UNITED STATES COMMISSION ON SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE
(HELSINKI COMMISSION) HOLDS BRIEFING:
UKRAINE'S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: THE TURNING POINT?
NOVEMBER 16, 2004
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH (R-NJ)
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE FRANK R. WOLF (R-VA)
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE JOSEPH R. PITTS (R-PA)
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE ROBERT B. ADERHOLT (R-AL)
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE ANNE M. NORTHUP (R-KY)
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE BENJAMIN L. CARDIN (D-MD)
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE LOUISE MCINTOSH SLAUGHTER (D-NY)
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE ALCEE L. HASTINGS (D-FL)
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE MIKE MCINTYRE (D-NC)
U.S. SENATOR BEN NIGHTHORSE CAMPBELL (R-CO)
U.S. SENATOR SAM BROWNBACK (R-KS)
U.S. SENATOR GORDON H. SMITH (R-OR)
U.S. SENATOR KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R-TX)
U.S. SENATOR SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R-GA)
U.S. SENATOR CHRISTOPHER J. DODD (D-CT)
U.S. SENATOR BOB GRAHAM (D-FL)
U.S. SENATOR RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD (D-WI)
U.S. SENATOR HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY)
FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE
ASSOCIATION OF FORMER MEMBERS OF
NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTE
ELLIOTT SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF,
COMMISSION ON SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE
The briefing was held at 10:09 a.m. in Room 2255
Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C., Ron McNamara, deputy
chief of staff, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe,
MCNAMARA: Good morning.
My name is Ron McNamara. I am currently serving as the deputy
chief of staff of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in
Welcome to today's briefing which is part of the commission's
ongoing monitoring of developments in Ukraine. And I would encourage
you to visit the commission's Web site, which is www.csce.gov, and you
can click on to a page specifically on Ukraine, as with the other
participating states, and see the various initiatives of our
commission relating to Ukraine.
Without question, the stakes are high in Ukraine's presidential
election, not only for Ukrainians, but also for those with interest in
that strategically significant country. Indeed, Ukraine's fate will
have implications well beyond its borders.
Visits by high-level officials and former officials from East and
West, including President Putin's unprecedented visit to Kiev on the
eve of the first round -- and as we all know he's made a subsequent
visit during this period between the first and second round -- attest
to the keen interest in the outcome of these elections.
Certainly, the election is the most important event in Ukraine
since independence, prompting the Helsinki Commission's leadership to
introduce and task bipartisan resolutions in Congress urging the
government of Ukraine to ensure a democratic, transparent and fair
election process for the presidential elections.
Regrettably, the pre-campaign period, as well as the campaign and
actual balloting, were marred by dirty tricks and numerous serious
violations and abuses.
An added dimension has been the use of spin doctors and their
surrogates who have, wittingly or not, allowed themselves to become
pawns in this high-stakes contest.
Will Sunday's election be a turning point for Ukraine? Will
Ukraine fulfill its quest to become a thriving democracy in which
human rights are honored and the rule of law prevails? Or will it
become an increasingly authoritarian state along the lines of Putin's
Russia or, worse, Lukashenko's Belarus?
Without exaggeration, Ukraine is facing a critical election: a
choice between Euro-Atlantic integration versus reintegration with
Eurasia, with all of the implications for Ukraine's independence.
The OSCE election observation mission, with more than 600
observers from the OSCE and the parliamentary assemblies of the OSCE,
Council of Europe, NATO and the European parliament, concluded that
the first round did not meet a considerable number of OSCE standards
for democratic elections.
MCNAMARA: Placed in context, this represents a step backward
from the 2002 elections.
Violations included, but by no means were limited to,
overwhelming media bias against Yushchenko; the abuse of
administrative resources; obstruction of opposition campaign events;
and untoward pressures on state employees, students and voters to
support government candidates.
Voting day itself saw significant problems with voter lists,
pressure on election commissions and even outright ballot stuffing.
Indeed the wide range of abuses and violations during the election
campaign and on election day itself seriously calls into question
Ukraine's freely undertaken commitment to OSCE principles regarding
The Ukrainian authorities, in their cynical attempts to hold onto
power at all costs, appear to have largely ignored calls by the United
States and European governments and institutions to conduct free and
fair elections. Given the stakes involved, it appears that the powers
that be in Ukraine have calculated that they can take the flack for
flawed elections if they can ultimately prevail and maintain power.
Notwithstanding significant manipulation in the first round,
Yushchenko ultimately prevailed, suggesting that there are indeed
limits to what the authorities can get away with.
A potentially significant factor, one largely lacking elsewhere
in the former Soviet republics, will be the reaction of the population
in the event of outright fraud to maintain the status quo.
MCNAMARA: Ultimately, the consequences of a bad election process
will be greatest for the Ukrainian people themselves. Therefore, it
is vital that Sunday's elections be conducted in a manner consistent
with Ukraine's election law and international obligations, and that
the authorities ensure a transparent and democratic voting, accounting
and tabulation process.
Throughout most of the 20th century, the Ukrainian people were
the victims of unspeakable suffering, most notably the genocidal
Ukrainian famine of the early 1930s, perpetrated by brutal
dictatorships and various invaders.
Toward the end of that century, the promise of independence, for
which so many had sacrificed, at long last came to fruition.
But the promise of freedom is still a work in progress. The
Ukrainian authorities should allow the long-suffering Ukrainian
people, who were so often and so relentlessly denied choices in the
past, the choice of freely and fairly deciding their future.
Before turning to our panelists, I would note that today's
proceedings, as is customary for the commission's briefings, will be
fully transcribed, and within 24 hours there will be a rough
transcript available on the commission's Web site, which again is
How we'll proceed will be we'll hear from all of the panelists
this morning, and at the end, again as is customary for our practices
at briefings of this nature, we'll invite the audience to come forward
to use this mike on the table here and to ask any questions of any of
We would ask that you state your name and any affiliation you may
have, and then please be succinct in your questions.
Our first panelist this morning is former U.S. Congressman Jim
Slattery. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from the
state of Kansas from 1983 to 1995.
MCNAMARA: Mr. Slattery was a member of the recent Association of
Former Members of Congress/U.S.-Ukraine Foundation delegation to
monitor the October 2004 presidential election campaign in Ukraine.
And I would note that his affiliation the organization of former
members because there has been some confusion of late given a
multiplicity of former members of Congress being involved in various
initiatives funded by various sources.
Mr. Slattery's work in Ukraine is part of the AFMC's longstanding
efforts to promote a free and fair election process and democratic
government which meets OSCE standards and reflects the will of the
people of Ukraine.
Mr. Slattery currently works as a partner in the firm of Wiley,
Rein & Fielding, specializing in governmental affairs and
Prior to being elected to Congress, he was a member in the Kansas
Sate House of Representatives and president of Brosius, Slattery &
Meyer Inc., a realty firm.
In addition, Mr. Slattery served as the chairman of the Childhood
Disability Commission, which worked to review assistance given to
disabled children under the supplementary security income program.
