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.


Conflict in Chuguev

Many mass media, including some all-Ukrainian TV channels, have already informed about post-election clashes in Chuguev. What has happened in the actual fact?

We will quote the opinion of A. Solovyev, the executive manager of the Agency of municipal development, and A. Lisianski, the executive manager of the Chuguev Union of businessmen:

„A month after the election the public passions around the election of the Chuguev mayor did not subsided; on the contrary, they grew to a tempest. On 31 March 60% of Chuguev dwellers voted for entrusting the mayor’s post to A. Kvasha. One of the three candidates to the mayor’s post, R. Aleksandrov (who, by the way, got the smallest number of the votes) turned to court with the claim to acknowledge the results of the election invalid. On 23 April the Ordzhonikidze district court of Kharkov took the decision to satisfy the claim of Aleksandrov.

This decision caused the mass protests on the side of Chuguev inhabitants. The majority of them considers that the acknowledgement of the mayor’s election as invalid brutally tramples their constitutional rights. On 24 April a numerous meeting in support of the legally elected mayor was held, at which the people expressed their indignation about the court decision and their resolution to defend their right for free will expression. During the meeting it became known that the town voting commission took the illegal decision to entrust the mayor’s post to R. Aleksandrov. The participants of the meeting to attract attention of the public and oblast power to their protest blocked the traffic on the highway Kyiv – Rostov for two hours. This event was widely elucidated in mass media, bot national and foreign.

In the evening of the same day the third extraordinary session of the town council was held, which considered the situation connected with the mayor’s election that created in Chuguev and the question about the annulment of powers of the town voting commission“.

There had been three candidates to the mayor’s post: A. Kvasha, A. Zdor and R. Aleksandrov. The votes were divided as follows: Kvasha got 11533 votes (i.e. 58,85%), Zdor – about 20%, Aleksandrov – 3415 votes (17.4%). Candidate Aleksandrov turned to court indicating numerous violations during the pre-election campaign and during counting the votes. The court established that the candidates actually worked under unequal conditions – the acting mayor used the „administrative resource“, and abused the law about holding and financing the agitation campaign. The court took the decision: „To force the Chuguev territorial voting commission in electing deputies of the Chuguev town council and the Chuguev mayor to acknowledge invalid the results of the election of the Chuguev mayor in the part involving A. Kvasha, the candidate to the post of the Chuguev mayor at the election of 31 March 2002“.

It would seem that justice triumphed and the user of illegal technologies is punished as he deserved.

On the basis of the court decision the Chuguev town voting commission, which had not noticed any violations during two months, cancelled its own decision of 1 April 2002 No. 57 on the result of the election of the 45 mayor and decided that the election was won by… Aleksandrov, who got the smallest number of votes. Candidate A. Zdor, who had the second place in the election, died after the court ruled to cancel the election results, but before the territorial commission took its decision. So, Aleksandrov, the only remaining candidate, became the winner.

So, what is the reason of the discontent of the Chuguev dwellers? The reason is that they were not given the opportunity to choose their mayor. The reader must agree that the candidate, who got three thousand votes out of 29258 (the number of registered voters in Chuguev) or eve out of 19632 (who actually took part in the election), is actually elected by the town. Perhaps, new election must be held.

There are several interesting and, in my opinion, instructive moments in all this story. First, it would be desirable that this case should become a lesson for those, who have the access to the „administrative resource“. Many Chuguev dwellers, I believe, would perhaps vote for the acting mayor by their own will, without additional encouragement, since I heard much good about him from different people long before the pre-election campaign. So, there would be no need to violate the election laws even in tiny details. Secondly, many of the Chuguev dwellers could not understand why such a good candidate was taken from the registration, suspecting in the court decision someone’s „intrigues“. Perhaps, the court decision should be patiently explained to the citizens. Then there would not be blocking the highway and other protest actions. Thirdly, the position of the territorial voting commission is surprising, since it did not find any violations during the entire campaign, and then took a drastic decision, obviously impinging the right of the town dwellers to elect the mayor.

Regardless of the election in Chuguev dwellers, I want to say: we had not learned democracy during 10 years of practices – either electors or elected. How often those, who in some ways bribed voters, even without breaking the law, were elected to the organs of self-rule and to the Supreme Rada in majority districts. It would be instructive to count how many charity funds named after the candidates are opened before elections and how long they exist after the elections. It would be instructive to trace how polite becomes the personnel of clinics, whose administrator becomes a candidate, and why a manager-candidate, who quite recently asserted that there is no money and no money is expected in near future, begins to pay the arrears. Perhaps, all this will continue until we understand that only honest and competent people must be elected to organs of all levels in contrast to those tricksters, who „donate elephants“ before the election. The „donators of elephants“ would have to refill their purses later… And id the „elephants“ are from the budget? Then one must guess to whom and when these „elephants“ had not been given. Maybe to you? Maybe, the voters themselves await some crumbs from the candidates’ table? We have got accustomed to the good old tradition to pave roads before election by putting the tarmac upon spring mud.

Prisoners vote for „Za edynu Ukrainu“

It appeared that in the Ternopil oblast the greatest number of the supporters of the political bloc „Za edynu Ukrainu“ („For united Ukraine“) stay… in penitentiaries. In particular, in the Zbarazska correctional colony 1175 convicts out of 1285 voted for this bloc. It is interesting that in the neighboring village Dobrovody only 17 out of 1089 voters supported the bloc „For united Ukraine“. In the Kopychintsi correctional colony the results were the following: 711 voted for „For united Ukraine“, 171 – for Yulia Timoshenko’s bloc, 60 – for „Our Ukraine“. Only one supporter of „For united Ukraine“ was found among 450 voters in the neighboring settlement Kopychintsi. 212 out of 335 convicts staying in the Chortkiv preliminary prison voted for the bloc „For united Ukraine“. Their neighbors on the other side of the bars voted differently: only 4 out of 1322. It is interesting that the election station in the Chortkiv preliminary prison was the only one, where no violations of the election procedure were fixed, so the repeated voting on 7 April was not held there. Being asked to comment this outstanding event, Mr. Pirogovskiy, the head of the district voters’ commission, said verbatim: „The pressure on the voters is principally impossible at the election station in the preliminary prison“.

Long live our prisons, lady and gentlemen! They have become the vanguard on the way of the democratic progress. Must the experience of conducting election in penitentiaries be extended throughout Ukraine?

Appeal of the Sevastopol human rights protecting group to the Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Ukraine.

To the Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Ukraine

Mr. V. S. Chernomyrdin

Dear Mr. Ambassador!

We have the honor to express in your person our respect to the people of the Russian Federation and our conviction in the friendly mutual relations between our countries.

We are very sorry, but we have to draw your attention to the facts of the rude interference of Russian mass media into the parliamentary election campaign in Ukraine. On 30 and 31 March, that is on the eve of the parliamentary election day and during the election day, the TV channel „ORT“ showed the TV film, which represented negatively the political bloc „Our Ukraine“ and its leader Viktor Yushchenko. We are indignant of the ungrounded similarities between the political bloc, which convincingly won the election, and the German Nazi party.

We assess this action of one of the leading mass media of the Russian Federation, which broadcasts almost over entire Ukraine, as a premeditated attempt to influence the election. Thus, the Russian journalists and the „political instigators“ of the film doubt the capability of Ukrainian voters to make their choice among the political forces represented in our country without prompting of Russian „experts“. We consider that such attitude cannot encourage the development of friendly relations between Ukraine and Russia. In our opinion, the real interests of the Russian Federation must consist in establishing the dialog for the search of mutually profitable joint decisions with all the political forces, which are endorsed by Ukrainian citizens, and not in the search of enemies.

