Ukraine's Uncertain Future
and U .S . Policy
Analyst in European Affairs
Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division
September 21, 1994
UKRAINE'S UNCERTAIN FUTURE AND U.S. POLICY
Ukraine is beset with serious political, economic and ethno-regional
problems. Recent election results show a pattern of regional polarization that
could potentially endanger the country's political stability and territorial
integrity if the economy continues to deteriorate .
On the other hand, there are encouraging signs . From March to August
1994, parliamentary, presidential and local elections were held in a peaceful
manner and were relatively free and fair according to international observers .
Executive power has changed hands peacefully from one President to another .
There is currently no significant ethnic tension between Ukrainians and
Russians, the two main ethnic groups in the country . The level of political
violence is much lower than in other regions of the former Soviet Union . No
major political leader in Ukraine as yet openly advocates the secession of parts
of Ukraine and their union with Russia . Both Russia and Ukraine have
studiously avoided actions that could provoke conflict over the especially delicate
issues of the status of Crimea and the Black Sea Fleet .
Political upheaval in Ukraine, if it occurred, could pose serious problems
for U.S . policy . The security of over 1800 nuclear warheads, scheduled to be
withdrawn from Ukraine over the next three or four years could be jeopardized .
If instability turned to violence, Russia might intervene, possibly sparking a
Russo-Ukrainian war . Finally, if Ukraine lost its independence, even by means
of a gradual, voluntary re-unification with Russia, some analysts assert the West
would lose a geopolitical bulwark and insurance policy against the possible
resurgence of an aggressive Russia.
U.S. policy has focused on ensuring the withdrawal of nuclear weapons
from Ukraine and on trying to preserve Ukraine's political stability and
independence . Despite Ukraine's change of leadership as a result of the
elections, Ukraine continues to implement a January 1994 agreement with the
U.S. and Russia to remove nuclear weapons from its soil . However, Ukraine
continues to delay accession to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a nonnuclear state, in hopes of receiving more nuclear dismantlement aid,
compensation and security guarantees . The United States has tried to bolster
Ukraine's stability by offering U .S. and international aid for economic reform,
if Ukraine moves forward with a comprehensive reform program .
Ukraine has played an increasingly important role in congressional debate
over U.S. policy toward the countries of the former Soviet Union . Some
Members of Congress have criticized Administration policy toward Ukraine,
saying that the Administration's aid program for the region focuses too heavily
on Russia and that Ukraine is not getting its fair share of U .S. aid to the
countries of the former Soviet Union. Administration supporters say the
Administration's Russia focus is justified because of Russia's size, importance
and progress in economic reform . They assert that a proposed earmark for aid
to Ukraine would undermine the Administration's ongoing efforts to persuade
Ukraine to embark on reforms .
TABLE OF CONTENTS
UKRAINE'S MULTIPLE CHALLENGES
UKRAINE'S 1994 ELECTIONS : RESULTS AND IMPLICATIONS 7
IMPLICATIONS FOR UKRAINE'S FUTURE 12
Regionalism and Possible Fragmentation 13
Relations with Russia
IMPLICATIONS FOR U.S. POLICY
ECONOMIC AID AND UKRAINE'S POLITICAL STABILITY . . . .
RUSSIAN SPEAKERS IN UKRAINE
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION RESULTS
UKRAINE'S UNCERTAIN FUTURE AND U.S. POLICY
Ukraine is beset with serious political, economic and ethno-regional crises .
Recent election results show a pattern of regional polarization that could
potentially endanger the country's political stability and territorial integrity if
the economy continues to deteriorate . A January 1994 CIA intelligence estimate
on Ukraine reportedly asserted that the catastrophic state of Ukraine's economy
could ignite regional and ethnic tensions that would cause the violent breakup
of Ukraine . Crimea and eastern Ukraine might push for re-unification with
Russia, although more nationally-oriented western Ukraine would violently
resist such a move and might use force to try to prevent the secession of eastern
and southern Ukraine, the press report says . The report says that leaders of
what remained of independent Ukraine might be more reluctant to give up
nuclear weapons on their soil as a hedge against Russia .'
Despite concerns over Ukraine's future, there have been some recent
encouraging signs . From March to August 1994, parliamentary, presidential and
local elections were held in a peaceful manner and were relatively free and fair
according to international observers . Executive power has changed hands
peacefully from one President to another . There is currently no significant
ethnic tension between Ukrainians and Russians, the two main ethnic groups
in the country . The level of political violence is much lower than in other
regions of the former Soviet Union . No major political leader in Ukraine as yet
favors the secession of parts of Ukraine and their union with Russia . Both
Russia and Ukraine have studiously avoided actions that could provoke conflict
over the especially delicate issues of the status of Crimea and the Black Sea
Political upheaval in Ukraine, if it occurred, could pose serious problems
for U.S. policy . The security of over 1800 nuclear warheads, scheduled to be
withdrawn from Ukraine over the next three or four years could be jeopardized .
If instability turned to violence, Russia might intervene, possibly sparking a
Russo-Ukrainian war . Finally, if Ukraine lost its independence, even by
gradual, non-violent means, some analysts assert the West would lose a
geopolitical bulwark and insurance policy against the possible resurgence of an
aggressive Russia .
1 Williams, Daniel and R . Jeffrey Smith, "U.S. Intelligence Sees Economic
Plight Leading to Breakup of Ukraine," Washington Post, Jan. 25, 1994, p. 7.
UKRAINE'S MULTIPLE CHALLENGES
Ukraine's elections took place as Ukraine approached the third
anniversary of its independence from the Soviet Union . The failed August 1991
coup against Gorbachev led the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet to declare Ukraine's
independence from the Soviet Union on August 24 . The Supreme Soviet also
voted to hold a referendum on the declaration of independence and presidential
elections on December 1 . The referendum approved independence, with 90% in
favor . Independence was supported by overwhelming majorities in most regions
and among all ethnic groups . This decisive vote in favor of independence
surprised many observers, especially those in Russia who expected strong
opposition to independence in the largely Russified south and east of Ukraine .
Analysts attributed the success of the referendum to an official media campaign
in favor of independence and to public disenchantment with the failures of the
Soviet authorities in Moscow, especially in the economy, and the hope that an
independent Ukraine could better solve economic problems on its own .
The six candidates for President included Leonid Kravchuk, chairman of
the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet . As late as 1989, Kravchuk was the Communist
Party's point man in combatting Ukrainian nationalism . However, after his
election as chairman of the Supreme Soviet in 1990, Kravchuk increasingly
supported opposition demands for more independence from Moscow . Kravchuk's
main competitor in the race was Vyacheslav Chornovil, a former political
prisoner and the candidate of the Rukh national-democratic political movement .
