Wednesday 1 June 2005
May 27, 2005
EU: French 'Non' On EU Constitution Would Threaten Hopefuls' Membership Chances
There is little doubt in Brussels that the widely predicted French "no" to the new EU constitution on 29 May would mean at least a temporary halt to the enlargement process. Even Bulgaria and Romania -- which have both signed their accession treaties -- may still prove vulnerable. However, for more distant EU neighbors with no membership ambitions, the bloc's soul-searching may yet result in clearer policies.
May 26, 2005
Ukraine: Yushchenko, Tymoshenko Clash Over Gasoline
Yushchenko and Tymoshenko (right) in the days of the Orange Revolution The hottest news in Ukraine last week was not the Eurovision song contest in Kyiv -- an unusual event in this post-Soviet country by any standards. The real shocker was a report in the Kyiv-based weekly "Zerkalo nedeli" that President Viktor Yushchenko suggested that Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko should tender her resignation over her incompetence in dealing with the country's fuel crisis.
May 23, 2005
Belarus: Planning The Next Revolution?
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka (file photo) Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Nikolai Patrushev's recent suggestion that foreign intelligence services are seeking ways to overthrow the current Belarusian government has focused new attention on Belarus's political opposition, particularly its youngest members, since youths were at the forefront of recent colored revolutions in the region.
May 20, 2005
Ukraine: Kyiv Abuzz As It Hosts Eurovision Song Contest
Tomorrow sees the finals of the 50th Eurovision Song Contest, which is being staged in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. Many in Western Europe have for years viewed the contest as an exercise in kitsch and said most of the songs are dull and lack imagination. But when Ukrainian singer Ruslana won the contest last year, the honor -- or as some see it, the burden -- of hosting the show fell to Ukraine. Ukraine has taken the organization of the event very seriously, seeing it as an opportunity to put the spotlight on a country that many in Europe knew little about until the dramatic events of the Orange Revolution, which brought a western-leaning government to power. RFE/RL visited the Eurovision venue to watch rehearsals and spoke to some of the foreign visitors and to Ukrainians about the event.
May 20, 2005
Ukraine: Frictions Emerge Between President, New Government
Are Yushchenko and Tymoshenko falling out? Frictions are emerging within the new Ukrainian administration. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has sharply criticized his government, headed by Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko, over its handling of the country’s economic challenges. The surfacing disagreements suggest significant differences between the winners of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution over where to go from here.
May 19, 2005
Belarus: International Spotlight Falls On Minsk
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka (file photo) U.S. President George W. Bush delivered a quick rebuff to Nikolai Patrushev, the head of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), on 17 May when the U.S. leader described Belarus as Europe's last dictatorship and praised the efforts of its neighboring countries to promote freedom in Belarus. He was speaking at the International Republican Institute in Washington, which Patrushev accused recently of plotting to undermine the government of Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. As RFE/RL reports, there are signs of growing international interest in Belarus as it prepares for next year's presidential election.
May 18, 2005
Moldova: Chisinau, Tiraspol Welcome Ukrainian Plan, But Settlement Remains Far Off
Transdniestrian leadership's headquarters (file photo) A recently proposed plan for the resolution of the conflict between Moldova and its breakaway region of Transdniester was met with moderate optimism by both sides during a two-day meeting in Ukraine this week. The Ukrainian proposal raised hopes that negotiations to resolve the frozen conflict could be restarted. The plan provides for expanding the negotiations framework to include the European Union and the United States alongside Russia, Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). But doubts still persist about the separatists' commitment to the plan, which also envisages the initiation of a democratization process in Transdniester.
May 16, 2005
Ukraine: Interview -- 61 Years After Deportations, Crimean Tatar Leader Still Seeking Justice
Cemilev says Russia attempts to portray the Crimean Tatars as a threat to Ukraine The name of Mustafa Cemilev is synonymous with the Crimean Tatars’ decades-long struggle to obtain reparations for their suffering due to the deportations ordered by Soviet leader Josef Stalin in 1944. Cemilev, now 61, has spent 15 years in jail for his active participation in the Soviet dissident movement. He served seven prison terms between 1966 and 1986, not only for defending the cause of his people, but also for refusing to serve in the Soviet Army, protesting the invasion of Czechoslovakia, and defending freedom of speech. Cemilev was an infant when, on 18 May 1944, Stalin’s NKVD secret police deported Crimea’s entire Tatar population to Central Asia. He returned home only in 1989 after Soviet authorities permitted the repatriation of the Crimean Tatars. Two years later, Cemilev was elected chairman of the Qirimtatar Milliy Meclisi, or Crimean Tatar National Parliament, a post he still holds today. Crimean Tatars throughout the former Soviet Union prepare to commemorate the 61st anniversary of their deportation to Central Asia, just days after the Crimean legislature approved a power-sharing agreement giving Crimean Tatars three ministerial portfolios in the regional government. In an interview with RFE/RL ahead of that decision, Cemilev described the current situation of the Crimean Tatars.
May 13, 2005
Ukraine: Power-Sharing Deal Gives Tatar Minority A Greater Role In Crimean Affairs
Lawmakers in Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula have approved a power-sharing agreement that ends months of political deadlock and strengthens the role of the territory's ethnic Tatar minority. In the wake of the deal, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko called on the peninsula's three major ethnic communities -- Russians, Ukrainians, and Crimean Tatars -- to draft a joint memorandum on reconciliation.
May 13, 2005
Ukraine: Interview -- Yuliya Tymoshenko Marks First 100 Days as PM
Tymoshenko says rooting out corruption is a key government priority Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko is Ukraine's most flamboyant politician. She was one of the leading figures in last year's Orange Revolution, which propelled the Ukrainian opposition to power and installed its leader, Viktor Yushchenko, as president. There is little doubt that Yushchenko's decision to appoint her as prime minister was based on her popularity during those mass protests. Sunday marks Tymoshenko's 100th day in power.
May 11, 2005
U.S./Russia: Zbigniew Brzezinski Assesses U.S.-Russia Relations
Zbigniew Brzezinski (file photo) RFE/RL's Romania-Moldova Service interviewed former U.S. national security adviser under the Carter administration Zbigniew Brzezinski on the eve of President George W. Bush's visit to Moscow to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. The Polish-born Brzezinski talked about Russia's "imperial nostalgia," Vladimir Putin as the "final gasp of the Soviet era," and what he describes as U.S. efforts to "promote geopolitical pluralism" in the former Soviet Union.
May 10, 2005
U.S./East: Encouraging The Oppositions
The U.S. and Georgian presidents greet the crowd at Tbilisi's Freedom Square on 10 May 10 May 2005 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. President George W. Bush's swing through the former Soviet states of Latvia, Russia, and Georgia was filled with lofty rhetoric on the universal human striving for freedom, as well as with praise for the so-called colored revolutions that have swept through the region.