We ask you to pass our opinion to the Russian government, and we hope that furthermore Russia mass media will show more respect to Ukrainian voters.

With deep respect, Roman Romanov

The executive director

Of Sevastopol Group of Human Rights Protection,


Election in Donetsk

The election was falsified throughout all the Donetsk oblast. Such election and its results may not be acknowledged. 15-20% of the bulletins in the towns of the oblast were brought from the side. If to analyze the statistics of the voting, the bloc „For united Ukraine“ obtained 20% more in the Donetsk oblast than in the neighboring oblasts (such as the Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye and Lugansk oblasts). Nevertheless, the inhabitants of these oblasts have similar convictions…

Such falsifications must be punished, but neither the oblast prosecutor’s office nor the courts agree to accept any claims about the repeated voting. The press is silent.

One may get the expression that everybody is content with the results and that all is well in our region.

Commentary:Unfortunately, the brutality of the violations in the Donetsk oblast has not made yet the leading political forces of Ukraine to assess the results of the election in the oblast separately.

Meanwhile, the ecological club „Bakhmat“ headed by Vladimir Berezin is surviving hard times, since V. Berezin criticized the election campaign in the electronic bulletin „Dikoye pole“. Yesterday he phoned me and told that their office is still coercively closed. The club needs a wide wide-scale fax campaign in support on the side of public organizations. The faxes must be directed to the Artemovsk town council.

Serghiy M. Fedorynchyk,
Director of Zeleny Svit Informational Centre

Hard ways to the political Olympus

For the fifth time I set my pen to describe what happened on the 31 March and for the fifth time my pen is helpless. Each of you, of course, tried to be off this filth. We, members of the ecological club „Bakhmat“, also decided to stand aside lies and tricks of political yes-men. We proposed the candidates to improve the environment: to hang nestling boxes, to plant trees and to clear away the garbage. The only affair we decided to be involved in was the observation over the fairness of the election at electoral stations on the voting day in the capacity of representatives of the Voters Committee of Ukraine. „Ecologically clean election“ – why not? And we unthinkingly made a decisive step. The first thing we observed having come to the stations were trembling fingers and evasive looks of the heads of electoral commissions. Further you will understand that it was not a mere hangover after a week-long boozing away the electoral funds. Then we were somewhat surprised by the excessive number of observers from „For united Ukraine“ and the related organizations. The made the majority, and they aggressively suppressed any attempts of protest. Now we understood why so many candidates from the same political force were put out in one majority electoral district. As always, senile representatives of the communist party were dozing in the corner, but the representatives of „Yabloko“ and Social-Democratic party (united) honestly tries to work off their 20-30 hryvnas. A curator from the executive committee was appended to every commission, who gave order whether to permit an observer to be present, where he must be seated, how to react to his remarks, etc. (which is a brutal violations of the laws). Several ballot boxes were already sealed before our arrival, and only God knows what was within. Most observers were seated far from the ballot boxes and observed the voters’ backs. Rubber plants decorated the interior and shielded the actions of the commission members. At first everything was quiet. We were treated politely and provided with all needed data. Then the circus began. After midday the number of voters registered by observers and the number, which the commission passed to the district commission, stopped to coincide. The divergence was increasing more and more. At noon the divergence was 50 people, and by the end of the day the number grew to 300! The same occurred at all electoral stations. Then a new kind of violations appeared: everywhere people were caught, who tries to squeeze into ballot boxes thick piles of unaccounted bulletins. At one of the stations a young man was caught, who already managed to squeeze into the box 100 bulletins and tried to squeeze in another hundred. Sometimes this was done by members or heads of electoral commission, or by independent observers. When one of independent lady-observers screamed: „What are you doing, you, swindlers!“, she was bodily put out by militiamen. The commission voted to prohibit the screamer to be present at the station. Our representative caught a young man, who tried in vain to squeeze in the ballot box 11 sets of bulletins (55 sheets). Members of „Yabloko“ and even one boy from „For united Ukraine“ took part in the capture. The boy from „For united Ukraine“ was somewhat amazed, when it appeared that all the extra bulletins were for his bloc. The stupid boy dissolved as if in the thin air. The culprit was passed to militiamen. He tried to get away and cried: „I have done it dozens of times! For this kind of money I will sell my own mother!“ It is interesting that in this and similar cases any complaints were not accepted by district commissions, and if they were accepted, they were somehow lost. Naturally, the organizers of this circus made use of the weak knowledge of laws by the observers and mainly of the Great Terror for themselves and their kin. The Great Terror had been implanted for decades, and the short instructions to be honest did not help. When the head of the district commission told that there were no violations at his stations, I asked him: „And what about this captured boy, who was passed to militia?“ I got the answer: „Those, who captured him, took back their complaint. And the boy confessed that he was paid by the united social party members to set this provocation“. We communicated with the oblast Headquarters of the Voters’ committee and were astonished: THIS NIGHTMARE WAS OBSERVED THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE DONETSK OBLAST!

Adding extra bulletins occurred everywhere. To this end 300 bulletins were directed to each station. It rumors that the number of dollars paid for this was also 300.

In Druzhkovka a representative of „Yabloko“ jumped on the back of a man, who was trying to squeeze into a ballot box a thick pack of bulletins. The representative, in his turn, was saddled by a militiaman and the commission head and beaten. Meanwhile, the lowest culprit widened the slot in the box with his fist, put the bulletins inside and ran away. No complaints were received from this electoral station.

In Yasinovataya, after an electoral station was closed at 20:00, the head of the commission disappeared. At the same time she is the principal of the school, where the station was situated. She was sought for a long time, until someone guessed to break the door of the principal’s office. They saw an intriguing picture: the commission head was feverishly putting tics in 300 bulletins. Certainly, there were no complaints about the work of this electoral station. At one of the voting stations in Gorlovka at the moment of dumping the bulletins from the ballot boxes the electric light went out. This is not an extraordinary event in our part of the world. In Dimitrov other problems were observed. A voting station was vandalized by skinheads, ballot boxes were crashed. It is now impossible to prove what happened with the contents. Foreign observers from the OSCE in Donetsk noticed a Gazel van, which went from one station to another bringing there a group of young men, who did something around ballot boxes. The observers decided to tail the van. When they came to a dead-end the Gazel stopped and two white Zhiguli cars blocked the way out. Skinheads armed with baseball bats went from the cars and, putting a knife to the driver’s throat, ordered everyone to leave the OSCE car. They collected documents and cellular phones. Yet, having heard that this will provoke a serious scandal, the attackers phoned to their bosses and let the foreign observers go. Who can call an election this idiotic happening?

We were raped for the umpteenth time after the last presidential election, referendum „on the people’s initiative“, coercive recruiting to the newly created Party of Regions, etc. Scanty pennies were given to the paupers for their voices. Puppeteer imported Russian specialists in black PR and they developed „the new technologies“. By the way, the executives of the party „For united Ukraine“ were observed to oscillate between Moscow and Ukraine. Did they bring from Moscow only wisdom, or money too? Look at the smug faces of Chernomyrdin and the like, who praise the Ukrainian election! They had reasons to pay the fight against a westerner Yushchenko.

To conclude, I may say only one thing. Everyone, who participated in this happening – both organizers and executors – are not mere criminals, who should get 5-8 years of incarceration, they are GUILTY OF THE HIGH TREASON!

And you, dear readers should subtract 20% of the votes from „For united Ukraine“ (300 extra bulletins per every station in the Donetsk oblast) and count what they would get in the actual fact. All this made me wander at nights around the city and paste stealthily leaflets of protest like in 1989.

Access to information

Access to information about illegal actions of law-enforcers.

