The Heritage Foundation

Backgrounder #835 on Russia

June 14, 1991

June 14, 1991 | Backgrounder on Russia

Ukraine's Difficult Road to Independence


(Archived document, may contain errors)

835 June 14,1991 UKRANES DlFFIcuLT ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE INTRODUCTION Continued existence of a Soviet Union is increasingly doubtful because of the pro-independence movements and governments in a ll of its 15 republics. Yet just two of these republics hold the key to the Soviet Union's future.The first, of come, is Russia -the huge, resource-rich land that by itself would be by far Europe's most populous, biggest, and potentially richest nation. T h e second is Uk raine, of which Vladimir hnin said shortly after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution If we lose [it we will lose our heads Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev echoed Lenin in February 1989 if there we3disorder in Ukraine...the whole fabric of the Sov iet Union would disintegrate.

To be sure, Ukraine is no Russia Still, with its 52 million people, its important location bordering on Byelorussia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Russia, and its own venerable history and traditions, Ukraine wo uld rank among Europe's top nations. And although it occupies less than three percent of the Soviet territory, Ukraine accounts for nearly one-fifth of Soviet industrial out put and almost onequarter of agricultural production. Without Ukraine, the Soviet Union as it is known today would cease to exist.

Poised to Regain Independence. Today, after centuries of struggling for inde pendence from Russia, Poland, the Austro-Hungarian empire, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, Ukraine appears poised to regain th e independence it lost to 1 Traditionally in English the word "Ukraine" is preceded by the definite article "the Independence-minded U'krainiaq howcver, consider this a linguistic artifact of Russian colwialism.Therefore, the article will not beusedinthis text I 2 The Washingtan Post, February23.1989.

Moscows Bolshevik troops in 19

20. Millions of Ukrainians have joined the pro-in dependence struggle led by the popular movement Rukh, the Ukrainian Republican Party and the Ukrainian Democratic Party Yet obs tacles to independence are formidable. Among them: political divisions among Ukraines 15 political parties; the legacy of the three centuries of Russian domination, including the efforts to stamp out the Ukrainian language and cul ture; the presence of 11 million ethnic Russians in Ukraine who may not want an independent Ukraine; and the economic *is and ecolo

cal. disaster aggravated by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe, which occurred 60 miles northwest of Ukraines capital, Kiev Serving American Interests. The United States has direct stakes in the outcome of this struggle. If this large nation moves pea c efully toward independence democracy, non-violence, ethnic tolerance, and a free market, American interests will be served.There are three reasons for this. First, a peaceful exit of Ukraine from the Soviet Union would deprive the Soviet armed forces of m anpower and resources and thus diminish the Soviet threat to America and its European allies.

For over forty years, the Soviet Union was a menace to Europe, and Ukraine as part of the U.S.S.R. contributed to Moscows military might. Without Ukraine, the bor ders of the Soviet Union and Russia would be pushed back, weakening their ability, if they should remain communist or authoritarian, to project their power and influence into Europe. Second, a democratic and independent Ukraine, com mitted to peaceful rel a tions with Russia and other neighbors, could be an impor tant force in securing a more stable order in the region. Whether independent or if it chooses, as part of a voluntaxy federation with a democratic Russia, Ukraine could join other emerging democrat i c states in Eastern Europe in creating a new state system that respects popular sovereignty and the right of nations to live in peace.Third, without U.S. assistance, the Ukrainian road to independence could be marred by interethnic violence, dictatorial r egimes and economic catastrophes that could produce a major convulsion in the region and prompt a resurrection of Russian imperial chauvinism.

