Taras Kuzio

Taras Kuzio is an Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation Visiting Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, School of Advanced International Studies, John Hopkins University, in Washington D.C. He edits Ukraine Analyst.

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    Articles by Taras Kuzio

    Dmytro Firtash Launches New Opaque Gas Intermediary

    For 20 out of the 22 years of Ukraine’s independence (with the exception of the period 2009–2010), the country’s domestic energy market has been dominated by opaque gas intermediaries. Gazprom’s

    Ukraine Facing Economic and Financial Instability

    Political instability in post-election Ukraine may soon be be compounded by economic and financial instability that has the potential for social unrest. The World Bank calculates that Ukraine has the

    Growing Ukrainian-Russian Arms Export Cooperation

    Although President Viktor Yanukovych publicly portrays his foreign policy as multi-vector – balancing between Russia and the West – in reality, there has been a substantial shift in Ukraine’s orientation

    Russia Plans to Strengthen the Black Sea Fleet

    The April 2010 extension of the Black Sea Fleet (BSF) treaty base in Sevastopol until 2042 or 2047 has three ramifications for Ukraine’s democracy, its relations with Russia, NATO and

    The Crimea: Europe’s Next Flashpoint?

    Russia has always had a difficult time reconciling itself to accepting Ukraine as an independent state and a country that is outside its sphere of influence. Russia has an even

    Luzhkov Again Raises Russian Right to Sevastopol

    Optimism that the April 27 Black Sea Fleet base extension treaty would calm Russian-Ukrainian relations in the Crimea have been dashed by Moscow’s Mayor, Yury Luzhkov. On July 19, Luzhkov

    Ukraine Closes Road to NATO Membership

    On July 1, the Ukrainian parliament voted for a new law on “The Fundamentals of Domestic and Foreign Policy” that dropped the goal of seeking NATO membership. At 8:00 pm

    The “Putinization” of Ukraine’s Security Forces

    The “Putinization of Ukraine’s media policy” is taking place at the same time in Ukraine’s siloviki (security forces). Both steps lead Ukraine closer to Kuchma’s semi-authoritarian regime and Vladimir Putin’s

    The FSB Returns to Ukraine

    After the second round of Ukraine’s 2010 elections, Russia demanded that President, Viktor Yanukovych, undertake measures to improve relations between both countries. Moscow demanded that Yanukovych re-admit the Federal Security

    Ukraine’s Foreign Policy Turns East

    With less than two months in office President, Viktor Yanukovych, has undermined a twenty year-old elite consensus on national security by, as EDM (November 3, 2009) forecast, introducing a far

    Ukraine Debates the Russian Threat

    The poor state of Ukrainian-Russian relations, as vividly noted in Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's August letter to President Viktor Yushchenko, the expulsion of two Russian spies from Ukraine and Russia's

    Ukrainian-Russian Diplomatic War Intensifies

    On August 10 President Dmitry Medvedev accused President Viktor Yushchenko of taking Ukraine on an "anti-Russian course" (www.blog.kremlin.ru, August 10). Moscow also recently engaged in tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions (EDM, July

    Russia’s Ideological Crusade Against Ukraine

    According to an interview with Ukraine's Ambassador to Russia Konstantyn Hryshchenko, the country's bilateral relationship with Russia has sunk to its lowest level since the disintegration of the Soviet Union,

    The Ukrainian-Russian Cultural Conflict

    Discussions over the many conflicts between Ukraine and Russia have focused on the more well known: the status of the Russian language, unpaid energy bills and gas pipelines, withdrawal of

    SBU Stops Separatism in Its Tracks

    The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has patted itself on the back for stopping separatism in three different regions: Donetsk, Crimea, and Transcarpathia (www.ssu.gov.ua, December 9). All three cases involved

    RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE SEEKS TO DESTABILIZE CRIMEA

    On September 29 the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) protested against an appeal made by the Russian delegation to the OSCE about the Crimea. “Methods and dirty technology created