I will now turn to Mr. Slattery, but would ask a gentle reminder
for those who may have cell phones, pagers or other sophisticated
electronic devices to please turn them into a silent mode.
SLATTERY: I better do that myself, certainly.
Thank you very much for that reminder. We've got to all go
through that drill, don't we?
Listen, thank you very much, Ron, and it's a pleasure to be with
you all today.
And first let me say that, as a member of the Association of
Former Members of Congress, it was a real honor for me to participate
in this recent trip to Kiev and to have the opportunity to observe the
events leading up to the election. We weren't actually there for the
election day, but we were there for a week preceding it.
And I have come to have a very special interest in Ukraine for a
number of reasons, but not the least of which is that I'm from Kansas.
And one of the most important and arguably the single most important
import that Kansas ever benefited from is red winter wheat and it came
from the Ukraine.
SLATTERY: And it's so fascinating, because the region around
Kiev reminds me so much of central Kansas -- it was absolutely
amazing. And I would tell the Ukrainians though that there was one
significant difference, and that is I think their black, rich dirt is
deeper than ours in Kansas.
But anyway, it was a fascinating election process that we had the
opportunity to observe. And let me just begin by saying that those
that participated in this trip that we were on between October 17th
and October 23rd were former Congressman James Bilbray and former
Congressman Cooper Smith from Arizona and Congresswoman Marjorie
Margolies-Mezvinsky from Pennsylvania and Congressman Bob McEwen, who
is also from Pennsylvania, and I was the other former member on this
And we also had the pleasure of having Richard Balfe, who is a
member of the European Parliament from the United Kingdom,
participating in the trip also.
Our focus was really on the oblast of Kiev, and also Chernihiv,
which is very near Kiev. And we broke up into pairs and we traveled
out to a number of cities in those two oblasts, and generally speaking
we were probably traveling no more than a couple of hours out to the
cities that we observed.
You know, I think it's safe to say that all incumbent governments
will do whatever they can to preserve their power. We see it in our
government. We see it with our own administration. We see it with
members of Congress. And that's, sort of, a given in any democracy.
But I must also say that, in all candor, when you look at the
situation in Ukraine today and look at the advantages that the
incumbent government enjoys and actually implements and takes
advantage of, it's pretty overwhelming. Not the least of which is
that clearly the control of the media, with the exception of one TV
station, is in the hands of the government. In fact, probably three
of the largest TV stations in the country are owned and operated by
President Kuchma's son-in-law.
So I think all participants and all observers would conclude that
the media is not what would be called fair and balanced. The media is
really more in the role of advocates, and I would say there are four
or five on one side and one on the other side, and one being with the
So from the standpoint of just the presentation of the
information to the population and the people of Ukraine, I would say
that most of the people that we talked to -- in fact, everyone that we
talked to would concede that the media was anything but balanced.
The other thing that I think is really intriguing -- and it's
impossible to really fully understand what's going on in Ukraine
without understanding the unique relationship with Russia. And one of
the things that I found fascinating was that we were told by a number
of experts and people that we visited with that Vladimir Putin is
probably the most popular politician in Ukraine and has significant
influence, especially in the eastern part of Ukraine.
SLATTERY: But the unique relationship here between Kuchma and
Yanukovych and Putin is very open. Clearly Putin is actively involved
in this election process. And it's something I think we all need to
keep our eye on.
But, having said that, I thought it was also interesting, while
we were in Ukraine, Putin also made statements that some would
construe as an endorsement of President Bush too. So, I mean, Putin
is playing an active role in global politics, I guess you might
But clearly his presence in Ukraine is one that's very active,
and he's using all the influence he has to affect the outcome of this
In addition to that, we were advised by several people with whom
we visited that government agencies are certainly using their power to
affect people's participation in the election process also.
Specifically, we were told of a number of instances where various
tax collectors were treating supporters of Yanukovych one way and
supporters of opposition candidates another way and using that sort of
intimidation to affect their participation in the process.
We were also advised that teachers working at state schools and
state universities are encouraging and were, sort of, coerced to
attract crowds. And they were told they were expected to attract 30
or 40 students per teacher to participate and observe various rallies
by government candidates.
And even last night I got an e-mail from one of the people who I
met in Kiev, and he was advising me that yesterday, apparently, at
Kharkov (ph) Veterinarian Academy, some of the professors there
announced yesterday that if students promised to support and
participate in the election by attending rallies and doing volunteer
work, what have you for Mr. Yanukovych, that they would waive their
MCNAMARA: Sign me up.
SLATTERY: Sign me up. That's right.
So, I mean, you know, we heard repeated examples of this sort of
activity going on.
And the other thing that Yanukovych is doing that I think is --
again, I'm reminded of the days when Nixon and Wilbur Mills used to
raise the cost of living adjustments on Social Security right before
election. But in the case of Mr. Yanukovych now, he is doubling the
pension payments to the pensioners in Ukraine. And, I mean, this is
very significant because we were advised that there are as many as 14
million, 15 million pensioners in Ukraine, which seems like a
staggering number given the population of approximately 47 million, 48
SLATTERY: So, again, another example of the government really
exercising a tremendous amount of influence in this process.
The other thing that I find very interesting is that Mr.
Yanukovych and the incumbent government have enough resources to
really retain consultants in the United States and pay for,
apparently, trips of observers -- at least partially pay for -- to
participate and observe this process too.
So there seems to be no lack of resources on the incumbent
government's side of this election.
And I'm even advised that some American consultants have been
retained to advise the government on how to really conduct the
election effectively and communicate with the people in Ukraine.
The other thing that I just want to just draw to your attention
is that, you know, the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, the Association of
Former Members of Congress, USAID and other non-profit organizations
are doing everything they can to try and recruit observers to go and
watch this election.
We are not the only ones doing that. The Commonwealth of
Independent States are also recruiting their own observers for this
election. So you'll have CIS observers and probably a number of
observers in Western Ukraine that are coming from Eastern Ukraine.
So there's going to be an awful lot of observers; there were at
the first round, and there'll probably be even more this coming
Sunday. So I hope that some of you in this room will have the
opportunity to participate as observers even.
In a conversation that we had with Anatoliy Kinakh, who was
another presidential candidate, he advised us that workers in a number
of locations had been told that if they didn't vote for the government
that their jobs were in jeopardy, in, sort of, the clearly spoken
threat that the job in a particular plant were tied to contracts with
the government and that if the government wasn't reelected, that these
jobs would go away.
So another example of the kind of direct, very active sort of
intimidation -- call it what you like -- on the part of the incumbent
The other thing that we were told about was, sort of, a
systematic attempt to interrupt various opposition party rallies.
So, for example, there were examples of where students were
trying to get to Kiev by buses, and the buses would be stopped and
turned around. There were situations where roads would be
mysteriously repaired shortly before rallies, situations where bridges
would also have to be, sort of, immediately repaired, and they would
have a convenient way of disrupting the flow of traffic to various
So I cite all of this as examples of clearly the incumbent
government using, not what would not be called a legitimate advantage
of that as an incumbent government, but in my judgment and the
judgment of those that participated in this observation team that I
led clearly went way beyond what would be normal practice in Western
And we think it's very important for there to be full awareness
of what is going on. We believe it's extremely important for us to
have as many observers on the ground as possible in Ukraine this
And one of the things that I think we really need to focus on is
what's going on on election day.
