents thought that the army would temper their sons and make them really manly men. Now the attitude to the army has abruptly changed. Both the boys and their parents do their best to dodge the army service. They know that the boys in the army will freeze and starve, will be humiliated and beaten. Recently in a trolleybus I overheard the talk of two university freshmen, who told each other how to dodge the army service. Although they will have to serve in five years, after the graduation from the university, they were very much interested in the topic. They discussed one of the popular methods: to lose weight to such a relation between the height and weight, that they will be considered dystrophics. They knew all the needed constants.

Who knows whether these boys will dodge the service, but, in general, many people learned this art. According to the statistics only 6% of boys get to the army (theoretically, we have the universal military duty). This 6% elite consists of those who have no money, no influential friends and no inventive mind. Certainly, they are not the healthiest.

I had no great wish to serve in the army, - told Aleksey, one of those 6%, who knows the army life not from the yarns.

I had to stop my education in a college and give 18 months of my life for letting other people make a manly man out of me. The criteria have changed, now a manly man is a man, who has a job, a family, for which he could provide, and not a scarecrow in a long greatcoat and rubberized tarpaulin boots, who is educated by kicks. Before the army I heard a lot about dedovshchina, but thought that it would be easy to survive the first half-year.

I understood what is army in the first morning of the service, when we were made to run three kilometers in our notorious high-boots. The first half-year I was hungry all the time because the best part of my ration I had to give to ’deds’. I even night-dreamed of butter and white bread. But most of all I suffered from the permanent humiliation. Deds forced the ’greenhorns’ to do all the dirty work. Dedovshchina is encouraged by officers, and that is why it is fruitless to fight with this phenomenon. It is true that now some control appeared and officers are afraid to lose their jobs. Nonetheless, deds never work and punish greenhorns for everything and most frequently just because they are in the blue mood. In the evening in the barracks some of deds usually begin the torture: ’I am not sleepy. Hey you, come here and set down your forehead’. And then he will slap on the forehead as strong as he can. It is humiliating and shameful and painful too. In order not to leave black and blue bruises, they bind the head with a wide soldier’s belt and beat on the belt. This joke is called ’to beat an elk’. When I demobilized, I had a nightmare: how they ’killed the crocodile’ with me. I woke up in perspiration.

What is ’to kill a crocodile’? - I asked. Aleksey was amazed with my ignorance.

One stands on all fours across one’s bed, and deds kick him in the bottom. If you fall from the bed, the procedure is repeated.

As to the money, the soldier’s pay (Hr 10.15 per month) is immediately taken by deds and then they will ask you for a smoke. One is lucky to have a spare cigarette. Otherwise you will have to climb on the fence of the unit and ask for a cigarette from passersby.

Brief leaves from the barracks were expected at first like holidays, but later it turned to a kind of punishment. The reason is that every greenhorn, leaving the barracks, must bring gifts to deds. They are simple things: cigarettes, soap, safety blades, but greenhorns have already given their money to deds.

To pass the winter was the most difficult. I was cold all the time. It was cold in the barrack, but our commanders always found some pretext to drive us out. If it was snowing, they draw us to clean the road, and so we cleaned it until the snow stopped. Then we were driven to make snow curbs along the road, or to load the snow on trucks and unload it several meters farther. And that lasted all the winter.

I remember my birthday. It was celebrated according to the tradition. At breakfast all the platoon gave me their ration of butter (30 servicemen by 10 grams) and I, the happy hero of the day, had to eat a plateful of butter. Dedovshchina is an old deep-rooted custom and it has its unexpected variations: on the 50th day before the demobilization order (for deds) greenhorns change roles with deds. The most popular joke is to make a ded to clean greenhorn’s boots or make deds fulfil other degrading services. But one must not be carried away because the next day all will return to the proper places.

Unfortunately, the army really makes young men invalids, physical and moral. It happens rather frequently when parents send to the army their healthy and strong sons who return, being invalids. It happens that the army experience marks the boys for many years after the service: they turn to drinking or drug-taking, some suffer from obtrusive fears.

Nonetheless, one must not omit the fact that some positive changes have become noticeable: dedovshchina is decreasing. Ivan S. Shevchenko, the deputy of the military prosecutor of the Cherkassy garrison, pointed out that the cases concerning dedovshchina are 2.5 times less than 5 years ago. The reason is that now mainly boys from the country serve in the army, and they are, as well known, more hard-working and less belligerent. The second is that most of soldiers serve not far from their homes. The third reason is that in a typical military unit the number of officers is about three times more than that of soldiers.

