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After Stalin's death in March 1953,
President Eisenhower wanted to present a new peace plan. In the middle of the McCarthy Communist trauma, Allen Dulles, the CIA director, suggested that Washington join Moscow in a program of economic assistance to Communist China. In August 1953 USSR secretly tested the hydrogen bomb, but US detectors picked up on it.
The Cold War was a struggle for power among the remaining giants,
United States and USSR. Although tense, it was a forty year peace. 'One upmanship' and temporary agreements were refueled with new clashes, sustained by fear and suspicion. Each side thought the other was more aggressive. May 7, 1955 USSR cancels its friendship treaties with France and Britain. Feb. 14, 1956 Khrushchev attacks Stalin and the cult of the individual in the secret speech at the 20th Communist Party Congress in Moscow. Ukrainians demand a greater voice in the administration of their republic. A new generation of growing young Ukrainians began questioning Moscow's policies in Ukraine. Other events which potmark the roller coaster relationship during the Cold War were: Aug. 15, 1959 Nikita Khrushchev visits the US; May 1, 1960 Soviets shoot down US U-2 reconnaissance plane; June 3-4, 1961 John F. Kennedy & Khrushchev confer in Vienna and the well-publicized Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The threat of nuclear war was the contributing factor to peace since both side knew outright nuclear war between them would be too costly in worldwide destruction.
Under Brezhnev's rule, major purges
took place in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakh. As in the past, authorities singled out Ukrainians for oppression. A major wave of arrests swept the country from mid-1965 to early 1966. Most of those arrested were young intellectuals, articulate and ambitious but frustrated. However, the most successful dissenters were the Jews. The turning point for them came after the Arab-Israeli war at the end of 1967. Thousands of young and old Soviet Jews suddenly became proud of the heritage and began to demonstrate for the right to emigrate to Israel. By early 1977 Soviet authorities allowed some 125,000 Jews to leave the USSR. And Israel was eager to receive them. Other prominent defectors of the era were Svetlana Alliluyeva (Stalin's daughter), Natalia Makarova (prima ballerina of Leningrad Kirov Ballet), Mikhail Baryshnikov (Kirov Ballet) and Lt. Victor J. Belenko (supersonic fighter pilot).
Soviet-American relations improved in 1973 and 1974 during years when Nixon and Brezhnev signed committees for peaceful use of atomic energy, agriculture, oceanographic studies and transportation.
For Ukraine, it was too dangerous to talk of independence.
Spies were everywhere. The spies were your neighbors. The Ukrainian organizations in US and Canada were on a constant crusade collecting money for a free Ukraine.
Poland won't allow Lemkos to go home:
The Polish government tried to repopulate the vacated farms in mountainous hills and valleys of Galicia, but the Polish folk accustomed to an easier way of life could not adapt to the harsh climate as did the Lemkos who were vanquished. Consequently, the little farms that once dotted the hillsides, returned to forest and is now a resort area for vacationers, tourists, and hill climbers who respect the beauty of the land. The forests, which used to hide the hill people from the Austrian and Polish armies, now house a variety of deer, elk and pheasants. Some 10,000 Lemkos still live in this area. Many Lemkos, who fought with Poland against Germany, have petitioned their Congress in 1958 to allow their relatives who were forcibly deported to return to their native Lemkivshchyna. The Congress declared it illegal and mischievous. They don't want the Lemkos to unite again.
The Peaceful Demise of the USSR:
In Dec. 1988 Supreme Soviet dissolved itself and prepared for an elected parliament. In Dec. 1989, Gorbachev and US Pres. George Bush declare the Cold War is ended. In 1991 Soviet Union ceased to exist and the powerful KGB was dismantled. Mikhail Gorbachev, credited with bringing democracy to Russia, first began to speak of the need for change and to use the terms glasnost and perestroika.
However there was no liberalization of the press in Ukraine and there was no change.
After the accident at Chernobyl power station on April 26, 1986, no announcements were made to the public, radio reception from the outside was jammed, but rumor spread throughout the streets. Communist leaders were evacuating their wives and children out of Kiev and fight broke out on the platforms as people were trying to get into overcrowded trains. So crowded, it was impossible to close the doors. There were three other nuclear accidents at Mayak, Chelyabinsk. Two of Olga's younger cousins have already perished from the fallout of Chernobyl. Slowly, everyone is dying or ill from lung, liver and other 'filters.' Respiratory disease is the #1 killer leading by over 300% above other disease. Life expectancy in 1994 was 57 years for male; 71 years for female.
Old wounds begin to fester:
During excavation and construction of new building in the present day Ukraine, the workers uncovered mass graves of civilians lost during the wars, during famine and forced repatriation programs. Mine shafts filled with bodies of Stalin's victims were being excavated all over the country. Everyday skeletons were being exhumed and candles lit. Under Glastnost, this was allowed to be told in the newspapers. Most disturbing to the young were eyewitness accounts of the famine which were finally allowed to be told. Previously, the old would only whisper to each other and bless themselves, but now, unbelievably! it was printed in the paper. People walked around with the newspapers, telling neighbors.