(Continued from the previous issue)

The problem of torture and cruel treatment is the most difficult problem in human rights protection. According to our monitoring, the cases of applying torture in Ukraine during inquiry and preliminary investigation become more frequent, and actions of militia become crueler. Some facts of death as a result of torture are known. As before, no system exists of independent investigation of complaints against cruel actions of militia. Service investigations are carried out by officers of another directorate of the Ministry of Interior and they are not fast and unbiased. It is next to impossible to make prosecutor’s office start a criminal case. To get convinced in the correctness of these empiric conclusions we decided to try to learn how many complaints against the illegal actions of law-enforcers are handed, how many of them are satisfied, how many people are brought to criminal or administrative responsibility and how many people have been condemned according to articles 166 and 175 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine of 1961 (for misuse of power and illegal methods of investigation). To this end, we sent to the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, General Prosecutor’s office and to all 27 regional prosecutor’s and militia directorates the requests of the following content:

Our organization prepares analytical issues of the bulletin ’Prava ludyny’ about the state of human rights in Ukraine. According to Article 40 of the Ukrainian Constitution, Articles 28, 29, 32, 33 of the Ukrainian Law ’On information’ and Articles 34, 35 of the Ukrainian Law ’On printed mass media (press) in Ukraine’ we ask to send us in writing the following information.

The number of complaints against the illegal actions of law-enforcers of [the name of the region] in 1998-2000 and the first half of 2001, how many of them are satisfied, how many people are brought to disciplinary responsibility.

In the report to the State Department of the USA on the state of human rights in Ukraine in 2000 ( it is said, erroneously, in our opinion, that ’state organs did not incarcerate penitentiary and militia officers, who inflicted or encouraged violence against convicts’. We ask to give us the information about the number of the penitentiary and militia officers of [the name of the region], who were condemned according to Articles 166 and 175 in 1998-2000 and the first half of 2001 classified by years and articles.

Our requests remained unanswered by the prosecutor’s office of Kyiv and prosecutor’s offices of 13 oblasts: Cherkassy, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkov, Kherson, Khmelnitskaya, Kirovograd, Kyiv, Lviv, Odessa, Sumy, Ternopil, Vinnitsa and Zaporozhye. Thus, they brutally violated Article 40 of the Ukrainian Constitution and Articles 28, 29 and 32 of the Ukrainian Law ’On information’. 13 prosecutor’s offices answered our requests, but 6 of them refused to present information justifying themselves with different motives. The prosecutor’s office of the Zhytomir and Lugansk oblast answered that the requested statistical information is a state property, which is owned by the organs of state statistics, so they have no right to present it to us. The Crimean prosecutor’s office considers that divulging the requested data ’may inflict harm to citizens’ rights that are protected by laws’ and that ’this information may be used only for service reasons’. The absurdity of the first part of the refusal is obvious, since we requested no personal, but generalized statistical data. The second part of the answer just confirms the arbitrary use of the classification for restricting access. The Sevastopol prosecutor’s office regards the requested information as ’confidential information, i.e. information with the restricted access, distribution of which, according to Section 5 of the Ukrainian Law ’On state statistics’, is prohibited’. Yet, this very section tells that the prohibition of distributing statistical information connected with data about a concrete person does not concern generalized statistical data. The Dnepropetrovsk oblast prosecutor’s office informed us that they do not collect such statistics, and the Chernovtsy oblast prosecutor’s office answered that we must turn to the General Prosecutor’s office, referring to item 1 of Article 6 of the Ukrainian Law ’On prosecutor’s office’ (’prosecutor’s offices make a united centralized system headed by the General Prosecutor of Ukraine, where lower prosecutors are subordinated to higher ones’).

Our first request to the General Prosecutor’s office was answered by M. Garnik, the first deputy of the General Prosecutor. He wrote that such data are not processes in the statistical reports of the Ukrainian prosecutor’s offices, and recommended us to turn to the Ministry of Justice, which keeps the statistics. This answer is strange, since namely prosecutor’s offices must control the observation of laws by the organs, which conduct ODA, inquiry, preliminary investigation, execution of court decisions in criminal cases and application of other coercive measures involving the restriction of citizens’ freedom. That is why, in our opinion, it is the prosecutor’s office that must collect and analyze the data about such violations of laws. This was confirmed by the answers from prosecutor’s offices of seven oblasts.

In its turn, the Ministry of Justice answered our request that the data about the number of the condemned officers of militia, prosecutor’s offices and penitentiary department are not singled out from the general statistics.

We turned to the General Prosecutor’s office for the again trying to protest against the refusal, ungrounded, in our opinion, to present the information and asking to make the prosecutor’s offices, which did not answer us at all, obey the Law ’On information’. The answer we got was also signed by M. Garnik. He unexpectedly confirmed, contradicting his previous letter, that the requested statistical data are formed in the prosecutor’s offices, in the Ministry of Interior and in the Ministry of Justice. Later these data are passed to the State Committee of statistics, where he advised us to turn. The most characteristic feature of this response, we believe, is the complete absence of any reaction to obvious violations of laws by regional prosecutor’s office subordinated to the General Prosecutor’s office. So, we turned to the General Prosecutor’s office for the third time, summing up the result of our requests and informing our addressee that the data we need are not placed in annual statistical reports. We also referred to the Constitutional norm about the duty of the General Prosecutor’s office to control the observation of laws by the organs of inquiry and preliminary investigation. We again asked to answer our informational requests, indicating that else we will turn to court in each case of refusing the response. We received the third, quote irritated, letter from Mr. Garnik, who repeated that we must turn to the State Committee of statistics. He asserted that the statistical reports of prosecutor’s offices do not contain such data and that there are no grounds to apply sanctions to prosecutors, who did not give us such data.

All this correspondence, we believe, testifies on unconcealed, if not demonstrative, ignoring the Law ’On information’, obvious unwillingness to inform the public about violating laws in law-enforcing organs and, at the same time, demonstration of their complete impunity. We reckon that we have all grounds to hand claims against the General and regional prosecutor’s offices. We intend to turn to court soon, so we sent brief letters to all the 14 prosecutor’s offices, which had not answered, asking them to respond or to inform in writing about the reasons of the refusal, which we are going to use in court.

The answers from regional militia directorates follow the same line. We did not get the answers from 17 directorates out of 27. The remaining directorates did respond, but their answers were unsatisfactory. The Crimean militia directorates advised us to turn to the Crimean Supreme Court, Dnepropetrovsk and Kirovograd directorates refused to provide us with any data, referring to Articles 30, 31 and 37 of the Law ’On information’. Here we also witnessed an arbitrary classification of information as confidential, although we requested not personal, but generalized statistical data.

We sent a letter to the Minister of Interior, where we wrote about the absence of answers and the refusals to present the requested information. We asked to make the regional directorates answer us and to give us the requested information concerning the entire country. We received the answer that the requested data are stored and controlled by prosecutor’s offices. This answer is somewhat strange, taking account of internal normative acts of the Ministry of Interior. For instance, according to item 2.3 of Order of the Ministry of Interior of Ukraine of 10 June 1998 No. 414 ’On the approval of the Instruction on the procedure of considering suggestions, applications, complaints and organizing personal reception in law-enforcing organs, internal troops, higher schools, establishments, organization and enterprises of the militia system of Ukraine’, deputy ministers, heads of main directorates, autonomous directorates and ministry departments, heads of Main militia directorates in the Crimea, Kyiv and the Kyiv oblast, militia directorates in oblasts and the city of Sevastopol must quarterly analyze the state of work with written and oral applications of citizens and suggest concrete measures to improve this work. Item 6.78 of the Instruction reads that, as a rule, the applications are controlled about drawbacks in the work of law-enforcing organs, violation of laws by law-enforcers and their incorrect behavior, which may not be regarded as the violation of laws. According to item 6.14 the assessment of the work of law-enforcing organs is made with the account of the quality of their work in considering citizens’ applications and reception of the citizens. Therefore, the answer to our informational request is under direct competence of the law-enforcing organs.

