EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Archive for September 30th, 2014

Ukraine – New Legislation – More Power To East To End Separatist Fighting

Posted by Info on 30/09/2014

Ukraine’s parliament has voted to give the east of the country limited self-rule and also ratified an agreement to deeper economic and political ties with the European Union.

The main points of the legislation, unveiled as part of a peace plan signed with pro-Russian insurgents and Moscow on 5 September are:

• The rebel-held Luhansk and Donetsk regions will be granted a “special status” giving them broader autonomy for a three-year period.

• Local elections will be held in some districts of the two mainly Russian-speaking regions on 7 December. The last local elections held nationwide were in October 2010.

• Use of the Russian language to be allowed in state institutions.

• Regional councils will have the power to appoint local judges and prosecutors.

• Local authorities in Donetsk and Luhansk can “strengthen good neighbourly relations” with their counterparts across the border in Russia.

• The legislation also promises to help restore damaged infrastructure and to provide social and economic assistance to particularly hard-hit areas.

• Another bill on amnesty protects from criminal prosecution “participants of events in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions” – appearing to apply to both the insurgents and Ukrainian government troops. Rights groups have accused fighters on both sides of abuses that might be classified as war crimes.

Donetsk and Luhansk, known as the Donbass, have a combined population of nearly 7 million people (total in Ukraine 45,5 million people). But it is responsible for nearly a 174 of Ukraine’s exports and is home to strategic military production facilities that supply engines and other vital parts to the Russian space and aviation industries.

The industrial region with its coal mines and steelworks have been the engine of Ukraine’s economy since the 19th century.

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2014 – Pro- Russian Unrest in Ukraine

Posted by Info on 30/09/2014

Ukraine 2014

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What is the Ukraine crisis?

Posted by Info on 30/09/2014

Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union until 1991, and since then has been a less-than-perfect democracy with a very weak economy and foreign policy that wavers between pro-Russian and pro-European.

All started  as an internal Ukrainian crisis in November 2013, when President Viktor Yanukovych rejected a deal for greater integration with the European Union, mass protests started, which Yanukovych attempted to put down violently.Russia backed Yanukovych in the crisis, while the US and Europe supported the protesters.

In February, anti-government protests toppled the government and  Yanukovych ran out the country. Russia invaded and annexed Crimea the next month, trying to keep its influence in the country.

In April, pro-Russia separatist rebels began seizing territory in eastern Ukraine and later on July 17 the rebels shot  down the plane of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 flying from Amsterdam killing 298 people.

Fighting between the rebels and the Ukrainian military intensified, the rebels started losing, and, in August, the Russian army overtly invaded eastern Ukraine to support the rebels. This has all brought the relationship between Russia and the West to its lowest point since the Cold War. Sanctions are pushing the Russian economy to the brink of recession, and more than 2,500 Ukrainians have been killed, there are some 10 000 internally displaced person moving to central (45%) and western Ukraine (26%) though some are also located in the southern and eastern regions.

“People cite fear of persecution because of ethnicity or religious beliefs or, in the case of journalists, human rights activists and among intellectuals, due to their activities or professions. Others say they could no longer keep their businesses open.” UNHCR spokesmen said.

A lot of this comes down to Ukraine’s centuries-long history of Russian domination. The country has been divided more or less evenly between Ukrainians who see Ukraine as part of Europe and those who see it as intrinsically linked to Russia. An internal political crisis over that disagreement may have been inevitable. Meanwhile, in Russia, Putin is pushing an imperial-revival, nationalist worldview that sees Ukraine as part of greater Russia.

It appears unlikely that Ukraine will get Crimea back. It remains unclear whether Russian forces will try to annex parts of eastern Ukraine as well, how the fighting there will end, and what this means for the future of Ukraine — and for Putin’s increasingly hostile but isolated Russia.

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