Every year about 300 - 400 servicemen perish in the Ukrainian army. The fears of recruits before dedovshchina remain to be well-grounded. The distribution of roles making dedovshchina was once brought from prisons when the incarcerated were recruited to the army. The punishments and ’jokes’ of deds are quite similar to those in prisons.

Turning pages of criminal cases that are considered in the military prosecutor’s office, one cannot help thinking that this is an encyclopedia of cruelty and violence. In 1990 the military prosecutor’s office of the Cherkassy garrison considered a case concerning dedovshchina. Some soldiers were working in the canteen. A ded ordered a greenhorn to wash up the crockery faster and better. Being not satisfied with the results the ded beat the greenhorn, then knocked him down and raped repeatedly. The victim tried to run away, being pursued by his tormentor. Fortunately some officers appeared and saved the boy. You may easily imagine the physical and psychological state of the victim. It is possible to multiply the number of such examples by very many times.

The fear before dedovshchina is only one reason, which makes recruits dodge the service. The last but not the least reason is brutal and unnecessary lack of comfort.

PL commentary. There are efficient measures of self-defense from dedovshchina, which must be known by the young soldiers’ parents.

If you have received a letter from your son, in which he complains on dedovshchina or hints at serious disorders of his health or mood, try, as fast as you can, go to your son’s military unit in order to see what is happening with your own eyes. If you have not such an opportunity, turn to the local Union of soldiers’ mothers and turn to the oblast military commissariat, where they must have an officer in charge of protecting rights of servicemen. It you cannot go to the above-mentioned organizations, write a letter to the political department of the Ministry of Defense. The address is: The political department, 6 Povitroflotskiy Ave., 03168, Kyiv; also write to the address: V. Artomonova, the head of the Union of soldiers’ mothers of Ukraine, 2 Sofiyivska St., Kyiv, 01001. But bear in mind that your presence in the unit is the best way to influence the situation.

If you come to the unit and see that dedovshchina is present, write at once to the prosecutor’s office of the garrison. You must write a complaint concerning dedovshchina and add a request to transfer your son to another unit. You must know that, according to Directive No. 115/337 of the Ministry of Defense of 28 January 1993, which regulates the transfer of servicemen after a written complaint at dedovshchina, your son has the right for the transfer. If after the written complaint your son is not transferred to another unit, it is a sufficient reason to turn to the Main Military Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine.

If you see that further staying in the unit can threaten the life of your son, we advice to take him to the prosecutor’s office personally and insist on the immediate transfer of him to another unit, simultaneously writing the complaint, pointing out that the disregard of Directive No. 115/337 will lie on those who refuse the transfer. Inform the commander of the unit and the main military prosecutor of the garrison that you are forced to turn to the Union of soldiers’ mothers, to the Ministry of Defense and to mass media.

If your son escaped from his military unit and appeared at home, explaining his act by abusing his rights, including dedovshchina, do not waste time and immediately contact your oblast military committee and military prosecutor’s office of the garrison where your son served. You must make sure that your complaints are fixed. In your applications to the prosecutor’s office and oblast military committee insist on the transfer of your son to another military unit, referring to the above-mentioned Directive. Remember that escaping from the unit under the conditions, when the life, health and dignity of your son are threatened, is not a punishable crime. The very fact that he turns to the prosecutor’s office excludes his responsibility according to Article 241 (desertion), yet, if a week or two passes, then the criminal case by Article 241 may be started, and then it will be more difficult for you and your son to prove his innocence.

If, after turning to the local military prosecutor’s office, your son will be arrested - do not be afraid, this does not mean that a criminal case is started against him. His arrest is a basis for the urgent turning to the Minister of Defense, to the Main Directorate of education and to the General Prosecutor of Ukraine. In any case you must immediately contact the local Union of soldiers’ mothers.

Some more advice:

collect letters from your son, especially if they anticipate trouble;

if your son, who escaped from his unit, has visible injuries, immediately turn to the trauma department of your district hospital, get a certificate, and only after this turn to the military prosecutor’s office and insist on having forensic medical expertise.

Telephone of the Cherkassy oblast Union of soldiers’ mothers is 45-38-91.

Telephone of the Kharkiv oblast Union of soldiers’ mothers is 14-31-47.


Is Ukraine advancing to a criminal society?

Ukraine is passing a peculiar period of its history. Difficulties of the social and economic transformations of the society are reflected in the judicial and penitentiary systems. Everybody speaks about the absence of real reforms both in economics and in many other spheres, including the judicial and penitentiary ones. The situation looks more vivid and more sad if one attracts figures.