Thus, we received meaningful answers from prosecutor’s offices of seven oblast and from seven regional militia directorates. It should be noted that oblast militia directorates presented more complete information compared to the prosecutor’s offices.

The data obtained about the number of complaints against illegal actions of law-enforcers are summarized in Table 4, the data about the condemned law-enforcing officers are presented in Table 5. The analysis of the data shows that the number of the complaints during one year varies between 550 and 3500 in different oblasts, and in the Poltava and Rivne oblasts it steadily grows. The greatest number of the complaints (more than 2500 per year) is observed in the Donetsk oblast. Militia registers 1.5-2 times less complaint than prosecutor’s office, but the proportion of the complaint satisfied by militia is much more (20-30%) than that of prosecutor’s office (1-2%). This dependence is valid for all oblasts: the proportion of complaints satisfied by militia is everywhere greater than that of prosecutor’s office, and it is never less than 14%. It may be explained by the fact that militia may impose a disciplinary punishment, while prosecutor’s office must open a criminal case. On the whole, the number of disciplinary punishments is several orders of magnitude more than the number of opened criminal cases.

It astonishing that the number of satisfied complaints is stable in different oblasts: 20-30% in the Vinnitsa, Rivne and Kharkov oblasts, 15-17% in the Volyn and Trans-Carpathian oblasts. The smallest number (0.7%) of complaints is satisfied by the prosecutor’s office of the Donetsk oblast.

What concerns bringing law-enforcers to criminal responsibility for using torture, then not a single person was condemned according to Article 175 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine of 1961, and the number of the condemned for misuse of power is very small. Here the Donetsk oblast is the leader again. By the way, only prosecutor’s offices of the Volyn and Chernigov oblasts gave the data about the number of the condemned.

Freedom of movement

The short report on fulfilling the second stage of the project "Non-discrimination Review".

One of the projects of the Directorate of Human Rights of the Council of Europe is the analysis of discrimination on the basis of actual or presumed race, color, language, religion, nationality, national or ethnic origin. Thus minorities identifying themselves or identified on the basis of any of these, or similar, grounds would fall within the scope of this project.

At the first stage of the project (May 2001 – February 2002) the detailed guide for experts was prepared and the expert groups of three persons each in each of the Council of Europe countries were organized. Professor Vladimir Evtukh, the corresponding member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NASU), the manager of the center of ethnic political and national research at the Institute of sociology of the NASU, Evgeniy Zakharov, the co-chairman of the Kharkov Group for human rights protection, and Elvedin Chubarov, the coordinator of the programs of the NGO „Krymska Initsiativa“ fund, were invited as experts from Ukraine.

At the second stage of the project the country groups prepared the first report. It was a preliminary assessment report of the discrimination and inequality in each country. The preliminary assessment report consists of three parts: a) brief summary of the discrimination problems; b) selection of target areas for further in-depth actions; c) description of the methodology of the research. The Ukrainian experts prepared the preliminary assessment report separately. Then they collected and agreed on the final version of the report. Since the final version of the report is a generalized data collection, it does not contain some details, which seem important. Therefore the editorial board of „PL“ offers to the attention of readers the materials prepared by Elvedin Chubarov (part B, item 4) and Evgeniy Zakharov (part A, part B items 1-3, 5,6). Because of the lack of space the description of the methodology is not presented here.

We invite the readers to the discussion on the problems mentioned, and ask them to send information and their opinions about the problems. „PL“ editorial board intends to pay more attention to the problems of discrimination and to elucidate the result of the work at further stages of the project.
The short report on fulfilling the second stage of the project "Non-discrimination Review"



At the second stage of the project the expert group determined the topics for the analysis, listed the typical problems concerning discrimination and inequality, selected the spheres for in-depth study and defined the methodology.

It is to be noted at the very beginning that there is no direct discrimination in Ukraine. Yet, there are cases of indirect discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin, language, religion, colour, etc. These phenomena need to be analyzed, the measures for their removal need to be developed and implemented. Furthermore, different politically active groups declare the existence the ethnic, language and religious discrimination without sufficient reasons. That is why the in-depth analysis of certain problems is needed to depict the real situation.

а) Brief summary of the problems of discrimination and inequality

The following problems of discrimination and inequality are regarded as typical for Ukraine.

1. Inequality in access to education and training

The inequality in realizing the right for education is connected exclusively with the family income and the opportunity to pay for education.

2. Discrimination in school curriculum

manner of portraying members of minority groups

curriculum for different subjects, especially history

The totalitarian inheritance tells on the humanitarian education, when the role of the title nation and the roles of national minorities and ethnic groups is taught.

3. Inequality in the field of employment

entry into labor market

conditions of work

possibility of access to all levels of employment

conditions of dismissal

This problem involves to a certain degree the former deported people, who returned to Ukraine, and the members of some ethnic groups, for example, Caucasians, Asians, Africans, Gypsies, etc.

4. Inequality in the field of housing and property rights

compensation for lost property

access to former property

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, maybe, the most acute for members of the deported peoples. It should be mentioned that they have rights unequal to those of former kulaks (robbed by state of their property), who at least have the theoretical right to return their property according to the Ukrainian Law „On rehabilitation of victims of political repressions“. There are grounds to speak about the inequality in distributing land in the Crimea, where the great number of the Crimean Tatars cannot participate in the process of privatization.

5. Unequal access to social services

access to social welfare, healthcare (including maternity and childcare), pensions, etc.

access to basic facilities, such as sewage, water and electricity

quality of services and facilities

The inequality in the living accommodation and the access to communal services is one of the results of returning deported families. This problem also concerns some groups repressed for politics, but not rehabilitated, in particular, a great number of people, condemned by Soviet courts up to 1991 for the refusal from army service after religious motives. These people do not get any compensations and privileges envisaged for the rehabilitated. The same concerns the Ukrainians-UPA soldiers, who also are not rehabilitated yet.

6. Inequality in economic opportunities, in particular, participation in development projects

This problem concerns weakened ethnic groups, which cannot obtain the financial support of their social, national, cultural and other demands. This also concerns the Crimean Tatars, who, quite fairly, insistently demand the financing of the size, which the state cannot afford.

7. Inequality in the sphere citizenship, in particular, conditions of acquiring citizenship

One of the conditions of acquiring the Ukrainian citizenship (the proof that the person is not a citizen of another state) is often impossible to satisfy, because of the danger for life in case of returning to this country for necessary documents or because of the unpayable demands for loosing the previous citizenship.

8. Unequal enjoyment of right to return (linked with obtaining citizenship and travel documents, security, housing, employment, access to social services, reconciliation)

This problem also concerns the members of the deported peoples, who return to motherland.

9. Unequal treatment by law-enforcing organs

freedom from intimidation, harassment and physical violence

treatment during arrest

treatment during detention

The problem, acute as it is, of applying torture and cruel treatment becomes even more acute with the immigrants from the Caucasus, Asia, Africa and with members of some other ethnic groups, in particular, Gypsies.

10. Unequal treatment in prisons

conditions of confinement

treatment by prison personnel

The personnel of preliminary prisons and penitentiaries treats more brutally the immigrants from the Caucasus, Asia, Africa and with members of some other ethnic groups, in particular, Gypsies.

11. Unequal enjoyment of personal security

state protection against violence, harassment, intimidation

freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention

The immigrants from the Caucasus, Asia, Africa and with members of some other ethnic groups, in particular, Gypsies are more vulnerable.

