December 12, 2003 - BBC Monitoring : Ukrainian newspaper alleges that of the 200 Peace Corps volunteers working in Russia, 30 turned out to have been spies

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Ukraine: Peace Corps Ukraine : The Peace Corps in the Ukraine: December 12, 2003 - BBC Monitoring : Ukrainian newspaper alleges that of the 200 Peace Corps volunteers working in Russia, 30 turned out to have been spies

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 9:36 am: Edit Post

Ukrainian newspaper alleges that of the 200 Peace Corps volunteers working in Russia, 30 turned out to have been spies

Read and comment on this story picked up by the BBC Monitoring Service that a Ukrainian newspaper is alleging that of the 200 Peace Corps volunteers working in Russia, 30 turned out to have been spies.

These charges are false. By law, there is a prohibition against Peace Corps Volunteers participating in any intelligence gathering activities. In the 40 year history of the Peace Corps there has never been a single proven instance of volunteers participating in intelligence gathering activities in any of the 130 countries where volunteers have served. Read the story at:

Ukrainian paper alleges US interference in presidential poll*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Ukrainian paper alleges US interference in presidential poll

Dec 12, 2003 - BBC Monitoring

A pro-presidential Ukrainian newspaper has alleged that US state and nongovernmental organizations will attempt to use the October 2004 presidential elections to destabilize the country and place a sympathetic politician in power. It calls on the government to clarify whether foreign organizations are using democracy and press freedom programmes for political ends, and to examine the legality of these actions. The following is an excerpt from the article "The authorities are obliged to guarantee the independence and stability of the state" by Serhiy Lozunko, published by the Ukrainian newspaper 2000 on 5 December.

Original subheadings retained:

The presidential campaign in Ukraine has already begun for all practical purposes. The issue of foreign influence on the 2004 elections is arising all the more frequently. There are after all too many economic, geopolitical and other interests tied to our country for them to allow us peacefully to choose our own government. The question of who becomes the next president is of interest not only to the citizens of Ukraine, and so there will be attempts - either direct or indirect, obvious or furtive - to influence our choice from without, to foist "their own" (but in no way your or my) candidate on us.

There can be no doubt about this.

It is obvious that you cannot talk about the independence of the country when an election thrust upon the people produces - God forbid - a leader who is merely a puppet controlled from abroad. State independence is above all the independence of the state authorities. In this context the present Ukrainian authorities must guarantee the country and the people independent, free development. I think we have a right to demand this of our authorities, as this is why we elected them.

The president of Ukraine [Leonid Kuchma] has recently told the Supreme Council [parliament] that it must ratify the convention of CIS member-states "On standards of democratic elections". The convention meets all international standards in terms of the electoral process and the rights of political parties, politicians and voters.

But it is strange that suddenly "concerned" voices have spoken up about the forthcoming ratification. And the people "concerned" are the ones who daily maintain their devotion to civilized standards and European values. Why are they worried?

On 1 December the Ukrainian service of Radio Liberty, which is financed by the US government, hosted a discussion called "the issue of international monitoring of the course of the 2004 Ukrainian elections [passage in quotation marks in Ukrainian]". Notice that this is a matter not of observing but rather of "monitoring", although it is the international practice to invite observers not monitors. The American radio station nonetheless doubts a year ahead of the elections whether we are capable of managing without "monitors". We ought to be grateful that at least they didn't propose supervisors.

The reporter begins by quoting various Kiev and foreign "experts" who present "scenarios" of the forthcoming elections and "analysts" who predict cataclysms in 2004 along the lines of "assassinations" and "open forms of violence against voters and the like [passage in quotation marks in Ukrainian]". And of course the "government in Kiev" is preparing it all. The names of the "analysts" are not given.

Then everything fell into place in the following phrase: "These predictions, as well as the reports to the US Congress by the joint- chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Senator Ben Campbell, raise reasonable questions about the work of monitoring the 2004 elections in Ukraine [passage in quotation marks in Ukrainian]". The reporter later turns to the above-mentioned convention [on standards of democratic elections] and says that the document raises "many questions and much surprise [passage in quotation marks in Ukrainian]" in his mind.