The Human Wave:
Although 10% of the population had been deported to Siberia and 40% of the population was Russian transplants, Lviv was the center of grass-roots activism. In Jan. 21, 1990 a very important event which spurred Ukraine's new drive for independence: The Human Wave. In this show of support, more than 300,000 demonstrators formed a human chain linking Lviv and Kiev. The human chain was not only complete, it was extended in a loop from Lviv to Ivano-Frankovsk. The original plan had been for demonstrators to stand ten meters apart and hold a ribbon between them, but with so many of them, they were linked arm in arm three and four rows deep. Everywhere there were crowds of people carrying the Ukrainian flag. This never made the American news. By September, the Ukrainian flag was being displayed everywhere in the streets of Western Ukraine.
In August 1991 after the USSR, weakened by financial mismanagement and economic strain, and days after the August coup; Ukrainian parliament declared independence from the USSR, once again. Ten thousand demonstrators in the square outside of parliament carried hundreds of blue and yellow Ukrainian flags and signs reading "We are not sheep" and "Bye, bye, USSR." Unlike, the brutal attack on demonstrators in 1989 where 40 people were hospitalized, no police broke up this demonstration.
On December 25, 1991, Gorbachev formally resigned
and transferred his "nuclear briefcase" to freely-elected Boris Yeltsin. In Nov. 1991, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia proclaimed Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). On December 1, 1991 the Ukraine elected Leonid Kravchuk as its first president, a high ranking Communist who adopted nationalistic policies, and voted 90 percent for independent statehood.
When the Russian Communists left, they took with them all the cash, the savings and retirement monies that were in the banks for the seniors. There is no investment capital, the economy is not working, and the people are slaves to poverty, but they had hope.
May 7, 1992, President Bush and Ukrainian President Kravchuk signed agreements that grant Ukraine Most Favored Nation trade status with the US, authorize the Overseas Private Investment Corp. to finance projects in Ukraine and launch a Peace Corps program there. To ease Ukrainian fears about losing its nuclear weapons (It held the world's third-largest nuclear arsenal), the two countries issued a joint declaration in which the US pledged to open a "regular bilateral dialogue on questions of peace and security." Ukraine signed the START I treaty in May, and agreed to become a non-nuclear state. But Ukrainian legislators have dragged their feet on ratification, warning that the agreements could make their country even more vulnerable to Russian military attack or nuclear blackmail. They argued that nuclear weapons will provide an ultimate guarantee of Ukraine's sovereignty.
The US still props up Russia.
1993, in light of the bickering between Ukraine and Russia's anti-nuclear disarmament, Russia was clearly the Clinton administration's first priority and concern -- especially as Mr. Yeltsin struggled to keep control of his own government. The US wanted to arrange a generous rescheduling of Russia's $80 billion foreign debt -- a key element of any economic support package. But first, Moscow and Kiev had to decide which country is responsible for paying off the old Soviet debt. Russia was willing to assume the obligation, but only if Ukraine cedes claims to Soviet assets -- including gold and diamond reserves, and foreign embassies and all their contents. Until the debt problem was settled, Mr. Clinton by law couldn't even offer Russia new US agricultural credits as Moscow is $400 million behind in payments on earlier US credits.
It was only after intense pressure from Washington DC, the Presidents of Ukraine, Russia, and US signed the January 1994 Trilateral Statement, under which, the United States, Russia and Britain also agreed to provide Ukraine with security assurances that helped pave the way for Kiev's December 1994 accession to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a non-nuclear-weapon state. These security guarantees from the world's five nuclear powers was something they never had before, previously being at the mercy of all invading forces. In addition, the United States reaffirmed its commitment to provide Ukraine with assistance in dismantling the former Soviet weapons through the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program, commonly referred to as the "Nunn-Lugar" security assistance program. Under the 1994 agreement, Ukraine was to receive $1 billion in compensation from Russia for giving up the nuclear weapons.
However, Ukraine received only a fraction of the nearly $1 billion in aid promised by the international community to offset the losses of sealing Chernobyl and to finish building two other Ukrainian nuclear power stations said Mr. Dmytruk, of Chernobylinform.
By June 1, 1996 Ukrainian President Kuchma announced that all nuclear (4,000) have been removed from the territory of Ukraine and transferred to Russia. With US. assistance, Russia should be the only former Soviet republic with nuclear weapons on its territory. According to International Press Service:
"As well as providing security assurances, both the US and Russia pledged economic assistance. Washington agreed to provide about $900 million in aid during 1994-95, including $350 million for dismantling nuclear weapons and transferring the warheads to Russia.
The US also provided $350 million for economic restructuring, $100 million for importing food and oil and $100 million for privatization projects. In 1995 the US added an extra $20 million to the total budget for missile dismantling.