    PARTY OF REGIONS SPLITS OVER GEORGIA AND NATO

    The Party of Regions expelled National Security and Defense Council (NRBO) Secretary Raisa Bohatyryova from the party’s senior decision-making body, the Political Council, and from the party itself on September

    UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT EXPRESSES STRONG SUPPORT FOR GEORGIA

    Ukraine’s president and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which comes under his jurisdiction, have reacted sharply to the Georgian-Russian conflict. President Viktor Yushchenko has close personal relations with President Mikhail

    OLIGARCHS WIELD POWER IN UKRAINIAN POLITICS

    The leading Ukrainian magazine Korrespondent (June 12) published its annual list of wealthy Ukrainians. The most surprising new information was the estimate of Donetsk oligarch Renat Akhmetov’s wealth. Akhmetov, the

    RUSSIAN-UKRAINIAN RELATIONS REVEAL DEEPER PROBLEMS

    President Viktor Yushchenko’s first meeting with newly elected Russian President Dmitry Medvedev failed to resolve the outstanding issues between Ukraine and Russia. Despite Yushchenko’s optimism that all of these issues

    IS UKRAINE RETURNING TO KUCHMA-ERA REPRESSION?

    In a television interview on May 20 Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko raised the stakes in her worsening relations with President Viktor Yushchenko by bringing up the question of impeaching the

    IS THE PARTY OF REGIONS SLIDING INTO CRISIS?

    The Party of Regions (Regions) should be riding high in Ukrainian polls as opposition parties traditionally have golden opportunities to increase their popularity. Instead, Regions and its leader and former

    TYMOSHENKO REACHES OUT TO FOREIGN INVESTORS

    On February 5 Ukraine was admitted to the World Trade Organization. That achievement will facilitate Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s efforts to attract foreign investment. Kicking off that campaign on

    RUSSIA, UKRAINE TRADE HARSH WORDS OVER HISTORICAL MEMORY

    On December 14 Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) issued a strongly worded statement complaining of “open nationalist, anti-Russian, and Russphobic feelings and developments in Ukraine.” Attempts are being made,

    ORANGE REVOLUTION BACK ON TRACK AFTER UKRAINE ELECTION

    Ukraine’s September 30 parliamentary elections mark a resurrection of the Orange Revolution. The two orange forces, the Yulia Tymoshenko bloc (BYuT) and Our Ukraine-People’s Self Defense (NUNS), together won 45%

    UKRAINE’S ELITES REMAIN ABOVE THE LAW

    Ukraine’s orange elites are facing a growing scandal surrounding Yuriy Lutsenko, head of the pro-presidential Our Ukraine-People’s Self Defense bloc (NUNS). Lutsenko allegedly lobbied on behalf of Ukrainian New Telecommunications

    YUSHCHENKO’S MULTI-VECTOR ELECTION STRATEGY

    On July 4 Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko called a high-level meeting of oligarchs, the third such gathering in his presidency. The first took place in October 2005 after Yuriy Yekhanurov

    NEW POLITICAL ALLIANCES EMERGE IN UKRAINE

    As Ukraine prepares for the September 30 parliamentary elections, the balance of power among political forces is markedly shifting. The pre-democratic “Orange” camp is reconfiguring while the long-dominant Dnipropetrovsk camp

    YUSHCHENKO’S PARTY THREATENED BY DEFECTIONS

    On March 21 Anatoliy Kinakh accepted an offer from Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych’s government to become minister of economics. The government is allied to the National Unity (formerly Anti-Crisis)

    MORE SETBACKS FOR RULE OF LAW IN UKRAINE

    On March 4, 2005, former Ukrainian interior minister Yuriy Kravchenko was found dead with two bullet wounds to the head. The official verdict was suicide. Two years on, Kravchenko’s family

    YULIA TYMOSHENKO TO VISIT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK

    Yulia Tymoshenko, leader of the eponymous political bloc and head of the Ukrainian opposition, arrives in the United States on Sunday, February 25, for a six-day visit that will take

    YUSHCHENKO’S REFERENDUM THREATS RING HOLLOW

    President Viktor Yushchenko used the dual anniversary of Ukraine's unification into an independent state in 1919 and his own inauguration in January 2005 to provide concrete suggestions to escape the