While Ukraines movement toward increasing autonomy from Moscow could occur regardless of what America does, the B ush Administration can influence the ways in which Ukraines separation from Moscow may occur.To be sure, doing this would constitute an attempt by the U.S. to influence the internal affairs of the Soviet Union, but concerns about this problem should not s t op the U.S. from promoting the peaceful independence of Ukraine. It should be up to the govern ments of the republics, not Moscow, to decide whether U.S. support is welcome assistance or pernicious meddling. If the republican government of Ukraine does no t object to U.S. aid for democratic groups inside the country, then Washington should proceed with it. Washington, however, should not aid any group that advo cates violence.The U.S. has no interest in promoting civil war in the Soviet Union and military a i d to any group thus is out of the question. But peacefully assisting groups that wish to create democratic and free market institutions is in the U.S. in terest 2 To help Ukrainians at this critical moment in their nations history, the U.S should Identi0 a nd aid political forces in Ukraine that are pursuing a democratic and non-violent road to independence. Such groups as the Uk rainian Republican Party and the Ukrainian Democratic Party could use U.S communication and copying equipment Ship emergency medi c al supplies directly to Ukraine to alleviate the Help Ukraine develop freemarket solutions to the environmental problems caused by 73 years of communism. Ukraine could be helped by ex perts from such private groups as the Washington, D.C.-based Competitiv e Enterprise Institute and the Bozeman, Montana-based Foundation for Re search on Economics and Environment and Political Economy Research Cen ter. Visits to Ukraine by these experts could be funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development Encourag e Ukraine to develop its own foreign policy. To spur this Washington should invite high-level Ukrainian officials to visit America to meet with their counterparts in the Bush Administration. Examples Uk rainian Foreign Minister Anatolii Zlenko could meet w i th Secretary of State James Baker, and State Minister and Minister of Agriculture Alexandr Tkachenko could meet with Secretary of Agriculture Edward Madigan Support Ukraines request for independent status at the Conference on Security and Cooperation in E u rope (CSCE Welcome independent policies by the Ukrainian delegation at the United Nations if they should emerge, and work with the Ukrainian delega tion on issues of mutual concern and enlarge the staff of the Ukrainian service college exchanges ly Amerik a magazine, currently available only in Russian of the U.S. Consulate in Kiev. The staff increase is necessary if the U.S. wants to signal its heightened attention to Ukraine, transform the Consulate into a cultural and political center of U.S.-Ukrainian r e lations, and enable the Consu late to perform such normal consular duties as issuing U.S. visas in Kiev rather than in Moscow. e. misery caused-by the Chernobyl disaster Increase the broadcasts in Ukrainian by thevoice of America (VOA Offer Ukrainians mor e Fulbright Fellowships and high school and Begin publishing in Ukrainian the U.S. Information Agencys month Ask Congress to double the fiveperson staff and expand the activities 3 RUSSIAN S.F.S.R UKRAINIAN S.S UKRAINE IN EUROPE 500Miles I I Note: Bounduy reprecentatbaa ue not neccLurily ruthimriuc Although among the most populous of Europes ~ti011s, Ukraine and its history are not well known in the West.This prompts experts to call Ukraine Europes secret nation.

Ukraine arose as a state in the second half of the first millennium. Its capital Kiev, was the capital of Kievan Rus, a Slavic state that was home to what later be come three distinct nationalities: the Russians, the Ukrainians, and the Belorus sians. It was in Kiev that Christianity first was intr oduced in Rus and made the state religion by Prince Vladimir in 988.

After the disintegration of Kievan Rus into warring principalities in the 12th 13th Centuries, Ukraine continued to exist more or less within its current boun daries until it gradually wa s absorbed into the Grand Principality of Lithuania in the 14th Century. Ukrainian lands not occupied by Lithuania and Poland became I l I EUROPES SECRET NATION 3 Nadia Diuk and Adrian Karatnycky, The Hidden Nrrrion. The People Qldlenge the Soviet Union ( N ew York William Morrow and Company, Inc, 1990 p. 72 4 Moscows protectorate under the terms of the 1654 Treaty of Pereiaslav, signed by the Ukrainian Cossack leader Bohdan Khmelnitsky and the representatives of the Russian Czar Alexei Romanov. Mer that, fo r almost 300 years, most Ukrainian territory was divided between Russia, Poland and the Austro-Hungarian Empire Czarina Catherine the Great in 1775 completed the absorption of Ukraine into Russia by annexing the last independent Cossack region of Zaprozhsk aya Sich.

The very word Ukraine disappeared from the language of Russian officialdom replaced by Mhd, or Little Russia There followed,two centuries of deliberate policy of Russification aimed at strangling Ukrainian culture and lan guage and assimilating U krainians into Russia Short-Lived Independence. Ukraine declared its independence from Moscow on January 22,1918, three months after the Bolshevik Revolution, but was recon quered by Moscows Red Army in 19

20. Somewhat tolerant at first of Ukrainian natio nalism, Moscow changed course in the early 1930s when Joseph Stalin un leashed a campaign of terror against nationalist-minded Ukrainian writers artists actors and teachers. Some 80 percent of them were killed? Then, in Stalins bru tal collectivization of agriculture in 1932-1933, some four million to seven million Ukrainian peasants starved to death.

Following the Stalin-Hitler Pact of August 23,1939, the Soviet Union occupied Western Ukraine, which had been part of Poland. Then, in June 1940, Moscow forc ed Romania to cede the provinces of Bessarabia and Bukovina, which border Ukraine in the west As a result, seven million more Ukrainians came under MOSCOWS rule. Moscow began mass arrests and deportations to concentration camps in the Soviet East in sprin g 1940.6 An estimated 400,000 Ukrainians were arrested in and deported from the Western Ukrainian province of Galicia alone.

When Nazi troops pushed the Soviets out of Ukraine in 1941, they were at first welcomed as liberators from Bolshevism. But Ukrainia ns soon became disil lusioned by Nazi brutality and eventually rebelled against the Germans, conduct ing a masterful guerrilla war. When Soviet troops re-occupied Western Ukraine in 1944, the nationalist guerrillas turned their guns against Moscow. But af ter five years of fierce fighting, the Soviet government crushed all armed resistance in 19

49. During this time, these Ukrainian forces received absolutely no support from the West.

Rising Nationalism. In the early 1960s young intellectuals began to publ ish un derground journals focusing on Ukraines language, culture and history. So great was MOSCOWS fear of political instability in Ukraine that in the 1970s the Uk rainian KGB was given carte blanche to eradicate Ukrainian nationalism once and for all.Th e Ukrainian KGB soon acquired a reputation as the most brutal of all 4 Orest Subtelny, ukoine. A Histw (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988 p. 282 5 Karataidcy and Diuk, op. cit p. 74 6 Subtelny, op. cit p. 456 5 regional branches of the Soviet secr et police. Deaths of political prisoners, rare in the U.S.S.R. in the 1970s' disproportionately claimed Ukrainian inmates.