The ’Donetsk Memorial’ has recently received statistical data on the activities of courts of the national level and from a number of regions for 1999. Table 1 brings together the data for 1997-99. These data enable us to draw some conclusions on existing tendencies (or the absence of some tendencies) in the system of crime justice in Ukraine. (The data for 1997 are taken from the Penitentiary State Department, while the data for the next two years are given by the Ministry of Justice.)

It follows from Table 1 that a tendency is observed to decreasing the total number of the condemned by 5 - 9% a year. Meanwhile the punishment by incarceration remains the basic one in crime punishments, and the proportion of this punishment continues to increase. This tendency is observed during the last decade. To illustrate the tendency we remind that in 1988 the number of the incarcerated was 29.4 thousand (32%), in 1992 it was 38.7 thousand (33.7%) and in 1998, according to Table 1, it was 86.4 thousand (37.2%). The new Penal Code, which could permit judges to apply alternative measures of punishment, has not been adopted yet. However, the existing PC also permits to apply the alternative measures, but, alas, our courts do not make use of these restricted facilities. It is true that the application of delayed and conditional verdicts is slightly growing, but it certainly cannot recompense the essential (more than by two times) reduction of application fines.

The number of condemned minors remains practically unchanged, although a small reduction is observed in the number of the incarcerated in 1999, compared with the previous year. At the same time, the immense absolute number - more than 9 thousand of minors for the last two years - is disturbing: who knows what proportion of them will be reformed after the incarceration and what proportion will become hardened criminals. I am afraid that when scores of thousands of youths return, our life will not become safer.

In 1999 slightly diminished but still remains enormous the number of convicted women: more than 67 thousand for two last years. One of the most alarming figures in the table is the number of condemned to incarceration for the term up to three years. Lately this proportion is sure 57 - 59%. This means that our penitentiaries get about 50 thousand inmates condemned for petty crimes. Many specialists, including workers of the penitentiary establishments, appear hostages of this short-sighted court practice. This specialists are sure that most of such culprits could be punished by alternative methods. As the result, many thousands of families would be preserved and many thousands of tragedies would be prevented.

Unfortunately, nobody has counted great financial damages inflicted to our beggarly state by such punishments. Very often the material damage caused by these people is infinitesimal compared to the cost of their upkeep in a colony during two or three years. Nowadays, the inmates of colonies are, as a rule, jobless. Thus, the upkeep of the army, consisting of almost 100 thousand parasites, lies on the weal shoulders of the Ukrainian economy. I do not risk to discuss the question what was the cause of their crimes: criminal nature or misery, often an attempt to save themselves from starvation.

The archaic and inhumane nature of the Ukrainian system of crime justice are proved by two kinds of figures in the table. First is the unnaturally low number of ’not guilty’ verdicts -less then one thousand a year. This means that if someone got into the jaws of the juridical machine, then the victim will be found guilty of something. The second alarming figure is the number of death penalties. In spite of the obligation of Ukraine to terminate absolute punishments in 1995, in spite of the stormy public discussions and in spite of the multiple reproaches of the Council of Europe, at last in spite of the moratorium on execution of death verdicts, our courts continued to rule about 120 -130 death verdicts a year. Analyzing the situation one gets an awful impression that our judicial system does not react to reality.

Table 1




Number of the condemned




Among them number of the incarcerated, persons

% of the total number of the condemned







delayed verdicts, % of the total number of the condemned




conditional verdicts, %

no data



fines, %




number of the condemned minors, persons

% of the total number of the condemned

no data





Among them number of the incarcerated, persons

% of the total number of the condemned

% of the total number of the condemned minors

no data







number of the condemned women, persons

% of the total number of the condemned

no data





number of the incarcerated up to 1 year, persons

number of the incarcerated from 1 year to 2

number of the incarcerated from 2 years to 3

total number of the incarcerated up to 3 years













% of the incarcerated up to 3 years




number of . non-guilty. verdicts

% of the total number of the condemned

no data





number of death verdicts




’Donetsk memorial’ has some data for 1999 on separate oblasts provided by the Directorate of Justice. These data enable comparison of the work of courts in three regions of Ukraine: in the West (Lviv oblast), in the east (Donetsk oblast) and in the North (Chernigiv oblast). These data are presented in Table 2. The first striking feature is the number of condemned to incarceration divided by 100 thousand of the population. In the Donetsk oblast incarceration is 1.77 times more frequent than in the Lviv oblast, 1.5 times more than in the Chernigiv oblast and 1.25 times more as the mean index in Ukraine. The unexplainable rigor of the Donbass judges is reflected in another index - the proportion of the incarcerated in the total number of the condemned. It is 42% in the Donbass vs. 33 - 34% in the North and in the West. The number of minors condemned to incarceration is also larger in the Donbass. On the contrary, the culprits are fined more often in the West and in the North of Ukraine. The probability to be acquitted is also larger there. Besides, in 1999 no death penalties were ruled in these more humane regions. These data enable us to suppose that the majority of 120 death penalties were ruled in the East Ukraine too.