    SECURITY GUARD MELNYCHENKO RETURNS TO UKRAINE

    Mykola Melnychenko, the presidential guard who was involved in bugging President Leonid Kuchma's office between 1998 and 2000, returned to Ukraine on November 29. Exactly five years earlier Melnychenko fled

    REVISITING THE ORANGE REVOLUTION: STILL FAR TO GO

    Ukraine held the second round of its contentious 2004 presidential election on November 21. When the incumbent regime of President Leonid Kuchma tried to steal the election from popular favorite

    WHO ARE YUSHCHENKO’S TRUE ALLIES?

    Despite Ukraine's September political crisis and the subsequent fall of the Yulia Tymoshenko government, the Tymoshenko bloc in parliament is still a fairly reliable ally of President Viktor Yushchenko's People's

    PACE ASKS FOR FULL INVESTIGATION OF GONGADZE CASE

    On October 5 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) issued a resolution requesting that the Ukrainian authorities deal with different aspects of the investigation into the murder

    RUSSIA STILL GETS IT WRONG ON UKRAINE

    Russian leaders were delighted, even gleeful, when Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was fired in early September. Their unabashed gloating confirms that Moscow still does not realize why its interference

    IS PORA TURNING AGAINST YUSHCHENKO?

    Pora, the non-governmental organization that played a decisive role in Ukraine's Orange Revolution, has adopted a highly critical stance towards the ten-point memorandum signed last week by President Viktor Yushchenko

    BEHIND UKRAINE’S POLITICAL CRISIS (PART 2)

    The Orange Revolution and subsequent election of President Viktor Yushchenko showed that Ukrainian society wanted "change." But as the Economist (September 8) pointed out, the "Orange Revolution promised much but

    BEHIND UKRAINE’S POLITICAL CRISIS (Part 1)

    The removal of Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's government on September 8 came as a surprise in Ukraine, as it had not been accused of corruption until days earlier. On September

    YUSHCHENKO FINALLY ACTS TO CLEAN UP HIS GOVERNMENT

    Yesterday, September 8, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko fired his government and removed top officials accused of corruption. Oleksandr Zinchenko, the former head of the presidential secretariat, had leveled the startling

    RESOLUTION OF GONGADZE MURDER BLOCKED

    Despite hopes to the contrary, the election of a new president of Ukraine has not sped the investigation into the murder of opposition journalist Heorhiy Gongadze. At the Davos World

    WASHINGTON CONCERNED UKRAINE MAY NOT JOIN WTO THIS YEAR

    During President Viktor Yushchenko's April visit to Washington, he enumerated three goals to be achieved this year: joining the WTO, lifting the Jackson-Vanik trade restrictions, and obtaining free-market economy status.

    Loose Nukes and Al-Qaeda

    In an article in the January-February issue of Foreign Affairs, Graham Allison, director of the Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, pointed

    SKINHEAD ATTACKS ON THE RISE IN UKRAINE

    Since the Orange Revolution in November-December 2004, there have been a growing number of attacks by extreme right groups against Westerners in Ukraine. These attacks are commonly blamed on "skinheads,"

    KYIV DIVIDED ON HOW FAR TO GO WITH RE-PRIVATIZATION

    Foreign investors are showing more interest in Ukraine since the Orange Revolution. Nevertheless, they remain cautious because of uncertainties surrounding the threat of re-privatization. Until this issue is resolved, something

    UKRAINE MOVES CLOSER TO NATO MEMBERSHIP

    At the April 20-21 summit of NATO foreign ministers in Vilnius, Ukraine was invited to begin an Intensified Dialogue on Membership. The Intensified Dialogue is commonly viewed as the precursor

    KYIV CONTINUES TO REDEFINE RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA

    While Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko cancelled her visit to Russia this month, Defense Minister Anatoliy Grytsenko and National Security and Defense Council Secretary Petro Poroshenko did make it to

