Category Archives: Politics

Current politics that may be unethical and or damaging to the majority or minority population

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation #Russia #RussiainvadedUkraine

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian FederationComment by the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the conclusions of the European Council regarding Ukraine.

1 September 2014

The analysis of a new series of “conclusions” adopted by the European Council on 30 August has shown yet again that EU member-states are still persistently and unconditionally backing the Kiev authorities.

The hysteria whipped up in the run-up to European Council’s meeting around the mythical “Russian aggression in Ukraine” has yielded fruit. Building on absolutely groundless allegations regarding the presence of Russian military forces on the Ukrainian territory and unreasonably laying the blame on Moscow for the developments on the ground, Brussels refuses to acknowledge the true causes behind the dramatic developments in southeastern Ukraine instead of promoting an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and comprehensive national dialogue between the conflicting parties.

At the same time, it is striking that the assessment of the humanitarian situation in this Ukrainian region, where the actions of the Kiev authorities resulted in a full-fledged humanitarian disaster, the number of civilian casualties is growing and the number of refugees arriving in Russia is approaching one million, is practically absent from the European Council’s conclusions.

It is regrettable that the European Council, in spite of the interests of its member-states, takes its lead from the countries seeking to implement geopolitical schemes aimed at making confrontation with Russia increasingly acute. Russia still hopes that the EU will be able to gain an independent perspective on the situation free from 20th century stereotypes and engage in constructive efforts to facilitate a settlement of Ukraine’s internal conflict.

If new anti-Russian sanctions are adopted, Russia reserves the right to take retaliatory measures in order to protect its legitimate interests.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Official site.

NATO Summit Wales 2014 #NATOSummitUK #NATO

10 Downing Street, LondonOn 4 to 5 September 2014, Wales will host the largest gathering of international leaders ever to take place in Britain as the UK hosts the NATO summit. President Obama, Chancellor Merkel, and President Hollande are expected to attend along with leaders and senior ministers from around 60 other countries.

The summit comes as NATO draws down from its longest ever mission in Afghanistan and against a backdrop of instability in Ukraine. It is an opportunity to ensure that NATO continues to be at the forefront of building stability in an unpredictable world.

This will be the first NATO Summit since Chicago in 2012, and the first NATO summit in the United Kingdom since Margaret Thatcher welcomed NATO leaders to London in 1990.

During working sessions at the Celtic Manor and more informal events in Cardiff, world leaders will look to address issues which threaten NATO countries’ national security, from fragile states to piracy, from terrorism to cyber attacks.

As a strong player in NATO over the last 65 years, the UK continues to provide forces for NATO operations around the world today. Beyond Afghanistan, there are British service personnel serving in the Baltic Air Police mission and on counter-piracy operations.

Bringing the summit to Wales is an opportunity to shine the global spotlight on this corner of the United Kingdom, highlighting its strong commercial sector – from manufacturing to innovation, life sciences to cyber, and its academic excellence. And showcasing the tremendous potential in Wales for investment and business, tourism and study.

Announcing that Wales would host the NATO Summit 2014, the Prime Minister said:

It’s a great moment for Wales to advertise its modern and economically brilliant face to the world. We are going to have up to 60 world leaders coming to Wales for this vitally important NATO conference, so I think it’s a very good moment for Wales to put its best foot forward.

We had the G8 in Northern Ireland, we had the Olympics in London, we’ve got the Commonwealth Games in Scotland – it is Wales’ turn for one of these big events, a great showcase for Wales and a great opportunity and I’m really pleased that we are going to be doing that.

Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street – GOV.UK.

President #Obama’s legacy could be a revitalize #NATO

By Anne Applebaum.President Barack Obama. (Susan Walsh/AP)President Barack Obama. (Susan Walsh/AP)

Not long ago, someone asked me about President Obama’s foreign policy “legacy.” I was startled by the question. There are two whole years left, I told my interlocutor; it’s way too early. She seemed surprised that I was surprised: “Can he really do anything significant in only two years.

The answer is, yes, of course he can do something significant in two years. Two years is a lifetime in politics. Two years ago, no one imagined Russia would be at war with Ukraine. Two years from now, the map of the Middle East may be totally different. In 1948 and ’49, two years was plenty of time to conceive, negotiate and write the original North Atlantic Treaty, the piece of paper that set up NATO.

In two years, President Obama could reconceive, renegotiate and rewrite a new North Atlantic Treaty, or at least restructure NATO so that it functions like a living organism and not a Cold War relic. Not only that, he could start first thing next month, at the NATO summit in Wales.