Table 2



Lviv oblast

Chernigiv oblast

Donetsk oblast

Number of the condemned





Among them number of the incarcerated, pers.

% of the total number of the condemned

per 100,000 population













delayed verdicts, % of the total number of the condemned





conditional verdicts, %





fines, %





number of the condemned minors, persons

% of the total number of the condemned









Among them number of the incarcerated, pers.

% of the total number of the condemned





no data

no data

number of the condemned women, persons

% of the total number of the condemned









number of the incarcerated up to 1 year, pers.

number of the incarcerated from 1 year to 2

number of the incarcerated from 2 years to 3

total number of the incarcerated up to 3 years








% of the incarcerated up to 3 years





number of ‘non-guilty’ verdicts

% of the total number of the condemned









number of death verdicts




no data

All these differences do not change the total picture of the system of punishments in our country. This system remains too cruel, this system cannot diminish the crime level in the country. The system remains the cruel tool of revenge instead of the system, whose main function is to guarantee safety. Any delay to reform it radically and move in the direction of the standards offered by the Council of Europe threatens the society by material and moral losses.

PL commentary. We suggest our readers to express their ideas and propositions concerning the court reform.

Administration punishments and human rights

Violations of human rights are well-noticeable when people are tried in courts. Yet, there is a vast field - administrative punishments, where the violations of human rights are not so noticeable. The reason is the tiny scale of felonies and punishments as compared with criminal affairs, where hard punishments are on stake.

In Ukraine the scale of administrative punishments is large. The Administrative Code mentions 275 felonies and is replenished every year: since 1985 more than 100 changes and addenda were incorporated, more than half of them during the recent five years. 39 various state officers and 35 organizations have the right to impose administrative punishments, and this number is continuing to grow. In his interview published in the magazine ’Imenem zakonu’ (’No. 6, p.10) Yu. Kravchenko, the Minister of Interior, told that militia issued more than 18 million administrative protocols for citizens. The dynamics of the number of administrative punishment steadily grows: 6.5 millions people were punished in 1990 and more than 22 million in 1995. Having in mind that the population of Ukraine is about 50 million, this is a very large number.

Mostly the felonies are insignificant and the punishments are insignificant as well. More serious violations concern property relations. They happen at custom houses while confiscation or detainment of various items of property. Sometimes the detained goods are damaged. For example, when some transport vehicles are detained, they are kept on special parking sites. These sites are guarded inadequately, the cars standing there are robbed of parts, and nobody is responsible. Taking into account the problems of the automobile market in Ukraine, this problem is very acute.

A serious administrative punishment is the administrative arrest for the term of up to 15 days. Now, to arrest someone only two reports of militiamen are needed, although recently the same act needed two reports and the evidence of two neutral citizens. In 1997 courts ruled out more than 150 thousand arrests for the term up to 15 days. In 1998 this number was increased by 9 thousand, and the proportion of the arrests reached 46.4% of all administrative punishments. The administrative arrest is mostly appointed for petty hooliganism or disobedience to militiamen. Such cases are considered in a simplified manner. It happens that a judge considers 20 - 25 administrative cases during 1 - 1.5 hours. Judges of Kyiv, of Kyiv and Lugansk oblasts consider more administrative cases than in other regions of Ukraine. It is obvious that such consideration cannot be objective or accurate.

People suspected of grave crimes are sometimes arrested administratively for petty hooliganism or disobedience to militiamen. Staying under such an arrest they are interrogated without advocates and often confess of the crimes committed. Courts and prosecutor’s offices do not pay attention how later, when the serious crimes are considered in the court, that the evidence was collected while the culprit was under an administrative arrest. Since the short administrative arrest is a convenient place for squeezing out evidence, this trick is applied rather often. How often it is done, we cannot say, since the corresponding statistics is not gathered. An example is described in the newspaper ’Kievskie vedomosti’. A young man was detained in the Kyiv oblast, brought to Kyiv and here was arrested for bad language. Later, being under administrative arrest, he confessed of the theft. Another example, in connection with the notorious case of M. Brodskiy, two workers of the concern ’Dandy’ were detained by militia in Borispol airport; then they were brought to the center of Kyiv either for an interrogation or just for a talk. The detained, who risked to be late for their flight, were provoked to use bad language. Somehow the chairman of the district court appeared in his office on the day-off and he quickly ruled to put the both men under the administrative arrest. Then the investigation began. There are many cases of this sort, the detained are usually accused of using bad language in a public place.