Russia agreed to provide Ukraine with nuclear fuel and financial assistance for disarmament worth about $1 billion in return for the nuclear warheads. Moscow also forgave a substantial part of Ukraine's oil and gas debt ($450 million)."
The Bush administration has asked Congress to reduce 2003 aid to Ukraine by US$15 million and US$46 million in 2004. Ukraine received some $US155 million last year, making it one of the top recipients of U.S. foreign aid worldwide. New budget documents released this month show that aid to Ukraine will be cut from $155 million in fiscal 2003 to $94 million in fiscal 2004.
In 2003, Ukraine has been independent now a remarkable 12 years.
Hearsay says that much of the money went to private coffers of the new billionaires; it sure didn't go to the economy, building programs nor to the people. The people are out of work and are a poor as church mice. Building, banks and factories vacated by the communists stand empty in cities across the land. The seniors get $10-15 a month for pension and more than likely six months late in coming. Inflation has skyrocketed, bread prices are usurious. The whole monthly allotment goes to buy one bag of groceries or their heating gas, but not both. Fifty percent are unemployed (official statistics are considerably lower) because businesses and factories are closed. Over 10 million youth have left Ukraine to find work in other countries. Water, gas and electricity is rationed to several hours per day, many who couldn't pay have been shut off completely. Foreign goods from Germany, Poland and other nearby countries are flood the marketplace, but with high unemployment and low wages (plus being 6-12 months in arrears), few can afford to buy them. Lately, I heard Americans aren't allowed to send canned food to their relatives in the 'old country'. It is scary times for native Ukrainians once again. They are very weaked by the belief that their new democratic government cares nothing about them.
Ukraine has been independent now a remarkable 12 years. It is my personal belief that the next onslaught will come from the Middle-East countries such as Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia. As long as they are fighting among each other, Ukraine is fairly safe. Whichever countries surfaces to the top will look at Ukraine's fertile soil with envy and imperialistic greed. The blood-soaked, burnt land is rich with minerals and will yield abundant crops if the rains are charitable. There is still a communist-controlled Parliament and aristocracy who advocate return to an alliance with Russia; the Ukrainian political struggles are fierce. Of course, Russia will continue to try to grab at it, but it won't without US stamp of approval. In 2003, Russia is accepting large amounts of US aid (only Israel and Egypt get more from the US taxpayer). Also in 2003, Ukraine will have to repay $1.53 billion on its foreign debts, in addition to March and September payments on its Eurobonds estimated at $325 million each.
Why does US news media totally ignore Ukraine? It's appalling that US history books, especially WW II books, never mention Ukraine? The brave little country that fought 3 giants simultaneously: Germany, Russia and Poland (with US support to the giants). History books on Poland make no mention of Operation Vistula and the eradication of the inhabits of Galicia. Future generations need to know the real Ukrainian history, not the fictitious whitewashed history conjured up by conquering Americans, Canadians, Polish, Germans or Russians.
US support to Ukraine:
The United States has provided more than US$8 million to beef up Ukraine's export controls and border security since 1993. (tv/mb)(Ukraine Report 2003) The obliogosts (previous communists who were in control who are now very wealthy capitalist) are selling it at high prices to the general public.
Ukraine is on the verge of becoming a dictatorship again.
By Askold Krushelnycky, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Prague, Czech Republic, Friday, December 12, 2003 Ukraine's Constitutional Court ruled (11 December 2003) it had no objections to parliament electing future presidents. The opposition fears that President Leonid Kuchma may be preparing to manipulate next year's presidential elections or even eliminate them in order to retain power -- either personally, or through one of his nominees.
Kyiv, 12 December 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma is currently forbidden from doing so under the present constitution.
But Kuchma -- and the tightly knit circle of ultrarich cronies that surround him and control much of the Ukrainian government -- are worried that if one of their opponents becomes president in 2004, the current ruling elite will not only lose the financial advantages they enjoy but could face trial for corruption and even murder.
The man they fear most is Viktor Yushchenko, the leader of the biggest democratic faction in parliament, Our Ukraine. He consistently receives the highest opinion-poll ratings and most observers believe he will become president if next October's elections are held fairly.
That seems to be the Kuchma administration's conclusion also. They have approached the Constitutional Court to rule on a number of questions which may provide the administration with loopholes to retain power.
11 December 2003 the court, which regularly sides with Kuchma, proposed, the parliament would elect a president next year to serve until new parliamentary elections in 2007 [thus ends democracy and implements dictatorship].
The court also ruled Kuchma may not be prosecuted for crimes committed while in office. The president has been accused of corruption involving hundreds of millions of dollars, abusing human rights, curbing freedom of the press, and involvement in the killing of an opposition journalist. He has always denied the allegations.
You may have the following scenario: For example, that Kuchma the president is requested by parliament to become prime minister. So Kuchma the president takes or nominates Kuchma the prime minister because he is being requested to do that by the parliament -- and then the presidency is practically annihilated," Rybachuk said.
"If [Kuchma] is saying that he is not going to run for election, he might be telling the truth, because there might be no election.