And wherever I travel there, I try to help the people, especially
in the rural areas. And I've found that in the rural areas there was
a lot more sensitivity to the government's view than there were in the
areas immediately around Kiev. It just seemed like in Kiev there was,
you know, less concern about maybe what the government officials
SLATTERY: But we found in the areas that we visited -- for
example, I think nearly all of the mayors with the exception of one
was an open, strong supporter of Mr. Yanukovych. And there were
others, though, that came to the meetings that we participated in who
openly expressed support for other candidates. So there was clearly
-- even in the rural communities, there was a change of ideas and some
strong opinions expressed.
In fact, you might be amazed to know that there are some of the
older folks that I ran into, two in particular that I remember, that
came to one of our meetings with all of their World War II regalia and
And they pulled me aside after the end of one of the meetings.
And I cite this as an example to show you the spectrum of political
thought in Ukraine today. But these older veterans pulled me aside
and they said to me in, sort of, broken English. They said, "What we
need today is Stalin."
You know, and I was going, "I don't think we want to go there."
But, I mean, that is the kind of -- you know, that thought is
there. And, I mean, these people came to the meeting and pulled me
aside and expressed that thought of they want a strong leader and they
don't see that in these candidates today.
But these are the World War II veterans that showed up. And it
was interesting to meet them.
And we also heard from people ranging, you know, to the Communist
Party that's in the distinct minority there now, but they were there
at the meetings also.
But anyway, I tried to get these people to focus on what election
day was really going to look like, because even in these rural
communities they've had such little experience -- this is the 13th
year of their independence -- with elections. And, you know, they
were all concerned about the events leading up to the election, but
they hadn't focused very much on election day.
And I tried to persuade them that -- "Really think about election
day and be focused on assuring that the ballots are, number one,
secret and to do everything you can to persuade people that there
aren't going to be secret cameras in the voting places." Because
there was some rumors floating around that that was going to be the
case and, you know, to do everything they could to want to prevent
that from happening. And two, try to eliminate that fear so that
people could be confident that they would go into the voting place and
know that they could cast a secret ballot.
The other thing that I thought was very important, and I think
it's crucially important as we head into the run-off, and that is that
at each polling place the votes should be counted there.
SLATTERY: And they should not only be counted there, the outcome
should be announced there so that everybody in that room, all the
observers, know that in that particular polling place and in every
polling place, all 33,000 of them or however many there are in Ukraine
in the final election, every one of them announces their returns at
that local polling place.
And I think it's a way of, sort of, building a record that will
make it much more difficult for there to be games played with the
count as they are handed up to the final count. And I think it's very
important that that be done.
So in those voting places that we visited in those communities,
they were all committed to that. They all agreed that, yes, they were
going to do that. And I think that was, in fact, done.
And if that is done in all these polling places, I think it's
going to make it a lot more difficult for there to be games played
with the final count.
And one of the things that's most troubling to me as I look at
this runoff is that there's going to be -- what is it? -- two weeks,
three weeks before they announce the final outcome of the election.
And that's something that I'm just thinking we ought to all be keeping
our eye on. There's room for rascality there unless there is a very
clear record built of all of these polling places along the way.
The last thing that I want to just mention, then I'll turn the
mike over to others here, I am really interested in how the Ukrainians
in Russia are going to vote in this upcoming election. And while we
were there, I was just amazed at the incredible discrepancy in the
numbers we were given on the issue of how many Ukrainians there were
that were eligible to vote that were abroad and especially how many of
them were in Russia and the number of voting places in Russia.
There was just a vast discrepancy in the numbers that we were
given. And at one point I was told there was about 100, then I was
told there was about 600. And another time I was told there was,
like, a million Ukrainians in Russia that could vote and then I was
told there was 7 million. You know and I mean, so there was just a
vast discrepancy in the numbers.
And I was also given a number that was even dramatically less
than that, about 300,000 or 400,000 in Russia.
SLATTERY: And I still don't know.
I got out of Ukraine without really getting a grip around exactly
or even an approximation of how many Ukrainians there were in Russia
that were eligible to participate in this election.
And I think that's something that we really need to keep an eye
on also is to just be mindful of how those votes are counted and how
many there are.
So those are some of my quick observations. I'll be happy to
answer your questions here in the next round.
MCNAMARA: Thank you very much, Jim.
It seems, at least, as though one person in Russia has already
cast his vote, and perhaps with an apt illusion we'll see hopefully
soon after Sunday whether he has egg on his face or not.
We've been informed that Ambassador Ledsky will not be able to be
with us this morning. However, he has asked the NDI program officer,
Anne Duncan, to present his statement on his behalf.
DUNCAN: I apologize, Ambassador Ledsky is not feeling well
today. He does send his apologies that he could not be here to speak
with you. He's asked that I enter his brief statement, and I'm happy
to answer any questions in the second half of this briefing.
On behalf of the National Democratic Institute, I'd like to thank
the members of the Helsinki Commission for arranging this briefing and
inviting us to speak and present our views.
As we all appreciate, Ukraine is at an historic moment in its 13
years of post-Soviet independence. The high voter turnout -- 75
percent for the first round -- demonstrates that the citizens of
Ukraine recognize the importance of this event.
The two candidates, Victor Yanukovych, the current prime
minister, and Victor Yushchenko, a democratic opposition leader,
represent two paths that Ukraine can follow: continued and close
integration to the East or a path toward the community of Western
democracies and European integration.
The winner of this election will be in position to set the course
of Ukraine's political development, as well as for the country's
economic and foreign policies for his coming five-year term and
perhaps well beyond. This moment of decision for Ukraine therefore
has long-term consequences.
This is further accentuated by Russia exerting its economic and
political presence among its post-Soviet neighbors and by the arrival
of the European Union and NATO at Ukraine's borders.
It's widely recognized that the stakes in this election are high,
and the electoral contest thus far has reinforced this point.
Despite a pre-election effort that was marred by serious
violations of Ukrainian legislations, international standards for free
and fair elections, the opposition candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, won
the first round of voting. He would have come close to winning a
majority of votes, the necessary threshold for victory, during the
first round had all Ukrainians been allowed to vote and had their
votes been counted.
As we enter the final week before the run-off election, the
outcome depends largely on the willingness of the government to allow
the will of the Ukrainian people to be heard. NDI will do everything
to make this possible.
DUNCAN: Two of NDI's partner organizations, the Committee of
Voters of Ukraine, also known as CVU, and the European Network for
Election Monitoring Organizations, also known as ENEMO, are preparing
significant monitoring campaigns for the second round.
In addition, NDI's leading an international nonpartisan
delegation to observe the November 21st election.