Administrative punishments are often imposed on marginal people, beggars, illiterate, psychic cases, etc. When their cases are considered, they do not understand what is going on.

The violations of the behavior rules which are punished administratively must certainly be punished, but here misuse of power is probable. For example, a great number of complaints at road militia are handed. That is why the administrative practices need to be paid more attention as to observance of human rights. Many administrative rules are doubtful and do not agree with the Constitution. For example, the Administrative Code prohibits to employ persons subject to the draft who are not recorded in a military commissariat (Article 211-3 of the Administrative Code). Neither persons without propiska may be employed (Article 200 of the same Code). People have no right to reside without a propiska (Article 197 of the same Code). All these articles are still operating. Perhaps, creating special administrative courts or, at least, specialization of judges in administrative cases will improve the situation. Statistics show that this is important since the number of administrative cases greatly exceeds the number of criminal cases. This is becoming more important because a number of insignificant crimes have been already passed to the simplified form of consideration (Article 32 of the Criminal Code), and there is a general tendency to put forward this process.

Citizens must use their right to lodge a complaint against administrative verdicts. This they may do during ten days after the verdict to a higher judicial body. Besides, the verdict of the administrative court can be protested by the prosecutor.

If a complaint is lodged against the administrative ruling, then witnesses, translators, experts, advocates may be called. A person punished administratively has the right to hand a requests to get acquainted with materials of the case, to present proofs. One should not forget these rights and ought to use them.

At last, consideration of administrative protocols by the court must be open, and the presence of public witnesses, relatives and legal representatives at the trial may influence the manner of consideration and assist to better observance of human rights, thus preventing administrative punishments to become a tool of massive terror, which serves interests of separate individuals or groups.

Center of right protection of youth is created in Odessa

The Odessa branch of the union ’Youth of Ukraine’ creates, in the framework of the project ’Center of right protection of youth’, plans to open in Odessa the center, in which high-skilled lawyers will work and consult gratis young people. The head of the center is Volodymir Dobriakov.

Address: 22-a French Boulevard, Apt. 71, Odessa, 65058.

Tel.: (0482) 349 - 681.

E-mail: [email protected]  

Our informant

A new association

It is well known that when science and education are financed by less than 1% of the GNP, this means that science and education are falling to abyss. The future of any nation is determined by the level of health protection - this is preservation of the national genofund - and by the level of science and education - this is the preservation of the national intelligence. Both of them are degrading in Ukraine, so the future of Ukraine as a state with the well-developed economy where Ukrainians play the role of masters and not servants is very black. And, as always, when a grief comes to a family, the burden of responsibility is taken by a woman.

That is why the initiative group of women working in science and education in Kharkiv, Kyiv, Dnepropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zaporozhye and Lutsk held the statutory meeting of the Ukrainian Association ’Women In Science and Education’ (WISE). The conference was held on 6 November 1999 in Kharkiv, in the V. N. Karazin National University. More than 120 persons were present at the conference from most oblasts of Ukraine. N. D. Gernet was elected the WISE president, she is a senior research worker of the Kharkiv University. I. I. Kovtun, an assistant professor from Kyiv Agricultural Academy was elected the vice-president.

The statutory goal of the WISE association is promoting the scientific and creative potential of its members in the sphere of scientific research and education. That is why we invite all who are interested in the development of our science and education. The WISE association focuses its attention on the preparation of young scientists as personalities who will try to use their professionalism to develop science and education in Ukraine. The WISE association will also support the legal enlightenment of its members and protect their civil rights. In the questions which are within the competence, the association will interact with state and public organizations both in Ukraine and abroad.

We will willingly accept any propositions of joint work from similar organizations.

Our address is: Ukrainian Association ’Women In Science and Education’, Kharkiv V. N. Karazin National University, 4 Svobody Square, Kharkiv, 61077, Ukraine; tel.: (0572) 457-517;


Point of view

No access to official information

Severodonetsk town council ruled out (Order No. 348 of 23 December 1999) to record on magnetic carrier everything which is said at a session and preserve the record at least until the election of the following composition of the town council. Some time later S. A. Gulenko, a deputy of this council, turned to the mayor with a request to transcribe some fragment.