The devastating effect of Moscow's rule heips explain why Ukraine has been slower than most other Soviet republics to take advantage ofperestroika andglas Itost THE AWAKENING AIiTZR CHERNOBYL Ukraine was jolted by a catastrophe of mammoth proportions on April 26,1986 when the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl exploded. The plant is only 60 miles from Kiev.The blast spewed radioactive pa r ticles over thousands of square miles of Ukrainian, Byelorussian and Russian territory. MOSCOW'S official claim that only 31 people died in the disaster is widely disputed in Ukraine. Chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet's Commission on Questions of t h e Chernobyl Catastrophe Volodymyr Yavorivskyi contends that he knows of 540 deaths result ing directly from the nuclear explosion? Vladimir Chemousenko, the scientific director of the 20-mile exclusion zone established around the reactor, puts the number o f deaths at 7,000.8 Among 200,000 to WO,000 clean-up workers sent by Moscow to Chernobyl, more than 1,OOO are reported to have died a nuclear colony of Moscow: 40 percent of Soviet nuclear power is produced there.The Chernobyl disaster reinforced Ukrainia n s' longstanding belief that the central Soviet government cares little for the lives of Ukrainians. Moscow's negligence and the mishandling of the accident gave impetus to the rise of pro-in dependence democratic movements. A leading pro-independent activ i st, Myk hail0 Horyn, summed up the feelings of millions of Ukrainians when he said last September 13 Every citizen of Ukraine knows that Chemobyl was the result of Moscow's] imperial policy in Ukraine.The empire cannot protect us from new Chernobyls and t h erefore our future can only be seen in light of the creation of an independent state Chemobyl opened the eyes of millions. of Ukrainians to their republic's status as 7 RFEIRL Dai& Rem, November 29,1990, p. 5 8 "What Chernobyl Did" The Economist, April 2l , 1991, p. 19 9 Financial Tunes, May 24,19

91. In addition, uncounted tens of thousands are assumed to have become ill as a result of eqosure to radiation. Many more will develop cancers and other potentially lethal illnesses.

Some 5,8Ml children and 7,000 adults already have developed thyroid ailments. On the fifth anniversuy of the Chernobyl disaster, the Supreme Soviet of Ukraine announced that two million pple were threatened" by radiation and "thousands" had died in the "n a tional tragedy Seeking to relegate Chemobyl to history, Soviet authorities designated as dangerous only a 2o-mile zone around the plant and evacuated 92,ooO residents. Only three years after the explosion, in Mar& 1989, did the Soviet government disclose t hat the radioactive fallout had affected a large area of northern Ukraine, encompassing the Kiev Chemigov, Zhitomir and Kovno provinces. Altogether, some 65 million hectares, or 16,055,UNl acres, of Ukrainian farmland and forests are believed contaminated 10 Horyn's remarks are published as Herituge Ledum No. 282 Building Independent and Democratic Ukraine 6 STEPS TOWARD INDEPENDENCE Ukraine took its first major step toward independence on March 24,1990 when the Democratic Bloc, a coalition of democratic, p ro-independence and ecological groups led by Rukh, captured 111 out of 450 seats to Ukraines top legislative body, the Supreme Soviet.There the Ukrainian democrats formed a fac tion called Narodna Rada, or Peoples Council, which soon grew to 151 deputies as pro-reform communists joined the R The hard-line communists retained the majority in the SupremeSoviet with 239 seats.

The Rada led the Supreme Soviet to adopt the Ukrainian Declaration of Sovereignty.his asserted the primacy of Ukrainian law over legis lation passed in Moscow, and Ukraines right to conduct independent diplomacy and conclude economic agreements with other states. It also introduced the concept of Uk rainian citizenship.l Of particular importance is the section stipulating that Ukrainian y ouths drafted into the Soviet armed forces must serve within the republics boundaries and may not be dispatched to military activities outside Ukraine without the con sent of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet. Ukrainian draftees make up almost one fifth of Sov i et armed forces, the second largest ethnic group after Russians munist-controlled Ukrainian Supreme Soviet established Ukrainian sovereignty over all of the republics land, water, minerals, and other natural resources, and declared control over taxation, banking, prices and foreign economic relations.

The new law did not even mention the Soviet Unionu In addition, the law legal izes private property by declaring equality of all forms of property and equal rights of each.

Student Demands. Meantime, pro-ind ependence activities accelerated. Last Oc tober, several hundred university students went on a 15-day hunger strike in a tent city in front of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet in Kiev. Among the students demands were the resignation of Ukrainian Prime Ministe r Vitalii Mosol; enforce ment of the law preventing Ukrainian draftees from serving outside the republic under any circumstances; nationalization of the Communist Partys property in Ukraine; and new multi-party elections for the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet. A fter initially rejecting the students demands, the Communist majority of the Supreme Soviet voted on October 17 to satis

most of them.