12. Inequality in realizing the right to elect and be elected freely and the right for the participation in the government and the organs of local self-rule

The representatives of the Crimean Tatars and some other ethnic minorities and ethnic groups complain for the inequality in realizing these rights and demand to introduce special proportion of quotas for them in the election system.

13. Unequal enjoyment of freedom of thought, conscience and religion

In different regions of Ukraine one observes the inequality between different branches of the Orthodox Church and the Greek-Catholic Church. This is the base for many discussions about discrimination, but this is centered mainly around property, and not around the freedom of consciousness. The inter-confessional opposition of different branches of the Orthodox Church and the Greek-Catholic Church may be one of the sources of the discrimination. There are some grounds to speak about the discrimination of non-traditional religions, this inequality is of regional origin.

14. Inequality in enjoyment of culture and language

using one’s own language publicly and privately

teaching one’s own language

enjoying one’s culture.

This problem is the most important and demands separate consideration (see item b)

b) Selecting the target areas for further in-depth action

Status of the title nation. Peculiarities of the ethnic and political status of Ukraine

To understand the problems connected the discrimination and inequality on the basis of the ethnic independence one needs to consider the ethnic composition of the modern Ukraine and the peculiarities of all ethnic groups and to determined their status (people, national minority, ethnic group, native people, etc.). Such classification is needed for the development of the modern ethnic and political concept of the development of Ukraine.

Ukraine is a polyethnic country, almost 130 ethnic groups inhabit Ukraine (here and further the data is given of the census of 1989). The Ukrainian ethnic group is the most numerous: the title nation counts more than 37 million. The most numerous national minority are Russians -- 11.4 million. Eight national minorities count from 100 to 500 thousand: 486.3 thousand Jews, 440 thousand Byelarussians, 342.5 thousand Moldavians, 233 thousand Bulgarians, 219.2 thousand Poles, 161 thousand Hungarians, and 134.8 thousand Romanians. Fifteen national minorities and ethnic groups count between 10 thousand and 100 thousand: Greeks, Tatars, Armenians, Germans, Gypsies, Azerbaijanis, Gagauzes, Georgians, Chuvashes, Uzbeks, Mordva, Lithuanians, Kazakhs, and Czechs. Remaining ethnic groups count less than 10 thousand.

It is worth mentioning that the juridical definition of national minorities given in Article 3 of the Law „On national minorities in Ukraine“ is imperfect. It does not cover the actual ethnic situation in Ukraine and the growing after the WW2 tendency of ethnic heterogeneity, which envisages the guarantees the opportunity of self-definition of ethnic groups. The Crimean Tatars, Gagauzes, Karaites and Crymchaks, whose ethnogeny was occurring on the territory of modern Ukraine, may not related to national minorities. These ethnic groups do not exist outside Ukraine. In our opinion, taking into account of the number of the Crimean Tatars (more than 260 thousand in Ukraine now), the level of their national self-consciousness, their feeling of unity and other characteristics, they must be considered as a people. Karaites (about 1400) and Crymchaks (520) have a special status may be, as we believe, related to the native peoples. It is difficult to define the status of Gagauzes (about 32 thousand). Almost all of them inhabit the Odessa oblast near the frontier with Moldova, they have a high level of ethnic solidarity, have tight links with Gagauzes in Moldova and, taking into consideration the autonomic tendencies of the Moldova Gagauzes, similar tendencies may be expected on the side of the Ukrainian Gagauzes.

Defining the status of some sub-ethnic groups in Ukraine is a certain problem. Thus, Rusins themselves do not agree when they are regarded as a sub-ethnic group and demand the official status of an ethnic group. At the congress held in Uzhgorod in 1999 the representatives of Rusins communities demanded to create the schools with teaching in their language, the department of their language in Uzhgorod University and registering Rusins as one of ethnic groups of the country during the census of 2001. According to Rusins activists, there more than 700 thousand Rusins live in Ukraine. We hope that the results of the census will make this problem somewhat clearer.

Upon the whole the population size is not a leading parameter. The model "national majority – national minorities", typical for most countries of the world, can be applied to Ukraine with substantial restrictions. It is true for the West Ukraine. The situation in other regions of Ukraine is quite different. There the old vector of the national policy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union is acting, with an expressive Russian dominant, under which the peoples of so-called "sovereign" republics were, in fact, national minorities, whose rights were practically always neglected. The Ukrainian ethnic group, having been weakened by the 350-year russification, continues to feel itself a national minority, as it was once in the USSR. That is why, in spite of the fact that Ukrainians are more numerous in the East Ukraine too, the dominant of the society is the Russian population or russified Ukrainians, Jews, Greeks, Bulgarians and so forth. That is why Russians cannot psychologically agree with the status of a national minority and do not want to adapt to the new conditions.

With these features in view, we may suppose that violation of national rights can proceed in Ukraine in two directions. In Galicia one can expect the advance on the rights of national minorities (mainly Russian, Jewish or Polish) in such questions, for example, as employment. On the contrary, in the East and South Ukraine we may come across the violations of human rights of the ethnic majority, i.e. Ukrainians, in such questions, for example, as the right to educate their children in their native language or to use this language on these territories. Thus, in order to support the harmonious interethnic peace, the Ukrainian ethnic policy, the legal system and administrative practices must protect both the national minorities and the weakened national majority. As long as it would be weakened, the society would not be guaranteed from conflicts.

The Ukrainian people have no alternative place on the planet, except Ukraine, where they can realize their right for self-determination. The statement that the national character of building the Ukrainian state automatically leads to the abuse of national minorities’ rights is a cliche of a long standing anti-Ukrainian propaganda, on which it is quite inadmissible to build the future of Ukraine. Contrariwise, the longer is the Ukrainian people denied the right to build their state, the more acute will be their protest. That is why the rights of the national minorities will be reliably defended only in the case, when they acknowledge the national character of the Ukrainian state. In their turn, radical Ukrainian policy groups must realize that the rights of the Ukrainians cannot be defended through the abuse of rights of other nations.

To prepare the recommendations on changing the laws and administrative practices one must comprehend the status of the title nation, national minorities and ethnic groups taking into account regional and local peculiarities. In our opinion, the main principle of the state ethnic policy must: a) guarantee to all inhabitants of Ukraine, without any exceptions, the proper level of civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights; b) realize a program for promoting the development of cultures and languages of the ethnic groups, which were repressed (Ukrainians, Crimea Tatars and others) aimed to recompense their artificial weakening in the past, provided that such promotion will not infringe on the rights of other national groups.

2. Language problem. Ukrainian and Russian languages in Ukraine

The legal regime of the co-existence of various languages, usage of the languages in education, science and other spheres of social life are the problem, where the ethnic and language problems and contradictions focus. The hottest discussions and political speculations arise just in the language problems. The well-planned state policy in the solving the language problem is the guarantee of avoiding discriminations and conflicts. That is why the analysis of this problem with the account of regional and local peculiarities is of the utter importance.