In response deputy Gulenko got a letter from the secretary of the town council N. G. Taldonov. The letter read: ’To your request of 6 January 2000 I inform you that according to Section 10 Article 49 of the law ’On local self-rule in Ukraine’, a deputy has the right to get acquainted with any official document, which is kept in the corresponding organs of the local self-rule, but since audio records are not mentioned in any legal documents, I believe that your request to obtain an audio record is illegal.’

If such answers are given to deputies, what can be answered to ordinary citizens?

Dissidents and their time


Kharkiv is a large scientific and educational center of Ukraine. As such, it had a university and more than a score of higher schools, which were called institutes. When Ukraine became an autonomous state and financial difficulties began, it rumored that institutes would be closed and only the university would remain. The result was predictable: all institutes were renamed to universities. Half a dozen of freshly created private higher schools also became universities, or academies, or both. Now Kharkiv can be included into the Guinness Book of Records as the city with more than a score of universities. The almanac ’Universitates’ (Universities) expectably appeared, which soon will become a periodic journal. In what follows we shall review several articles from the almanac.

I. E. Tarapov, the former rector of the genuine university (now it is called national, to point it out in some way), wrote the article ’The necessary condition of the dignified survival of the people’. The article begins with numbers that illustrate the process of disintegration of Ukrainian science. Every year about 1,300 Doctors and Candidates leave science; the financing of science since the creation of the Ukrainian state has decreased by 20 times, while the financing of education decreased only by 10 times. This process is continuing: in 1996 the financing of education equaled 0.45% of the GNP, while in 1998 it became 0.34% of the GNP. The process of disintegration concerns the elementary and secondary schools as well. In the country, where everyone was literate, we have already 30 thousand of illiterate children of school age. In towns we lack two thousand teachers, in the country schools the situation is worse.

Every outstanding nation makes its contribution to the culture of mankind, best samples of literature and art, most important scientific achievements. Once Ukraine contributed Shevchenko’s poetry, best creations of Lesia Ukrainka and Ivan Franko, scientific treaties by Wernadski and Bogomolets, creations of Ukrainian mathematicians and physicists, the first splitting of an atomic nucleus, and many others. Now we can contribute only national styles of hair-dress and very wide trousers.

One cannot help but pose two inevitable questions: ’Who profits from the new manner of Ukrainian achievements?’ and ’Who is responsible for the current situation?’ Objectively, what has happened is profitable for well-developed countries: they are interested in making Ukraine a source of raw materials and cheap labor. Is it done consciously? The question is essential only for the political propaganda. The answer to the second question is also simple: our rulers of all political colors are responsible. Our country is not the first one which got into a profound crisis. Recall after-war Germany and Japan. Now these countries, having retained their science and education, are the most progressive.

Yes, we have become a very poor country, but we waste our scarce resources stupidly, so, for example, we repair the central Kyivan street Kreshchatik and finance extremely numerous missions of our officials abroad.

It is interesting to learn the details of the destruction of higher schools. Lack of financing drove away the reserve of the stuff. Elderly people, who do not want to run abroad, will go the way of all flesh in 10 - 15 years, and there is no one to replace them. Once the reserve worked in the research sector of higher schools, now this reserve is practically closed. For example, in Kharkiv National University during the last five years the number of research workers diminished more than by one third.

It is interesting to analyze their destinies after they left science. Some of them became businessmen, sometimes very influential ones. In Russia we know such persons as Doctor of Mathematics Berezovskiy, a physicist Nemtsov, economists Chubais and Gaydar. In Ukraine science did not put out people of such caliber, but more former scientists go to business than to scientific positions abroad. Those who have not run to business or abroad practically starve. The polarization of people as to their income is abominable: the richest 10% compared to the poorest 10% have the income 12 times larger.

The average age of Ukrainians, according to the UNO data, takes the 120th place out of 198 countries, at the same level as Tunisia. The International Organization of Health Care, basing on the data of new-born babies defects, classify Ukraine as a country with dying out population.

Professor Tarapov wants very much people in power to pay attention to intelligentsia. Being a mathematician, he uses such arguments as those, which the outstanding Italian mathematician Volterra used in his ’Mathematical Theory of the Struggle for Life’, as those once proposed by Charles Darwin and Francis Bacon, who insisted that animals mutually aide each other. In the conclusion he expresses hope that Ukraine will immediately start to cherish those layers of the population which represent the nation’s intelligence.

This conclusion seems wishful thinking.