The students triumph further radicalized the democratic pro-independence op position. At its October Z-October 28 Secon d Congress, the popular front Rukh whose membership had increased from 280,OOO to 630,000 since its founding Con gress in September 1989, declared officially that its goal is the achievement of Uk The next important step toward independence was last Augus t 3, when the Com 11 rep^ on the USSR, January 4,1991, p. 23 12 Report on the USSR, September 28,1990, p. 16 7 rainian independence by nonviolent means.The Congress also voted to delete from the movement's founding charter a statement in support of Gorbach e v's policies of perestroika and glamost ROADBLOCKS ON THE PATH TO INDEPENDENCE In the wake of the October students' strike and the Second Congress of RUM the Communist hardliners began a counter-offensive. A radical nationalist deputy from Westem Ukiairie , Stepiii Khmara,'was 'iiirested on'November 17 after the majority of the Supreme Soviet voted to waive his parliamentary immunity. On November 30 the Supreme Soviet adopted a decree that severely restricts demonstrations and public meetings. These and oth er measures have slowed momentum toward independence.Today there is as an uneasy and tense deadlock between the Moscow-oriented communist hard-liners and the pro-independence democratic opposition.

Pro-democracy progress has been slow for three reasons Rea son #1: There is no Ukrainian-wide consensus on independence The formation of such a consensus is seriously handicapped by the historic split between the heavily Russified and industrialized eastern provinces of Ukraine Kharkiv, Donetsk, Zaporozhia and Dn iepropetrosvk and such western provin ces as Lvov, Volhynia, Ternopol, Chemivitsi and Ivano-Frankivsk, which were for cibly taken from Poland and incorporated in the Soviet Union in 1939.

While most Ukrainians in the western provinces are fervent Catholics , the east em provinces are dominated by Russian Orthodox and, in the past few years, Uk rainian Orthodox Churches. While there are very few Russian speakers among eth nic Ukrainians in western provinces, many Ukrainians in Eastern Ukraine speak only Russ ian. Until a few years ago, even Kiev was overwhelmingly a Russian-lan guage city.

These cultural, linguistic and religious divisions are reflected in Ukrainians' at titude toward independence. In the Mych 17,1991 All-Union Referendum on the Preservation o f the Union the three provinces of Western Ukraine voted overwhelmingly against preserving the Soviet Union; there the pro-Union vote was under 20 percent.13 By comparison, the pro-Union vote in the heavily in dustrialized and Russified provinces of Easte r n Ukraine was nearly 80 percent.14 With differences this strong on the key question of independence, Ukraine's road to self-determination will be difficult 13 In addition, the three Western Ukrainian provinceS put another question on the referendum Do you want the Ukraine to become an independent state which independently decides its domestic and foreign policies, which guarantees equal rights to all of its atize4 regardless of their national or religious allegiance?' Some 85 percent of the voters responde d in the affirmative 14 The voter turnout was 83 percent of all eligible to wte.Thus the preservation of the Soviet Union was approved by 58 percent of eligible voters in Ukraine 8 Lacking a consensus on independence, Ukraine has failed to form a national m ovement similar to the popular fronts that came to power in the smaller republics of Armenia, Estonia, Georgia Latvia, and Lithuania.The result has been a splintering of pro-independence political movements among fifteen par ties with Rukh no longer capab le of Uniting them.

Among the fifteen parties, four play key roles The most radical is the Ukrainian National Party (UNP founded in Lvov on Octolier 21,1989, arid led by Petr Ku~v3n-its struggle for an independent Uk raine, the UNP rejects parliamentary me thods because it considers all current political structures illegitimate.The UNP refuses to participate in elections to local and all-Ukrainian bodies and as a result, has no representation in the Supreme Soviet of Ukraine A second major player is the Ukr ainian Republican Party (URP founded in March 19

90. In November 1990, it became the first opposition party to be official ly registered in Ukraine. The core of the Party are political dissidents who were members of the Helsinki Group, a human rights organization established in Kiev on November 9,19

76. Led by the former political prisoner Levko Lukianenko, the Republican Party seeks to mobilize the Ukrainian population for a non-violent struggle for a democratic and independent Ukraine. As a first step, t he party advo cates dissolution of the current Ukraine Supreme Soviet and new multiparty elec tions. It has 12 deputies in the Supreme Soviet.

A third player is the Ukrainian Democratic Party (UDP formed on May 14 1990, and led by Yuri Badzio. It opposes the new UnionTreaty prepared by Mos cow, and advocates an independent Ukraine, market economy and democracy.

Overall, the UDP is more moderate than the Ukrainian Republican Party and in sists on a more gradual transition to independence. Its delegation in the Supreme Soviet includes 12 deputies led by a founder of Rukh, Dmitro Pavlychko.