In fact the Liberty reporter does not have that many "questions". To be precise, he has one, and that only concerns those points that deal with allowing foreign interference in Ukraine's internal affairs (elections - from this section). "This especially applies to Article 1 Paragraph 7, which says: `No direct or indirect participation by foreign citizens, stateless persons, foreign legal persons, international civil movements, international organizations dedicated to helping or hindering the preparation for or conduct of elections to organs of state authority and local government, other organs of people's (national) representation and elected officials is permitted'...

[original ellipses retained] and Article 16, Paragraph 8/h, which simply says: `foreign observers are not to interfere in the electoral process'" [passage in quotation marks in Ukrainian]. And after all that, the reporter says "The question arises as to whether the ratification of this document will lead to new problems in the transparency of the 2004 elections?" [passage in quotation marks in Ukrainian].

(As for the "surprise", I propose that the Liberty reporters ought to read their own (American) legislation and look for articles that allow foreign interference (in other words, monitoring) in the electoral process in the USA. Then they will be "surprised".)

Most probably there will be a similar "discussion" on the [pro- opposition] "Ukrayinska Pravda" web site in the next few days. There we will hear the "concerned" voices of other "[foreign-]grant- guzzling" media and "analytical" centres. Similar voices of "concern" sounded recently in Georgia. There was a coup d'etat there - no matter how "velvet" they called it - at the end of November, when 5,000-10,000 protesters, incited to anti-constitutional steps, decided the fate of the four-million-strong state. In doing so they overturned the will of the million people who had voted for Eduard Shevardnadze.

No one wants to justify the violations of the law that were allowed during the parliamentary elections in that country. There are nonetheless constitutional and legal standards envisaged for such circumstances. There is in the final instance (if you do not trust your own courts) the European Court of Human Rights.

The main point is that it is now widely known that the so-called "people's revolution" was prepared and funded from abroad. From Washington, to be specific. And those who replace Shevardnadze will have to repay the sum spent on them.

George Soros's Liberty Institute and the US embassy, led by Ambassador Richard Miles, played an active part in preparing the coup. Miles, who is known in the world press as the "ambassador of doom", has destabilized every country he has served in. Miles was ambassador to Azerbaijan in 1992-1993, and in June 1993 a coup d'etat ousted President Elcibay. In 1996-1999 he was in Yugoslavia, and in March 1999 came the NATO bombing and in October 2000 the overthrow of Milosevic. In 1999-2000 he was in Bulgaria, and in March 2001 former King Simeon became prime minister. Since 2002 he has been in Georgia, and in November 2003 there was an anticonstitutional coup against President Shevardnadze.

The American and world press is openly discussing the US interest in Tbilisi. They mention democracy in passing, but the main topics of discussion are oil (just as in Iraq) or to be more specific the oil pipeline which is meant to cross Georgia.

No one wants to say what awaits Georgia and its people under its new rulers. What is absolutely clear is that the political forces led by [presidential frontrunner Mikheil] Saakishvili have not added to the desire of Abkhazia or South Ossetia to return to Tbilisi's rule. Most probably the opposite is the case in Ajaria in that, although it knows it is autonomous enough from Tbilisi, it might set out on the path of full separatism.

There is an incomprehensible situation in Lithuania at the moment, involving President Rolandas Paskas, who was elected on 5 January. The scandal erupted when the Lithuanian state security service (which are especially close to the US special services) made public some recordings that allegedly showed that Paskas had ties with the Russian mafia. The Lithuanian president has denied all the accusations and called them fabrications.

It is worth remembering something here. In 1998 Paskas resigned as prime minister in protest at the transfer of the Mazeikiai oil refinery to the US firm Williams. The then Lithuanian president and former US citizen, [Valdas] Adamkus, and the speaker of parliament, [Vytautas] Landsbergis, actively lobbied for this transfer of the refinery, and it worsened Lithuanian-Russian relations for a long time. [passage omitted: Paskas's election seen as rebuff to US oil interests in Lithuania; US backing opposition in Venezuela, which is one of its major oil suppliers]

Grant donors in the CIS

Europe has recently been trying to play a more active role in the former Soviet area. At the end of November a long-negotiated plan to reunite Moldova and the Dniester region (as an asymmetrical federation) was not signed. Ukraine also supported the plan - on one hand in order to have a stable region on its border, and on the other because 600,000 ethnic Ukrainians live in the Dniester region and we cannot help but be concerned about their fate.