It is essential that ethnic and language groups do not coincide in Ukraine. A great number of ethnic Ukrainians consider Russian as their native language. Some of them do not recognize themselves as Ukrainians. The poll held by the International Institute of sociology showed that only 58.8% out of 72.6% of ethnic Ukrainians recognize themselves as Ukrainians; meanwhile 10.8% of Russians (20.1% of the whole population) consider themselves Ukrainians. So, each fifth Ukrainian and each second Russian consider that they have a doubly nationality. 41.6% called the Ukrainian language as their native one, Russian language was indicated as the native language by 43.4%. The others answered that they are bilingual. We believe that these data convincingly testify that information flows in the country are realized in two languages: Russian and Ukrainian. It is desirable to endorse the existence of the two languages, simultaneously conducting special measures for the support of the Ukrainian language as the state one. Any statements on the infringement of the Russian language are, in our opinion, incorrect. Actually, 2106 thousand, or 31.7%, of children learn in Russian-language schools, 280 thousand children are bred in Russian-language groups of 17.6 thousand infant schools, 35% of students learn in Russian language. 14 state Russian-language theatres function in Ukraine, 440 million units of printed matter or 55% of the whole library fund consist of editions in Russian, 90% of new editions are published in Russian, Russian-language newspapers make 49.7% (1195 newspapers) of the total quantity of periodicals. At the same time one can observe harmful administrative practices linked with the preservation of the Soviet administrative system, when, for example, they coercively introduce the higher education in Ukrainian, having no teachers capable of teaching in Ukrainian, no textbooks and no students, who want to be taught in Ukrainian. Or, for example, they take the decision that a teacher may obtain the higher qualification category only under the condition that the teacher fluently speaks Ukrainian. The requirement to pass entrance examinations to higher schools in Ukrainian also seems to be too hurried, since the great part of entrants do not know the state language well enough, and so they are handicapped compared to Ukrainian-speaking entrants. A contrary, but similar situation was observed in the Soviet times, when youths from Ukrainian villages could not enter higher schools, since they knew Russian badly. Thus, the grounds for fears of the compulsory ukrainisation are supplied by the impatient actions of Ukrainian-speaking Ukrainians and by the incompetent authorities. There also exists, however, a bugaboo of the compulsory ukrainisation, which is used by certain political circles for the counter-propaganda aimed to return Ukraine to a new Empire. These two phenomena have to be distinguished.

A moral encouragement of every Ukrainian citizen to master, within a reasonable time, the Ukrainian language is acceptable and does not contradict the international standards of human rights. The knowledge of the Ukrainian language is obligatory for civil officers. Any persecution for using the Ukrainian language or for the agitation aimed at passing to this language is not to be permitted. At the same time no persecution must be permitted for the use of the Russian language. Any coercive restriction of the information flows in Russian must be prohibited as well as any discrimination on ethnic grounds in the cadre policy.

At the same time we oppose the requirements to declare Russian as the second state language of Ukraine. This demand only seems democratic. Granting the status of a state language to several languages is quite possible, provided that the starting conditions are equal. Bearing in mind, however, that, as the consequence of the prolonged russification, the Russian and Ukrainian languages are decisively not in the equal starting conditions, the application of the principle of their free competition shall inevitably lead to strengthening the position of the Russian language. Furthermore, granting the status of a state language to Russian would lead to a fixation of the "influence spheres" of each language.

Thus, the state policy concerning the languages must avoid extremal decisions. On the one hand, the state must not encourage the citizens, who deny the necessity to learn Ukrainian and who declare every step in this direction as compulsory ukrainisation. On the other hand, it is unacceptable to ignore the wish of the Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine and press on them the Ukrainian language by compulsory methods, making the mastery of the language the permission card to social benefits. It is necessary to guarantee the steady step-by-step introduction of the Ukrainian language into all spheres of our life, taking into account the inertia of language processes.

3. Rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions in the context of the problem of inequality.

The Ukrainian Law „On rehabilitation of the victims of political repressions“ adopted on 14 April 1991 was a great step forward on the road of the restoration of justice and the struggle with totalitarian inheritance. Yet, this Law does not cover all categories of the victims of the political repressions. The people, who, for years or decades, stayed together in Stalin’s and Brezhnev’s concentration camps or were deported, appeared to have unequal status. Those, who were rehabilitated, got the compensations, whose size depended on the incarceration terms. They got the compensations for the lost property, in particular, for living accommodation, and, if their living accommodation was not ruined and was not inhabited by other people, the rehabilitated had the right to return to their homes. The rehabilitated enjoy privileges, such as 50% discount for living accommodation, communal services, electricity, medical drugs, etc. Those, who were not rehabilitated, got nothing. This injustice must be corrected by all means.

So, which categories of the repressed must be rehabilitated? We shall confine the consideration of the problem by the framework of the present project. One can name three such categories.

1. The deported. Unfortunately, the Law on rehabilitation does not consider this category of the repressed. When the Law was discussed, another, additional, law was promised – on the rehabilitation of the repressed peoples. But this law has not been adopted, although the corresponding drafts were already handed twice to the Supreme Rada. The first draft of the law „On rehabilitation and guaranteeing the rights of members of the ethnic groups, which were repressed and deported from the Ukrainian territory“ was prepared by MP O. Kucherenko and presented on 23 February 1999. The draft was considered by the Supreme Rada on 2 November 1999 and was rejected. The second draft was handed by MP P. Movchan on 11 December 2000, and it has not been considered yet. One nay assume that the adoption of this law is braked since it would be rather financially demanding for the state; this burden should be shared by Russia, which is also responsible for these crimes. It should be noted that we mean not only the deportations from the Crimea in the end of the WW2 (Bulgarians, Armenians, Greeks, Crimean Tatars and others), but also the deportations of other ethnic groups in 1944-47 – Germans from the South Ukraine, Hungarians from Transcarpathian region, Romanians from Bukovina, Ukrainian from Kholmshchina (in particular, boyks, lemks and others).

2. The condemned by Ukrainian courts according to Article 72 of the Criminal Code of the Ukrainian Socialist Republic for the refusal to serve in the Armed Forces because of the religious convictions (before the introduction of the alternative service in December 1991).Here we mean believers of Protestant churches: Baptists, Pentecosters, Adventists of the 7thday, Jehovah Witnesses and others. These confessions prohibit to take arms, and the alternative service then did not exist yet. The youths, who refused from the army service, sometimes managed to get two prison terms by Article 72, the term being up to three years of incarceration. We are sure that these condemned were undoubtedly the prisoners of consciousness, since they got under custody for their convictions. Yet, the rehabilitation of this category of the repressed is not envisaged by the Law on rehabilitation.

3. UPA soldiers, the lion’s share of them – ethnic Ukrainians. It should be mentioned that the cases of UPA soldiers were reconsidered by prosecutor’s offices individually after they handed applications. Those, who did not participate in fighting with peaceful population, were rehabilitated. UPA soldiers are indignant that they are not regarded as participants of battles of the WW2, but criminals. The problem of rehabilitating UPA soldiers is merely political, but it also concerns the project "Non-discrimination Review", since UPA soldiers feel themselves discriminated.

4. Status of the deported. Native peoples.

As it was noted before, the deportations of the 40s were applied to different ethnic groups in Ukraine. The problems of the deported have regional and local peculiarities. The situation in the Crimea promises the most conflicts. That is why in what follows we present the brief analysis of the status of the deported from the Crimea. Besides, we shall consider the situation with Karaites and Crymchaks, who need urgent aid from the state.

The Crimean Tatars

Problem of national integrity of the Crimean Tatar ethnic group

The incompleteness of the process of returning to the ethnic motherland – the Crimea – inflicts an important influence on the modern status of the Crimean Tatars, who were deported without exception in 1944. The return was impeded by the counteraction of the regional power of the Crimea, by the absence of the efficient state policy concerning the admittance of repatriates and by the profound economic crisis. The process of return extended for 15 years (1987-2002). By different estimates, the number of the Crimean Tatars, who lived on the former USSR territory and wanted to return, is 450-500 thousand, among them only about 260 thousand managed to return to the Crimea. Thus, up to now rather large communities of the Crimean Tatars are separated from each other by the coercive habitation in different post-Soviet countries.