Kravchuk won easily, receiving over 61% of the vote to Chornovil's 23% . Since
his election as President in December 1991, Kravchuk's strategy has been to try
to hold the support of former Communist Party functionaries and the economic
elite in the Supreme Soviet and the national and local governments, while trying
to garner support among the national-democratic opposition by taking a stand
as a defender of Ukrainian sovereignty .
Despite the hopes of many Ukrainians that independence would quickly
lead to a better future, independent Ukraine has been beset with many crises,
including political deadlock among the branches of power in Kiev, tensions
between the various regions of Ukraine and a deep economic crisis .
One crisis that Ukraine faces is the ineffectiveness of its political
institutions. Ukraine did not have the necessary institutions, personnel and
experience when it suddenly emerged as an independent state in August 1991 .
Ukraine still operates under a heavily amended version of its old, Soviet-style
constitution . Provisions of the constitution dealing with the separation of
powers are unclear and often contradictory. As a result, the President, Cabinet
of Ministers and the Parliament have spent much time battling to a stalemate
on constitutional issues rather than addressing critical economic issues . Similar
problems are also found at the local level, where there is conflict between local
legislatures and executive agencies . There is also conflict between the central
government and the localities over power . Ukraine lacks an effective judiciary
and has no functioning Constitutional Court to resolve these problems .
Ukraine's ruling elite, suddenly transformed from regional functionaries to
leaders of a newly independent country, were unprepared or unwilling to make
tough decisions that were previously made by Moscow . Ukraine lacks strong
opposition political parties, in part because the concept of "party" was discredited
by seventy years of Communist Party rule . It also lacks independent media and
other institutions needed to provide an effective check on the government.
Official corruption is reportedly widespread .
Another key problem strongly reflected in recent elections is sharp
regional differences . Different regions of Ukraine have had divergent histories .
The most commonly made distinction is between western and eastern Ukraine .
Part of western Ukraine (i .e ., the current Lviv, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk
oblasts) was not part of the Russian Empire/Soviet Union until Stalin's seizure
of the area in 1939 . The area was part of Poland until the end of the 18th
century, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until after World War I, and
finally part of Poland again until 1939 . While repressive, these rulers were
relatively tolerant when compared to Russia . This allowed western Ukrainians
to develop a strong sense of Ukrainian national identity, which enabled them to
play a leading role in pushing for Ukraine's independence before the breakup
of the Soviet Union, despite the fact that their areas account for only a small
percentage of Ukraine's population and economic strength .
Most of the rest of Ukraine, in contrast, was incorporated into the Russian
empire in the 17th and 18th centuries . Russian and Soviet efforts to assimilate
these areas of Ukraine met with considerable success ; national identity in
southern and eastern Ukraine is generally weaker than in western Ukraine . Of
course, there are differences in background and outlook, here too . For example,
rural areas, like central Ukraine, are largely dominated by ethnic Ukrainians
and favor Ukrainian independence, but aren't often as politically active and
strongly nationalist as western Ukraine . Kiev, although an urban area, is
generally supportive of Ukrainian independence . Ethnic Russians have tended
to settle in cities in southern Ukraine and in eastern Ukrainian areas bordering
Russia, and favor closer ties with Russia . Ukrainians in these regions, many of
whom are more comfortable speaking Russian than Ukrainian, also tend to favor
close relations with Russia . In these regions, especially the Donets basin in
eastern Ukraine, some analysts posit the existence of a "Soviet" identity rather
than a Russian or Ukrainian one ; that is, many people are Russian-speakers
who are not drawn to Russian nationalism, but rather are nostalgic for the
stability of the Soviet past . Many also identify more with their own region (and
neighboring regions in Russia) than with Kiev or Moscow . 2
2 For the existence of a "Soviet" identity in eastern Ukraine, see testimony
by Adrian Karatnycky in Focus on Serious Challenges Facing Ukraine,
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, May 1994 . p . 6 .
In the region most recently joined to Ukraine, Crimea, support for
Ukrainian independence has been the weakest and support for union with
Russia has been the strongest . Ethnic Russians make up two-thirds of the
region's population, while Ukrainians make up a quarter, and Crimean Tatars
about 8% . Moreover, Russian nationalists view the peninsula, seized from the
Ottoman Empire in the late 18th century and home to the Black Sea Fleet in
the Tsarist and Soviet period, as a symbol of Russian "military glory ."
Crimea was part of Russia until 1954, when Khrushchev transferred the
peninsula to Ukraine to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the union of
Ukraine with Russia . During the December 1991 independence referendum, a
bare majority of 54% approved Ukrainian independence, in contrast to 83-98%
support in other regions . Within a few months after independence, secessionist
pressures mounted . A group collected over 257,000 signatures for a referendum
to be held on Crimean independence . In May 1992, the Crimean Supreme Soviet
declared Crimea's independence from Ukraine, but suspended the resolution
after Ukrainian President Kravchuk warned Crimea that bloodshed could occur
if Crimea tried to assert its independence from Ukraine . Crimea and Ukraine
seemingly stepped back from confrontation in June 1992, when negotiators for
the two sides agreed that Crimea was an "integral part of Ukraine" but would
have economic autonomy and the right to "independently enter into social,
economic and cultural relations with other states ." However, tensions escalated
in January 1993, when voters in Crimea elected as President of Crimea Yuri
Meshkov, a leader of the 1992 referendum drive . There are also continuing
tensions between Russians on the peninsula and Tatars . The Tatars were
expelled from Crimea by Stalin in 1944 . Since 1989, many have returned to
Crimea and are demanding land and housing, as well as the transformation of
Crimea into a Crimean Tatar autonomous republic within Ukraine . Tensions
between Tatars and the local authorities have sometimes resulted in violence .
MAP 1 . Russian Speakers in Ukraine
lkeparad by the Geography
mfiaca. CA (HW) 929-4627
v 'w for the Congressional Research Service 8A'4
Far from improving after independence, the Ukrainian economy has
spiralled further downward . According to the International Monetary Fund
(IMF), Ukraine's gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 17% in 1993 and is
projected to fall another 14% in 1994 . Estimated GDP for the first quarter of
1994 plunged by an estimated 36% . Between 1991 and 1993, GDP has fallen by
a cumulative 43% . According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD), inflation was 1,445% in 1992 and 4,519% in 1993 .s
a Economist Intelligence Unit, Country Report: Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova,
2nd quarter 1994, p . 11, 22. It should be noted that statistical indicators may
well overstate the crisis . Bureaucratic meddling, excessive taxes and forced sales
of hard currency to the state at artificially low exchange rates are forcing
emerging businesses underground in order to survive, while the official economy
of state-run enterprises continues to collapse . See Financial Times, August 8,
1994, p . 2 .