    TYMOSHENKO TAKES ON THE OLIGARCHS

    A congress of Ukraine's oligarchs is scheduled for April 13 under the guise of the "Assembly of Ukrainian Metallurgists" (ukrrudprom.com, April 11). Representatives from 62 metallurgical enterprises will attend the

    U.S.-UKRAINE STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP RECEIVES BOOST

    Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's three-day official visit to the United States cemented a new strategic partnership. On April 4 Yushchenko attended meetings with President George W. Bush and two days

    UNDER KUCHMA, UKRAINE SENT MISSILES TO IRAN AND CHINA

    Since President Viktor Yushchenko was inaugurated on January 23, Ukraine's Interior Ministry (MVS), Security Service (SBU), and Prosecutor-General's office have made daily revelations about massive, high-level corruption under former president

    UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER CHARMS WASHINGTON

    Ukraine's new Foreign Minister, Borys Tarasyuk, visited Washington, DC, on March 10-11 to prepare for a four-day state visit by President Viktor Yushchenko in the first week of April. Tarasyuk's

    YUSHCHENKO CREATES NEW PARTY OF POWER

    On March 4-5, President Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine bloc transformed itself into a political party, the People's Union "Our Ukraine." The original boc was formed after parliament's April 2001 no-confidence

    KYIV LAUNCHES FAR-REACHING REFORM OF INTERIOR MINISTRY

    It was inevitable that radical, democratizing reforms would be launched within the Ukrainian Interior Ministry (MVS) after the appointment of Yuriy Lutsenko as interior minister. Already, the new atmosphere inside

    CLOSING THE BOOKS ON THE GONGADZE CASE

    On March 1, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko made the sensational announcement that the murderer of opposition journalist Heorhiy Gongadze had been apprehended (Ukrayinska pravda, March 1). Three senior Interior Ministry

    UKRAINE MOVES A STEP CLOSER TO EUROPE

    During President Viktor Yushchenko's first month in office, he visited Europe twice, appearing at the European Parliament, EU, Council of Europe, and NATO. After a month of such visits and

    YUSHCHENKO POISONING INVESTIGATION NEARING CLIMAX

    During a February 15-16 visit to Lviv, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko optimistically predicted that the investigation into his near fatal poisoning in September 2004 would soon be finalized. "There is

    PORA! TAKES TWO DIFFERENT PATHS

    The radical youth group and anti-Leonid Kuchma youth movement PORA! (It's Time!) has been acclaimed for its contribution to Viktor Yushchenko's victory in Ukraine's recent presidential elections. The two wings

    YULIA TYMOSHENKO TO BECOME UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER

    One day after he was inaugurated as Ukraine's third president, Viktor Yushchenko appointed a powerful and radical triumvirate. Yulia Tymoshenko, of the eponymous bloc, was named prime minister; businessman Petro

    VIKTOR YUSHCHENKO DECLARED UKRAINE’S PRESIDENT

    On January 10, Ukraine's Central Election Commission (CEC) officially declared opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko to be Ukraine's third president. The final vote count stood at 51.99% for Yushchenko compared to

    POLITICAL REALIGNMENT BEGINS IN UKRAINE

    The ruling centrist and oligarchic elites that supported President Leonid Kuchma over the last decade are now rushing to adapt to the reality that Viktor Yushchenko is Ukraine's new president.

    PRO-KUCHMA CAMP CONTINUES TO DISINTEGRATE

    In the aftermath of the scandalous second round of the Ukrainian presidential election on November 21, the pro-Kuchma parliamentary majority, established originally to back up Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's "coalition

    SECURITY FORCES BEGIN TO DEFECT TO VIKTOR YUSHCHENKO

    During yesterday's parliamentary hearings on Ukraine's post-election crisis, speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn promised not to use force against demonstrators. Similarly, during Sunday's meeting of the National Security and Defense Council, Security

    WHAT NOW FOR LEONID KUCHMA?