But [Moldovan] President [Vladimir] Voronin refused to sign, under pressure from the OSCE and against the additional background of opposition protests.

As we can see from the above, interfering in the internal affairs of independent states is a familiar matter for the West, and above all the USA (let us not even mention Iraq). What other country adopts public laws along the lines of "On the freedom of Iraq" and so on?

In the vanguard there are always the various funds and NGOs that finance forces acceptable to America. These are the National Democratic Institute and the National Republican Institute, etc.

The proclaimed aims of the organizations sound lovely - democracy, freedom, human rights etc, but the examples of other countries (including our own) show that their main tasks are different. And the fact that these allegedly nongovernmental organizations are actively supported by US officials shows that their role in promoting American interests worldwide (among which the chief is bringing pro-American forces to power) is very great.

For example, exactly a year ago, when there arose legal problems in registering a series of projects in Ukraine being carried out under the aegis of the National Democratic Institute and National Republican Institute, the US State Department expressed its public "concern" and announced a competition for grants (worth a total of 300,000 dollars). On 13 December "Ukrayinska Pravda" announced: "US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher announced that this money would go on monitoring human rights and freedom of speech issues in Ukraine. At the same time he said the Ukrainian government has for the time being not given permission for this sort of monitoring.

Boucher expressed concern that the Ukrainian Ministry of Economics and European Integration is dragging out the registration of US National Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute projects aimed at improving the openness and competitiveness of the political system in Ukraine. `This leads to the impression that the Ukrainian government is scared of transparency', said the State Department spokesman [entire passage in Ukrainian]".

As we can see, demands to allow interference in Ukraine's internal affairs are virtuously dressed up as "human rights issues".

On 15 April the Internet news agency published an expenditure account of the Ukrainian office of the American National Democratic Institute:

"The Washington office of the US National Democratic Institute plans to allocate 1.39m dollars for the work of its Ukrainian office. The money is proposed to be disbursed gradually from the US International Development Agency, the National Endowment for Democracy, C.S. Motta, and others."

"The financing of National Democratic Institute work in Ukraine will increase in future in accordance with the development of the political situation. Preliminary data says that if the National Democratic Institute project `Party formation in Ukraine' is registered the budget of the foreign organization will be 1.7m dollars in 2004, 980,000 dollars in 2005, 1.2m dollars in 2006, 1.4m dollars in 2007, and 1.75m dollars in 2008.

"According to a special agreements between the National Democratic Institute and the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, 242,000 dollars (the Committee wanted 263,000) will be allocated to the citizen's organization. This funding of the Committee is termed charitable aid, which allows the Committee not to pay tax. In order not to attract the attention of fiscal agencies to the movement of hundreds of thousands of dollars across the border during electoral campaigns, the foreigners decided to send the money to Ukraine gradually. As a result the money is transferred to the bank account of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine according to an ever-changing timetable.

"In organizing seminars for Our Ukraine, the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc and the Socialist Party of Ukraine, funds for renting premises, accommodation and food can be sent in non-cash form if the recipient has a bank account. The foreigners pay the travelling expenses of the participants in cash according to receipts." ( 15 April 2003).

By the way, [Socialist Party leader] Oleksandr Moroz has been on a two-day visit to the USA this week . "Ukrayinska Pravda" said: "The National Democratic Institute organized his programme" ("Ukrayinska Pravda" 1 December 2003).It is interesting that the same day Radio Liberty quoted the Socialist Yuriy Lutsenko in "[west Ukrainian newspaper] Halytski Kontrakty" as saying: "If today the Ukrainian opposition comes across a case of the government breaking the law, for example through falsification of elections, I am sure it will take it to the end, like the Georgian opposition [passage in quotation marks in Ukrainian]".

It is interesting to wonder whether Lutsenko's words and Moroz's trip to the USA are connected.

And are these funds not set up to provide activists with these "cases of the government breaking the law" (that Lutsenko warns about) as was the case in other countries? This plan has been worked out and tested: "independent" international observers (with pretensions to being monitors) deliver their verdict on violations of electoral legislation, and extremists use this verdict to start violent actions aimed at seizing power.