A fourth player is the Party for the Democratic Rebirth of Ukraine (PDRU led by Volodymir Filenko. It was founded on December 18,1990, by reform oriented Communists, many of whom since quit the Communist Party. The PDRUs declared goals are a democratic Ukrainian state, protection of human rights and the rebirth of Ukrainian culture. As the party of the Communist estab lishment its 43 deputies comprise the largest delegation in the Supreme Soviet Reason #2: The movement lacks leadership.

No leader comparable to Russias Boris Yeltsin has emerged to unify Ukraines pro-independence democratic movements. Som e popular founders of RUM, such as Ivan Drach, Dmytro Pavlychko, and Volodymyr Yavorivsky, are tainted by their former membership in the ComUnist Party.The radical leaders of the URP Levko Lukianenko and Viacheslav Chomovil, are from Western Ukraine and t h us their appeal in Eastern Ukraine is limited 9 Reason #3: The Communist leadership is politically skilled The Chairman of the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet, Leonid Kravchuk, has proven to be a skilled political rival of the pro-independence opposition A forme r Chief of the Ideological Department of the Ukrainian Communist Partys Central Com mittee under Shcherbitskiy, Kravchuk cleverly has accommodated some of the in dependence movements demands without giving up power.

During the October 1990 student hunger s trike, he skillfully avoided a head-on confrontation with the-democratic opposition-thatcould..have galvanized republic wide support for independence. Writes the popular Soviet weekly New 7hes Kravchuk tries to take advantage of the rising ~tional self-co n sciousness and poses as a champion of Ukraines state sovereignty. However, adds the weekly he is constantly looking back at Moscow as if considering what he already can and what he cannot yet do.ls THE RUSSIANS AND THE UKRAITWNS Yet even if the Ukrainian p ro-independence democratic movements overcome their tactical problems, unite and even yrestle the power from the Communists, as did the popular fronts in Armenia, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania and Mol davia, they still would face a huge obstacle: co olness by ethnic Russians toward Ukrainian independence.

The 11 million ethnic Russians in Ukraine are 21 percent of the population.

They have been used by Moscow as tools of political control -for example, through their member ship in the Communist Party and secret police and as industrial laborers in the predominantly rural and agricultural region of Ukraine. Still, many Russian families have lived in Ukraine for genera- tions and consider it home. If Ukraines Russians can be per suaded to accept an ind e pendent democratic and free-market Uk raine -in which the rights of the Russian minority carefully are preserved - then the prospects of Ukraines peaceful exit from Moscows domestic empire would The Ethnic Make-up of Ukraine Ukrainian 77 Total Population: 52 million Source: Nadia Diuk and Adrian Karatnycky, The Hidden NaUona, Wlliam Morrow and co Inc. New York, NY I 15 New limes, February 5,1991, p. 11 10 improve dramatically. If the Russian minority in Ukraine feels threatened or otheNvise is unable to ac cept the idea of living in an independent Ukraine, Uk rainian independence may be set back years, if not decades.

Russian Opposition. So far, the Russian minority in Ukraine is politically unor ganized. Preliminary data indicate that a sizeable segment of the Russian popula tion in Ukraine may be opposed to Ukraines independence from Moscow. A public opinion poll conducted last fall, for example, finds that, while 46 percent of ethnic-Russians .would. accept independence, 38 percent were.opposed to it and 1 6 percent were undecided.16 There are indications, moreover, that ethnic Russians opposed to Ukrainian independence may be trying to split the republic most likely with Moscows approval, encouragement, and perhaps support. A little known group called Novo tosSia (New Russia) is demanding creation of an autonomous Russian mini-republic inside Ukraine, to encompass Russian-speak ing areas, including the populous Odessa and Dnepropetnvsk provinces in the south?

Ultimately, of course, a major factor in Ukraines move toward independence will be Russias willingness to let go. If 145 million Russians decide that they can not abide by Ukrainian independence, then Kievs road to independence will be long and bloody. While many Russians have been remarkably casual abo u t the decline of Moscows control in the Baltics, Central Asia, the Caucasus and Mol davia, Ukraine may be a different case. A poll of the Russian republics citizens last February finds that only 22 percent favor letting Ukraine secede from the Union and 5 9 percent firmly oppose it. No other European republics inde pendence goals caused such heavy opposition from the Russians polled.18 The belief that Ukraine is part of Russia cuts across political divisions among Russians, from the chauvinistic neo-Bolshev i ks to the liberal, pro-democracy in telligentsiaThe Russo-Ukrainian bond is so strong that even some of the most determined opponents of Soviet totalitarianism believe that Ukraine must remain part of Russia or, at minimum, part of a federation headed by R ussia PROMOTING A FREE AND DEMOCRATIC UKRAINE The dissolution of the Soviet Union into states with varying degrees of political and economic links to Moscow is an inevitable outcome of the political democratization sweeping the U.S.S.R. Ukraine may or may not emerge complete 16 Moscow News, October 21,1990 17 RFEIRL Daib Rev, No. 38 (February 22,1991 18 Resetad Memomndum, April 12,1991, Office of Research, United States Information Agency.The poll commissioned by the United States hformatiw Agency, was con ducted by the Moscow-based Public Opinion Resear& Service VP among a 1,989 raadomly selected residents of the Russian republic between February 15 and March

1. The margin of error is no more than live percentage points in either direction.

The European r epublics of the Soviet Union are Byelorussia, Estonia, Law Lithuania, Moldavb, Rwsb and Ukraine 11 ly independent once this process is finished, but its relations with Moscow will cer tainly change dramatically If Kiev becomes more independent, it will af f ect not only the Soviet Union but the rest of Europe too. Ukraine is Europes fifth most populous nation after Russia, Germany, Italy, Britain and France. Given its im mense agricultural and industrial potential, a democratic and free-market revolu tion in Ukraine could transform this once forgotten nation into a formidable European economic power within a few decades As .these changes occur, America should begin paying attention to Ukraine.