Ukraine's economic collapse can be attributed to external shocks caused
by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the unwillingness of the ex-Communistdominated government to undertake systematic market reforms to overhaul an
economy weakened by decades of Soviet mismanagement . The collapse of the
Soviet Union caused a sharp drop in demand by Russia and other ex-Soviet
republics for Ukrainian goods . At the same time, Russia began increasing prices
toward world market levels for its oil and natural gas exports to Ukraine and
other former Soviet republics . Ukraine is highly dependent on large oil and gas
imports to run its energy-intensive (and wasteful) heavy industry . Ukraine
imported 88% of its oil needs in 1992, almost all of it from Russia . Eighty
percent of Ukraine's natural gas is imported from Russia and Turkmenistan .
Russia has gradually increased oil export prices, which were about 17% of the
world price for oil in 1992, to 37% in the first quarter of 1993 . According to one
estimate, if Russia charged Ukraine the full world market price for oil, gas and
other raw materials, Ukraine would have to transfer 30% of its GDP to Russia . 5
Ukraine's inability to pay for energy supplies created mounting debts to Russia,
(currently about $600 million for gas alone) which has intermittently cut off
supplies to try to force payment and/or extract political concessions .
An even more important factor in Ukraine's economic decline is the failure
of the government to carry out economic reforms . Instead of a consistent
program of macroeconomic stabilization and privatization, Ukraine has pursued
a lax fiscal and monetary policy and very little privatization has occurred . The
government and, above all, the parliament have bent to pressure from
enterprises and collective farms to bail them out . Deficit spending and periodic
huge emissions of credits resulted in hyperinflation and a sharp drop in the
value of the Ukrainian currency, the karbovanets, from 1,000 to the dollar at
the end of 1992 to 47,000 to the dollar in August 1994 . The karbovanets, which
traded at a rate of one-to-one with the ruble in 1992, traded at just under 20
to one in August 1994 . Inflation was sharply reduced through the first half of
1994 by a tight monetary policy, but economists believe it could skyrocket at the
end of the year, due to renewed large credit emissions . Despite the adoption of
laws and a privatization program, there has been little actual progress toward
privatization . Almost all enterprises remain under state control . About 20% of
Ukraine's enterprises have been leased to their employees . There are only four
wholly private industrial enterprises in Ukraine .' However, several localities
have privatized some properties under their jurisdiction, mainly shops and
restaurants . A system of quotas, export licenses and fixed exchange rates harms
Ukraine's export potential and provides many opportunities for corruption and
' Economist Intelligence Unit, Country Profile: Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova
1994-95, p . 20 .
s Oleh Havrylyshyn, Marcus Miller and William Perraudin, "Deficits,
Inflation and the Political Economy of Ukraine," Paper issued at conference
entitled Societies in Transformation : Experience of Market Reforms for Ukraine,
Kiev, Ukraine, May 1994 .
' Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Daily Report, August 18, 1994, 6 .
profiteering, especially when coupled with negative real interest rates and
incomplete price liberalization .
UKRAINE'S 1994 ELECTIONS : RESULTS AND IMPLICATIONS
Ukraine's recent parliamentary, presidential and local elections have their
roots in political turmoil in June 1993 . The Ukrainian Supreme Rada was
elected on a relatively pluralistic basis in March 1990 for a five-year term .
Leonid Kravchuk was elected as Ukraine's first President in December 1991,
also for a five year term . However, miners in the Donetsk region of eastern
Ukraine (a group that played an important role in bringing down the Soviet
Union), angry at deteriorating economic conditions, launched a massive strike .
Aside from economic demands, the strikers called for a referendum on confidence
in the President and Supreme Rada . The parliament, fearing political
instability, agreed to hold a referendum, set for September 1994 . However, the
parliament put off action on organizing the referendum until late September
1994, when renewed demonstrations forced the parliament and President to
agree to early elections, in place of the referendum . The first round of
parliamentary elections were set for March 27, 1994, while the first round of
Presidential elections and local elections were set for June 26, 1994.
The parliament adopted an election law in November 1993 . Reformist
groups favored a mixed majoritarian/proportional electoral system with 50% of
the deputies elected by a majority in individual districts and 50% elected
proportionally by party lists. They claimed that a mixed system would aid the
development of the current weak political party system in Ukraine and would
lead to a more cohesive legislature . However, the parliament voted instead for
a strictly majoritarian system. The law required a candidate to win 50% of the
vote in order to be elected and 25% of the total number of registered voters in
a district. At least 50% of registered voters had to turn out for the election to
be valid in a particular district . If no candidate won a first round majority, a
second round between the two leading candidates was required within two
weeks of the first round . Candidates could be nominated by a political party
(under relatively cumbersome procedures), by a work collective or by a group of
300 registered voters . The ease of collecting 300 signatures led to a proliferation
of candidates (an average of 13 per district), and weakened political party
formation, since party nomination procedures under the law were more
cumbersome . Critics charged that by approving the law, the ex-Communist
majority in the legislature aimed at fragmenting opposition to incumbents and
local officials .
The main issues of the campaign were the poor state of Ukraine's
economy, and rising crime and corruption . Most foreign policy issues, including
nuclear weapons, played little role in the campaign . In eastern Ukraine, many
candidates focused on the need for closer relations, especially economic ties, with
Russia and called for making Russian an official language in Ukraine alongside
After two rounds of voting (the first on March 27 and the second in the
ensuing two weeks), 338 deputies were elected to the new parliament . In 112
districts, elections were invalidated due to low turnout . The results were a big
victory for the socialist and communist forces . They also underlined the strong
regional differentiation of Ukrainian politics . The Communists and their allies
did very well, particularly in eastern Ukraine . After the second round, the
Communist Party won 86 seats in the parliament . Thirty-eight of these seats
(or over 44% of its total) came from Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts alone . The
Socialist and Agrarian Parties, allied to the Communists, won 14 and 18 seats
respectively . National-democrats and reformers, while not as successful as the
Communist bloc, achieved good results in western Ukraine and Kiev . The
national-democratic party Rukh won 20 seats and the Ukrainian Republican
Party (also a nationally-oriented party) won 8 seats, for example . 7
Many of those who won seats had no party affiliation . Many are local
officials or directors of large enterprises and collective farms . A good number
of them are part of an informal "party of power :" pre-independence Communist
functionaries who gave up Communist Party membership but kept their
positions in government and the economy . Kravchuk and former parliament
speaker Ivan Plyushch are examples . While drawn together by personal contacts
and similar backgrounds, members of this "party" have divided into competing
factions in the struggle for power . Many consider themselves "centrists" who
shun the ideological "extremes" of the newly reestablished Communists and the
national-democrats and liberals . Some favor Ukrainian independence with very
gradual economic reform, while others, mainly those from eastern Ukraine,
downplay Ukra' ' n statehood and more strongly stress the need for economic
Although only 338 deputies of the total of 450 seats in the parliament
were filled by the March-April elections, enough seats were filled to give the new
parliament a quorum, enabling it to start work . Because most candidates ran
as independents (even leading figures of political parties), it is difficult to gauge
at first glance the balance of political forces in the parliament . However,
regulations adopted by the new parliament favor the establishment of factions
of at least 25 members . While not as coherent as political parties, these factions
provide some idea of the political forces in the parliament .
