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Press Releases from People First Foundation (24 total)

Democracy watch 2012, issue 12

As the weakened relationship with the EU reaches breaking point, Ukraine's regime blames local representative. With the media reduced to promotion only content, the cultural elite calls for a new national direction. Manipulation takes over mass media The gap between Ukraine’s reality and its television news reports is widening. This year has seen a steep drop in stories covering political developments, leaving the upcoming parliamentary elections nearly uncovered. Recent research from the

Democracy Watch 2011, issue 35

Insulated from the people the government is pursuing a corruption policy that has only increased the number of political prisoners and complicated visa regime process with EU. The situation is unlikely to be helped by the governing coalition ignoring the recommendations of the Venice Commission and approving a biased election law. Ukraine – EU: excessive migration, slow liberalisation The simplification of visa regulations with the EU remains one of the

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 26

20 years of Ukrainian Independence: progress or servitude? Evaluating Ukraine’s 20 years of Independence, to be celebrated on the 24th of August, is a complex and contentious task. However, this anniversary provides a unique opportunity to reflect upon the social impact and reality of the many dramatic reformations that make up Ukraine’s brief history. Ukrainian leaders are rightly characterised by their many missed opportunities to better the quality of life for

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 25

With International observers continually ringing alarm bells Ukraine’s government pushes through questionable reforms, as the Ukrainian people experience ever-worsening poverty. Ukrainian reforms: for the people or for the elite? The new government brought in its wake the promise of 21 strategic reforms intended for immediate implementation. Despite a consolidation of power into the President’s hands and over a year in office only two of these reforms have been attempted, a new tax

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 24

Ukraine’s political direction and business regulations are failing to attract investment, causing drops on nearly every international rating and lining the pockets of corporate raiders. Rather than fight the decline the government opts to impose new restrictions on freedom of speech instead. The game of Ukraine is only as good as its rules According to the International property rights index, Ukraine is number 127 out of 129 countries when it comes to

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 20

Social protest burns brighter in Ukraine The popular will to protest against government activity has been seen to rise throughout 2010 and 2011, apparently unaffected by the feeble response to the recent protests of entrepreneurs. The protests show now particular geographical bias - reaching even the Donetsk region, the home ground of the President. Experts state that the majority of protests are emerging in reaction to local authorities disregard for

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 19

With Party of Regions focused on election law in the quest for power, an opposition member is commended in Europe. As Ukraine remains frozen on the topic of corruption, the President tries to offset debt with investment in sport. Proposed election rule changes would secure total dominance for the governing party The website of the Ministry of Justice has recently published an updated draft of legislation governing the protocol of parliamentary elections

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 18

With international finance on hold for Ukraine, observers stress the plight of the SME sector. As Verkhovna Rada’s duty to democracy is called into question, public scandals distance Ukraine from Europe. Dark days for the middle class Observers of the Ukrainian SME sector warned of total collapse at the recent Ukrainian Investment Summit in London in May. Prominent economist Anders Aslund and Petro Poroshenko, a businessman who has held a number of

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 17

As Ukraine steps towards authoritarianism the labour force walks out. With the media protesting against violations of their rights we ask the question: how long before the people follow suit? The good, the bad and the imaginary enemies of Ukrainian media The National Union of Journalists of Ukraine put Yan Tabachnyk, a deputy from the Party of Regions, at the top of a list of government officials and media owners actively repressing

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 16

Ukrainian economy stumbles towards a slow recovery The first months of 2011 have shown signs of a slow recovery for the Ukrainian economy. Industrial production has grown by 10.5% as of January 2011 compared to January 2010. The harvest volume this autumn is expected to increase up to 42 million tons. The national budget surplus for January-February 2011 accounts for 4.1 billion UAH (0.5 billion USD) owing to increased taxes, reduced

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 15

With Internet access ever on the rise Verkhovna Rada seeks to initiate dialogue with the people, whilst at the same time spreading accusations of foreign involvement in Ukrainian affairs. At the same time President Yanukovych comes close to an apology as public favour dwindles further. Does Verkhovna Rada really want to hear the voice of the people? The Parliament Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information has approved the draft regulation №8007

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 14

Entrepreneurs on the roads and teachers on the streets, the government faces mass protest as well as allegations of apathy towards corruption. The Prosecutor General's Office bringing charges against former president Kuchma added some excitement to the political arena of Ukraine. Continuing protests of entrepreneurs become "AutoMaidan" The professed Ukrainian East-West divide was undermined recently as entrepreneurs from around the country united in protest against the latest batch of