    With the second round of Ukraine's election set for November 21, President Leonid Kuchma will soon become an ex-president. The final vote tally is due no later than 15 days

    POST-ELECTION BLUES IN THE YANUKOVYCH CAMP

    Rumors from sources close to the Russian presidential administration have suggested that Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych might be ready to withdraw from the second round of the presidential elections,

    FRAUD FEARED IN UKRAINIAN DIASPORA VOTING

    Millions of Ukrainian citizens living abroad have the right to vote in the October 31 presidential election. While provisions for expatriates have been made previously, this election marks the first

    LARGE-SCALE ANTI-AMERICAN CAMPAIGN PLANNED IN UKRAINE

    Since October 1 representatives from the headquarters of Ukrainian opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko have discovered over 150 tons of illegal election materials that are both anti-American and anti-Yushchenko (see

    RUSSIANIZATION OF UKRAINIAN SECURITY POLICY

    Confirming the growing Russianization of Ukrainian security policy, Defense Minister Yevhen Marchuk was dismissed on September 22. Marchuk had only been appointed to this post in June 2003. His removal

    RUSSIA AND STATE-SPONSORED TERRORISM IN UKRAINE (Part 2)

    As in many post-communist states, Ukrainian authorities control "loyal nationalist" groups. Paradoxically, although presidential front-runner Viktor Yushchenko is regularly assailed as a "nationalist," his Our Ukraine bloc has only one

    Was There A Second Attempt On Yushchenko’s Life?

    On Saturday September 18, opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko, the front-runner in the October presidential elections, spoke in front of 70,000 supporters in Kyiv upon his return from Vienna. Yushchenko warned

    Is Washington Sending Mixed Signals To Ukraine?

    U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited Ukraine in mid August to discuss Ukraine's military contingent in Iraq. Since August 2003, Ukraine has had 1,576 troops in Iraq deployed 130

    Prime Minister Yanukovych And Media Freedom

    Equal access to the media during this year's Ukrainian presidential campaign is a key issue in determining to what degree Western governments, the Council of Europe, and the Organization for

    Yushchenko Finally Gets Tough On Nationalists

    The leader of the All-Ukrainian Party "Liberty," Oleh Tyahnybok, was expelled from the Our Ukraine parliamentary faction on July 20. Tyahnybok was excluded after giving an anti-Russian, anti-Semitic speech at

    What Do Ukrainians Really Think Of Yanukovych?

    Members of the pro-Leonid Kuchma camp continue to project an outward appearance of optimism surrounding their candidate, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, and his chances of winning this year's elections. In

    Pro-kuchma Parties Compete For Rural Vote

    The Peasant Party of Ukraine (SelPU) held its congress on July 16-17 and changed from an opposition party to one controlled by the pro-Leonid Kuchma camp. Its new leader, Tetiana

    Ukraine’s Multi-vector Energy Policy

    On July 5 the Ukrainian government reversed a February 4, 2004, decision on which countries would supply oil to the Odessa-Brody pipeline. In February the decision had been made to

    A Decade Of Kuchma: Success Or Degredation?

    Ten years ago this month, Leonid Kuchma defeated the incumbent, Leonid Kravchuk, in the second round of Ukraine's second presidential election. Kravchuk had won in the first round of the

    Is A Free Election Possible In Ukraine?

    The answer to this question, based on recent and ongoing developments in Ukraine, is "no." Opinion polls taken in Ukraine have consistently shown that two-thirds to three-quarters of Ukrainians do

    Russians Run Censorship Of Ukrainian Media

    In the best traditions of investigative journalism, the opposition Ukrayinska Pravda (June 3 and 11) newspaper has uncovered, for the first time, how Ukrainian oligarchs and their Russian advisers censor

    Oligarch’s Privatize Ukraine Before Elections

    On June 14, Ukraine's two largest oligarchic clans undertook what are likely to be one of the first of many insider privatizations before this year's elections in October. Ninety-three percent

    Poland Lobbies Eu Membership For Ukraine

    On June 13, Poland, like the other seven post-Communist states who joined the European Union (EU) in May, will participate for the first time in European Parliament elections. In preparation