Communists are the largest faction, with 86 members . Their allies on the
left, the Agrarians and the Socialists, have 33 members and 25 members
respectively . The leftists' total of 144 seats gives them a strong role in the
parliament, but leaves them well short of a majority . The second largest group
is the "Center" faction, with 38 members . It is mainly composed of "party of
power" figures with a self-described centrist orientation . Another centrist group
'Ukraine's New Parliament, International Foundation for Electoral Systems,
April 1994 .
is the Interregional Bloc for Reforms, a loosely based grouping headed during
the campaign by former Prime Minister (and now President) Leonid Kuchma
and former parliament deputy chairman Vladimir Grinev . It has 26 members
and supports gradual free market reform and closer ties with Russia . Another
loosely knit centre-left group, "Unity," stands for similar goals and also has 26
members . Both of the latter two groups are based mainly in eastern Ukraine .
"Reforms", with 27 members, is composed of moderate democrats and market
reformers . There are two nationally-oriented factions, most of whose support
comes from western Ukraine and Kiev : Rukh (27 members) and Statehood (26
deputies) . There are roughly two dozen unaffiliated deputies, including a
handful of extreme nationalists .
Leftist forces scored several important victories in the weeks after the
convening of the new parliament . The parliament elected Socialist Party leader
Oleksander Moroz as speaker on May 18 . Moroz was a leading member of the
Communist "Group of 239" in the previous legislature . In a possible attempt to
conciliate these leftist forces to help his reelection campaign, President
Kravchuk nominated and the parliament approved conservative Vitali Masol as
Prime Minister on June 16 . Masol was Prime Minister of Ukraine before the
collapse of the Soviet Union, but was toppled by student protests in 1990 for
dragging his feet on implementing Ukraine's declaration of sovereignty .
Repeat elections in those districts where the results were invalidated by
low turnout were held in July and August 1994 . Fifty-eight new deputies were
elected, but low turnout in some areas means that yet another round of repeat
elections will be held in November to fill the remaining 58 seats . The results of
the repeat voting suggest that support for the leftist groups is waning. Only 5
of the 58 new deputies are members of the Communist Party, and only one is
from the Agrarian Party. Forty-nine of the new deputies are independents,
mainly local officials and enterprise directors . 8
The first round of Ukraine's Presidential elections confirmed the trend
toward strong regional polarization in Ukrainian politics . According to
Ukraine's election law, in order to be elected, a candidate has to receive 50% of
the vote . If this does not occur, a runoff election between the top two finishers
takes place . If turnout is less than 50%, the election results are invalidated and
repeat elections must be held .
Although there were six candidates in the contest, the main contenders
were President Kravchuk and former Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma . Kuchma
was the director of Ukraine's largest missile manufacturing plant before
Kravchuk chose him as Prime Minister in October 1992 . He resigned in
September 1993 in frustration when the parliament refused to extend special
powers to issue decrees on economic reform . Two other major contenders in the
Ukrainian Weekly, Aug . 14, 1994, p . 3 .
CRS- 1 0
race were chairman of the parliament and Socialist Party leader Alexandr
Moroz, and reform economist Volodymyr Lanovyy, who served as Minister of
Economy from March to July 1992 . In the first round, Kravchuk won 37 .7%,
Kuchma won 31
.27%, Moroz won 13% and Lanovyy won 9 .3% . Kravchuk and
Kuchma passed on to the runoff round, held on July 10 . In the second round,
Kuchma defeated Kravchuk with 52 .15% to Kravchuk's 45 .06% .
Despite Ukraine's serious economic crisis, only Lanovyy put economic
reform at the center of his campaign . In contrast, Kravchuk and Kuchma
battled largely over Ukraine's future relationship with Russia . Kravchuk
favored a continuation of the status quo : a rejection of closer economic and
political integration with Russia, while trying to cooperate with Moscow in
solving difficult bilateral issues . Kuchma stressed the need for closer economic
integration with Russia to re-establish trade links that Kuchma feels are vital
for Ukraine to avoid economic collapse . Kravchuk's supporters charge that
Kuchma's proposed policies would lead to a political union with Russia and the
Kuchma's supporters counter that it is
loss of Ukraine's sovereignty .
Kravchuk's mishandling of the economy and relations with Russia that posed
the real threat to Ukraine's independence .
Regional polarization was shown both during the campaign and in the
results of the first round and second round . Kravchuk's pro-sovereignty
position won him overwhelming majorities in western Ukraine in the second
round . In Lviv oblast, Kravchuk won 89 .34% of the vote to Kuchma's 3 .55%,
in Ternopil, Kravchuk won 91 .04% to Kuchma's 3 .49% and in Ivano-Frankivsk,
Kravchuk won 87 .78% to Kuchma's 3 .07% . It is interesting to note that these
regions voted against Kravchuk by similarly lopsided margins in the 1991
presidential election in favor of Vyacheslav Chornovil, leader of the nationaldemocratic Rukh movement, because of Kravchuk's Communist past . However,
Chornovil did not run this time, and despite Kravchuk's failure to implement
economic reform, western Ukrainians seem to have preferred Kravchuk as a
"lesser evil" compared to Kuchma's perceived threat to Ukraine's independence .
Kuchma scored similarly lopsided victories against Kravchuk in eastern
and southern Ukraine . In Crimea, Kuchma won 82 .68% to Kravchuk's 7 .43%
In Donetsk oblast, Kuchma won 53 .59% to Kravchuk's 16 .08% . In Luhansk
oblast, Kuchma won 53 .61% to Kravchuk's 9 .7% . Voters in these regions seem
to have voted for Kuchma because he favored stronger links with Russia in
order to improve Ukraine's economy . The result may have also been an antiKravchuk and anti-status quo vote by an electorate furious at Ukraine's
economic plight .'
Kuchma's victory surprised many observers, as Kravchuk had a
substantial lead over Kuchma in the first round and most pre-election polls
predicted a Kravchuk win in the second round . One reason for Kuchma's upset
victory was that he strengthened his grip on his strongholds in eastern and
southern Ukraine, which are more populous than western Ukraine, where
s The Economist, July 16, 1994, p . 42 .
