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With the kind permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, InfoUkes Inc. has been given rights to electronically re-print these articles on our web site. Visit the RFE/RL Ukrainian Service page for more information. Also visit the RFE/RL home page for news stories on other Eastern European and FSU countries.
OPPOSITION LEADER SAYS RUSSIA CAN LEARN FROM UKRAINE. Russian opposition leader and former chess champion Garry Kasparov said in Prague on June 5 that "if [President] Bush hopes to gain anything by having private discussions with [President] Putin, he's wrong," news agencies reported. Kasparov added that "Putin thrives in an atmosphere of secrecy. He's a KGB spy. Anything behind closed doors gives him an advantage." Kasparov suggested that Bush should openly confront Putin instead of inviting him to the United States for private talks (see "RFE/RL Newsline," May 31, 2007). Kasparov added that Russia can learn from Ukraine "to establish the culture of compromise, the culture of consensus, because at the end of the day, any peaceful revolution...is based on a consensus between the street protests and part of the bureaucracy, that part of nomenklatura that understands that there is no other way but to start looking for a national consensus." Kasparov believes that suppressing dissent in Russia "will backfire because the Putin regime [faces] an old paradox. It is an authoritarian regime...a police state, which masquerades as a democracy. But, at the same time, the interests of the ruling elite are in the West, in the free world." Kasparov believes that the rulers "can talk as much as they want about China, India, and [redirecting policies toward Asia], but their money, fortunes, assets, soccer clubs, kids -- everything is in the free world." He also argued that a crisis in Russia is "inevitable...because living conditions...are deteriorating, and most Russians see no benefits from high oil and gas prices." Kasparov said that including Russia in the G8 only serves to confer undeserved legitimacy on Putin. But, he continued, most of Putin's good friends are no longer in power, and "now it's a different atmosphere.... He might be treated as an equal, but he understands that the message is that he, Putin, doesn't belong there." PM
Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves spoke on June 5 with RFE/RL about his country's vulnerability after weeks of cyberattacks and Estonia's relations with Russia. "RFE/RL Newsline" presents excerpts from that conversation (you can read the entire interview at http://www.rferl.org).
RFE/RL: Your country has had a lot of attention recently, given this story about moving the Soviet monument and then the cyberattacks on Estonian computer systems. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Toomas Hendrik Ilves: I don't know where to begin. Certainly, we saw the use of massive cyberattacks against state institutions, as well as private sites, including banks. Initially, you could say it was sort of a grassroots thing. But then it became a matter of organized crime.
What I can say is that every EU country has something called CERT, a computer emergency response team. And they visited ours, and there they had a graph of the cyberattacks, which suddenly rises straight up and continues and continues at a massive level of attacks, and at exactly 00:00 GMT, it stopped. I asked, "Why is that?" And the head of CERT said, "Well, they didn't buy any more time."
If it's a random...process of people on the web sort of doing things when they're launching attacks, that's something that goes on like white noise in the background. But a discrete, massive attack must be organized. The question is, can we prove who bought the time on these illegal organized crime botnets? We can't. But it's probably not Uruguay.
RFE/RL: So you're saying it's Russia. Ilves: No, I'm saying it's not Uruguay, probably. RFE/RL: Are there any clues that can point you toward any given country, beside Uruguay? Ilves: Given it's timing...I mean, it's all circumstantial.
Why do we have this? There is direct evidence of sort of grassroots-level [activity]. One of the commissars of the [pro-Kremlin youth] organization Nashi, in an interview with "Vedomosti," said, "Yes, I organized attacks." But he was giving people instructions on how to do a computer attack. But that would have had an effect at the sort of low level of people who themselves wanted to do something, but not at the level of an organized industrial-strength attack of this type.
Considering our vulnerability, we came out fairly well. A number of people I've read in memos said [that] had it been some other country with less experience, they would have been in much bigger trouble faced by these kinds of attacks. If anything, we feel the solidarity shown by the European Union, as well as by the United States. In fact, I think it made Estonians feel much more secure. And our support level for the European Union has risen to 87 percent, which is by far the highest in Europe.
RFE/RL: Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday gave an interview to "Corriere della Sera," an Italian newspaper, in which he was asked his reaction to the missile-defense system that the United States is seeking to install here and in Poland. And, of course, he said that Russia would react. And they asked him, "Does that mean you'll be pointing missiles at European cities?" And he said, "Yes, naturally." Given those kinds of comments and some of the comments and actions that have happened in Estonia, how do you react to that?