Now in Ukraine smolders a discussion, in which supporters of the Russian language insist on making it equal to the Ukrainian as a state language. They remind that in many countries of the modern world several languages have the official status. The supporters of the unique Ukrainian as a state language try to prove that such experience is non-applicable in Ukraine. The article of A. R. Smirnov ’Multilinguism in modern political nations’ describes the problem as a whole.

Switzerland is a typical country with many official languages. Supporters of the only (Ukrainian) official language in Ukraine do not accept this fact. They say: ’There is no Swiss language and there is no Swiss nation, whereas the Ukrainian nation exists, as well as the Ukrainian language’. A. R. Smirnov presents many arguments that the Swiss nation does exist, as well as Belgium, which uses French, Flemish and Wallon. The author also mentions Finland, where 8.5% Swedes live and both Finnish and Swedish are acknowledged as official languages. In Canada there are also two state languages: English from long ago and French since 1967 (centenary of the dominion).

On the contrary, different nations can have the same language as it is clearly seen in the countries of the Latin America.

The after-war history gives several examples of forming young political nations which out of consideration of practical use appointed the language of the former colonizers as the state language. This language serves as a good intermediary for carriers of numerous local languages. The bright example of this sort is the multi-national India. The total number of languages used in the modern India is about 500 (about 700, counting dialects). In 1966 the English language was cancelled as the state one by Indian nationalists. This linguistic experiment ended in massive unrest of national minorities (in India they make about 100 million). Next year the government had to return to the previous situation. That is a fact than should be known by the activists of ’Prosvita’, whose office is situated in downtown Kharkiv across the monument of Shevchenko, who wrote both in Ukrainian and in Russian. The entrance to ’Prosvita’ is decorated with the slogan: ’The language of occupants cannot be the state one’.

Another instructive example is the long way of the South African Union to a democratic language policy. The colonial history of the country began in 1652, the colonists were from the Netherlands. The Dutch language of the first colonists was later influenced by German and French, and by and by it transformed to a special dialect which later got the name Afrikaans. Then, in 1795, the Great Britain won from Holland the South of the country, near Cape Town, and the English language became the only official language in that part of the country. In late 30s of the 19th century the white inhabitants, who spoke Afrikaans, left the lands and drifted to the North and North-East. There they founded three republics, where the state language was Afrikaans. In 1899-1903 the English-Boer war began, in which Boers were finally defeated. As a result, English became the only official language, although Afrikaans was permitted to be used locally. With the foundation of the South African Union in 1910 Afrikaans became more and more important and in 1925 won the status of the second state language. In 1948 the nationalist party came to power and began the campaign for ousting English from all spheres of state activities, culture and education. Very soon fatal consequences of this policy became obvious. The following swing of the pendulum happened in 1976-1990. This time Afrikaans was declared to be the language of oppressors of the English-speaking population.

For black population these were the squabbles of the colonizers. When the first black president Nelson Mandela came to power, he displayed enough wisdom to stop revenges of the native population and prevent the exodus of the white from the country. As to the language policy, nine more languages of black natives were made state languages. Now there are eleven state language in the country and they manage to live. Moreover, the country enriched the lengthy list of countries, to which high-skilled Ukrainian specialist migrate.

The most frequently used argument of those, who forbid the equality of Russian and Ukrainian languages in Ukraine, is that under the Soviet power the Ukrainian language was suppressed and the culture was ’russified’. In order to overcome the consequences of the rusification now especially favorable conditions for the Ukrainian language at the account of the Russian one must be created. Some nationalists openly say about revenge. Here two questions must be analyzed: 1) In which form the rusification existed? 2) Will the ’ukrainization’ bring about the expected result and will it be morally justified?

If one assumes that the Russian language is really that of occupants, one must take into account that these occupants came many generations ago. How can they be revenged? By sending bulldozers to the graveyards? Their offsprings, often born in mixed marriages, speak Russian from babyhood. Must they be punished by making them refuse from their native language?

Now about the cruel rusification. In order to prove its existence, lists of the tortured and murdered outstanding representatives of the Ukrainian people are presented. Yet, such lists of Russians are not shorter. The central point of communist ideology was the class approach to all phenomena of life. Mind you that in the political vocabulary of that time the word ’nationalism’ was always prefixed with the adjective ’bourgeois’.

From time to time the coercive ukrainization of schools in Ukraine was attempted. One of them was carried out by Lazar Kaganovich, a Jew, who was then the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine. Then, in the framework of ’the national construction’, the Ukrainian language was declared the only tool of communication. To be employed as a civil officer one had to pass an examination in the Ukrainian language. Only Ukrainian had to be used in all spheres of administrative, cultural and educational activities. Those who disobeyed were punished and fired from their jobs.