I would like to call your attention to CVU and ENEMO's findings
from the pre-election campaign and the first-round elections by way of
discussing what changes are necessary to Ukraine's presidential
election in the second round to be a representation of the people's
NDI has supported CVU since the organization's inception in 1994.
CVU is a national nongovernmental organization that has monitored
elections in Ukraine for over 10 years.
CVU's efforts during the election campaign period have been
focused on conducting a long-term monitoring program in the months
leading up to the election, including deploying 94 long-term observers
to monitor the pre-election process in the regions.
CVU conducted a parallel vote tabulation, or PVT, and deployed
10,000 trained election observers on October 31st. For the second
round of voting, CVU plans to conduct a PVT and again will deploy
10,000 observers across Ukraine.
ENEMO is a group of civic organizations from 16 countries of the
former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The civic organizations are
the leading domestic election monitoring group in their countries and
have, in total, observed more than 110 national elections and trained
over 100,000 election observers.
ENEMO conducted a monitoring effort during the first round in
over 300 polling stations.
For the presidential election's second round, ENEMO will deploy
1,000 election observers in Ukraine. This is the largest
international election monitoring effort that will be available in the
I would like to, in closing, mention some of the recommendations
made by CVU and ENEMO in the first round.
One, that the Central Election Commission should take immediate
and transparent steps to update voter lists. And on election day, the
territorial election commissions and courts should be provided with
efficient staff and other resources to timely process all complaints
and enable all those wishing to vote to do so.
The government leaders should issue clear and public directives
to subordinates that state officials must act in an impartial manner
and that state resources must not be used for partisan political
The prosecutor's office should ensure that the legal provisions
against pressuring students and state employees are enforced. It
should also enforce prohibitions concerning the misuse of state
resources aimed at influencing the outcome of elections.
The presence of domestic and international election missions will
demonstrate to the Ukrainian government and electoral authorities and
to the citizens of Ukraine that the conduct and environment in a
president election is important.
With Yanukovych and Yushchenko essentially tied, the second round
promises to be a closely contested race. There is no aura of
inevitability for either candidate. Disillusioned voters who sat out
the first round may decide that there is something at stake on
Whether this election will be a turning point in Ukraine's
development is unclear, but it should be clear to citizens that
citizens being permitted to vote freely and without intimidation and,
in turn, having their votes counted is a necessary first step in
Ukraine's democratic development.
MCNAMARA: Thank you very much, Anne.
Our final panelist is Dr. Taras Kuzio. He is a visiting
professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George
Washington University. Previously, he was a resident fellow at the
Center for Russian and East European Studies.
Dr. Kuzio was also head of the NATO Information Office in Kiev.
He was a long-term observer for the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe during the 1998 and 2002 parliamentary elections
in Ukraine and short-term observer for the NDI in the 2004 elections.
Dr. Kuzio is a prolific writer on matters Ukrainian. He is the
author, co-author or editor of eight books and numerous articles that
have appeared in academic and print media, including Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty reports, Oxford Analytica, Jane's Information
Group publications, and recently in the Jamestown Foundation's Eurasia
KUZIO: Thank you. Thank you again for inviting me to speak of
this important occasion on the Ukrainian election campaign or Ukraine
I'd like to start off by putting Ukraine's elections within a
broader context. In that way we can see how Ukraine's elections are
very important and vital for the entire Eastern European and West
Since the late 1990s, what we've had, in effect, is that we've
had a growth of a gulf between the two groups of former communist
countries, the Central East European and Baltic states, who have
successfully implemented reforms, democratization and moved toward
E.U. and NATO membership, and then we have had the CIS countries,
which on the whole have regressed in their democratization since the
late 1990s, and Russia under Vladimir Putin is one of those examples.
KUZIO: So if we look at the 12 CIS states, only three of them
have really any democratic potential left in the sense of they have
not yet moved into an autocratic or consolidated autocratic phase, and
that's Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. Georgia, of course, had a
successful democratic revolution late last year.
And so in the case of Ukraine, Ukraine's unique in the region,
i.e., in the CIS, in that what we have is a very popular pro-Western
reformist leader, not corrupted, which is very unusual in that
country, in Ukraine and in that part of the world, who's launching a
very successful challenge to an authoritarian, oligarchy political
So the choice really is in these elections between the
consolidation of democracy as we understand it or the consolidation of
an autocratic regime.
If Viktor Yushchenko is to be elected in the second round, this
would in effect be a democratic revolution to compliment Ukraine's
national revolution that took place in 1991.
And it is after all a combination of Boris Yeltsin in Moscow and
the Ukraine declaration of independence in August of 1991 that laid to
rest the former USSR.
And I think if Viktor Yushchenko were to win the election this
year, the ramifications for the region and for the CIS would have
similar very great, broad implications.
For one thing, there would potentially be a threat to the growth
of autocracy in the region, and there would be also the potential for
the expansion eastward of democracy and Euro-Atlantic integration.
KUZIO: Let's look now at the four-month election campaign, which
began on July 4th.
Well, firstly, it was the dirtiest in Ukraine's history. There's
absolutely no question of that. Everybody who followed the campaign
understood that, especially when they compared it to earlier
Despite the fact that both President Leonid Kuchma and Prime
Minister Viktor Yanukovych both guaranteed -- and I express that they
both guaranteed -- to hold free and fair elections, this was purely
deception on both of their parts.
There was never any intention to hold a free and fair election in
the understanding of what we -- the OSCE, Western governments, the
Council of Europe and such like -- understand to be a free and fair
election. The reason being is that, regardless of whether this would
have happened or not, the fear on the part of the authorities would be
that if they did hold a free and fair election Viktor Yushchenko would
have won in the first round.
And so, hence, there never was a level playing field from July
4th onwards. And so it was already obvious to those following that
campaign by September that this was not a free and fair election. And
this was confirmed, of course, on election day by the OSCE and other
international bodies and the U.S. government.
The reason why I can argue this is just the range of the
violations is so huge, the dirtiness of the campaign was all pre-
planned, the smear campaign of Viktor Yushchenko is unprecedented, the
range of fake or so-called technical candidates is something in the
region of 16 to 20. Ukraine in these elections has 24 presidential
candidates. That's nearly double what was registered for the 1999
And of course, as we've already heard, overwhelming control of
the media with 80 percent of the media covering Yanukovych positively,
20 percent of the media covering Yushchenko, but negatively.
And the most unwelcome and unpleasant aspect of the campaign was
of course the alleged poisoning in September of Viktor Yushchenko.
U.S.-based experts in biological and chemical warfare do believe that
it's something in the region of 70-30 likely that Yushchenko was
poisoned. They certainly don't believe it was done by natural causes.
The timing is extremely suspicious. He became ill on September 6th.
And this was, I think, a reflection, a knee-jerk reaction of
panic on the part of the authorities that by the third month of the
election campaign they had hoped that Yanukovych would be, because of
the dirty tactics used, in the lead. In fact, the gap in favor of
Yushchenko was growing. And hence, I think this was a panic on the
part of the authorities.
The issue of the poisoning is important because Ukraine could
have not done this by itself. Russia had to have involvement if we
are talking about biological, chemical issues.