Ilves: I gave a long talk on that last night. Briefly, democracies don't go to war with each other. Democracies don't make warlike threats against each other. Either that truism is false or the notion of a G8 of the industrialized democracies getting together is based on a false premise. I mean, democracies don't behave like that. [It's] one or the other. Either we chuck out the premise, or we have to rethink what the G8 stands for. Which is not to mean that anyone's going to throw the Russians out of the G8.
RFE/RL: Some people are calling for that. Ilves: That's true, but...if you're not a member of the G8,
it's not difficult to call for anyone to be thrown out. But I certainly wouldn't call it the organization of industrialized democracies anymore.
RFE/RL: What would you call it? Ilves: Seven industrial democracies and one country brought
in for reasons that have lost their relevance. If you think about it, why would you not have China then? Why would you not have India?
RFE/RL: What would happen if more of Russia's neighbors -- Georgia, Ukraine -- follow the Estonian path of integration with NATO and the EU? Some people say that a good, democratic Ukraine could pull Russia down the same road.
Ilves: It's clear that Russia has bad relations with all the democratic countries on its borders that were formerly under communist rule -- I mean, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Georgia, Ukraine. All democratic countries.
It has passable, if not good, relations with nondemocratic countries -- Belarus, the Central Asian countries, where democracy is not always so wonderful. That should make one think. And what it should make one think about is that Russian relations with Ukraine and Georgia were fine until they had democratic revolutions. What does that mean? Well, that means that democracy really is perceived as a threat by Russia.
In the case of Russia today, we see tremendous fear that freedom of the press, freedom of association, freedom of the media, free and fair elections are viewed as bad things, and countries that have those things disprove the notion of a sovereign democracy -- previously called a "managed democracy," but now for [public relations] reasons called a "sovereign democracy" -- but either way, it means that the general rules of democracy don't apply. There's a separate way, a separate road, a separate route. There's a different kind of democracy.
Well, from Estonia to Georgia, Ukraine, Poland -- they all show it's not true. In fact, democracy works as democracy. And I think that is viewed by many as a threat. If you read the [Russian] press -- "There will be no Orange Revolutions here" -- what are the Nashi or Molodaya gvardia [nationalist youth groups] there for? They're all sort of there to make sure that if you ever get a Maydan [revolution like that in Ukraine], you have the shock troops to prevent Maydan from happening.
RFE/RL: That sounds pretty bleak. Ilves: Just my personal opinion. [Laughing] This does not
represent the position of the Estonian government.
UKRAINIAN SPEAKER WANTS PRESIDENT TO ISSUE YET ANOTHER DECREE ON EARLY POLLS. Parliament speaker Oleksandr Moroz said at a Verkhovna Rada session on June 6 that President Viktor Yushchenko will need to issue one more decree in order to call for early parliamentary elections in full accordance with the law, UNIAN reported. Yushchenko on June 5 issued his third decree calling for early elections, this time on September 30. Yushchenko said the additional decree is necessary because the Verkhovna Rada has become illegitimate as a result of the resignations of deputies from Our Ukraine and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc last week, since the chamber now comprises fewer than the 300 lawmakers it needs to legally function. Moroz said on June 6 that Yushchenko's assertion is not a "fait accompli" yet. Moroz reiterated his opinion that the current Verkhovna Rada will formally cease to exist only after a relevant ruling from the Central Election Commission (see "RFE/RL Newsline," June 5, 2007). "The president of Ukraine overstepped his powers and included the issue of determining the legitimacy of the Verkhovna Rada into his competence," Moroz said. Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych too said on June 6 that the current parliament remains legitimate. "The Verkhovna Rada will be legitimate until a final decision or a clarification from the Constitutional Court," Yanukovych said at a cabinet meeting. JM
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL AIDE DENIED ENTRY TO RUSSIA. Academic Mykola Zhulynskyy, an adviser to President Yushchenko for cultural affairs, was detained by border guards at the Pulkovo Airport in St. Petersburg on June 5 and was barred from entering Russia, Ukraine's Channel 5 television reported. "I was given back my passport and told that I will be deported. But they did not give me any reason for this deportation," Zhulynskyy told the TV channel in a telephone call from St. Petersburg. Zhulynskyy suggested that his detention was Moscow's tit-for-tat response to Kyiv's refusal to admit Russian political scientist Aleksandr Dugin, who was prevented from entering Ukraine at the Simferopol airport in Crimea earlier the same day. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has requested that Moscow allow Zhulynskyy to enter Russia and provide an explanation regarding the incident in St. Petersburg. JM