There are several reasons for this.The first is that a 52-million strong democratic and free-market Ukraine could contribute greatly to peace and stability in Eastern Europe.The second, is that Ukraine could be a huge market for American goods.

Third, and perhaps most important, detaching Ukrainian manpower and industrial potential from the Soviet armed forces and the Soviet military-industrial complex would reduce greatly the threat that the Soviet Union or Russia poses to the West.

Gorbachev and U.S. critics of closer ties with the republics may charge that help ing d emocratic groups in Ukraine will constitute interference in the internal af fairs of the Soviet Union. But such criticism should not deter Bush from assisting democratically elected governments in the republics. The republics, not Moscow should decide whe ther U.S. assistance is warranted or not. The republics already have wide latitude under the Soviet constitution to conduct their foreign affairs.

And many of them, including Ukraine, have passed laws asserting the precedence of republican law over Soviet law. If the republics decide that U.S. help is wel come and legal, then Washington should not be so shy in providing it.

To encourage the peaceful achievement of an independent, democratic and free-market Ukraine while guarding against charges of interfering in Soviet inter nal affairs, the U.S. should Identit and aid political forces in Ukraine using democratic and Political parties in Ukraine for m, change and dissolve almost daily. Among todays 15 political parties, at least two seem to merit U.S. support. One is the Uk rainian Republican Party, led by the former political prisoner Levko Lukianenko.

The Republican Party sees its mission as mobiliz ing the Ukrainian population for a non-violent struggle for a democratic and independent Ukraine. As a first step lowed by new multiparty elections a founder of Rukh. It opposes the new UnionTreaty prepared by Moscow and wants an independent Ukraine, a ma rket economy, and democracy.

The political campaigns of both parties are seriously handicapped by a shortage of communication equipment like telephones, fax and copying machines, word processors, printers and paper.These could be supplied by the U.S. Natio nal En dowment for Democracy (NED a congressionally-funded non-governmental or ganization committed to promoting democracy abroad. In the 198Os, NED sent this type of equipment into Poland for use by the anti-communist forces non-violent means to achieve i ndependence the party advocates dissolution of the current Supreme Soviet of Ukraine to be fol- I i The second group is the Ukrainian Democratic Party, led by Dmitro Pavlychko I 12 This February 6, George Bush authorized the U.S. Agency for International D evelopment AID) to spend $5 million to ship directly to Ukraine $10 million worth of emergency medical supplies assembled from private sources by the charitable organization Project Hope. This will consist mostly of equipment and medication for patients s u ffering from cancer and other radiation-induced dis ease In addition to this, Ukraine badly needs basic medical supplies like vitamins,.singleluse.syringes, blood test kits and Band-Aids.%To get these and similar types of medical supplies to Ukraine, the Bush Administration should ap propriate an extra $5 million to purchase the supplies for Ukraine and to supply them to private relief operations Help Ukraine develop tkee-market solutions to its ecological crisis.

Seven decades of a communist economy have turned Ukraine into an ecological catastrophe. In cities like Zaporozhye in southern Ukraine, more than a quarter of newborn and young children are sick with illnesses caused directly by chemicals that have been released into the atmosphere.20 The water p o llution of the Dnieper, Ukraines largest river, is 50 times higher than the world standard. To help Ukraine confront its ecological crises, America can dispatch experts from private free-market environmental groups like thewashington, D.C.-based Com petit i ve Enterprise Institute, and the Bozeman, Montana-based Foundation for Research on Economics and Environment and Political Economy Research Cen ter. AID should cover the cost of sending such experts to Ukraine Support Ukraines effort at developing its own foreign policy.

Ukraine seems eager to escape its diplomatic isolation. When Hungarian Presi dent Arpad Goncz visited Kiev last September 27, for instance, Ukraine and Hun gary agreed to exchange consulates and to begin talks on establishing full diplomat ic relations. Then on October 13-14, Polish Foreign Minister Kxzysztof Skubiszewski signed an agreement in Kiev on consular and trade representation of Ukraine in Poland. Ukrainian Premier Vitold Fokin, meanwhile, visited Greece this May 10-17.