Kravchuk's main support came from . Kravchuk lost ground in critical central
Ukraine, where he needed a big win to overcome Kuchma's margin in the east
and south. A second and related reason for Kuchma's victory was a strong antiincumbent sentiment that seemed to override ideological differences ; voters
angry at current conditions seemed to prefer almost any change to the status
quo . This can be seen in the fact that most first-round supporters of both
Moroz and Lanovyi (especially in eastern and southern Ukraine) voted for
Kuchma in the second round, despite the fact that the views of Moroz and
Lanovyi were diametrically opposed on many issues .
MAP 2 . Presidential Election Results
Preliminay offcel results
Regions that voted for.
Q Leonid Kuchma by 70% .100%
® Loonid Kudima by less than 70%
Leonid Kravchuk by 70% .100%
Leonid Kmvchuk by less than 70%
Figures show % of votes'
for Kuchma and (Kravchuk)
©1992 Ma 11ao( ;,o~~aa~x MSaaaBxbara,CA(800)929-4621
Prepared by the Geograaphy and Map Division For the Congreesional Research Service 8/94
Local elections were held in Ukraine at the same time as the legislative
and presidential ones. Crimea held elections to its own parliament on March 27,
1994, simultaneously with the national legislative elections . The "Russia" bloc,
a loose coalition of pro-Russia candidates, also did very well in the Crimean
parliament elections, winning 64 of the parliament's 98 seats . Meshkov also
CRS- 1 2
called a consultative referendum on putting Crimea's relations with Ukraine on
a "treaty" basis, dual Russian-Ukrainian citizenship for Crimeans and giving
decree powers to the President of Crimea. Crimean officials reported that the
referendum proposals were adopted by majorities of 74 .8%, 82% and 77 .9%
respectively . Voters in Donetsk and Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine, also held
local consultative referendums on March 27 . Voters in Donetsk overwhelming
approved proposals calling for a federal structure for Ukraine (by 84%), making
Russian an official language in Ukraine alongside Ukrainian (91%), and calling
for Ukraine to become a full member of the CIS economic union (93%) . Totals
for Luhansk were similarly overwhelming.
Aside from Crimea, the rest of Ukraine held their local elections during
the presidential elections in June and July 1994 . In addition to choosing local
legislators, the electorate also chose the chairman of those bodies directly . The
chairman will also be the head of the executive branch, replacing a system of
presidential representatives put in place by President Kravchuk in 1992 . These
chairmen and local bodies will therefore have a vital say in how (or whether)
reform is implemented . In general, Communist and other leftist candidates did
not do as well as they did in the parliamentary elections . Of the 24 regions,
only 3 are headed by Communists . The rest are incumbents or other prominent
local figures, most having no formal party affiliation . Fully half of the 24 are
former presidential representatives of President Kravchuk . 10
IMPLICATIONS FOR UKRAINE'S FUTURE
The results of the parliamentary, presidential and local elections may not
put an end to the gridlock that has afflicted Ukraine's political system .
President Kuchma does not have a strong faction in the parliament supporting
him, let alone a disciplined party with a majority . This degree of fragmentation
and polarization in the parliament may require Kuchma to build ad hoc alliances
on an issue-by-issue basis . Unlike Yeltsin in Russia, Kuchma cannot circumvent
the parliament and rule by decree alone ; under Ukrainian law, his decrees can
be vetoed by the legislature .
On critical constitutional issues, including the division of power among the
President, government and parliament, deadlock is most likely.
Communist/Socialist/Agrarian bloc in parliament, Parliament speaker Moroz and
Prime Minister Masol favor a strong parliament and government, and a weak
Presidency . Kuchma has strongly objected to a weakening of the President's
powers . However, it is unlikely that a power struggle could be resolved soon,
since 301 votes are needed to change Ukraine's Constitution and only 392
members of the parliament have been elected as of August 1994 . The degree of
polarization in the parliament will make it very difficult for 301 members to
agree on any controversial issue .
to FBIS Trends, August 3, 1994, p . 7-18 .
Kuchma's degree of control over the government could be a point of
contention . Kuchma attacked Kravchuk during the campaign for appointing a
new Prime Minister a little more than a week before the election . After the
election, Kuchma said that he would keep Masol in his post for the time being,
and try to work with him to elaborate a reform plan . However, Kuchma has
swept many government ministers out of power and replaced them with his
choices . If Kuchma tried to remove Masol himself, he would risk a confrontation
with the parliament, especially the leftist group, which strongly supported Masol
To strengthen his hand, Kuchma issued a decree directly
for the post.
subordinating the government to himself on August 6 . A second decree
subordinated the heads of the local legislative bodies to himself . The parliament
was out of session when the decrees were issued, and was unable to respond
The key policy issue for the President and the parliament is economic
reform. Uncertainties about Kuchma's own commitment to comprehensive
economic reform, his lack of a strong base in the legislature and the strength of
the leftist bloc may inhibit reform efforts . On July 29, the leftist block asserted
its power by voting to suspend privatization temporarily, until it decides in
September 1994 which sectors of the economy will remain in state hands . Prime
Minister Masol and Parliament Chairman Moroz favor stronger state controls
over the economy and a slow pace of economic reform, especially in the area of
privatization . Chairman Moroz strongly opposes privatization of land, once
condemning it as a "crime ." Masol has opposed Kuchma's first attempt at
reform, a decree on liberalizing exchange rates, which some Western economists
see as disappointingly modest . Kuchma will also likely find it difficult to stop
the parliament from voting more massive subsidies to collective farms and other
interest groups, sparking another surge in inflation . However, on some reform
issues popular with enterprise managers, such as liberalization of exchange
rates, foreign trade and tax reductions, it is possible that Kuchma could cobble
together a coalition of national democrats, centrists and economic reformers .
Regionalism and Possible Fragmentation
Kuchma's election may have a calming effect on the country's regional
disputes, at least in the short term . Most regional discontent in Ukraine has
been focused in Crimea and eastern and southern Ukraine generally . These
areas strongly supported Kuchma's pro-Russian stance in the election, and are
looking to him to improve the economy and establish better relations with
Russia . They also want more economic autonomy from Kiev ; the right to
manage municipal property as they see fit and to keep more of their tax money,
for example . To lessen pressure from these regions, President Kravchuk issued
a decree giving four regions in eastern Ukraine (Donetsk, Luhansk,
Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizha) more authority over state property in their
regions . Russia and Ukraine also signed an agreement in July 1993 to promote
cross-border economic integration in this region, and local authorities are
making efforts of their own in this direction.