Certainly it is long past time for NATO to become more rigorous about its membership. Some Europeans don’t want to pay for their defense? Maybe those who want to be covered by Article 5, the alliance’s security guarantee, should now be obligated to pay. Perhaps those who contribute less than 1 percent of their national budget should be told that the guarantee no longer applies to them. Certainly there don’t need to be any NATO bases in countries that refuse to contribute. And a much higher percentage of their military spending should go toward funding the NATO budget, so that NATO, as an alliance, can afford to pay for important operations.

NATO also needs to become a lot clearer about its goals. Europe has two immediate security issues: the threat from Russia in the east and the threat from Islamic fundamentalism to the south. NATO therefore needs two command centers, each of which would take care of planning and intelligence for defense against those threats. The basing of troops and equipment needs to be rethought completely: If we were starting from scratch, nobody would put them where they are now. NATO needs to shut down unnecessary commands and legacy bases, and move on.

At the same time, NATO members should understand that any further enlargement is not charity work: Every time the NATO membership is extended to another state, current members have to be prepared to defend that state — and if they aren’t, then the enlargement should be stopped. Either Article 5 is an absolute guarantee or it is worthless.

Once NATO has become clearer about its real security interests, its forces can again start carrying out annual exercises, annually, as they did during the Cold War. It’s time to rehearse our reaction to a Crimean-style Russian invasion of Latvia, led not by regular troops but by “little green men” pretending to be local Russians. It’s time to anticipate, say, a civil war in Libya or the fall of Baghdad. It’s time that NATO had a better-coordinated cyberdefense and began to think more deeply about information warfare. It’s also time to face the fact that Russia may have already abandoned several post-Cold War arms treaties, including those covering medium-range missiles: If that’s the case, we need to abandon them, too. Deterrence worked in the past, and it can work in the future.

Famously, Obama is bored by NATO meetings, and understandably so. At NATO’s 60th-anniversary meeting in 2009, his first as president, each of the national leaders present made a speech. That meant not just 28 speeches from the 28 members : Both the Albanian president and the prime minister felt they needed to speak, for example. It’s time to take NATO meetings at all levels more seriously. Countries that have more knowledge or influence on a particular hot spot should lead the discussion: France on Mali, or Estonia on Ukraine. The secretary general should make clear that countries not participating in a given conflict should remain silent. No more boring pre-prepared remarks: Conversations should be real, not staged.

All of these changes are possible. Obama might not have the power to make Congress do what he wants, but he does have the power to relaunch the Western alliance. He has all of the cards — the United States contributes three-quarters of NATO’s budget — as well as the ultimate argument: If the Western alliance, as currently constituted, no longer wants to defend itself, America can always leave. That might sharpen minds quickly enough to give Obama a foreign policy legacy that would last.

(Read more from Anne Applebaum’s archive, follow her on Twitter or subscribe to her updates on Facebook).

The Washington Post.

#Klimkin: #Russia still wants to make #war, not peace in #Ukraine

French Foreign minister Laurent Fabius, Ukraine's Foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attend a meeting on the situation in Ukraine on August 17, 2014 at Villa Borsig in Berlin. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Sunday he hoped a French Foreign minister Laurent Fabius, Ukraine’s Foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attend a meeting on the situation in Ukraine on August 17, 2014 at Villa Borsig in Berlin. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Sunday he hoped a “roadmap” for a sustainable ceasefire in Ukraine will emerge from talks in Berlin with his counterparts from Moscow, Kiev and Paris. AFP PHOTO / TOBIAS SCHWARZ © AFP

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin acknowledged on Aug. 18 that Russia is not meeting conditions needed for an internationally monitored peace and ceasefire in Ukraine’s east. Kremlin-backed insurgents have waged war on the nation since mid-April, particularly in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, where violence has claimed more than 2,000 lives.

“The Russian side today is not ready to take all the commitments…” Klimkin said, including controlling the Russian-Ukraine border to stop the flow of mercenaries and military equipment to the Kremlin-backed insurgents in Ukraine. Klimkin said Russia is also not willing to “recognize the facts” that Ukrainian forces are being shelled and fired upon from Russia in border areas.

Without such commitments, Klimkin said, observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe cannot work.

Klimkin’s press conference comes a day after he met in Berlin with three other foreign ministers, including Russia’s Sergei Lavrov, Germany’s Frank Walter-Steinmeier and France’s Laurent Fabius.