A slightly weaker wave of ukrainization was started by the initiative of notorious Beria. Again in Kharkiv University teachers, who did not know Ukrainian, distorted their Russian in the attempts of sounding Ukrainian.

The third wave is rolling now.

In the Kharkiv oblast archives a noticeable document is preserved - the application of S. N. Bernstein, an outstanding mathematician, one of the creators of the Ukrainian Soviet mathematical school. The application is dated 28 June 1926 and is directed to the rector of Kharkiv University with a request to free him of teaching because of the order to teach all subjects in the Ukrainian language. In particular, Bernstein writes: ’For teaching mathematics it is especially important to use flexible and exact word formulations. The Russian language has been creating the terminology during several centuries. On the contrary, the mathematical terminology in Ukrainian has not been created yet, and the task of making such terminology must be done by specialists with an excellent knowledge of Ukrainian. This is a subtle and long-lasting creative work, which yields caricatures when the work is done in a hurry and not by those, who can do it.’

Ukraine was motherland for many party functionaries of the highest level. The local nomenclature, preparing the Moscow carrier to their children in 50s - 70s sent their offsprings to Russian schools to prevent them inherit the accent of their parents. It was then that a flunkey’s expression ’elder brother’ for the Russian people appeared on the outskirts of the empire. But there is not a single Russian document or work of fiction where Russians would apply this term to themselves.

Once the same happened in history when the Russian language in Russia was the language of commoners, and the elite spoke French.

In the Kharkiv oblast up to the 80s only one Russian-language newspaper was published. All others were published in Ukraine. Only later the Ukrainian language ’Vechirniy Kharkiv’ became bilingual. Announcers of the oblast and republican radio and TV spoke only Ukrainian, and the normal form of an interview consisted of Ukrainian questions and Russian answers. In bookshops the shelves were packed with books of Ukrainian authors and translations to the Ukrainian language. In the black book market a book in Russian cost a fortune, whereas its Ukrainian counterpart was covered with dust in any bookshop. There was a strict limit, below which printing of literature in Ukrainian could not be lowered. Now, when the market determines the proportions, the Ukrainian part has become practically non-existent. The same has happened with newspapers. Even the popular ’Vecherniy Kharkiv’ has again become monolingual, but this time it is published in Russian.

In all towns and especially in the capital a campaign is proceeding to extirpate signboards in Russian. In Kyiv one can hardly find a signboard not in Ukrainian - may be in English. But come to any fence where people fasten their private advertisements: about exchange, selling, buying, etc. Practically all are in Russian.

Objectively, Russian became a language of international communication for the peoples of the former USSR. This was not only communication between Soviet peoples, it was the communication with the world.

We have presented the arguments of A. R. Smirnov, the author of the article. it follows from them, that the existence of two state languages seems reasonable for Ukraine. The author is a physicist, and he believes that true facts and correct argumentation can convince the supporters of the opposite point of view. I may say that this is naпve. The supporters of the nationalist point of view have their own unshakable opinion. In the mentioned Kharkiv ’Prosvita’ a horrible snake is painted on a wall in the hall. The snake put out a forked tongue. ’A bilingua’ is written on the tongue. The members of the ’Prosvita’ (’education’ in Ukrainian) are sure that the troubles of the Ukrainian people will end the very day when every citizen of Ukraine will start to speak Ukrainian. That these expectations are somewhat futile demonstrate some facts quoted in the other article of the reviewed almanac.

This article is written by V. I. Astakhova, the rector and owner of Kharkiv Humanitarian University ’National Ukrainian Academy’ (that very establishment that combined academy and university). In general, her article advertises education in private universities, but there are some data on the attitudes and general outlook of Ukrainian students. In 1998 a poll was held among Kyivan students. The question: ’What does the world ’motherland’ mean for you?’ 870 pollees out of 1000 answered: ’Nothing’. The question: ’Where would you like to live and study?’ was answered: ’Abroad’ by 84% of the pollees.

A misshapen state that emerged on the ruins of the Ukrainian Socialist Republic brought many troubles to the majority of the population. Academic people at the top of their carrier lost much in the living standard and in the dignity of their positions in general. At first they hoped that the situation would soon improve. But years passed, they got older and lost chances to emigrate. Besides, in East Ukraine now they began to suffer from the language policy. That is why the almanac ’Universitates’ that reflects the attitude of the Russian-speaking intelligentsia is especially bitter.

In reprinting these materials, please, refer to KHPG-inform.

“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2000, #02