An important aspect of the campaign in addition to the -- what we
see as a mass mobilization of civil society and young people. Young
people traditionally are not part of the world in the CIS and Russia,
are very politically apathetic.
KUZIO: What we see in Ukraine is a mass mobilization of young
people and civil society on a level unprecedented since the late
Soviet era, since the late 1980s, early 1990s.
And that's one of the factors which has prevented the authorities
from undertaking the violations that maybe they would have liked to
We have also the importance of the Ukrainian parliament. Because
most regimes in the CIS have superpresidential, autocratic systems
where parliaments don't really have any meaning, Ukraine and Moldova
are the exceptions to the rule.
And since the early 1990s, the countries which have had more
parliamentary systems, of course Communist countries which have had
mostly parliamentary systems rather than superpresidential systems,
have tended to do better in democratization.
And so Ukraine's parliament still plays an important role.
Russia's parliament no longer does, since 1993 when Boris Yeltsin
reformed it to smithereens.
In September, the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, who was
just in Washington a few days ago, supported the creation of a
parliamentary committee to monitor compliance with election
legislation, an important step. And also he supported the creation of
a parliamentary committee to investigate the poisoning of Mr.
Mr. Litvin has also been extremely important in preventing the
closing down of parliament during the election campaign, which was the
aim of the pro-presidential camp because they didn't want the
opposition to have parliament as a medium through which they could
give speeches which would then be broadcast in TV and radio.
Highly unwelcome aspects of the campaign, of the dirtiness of the
election campaign, is the growth of anti-Americanism, which is linked
For your titillation and amusement, I brought examples of these
posters with me. One of my favorites is Taras Shevchenko's, Ukraine
poet, with the words, "Yankee, go home," on it. Others, such as this.
And these are not only insulting to Yushchenko, they're insulting
to President Bush and U.S. national symbols, with Yushchenko as Uncle
Sam talking about, "Are you ready for a new civil war in Ukraine?"
KUZIO: We haven't seen an anti-American campaign on such a level
since the Brezhnev era.
Of course, the authorities claim it's nothing to do with them.
But somebody who's a presidential candidate, this is Viktor
Yanukovych, who molds himself on the same lines as Vladimir Putin as a
hard man, somebody who will bring order to Ukraine, surprising how
little he's responsible for in the Ukraine election campaign.
But this anti-Americanism which is being blamed by the Yanukovych
camp on these other fake candidates, who of course are working for
Yanukovych, reflects the very schizophrenic view of Ukrainian foreign
On the one hand you have Yanukovych lobbying in Washington to the
tune of over $1 million since March 2003, sending Ukrainian troops to
Iraq, where they are fourth largest contingent, and at the same time
undertaking this highly unusual Brezhnev-era-style, anti-American
campaign, which, of course, is linked to anti-Yushchenko campaign
because Yushchenko's wife is an American citizen still.
This campaign has been brought into Ukraine by Russian dirty
tricksters, what are called Russian political technologists, who are
linked to Vladimir Putin and have worked alongside Yanukovych's
So the claim that Yanukovych wants good relations the USA has to
be taken with a big bucket of salt, to say the least.
Let's look now at how the election results and the election
campaign was reported in round one. There was pretty much unanimity
amongst Western organizations and observer missions and governments
that the election campaign and the elections did not meet numerous
KUZIO: The only two exceptions to this were the CIS election
monitoring body, which seems to think that every election of the CIS
is held in a free and fair manner, including the one in Belarus last
So I think it's even wrong to call this an election monitoring
body. And this body was created by Vladimir Putin last year with the
aim of countering the OSCE activities in the CIS. It's not really an
election monitoring body.
And the second group is a group of former U.S. congressmen
financed by Yanukovich lobbyists in the U.S., who also issued a report
very similar in tone to the CIS election monitoring body. This body
consists of seven former U.S. congressmen, led by former Michigan U.S.
The violations in round one, some of them we've already heard so
I won't really go into any detail, but some of the worst were issues
such as tampering with voter lists.
Why there should be a worsening of voter lists since 2002 when we
had parliamentary elections is highly suspicious. There are claims
and the CVU, the Committee of Voters of the Ukraine, talks in the
region of something like 10 percent of voters were unable to maybe
vote in the elections.
Some names removed. There's suspicion that these may have been
names who signed up for Viktor Yushchenko when each candidate had to
register the minimum of 500,000 signatures for the Central Election
Commission in September.
And of course others were dead souls who were added to the list.
We have also the issue of absentee ballots. Unprecedented, for
the first time ever, we've had in the region of 300,000, maybe more,
individuals paid to go on special trains to western and central
Ukraine, with five to 10 absentee ballots each, and vote throughout
western and central Ukraine. These would be with coal miners,
organized crime thugs or cadets from military and police academies.
This is unprecedented. Somebody had to pay for this. Somebody
had to organize this. And it wasn't just that they would vote five or
10 times, but also that maybe there would be conflict between eastern
Ukrainian Russian speakers and western and central Ukrainian speakers.
Thank God there wasn't any conflict and it ended up peacefully. But
somebody, obviously, attempted to do that.
The aim would have been that if conflict had taken place, that
individual regions -- and remember, western central Ukraine is
dominated by Yushchenko support -- that these regions would then have
the election results in those regions annulled, and then, of course,
Yushchenko's total would decline.
KUZIO: The third way we've already heard, with the whole
question of pre-election bribes, with the increases of pensions,
stipends and wages. We've had Ukraine's gold reserves reduced in
September by a third.
Yanukovych has spent $600 million on the election campaign, half
of which has come from Russia. This is 1 percent of Ukraine's GDP,
the same as what President Bush spent in the campaign this year, but
of course Ukraine's economy, GDP, is 100 times smaller than America's.
Another departure in these elections is the whole question of
fear and intimidation. Only 12 percent of Ukrainians believed it
would be a free and fair election. That's fewer than the number of
Belarussians who believed it would be a free and fair election in
Fifty-seven percent believed there would be no secret ballot.
People really believed that there was cameras in booths and that,
especially people who worked for the state, medical, teachers, state
officials, that their vote would be heard.
One observation mission which went to east Ukraine, to Sumy, saw,
actually, academic professors standing in front of the ballot box with
video cameras videoing as student came up and showed them what they
voted and then they put them in. Obviously they had to vote for
Opposition members are being expelled and cleaned out from
election commissions since round one.
And a very, I think, unpleasant aspect has been the labeling of
these youth groups, these very active youth groups and election
monitoring groups amongst young people, as extremists and terrorists.
The planting of explosives and others in their offices in Kiev in mid-
October was a highly unpleasant event.
Another aspect has been the highly visible intrusion of the
police, the interior ministry.
KUZIO: Again, we haven't seen this on this level before, working
against the opposition and in favor of Yanukovych.