CRS- 1 4
If Kuchma fails to deliver rapidly on improving the economy, discontent
in these regions could again mount . Moreover, Kuchma has rejected making
Ukraine a federal state in the near future, a key demand of eastern Ukrainian
leaders, saying that it could lead under current circumstances to the breakup of
the country. His August 6 decree subordinating the heads of local legislative
bodies to himself was an attempt to establish strong, "vertical," links to
implement reforms and keep the state together . This move was supported by
almost all of the local chairmen, but the parliament is likely to view the decree
less enthusiastically, as the left would prefer to exercise its own control over the
regions through the parliament . Kuchma would also encounter difficulties later
if he comes into conflict with the desires of newly elected regional chairmen to
increase their power by expanding their regions' autonomy .
It is important to note that leading officials in Ukraine, whether in Kiev
or in Donetsk or Simferopol do not openly advocate secession and unification
with Russia . Even Crimean President Yuri Meshkov and leaders of the Crimean
parliament, who campaigned on a strong "back to Russia" platform, have toned
down their rhetoric, faced with the need to establish a working relationship with
Kiev . Meshkov effusively praised Kuchma after Kuchma's election as President,
saying Kuchma would improve Crimea's relations with Kiev, especially on key
economic issues . Crimea's leaders continue to call for union with Russia, but
only in the context of a voluntary Russo-Ukrainian union, perhaps within the
framework of the CIS, not conflict-provoking secession . There are also critical
economic reasons for Crimea to want to avoid a conflict ; the Crimean Minister
of Economics said in August 1994 that 80% of Crimea's manufactures are sold
to Ukraine, while trade with Russia is decreasing ." Crimea also reportedly
receives 85% of its energy, 82% of its water and coal and 75% of its
manufactured goods from Ukraine . 12
However, there does remain potential for conflict in Crimea, perhaps
stirred by local leaders fearing that deals between Russia and Ukraine could be
made "over their heads ." The city council of Sevastopol (the main base of the
Black Sea Fleet) voted to recognize the "Russian legal status" of the city on
August 23, as Russian and Ukrainian negotiators appeared to move closer to a
settlement on the Black Sea Fleet . Meshkov, Kuchma and Russian officials
criticized the council's move, but the Crimean Supreme Soviet (which is locked
in a power struggle with Meshkov) passed a resolution supporting the council .
There have also been disputes over such issues as a (failed) attempt to establish
a Crimean Interior Ministry not subordinated to Kiev, efforts to create separate
Crimean citizenship and to assert the primacy of Crimean laws over Ukrainian
On the o er hand, discontent could shift to western Ukraine, if Kuchma
moves too far n a pro-Russian direction . West Ukrainian leaders, perhaps
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Daily Report, Aug . 5 . 1994 . 8 .
Taras Kuzio, "Russia-Crimea-Ukraine : Triangle of Conflict," Conflict
Studies #267, p . 29 .
CRS- 1 5
stunned by Kravchuk's defeat, have adopted a cautious "wait-and-see" attitude
toward Kuchma, but still view him with suspicion . Kuchma has tried to ease
these concerns by stressing his commitment to preserve Ukrainian sovereignty
and territorial integrity in his first speech to the Ukrainian parliament as
President . Moreover, although Kuchma champions giving the Russian language
official status (Ukrainian would remain the state language), he made the speech
in halting Ukrainian . However, the crucial issue for western Ukrainians as well
as eastern Ukrainians is the state of the economy, and Kuchma's standing will
ultimately depend on this issue . The possibility of separatism in western
Ukraine if Ukraine moves toward re-unification with Russia is limited by the
lack of economic viability of a small, western Ukrainian state . In the case of a
closer union with Russia, western Ukrainians, who have been partisans of a
strong central government in order to bolster Ukrainian statehood, may well
become converts to a loose federalism in order to avoid too close an embrace
with Russia .
Ukraine's cohesion as a state will largely depend on whether its economic
situation improves . In many regions of Ukraine, support for independence was
largely based on a belief that it would improve the economy . The further
deterioration of the economy during the first three years of independence
produced a backlash against the political leadership, the strong showing of the
leftists in the parliamentary elections and a desire for closer ties with Russia .
If the economy does not improve, destabilizing trends may be strengthened, and
may result in strikes (especially in the Donbas) and secessionist tendencies,
especially in Crimea .
On the other hand, economic reform in Ukraine will require far-reaching
structural changes in Ukraine's economy, which could themselves spark
regionally based political conflict . Ukrainian industry is concentrated on heavy
industry, especially coal mining and ferrous metallurgy . These two sectors alone
accounted for 40% of industrial assets and 20% of output in 1990 . Coal mining
is concentrated in the Donets Basin (Donbas), forming an integrated complex
with heavy industry, also located in the Donbas and along the Dnieper River
bend . Much of Ukraine's military-industrial complex, estimated at 10-15% of
industrial production in 1991, is also concentrated in these regions . Much of
this industry is technologically outdated, wasteful of energy and reliant on
government subsidies . Many firms would find it difficult to sell their production
in world markets or survive without subsidies .
Economic reform and
restructuring could therefore be very painful . As a result, many people in these
regions voted for Communists and Socialists out of nostalgia for the more
predictable socialist past . Many voted for Kuchma out of hope that he would
restore old trading ties with Russia.
Relations with Russia
The elections results seem to point to a closer relationship with Russia .
However, the extent of the rapprochement and its nature will depend on and is
limited by a number of factors . One is the regional factor outlined above . If the
government goes too far toward rapprochement with Russia, western Ukrainians
CRS- 1 6
will object, perhaps with violence in some cases . Another factor may be that
Ukrainian leaders have become used to wielding more power than they did in
the old Soviet Union, and do not wish to give it up . For the leftists, there are
ideological concerns ; their views on economic and political matters are hardly
compatible with Yeltsin's Russia . During the campaign, Kuchma said he favored
joining the CIS economic union in order to improve trading ties with Russia .
Masol and Moroz likewise stress the need to strengthen economic ties within the
CIS . However, none of them favors a currency union with Russia, which would
likely require a surrender of sovereignty . None of them has spoken in favor of
a new political or security union with Russia . In September 1994, Kuchma's
new government rejected Russian proposals for a CIS payments union and a
supranational CIS executive body .
Kuchma's appointments to the posts of foreign minister and defense
ister also point to a closer relationship with Russia . New Foreign Minister
Hennady Udovenko has stressed Ukraine's foreign policy priority will be to
improve ties with Moscow, but underlined that Russia must realize that Ukraine
is its partner and not "a younger brother who will again be told what to do ." 13
Russia and Ukrainian negotiators are working on a Russian-Ukranian
Friendship Treaty to be signed when President Yeltsin visits Kiev in October
1994 . Kiev and Moscow have reportedly agreed to work towards agreements on
a customs union and a free trade area .