Klimkin also said that Western allies have not agreed on a military assistance package for Ukraine, but said they have not refused to offer one either.

He also confirmed the Aug. 23 visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Kyiv, a day before Ukraine celebrates its national independence.

Kyiv Post.

#Ukraine risks losing #IMF support over stalled anti-corruption laws

Politics — by Oksana Grytsenko.Pedestrians pass by the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund is seen June 5, 2011 in Washington, DC. © AFPPedestrians pass by the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund is seen June 5, 2011 in Washington, DC. © AFP

Ukraine’s chances to receive a new tranche of the International Monetary Fund is under risk due to slow progress in implementing anti-corruption measures, experts warn.

One of the key stumbling stones at the moment is a law that would allow to create an independent corruption investigation body. Two competing drafts of it are scheduled to be discussed at the Aug. 20 Cabinet meeting.

The IMF board is due to take a decision on whether to disperse the next $1.4 billion to Ukraine on Aug. 29. This would be the second tranche of a $17 billion, two-year stand-by package that was approved by the Fund in April. The country’s finance minister Oleksandr Shlapak said this money would be used to boost the ailing national currency, which has entered its second stage of sharp devaluation in just over half a year.

One of the preconditions for receiving new cash, however, is the creation of an “independent anti-corruption agency with broad investigative powers” and “adoption of legislation to support anti-corruption effort,” according to the July 18 statement by Nikolay Gueorguiev, IMF mission chief for Ukraine. There has been little progress on these issues, however.

Andrei Marusov, chairman of Transparency International in Ukraine, said that previously political parties of both the ousted President Viktor Yanukovych and his arch-rival Yulia Tymoshenko were resistant in parliament to forming a new anti-corruption body.

But the new government’s effort to draft an important bill that would establish a new anti-corruption body with broad powers erupted into a scandal on Aug. 18. Tetiana Chornovol, a government representative for anticorruption policy, threatened to leave her post and accused her colleagues in the Cabinet of lack of good will to fight with corruption by adopting her draft legislation on anti-corruption body.

“It is better to be a private individual that a government representative, when there are no political will,” she wrote in her emotional blog on Aug. 18.

But representatives of anti-corruption watchdogs say Chornovol’s draft is low quality and will cause more harm than good. For example, the IMF insists that the head of the anti-corruption bureau should be appointed through transparent competition, but her draft fails to provide for such a mechanism. It has many other shortfalls, experts say.

Vitaliy Shabunin, head of the Anti-Corruption Action Center, said both proposed bills need to be analyzed by international bodies. The second one was drafted by a working group headed by Viktor Chumak, a parliament member from Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform.

“The price for a mistake is too high, both in terms of creation the highest body for fight against corruption and in terms of receiving money from IMF,” the expert said.Kyiv Post+ logoThe idea behind the anti-corruption bureau is that it has to be able to detect, stop and investigate cases of corruption committed by government officials.

Shabumin said that IMF expects that the new law will state that anti-corruption investigations have to cover officials of all levels, and the new term “illegal enrichment” should be introduced to the Criminal Code.

“For example, if now you work as a judge with a salary of Hr 20,000 yet drive a Bentley and live in mansion, and you can’t be imprisoned for it at the moment because it’s not a crime. The prosecutor has to prove a criminal origin of all this money, which is almost impossible,” Shabunin said.

But that would change once the term “illegal enrichment” makes it to the Criminal Code. If a prosecutor proves that legal income of a particular official could not allow them to buy his property, it would be a basis for opening a criminal case against that official.

Ukraine ranks 144th out of the 177 countries surveyed by Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index.

Few steps have been taken by the government to improve the corruption score. Ukraine’s parliament amended the public procurement law, which made the procedure for government procurement more transparent. But it was passed by a slim margin and only at the second attempt, indicating that there is little desire to fight with corruption in the current parliament, Shabunin said.

Moreover, when the government suggested amendments to the Criminal Code to allow courts to order confiscation of assets of government officials on the run, the parliament spent a week squabbling before finally passing the amendments at the second attempt on Aug. 15. The law facilitates the government’s next moves against the assets of fugitive former President Yanukovych and his cronies.

Shabunin said that the parliament has so far refused to open registers of land and real estate owners – another essential step in tracking and fighting corruption.

“With current composition of Verkhovna Rada it’s impossible to pass serious anti-corruption reforms,” he says.

(Kyiv Post staff writer Oksana Grytsenko can be reached at

Kyiv Post+.