Finally, I'd just like to talk a bit about the results from round
one. Again, we've heard, and I think it's correct to point out, that
it's highly suspicious that the round one results were not released
until the last legal day permissible, 10 days after the round one
The CVU, Committee of Voters of Ukraine, described the situation
of this delayed announcement of voting results as unprecedented, which
makes it very suspicious that Yushchenko only has, therefore, a 0.55
percent lead. This is far less than what the exit polls showed
Yushchenko's lead was and even less than the parallel vote count
undertaken by the Yushchenko camp.
In my view, Yushchenko's final total during these 10 days was
massaged downward -- I love this word, "massaged," used this way --
Yushchenko's vote was massaged downward and Yanukovych's was massaged
upward with the particular purpose to make round one look as though it
was a very close race.
The other purpose is to show to the outside world, "What do you
mean? How are you complaining about the elections in Ukraine? Round
one was democratic. The opposition won."
The real result, I believe, is something in the region of 37, 38
percent for Yanukovych and 44 to 45 percent for Yushchenko, which
shows the degree to which, if there had been a free and fair election,
Yushchenko would have won in the first round, because he only would
have needed something like 5 or 6 or 7 percent more.
Yanukovych's main base of 37 percent or 38 percent is from his
own homebase of Donbas, 15 percent which he took from the Communist
Party -- the Communist candidate only obtained 4.5 percent in the end
because of the pension rises -- and then 7 to 10 percent of violations
The second round will be important in the sense of particularly
who's voting for who.
KUZIO: At the current rate, Yanukovych has only been able to
attract one candidate from round one, Nataliya Vitrenko, a progressive
socialist leader who obtained 1.55 percent in round one -- not a great
Yushchenko, on the other hand, has attracted the socialist leader
who came third in the elections, and Anatoliy Kinakh, who we've
already heard about, the head of the powerful union of industrialists
and entrepreneurs; the mayor of Kiev, Oleksandr Omelchenko, highly
popular; and also, the head of a small Christian liberal party.
So, in that sense, Yushchenko's attracted something in the region
of nearly 8 percent from round one from other candidates who failed in
round one, and Yanukovych has only attracted 1.5 percent.
Again, that, I think, should make us highly suspicious if we see
a Yanukovych victory in round two.
MCNAMARA: Thank you very much.
As I indicated earlier, we'll now open up to questions from the
audience. Please approach the microphone on the table and indicate
your name and any affiliation that you may have, and direct your
question to a specific -- or the panelists in general.
So please come forward and pose your questions.
RICHARD MURPHY, SENIOR ASSOCIATE, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND
INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Good morning. I'm Richard Murphy. I'm a
senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
and chairman of its working group on the Ukrainian presidential
To preface my question to all three of our distinguished
panelists, I just wanted to say that I had the privilege of
accompanying Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinksi, who is counselor at CSIS and a
member of the board of trustees at CSIS, former presidential national
security advisor to Jimmy Carter, last May on a high-level visit,
which included meetings with President Kuchma, Prime Minister
Yanukovych, Viktor Yushchenko, Oleksandr Moroz, Yulia Tymoshenko, the
representatives of about 30 NGOs, the former Ukrainian ambassadors to
the United States and other people.
And I hasten to add that the Brzezinksi visit was a part of a
three-pronged effort by CSIS, funded by two distinguished American
foundations, the Smith Richardson Foundation and the Charles Stewart
Mott Foundation, and not funded in any way by any Ukrainian oligarch,
as was widely reported in Ukraine.
The other visits were by Ambassador Robert Hunter, former
ambassador to NATO, U.S. ambassador to NATO, and ambassador and former
Undersecretary of State Tom Pickering.
My question is this: There have been numerous high-level visits
now to Ukraine by prominent American personages, and we're going to
have another one coming up in the form of Senator Dick Lugar, who is
going as President Bush's personal representative.
What, in your judgment, the judgment of the panelists, what kind
of an impact have these visits had, not only on the political
leadership of Ukraine but others in Ukraine?
I'd be interested in your answer.
SLATTERY: Well, if I could lead off, it was my personal
experience in the communities that we visited, number one, I would say
the overwhelming majority of those that came to the meetings, even
those that were supporting Yanukovych, were glad that we were there.
SLATTERY: There was some resistance. You would occasionally
pick up, you know, some expression of, you know, "You're sort of
arrogant to be here." You know, that sort of, "How dare you come over
and sort of look over our shoulder as we conduct this election?"
But, again, I think that the overwhelming majority of people, in
the rural areas especially, were very supporting of our participation
and our observation efforts. I think that was true also in Kiev.
So I think that the incumbent government and Yushchenko's team
both recognize that acceptance of this election by the Ukrainian
people, by the world community is very, very important to the future
So I think that they both want this election blessed by the
international community. And it's very clear to me that they all
recognize that if it is not blessed, it forecloses a bunch of options
for Ukraine that they don't want to see happen.
Let me just -- I neglected to point out one experience that I
had, also, in Kiev that was really very significant, I thought, and it
was toward the end of our trip. And we were over visiting with
Yushchenko's campaign team and campaign manager, and as we were
leaving we had received word that an NGO's headquarters had been
occupied by some mysterious characters.
And so we just decided we would just go over to the office of
"Znayu!" "I know!" is what it means. I'm mispronouncing that name
SLATTERY: But we got word that that headquarters had been
occupied, so we decided we would just go over and check it out for
And we came and presented our observation credentials, and we
were advised by these two characters that refused to present any
identity of their own that we were not going to be permitted to enter
the office of "Znayu!"
So we sort of challenged them, and one of my colleagues who was
with me ended up forcing his way into this room that we were being
excluded from and was held, really, in this room for about two or
three hours while we were negotiating on the outside as to who these
And the police came, and the two characters there at the door
presented their credentials and come to find out they were state
security forces of Ukraine.
And we had a meeting scheduled with Mr. Havrysh, who was one of
the parliamentary leaders and a very close ally of Kuchma and
Yanukovych, and so that meeting was scheduled. So we went over to
this office, and he put on sort of a happy face and everything is
And we advised him that at that precise moment one of our
colleagues was being held against his will by the security forces, and
we thought this was rather Gestapo-like activity and not the kind of
activity we would anticipate in the context of a free and open,
And it was obviously a very embarrassing moment for Mr. Havrysh.
And he got on his cell phone very quickly and contacted the attorney
general, I believe, and in a matter of about 15 minutes our colleague
was sitting next to us.
So, you know, it was again, for me, corroboration of the fact
that there was significant activity going on by the security forces.
SLATTERY: And this was a, you know, again, another sort of
intimidation tactic, in my judgment.
So we had that personal experience in Kiev, and it tended to,
like I say, support some of the rumors that we had heard as we
MCNAMARA: Dr. Kuzio?
KUZIO: Just to briefly comment on what we just heard, the
"Znayu!" organization is an election monitoring body. It's not even a
radical student or youth group. It's sort of educational.
And if we compare what happened on the same day when security
services launched raids on other youth groups, what they did is they
raided the office and then told everyone to leave the office and then
planted explosives and then launched so-called terrorism charges
against these young people.
So I think the presence of the U.S. congressmen, on this
particular occasion, "Znayu!" prevented that because I think that's
exactly what they were doing. It's the only raid that day where there
wasn't explosives found.