Social and humanitarian status

By the data of 1 September 1999, 128 638 persons out of those Tatars, who returned to the Crimea, have no living accommodation. 71 379 persons out of 136 623 persons of the able-to-work age are jobless. The majority of the returning Crimean Tatars move to live in 300 new settlements. Electric supply of the Tatar settlements is 75%, water supply (via pipelines) – 27%. Roads in these settlements are mainly mud tracks, there is no medical service. The absence of the most elementary services in the Crimean Tatar settlements resulted in the abrupt worsening of health and increase of the mortality rate among the inhabitants.

During 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 most cases the renaissance of the Tatars national culture occurs since the beginning of the repatriation. In order to open schools with teaching in the Tatar language it is needed to write and publish textbooks in the Tatar language (which were not written for 50 years) and to prepare the teachers of the Tatar language. All of this must be done at the same time. Now there are only 9 such schools in the Crimea. The level of russification of the Crimean Tatars is threatening.

Only two newspapers are published in the Crimean Tatar language in the Crimea, they are issued once a week in small runs. The total TV and radio broadcasting in the Tatar language takes 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 actual and, at the same time, unsolved problems of the Crimean Tatars. Not a single law is adopted in Ukraine, which stipulates the legal procedures connected with the process of return of the Crimean Tatars and restoration of their rights. The absence of the legislative base decreases the efficiency of the efforts of the Ukrainian government concerning solving the practical question of the adaptation, and creates additional problems in the economic, legal and political integration of the Crimean Tatars into the Ukrainian society.

The most acute is still the question of the representation the Crimean Tatars in the elective and executive power organs of the Autonomous Crimean Republic. The importance of solving the mentioned problems is obvious, since, during the period of the coercive stay of the Crimean Tatars in the places of deportation, cardinal demographic and ethnic changes occurred in the Crimea. Most non-Tatar population of the Crimea still preserve the anti-Tatar stereotypes. Thus, most questions of the Tatar development, which are very actual for them, are not endorsed by the local authorities. While forming the representative organs of the Crimea the representatives of the Crimean Tatars practically have no chances to be elected to these organs within the operating election system. The matter is that before the power settled the returning Crimean Tatars in such a way that in no Crimean district they would have the majority.

All propositions of the Crimean Tatars, directed at the creation of the legislation mechanisms guaranteeing the fair representation of the Crimean Tatars in the Crimean organs of power are boycotted by the ethnic majority. So, the well-planned policy of the Crimean Tatars to power encourages the self-isolation of the Crimean Tatars and leads to growing estrangement among peoples and to the tendencies of enmity.

The absence of the principal laws on restoring the rights of the Crimean Tatars causes new problems, which could be avoided. These problems concern the questions of citizenship, land reform, privatization of state property, returning the cultural values and others. All this occurs on the background of the lack of the laws, which stipulate forms, procedures and term of recompensing the material damage inflicted to the Crimean Tatar people as a whole or its members. It is sufficient to recollect that during the deportation the Crimean Tatars become victims of the confiscation of more than 80 thousand houses. Most these houses were not ruined, but they were passed to other owners.

Attitude of the power to the repatriation. Difficulties of the dialog

The communist political elite, which ruled the Crimea actively exploiting the separatist views of the Russian immigrants, who moved to the peninsula after the WW2, managed to get from the central power in Kyiv the autonomous status. The new powers were actively used by the Crimean authorities to restrict the political, social, economic and cultural integration of the Crimean Tatars, who were returning. The situation has improves only after the positions of the independent Ukraine in the Crimean became more stable (after 1994).

Mutual relations between the Crimean Tatars and the official state power at different stages of development of the independent Ukraine may be characterized as ambiguous. Yet, the main factor is that the state encourages the Crimean Tatars to return to their native land and renders some concrete assistance in the repatriation process. The discussions about the legal status of the Crimean Tatars in Ukraine is a quite another pair of shoes. The scope of different approaches to the problem among the Ukrainian political elite is rather wide, starting from the wish to fully assimilate the returning Crimean Tatars and ending with the idea of the national-territorial status of the Crimean autonomy as a from of self-determination of the Crimean Tatars within Ukraine.

Rapprochement for finding the decisions optimal for all the sides is impeded by the unwillingness of the state organs to acknowledge de jure the traditional elective national institutes of the Crimean Tatars: the Kurultay and Mejlis (formed by Kurultay). The authorities do not want to acknowledge these institutes in the capacity of the organs, which represent the interests of the Tatar people of the Crimea in their relations with the Ukrainian state organs until the state did not create the efficient mechanisms of such relations that would guarantee the preservation and development of Tatar original culture, language, traditions and religion within Ukraine.

It must be noted that the most fruitful and consistent relations between state organs and the Mejlis were realized by the Ukrainian President and the Cabinet of Ministers. On the contrary, the organs of self-rule of the Crimea demonstrate the especially negative attitude to the Tatar national institutions as to partners for the joint work. In the Supreme Rada of Ukraine some fractions of left-wing parties, especially communists, openly oppose the restoration of the rights of the Crimean Tatars. Right-wing and right-central-wing fractions are intended for a constructive dialog with the Mejlis.

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

These groups, as well as the Crimean Tatars, were deported without exception. In fact, it was a genocide. In 1941 the power deported 51 thousand the Crimean Germans (totally from Ukraine – about 450 thousand), in summer 1994 – 38 thousand Bulgarians, Armenians and Greeks. According to the official data of 1 January 2000, in the Crimea live, out of the formerly deported ethnic groups: 536 Germans, 1865 Greeks, 306 Bulgarians and 320 Armenians. According to the unofficial data (including the data of NGOs of these ethnic groups), about 12 thousand formerly deported 306 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 movement as the Crimean Tatars in the Soviet times. That is why, during the mass repatriation (late 80s – early 90s), they could not create efficient public organizations for protecting their rights. Their organizations are only cultural, in solving their political problems they trust state agencies. The regional power used this situation for cultivating the prejudiced attitude to the Crimean Tatars, who are actively protecting their rights. The authorities point out the greater loyalty of the small ethnic groups thus strengthening the psychological, and sometimes factual, inequality and discrimination in the interrelations between the Crimean Tatars and other Crimean formerly deported ethnic groups.

Karaites and Crymchaks

12090 Karaites (800 out of them in the Crimea) and 550 Crymchaks inhabit Ukraine. During the last decade their number reduced almost by the order of magnitude, these ethnic groups remained without any establishments of education and culture, they almost lost their languages and are on the brink of disappearance, but they still preserve their national identity.

They need very careful treatment of their languages, cultural and religious establishments and values on the side of the state and on the side of other ethnic communities. These groups are in such a critical position, when indifference is a sort of discrimination and permanent inequality, since they themselves already have no potential for ethnic renaissance.

Adoption of special legal acts is urgent. These acts must be directed at the preservation (not to say salvation) of these scanty ethnic groups and their cultural inheritance (for example, their architecture).

5. Problem of xenophobia in Ukraine

In our opinion, the level of xenophobia in Ukraine is not higher than in other post-totalitarian countries. On the contrary it is much lower than in Russia, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia. But the acts of xenophobia (towards Russians, Jews, Crimean Tatars, Gypsies and immigrants from the Caucasus, Asia and Africa) are observed rather often. We witnessed numerous acts of vandalism over Russian and Jewish sacred places and symbols; sometimes Ukrainian sacred places and symbols were vandalized too. In some editions we have come across the publications with a noticeable tint of xenophobia. The reaction of state organs to these cases was, we believe, too lax. This confirms the necessity of preparing and realising special measures intended to prevent xenophobia; these measures must be planned with the account of regional and local peculiarities.

