From Sun Feb 6 10:21:03 2000
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2000 11:42:34 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 2/1/00 Update on IAC report: US behind coup in Ukraine?
Article: 88033
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Is US behind ‘Quiet Coup‘ in Ukraine?

Ramsey Clark, International Action Center Special Report, 1 February 2000

February 1, 2000—As of this writing, Tkachenko is refusing to leave his office. His phone and fax have been disconnected and state television is refusing to air his statements. His official security has been removed and he is being guarded by Communist, Socialist and Peasant Party deputies.

Tkachenko is a member of the Peasant Party and Martynyuk is in the Communist Party. The rightwing pro-U.S. bloc is continuing to boycott Rada meetings in an attempt to give Kuchma an excuse to dissolve the body. On Feb. 1, thousands of pro-Tkachenko demonstrators gathered outside the Rada building to show their support for the sitting parliament. A reported 600 rightists gathered outside Ukraine House, where the pro-IMF, pro-NATO bloc was meeting.

IAC Protest Move to Set Up Presidential Dictatorship

January 30, 2000—KIEV, Ukraine—US officials and Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma are collaborating in an effort to break up Ukraine's parliament and concentrate power in the president's hands, Ukrainian opposition leaders told International Action Center representatives last week. IAC members Larissa Kritskaya and Bill Doares were in Kiev to attend a hearing of the International Peoples Tribunal on NATO War Crimes in Yugoslavia (English translation; see accompanying dispatch). It appears that Washington's goal is to bring Ukraine into NATO and to smash parliamentary resistance to the privatization of land and other measures demanded by the International Monetary Fund.

This former Soviet republic now has two rival parliaments in the wake of an attempt by Kuchma to illegally oust parliament speaker Oleksandr Tkachenko and deputy speaker Adam Martynyuk. The two have accused Kuchma of falsifying the results of last November's presidential election. Their charges were borne out by European Union electoral observers.


The regime's action came on the heels of a private meeting in Washington between Kuchma and US vice president Al Gore. Kuchma was first elected in 1996 with considerable support from the CIA-linked Soros Foundation.

To engineer Tkachenko and Martynyuk's removal, rightwing Verkhovnye Rada (parliament) deputies and their allies held an extralegal gathering in a nongovernment building Jan. 21 at the same time as an official Rada session was in progress. The unconstitutional gathering voted to oust Tkachenko and Martynyuk and replace them with Kuchma allies and to abolish the basic democratic right of parliamentary immunity. It also named a new head of the central bank. Tkachenko and Martynyuk were not invited to the session or told of the charges against them. The only record of the vote and attendance at the rightwing gathering is the claims of its organizers. Previous attempts to remove Tkachenko and Martynyuk by constitutional means had failed.

As of this writing, Tkachenko is refusing to leave his office. His phone and fax have been disconnected and state television is refusing to air his statements. His official security has been removed and he is being guarded by Communist, Socialist and Peasant Party deputies. Tkachenko is a member of the Peasant Party and Martynyuk is in the Communist Party. The confrontation may come to a head Feb. 1 when the Rada is scheduled to reconvene after winter recess.

“There has been considerable pressure to forcibly Westernize Ukraine,” speaker Tkachenko told the IAC. “The presidential election was determined by force and now the president wants to use force against parliament. He is trying to create an artificial majority in order to concentrate power in his hands. Our constitution has been violated at every step.”

Kuchma's ultimate aim is to abolish the existing single-chamber Rada where many “reforms” demanded by US bankers and Kuchma's wealthy allies have been blocked. He wants to replace it with a a smaller, two-chamber body with an upper chamber comprising regional governors appointed by himself. To achieve this, he has ordered a “popular referendum” that will presumably be as controlled as last year's presidential election.


With nearly 50 million people, Ukraine is the second-largest former Soviet republic. It was one of the USSR's most productive agricultural and industrial regions. Today, like other former Soviet republics, it has been devastated by “economic restructuring” dictated by the International Monetary Fund. Since the fall of the USSR, Ukraine's industrial production has dropped 70 percent. Its population has fallen by 2 million in just the past two years. The old-age pension is $13 a month and millions of workers are not being paid. While hunger stalks many regions, one-third of the state budget goes in interest payments to Western banks. The country's debt has risen 30 times since Kuchma took office in 1996.

The Kuchma regime has tried to create a fascist-like atmosphere by exploiting divisions similar to those used to break up Yugoslavia. It has whipped up Ukrainian nationalism on an anti-Russian basis (one- quarter of the population is Russian). Soviet-era books have been burned in public squares and opposition activists attacked by fascist gangs. The regime's alleged nationalism does not stop Wall Street from dictating its economic policy. It has agreed to raise food and fuel prices, rents and gas and electricity rates on a schedule dictated by the International Monetary Fund.

“It is obvious that the United States has designed the Ukraine's political landscape,” Oleg Grachev, Kiev regional secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine (KPU), told Kritskaya and Doares. “You cannot speak about injustice and electoral falsification in this country without speaking of the domination of the International Monetary Fund.”


KPU general secretary Petro Simonenko, who calls for Ukraine to withdraw from the IMF, was the runner-up in November's presidential election. He got an official 38 percent of the vote. The KPU brought evidence of marked ballots, ballot-box stuffing and vote-buying to Ukraine's criminal court but was told such matters were outside the court's jurisdiction. In the first round of the presidential election, Progressive Socialist Party candidate Natalia Vitorienko, who also condemns the IMF, was injured by a hand grenade tossed into a rally she was addressing.

“Kuchma is trying to make a coup to gain absolute power,” said Ukraine Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz. “He is acting on behalf of powerful private groups that support him. Since Kuchma came to office, Ukraine has gotten poorer but his friends have gotten rich. They now want to get even richer by selling shares in land and grabbing control of basic industries like steel, petrochemicals and even oil and gas, which is now forbidden to be privatized.”

On Jan. 29, workers across Ukraine marched to protest the IMF- Kuchma program and to demand unpaid back wages. Jan. 29 is the anniversary of the 1918 uprising by Kiev's Arsenal workers that was drowned in blood by the Western-backed regime that then ruled Ukraine.

Former US attorney general and IAC founder Ramsey Clark sent letters of protest to president Kuchma and the Rada.

An IAC statement said, “Like the war against Yugoslavia, the attempted presidential coup in Ukraine is part of the NATO-Pentagon drive to the east, which carries great danger for all humanity. The US corporate media, which so obediently repeated Pentagon-State Department lies about Kosovo, appears to have imposed an information blockade on the events in Ukraine and US involvement there. We must break that blockade. The democratic forces in Ukraine deserve the support of antiwar and justice-loving people in this country and around the world.”

Letters of support can be faxed to Deputy V.N. Romashenko at 011 380 44 293 2792 or 011 380 44 229 7228.