Soviet law , in fact, does not prohibit the individual republics from maintaining diplomatic contacts with other countries. Article 80 of the Soviet Constitution gives all Soviet republics the right to conduct their foreign affairs, including the right to take part i n the work of international organizations. As such, the Bush Administration need have no qualms about increasing the level of Americas con tact with Ukraine.The Administration should invite high-level Ukrainian officials to meet with their American counte r parts in the U.S 19 New York Tuna, February 7,1991 20 Report on the USSR, January 5,1990, p. 15 13 Support Ukraines November 20,1990, request for an independent status at the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe CSCE The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe was established by the 1975 Helsinki Accords to promote security and human rights in Europe. In its most recent session in Paris on November 19-21, Ukraine asked to be admitted as an independent member.This was rebuffed by Eduard Shevardnadze, then the U.S.S.R.s Foreign-Minister. Out..of deference to Moscow, America and its allies did not support Ukraines request. Yet most of the West European representatives attending the Paris conference indicated privately to the Americans that if the U.S. endorsed the Ukrainian request, they were ready to support it as well. Al though Moscow can veto a motion to admit Ukraine, it may be reluctant to buck what may be a consensus of the other nations.

The next session of the CSCE foreign ministers convenes June 18 in Berlin.

There, the U.S. should announce that it favors an independent Ukrainian member ship Welcome more independent policies by the Ukrainian delegation Along with Byelorussia, Ukraine is the only Soviet republic that is a member of the U.N. Up to now, this has been a membership in name only because Moscow has dictated how the Ukrainian representative votes and speaks. As such, the U.S representatives ignored the Ukrainian delegation. If, however, the Ukrainian U.N. delegation begin s acting independently of Moscow, the U.S. should find ways to encourage it at the United Nations 21 Increase the broadcasts in Ukrainian by thevoice of America The VOA now broadcasts four hours daily in Ukrainian, down from five hours two years ago. Meanw h ile, budget constraints at the United States Information Agency (USIA the VOAs parent organization, have forced VOA to reduce the Ukrainian staff through attrition by almost one-fifth, from 28 to 23.To signal the growing importance to the U.S. of a more i n dependent, democratic and free market Ukraine, Secretary of State James Baker should direct the USIA to in crease from four hours to six hours its broadcasts in Ukrainian, and to bring the staff of the Ukrainian Service to full strength. Re-hiring five mo r e staffers would cost approximately $25O,OOO a year. Adding two more hours of daily broadcasts would cost approximately $360,000 VOA) and increase the staff of the Ukrainian service Enroll more Ukrainian citizens in the Fulbright Fellowships and high scho o l and college exchanges 21 For detailed suggestions on other possible areas of US.-Ukrahe cooperation at the U.N. see Christopher M. Gacek, Areas for US.-soViet Cooperation at the United Nations, Heritage Foundation Buc&g?vunder No. 831, May ul, 1991 14 U S IA-run exchanges always have been heavily Moscow-oriented. Of the some 25 Fulbright Scholars from the Soviet Union who visit the U.S. annually, only a couple are from Ukraine. Among the approximately 200 Soviet college students who come to the U.S. annual l y, only about 20 are Ukrainians. And of 75 Soviet high schools participating in the U.S.-Soviet student exchange, only four are Uk rainian. Since those Ukrainians who come to the U.S. on the exchanges are likely to be the future leaders of Ukraine, the Bu s h Administration should direct the USIA to increase the share of Ukrainians in Fulbright Fellowship Program and in the-college and high school exchanges:At least five-Ukrainians should be visiting America each year under the Fulbright Program Begin publis h inghrika in Ukrainian The monthly Amerika, published by the USIA, is extremely popular in the Soviet Union, but appears only in Russian. At the time when non-Russian peoples of the Soviet Union are gradually regaining their national identities, the exclus i ve ly Russian publication of Amerika is perceived as a sign of U.S. support for Moscows domestic empire.To correct this, USIA should publishAmerika in the major languages of the Soviet Union, beginning with a Ukrainian edition since Uk raine is the larges t of the non-Russian Soviet republics. It would cost approximate ly $1 million annually to produce lo0,OOO copies of Amerika per month in Uk rainian.

Ask Congress to double the five-person staff and expand the ac The U.S. Consulate in Kiev opened last Dece mber 10.The office increases the ability of U.S. diplomats to gather information outside of Russia, to facilitate the travel of Americans in Ukraine, and to signal growing U.S. attention to the non Russian peoples of the USSR. This consulate is the only U . S. diplomatic repre sentation in the Soviet Union outside Russia.There are currently only two officers there: Consul General John Gendersen and his Deputy John Stepanchuk. A third staffer will be arriving later this year. The State Department hopes to exp and the Consulate staff to five people in fiscal 1992-

93. With even this, the Consulate will remain understaffed. Ukrainians who want visas to visit the U.S. for example, still would have to go to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Without extra staff, moreover the Kiev Consulate cannot adequately organize the very popular concerts, movies and lectures by visiting American scholars, politicians and business leaders. Dou bling the staff of the Kiev Consulate from five to ten people would cost an addi tional $1 mi llion a year tivities of the U.S. consulate in Kiev CONCLUSION The Republic of Ukraine may be on the road to independence from Moscow.