Discrimination of Gypsies and immigrants from the Caucasus, Asia and Africa

We are sure that the status of these groups must be considered in the context of race discrimination. Members of these groups may not leave home without documents, else they risk to be detained by militia for establishing their identity, they are first to be suspected in crimes, they are treated more brutally by militiamen and personnel of penitentiaries. The report of the USA State Department on the practices in the sphere of human rights in Ukraine in 2000 informs about the growth of the number of complaints about race discrimination of the persons of Asian and African origin. Members of these groups complain that law-enforcers permanently ignore this violence and sometimes encourage it.

The investigations of national tolerance measures by the Bogardus scale, which was more than once conducted by the institute of sociology of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in the 90s, showed that, according to the assessment of the Ukrainian population, the index of intolerance to these groups exceeds five balls. So, it may be concluded that these groups are not perceived by the mass consciousness as permanent inhabitants of Ukraine. Gypsies have the largest index of intolerance and suffer most from the social discrimination. The level of unemployment among Gypsies is the highest, on the average their living accommodation are worse than of other ethnic groups. They have more difficulties in the access to education and justice. In Transcarpathians, where the number of Gypsies is the largest, the intolerance to Gypsies is the largest too. As the same report of the State Department asserts, it is here, where Gypsies are maltreated most frequently by militia.

To characterize the attitude to Gypsies, we want to give an example. In the TV feature „Seven days“ (on 4 March 2001, 21:00, channel „YT-1“) the poll of the viewers was held concerning the question: „Do Ukrainian citizens want to observe a camp of tramps and gypsies in Khreshchatik Street?“ (Khreshchatik is the main street in Kyiv. -- Translator’s note) On 5 March in the feature „Accents“ its presenter V. Lapicura called „political Gypsies“ the activists of the tent camp in Khreshchatik. Representatives of Transcarpathians Gypsies, in their open letter to Vadim Dolganov, the president of the National TV company of Ukraine, expressed their protest against the „insulting use of the name of their ethnic minority“ in features of the First national TV channel and demanded from „YT-1“ journalists to „publicly bring their excuses to the Gypsy community“. Unfortunately, we have not heard any excuses.


Traditional everyday anti-Semitism exists in Ukraine, as well as in many other countries, but its demonstrations, in our opinion, are not so menacing, as some Jewish organizations assert. Some ultra-nationalist organizations and newspapers continue to publish and distribute anti-Semitic materials. Anti-Semitic editions are also brought from Russia and distributed without license. Yet, on the other hand, the number of publications denouncing anti-Semitism, according to the data of the Institute of Judaism, has increased essentially. Editions of various political orientations condemn anti-Semitism, the number of conceptual publications (by political figures and scientists) has also increased. People, who express anti-Semitic view publicly, are brought to criminal responsibility. For example, the Lviv oblast prosecutor’s office started the criminal case for anti-Semitic publications against the newspaper „Idealist“ the Ministry of information sent the letter to the editorial board of the newspaper „For free Ukraine“ demanding to stop their anti-Semitic publications; the Kyiv city administration dismissed the editor-in-chief of the newspaper „Capital City“ after some anti-Semitic publications; the Kyiv district court of Kharkov satisfied the claim about the protection of honor and dignity concerning an anti-Semitic article in the newspaper „Spring“, etc.

Jews are widely represented in the political, business and cultural elite of Ukraine. They, perhaps better than all other national minorities, managed to use the new opportunities that appeared in the modern Ukraine. There exists a great number if Jewish educational and cultural establishments, schools, theatres, editions, etc. Thus, there no grounds to speak about the discrimination of Jews, but it is desirable to further monitor the publications and other anti-Semitic actions.

6. Inequality of canonical and non-traditional religions

In our opinion, the general state of interconfessional relations is satisfactory. The Law „On the freedom of consciousness and beliefs“ of 1991 is one of the best in Europe, its practical use is also satisfactory. Yet, the complexity of the interconfessional relations in Ukraine (existence of several religions) and the hard consequences of the repressions against Ukrainian churches in the Soviet times cause certain strain and occasional conflicts. To avoid such conflicts it is needed to monitor the interconfessional situation and to try to influence it, taking into account the peculiarities of church canons.

The statuses of the canonical and non-canonical churches in Ukraine is different. The Orthodox Church in the Central, South and East Ukraine and Greek-Catholic Church in the West Ukraine, having a great political influence on regional and local levels, exert pressure upon the local power forcing it not to register non-canonical churches and not to permit the non-canonical churches to rent or buy real estate. The dominating confessions also press on local authorities to restrict the activities of other dominating confessions. So, in the South and East the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchy (UOC-MP) opposes the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (UGCC), the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchy (UOC-KP) and the Ukrainian Autocefalic Orthodox Church (UAOC). In the West, on the contrary, UOC-MP complains that the local power pretends not to notice the usurpation of their churches. In the West the Orthodox believers conflict with Greek-Catholic ones about owning the church buildings and property, which was confiscated after the so-called liquidation councils of the UAOC in 1930 and UGCC in 1946. The conflicts concerning the property occur in more than 600 settlements, sometimes that conflicts develop into clashes. In should be noted that the UAOC and UGCC have never been completely and unconditionally rehabilitated, property problems were not solved on the legal level, which fans the fire of conflicts.

The activities of the religious organizations, which are controlled from abroad, is restricted. Preachers, instructors and other foreigners, who represent the foreign religious organizations, may preach and conduct other canonical activities only in those religious organizations, which invited them to Ukraine, and with the official permission of the state organ, which registered the statute and program of this religious organization. The demand to be registered in the State committee in charge of religion is obligatory: it is necessary for owning property and conducting other economic activities, such as publishing religious indoctrination materials. It must be noted that the State committee registers the so-called totalitarian sects very unwillingly. For example, the Great White Fraternity was never registered. Buddhists also have great difficulties with registration. The attitude toward non-traditional religions is a certain problem: it is difficult to single out the objective criteria, which will help to distinguish „harmful“ religions from „non-harmful“ ones.

7. Some conclusions for further work over the project

Brief review of the main problems of discrimination and inequality in Ukraine shows the complexity and many-sidedness of social processes and stresses the necessity of systematic analysis of discrimination and inequality. In order to cover completely all the set of the problems, the problems must be considered in such aspects: legal, social and economic, humanitarian. In considering the humanitarian aspects it would be reasonable to separate the religious and language spheres. The analysis in each aspect must be conducted in the all-national scale taking into account the regional and local peculiarities. This approach will enable us to formulate the mutually acceptable recommendations.

Since the final report is planned to be published in Ukraine, the presentation of the materials must be forestalled with the description of the terminological and methodological bases of the research. We believe that it should be useful to give the definitions of the basic terms before using them, since, unfortunately, even the professionals treat differently the same terms (such as people, nation, ethnic group, native people, national minority, non-traditional religion, etc.). It would be reasonable to introduce into the Ukrainian scientific terminology and to use in the final report such terms as „indigenous minorities“, „alochtonic minorities“, „quasi-autonomy“, „positive regulation“, „national quotas“ and others.

Deported peoples

The article marks the 50thanniversary of Stepan Sapeliak, a well-known Ukrainian poet, public figure and former prisoner of consciousness.

On 26 March 2002 Stepan Sapeliak, a well-known Ukrainian poet, public figure and former prisoner of consciousness, celebrated his 50thbirthday. Stepan Sapeliak was a member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, he is a laureate of the Shevchenko prize. The Kharkov Group have the honor of knowing Stepan personally, he was one of the first Kharkovites who in late 80s dared to go to a meeting with a yellow-blue national flag. Stepan Sapeliak was insistently fighting for the independent sovereign Ukraine, for which he spent 10 years in prisons and exiles.

We heartily congratulate Stepan with his jubilee and wish his successes in his creative activities!

Happy be you, Stepan!

The Edition of "PL", the members ofKhGHRP

“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2002, #04