New Defense Minister Valeriy Shmarov is a civ ian, and will continue to
hold his current post as Vice Premier for military industry . Shmarov has called
for closer links and military cooperation between Ukraine and Russia, noting
that "all our weaponry is within the standards of former Soviet republics . We are
not in a position to do otherwise . I believe there is broad scope for our various
activities (with Russia) -- maintenance of equipment, spare parts, repair work,
observing joint airspace, patrolling joint borders ." Shmarov has also signaled
that Ukraine will be more flexible in allowing Russia to have not only the lion's
share of the Black Sea Fleet's vessels, but also part of its on-shore facilities . 14
However, Shmarov had also said that Ukraine has no plans to alter its current
military doctrine, which says that Ukraine will not join military blocs .
Another set of reasons that may limit the extent of rapprochement with
Russia have to do with Russian policy . While many foreign observers are
skeptical about Russia's full acceptance of Ukrainian independence, they note
that Moscow has tried to avoid destabilizing Ukraine . Meshkov's victory in
Crimea was greeted with caution in Moscow, and Russian officials have steered
away from involvement in Crimea-Kiev disputes, saying that the matters are
Ukraine's internal affair . One reason for this caution is that if Ukraine
dissolved into violence, Russian leaders would likely feel compelled to intervene
militarily, which could be costly in financial and human terms, and damage
FBIS Daily Report, Aug . 29, 1994, p . 34 .
Pavlo Balkovsky, "New Ukraine Defense Chief Seeks Ties With Moscow,"
Reuters News Agency, Aug . 27, 1994, and Financial Times, Sept . 5, 1994, p . 2 .
relations with the West. A preferable outcome for Russia would be a stable,
integral Ukraine closely allied to Russia politically, economically and militarily
within a strengthened CIS or through bilateral ties . But even the extent of this
alliance would be limited by Russia's desire not to take on too large an economic
burden. This can be seen in the case of Belarus, where efforts toward Belarus
joining the ruble zone have been stalled by Russian fears about the union's
expense to Russia, Belarusian disappointment about not being offered enough,
and concern about the loss of sovereignty that Russia's tough terms would
cause . Pro-union support in Ukraine may well decline if Ukrainians learn that
Russia will not "save" them economically by giving them subsidies in the form
of cheap energy or easy terms for monetary union . Of course, this current
relatively pragmatic Russian policy could change in the medium to long-term if
Vladimir Zhirinovsky or another extreme nationalist came to power in Russia
as a result of Russia's Presidential elections scheduled for 1996 or of political
instability in Russia .
IMPLICATIONS FOR U .S. POLICY
Ukraine's elections and the country's future may have important
implications for U .S . policy . Two areas of special concern are the withdrawal
of nuclear weapons from Ukraine and Ukraine's political stability .
Since 1991, U .S . policy toward Ukraine has been dominated by efforts to
get Ukraine to allow removal of all nuclear weapons from its soil and to pledge
to adhere to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a non-nuclear state .
In contrast, Ukraine has been more occupied with its economic crisis and
fending off what many Ukrainian leaders perceived as increased Russian
assertiveness toward the other former republics of the Soviet Union than with
meeting Western nuclear disarmament goals . Accordingly, Kiev increasingly
viewed the nuclear issue as a way to gain Western help on urgent economic and
political problems it faced in trying to preserve its recently won independence,
and delayed action on the issue in an effort to secure more Western aid,
compensation and security guarantees .
A breakthrough seemed to have been achieved in January 1994, when the
Presidents of the United States, Ukraine and Russia signed a statement that
committed Ukraine to transfer nuclear weapons on its territory to Russia "in the
shortest possible time," within the 7-year implementation period for the START
I Treaty . In exchange for sending nuclear warheads on its soil to Russia,
Ukraine will receive low enriched uranium for its nuclear power plants "within
the same time period ." The United States will buy from Russia some of the lowenriched uranium derived from the warheads and resell it on the world market .
The agreement also says that once Ukraine ratifies START I and joins the NPT
as a non-nuclear state, Russia and the United States reiterate their obligations
under the Conference on Security and Cooperation Europe (CSCE) Final Act to
CRS- 1 8
respect Ukraine's "independence and sovereignty and existing borders ;" will
refrain from using force, the threat of force or "economic pressure" to threaten
Ukraine's sovereignty ; and will confirm its obligations under the NPT to
demand immediate action by the U .N . Security Council if Ukraine (as a nonnuclear NPT signatory) is attacked with nuclear weapons or threatened with
nuclear attack . Through July 1994, 300 warheads were shipped from Ukraine
to Russia, well ahead of the schedule of 200 warheads in the first 10 months laid
down in the Trilateral Statement .
Despite initial successes, implementation of the Trilateral Statement is not
an accomplished fact . First, because it is a statement signed by ex-President
Kravchuk rather than a binding treaty, this agreement could theoretically be
repudiated by his successor . In fact, Kuchma and Moroz support the continued
implementation of the statement . After his election, Kuchma complained that
little promised U .S . disarmament assistance had actually been disbursed .
Parliament chairman Moroz has also criticized the slow disbursement of
disarmament aid . Kuchma has criticized as insufficient the security assurances
offered by the United States as part of the agreement . Finally, unlike Kravchuk
(who submitted a draft resolution to the parliament on Ukraine's accession to
the NPT in June 1994), Kuchma was initially reluctant to support NPT
accession, saying that he would not press parliament to approve it . The new
Ukrainian parliament has shown no more eagerness than its predecessor or the
new President to approve the NPT . In May 1994, deputies voted to place it 79th
on their agenda for the period between May and August, behind more pressing
economic issues, and did not take it up in their first session .
However, after August 1994 visits by Vice President Gore and other U .S .
officials pledging to speed up the dismantlement aid, Kuchma said that he will
ask the parliament to support NPT accession in October 1994 . However, on
September 1, 1994, Boris Olinyk, chairman of the parliament's foreign affairs
committee, warned that NPT ratification "won't happen so quickly . This time
we have to be careful . One should not make romantic statements about a nonnuclear Ukraine when all around us are nuclear states ." 15 Oliynk's statement
appears to imply less a desire among members of parliament to arm Ukraine
with nuclear weapons (which most observers believe is beyond Ukraine's
technical, and above all, financial capabilities) than an attempt to secure more
aid, compensation and security guarantees .
ECONOMIC AID AND UKRAINE'S POLITICAL STABILITY
Ukraine's elections came during a period of improving and broadening
U .S : Ukrainian relations, increased U .S . attention to the issue of Ukraine's
stability, and wider recognition of Ukraine's importance to U .S . interests . Until
the signature of the Trilateral Agreement, the United States tied not only
dismantlement assistance and security assurances for Ukraine to progress on the
nuclear issue, but aid for economic reform as well . Ukraine's collapsing
Financial Times, Sept . 2, 1994, p . 2 .