There were attempts to carry out such scenarios in Ukraine two years ago. Many readers have no doubt seen film from 9 March 2001 (mass street disturbances in Kiev), when US embassy staff marched with the opposition... [original ellipsis]

On 24 December 2002 94 Americans in Kiev swore the oath of "loyalty to the ideals of the Peace Corps" in their two-year term of service in Ukraine. The then US ambassador, Carlos Pasqual, graced the festive ceremony with his presence, and said the volunteers' work consisted of "helping Ukrainians make Ukraine the sort of country they want it to be" (Interfax-Ukraine 24 December 2002).

At about the same time - 15 December 2002 - the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) summed its work over the year. It said that of the 200 Peace Corps volunteers working in Russia (and who no doubt took a similar oath to "help Russians"), 30 (that is 15 per cent of the total) turned out to have been spies. FSB data said they gathered information on the social, political and economic situation in the Russian regions, on government and local-government officials, on elections etc ( 15 December 2002).

Clearly the Ukrainian special services ought to take a harder look at these "Peace" volunteers. And there is a mass of these examples.

Working on pre-emption

In connection with the above, one would like to draw the attention of Ukraine's top leadership to the need to take appropriate measures to ensure the national security of the state and to forbid interference in the country's internal affairs.

The foreign funds and organizations are already actively preparing for the elections, and the foreign-funded mass media are covering their activities. The nebulous proclaimed aims of "providing honesty and transparency" are surprising. First of all, these organizations openly announce their partiality to clearly- defined parties and politicians, which means that they cannot be impartial or unbiased.

Secondly, in Ukraine (as in any civilized country) the Central Electoral Commission conducts and monitors elections. It is incomprehensible why these descendants of the Varangians, who do not conceal their affiliations, should thrust their vision of the future of our Motherland on us.

Thirdly, the examples of other countries show that such organizations always lead to chaos and destabilization of the situation, and in some cases to the disappearance of states from the political map of the world (as happened to Yugoslavia).

International law dubs such "assistance" blatant and impermissible interference by one state in the affairs of another. If in the USA, as in any other western country, an electoral campaign was financed from abroad there would be a nationwide scandal. But what is deplorable there is for some reason wholly permissible as far as Washington is concerned in its relations with Ukraine. Putting the question is itself degrading for us as an independent state. We agree entirely with the Ukrainian president's formula that "Ukraine is not Russia", but one ought to make it a binary equation that says "Ukraine is neither Russia nor the United States".

In my view it would be appropriate to draw the attention of the President and the heads of his administration to their immediate duties, the highest of which is to guarantee citizens' constitutional rights. The stability and independence of the country are the basis of these guarantees. [The head of the presidential administration] Viktor Medvedchuk played an important role in solving the last crisis to be instigated from abroad. However, rather than sorting out crises would it not be better to pre-empt them by putting in place the sort of conditions that would make them impossible?

Ukrainian diplomacy must be charged with providing world opinion with more information on the real situation in the country, including the provisions for the democratic process. At the same time the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must firmly and decisively prevent all attempts by foreign embassies and organizations to interfere in our internal affairs - right up to expelling them from the country.

It is no secret that the demands to allow in various monitors are often linked to questions of economic cooperation between our countries. The prime minister [Viktor Yanukovych] gave a good account of himself at the talks about [the disputed island of] Tuzla in the Kremlin. One would like to draw the attention of the Cabinet of Ministers and Prime Minister Yanukovych in particular to the impermissibility of "trading" national security. If there are any such proposals they ought to give them the widest publicity.

One cannot ignore the very undefined position of the speaker of the Supreme Council [Volodymyr Lytvyn], either, as he draws up "compromise schemes", frequently with forces that aim to destabilize the situation in the state. The speaker, like parliament overall, must state his position on the forthcoming elections, including attempts by foreigners to interfere in this process.

One would like to hear the position of Ukrainian legal experts on the legality (or illegality) of awarding foreign grants to programmes relating to the elections in Ukraine: 1. Is this interference in internal affairs or not? 2. If it is, then which parts of Ukrainian legislation is it violating? 3. How can the authorities prevent these violations?

It remains to be hoped that the highest authorities in Ukraine (the president, government and parliament and the agencies and services they control) understand their responsibility for the fate of the country, its stable development and the preservation of its integrity and independence.

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