    Yanukovych Tries To Clean Up His Image

    Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych was nominated on April 14 as the candidate of the pro-presidential camp for the October 31 presidential election in Ukraine. The nomination came six days after

    Ngos And Civil Society Under Attack In Ukraine

    Valeriy Mishura, Communist parliamentary deputy and head of the Temporary Investigative Parliamentary Commission, has issued his first report to Parliament on the implications of foreign financing of NGOs (Ukrayinska Pravda,

    Former U.S. President Bush Visits Ukraine

    Former U.S. President George Bush was the latest in a long line of senior U.S. policy-makers to visit Ukraine on May 20-21. The visit should be understood as part of

    Ukraine’s Euro-atlantic Integration At Dead End

    First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Oleksandr Chalyj, Ukraine's last remaining government lobbyist for Euro-Atlantic integration, resigned on May 15 (Ukrayinska Pravda, May 15). This came only days before the

    Parliament Vote Reflects Ukrainian Political Crisis

    On May 12, the Ukrainian parliament passed a resolution that recommended President Leonid Kuchma dismiss the governor of Trans-Carpathia oblast and provide a critique of "destabilizing activities" engaged in by

    Poll Numbers Show Yanukovych Closing The Gap

    A debate has raged in Ukraine this month over the authenticity of poll numbers for Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Kuchma candidate in this year's October election. Pro-opposition activists have questioned how

    Deception Masks Ukrainian Foreign Policy Objectives

    On April 28, a presidential decree was issued entitled On the Strategy for Economic and Social Development of Ukraine "Through the Path of European Integration between 2004-2015." Such grandiose programs

    Dirty Election Tactics In Ukraine

    Early next week, on May 10, Ukraine's Security Service and Interior Ministry are to report to President Leonid Kuchma regarding responsibility for large scale infringements of election and other laws

    Loose Nukes And Al-qaeda

    In an article in the January-February issue of Foreign Affairs, Graham Allison, director of the Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, pointed

    THE INTERNET AND MEDIA FREEDOM IN UKRAINE

    By Taras Kuzio The internet is the only area of the Ukrainian media that still remains largely uncontrolled by the authorities. The internet still has a "clear image of being

    CENSUS: UKRAINE, MORE UKRAINIAN

    By Taras Kuzio In December 2001 a long-awaited census took place in Ukraine, the partial results of which were released in December. The results confirmed fears of a demographic decline

    UKRAINE IN CRISIS

    By Taras Kuzio Ukraine is in the throes of a profound political crisis: A nascent party system is slowly emerging, but the parties embody several of the deep divisions that

    UKRAINE-EU: A TROUBLED RELATIONSHIP

    By Taras Kuzio On July 4, Copenhagen will host the next Ukraine-EU summit. The session is unlikely, however, to resolve poor relations between the two once and for all because

    PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS IN THE “BLACKMAIL STATE”

    By Taras Kuzio The trend towards an authoritarian, corporatist state in Ukraine has been particularly evident since 1997 with Ukraine (and Russia) regressing democratically.[1] Ukraine's regime has been described by

    GEOPOLITICAL RIVALRIES IN EURASIA

    By Taras Kuzio Uzbekistan is competing with the more Russophile Kazakhstan for dominance of Central Asia and is one of the most important newly independent states of the former Soviet

    VIRTUAL FOREIGN POLICY IN BELARUS AND RUSSIA

    By Taras Kuzio Since the mid-1990s Belarus and Russia have declared a "union" as their strategic foreign policy goal. But, as a Russian newspaper recently put it: "The five years

    UKRAINE FORGES MILITARY ALLIANCE WITH MACEDONIA

    By Taras Kuzio During the tenth anniversary celebrations of Ukrainian independence in Kyiv on August 24, one guest was conspicuous--Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski. This was the first occasion that such

    SOVIET-STYLE ELECTION HELD IN BELARUS

    By Taras Kuzio Belarus, a country that Freedom House, the New-York based human rights group, defines as a "presidential dictatorship," has been ruled by Soviet-Russophile Alyaksandr Lukashenka since 1994. [1]