CRS- 1 9
economy and continuing trouble between Russia and Ukraine over Crimea,
sparked concern that possible political instability in Ukraine could have serious
negative consequences on U .S . policy in the region, including concerns about the
security of nuclear weapons and Russo-Ukrainian conflict .
One way the United States could try to bolster Ukraine's stability would
be by offering economic aid . Although most observers note that the success or
failure of economic reform in the countries of the former Soviet Union will
depend mainly on the efforts of these countries themselves, some assert that
offering assistance in exchange for a commitment to a reform program could
help tip the balance of forces within the country toward reform ." Also,
analysts have noted that Western aid to encourage energy efficiency and the
development of alternative sources of energy could lessen Ukraine's dependence
on Russia .
During Kravchuk's visit to Washington on March 3-7, 1994, President
Clinton committed the United States to provide $350 million in FY 1994 to
promote reform in Ukraine . The United States encouraged Ukraine to work
closely with the IMF and World Bank in order to gain financial resources to
carry out a comprehensive economic reform . If Ukraine adopts such a reform
program, the United States said it would "exercise leadership to mobilize
additional, multilateral assistance" through the G-7 . The United States and the
other G-7 countries underlined their support for economic assistance to Ukraine
during their summit in Naples on July 9, 1994 . The final communique urged
Ukraine to adopt "rapid stabilization and structural reforms, including price
liberalization and privatization ." If it moved forward with economic reforms, the
G-7 said Ukraine could receive over $4 billion over two years to aid its reform
effort . The G-7 also offered $200 million in grants and the possibility of loans
by international financial institutions if Ukraine closes down the "high risk"
Chernobyl nuclear power plant entirely . The funds would be used to complete
safer reactors, aid "comprehensive reforms in the energy sector, increased energy
conservation and the use of other energy sources ." 17
However, Western efforts to support Ukraine's stability have been
hampered by Ukraine's unwillingness to embark on comprehensive economic
reform . Kuchma's election as President may speed reform efforts . The IMF's
managing director, Michel Camdessus, met with Kuchma on July 27 . After the
meeting, Camdessus announced that the IMF and the Ukrainian government
will draw up a reform program for Ukraine within the next two months . If
agreement is reached on a plan, the first tranche in a $700 million IMF loan
could reportedly be available as soon as October 1994 . Of course, there are
many uncertainties about Kuchma's real commitment to reforms, and whether
he can get domestic support for a reform package . Just two days after
Camdessus's visit, the Ukrainian parliament voted to suspend privatization .
Economic Crisis in Ukraine : Dangers and Opportunities by John P . Hardt .
CRS Report 94-668, Aug. 18, 1994 .
Ibid ., p . 12 .
Aside from encouragement for economic reform, the United States has
tried to bolster Ukraine's stability by reaffirming its support for Ukraine's
territorial integrity and independence . In a March 4, 1994 statement signed by
Presidents Clinton and Kravchuk, the United States underlined that "Ukraine's
sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity are of key importance to the
United States ."" During a May 1994 confrontation between the Ukrainian
government and Crimea over Crimea's restoration of a local constitution aimed
at reducing the central government's control over the region, a State
Department spokesman underlined that "the territorial integrity of Ukraine
within its present borders is something that the United States has consistently
affirmed consistent with our commitments to the Conference on Security and
Cooperation in Europe ." He added that a letter from Secretary of State Warren
Christopher was delivered to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Anatoly Zlenko which
"recognized the responsible and conciliatory approach that Ukraine has adopted
in dealing with developments in Crimea thus far and urged the Ukrainian
government to continue to exercise restraint ." The statement may have been
aimed at warning Russia against exploiting the situation in Crimea and Ukraine
from using force, which could spark Russian intervention ." The United States
has also offered its good offices to help Russia and Ukraine resolve their
Ukraine has played an increasingly important role in debate over U .S .
policy toward the countries of the former Soviet Union . Some Members of
Congress have criticized Administration policy toward Ukraine, saying that the
United States is pursuing a "Russia-first" policy that neglects the non-Russian
republics (especially Ukraine, the most populous of them) and downplays
Russian attempts to reassert dominance over Ukraine and other former Soviet
republics . They see Ukraine as a possible bulwark against a resurgence of
Russian expansionism that could threaten Central European states or U .S . allies
in Europe . They say that Ukraine is not getting its fair share of U .S . aid to the
countries of the former Soviet Union . Some have also criticized the strict
conditioning of U.S . aid to Ukraine on resolution of the nuclear issue . Some
observers point to the increasingly effective lobbying of Ukrainian-American
organizations as additional reason for increased congressional attention to
Ukraine . Senator McConnell, a key critic of current U .S . policy toward Ukraine,
while stressing that his "goal is avoid the reconstruction of the Russian empire,"
also noted that Ukrainian-Americans represent "real votes in states like
Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York ." 2°
18 Joint Statement on Development of U.S .-Ukrainian Friendship and
Partnership, Mar . 4, 1994 .
s Reuters News Agency, May 23, 1994 .
20 Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, Aug. 6, 1994, p . 2267 .
During consideration of the Senate version of the FY 1995 foreign aid
appropriations bill (HR 4426), Senator Mitch McConnell said the Administration
"has missed a number of opportunities to encourage economic reform and
improve prospects for stability in Ukraine ." He said that "NSC advisers now
acknowledge that they realized last October that holding U .S . assistance hostage
to the resolution of the nuclear issue was a mistake and failure ." McConnell
also said that the Administration approach was only to copy programs underway
in Russia and not tailor a program to Ukraine's circumstances ." Amendments
offered by Senator McConnell to the Senate-passed version of the foreign aid
appropriation legislation for FY 1994 and FY 1995, included earmarks of $300
million and $150 million respectively . However, in both years these provisions
were softened in conference with the House, which had not included earmarks
in its bill, to say that the Administration "should" devote these amounts to
Senator Pa ck Leahy, in defending the FY 1995 conference report
softening of the Ukraine earmark, said that the Administration's Russia focus
in aid was justified because of Russia's size, its position as the possessor of the
largest nuclear arsenal in the former Soviet Union, its leadership role among the
newly independent states and that Russia, unlike Ukraine, had embarked on
economic reforms .
Leahy added that an earmark would undermine the
Administration's ongoing efforts to persuade Ukraine to embark on reforms, if
Ukrainian leaders knew that "they are going to get the money whether they
reform or not ."22
Congressional Record, June 29, 1994, p . S7876-7877 .
Congressional Record, Aug . 9, 1994, p . S10977, S10979 .