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 13

Entrepreneurs on the roads and teachers on the streets, the government faces mass protest as well as allegations of apathy towards corruption. The Prosecutor General's Office bringing charges against former president Kuchma added some excitement to the political arena of Ukraine. Continuing protests of entrepreneurs become "AutoMaidan" The professed Ukrainian East-West divide was undermined recently as entrepreneurs from around the country united in protest against the latest batch of

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 12

With the opposition mute the authorities prepare to divvy-up the regions of Ukraine. As the conflict for favour between the EU and Russia heightens, rights such as freedom of speech remain restricted. In the search of the Ukrainian opposition Without deep political traditions and culture Ukraine has been lacking a real opposition since its independence. The division of political forces into those in power and those in opposition, whose job is to

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 10

With Euro-2012 expenses threatening the already burdened economy, trade unions lobby for greater transparency in the markets. With the link between political authority and personal wealth clearly illustrated, Verkovna Rada raises allowances for Deputies. National Deputy of Ukraine: cost effective? The parliament of Ukraine is implementing some of the most stringent social and economic reforms in the country’s history, yet at the same time sees fit to increase the annual maintenance allowance

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 9

Danger from within and without for Party of Regions as internal schisms and public opinion worsen. With new election law threatening the principles of European democracy in Ukraine, experts question whether the EU need remain idle. Eastern Ukraine falls into disenchantment Discontent with government activity is on the rise in President Yanukovych’s native region. Miners' wives have gathered outside the municipal building in Donetsk in a spontaneously organised protest to demand improvements

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 8

Health service in Ukraine: inherent right or paid privilege? According to Article 49 of the Constitution of Ukraine, every citizen is entitled to free healthcare, medical treatment and medical insurance. The health care sector is run by the state and financed under respective social, economic, health and sanitary programmes, as well as preventive medicine and rehabilitation initiatives. The Constitution specifically demands that public health care be provided free of charge and

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 7

International observers IMF and Venice Commission note Ukraine’s worsening economic problems and disregard for recommendations. Religious groups speak out against pressure whilst Verkhovna Rada’s practice appals visiting delegates. Diminishing religious freedoms in Ukraine The President has seen fit to liquidate the National Committee on Religious Affairs with no open discussion of a replacement. After 20 years of relative balance between religious denominations in Ukraine the Association of Religious Freedom has

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 6

Despite rampant poverty and deteriorating protection of human rights the Ukrainian authorities seek acceptance in Washington and Brussels, of their guardianship of democracy and suitability for visa free travel. Ukraine fumbles the protection of human rights The 2010 worldwide report from Human Rights Watch shows Ukraine to be disadvantaged in the key areas of racism, migration, censorship and pressure on the media. The judicial reform programme, which appears to ignore the requested

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 5

Educational reform in Ukraine: advanced quality or setting the scene for a student unrest, optimisation of budget costs or the demise of the future elite? The draft law N7486-1, registered at Verkhovna Rada by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, promises considerable reform in the educational sphere. According to its authors, predominantly members of the Party of Regions, the immanent reforms will streamline the number of higher educational establishments and

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 4

Ukrainian government makes claims about its obligations to the European Union whilst pulling tightly on Tymoshenko’s leash. With fight against corruption losing its strength the shadow economy is in boom. The government comes under fire over restriction of opposition mobility Ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was recently denied permission to take a political trip to Brussels by the General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine, who stated that they considered her to be a flight

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 3

The Ukrainian government and oligarchy seek to improve investment attractiveness and their reputation in the West, failing to appreciate the extent to which they are blemished by the national lack of democratic principles, freedoms and transparency. The future of big business directly depends on the development of democracy Under President Yanukovych the interests of big business remain Ukraine’s primary concern. This may explain why Cyprus was neglected from the recent Cabinet of

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 2

Ukrainians take to the streets: celebrating unity on the day of national independence and demonstrating intentions to protect their economic rights. Meanwhile the government is implementing hasty administrative reform, without having settled on its foreign-policy strategy. What direction does the foreign policy of Viktor Yanukovych take? In just one month Viktor Yanukovych will celebrate his first year in the office of the President of Ukraine. During this time the approach to national

Democracy Watch, 2011 - Issue 1

Historical quote of the week: "The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance." – Cicero, 55 BC People First Comment: How little has changed… Democracy Watch – Editor’s Report on