So I think this shows to what degree presence is important. And
I think they were just angry because they were caught in the act by
you guys when they were about to do that.
SLATTERY: What was interesting to me, in all fairness, I mean,
my colleague was not roughed up or anything inside, but it was a very
embarrassing moment, because, you know, clearly, the security force,
like the secret police, had gone and occupied this office of an NGO
that was really involved in just trying to help people understand the
KUZIO: And an NGO funded by various U.S. organizations,
including the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation and Freedom House, and whose son
-- son of this colleague here actually works there and heads the
office, but maybe he doesn't want to comment on that.
On the question of the impact delegation...
OLEKSANDR POTIEKHIN, UKRAINIAN EMBASSY: He's totally
KUZIO: Yes, he's independent of the Ukraine Embassy.
The impact of the delegations -- I don't think you're going to
find anybody saying that they shouldn't be sent. I think they are
But I think where the problem is laid with these delegations has
been possibly none of us maybe expected the degree of the deception
that the Ukraine authorities talked about in the election campaign,
because we were told throughout the year that President Kuchma
guarantees free and fair elections.
KUZIO: We were told that Prime Minister Yanukovych guarantees
free and fair elections. And of course we see that that's not the
case, that they were basically lying. I mean, this was a deception
So I think we should learn to think not in our understanding of
the term -- this is a political cultural problem, that this is Soviet
political culture at work here, (inaudible) culture at work.
The second problem, I think, which was present with these
allegations, not all of them, but was there, was maybe the misjudgment
that Ukraine's leaders would agree to a free and fair election with
the carrot of Euro-Atlantic integration, with U.S. supporting a
speeding up of Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration.
Ukraine's leaders are not interested in election year Euro-
Atlantic integration. They're interested in survival. They're
interested in surviving to the post-Kuchma era. NATO-E.U. membership
is not on their minds. And E.U. membership isn't even being offered,
so we're only talking about NATO membership. And if it's a choice
between survival and NATO membership, you know very well what Kuchma,
Yanukovych and others are going to support.
So I think we should have maybe taken the carrot from state
national interests and moved it more toward their own personal
interests, which the U.S. government, the Bush administration, the
State Department began only talking about in October, something
Madeleine Albright began talking about back in March in her opinion
piece in The New York Times.
What's important to understand from the viewpoint of the
Ukrainian ruling elites is that they do not want to become a Belarus.
Becoming a Belarus, with the way that Russia looks upon Belarus
and Ukraine as basically not really separate ethnic groups, but as
really younger Russians or little Russians, then if Ukraine's
internationally isolated, particularly from the U.S., then that would
mean coming completely under Russia's sphere of influence.
That's not something that most of Ukraine's oligarchs and ruling
elites particularly want.
That, in turn, is leverage on the part of the West and means that
the Ukrainian authorities can't do the whole range of violations, a
la, shall we say, Turkmenistan or Azerbaijan even, that maybe they
would in principle like to do.
So it constrains them. And that international constraint is
doubled by the mass mobilization domestically of civil society.
KUZIO: So they're caught. They can't do the huge massaging that
maybe they want to of the results.
And that is proven by the fact that Yanukovych has this big
lobbying operation in Washington. I mean, why would he be spending $1
million in Washington since March of last year if he's not interested
in U.S. public opinion?
MCNAMARA: Thank you.
POTIEKHIN: Oleksandr Potiekhin, embassy of Ukraine.
Very short about one point of Representative Slattery. I cannot
speak on behalf of Ukrainian veterans. I never was in war properly.
I am veteran of Cold War. But at least two of decorated veterans I
know very well, my stepfather and my father-in-law. They didn't vote
for Hitler or Stalin. They voted for (inaudible).
And this is my question: According to very preliminary
information, President Bush is going now to Moscow. Do you think that
Ukrainian elections will be the topic for discussion or not at all?
If it will be the topic for discussion, what do you think that
President Bush has to make as the message?
SLATTERY: Well, first of all, when I made the comment about the
two veterans that I met, I was only attempting to report the vast
spectrum of political thought that we were exposed to, and I was just
reporting what I saw.
Frankly, I am mindful of the fact that in 1920 the population of
Ukraine was about 40 million, and by 1945 about 15 million Ukrainians
had perished either in the famines and in the collectivization efforts
and in the war. And it's unthinkable, the suffering that the
Ukrainian people have endured in the last century.
And it's unbelievable to me that there would be a significant
number of people that would have any interest in a person of Stalin's
ilk. But I did run into those, too, you know, and I'm just reporting
what I saw.
As far as President Bush's trip to Russia is concerned, I don't
know much about it, but I would hope that he would certainly be
emphasizing the importance of the Ukrainian people having the
opportunity to make a free and democratic choice as to the direction
they want their country to go. And I would hope that he would be
rather forceful in presenting that point of view to his friend Putin.
KUZIO: Well, we don't know whether President Bush is going to be
seeing inside Vladimir Putin's soul again. I mean, God forbid what
he'll find there.
But I think that the -- I'm sure that one of the issues which
will come up is the massive intrusion -- again, unprecedented. I
didn't really talk about this in my presentation, but you've had an
unprecedentedly massive intervention of Russia in the election
campaign, not only Putin's visit, but also the use of these Russian
dirty-tricksters -- Gleb Pavlovsky, Maraty Gelman and others.
Many of those have been behind these anti-American posters and
such like, an anti-Yushchenko smear campaign, and, I think, even the
suspicion that they were behind the poisoning. After all, Ukraine
never had, even in the Cold War, in the Soviet era, biological or
So one would suspect that this issue would certainly come up. It
has certainly been a topic of the Washington media, complaints about
the revival of Russian imperialism in the CIS.
On the question of Stalin, a surprising 45 percent of Russians in
Russia, not in Ukraine, think of Stalin positively. They mainly do
that by referring to World War II, because Stalin built up Russia, or
the Soviet Union, as a great power during that time.
I think those would be -- the main issues would be Russia's
Russia's changed very sharply. Russia is no longer as confident
of a Yanukovych victory in round two. Both ambassador of Russia to
Ukraine, Viktor Chernomyrdin, and one of the dirty-tricksters, Gleb
Pavlovsky, have both stated that Russia can work with either of the
two candidates who wins the elections. And Pavlovsky has gone on
record, in the last few days, even saying that Yanukovych is going to
lose. So there's no longer the confidence that maybe they had in
round one about this. But we'll see.
GEORGE SAJEWYCH, VOICE OF AMERICA: George Sajewych, Voice of
How credible are the recent reports that the Central Elections
Committee said that it's not ready for the second round of elections,
and therefore the elections, the second round, might have to be
To anybody on the panel.
SLATTERY: I'm not in a position to really respond to that. I
mean, I'm making plans to be in Kiev on Sunday, and I hope there's an
election. As much as I enjoy Kiev, there's other things I'd rather be
doing this Sunday than traveling halfway around the world just for the
fun of it.