Popular movements and parties demanding independence have been formed such as Rukh, and even the Communistdominated Ukrai nian legislature has passed laws mandating the supremacy of Ukrainian laws over those of the Soviet central government in Moscow 15 Removing A Threat. An independent Ukr&e could become a friend of the U.S. At the very least if it so chooses, it could depr i ve the Soviet military of the manpower and resources to threaten the West.The U.S. could benefit from this only if the process is peaceful; Washington has no interest in supporting national wars of liberation in the Soviet Union. But while the U.S. or any other outside power cannot and should not try to control Ukraines drive for independence, the Bush Administration could exercise what influence it has in steering Ukraine toward democracy, non-violence and a free market economy.

There are a number of thin gs the Uk. can do to promote greater Ukrainian in dependence. The Bush Administration should identify those political forces in Uk raine that seek to achieve independence by non-violent means and then send them communications and printing equipment. Such groups are the Ukrainian Republican Party and the Ukrainian Democratic Party. The U.S. too can help Uk raine clean its environment by dispatching to Ukraine free-market environmental advisors.

Washington could promote a more autonomous Ukrainian foreign policy by sup porting Kievs request for a separate representation at the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe; by helping the Ukrainian delegation at the United Nations to pursue pol i cies different from those of the Soviet government; and by increasing the staff and expanding operations of the U.S. Consulate in Kiev to es tablish a greater diplomatic and cultural presence in the Ukrainian capital.The United States Information Agency c o uld signal heightened attention to Ukraine by increasing the hours of the Voice of Americas broadcasts in Ukrainian and by expanding the staff of the VOAs Ukrainian service. And the USIA should con sider publishing in Ukrainian the highly popularAmerika m onthly magazine, cur rently available in the Soviet Union only in Russian.

New Centers of Power. The Bush Administration should not shy away from promoting a free and democratic Ukraine for fear of offending Gorbachev. While Bush should continue to maintai n business-like relations with Gorbachev, he should pay more attention to the new centers of power in the Soviet Union -the republics. Since they are closer to the people, and in some cases democratically elected, the republics, not Moscow, should decide whether American help is wanted. Ukraine is creating its own laws and is beginning to conduct its own foreign affairs, thereby creating a new legal basis for relations with foreign states.

So long as Ukraine or any other republican government does not obje ct to U.S aid to democratic groups, then Washington should proceed with assistance programs, knowing not only that they are legal in the eyes of the republican governments, but desired by the people.

Leon Aron, Ph.D.

Salvatori Senior Policy Analyst in So viet Studies 16 PERESrROIKAINuKRAmlQ A CHRONOIDGY OF MAJOR EVENTS April 26,1986 August 1987 Explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant 206 underground Catholic bishops, priests, monks, nuns, and believers signed a letter to Pope John Paul II, appealin g for legalization of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

The Taras Shevchenko Ukrainian Language Society is founded to promote Uk rainian language and Ukrainian culture.

The inaugural congress of the Ukrainian branch of the Memorial society opens in Kiev, ded icated to uncovering the crimes of Stalinism Six top Communist Party officials, including the Party boss of Kiev, are defeated in the elections to the Congress of Peoples Deputies of the U.S.S.R.

Over lS0,OOO Ukrainian Catholics hold prayer service for Ukrainian religious freedom.

Miners strike in Donbass, Eastern Ukraine The reform-oriented Peoples Movement for Restructuring in Ukraine, Rukh, holds its founding congress in Kiev 30,000 people demonstrate in Lvov to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Sov iet in vasion of Western Ukraine.

Between lS0,OOO and 200,000 people demonstrate in Lvov to support legalization of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

First Secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party (UKP) Vladimir Shcherbitsky an nounces his retirement.

Th e Zeknyi svit (Green World) ecological association holds its founding congress in Kiev February 1989 March 4,1989 March 26,1989 June 18,1989 July 1989 September 8-10,1989 September 16-17,1989 September 17,1989 September 28,1989 October 1989 17 January 1,1 9 90 January 21,1990 Ukrainian officially becomes the state language of Ukraine 300,000 people form a human chain between Kiev and Lvov to commemorate the declaration of Ukrainian independence on January 22,1918 Rukh and Rukh-affiliated parties of the Democ ratic Bloc capture 111 seats, or 25 percent,.in elections to the-Ukraine.Supreme Soviet.

Ukraine Supreme Soviet adopts the Declaration of State Sovereignty, which proclaims Ukrainian political autonomy from Moscow Ukraine Supreme Soviet adopts the Law conc erning the Economic Independence of the Ukrainian S.S.R The Supreme Soviet issues a decree meeting the students demands for democratiza tion and independence by Ukrainian students on a hunger strike in Kiev The Second Congress of Rukh declares total indep e ndence of Ukraine the movements top priority Coal miners in Donbass (Eastern Ukraine) join the all-Union strike calling for the resignation of Gorbachev and the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R, and for salary in creases, improved working conditions and food supplies In the AU-Union Referendum on the Preservation of the Soviet Union 83 percent of Ukrainians vote for Ukraines being part of the Union of Soviet Sovereign States based on the principles of the Ukraines Declaration of State Sovereignty March 4,1990 July 16,1990 August 3,1990 October 17,1990 October 25-28,1990 March 1,1991 March 17,1991 18

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