So, to make a long story short, I hope the election goes forward.
And I don't know anything specifically that I could offer in response
to your question.
KUZIO: I'd be surprised if the elections are going to be
postponed. I mean, I think the money will be provided unless there's
another pay increase for pensions or teachers ahead of Sunday and the
the whole -- I mean, the hryvna rate to the U.S. dollar has gone up
from five to seven. And the inflation rate now is projected at 10
percent because of these pay increases.
I think the money will be there. I'm sure this was just kind of
bargaining going on between the Central Election Commission.
SLATTERY: Where did you hear that? I'm just curious. Is
SAJEWYCH: Oh, I just heard it yesterday on some Internet site.
SLATTERY: Really. Well, that's news to me, because every
indication I have is that the election is going forward.
DUNCAN: NDI, which of course is bringing an international
delegation, is definitely planning to put people on the plane tonight.
So we're taking steps to make sure that if, indeed, there is an
election, we'll have people there.
MCNAMARA: Any further questions?
ALEXI KUROPYATNIK, UKRAINIAN EMBASSY: Alexi Kuropyatnik, with
the embassy of Ukraine.
Would the distinguished panelists report about the possible
scenarios the day after the elections? What we see now from
Washington is a bit -- the supporters on both sides are growing more
agitated and less reluctant to accept the defeat.
So what do you see? Are there any threats to the stability of
the country emerging at the moment that might lead to some kind of
turmoil and getting the situation out of control of the authorities?
Are there any threats -- do you see -- do you view them emerging?
SLATTERY: Threats here in the United States toward...
KUROPYATNIK: No, no, no. Domestically in Ukraine.
To be more specific, the head of the (inaudible) was saying that
the margin might be slim, something around, in case Yanukovych wins,
he is expecting around 35 percent. Maybe same thing might happen with
Yushchenko, in case he wins. So the margin is rather slim, and the
supporters are rather reluctant to accept the defeat.
SLATTERY: Well, I think the losers in an election are oftentimes
reluctant to accept the outcome of an election. And the closer the
outcome, the tougher it is.
But again, what this does, in my judgment, is even make it more
urgent for the government in Ukraine to be committed to, really, the
operation of a transparent, free, fair, open election, where people
know that they can cast secret ballots and they have a confidence that
those ballots are going to be counted fairly and accurately.
And if that is, in fact, what happens and if the multitude of
international observers come to that conclusion -- and granted, there
will probably be some disagreement among the observers as to whether
the election was conducted fairly or not -- then that is the greatest
protection that I think the people of Ukraine have and the government
that is selected will have.
And so, I mean, I just want to do everything I can do to
encourage the incumbent government that is responsible, really, in
large part, for the administration of the election to do so in a fair
way and be committed to that and be prepared to lose if, in fact,
that's what happens.
DUNCAN: I would absolutely agree with everything Representative
Slattery has said, but also emphasize that in the post-election
period, the 15 days by which the Ukrainian government has said that
they will announce the election results, I think on December 6th, that
period as well, along with election day, has to be transparent and
information has to be fed, so the people don't believe there was
massaging of the election results in one direction or another.
SLATTERY: And, you know, let me just emphasize another very
basic point, and that is -- and you know, this comes from my own, sort
of, election experience, in the sense that I always knew what was
going on in the precincts in my district that were swing precincts or
So I will just emphasize again that, in all of the polling
places, if the results are announced as soon as they are counted, then
it's not easy to add up the 33,000 different polling station results
and falsify the final count.
Now, the question will be on what happens with the foreign
participants in the election. How many voters are there in Russia?
How many of them are there abroad? I don't know yet, OK, but there
should be some fixed universe on that and some general idea of how
many potential voters there are out there.
But if the election results are announced on election night in
each of those polling places, I think that's going to be a very
important step toward transparency. And all the election observers in
that voting place, you know, will understand that candidate A won or
candidate B won, and they'll know what the count was.
KUZIO: There's a number of ways which massaging will be made
difficult, and that's true of the first round as well.
Exit polls will be conducted again by reputable Ukrainian
sociological organizations. These exit polls have been funded by
mainly Western embassies, including the U.S. Embassy in Kiev.
The Yushchenko camp will be undertaking, again, a parallel vote
count, which it successfully did in the first round.
And, of course, you have the international -- a huge array of
different international observers.
So all of that will, to some degree, prevent kind of blatant
fraud, I think.
The authorities, I suspect, will try to drag out the announcing
of the final results for two reasons: A, for potential need, maybe,
to massage, like in round one; but secondly, as well -- and this
relates to your question -- to prevent civic disturbances.
Because the thing that provoked massive civic disturbances in
Serbia and Georgia in 2000 and 2003 was that the authorities very
quickly announced fraudulent results. And this, of course, provoked
anger on the streets, and then it led to massive civic disturbances
and then democratic revolutions in both countries.
So in order to prevent that, you drag it out, and that makes it
difficult for the opposition to organize massive civic protests.
But if fraud is blatant and, for example, if the official result
is very difficult from parallel vote count results and exit polling,
then of course the population have a right to nonviolent civic
protest. I mean, that's guaranteed in the Ukrainian constitution and
MCNAMARA: One thought that comes to mind -- and I don't know if
you've looked into this, Dr. Kuzio, or not -- but not knowing what the
profile of Ukrainians resident in the Russian Federation would be, but
it would be interesting to know whether they experienced the types of
difficulties in terms of voter lists and things of that nature as
their compatriots in Ukraine proper did.
KUZIO: The election campaign in Russia was strange, to say the
least. You had the whole of Moscow filled with billboards supporting
Yanukovych, no (inaudible) billboards. And you had a newly created
organization quickly created -- something called the Union of Ukraines
in Russia (ph), which declared its support to Yanukovych. The
traditional Ukrainian organizations in Russia said that we were never
consulted about this.
KUZIO: And so this was part and parcel of Putin organizing
support in Russia for Yanukovych.
And hence, while the opposition was very strongly opposed to the
creation of additional polling stations in Russia, the authorities in
Ukraine wanted to create something in the region of 500 additional
polling stations in Russia in October.
That was squashed by the intervention of the opposition. In the
end, the Central Election Commission agreed to create only 40. The
opposition protested that in the supreme court of Ukraine, and then
the supreme court overturned even that.
So, in the end, there weren't additional polling stations
created, and only as far as I understand, there's in the region of
200,000 registered voters in Russia in the Ukrainian elections. There
are upwards of 10 million Ukrainians, or people from Ukraine, living
in Russia, the second largest minority after Tartars in Russia, but
only 200,000 of them are registered voters.
I suspect that what's very noticeable is when you look at voting
outside Ukraine is that voting in Russia by the Ukraine diaspora tend
to be for Yanukovych, voting everywhere else was for Yushchenko.
MCNAMARA: Any further questions?
If not, I want to express on behalf of our commission leadership
our appreciation for your being here today.
And again, a full transcription of today's proceedings will be
available on the commission's Web site by the close of business
Thank you very much.
[Whereupon the briefing ended at 11:32 a.m.]